The world of the hit independent comic Night of the Cadillacs is expanding with the release of The Lipstick Cliqa. Vampire stories are a popular genre, with franchises like Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Interview with the Vampire as recent examples. It’s easy to see why comics would continue this streak, except Lipstick Cliqa is giving its vampires some Chicana flair. Night of the Cadillacs co-creator Sean E Demott and A La Brava creator Kayden Phoenix are teaming up for The Lipstick Cliqa, which follows an all-Latina vampire gang.
ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Kayden Phoenix and Sean E Demott about Lipstick Cliqa to find out about the series’ main cast of characters, how it ties into the larger Night of the Cadillacs universe, the appeal of telling vampire stories, future spinoffs, expansions, and more.
ComicBook.com: You both created successful franchises in Night of the Cadillacs and A La Brava, and now you’re working together on The Lipstick Cliqa. What’s the collaboration process been like to bring this new series to life?
Kayden Phoenix: It’s been really fun for me on my side. I would hope on Sean’s side too, but it’s been really fun. Sean and his team are very open and they had a clear vision of what they wanted. Night of the Cadillacs already established Lipstick Cliqa, so I came in and kept it with everything that they wanted with their clear vision. And then I bring in more of the Chicana culture, so it has a really cool vibe and authenticity to it, even more so.
Sean E Demott: Kayden really brought a lot to it. We’ve had a vision for it for a long time, but the collaboration with her really brought, I think, a lot of heart to the characters. And our brand is very rough and it’s a rough, harsh world. We aim a lot of attention on the rough side. And we loved what she brought from a human side and from a story side. There was really good chemistry there and we’re really grateful to have her come in and grow The Lipstick Cliqa to what it is now. It couldn’t have gone better, really, in our eyes.
Main Cast and Night of the Cadillacs Universe
ComicBook.com: So Kayden, who is the main cast of characters that fans will get to meet in Lipstick Cliqa?
Phoenix: Marissa is our lead. We have Little Snap as well, our trans-Latina, who is super fun. And then Dia is our indigenous Chicana. She is very cool. She’s the hardcore one that takes care of everyone as well. She lumbers over everyone, but she has the softest heart at the same time. So there’s a great dichotomy between all of them. One’s really playful. One is the straight man, of course. And then another one is the protector but with a big heart. So Sean was saying they all have heart, but then they have a very tough upbringing in their backstories.
And the story takes place inside the larger Night of the Cadillacs universe, right?
For those who might not be familiar, what can you describe about the world you’ve already established?
Demott: Yeah, it’s really two worlds. There’s this side, which is obviously a make-believe world. And then we have the other side, which we call Blood World City. And they come from the other side to this world to get blood. And when the blood moon comes out, there’s a limited window for them to come through and they have to get the blood before the portal closes to get to the other side, or they go up in flames.
So there are five rival gangs and there’s a leader named Papa Duke. It’s an ongoing saga. The nuts and bolts really are the rival vampire gangs who need blood and they’re constantly fighting for territory and power and control. And the phase we’re at now is identifying more backstory on each one of these groups and how they mesh together. But the first two books really covered them. We have an Origins book that just came out as well that really walks you through the backstory of who they are.
So right now they are coming back and forth to get blood and they’re struggling for who’s in control on the other side.
Appeal of Vampire Stories
Kayden, what have you found to be the appeal of telling vampire stories? Obviously, they’re popular since creators are constantly going back to them. But in your opinion, what draws you to want to tell stories involving them?
Phoenix: I think because it’s fun. It gives you a lot of leeway. It’s magical realism of course, which is a major thing for me. But it also gives you leeway because they’re contradictory. Because literally they go and kill people, but they live forever. But it’s one of those things where they take lives, but they will always have their life. Obviously, they can get killed, but there’s a lot of weird magic in them that gives you an allowance. You’re allowed to play. Our vampires, like Sean was saying, are in the blood world and then they come over here to the Earth world. So it’s different, it’s the upside down for Stranger Things fans. It’s that type of thing. And so vampires just have so many allowances. And the fun part is we haven’t seen vampires in gangs, except for Blade.
We have little touches of it here and there, but not so hardcore as in the Warriors. Our thing is gangs, street gangs. So in the Warriors per se, that’s who I always liken it to, but the vampire version. So what is the vampire version of it, of gang and street culture put together? And so that was really appealing and fun. Not in a hardcore, “Let me not honor my culture” way. Cause obviously I did. But that was a starting base for vampires in general.
