A sexy vampire is on a mission to save humans and their blood — she is a vampire, after all. So what does that have to do with climate change? Not much in the first issue, but if you can wait for Dark Fang #2...

Take an oil spill and an undersea vampire with tremendous sex appeal. Mix them together and you get Dark Fang — the new comic book series by writer Miles Gunter and illustrator Kelsey Shannon. The series' publisher, Image Comics, puts the environmental out front in a press release that tells the backstory of the lead character, a curvaceous vampire named Valla.

"When Valla lived, she was a fisherwoman," the release says. "In death, she is a vampire, peacefully residing on the bottom of the ocean-until a mysterious dark plague descends upon her aquatic paradise. Searching for answers on the surface, Valla finds a world headed toward an environmental collapse that will ultimately wipe out her food supply. Now, to stay fed, she must take on the juggernaut that is the global fossil fuel industry."

Page from Dark Fang #1

©2017 by Miles Gunter and Kelsey Shannon

As the series begins, though, she may appear less like an environmental crusader and more like a porn star. "I'm not sure that how she looks is related to the environment," says Shannon, "but it certainly helps ... for readers that, maybe, aren't interested in the subject, that are used to the typical comic book T&A fare." 

Cover of Dark Fang #2

©2017 by Miles Gunter and Kelsey Shannon

The creators say they took the sexy approach, deliberately, to appeal to readers who may not otherwise be thinking about climate change.

"It's an entry point, and it's a little bit of a fake out," says Gunter. "We kind of wanted to ... create this idea that, well, it's going to be kind of this misogynistic story — but it's really not, you know? So in a way it's just kind of us having fun with expectation."

The series launch is getting positive press, including a shout-out from the environmental media site Yale Climate Connections.

But about all that skin? 

"It's definitely a mature readers' title," says Gunter. "It's not for small children." But, he is quick to add, Dark Fang #1 is all about the vampire back story. "With the second issue," he says, "it's propelling much more into the story of her versus oil companies, and versus politicians, and using her powers to basically dominate that situation."

Cover of Dark Fang #1 

©2017 by Miles Gunter and Kelsey Shannon

Dark Fang is an ongoing series, with at least 20 issues planned.

Gunter and Shannon say the environmental message will not be lost in all the blood-spattered naked flesh. With Dark Fang, rather, the adult comic style may be helping to get the word out — to new audiences — about the consequences of uncontrolled carbon emissions.

"It is a piece of entertainment, and we definitely want to address the very serious theme of climate change," says Gunter, "but we also want to entertain people. And I think that when you can do that, you can maybe disarm people that may be resistant to the reality of what's going on with our planet right now."

From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI