An Interview with Michael McMillian

By Gianna Sobol

Gianna: Good morning, Michael!
Michael: Good morning, Gianna!

Gianna: Can you talk about your involvement in the newest True Blood comic book?
Michael: You can ask, but I have to warn you that as the co-writer of an official True Blood story, I may have to keep some secrets.

Gianna: Well what goods are you authorized to share?  We'll take what we can get!
Michael: I was just kidding.  Get ready to be "spoilerized."  I'm giving up the goods!

Gianna: Do it.
Michael: I love my fans.  Fire away.

Gianna: How did it come about that you would be writing for the comic series?
Michael: Pluck and constant pestering, really.  I heard they were making a True Blood comic last spring through Alexander Woo, one of True Blood's talented writers.  I immediately started to plot how I would go about scoring myself a story-arc on the book.  I was in the middle of writing LUCID, my series with Archaia and Zachary Quinto's Before the Door Pictures, so I was eager to keep the ball rolling with other comic projects.  Ultimately, I teamed up with my friend Marc Andreyko, a seasoned comics pro, and we pitched ideas to IDW.  I also sent Alan Ball a live panda.  It seems the bribe worked and now Marc and I are writing the comic.

Gianna: Ah, yes, I remember the panda.  So what's the book about?  Did you and Marc come up with the idea together?
Michael: Our story is called "Tainted Love" and runs for six issues.  Bottles of Tru Blood are contaminated with a mysterious ingredient that causes vampires to lose all moral center and go "feral," attacking humans without restraint.  The whole fiasco is a terrorist plot by a new villainous group, called the "Vampire Liberation Front," who has grown tired of Vampires having to play by society's rules.  These are fundamentalist Vampires who want to destroy the civil ties between humans and vampires, so they target the Tru Blood Corporation.  Jessica drinks a bottle of bad 'Blood, and Sookie, Bill and the rest of the Bon Temps crew scramble to save her before she kills somebody.  Marc came up with the idea of the tampered Tru Blood and we just ran with the idea.

Gianna: Can you tease us readers with one mind-blowing moment they can look forward to in your story?
Michael: I think just about every cliffhanger has its shock value.  That's a characteristic of the show that Marc and I wanted to make sure closed out each issue.  There's a sequence in Issue 2 involving Jessica and an alligator that's a favorite moment of mine.  And Eric takes his relationship with Sookie to new heights in Issue 3.

Gianna: Are there references to story lines that happen on the show, particularly concerning season 4?  Or are the comics independent of what Alan is doing?
Michael: The comics aren't entirely independent of the show, but obviously the show is the main True Blood storyline.  We're the supporting act.  The comic is a great way to expand the mythology and explore certain corridors of the True Blood world that the show may perhaps leave untouched.  Issue 1, for example, kicks off with a tour of a Tru Blood bottling plant.  We've seen bottling plants in teasers for upcoming seasons, but so far the Tru Blood company itself hasn't really been showcased in any narrative on the show.  I think fans will appreciate getting a little glimpse behind the curtain there.  There are certainly references to things that have happened in previous seasons, and our story reflects the increasing human/vampire tensions established in season 3.  We'll also flesh out a very important backstory to a fan-favorite character.

Gianna: Are we going to find out a little more about Steve Newlin's backstory in upcoming issues?
Michael: If I have it my way, "True Blood: The Steve Newlin Adventures" ongoing will kick off in summer of 2011!  Just kidding.  We will see a bit of Smilin' Steve in "Tainted Love."  And perhaps a glimpse of what Sarah Newlin has been up to...

Gianna: Oh really? Any clues to her whereabouts?
Michael: All I can say is she has taken what has happened to her and used it to her advantage.

Gianna: Interesting... Speaking of the Newlins, any plans for them coming back on the show? In season 4, or even beyond that?
Michael: You're asking the wrong guy!  I certainly hope so.  Obviously, True Blood has no shortage of characters, but I think it's significant that the Newlins made it out of Season 2 alive.  And there MUST be some kind of Fellowship of the Sun revival after what Russell Edgington pulled on national TV, right?  If I were Steve - and I am - I'd be plotting revenge on both Stackhouses and Eric in particular.  Nobody bangs Steve's wife and shoots him in the face with a paintball and gets away with it.  Nobody.

Gianna: So if Steve could torture Jason, just to get back at him for his dalliance with Sarah, what would he/you do?  Waterboarding?  The rack?  Death by firing squad?
Michael: Perhaps lowering Jason into a giant vat of boiling paint would suffice?  Although I'm not sure Steve wants to see that pretty face destroyed... He's so torn, that Reverend!

Gianna: It is a pretty face, I don't think anyone can argue with that.  Okay, thank you so much for your time, Michael!  Before you go, two final questions.  Who's your favorite human on True Blood?  Now I'm asking you as a fan, not as an actor on the show...
Michael: Humans are quickly disappearing on True Blood!  They are an endangered species, lately.  It's tough to pick.  Obviously I am quite partial to Anna Camp's portrayal of Sarah Newlin.  I thought she was just fantastic - perfect in every way.  And then there's Carrie Preston, whose genius goes criminally unsung. I love Arlene. She's such a wonderful character. In many ways she's the most relatable human on the show. If I lived in her world, I would be scared and pissed too!  My favorite human character to write is definitely Jason.

Gianna: And your favorite supe?
Michael: I'm team Eric.  Sorry, Bill.

Michael's comic book LUCID is a four-issue miniseries written by Michael and illustrated by Anna Wieszczyk. You can download the comic at  Pre-order the next True Blood comic written by Michael at the HBO Shop.