Tag: Horror Month

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    Joe Harris Reveals the Truth Behind X-Files Season 10 at IDW

    X-Files Season 10Since The X-Files television show ended in 2002 after nine seasons, millions of fans have wanted to believe it could somehow continue. This fervor for the beloved FBI team of Dana Scully — the skeptic — and Fox Mulder — the believer — and their paranormal investigations have led to two movies (with a third hinted at during New York Comic Con), and now IDW’s popular The X-Files Season 10 comic book series, written by Joe Harris (Great Pacific, Fury of Firestorm).

    As part of Horror Month, we sent Harris our questions about working on the X-Files, Scully’s son William’s true parentage, and what’s coming next.

    WARNING: IMPLIED NUDITY IN IMAGES BELOW. MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR READERS UNDER 18.

    Enjoy Harris’s in-depth responses below, as well as an excellent five-page preview of X-Files Season 10 #6, out November 20.

    TFAW: How does it feel to have been given the reins to The X-Files?

    Joe Harris: It’s been exciting. A little scary and intimidating, to start, but mostly cool at the moment. I try to just go with it and not psych myself out. It’s amazing to have gotten to do this, I’ll be honest with you.

    TFAW: What’s your personal history with the show?

    JH: I was, I think, right in the prime demographic when the show debuted back in the early 1990s. My brother and some friends got onboard first, and eventually, I relented and started tuning in. The X-Files kept us all company on some lonely teenaged Friday nights. By the time the show really started taking off and finding a broad audience, along with a choice Sunday night time slot, I was in deep.

    TFAW: How have Mulder and Scully changed, since the TV show and the movies?

    JH: Well, they’ve got some experience on them. They’ve been through the wringer, like, 10 or 20 times, and they’re aware of what they’re up against, in the actual and the broader, overall landscape.

    X-Files Season 10 #6 X-Files Season 10 #6 Preview Page 1 X-Files Season 10 #6 Preview Page 2

    TFAW: What advice, if any, has Chris Carter had for you?

    JH: He reminded me that the “science” — meaning the scientific explanation Scully would end up going to when she and Mulder were confronted with whatever paranormal situation happened to be on tap that week, had to be sound. And then he recalled the simple, obvious but essentially crystal clear paradigm the show followed — that Scully has to have reason to be convinced that something paranormal is not going on, and that the paranormally inclined Mulder is always right, in the end.

    TFAW: You’ve got the first arc under your belt now, with the conclusion of “Believers” in X-Files Season 10 #5. Are there any differences to how you’re plotting and writing the next one?

    JH: I feel like we’re rolling a bit now. In terms of story, we’ve re-set the table and can operate with a foundation under us that’s directly comics-based. And so far as writing these characters goes, I think I’ve got a good read on Mulder and Scully. Going into this, I was drawing on the television episodes for backmatter and research. But they’ve got new experiences we’re going to be building off of too now.

    That said, I’m still doing tons of research, shuttling through the shows and films for backmatter and inspiration.

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    TFAW: As a fan, is there a scene you’re just dying to write?

    JH: Oh hell yes. As I’m always scanning through old episodes, I make note of little hooks and references that might later work their way into a Season 10 story and cement us a little more within the mythology.

    There’s a lot I’m looking into right now, and I really don’t want to reveal and spoil anything here. But I can give you two examples of moments and bits that would ring some bells with the fans, and which I really want to illustrate as either the center of an upcoming issue, or in a scene somewhere down the line, etc.

    The first involves Mulder’s trip to a Washington, DC “head shop,” as mentioned in the Stephen King co-written episode, “Chinga,” where he ends up buying the iconic “I Want To Believe” poster that hangs on his basement office wall. I mean, can you imagine Mulder browsing through the bongs and glass pipes before he gets to the blacklight posters and patchouli?

    X-Files Season 10 The other involves Monte Propps, the killer who was the subject of young Fox Mulder’s famed work as a profiler before founding the FBI’s “X-Files” division, and who was mentioned in the very first episode of the show. I’d like to expand and expound upon that bit of lore a little at some point, too.

    And I’d love to show more of Mulder and Scully’s past, at some point, if it works within the context of what we’re doing in the present.

    TFAW: How large will Scully’s son William figure in the overall series?

    JH: I read this question a couple times thinking, at first, you were asking me how big he was these days!

    It’s all a mystery, wrapped in a puzzle, inside of an enigma. William is, obviously, a core concern for Mulder and Scully — for Dana, especially. And the events of our opening “Believers” arc didn’t do anything to lessen that.

    But William is also a dear concern for Chris Carter, and I know he has business he wants to get to on that front, himself. So we’re touching upon things where appropriate, and when expected . . . but we’re being careful for other, very cool reasons too.

