Shawn give the dirt on writing horror comics and we discuss the annoying trend of bad Hollywood remakes…
I’ve read a ton of your stuff, Shawn, and I have to say… you’re a pretty twisted guy! I have to ask…what scares you?
Spiders and Snow. So living in Pennsylvania, I get plenty of both.
Working in horror comics presents its own sets of challenges, I’m sure. How do you keep suspense moving from panel to panel?
Personally, silent panels work great. If a panel doesn’t have any words (or just a few quick ones) you’re more likely to take a better look at the art, which slows you down. Couple that with some strong facial expressions or creepy scenery, and that slows your flow down even more. So I can try my best to write for suspense, but a lot of it comes down to the artists translating it to the page… which Steph has done an amazing job of with Victor Season and Palm Reader!
You and your wife (Stephanie) make a pretty great creative team. Do you guys ever argue over the comic work like, well, a married couple?
Can I plead the fifth on this one? Actually, only when I see an error AFTER she’s finished a page. And as a good husband, I take full responsibility for all errors.
Horror is such a vast genre. Is there any subject matter that you’re itching to sink your teeth into? Why?
Nicely phrased, because I’m actually working on a real nasty vampire story. I’ve always loved vampires, but they’ve gotten so over-sexualized and spoofed lately that there is really nothing scary left to them. So I want to do a story that takes them back to what they are supposed to be: brutal, violent, bloodthirsty creatures of the night… that don’t sparkle. Ever.
It seems that the new flavor in Hollywood is to remake classic horror films. Is there any particular film that you’d like to see remade?
I’m kind of a purist when it comes to my horror flicks. Not to say I haven’t enjoyed some of the recent remakes, I just think it’s lazy. But I could see a remake of “Basket Case” working. I love the movie, but I think it suffered from the poor acting and poor effects, so I could get behind remaking it. I think it’d have potential to be a really creepy flick, if done right.
Any stinkers that you wish hadn’t been made?
The new Prom Night was just bad. I think the main thing that I don’t like is when they take what made the movies memorable, and pitch it. Texas Chainsaw? Let’s forget the creepy man-child cross dressing Leatherface, let’s make him fast and angry! Friday the 13th? Forget slow and methodical… let’s make him fast and angry too! Halloween? Forget the boogieman who starts killing for no apparent reason, let’s make him a troubled youth from a screwed up home… who’s fast and angry! There’s nothing unique to any of them. I don’t think Hollywood has faith in the attention span of newer generations, so we lose the creepy atmospheric horror in exchange for repetitive jump scares. I could go on for hours on this topic, so it’d probably be best to just move on…
Geek out time. Favorite Slasher?
Freddy Krueger all the way. For most slashers, dead teens = a good day. But Freddy likes to play with you first. That’s a whole different level of creepy. Gotta respect someone who takes joy in their work… regardless of what their work is.
Favorite Movie Monster?
I’d have to go with the Gremlins. They have these silly rules (don’t get them wet, don’t feed after midnight, etc.) that you have to follow. And if you don’t… well those green gremlins are some nasty little critters. I could have some fun writing a Gremlins comic…
Stephen King or Clive Barker? Stephen King.
My mom was a huge Stephen King fan, so I was basically raised on King stories.
All right, let’s get back to comics. I know you’ve been working steadily on your “2 Page Gory Story” anthology series, Short Stack with a ton of creative artists. Not to alienate anyone, but do you have a favorite in the group? Okay, pick three!
That’s a tough question. In the five issues that are out, I’ve worked with 52 different artists on 65 stories… so choosing three is tough. All the artists I’ve worked with have been amazing. Viewing it as which worked the best (story, art and how well the two came together), let’s say Daniel Logan with “InsurOnce Upon A Time”, Dave Acosta with “The Duel”, Mario Cau with “Home Late” and Kathryn Layno with “Atonement”. Yeah… that’s four, I know. But this is just too tough! I mean, all four of those artists exceeded what I set out for with those stories, so I need to give them their dues. That was stressful… I need to go lay down.
I know we had a hell of a time at the last Super Show, but what are you looking forward to the most at CGSSS 2010?
Definitely getting to see everyone again. I’ve seen scattered people here and there through the past year, but it’s great to see everyone at once. The vibe is just so great.
For more information on all of Shawn’s work, visit http://www.angrygnomecomics.com/ and come back soon for more interviews, including talks with Kevin Freeman, Zack Kruse, and Jamie Fickes!