Anyone who has witnessed Carla Harvey perform with the shock-rock band Butcher Babies would be surprised to learn that her fearless stage presence conseals the complicated soul of an introverted comic book nerd. Since relocating to Southern California, the mutitalented Michigan native has worked as an entertainment reporter with Playboy TV, landed gigs as an actress and earned a college degree in mortuary science. But comic books have always had a special place in Harvey's life, a fact that is confirmed with the release of her graphic novel Soul Sucka.
Collaborating with accomplished illustrator Anthony Winn, Harvey spins the blaxploitation-influenced tale of Delphine Johnson, who's actually a kick-ass, "afroed-out" female vampire named Soul Sucka. (BTW: The Bloodsucker bears a striking resemblance to Harvey.) Winn, who's currently developing a Stripperella reboot with Stan Lee, and Harvey previously teamed up on a pair of Butcher Babies comics.
Soul Sucka, a high-concept comic, explores ideas that are near and dear to Harvey's heart. "The obvious theme is race relations, " she explains, "but it's also about learning to deal with being different. Not only is my lead character biracial, but she's also half vampire."
Besides tapping her imagination, Harvey drew upon childhood memories to craft her heroine. "I put myself into this character," she admits, "Dealing with my own issues helped me make Soul Sucka into a multidimensional character, not just a foxy broad with fangs."
Art has always been a sanctuary for Harvey. She grew up in the notoriously rough city of Detroit, where her African-American father worked for the Ford Motor Company and her mother was an optician. But young Carla also had to grapple with her parents' divorce.
"I would spend a lot of time in my room alone listening to music, reading, writing and drawing," Harvey recalls. "Those things saved me from becoming a complete hooligan. They were a nondestructive outlet for all the anger and sadness I felt over my parents' split and the alienation I felt growing up biracial in a place that is oddly segregated even today."
Comics were an escape escape for Harvey, who was first fascinated by The Incredible Hulk. Eventually she found a taste for edgier fare like Tank Girl, Dawn and Johnny the... read more
Story by Matt Hodge - Hustler Magazine