A La Brava and Fan Reception
On a similar topic, you created A La Brava, the Latina superhero comic. What’s the elevator pitch for what that series is about?
Phoenix: A La Brava is the first Latina super team in comic book history. There are five origin stories of each Latino superhero and they’re all different heritages. They’re American Latinas, but there’s Puerto Rican Cuban from Miami. There’s my Dominican from New York, my Chicana from East LA, my Tejana. So we’re all over and they have origin stories and they all come together at the very end to become a team called A La Brava. And they all fight social injustices as well.
Since the big announcement last week about Lipstick Cliqa, what has the perception been like from fans and everyone that’s reached out to you?
Demott: Yeah, we’ve gotten some pretty great phone calls. The vibe’s been amazing. And you can never predict. I mean, you hope that you’re going to get positive feedback, just basic positive feedback. But when it’s always a really pleasant surprise to get, when you get overwhelming feedback from it and you get some flattering phone calls from the industry people, it’s surreal.
The idea starts somewhere and then one day we’re going to do this and I got an idea. And then you collaborate with someone like Kayden and then it starts to come to life. I mean, I think it’s surreal. It’s really cool and surreal. And I think even when we’re looking at the most basic artwork, it comes from the narrative. I’ll show something to Kayden and we’ll have some comments on it as it grows. But I think for her and I and my team watching that come to life and then having people call and speak to you about it, it’s really cool. And it’s weirdly surreal and cool at the same time.
Because Night of the Cadillacs only came out a couple of years ago, right? It’s not that old of a comic. So to already be expanding in this way, that’s definitely cool to see.
Demott: Yeah, that’s the intent. We didn’t plan this to be a little small thing. We have big plans. We call our company an IP company cause everything we make we intend to shoot. Or we intend to see it in a video game. We aim for the moon. We didn’t set out to be a print paperback-only company where we’re just printing materials and trying to compete with Dark Horse. Everything’s aimed at the moon with us. And we’re very proactive and I’m pretty aggressive with production. And I take getting these things made very seriously. And I intend to get this made. I’ve been lucky so far with getting these things onto the screen.
Future Plans and Lipstick Cliqa Artist
Are there any other series you’re looking to launch in the future?
Demott: Yeah, we have a girl gang called Kill Town. That has a female lead named Min, who is Korean. We’re really excited to share her attitude and her whole life. She’s a character for sure. We have a group called The Stitches which are a bunch of scary, thuggy guys. And yeah, we plan on rolling out probably five more by January.
Kayden, who’s collaborating with you on art for Lipstick Cliqa?
Phoenix: We have really amazing artists. Sean and I went through a lot of people on his team. And we ended up with someone through Sean’s contacts. Actually, a couple of my artists were a little too busy, which is unfortunate. But Sean actually knows them better than I do, honestly.
Demott: Yeah, some of our team members are based in China and in the Philippines. And we look at everything globally. We don’t look at anything locally. We’re constantly flying to Japan or China or Manila. We were in Vietnam recently and we’ve teamed up with some artists over in the Philippines that we like. There’s an artist named Gershon Villamor, and they’re on the other side of the clock. So all this art pours in between 11 PM at night and 5 AM here.
So I get up and check it and make notes and go, “No, I don’t like this, the eyebrows are weird” or whatever it is. And we fire notes back off. And then when I’m sleeping over here, they’re working and then I’m sending notes back, hopefully before they go to their sleep cycle. So we’re flipped upside down. But right now we found this team in Manila that has their own flavor that we like. We’re going to rotate probably globally, just different people. And then Kayden has some amazing artists that we want to talk to for covers and variant covers. That’s always my favorite part of the process.
Kayden, do you have any other projects you’re working on besides Lipstick Cliqa?
Phoenix: I do actually. I’m wrapping up the princesses. So I have native and Latina princesses. And this is more so because since they’re dealing with social injustice, it was a little bit too dark for younger kids. So I started doing princesses. So it’s called The Majestics; Native and Latina princesses. And it’s the same setup, it’s the origin of each of the princesses. And they come together as a team as well. I have the first two out and then the next three Origin stories and the team-up comes out all throughout this year.
What’s the release date for Lipstick Cliqa?
Demott: We are aiming for June.
Who’s it being published through?
Probably through Scout Comics. They did our first two and then we did a unique magazine-size release called Origins. And they put that out a few months back. We have a good relationship with them. So I talked to the editor, my main relationship over there the other day and he’s really excited and wants us to bring this through there.