    TFAW: Are we going to get a definitive answer about his “true” parentage?

    JH: You sound like my Twitter feed! See above. 🙂

    TFAW: The X-Files has always been an fantastic blend of horror and sci-fi. What are your personal influences in those genres?

    JH: I’m a huge horror and sci-fi nerd. I’ve written a few horror movies and directed a few short films of my own, having grown up on a steady diet of John Carpenter and Friday the 13th sequels and all sorts of other influences. I am a Richard Matheson junkie and a Rod Serling lover, too.

    X-Files Season 10 TFAW: Can you give us any hints about the alien invasion, or whatever else is coming next?

    JH: If I told you about “the alien invasion” Chris Carter would excommunicate me . . .

    But I can tell you that we’ve got lots of hooks and permutations of the X-Files “Mytharc” to explore, and new conspiracies to dig into. Lots of old friends, enemies, and characters difficult to classify as one or the other will be returning . . . some in unexpected ways, with motivations and secrets that keep this a forward-leaning series, rather than just a trip down memory lane.

    We’ve got everyone’s favorite monster, Flukeman, returning in a two-part sequel to the immortally beloved Season Two episode “The Host” beginning in issue #6, and Mulder’s mysterious informant “X” makes a return from beyond the grave in issue #8.

    Issue #9 is going to spotlight our first original “Monster of the Month” that I’m super excited to reveal. It’s going to be a pretty creepy experience, I can promise you that.

    After that, we’re going to expand on the presumed history of everyone’s favorite nicotine addict a bit, both as a love letter to one of my favorite episodes, “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,” as well as an uncovering of some new details regarding the mystery of CSM’s reappearance in the pages of The X-Files: Season 10.

    And all of this will propel us toward the next big, shocking multi-part storyline beginning in issue #11.

    Our thanks to Joe Harris for answering all of our questions! You can find The X-Files Season 10 comics and graphic novels right here at TFAW; save 10-20%

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    Hail to the King: Steve Niles Commits to Ash & the Army of Darkness

    Ash and the Army of DarknessWhen Army of Darkness debuted on movie screens in 1992, it was both the third installment of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series and its own unique creature. After defeating a demon in Evil Dead II and losing his hand, Ash Williams is thrown back into the Middle Ages, where he fights horrific Deadites, retrieves the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (unleashing unexpected consequences), and flirts with the alluring Sheila — before returning to his own time.

    Blending over-the-top horror, a fish-out-of-water story, and absurd humor, the movie had a respectable — if relatively modest — run in the theaters, before becoming a monster cult hit for millions of fans on video, thanks in large part to Bruce Campbell’s gleeful turn as hapless hero Ash.

    Now Dynamite Entertainment is bringing a direct sequel to comics with Ash and the Army of Darkness, written by horror icon Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre) and beginning right after the events of the movie! Niles has created some incredible horror stories in his career and is an exciting choice for the series — particularly because he’s committed to an entire year!

    We had a chance to interview Niles for Horror Month — check out his insights, below, and check out our five-page preview of Ash and the Army of Darkness #1! Plus, make sure to pre-order Ash and the Army of Darkness to save 20-35%.

    BREAKING NEWS: Since we conducted our interview, Steve Niles’ home was severely damaged by a major flood. We’ve included information on how you can help at the bottom of this post!

    TFAW: What attracted you to Ash and the Army of Darkness — for a whole year, at that?

    Steve Niles: Well, I love the Raimi movies, so when Nick [Barucci, President of Dynamite Entertainment] asked me to do Army of Darkness, it was a no-brainer. We had tried in the past, but my schedule was a nightmare. Timing was right this time. The other reason is I wanted to do something longer than four issues, which is my usual length. I wanted to try doing some long-form [storytelling], and this came up.

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    TFAW: What were your favorite aspects of the movie?

    SN: I love how the horror and comedy play alongside each other, and I love Ash as a character.

    TFAW: This is a direct sequel, right? Where is Ash — in the present, or the past?

    SN: I pick up after the last frame of the film. To me one of the best things about AoD was the setting, having a modern man thrown into the past. My 12-issue run takes place almost entirely in the Dark Ages. Things have gotten much worse.

    TFAW: Will we see any other characters from the movie? What about Sheila?

    SN: You should see just about all of the characters as one point or another. Oldman Wiseman plays a big part.

    TFAW: Has Ash grown or learned anything in your pages, or is he still a (mostly) loveable screwup?

    SN: Ash? Learned something? Of course not. He makes every bad situation worse.

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    TFAW: Will this be more of a humorous story, or more of a horror story?

    SN: I am playing the horror as straight as I can. Really most of the humor comes from Ash and his reactions to the horror.

