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TFAW.com Interviews Hack/Slash‘s Tim Seeley!

At Crypticon ’09, I was lucky enough to sit down for a few minutes with Tim Seeley, writer of the unique slasher series Hack/Slash and Loaded Bible, and artist for G.I. Joe, Halloween, and New Exiles. In between signing books for attendees (and creating a sketch that was tattooed on a fan that very same day), Seeley filled me in on what’s coming up for Hack/Slash, how he’s enjoying life as a freelance artist, and a top-secret project I’ve been ordered to stay quiet about by the artist and the publisher! Read on:

TFAW.com: So where did the idea of Hack/Slash come from?

Tim Seeley: I tell this story a lot, and my girlfriend gets really embarrassed, because I tell it the way it is, but it’s the true story. I had a really bad fever for a bunch of days around Halloween. And I was just sitting at home, trying to get better, drinking a lot of water, and I watched all these TV stations that were showing slasher movies–all of the Halloween movies up to that point, and all the Friday the 13th movies, etc. So, over three days, I watched five or six movies a day, and I was sitting in the bathtub feeling so gross, and I ultimately thought, “All of these movies kind of exist in the same world.” And that was it. I always wanted to use the term “Hack/Slash” in a book, so that’s where the title came from.

TFAW.com: So did you originally intend to write and draw Hack/Slash?

TS: From the beginning, I knew I’d never be able to do the artwork for Hack/Slash, because I was drawing G.I. Joe, which was a full-time job as it was. So I did all the designs and stuff, and I met an artist, Stefano Caselli–well, I met him on the Internet, because he’s from Italy–and we were talking via email. I just loved the guy–he was so enthusiastic–but he’d always write me in broken English, and I thought, “I don’t know if I can work with this guy.”

But I wrote to him and asked, “Do you like horror movies?” and he was like, “My God, man!” It turned out he was a huge fan of horror movies, so I said, “Hey, do you want to work on this project with me?” I’d never done a book before where I wrote it and someone else drew it, but I did a lot of the designs for it and the covers, and I draw it occasionally. I’m really content to do the writing and have other people do the art for it.

TFAW.com: The main character, Cassie, kind of turns an old horror movie chestnut on its ear: she’s the heroine, not the victim. Was that your intent?

TS: In so many slasher movies, there’s one girl left over at the end. I don’t know if that was a conscious choice on the part of the filmmakers or if they just didn’t want to spend that much time on the script, but a lot of them followed the same formula: there’s a sweet, virginal girl who becomes a badass and gets the job done. So those girls became Cassie. This is different because a lot of those movies were pretty misogynistic: you know, the psycho with the drill chasing the girls around at the slumber party. In this case, with Cassie, she kicks ass, but it’s also about her personality and her character. But in the beginning, the initial emphasis was on letting the girl get back [at the slashers].

TFAW.com: What’s coming up storywise with Hack/Slash that you can share?

TS: Coming up we have the 25th issue, which is the big anniversary issue. It’s a double-sized story, and it gives the background of where slashers come from. It’s kind of a weird thing, but I hope you’ll like it. Cassie is dealing with these crazy monsters who are humans bred to hunt. After that, I’m working on a story where they come to Chicago, which is where I live, so I wanted to do something with the town. There’s a new bad guy who’s related to one of the previous characters. And then I’m doing another Archie issue–well, an Archie parody issue. I don’t want to get in trouble. I also want to do a superhero slasher issue–you know, it weird how superheroes and slashers are actually pretty similar: people in costume. I want to combine them–there hasn’t really been a slasher-superhero story before.

TFAW.com: What was it like doing the covers for Barack the Barbarian?

TS: I voted for Barack, and I’m a big liberal, but I think some of those comics are a little bit exploitative. They’ve put Barack on all kinds of covers–Spider-Man, and Army of Darkness, of all things. But Sam Wells and Josh Blaylock were very excited to do the book, and I was happy to do the covers. I had a great time doing that.

TFAW.com: What’s your relationship like with Devil’s Due Publishing?

TS: It’s good! I’ve worked there as a staff artist for six years. The job was, I would draw whatever they had, so I drew G.I. Joe, and I threw out my name for stuff I really wanted to do, like Halloween, and I got to the point where I had drawn all the stuff I would be able to draw there. So I started talking to Marvel and other publishers and went freelance, which was either a great idea or a horrible one–I’m still not sure yet.

But we still publish Hack/Slash, and I actually have a studio in the Devil’s Due office. I actually rent it by doing covers, so Barack and Sarah Palin paid my rent. So I get the advantages of working freelance, and doing stuff for DC and Marvel, but I still get to hang out with my coworkers–I’m not as lonely as most freelancers. Plus, I get to see Hack/Slash as soon as it comes in and make sure there are no mistakes, which I’ll never get to do with Marvel or DC. It works. We still go out for beers and such. Not much has changed. The main difference is, I can draw whatever I want from Marvel or wherever else I can get a job.

Not the top-secret project!
Not the top-secret project!

TFAW.com: So what do you have coming up with other publishers?

TS: Marvel is doing an adaptation of a fantasy novel by Raymond Feist called The Magician, and I’m doing a couple of issues of that. And then I’m doing a [top-secret project we can’t talk about yet–stay tuned, TFAW.com readers!] for [top-secret publisher] with superheroes, which is cool, because no one hires me to draw superheroes.

TFAW.com: [More talk about the top-secret project! It sounds really cool!]

TS: [Sorry, can’t tell you what he said–but he’s really excited. Aren’t you curious? Come back at the end of July for more information, true believers!]

TFAW.com: So are you focusing more on art than drawing?

TS: I love both, but the thing is, no one really hires me to write anything. People hire me for my art, and it’s a more reliable paycheck. Plus, it’s a full-time job, every day, nine to five. So writing is what I do in my free time. But I’d like to do more Loaded Bible, and I’d like to do more stories that other people draw. But writing is a little harder to get paid for.

Plus, writing Hack/Slash, I can do whatever I want. I don’t have any restrictions. If you’re working on Spider-Man, the job comes with a lot of instructions. With someone else’s books, I’d have to fit my story in with whatever came before, etc.

TFAW.com: So, you went to college with Craig Thompson?

TS: We’re both from central Wisconsin, but Craig came from an even smaller town than I did. We both went to a college prep school in Wausau, which was the biggest town either of us had ever lived in.

We got along pretty well. Craig was kind of the introspective loner, while I was the party guy. And now he does the great, independent works that touch people’s hearts. I loved his stuff, and I actually have some of the original drawings that he did back in the day.

I’ve always been a fan of his stuff, and Blankets is one of my favorite comic books ever. He did the intro to the first Hack/Slash collection. People were like, “What? You got Craig Thompson to do the introduction?” But it just worked out. We’ve known each other for about 15 years.

TFAW.com: It would be really interesting if you two wrote short stories for each other to draw!

TS: A mutual friend of ours wrote a script that Craig and I both drew about a giant marshmallow once. We were curious to see how different it would look. That was a blast. I wish I still had it! But, yeah, someday, I would love to work with Craig on anything.

TFAW.com: Well, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, Tim! I’m looking forward to Hack/Slash #25!

Hey, Tim Seeley fans! What’s your favorite comic? Do you prefer Tim as an artist or writer? Post your comments below!

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Written by Elisabeth@TFAW

Elisabeth has been reading comics since we was a wee girl. She's obsessed with John Byrne, Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and making the perfect scrambled eggs. Follow her on @Twitter to get bonus conversations with her cat!