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INTERVIEW: Joe Casey Talks New Direction For Image’s ‘Haunt’!

When it was announced that co-creator/writer Robert Kirkman and artist Greg Capullo, would be leaving “HAUNT”, there was a lot of speculation as to who would come on board to fill their creative shoes. “HAUNT” is one of Image Comics best selling monthly titles and part of the series’ appeal had been the creative powerhouse of two of comic’s biggest names.

For co-creator Todd McFarlane, who publishes “HAUNT” under his Image imprint, it would have been an easy to replace Kirkman and Capullo with a carbon copy creative team and have the book continue to coast in the current direction. Not afraid to rock the boat and shake things up, McFarlane tapped writer Joe Casey (Godland, Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker) and artist Nathan Fox (Dark Reign: Zodiac, DMZ, Blue Estate) to give “HAUNT” a complete creative facelift starting with issue #19.

Bloody-Disgusting.com caught up with writer Joe Casey to discuss the new creative direction of Haunt and how he plans to give the character more of a horror vibe by mixing together buckets of bloody violence and artwork that can “scare the shit outta people”.

Image Comics has also given Bloody-Disgusting readers an exclusive 6-page preview of Haunt #19 after the jump.

haunt19 Big J “You are taking over one of the highest selling titles for Image Comics and taking over the book from what some would consider to be two of the biggest names in the industry in Robert Kirkman and Greg Capullo. Did you feel any pressure to fill their shoes creatively?”

Joe Casey “None whatsoever, other than the pressures I put on myself to make a good comic book. But, y’know, that’s always there on every issue of everything I do.”

Big J “Give us some insight into the pitch you sent Todd McFarlane to land the
job as the creative team?”

Joe Casey “No formal pitch we just had a track record that goes back more than a decade and a good conversation with Todd about what we could do with the book. There was lots of talk about the brothers and how they should interact, and the psychological component which will be a big part of the series going forward.”

Big J “The past few issues of Haunt have taken the series into a black opts/espionage direction mixed with bits of straight ahead superhero. How are you approaching the series different from what has come before?

Joe Casey “We’re de-emphasizing the espionage stuff for now and going more for a psychological horror vibe mixed in with lots of bloody violence. There has only been 18 issues put out so far, which is not a lot, so it’s not like the furniture’s nailed to the floor. Things are still new enough that we’re able to knock shit over when we feel it’s necessary to make the series better.”

Big J “Daniel and Kurt’s relationship in the series so far seems to be constantly evolving and there is a lot of turmoil from the past. Is the Daniel and Kurt’s past history something you plan on exploring in your run?

Joe Casey “What we’re doing with the brothers is more of a case of advancing them, based on their unique situation.  For the first 18 issues, there was a breakneck pace to the action that didn’t allow for much self-reflection. Just the fact that Kurt is a goddamned ghost is something that hasn’t been fully explored yet, from a psychological standpoint.  Being dead, but still hanging around the living, that’s gotta fuck with your head.  Not to mention the fact that he knows some things about their shared situation that Daniel doesn’t know.”

Big J “Where do characters like Amanda Kilgore (Kurt’s widow) and Mirage fit into the mix?

Joe Casey “We’ve got plans for both of them. One thing I can safely say is that women have an interesting place in this world. Kirkman and company set up some fun dynamics with these characters so we definitely plan on following through.”

Big J “The past couple issues of Haunt have been plagued by heavy shipping delays. How important is it for your upcoming run to ship on time?

Joe Casey “All I can say about that is that I’m currently writing issue #24.  That’s pretty far ahead these days, plus we’re slotting in fill-in art issues that will serve to expand the larger, overall story that Nathan and I are telling in pretty significant ways. John Lucas is already drawing the majority of #22, which is a disco nightmare flashback story.”

Big J “Stylistically Nathan Fox’s art is a drastic change from Capullo’s intricate line work. His style is very dark with a lot of heavy black inks. What was it about his art that made him the perfect fit for the series?

Joe Casey “Nathan’s art can scare the shit outta people.  That’s good enough for me.  It was a bold choice on Todd’s part to go with someone so far removed from his own style.  But this is a time in comic books to make bold statements.  Hedging our bets by going with a Todd clone or a Capullo clone is strictly a pussy move, and I don’t make pussy moves if I can help it.”

Big J “Why is now a good time for new readers to jump onto Haunt if their
currently not reading it?

Joe Casey “Not only is it a good time, it’s the perfect time.  In fact, there will never be a better time.”

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HAUNT #19 , Drops November 30 From Image (MSRP $2.99)