    TFAW: You’ve written some indelible horror stories, including 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre. Are there any aspects of horror that are neglected these days, in your opinion?

    SN: I think horror is doing just fine right now. We have Walking Dead and tons of horror comics of the stands. The Conjuring bitch-slapped the tent poles at the box office over the summer. I think we’re doing fine. I would like to see less watered-down, CW/kiddie horror, but I don’t really pay attention, so I don’t care. I always hope those silly shows are just gateways to bigger and better horror.

    Ash and the Army of DarknessTFAW: How many projects are you juggling right now?

    SN: Just five or six right now. I’ve slowed down.

    Ash and the Army of Darkness is sure to make a splash — make sure to pre-order issues #1 and #2 now to save 20-35%.

    We want to thank Steve Niles for his time, and wish him and his family a swift recovery from the flood that recently damaged their home. If you’d like information on how to help, you can get the details at ComicsAlliance now.

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    What’s your favorite Steve Niles comic, and why? Post your comments below!

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    Tim Seeley and Mike Norton Talk About Bringing Revival to Life

    Revival ComicsOne of the most buzzed-about horror titles of the past year is Revival, written by Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash) and featuring the amazing art of Mike Norton (Battlepug), with positively haunting covers by Jenny Frison (House of Night). The concept is simple yet compelling: one day in a small Wisconsin town, the dead suddenly came back to life.

    Why did it happen? What does it mean? While the outside world is clamoring to learn the reason for this “miracle” — and partake in it themselves — Officer Dana Cypress must deal with a government quarantine, religious zealots, her demanding father, and all of the town’s dirty little secrets, which are spilling out one by one. Did we mention Dana’s little sister Em is one of the group of people who has come back to life (now known as Revivers) — and was apparently murdered?

    It all adds up to one of the most addictive titles yet from Image Comics! If you haven’t jumped on board yet, the Revival Vol. 1 deluxe hardcover is out October 30, and if you pre-order now, you’ll save 20%.

    We had the chance to interview Tim and Mike for Horror Month! We asked them who killed Em, what’s up with the ghostly spirits in the woods, and more. Did they answer? Read below! Plus, check out six pages from Revival #14, available now.

    TFAW: Can you tell us how the concept for Revival came about?

    Revival #14 Page 1Tim Seeley: I’ve wanted to do a crime book set in a rural Wisconsin town for a few years, but I didn’t have a catch for it. I also had an idea for a “un-zombie” zombie story, which would focus on this girl, Em. Mike and I were looking for something to do together. I pitched him both ideas over lunches at our studio, and they eventually somehow became one idea. I brought some of the characters from previous ideas in, Mike and I developed new ones, and BOOM-POW-VOILA, we had Revival.

    Mike Norton: Just like Tim said. I was pretty much there from the beginning. It was very much a matter of Tim having an idea and then us hammering it into something we’d both like and want to work on.

    TFAW: Revival is based on a fairly simple idea: one day, a small number of people in a tiny town come back from the dead. But after re-reading the first two trades, it’s amazing how complex the story gets, once everyone’s secrets are revealed–or at least hinted at. How do you keep track of it all?

    TS: Ha, not easily. We have a white board and ever evolving documents and notes and books . . . it can get pretty hairy sometimes. Mostly I just hope that if I forget it, Mike remembers it.

    MN: Yeah, it’s hard. Every issue has a moment of “what are we forgetting?” It’s exhilarating in a way, but it’s also nerve-wracking. It’s been really fun so far. Tim does a great job of it, and I kind of try to poke holes in it to make sure the story is bulletproof.

    TFAW: One major mystery in the beginning was “Who killed Em?” but that hasn’t been addressed lately. It looks like the thread will be picked up in issue #15 — will we get a definitive answer?

    Revival #14 Page 2TS: Not yet, no. But there will be clues and hints, because Mike and I know the answer.

    MN: You will get an answer. It may just be a year or two.

    TFAW: Em is a very ambiguous character–she’s a Reviver, but she’s keeping it a secret. She always tried to be the perfect daughter, but she was having an affair with a married professor. Plus, she’s acting out more and more and becoming more violent–is this because she’s a Reviver, or because she’s stuck in a crazy situation?

    TS: It’s a little of both I think. Em is like all of us . . . she’s complex and has more than one side. Add to that she’s facing a situation in which she has no precedent for, and you can see why she reacts in some pretty extreme ways.

    MN: That’s kind what I like about the story we’ve set up. She’s pretty much grown up sheltered and is letting loose. Being dead is kind of an advantage for that. Who cares what happens if you’re dead?

    TFAW: What are the motivations of Em’s professor, Aaron Weimar? Is he a bad person, or just misunderstood?

