Image Comics’ newest cryptid adventure, Hoax Hunters, is taking the comic world by storm. Written by Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley, with beautiful artwork from Axel Medellin, this is a one of a kind tale that combines our culture’s obsession with monsters and myth with cheesy reality TV. The book follows a team of paranormal researchers who venture out into the far reaches of the world in order to deal with urban legends, monsters, zombie townsfolk, and more. This tongue in cheek series is just getting under way, but there’s already a lot of buzz surrounding “Hoax Hunters”.
Writer Michael Moreci gave Bloody-disgusting an exclusive in-depth look behind the scenes of “Hoax Hunters” #2 including, pages of script, penciled colored artwork, sketches, and a running commentary on the collaborative creative process. If you have any ambition to work in the comics industry some day, you don’t want to miss this. Make sure you open the images in a new tab for full resolution.
Issue #2 hits the ground running. We get to see the carnival ringleader, Clive, right away, something that I know will satisfy a lot of readers. Of the teases Steve and I stuck in issue #1, the carnival was the one readers most responded to.
Speaking of teases, we wanted the first page to be a fractured glimpse of the bigger picture. In a way, that’s representative of our writing style—we give pieces of the larger whole and put them together over time. Here, of course, it’s a far more compressed example.
The teasing of certain images—the skull staff, Clive’s menacing grin, the brainwashed local—is also a method to illicit suspense. What are these images? What do they mean? Those are questions we want to evoke.
In terms of art, I love looking at Axel’s pencils. We work in tandem with the art process; Axel shares with us his thumbnails, pencils, inks, then colors, so Steve and I are there every step of the way. Currently, we’re about 60 pages in with Axel’s art, and we’ve never had to ask for a change. Axel interprets our scripts perfectly, and the precision in his art is astounding. It makes my job so much easier. I supply Axel with full scripts but, still, there’s always room for my differing interpretations—not with Axel, though.
And now things come together, but there is still something building—we see the energy opening behind Clive, getting bigger and bigger.
As for Clive, this is a great introduction to his character. We wanted him to be this classic huckster, someone’s whose power is in his manipulation of words and language (both of which, will find, is very important in the Hoax Hunters universe—hint, hint). We see him here as a minister of sorts, preaching to his flock. I’m reminded of imagery of Brother Justin from Carnivale, and his determined will.
Next to Clive is Etienne, a bokor. Voodoo exists in various degrees in New Orleans—we, of course, took our liberties for the sake of the story.
What I love about this page is the scope—everything is very grand. Axel accomplishes such amazing scale, from Clive’s oration and gestures to the full bleed page. Steve and I are always impressed by the subtle layers of story Axel constantly adds with his art. He’s truly amazing.
One of the big reasons why I think Axel and I work so well together is that we’re both very controlled in what we do. There’s a certain meticulousness in our work; neither one of us is very flashy. My scripts are efforts of pinpoint exactness and consistency, and I get the same feel from Axel’s art.
And here we have it, the swirling energy revealing…something. Sorry, can’t say what! But it is revealed in this issue. As Chekov said, “if you show a rifle in act one, it must be fired by act three.” But, whatever it is that’s revealed certainly has an effect on the locals…
Thumbs and Sketches:
Thumbs: As you can tell by comparing the thumbnails to the finished pages, Axel doesn’t need to make many changes from one stage to another. His storytelling is so crisp that he gets it right on the first attempt, which is one of the reasons why he’s so prolific. Efficiency is key.
Sketches:Here’s a couple of sketches of the two new characters introduced in this issue, Clive and Etienne. As you can see in the script, Axel got their look and feel down pretty easily, especially Clive. Reading issue #2, you can really sense how much Axel enjoys bringing this character to life.
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