My ongoing fascination with the Countess of Bathory has no end in sight.
I have to say that her story (in truth, my version of her story) is my go-to project. In the past few months, I have been focusing on more pressing writing matters but Elizabeth Bathory is always in the back of my mind. From time to time, the muses grace me with ideas for her story. I quickly write them down before they take them away.
The Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed (1560-1614) is, allegedly, the most proficient serial killer of all time. Legend has it, that with the help of her “torture crew”, she kidnapped, disemboweled, and very muck killed hundreds of young girls. About six hundred or so. Rumors of Vampiritic thirst fuels her deadly legacy but she sets herself apart from her cousin Dracula in one interesting way. She did not drink blood. Instead, she bathed in the blood of virgins in order to regain and maintain her youth and beauty. And so the Blood Countess was born.
What exactly happened to the highly educated young woman who knew dozens of languages and provided medical care to the most unfortunate remains unclear. Whether she was framed by a King indebted to her family for large sums of money or vilified for her liberal sexual practices, no one knows for sure. In the end, she was condemned and imprisoned in her own chambers. Walled in. She died at age 54, alone, in the dark.
For me, it all started about 4 years ago and I have been writing and thinking about her ever since. It was 2011 when I convinced poor Gabriela Laszcz to draw a couple short stories I wrote based on Elizabeth Bathory. And Gabriela obliged me. And she did it for free which, in retrospect, really makes me look like a jackass. You MUST pay your artists. You just must. I was even less experienced as a writer and Comicbook “maker” than I am now and unreasonably demanding. I also shamelessly used that opportunity to do my first (and quite horrid) lettering job. And good Gabriela put up with my silliness and turned in some beautiful art. She even did the lettering for the second Comic, “My Beautiful Mentor” and I am glad she did. No, really, I was a real jackass. I don’t think I even knew what the word “collaboration” actually meant back then. Oh well, you live, you learn, right? I just wish I could learn a lot faster.
My focus at that time was on Elizabeth’s childhood. There is this story of her father allegedly forcing her to watch as he punished a Gypsy for stealing. He had him sewed inside a dying horse. That’s some messed up stuff. I was hooked. I had to write it. And four years later, I still am. I just cannot stop thinking about Elizabeth.
BATHORY: “A childhood Memory”.
BATHORY: “My Beautiful Tutor”.