    TS: I think Aaron is mostly a good person, actually. He’s made mistakes, and gotten himself into a difficult situation, and we’ll see what that makes him do in issue #17.

    Revival #14 Page 3MN: Aaron . . . Hmmm. Wait ’til issue #17.

    TFAW: Em’s sister, Dana Cypress, is a complex woman. She’s good at her job, but hampered by some hangups that affect her relationships with her family, potential love interests, and colleagues. What made her this way?

    TS: Dana was profoundly affected by the loss of her mom when she was a kid. Em barely remembers it, but Dana has blamed her dad for it, and it’s made her act out in a lot of different ways. She’s now trying to make up to her dad and her sister for the way she acted out.

    MN: I love Dana. She’s strong and it comes from a place where she’s had to overcome a lot of hurdles and personal mistakes. She’s messed up. And she’s trying to make her life (and everybody else’s) better now.

    TFAW: Are the “demons” in the forest the souls of the Revivers? Does this make the Revivers evil, and how did this happen in the first place?

    TS: Well that’s the big question, isn’t it? We know. And we will tell you if you keep reading.

    MN: Ha. Yeah what Tim said.

    Revival #14 Page 4TFAW: Mike, what strikes me the most about your art is how gorgeous it is–and how disgusting and gory it is, often in the same panel! What were your thoughts behind creating the look of the book?

    MN: Well, for one, thank you. That’s really nice. With the art, I’m just trying to bring the realism and atmosphere of a small town. I think that quiet normalcy is what makes moments of extremely horror and violence so disturbing. If a book is drawn in a spooky shadowy scratchy style, you kind of expect the big scare. In our book, you’re not going to know when something crazy is gonna get you.

    TFAW: Do you have a favorite character?

    TS: I love them all. I like writing Blaine’s dialogue the most. And I think Dana is sort of the most “like” me . . . but I can’t choose a favorite.

    MN: I like something about all of them as well. I love Dana the most. She’s the hero of the story to me. It’s really fun to draw Lester, though.

    TFAW: What’s the best part of working on this book?

    TS: I like getting to work with Mike, and playing to our strengths and interests, while occasionally making both of us work on things we aren’t as confident about.

    Revival #14 Page 5MN: I agree. We both share similar aesthetic and preference for comics, and making comics together has been really fun and challenging. I’m really proud of it.

    TFAW: What are your personal favorite horror stories?

    TS: I’m still pretty attached to the original Halloween, Dawn of the Dead and a whole host of slasher movies. I recently read — and totally loved — John Dies at the End and This Book Is Full of Spiders. I still love Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and I think Charles Burns’ Black Hole is maybe the creepiest comic I’ve ever read.

    MN: Favorite horror? That’s funny. I used to hate horror as a kid. Nightmare on Elm Street and Fright Night were movies I had to watch behind closed fingers.

    TFAW: Can you give us any other hints about what the future will hold for Revival?

    TS: We’re going to see what the government is doing with Revivers who’ve “stepped out of line.” And, there will be an explosion of blood coming up.

    MN: A lot of the trademark Revival character moments. And some seriously disturbing stuff.

    Revival #14 Page 6TFAW: What other projects are you excited about right now?

    TS: All of ’em! I’m in a good place, working on a lot of books I’m really enjoying! Yay! [Editor’s Note: Tim is currently working on Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash and Clown Fatale, as well as providing variant covers for Afterlife With Archie.]

    MN: I have to say the same. I’m more creatively satisfied at this point in my career than I ever have been. [Editor’s Note: Mike is currently working on The Occultist — with Tim — as well as The Answer and Battlepug.]

    Big thanks to Mike and Tim for chatting with us! If you haven’t read this amazing series yet, make sure to pick up Revival Vol. 1 and 2 in trade paperback, and pre-order Revival comics and the Revival Vol. 1 deluxe hardcover now to save 20%!

    BROWSE REVIVAL COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

    BROWSE TIM SEELEY COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

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    Have you read Revival? What’s your theory on who killed Em? Do you have a favorite issue so far? Post your comments below!

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    Horror Month Interview: Scott Allie Talks Abe Sapien & More

    As part of Horror Month this October, we’re interviewing the creators of comics’ best horror comics–and who better to kick things off than Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie? During his nearly 20 years at Dark Horse, he’s edited such notable horror comics as Hellboy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Criminal Macabre, and he’s currently co-writing the monthly Abe Sapien series with Mike Mignola.

    We chatted with him about transitioning from an editor to writer, and what’s coming up next for Dark Horse’s horror line!

    Abe Sapien Comics

    Our thanks to Scott Allie for taking the time to answer all of our questions! Make sure to stop by our Horror Month Sale and save 25-50% on hundreds of horror comics, toys, and more.

