The Bloodborne video game has had a following that moved from FROM Software’s other fantasy game series, Dark Souls, and others before even that. Much like Dark Souls before it, Bloodborne has had the pleasure of a comic book adaptation by Titan Comics. Although once thought to be just a short limited series subtitled ‘The Death of Sleep,’ the “Bloodborne” comic has been converted to an ongoing form, with its second arc, ‘The Healing Thirst,’ having begun in mid-September.
Series writer Aleš Kot (“Zero,” “Days of Hate”) sat down to answer some questions about the series.
What drew you to Bloodborne as a comic series?
Aleš Kot: I was a massive fan of the game — and I adore its core building blocks, be it horror, analysis of perception, or some good ol’ fashioned hack’n’slash gaming. I studied everything about Bloodborne long before I knew there might be a comics series. In fact, I thought about how much fun it would be to make it one day.
What other series do you take inspiration from, outside of the games? The game itself leans on Victorian horror across a wide swathe, from werebeasts to plagues to something resembling vampires, so do you have any other particular sources you take from on some level?
AK: No series whatsoever, I think? But I love H.P. Lovecraft and weird fiction in general, I love Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Junji Ito’s “Uzumaki,” body horror…so those influences, I’m certain, have made it in. Clive Barker and David Cronenberg as well.
You’re coming off of not only the end of the previous arc of this comic, which seems to have been initially imagined as a miniseries like many other video game adaptations, but also the end of the Soulsborne franchise FROM Software came up with. Do you ever get tempted to take some concepts from the Souls games, given there is a bit of overlap in the way that the dark fantasy is handled?
AK: Not at all — Bloodborne’s world is so rich that the idea of going to another games, no matter how excellent and theoretically connected, seems wholly unnecessary. Whatever overlap there is comes not by my design.
At the beginning of each issue, the “Hunter” Caryll Rune for the “Hunter of Hunters” Covenant, a magical inscription that indicates what amounts to executioners for the blood-crazed, is on the starting page. Is this meant to indicate anything about the quest of this Hunter, given they think about its leader, Eileen the Crow?
AK: You will receive no answers from me on that. Some things are better left to imagination.
The Powder Kegs, led by eventual Beast-advocate Djura, are seen more active at one point. That, along with the fact that people like Djura are in much cleaner clothes, indicates that this series takes place before the main plot of the game itself. Can we hope to see any characters who are dead by the time the game comes, especially given the upcoming arc?
AK: The answer on this would be a thorough yes. Have you met some of those characters before? Maybe, maybe not.
In ‘The Death of Sleep,’ the Hunter’s revelations were pretty distinct from much of the way that original game was played, especially in regard to the Paleblood child. How much of that was your idea, given the “every side is pretty nasty” way that humanity is handled in the game itself, alongside the eldritch nature of Yharnam and the Old Ones?
AK: I don’t really know what this question means, so I don’t know how to answer it. Would you care to elaborate on what you mean by its distinctiveness?
Okay, so here’s the basic idea I mean: in the game, 90% of the things players come across seemed to indicate that Kin are dangerous to humanity, and that while they are alien and eldritch in their motives, most of the Hunters work to just fight them off without any real regard for how they feel, or are corrupted and insane as a result of their influence (or both). The way ‘The Death of Sleep’ dealt with the conflict seemed to be indicative of the Hunter accepting the “Paleblood” child and traveling with him/her regardless of their differences, and seemingly abandoning the hunt in Yharnam and it’s moral quandaries in the process to be a better person and accept a new form of ostensibly peaceful life with the child in the process.Continued below
AK: That’s certainly one of the possible interpretations. There are, of course, many others, including the possibility that traveling with the child may well be an act of insanity in itself. Or it’s a leap into the unknown. Or an unconscious choice towards suicide. Or…point being, I appreciate your engagement with the story, and I could not possibly tell you what the right reading of it is, precisely because it’s intentionally ambiguous. That’s not a cop-out; that’s focused, layered storytelling that allows space for your own imagination. The story doesn’t end because the comic ends. The story evolves in us, and that, to me, is such a big, beautiful part of art — engaging our imaginations long after the limitations of the page are gone.
Is there any particular element of the game that you are particularly excited about adapting? Considering the increased focus on the Healing Church in ‘The Healing Thirst,’ that does give some impression, but anything in particular you’ve wanted to explore, either here or in future arcs for this now-ongoing series?
AK: Totally, but I don’t think I can say anything about that until we announce. Apart from, maybe…people seem to love the character we’re going to bring back soon. I certainly do. Oh, actually…make that two characters!
Given the position of the Hunter in the closing pages of ‘The Death of Sleep,’ will this upcoming arc feature the same Hunter, or a new one?
AK: All hunters in the second arc will be mere second-hand players. This arc is focused on a doctor, a scientist — and on a priest. The connection and the rift between science and religion in Yharnam becomes illuminated in some rather terrible ways.