    BROWSE ABE SAPIEN AND ALL SCOTT ALLIE COMICS

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    Your Daily Horror: Get 60% off Nick & Dent Horror!

    Hey everyone, it’s the last day of our mega Horror Month blogs! In honor of Halloween, you can get 60% off all of our horror-themed nick & dents!

    If you’re not familiar with our nick & dents, you’re in for a treat! Our nick & dent graphic novels have minor wear and tear from handling in our stores, but they’re excellent reading copies. Our nick & dent statues and toys might have damaged packaging, but the items inside are pristine!

    Here’s a testimonial from one of our satisfied customers:

    Well I’m still looking for the nick or the dent!!! That’s just to tell you how pristine the nick and dents really are!–Francois 7/24

    Browse through our selection of horror-themed nick & dents to find Buffy the Vampire Slayer trades, Hellboy graphic novels, and much more!

    Thanks for reading along with us this October for Horror Month, and check back tomorrow for exciting November events!

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    Enter Our Costume Contest!

    Enter Our Costume Contest!

    Happy Halloween! To celebrate, many of us in the office got dressed up, but we also wanted to remind you to email us your pictures to enter our Costume Contest! Voting starts tomorrow, but you have until November 11 to enter. Just email your photos of yourself in costume, and we’ll post them right here on the blog! Make sure to let all of your friends know to come here to vote!

    The winner will receive one each of Angel vs. Frankenstein, House Of Mystery Halloween Annual #1, Living Dead Dolls Friday The 13th Jason 09, Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein HC, Universal Monsters Legacy of Horror HC, and an I Heart Creepy men’s T-shirt (XL)! See more details here, and watch the video below!

    Detective Comics 858

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    Your Daily Horror: The Goon Volume 9: Calamity of Conscience TPB

    On this next-to-last day of Horror Month, we bring you something a little different: The Goon Volume 9: Calamity of Conscience TPB. For those of you not yet acquainted with The Goon, it’s kind of a horror book mixed with The Little Rascals. And a Bob Hope road movie. And . . . well, it’s a little difficult to put my finger on, but it’s funny, tragic, horrific, and great fun to read.

    Multiple Eisner Award-winning creator of The Goon Eric Powell teams with acclaimed colorist Dave Stewart to bring this tale of humor, horror, and heartbreak to a close. Prepare for the usual weirdness, as only Powell and The Goon can provide: the living dead (children, priests, and pretty ladies), pretty living ladies, gypsies, backwoods children . . . “dogs” . . . crazy-weird cats, pimps peddling animal love, animals on the receiving end of said animal love . . . evil Shredded-Wheat men, more evil-undead burlesque-house owners, guys with tails, a woky (a woky?) . . . and more!

    You can order The Goon Volume 9: Calamity of Conscience TPB now for $14.35, and make sure to check out our Horror Month page for most ghastly gifts!

    Questions? Comments? We’d like to hear from you!

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    Awakening–Not Your Average Horror Book

    The once peaceful city of Park Falls has been tainted by a series of gruesome murders and missing persons. Cynthia Ford, known as the town crazy, finds retired police detective Derrick Peters and relates to him her belief about what’s going on in town.

    Her explanation? Zombies!

    Unable to ignore Cynthia’s information, though not sharing her beliefs, Derrick and others in the town explore the mystery as weeks turn to months and the death toll rises. Could Cynthia be right or has she finally gone insane?

    Now just $14.96 (25% off the cover price), it’s the perfect time to pick up Awakening by Nick Tapalansky and Alex Eckman-Lawn. Check out other cool horror stuff on our Horror Month page.

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    Your Daily Horror: Angel Not Fade Away TPB

    Fans of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel television shows have been loving the ongoing comics series from Dark Horse Comics and IDW Publishing. If you’re a fan of Fox’s late, lamented small-screen Angel but haven’t picked up the comic yet, the Angel Not Fade Away TPB is the perfect place to start!

    Written by Joss Whedon himself, with art by Stephen Mooney and Jeff Johnson the Angel Not Fade Away TPB is a three-issue adaptation of the final episode of Whedon’s beloved Angel television series. This graphic novel leads to a climactic battle in an alleyway that fans now know was only the end of the beginning!

    This collection includes the three-part Not Fade Away miniseries, as well as the script for the original television episode and spot illustrations.

    You can order Angel Not Fade Away TPB now for just $17.99! While you’re here, make sure to check out our Angel and Horror Month pages.

    Are you enjoying the Angel comic book series from IDW Publishing? State your opinion below!

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    Your Daily Horror: Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold TPB

    For today’s Horror Month entry, we’ve got an oldie but a goodie: Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold TPB from Vertigo. Vertigo has long been the place to go for classic horror comics: Swamp Thing, Preacher, Hellblazer, and Death are just a few of the excellent choices.

    In Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold, a young prince has stolen a page from Destiny’s book. Through the ages, he rides his pale horse followed by sickness and death. Alisa Kwitney writes this touching Vertigo story. Kent Williams, Michael Zulli, Scott Hampton, and Rebecca Guay complete the book with their beautifully inspired artwork.

    Best of all, Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold TPB is in our Clearance Sale right now, so you can get it for 40% off! Don’t miss out on this eerie, fantastical book.

    For more horror comics, graphic novels, and more, check out our Horror Month page!

    Questions or comments? Leave them below!

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    Writer Joe Hill Talks to TFAW.com About Locke & Key From IDW

    One of the most exciting new series of horror comics is Locke & Key, from Joe Hill, a relative newcomer to comics who also has a successful career as a novelist (Heart-Shaped Box) and short-story writer (The Living Dead). Locke & Key focuses on a family that, after a horrific tragedy, moves to an old family manse in New England and tries to start over. However, the kids, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, keep stumbling over magical keys–keys a malevolent being, Dodge, is determined to get. Dodge transforms himself into a seemingly normal American teenager named Zach and befriends the family, but he also appears to be the reincarnation of a high school friend of their father’s named Lucas Caravaggio.

    Full of humor, pathos, and truly unique supernatural elements, Locke & Key has been nominated for an Eisner, and two story arcs, Welcome to Lovecraft and Head Games, are available as graphic novels. The first issue of the third arc, Crown of Shadows, will be released by IDW on November 25. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to be able to speak with the very enthusiastic Joe Hill and pick his brains about where Locke & Key is headed, and what he’s liking from the horror genre in general:

    TFAW.com: Where did the genesis of Locke & Key come from? What inspired it?

    Joe Hill: Basically, the long-form genesis of Locke & Key is, I had written three or four novels that I was never able to sell, including one that I had spent three years on, and it was a total heartbreaker. I sent it to every publisher in the US and Canada and England, big press and small press, and everyone turned it down. So I was a really unsuccessful writer, and the only thing I had had any luck with was my short stories, and there wasn’t any money in short stories, and it’s not like many people read them. But there are some passionate short story fans, and I had written some good ones and had won a couple prizes, and got in a year’s best collection.

    A talent scout at Marvel Comics had spotted one of these stories and had got in touch with me and asked if I had any interest in writing about men in tights hitting each other, and I thought it sounded pretty great to me. So I wound up writing a one-shot, an 11-page Spider-Man story, that’s easily the most horrendous thing I’ve ever had published, it’s just a terrible piece of writing. Basically, I choked. I blew it. I really wanted to do well, and wound up not doing a very good job. And the funny thing is, it sold pretty well, because it was saved by the art. The late Seth Fisher did the illustrations, and he made what wasn’t funny very funny, and what wasn’t tense very suspenseful, and so he kind of saved my ass on it.

    It was a strange experience, because I knew I hadn’t done a very good job, but I found the act of writing a comic script strangely addictive, and I had always had a comic book imagination. Most of my favorite writers were writers who had come out of comic books. Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman. And a lot of my most important reading experiences had been in comic books, whether it was Watchmen, or Swamp Thing, or Dark Knight Returns, or Sandman. Like a lot of men of my age, I think for a whole generation of writers, the Vertigo imprint loomed large in our imaginations. So I didn’t do a very good job with the Spider-Man story, but the hook was in, and I wanted to redeem myself and do something better and keep writing in comics, so I came up with all these pitches, and I sent them around, and nothing ever happened with them. No one was much interested.

    One of the concepts was for a kind of off-kilter haunted house story called Locke & Key, which involved this family settling into an old New England home, which was full of keys with unnatural powers attached to them. And that idea wouldn’t leave me alone for years afterward. I would keep thinking about it, sometimes having new ideas about characters, and keys, and events that could happen, and eventually I had some good luck, and my first book of stories came out, and I sold my first novel, and around that time, Chris Ryall at IDW got in touch with me about maybe adapting some of my short stories into comic books, and I came back to him and said, “Wait, I think I have something better.” And that was Locke & Key.

    TFAW.com: One thing that really sets Locke & Key apart from other horror comics is it’s as much a family drama as it is a horror tale. What attracted you to that combination?

    JH: One thing that often happens, when people do a horror movie, or a frightening TV show, or a horror comic, one mistake which often gets made is, there’s a big focus on the supernatural element and on the bad guy, but there’s no effort made to make the main characters likeable and unique and sympathetic. A lot of times they’re just types, and this is why so many of the slasher films are such a joke, why everyone laughs at them. Cause, you know, the teenagers in a Friday the 13th movie have all the emotional power of a paper target in a shooting gallery. No one really cares about them, they’re just there to be struck down by Jason.

    For me, the first step to making a successful horror story is making sure the characters matter and are emotionally real and unique. You want the reader to invest in those characters and care about them, because then, when the guy shows up in the hockey mask, they’re really frightened for the main character, as opposed to just waiting to see how they get cut down.

    So my intention was always to slow the pace down a little bit and focus on character as best as possible, and try to get the reader engaged in who these people are and see them as unique human beings, as opposed to types. But I think that’s true not just in horror–that’s true in every sort of storytelling. The first key element of telling a story that people care about is engaging them, making sure that they invest emotionally in the characters in the story. Because if you don’t have that, you don’t have anything.

    TFAW.com: So Dodge is the ghost or the demon form of teenager Lucas Caravaggio. What was Lucas like? Was he always evil, and was he ever actually a teenager?

    JH: In one sense, Dodge is the resurrection of Lucas Caravaggio. In another sense, he’s something quite a bit more, and quite a bit different. And we’re sort of revealing his true nature in the very first issue of Crown of Shadows.

    You know, I was a big X-Files fan. Loved the X-Files, and I loved the first couple of seasons of Lost, but I think one problem with ongoing series, one way they sometimes go bad is they keep piling on the mystery. They keep piling on the questions. And after awhile there’s too much mystery. They raise more questions than they could ever possibly hope to answer. And so one thing I’m committed to with Locke & Key is making sure that when I raise a question, I have an answer, instead of continuously heaping on mystery after mystery. In each arc, some of the major questions get answered, so hopefully when we come to the end of this thing, the very final page of the very final issue, it will be about tying up the story for a final emotional resolution, as opposed to cleaning up messes. That would be terrible. No one wants to be in that kind of situation.

    So in the very first issue of Crown of Shadows, one of the things that will be revealed is why Dodge is the way he is, and why he’s capable of such terrible things. Especially considering that once upon a time, Lucas Caravaggio was actually a heroic figure. Not a bad guy at all, but one of the best of the good guys, which is pretty strange to think about, considering how we met him and what he’s done since we’ve got to know him. In many ways, Dodge was as likable as Kinsey or Tyler.

    TFAW.com: Speaking of Kinsey, in Head Games, she literally removed her fear and her ability to cry from her brain. Would that essentially lead her down the same road that Lucas went?

    JH: I’m not gonna say anything about where Kinsey’s headed as a character, looking ahead. I will say that, one of the things that I think is important when you’re telling a fantasy story or a horror story, is that it’s more satisfying for readers if that element of fantasy somehow raises bigger questions about real life.

    So in the case of Kinsey losing her fear and her ability to cry, it’s an exaggerated look at what happens anyway to a lot of teenagers. At some point in high school, kids will often become very reckless, and develop a willingness to engage in very dangerous behavior, and take risks that they should probably know better about. So now we have that with Kinsey in exaggerated form, and it’s just an interesting way to look at a very common passage for most teenagers–a very common life passage.

    TFAW.com: Can you tell us more about the questions that will be answered in Crown of Shadows?

    JH: Let’s see. Well, we’re going to see a lot more of what makes Dodge tick. And we’re going to find out a little bit more about Sam Lesser. And we’re going to learn a little bit more about the Omega Key, which opens the black door. I don’t want to give it away–I want to avoid saying too much and telegraphing what we’re going to do. What I will say is there’s a big reveal on the last page of the last issue, and we’ll get an answer to one of the big questions that has been hanging around the story.

    TFAW.com: Can you tell us whether Sam is there as an agent of Dodge or if he has his own agenda?

    JH: Well, I’ll say this. When we first met Sam, Sam was being sort of manipulated by Dodge, and Sam is sort of a pathetic, frightening character, although I like to think it’s possible to have some sympathy for him, even though he’s committed terrible acts. But when we meet him again, his relationship with Dodge is going to be radically changed.

    TFAW.com: I’ve heard that Locke & Key is going to be six miniseries. Do you think it could continue past that, or is that the end?

    JH: Well, once I tell the story of Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, I’ll be done with that. That doesn’t necessarily mean there will never be any more Locke & Key stories, but I will have told the story I want to tell. It’s important to remember that when I started Locke & Key, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was still very green with this, I had only written three 11-page comic book stories, and when I did it, I had two notions. One was that it could be a continuing thing that would run somewhere between 36 and 48 issues. And I had a lot of the story plotted out. But I also wasn’t sure it would succeed–it could have tanked, or been a big bomb–so I also had a plan for six issues, and then if this thing had completely tanked, I had an escape hatch where I could finish the story in another six issues. And it wouldn’t have been very good, but it wouldn’t have been shameful, either.

    Fortunately the comic did well, it’s been well received, it’s continued to build its readership, so I get to do the daydream, and I get to explore these stories in a very full kind of way. It’s taken me a little bit of thinking to figure out how many issues it’s going to take to tell the story, but I don’t like it when things are stretched out. So it’s possible that the series could go as many as 48 issues, but I’m aiming for 36, and I think it’s possible. I think I can tell everything I need to tell in 36. We’re going to see, though.

    TFAW.com: What was it like switching from writing prose to scripting comics?

    JH: I find writing comic book scripts incredibly addictive. I think it’s because the comic book form really plays to my strengths as a writer, while sort of hiding my weaknesses. It allows me to play with big, weird concepts and to build stories around dialogue and action, and I don’t have to worry about the stuff that really makes me sweat, stuff I really fret over as a novelist and short story writer–the sound of my prose, and finding a balance between description and forward motion. Because comic books are all about forward motion. Every comic book has the gas pedal pushed to the floor. As a writer and as a reader, I love that.

    Another thing that attracted me to comics is I felt it would be an extension to something I had already figured out. I had already figured out how to write a pretty good short story, so I felt that comic books would offer me a chance to expand on that, maybe with a larger audience. I feel like the first really successful script I wrote was the first issue to Welcome to Lovecraft.

    TFAW.com: Do you think you will stick with horror in the future, or will you branch out to other genres?

    JH: I don’t know, exactly, that’s a hard one to answer. One thing is, because I do do other kinds of writing, I’ve always got a novel, I’ve always got a couple short stories I want to work on, so I try to strike a balance. I don’t think I’ll ever be carrying four or five comics at once. I’ve never been a guy who’s really hung up on cape stories. It’s been years and years since I followed the continuing adventures of super anything. I read a lot of comics–I generally read about a comic a day. But the comics I tend to read are Ed Brubaker’s Criminal and Darwyn Cooke’s Parker, Wormwood. It’s very rarely the superhero stuff. So I don’t know. But I love to write stories that have a big engine in them. I like to write stories that are suspenseful. I like the keep the gas pedal down, so I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll always write horror comics, but it’s important that there always be an element of suspense.

    TFAW.com: This interview is for horror month, and there’s been a big upswing in horror lately, in movies, and TV, and things like that. What are you attracted to in horror stories in general?

    JH: I like when there’s something fresh. I like going and seeing something new and unexpected. I think that what makes Zombieland such a blast of a film, is that the suspense and the action are tense and very well paced, but it also takes the audience in very startling and unexpected directions. I don’t need a rehash of something I’ve already had. So that’s one thing I look for.

    And you know, it returns us to where we started our conversation: I also look for a character I can latch into. If I really care about that main character, I will read almost anything. So Zombieland was great. The remake of The Last House on the Left was pretty awesome. It’s brilliant, and very upsetting. It was cool because no one called it in. No one treated it like they were making trash. They all acted like they were in a straight drama, and it made it much more intense. So that was good.

    In terms of what’s going on in comics, I like a lot of the crime stuff that’s going on right now. I really like what Ed Brubaker is doing. I think Criminal is great, and I liked Incognito a lot. He’s put together a great body of work.

    TFAW.com: Well, thanks so much Joe!

    JH: Bye!

    If you haven’t checked out Locke & Key yet, be sure to browse Welcome to Lovecraft and Head Games, and make sure to pre-order Crown of Shadows now to get 20% off!

    What’s your take on the horror genre? Any other questions we should have asked Joe Hill? Post them below!

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    Your Daily Horror: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter HC The First Death

    When New York Times-best-selling author Laurell K. Hamilton started collaborating with Marvel Comics to bring her wildly popular Anita Blake novels to comics, thousands of people couldn’t wait to see her sexy necromancer turned magical investigator–and assorted vampires and demons–revealed in full color. Now you can get Anita Blake Vampire Hunter HC The First Death, a new story delving into Anita’s early days, for just $17.99.

    Her fans have been asking for it; now, Laurell K. Hamilton delivers a look into Anita Blake’s past. Written by Laurell K. Hamilton herself, along with Jonathon Green, The First Death takes place almost a year before the events being chronicled in Guilty Pleasures. Witness the first meeting of Anita and Jean-Claude, Anita’s first time inside Guilty Pleasures, her first serial-killer case, and an early encounter with Edward. Prepare to be thrilled by this original story produced especially for comics!

    Go ahead and check out Anita Blake Vampire Hunter HC The First Death now, and make sure to visit our Horror Month page for more scary treats!

    Questions or comments? Post them below!

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