Tim Seeley has made it his mission to explore the world of horror for the past decade. Seeley is best known for creating “Hack/Slash” and unleashing sexy horror vixen Cassie Hack into the comics world. In addition to “Hack/Slash”, Seeley is currently in the midst of writing a run on “Witchblade” for Top Cow and has just launched “Revival” through Image with studio partner Mike Norton (“Battle Pug”).
Never one to rest, Seeley is launching his new vampire series Ex Sanguine through Dark Horse this October. “Ex Sanguine” is the story of a vampire whose bloodlust reawakend by a series of gruesome serial killings in his town. “Ex Sanguine” promises hard-hitting psychological horror that is one part Buffy and one part Natural Born Killers.
Seeley sat down with Bloody-Disgusting to give us the gory details on his new horror book, his take on the vampire genre, and where things stand on the development of the “Hack/Slash” movie.
BD: Give us the lowdown on Ex Sanguine and what was the genesis for the series?
Seeley: Well, I’ve always been a vampire fan, so I’d been kicking around the notion of doing some kind of vampire comic sooner or later. I was at our local Drink-N-Draw with my studio mate, Josh Emmons, and we started complaining about what we saw as annoying and uninteresting about the current slate of pop vampire fiction. And, it wasn’t just the standard, “They sparkle!” stuff it was more about that the actual scary part of vampires had been completely eliminated. That, combined with another conversation we’d had about what a bummer it was that no one put sex in comics, led to Ex Sanguine which is hopefully as scary and sexy as we think vampire stories should be.
BD: You’ve stated that Ex Sanguine is your take on the vampire-romance genre, can you elaborate on that?
Seeley: Sure. I mean, the thing I think we’ve seen a lot of lately is the way vampires can be a stand in for this modern backlash against feminism by women. Edward is the eternally loyal guy who hovers over and restricts the freedom of his girl, able to draw her away from the real world, into a life of unlimited resources. it’s basically 1950s America’s version of the “dream.” This is more of a modern take on romance…post feminism, about the savagery of love, and the power of sex.
BD: There is gluttony of vampire books that have flooded the market since the mainstream success of things like “True Blood” and “Twilight”. How is Ex-Sanguine different and what makes it stand out?
Seeley: Well, our woman isn’t a push over. She’s not dull and whiny. She’s not just a victim. She’s turned the tables on her victimizers, but that’s also made her as much a monster as the vampire.
BD: The series revolves around a serial killer that uses the blood at the crime scene to create a work of art. How does the murder mystery/serial killer play into the overall book and how does it impact the key players in the book?
Seeley: Well, that’s the central crime drawing the characters together, but, we’ll see that no one in our story is a white knight. There’s no Van Helsing, there’s just people swirling around this murder mystery, and everyone has an angle. It’s as much a detective story as it is a vampire story.
What can you tell us about the relationship between Ashley and Saul and how does it propel the series?
Seeley: Well, Saul has gotten to a point on his long, vampire-unlife where nothing feels like much of anything anymore. He’s numb. But, Ashley is the opposite. She’s living to die, and every moment is intense, and meant to propagate her “legacy.” So, they find in each other something that I think a lot of us can relate to, an attraction to all the wrong things.
You are co-writing this five issue mini-series with Joshua Emmons. How Joshua come on board and what is it like working with someone collaborating on the writing side of things? is it more difficult with two creative minds or does it make it harder?
Seeley: Well, basically the story comes from the two of us, and the characters come from us jamming on it and talking it out. But, once we got beyond that initial discussion, Josh has been doing most, if not all the writing, with me just watching him go to town, and providing visuals. I have more familiarity with horror and its history than him, so I’ve been there providing context, but mostly, I’m the art maker, he’s the story maker. I think it works well that way and we don’t step on each other that way.
This is the first interiors you’ve drawn in a little while, what was it about the book that made it so compelling that you just had to draw it?
Seeley: I like drawing horror comics, as it lets me use a slightly looser style. This is more like my stuff on HALLOWEEN: NIGHT DANCE I think a little scratchy, a little chaotic. It’s not about perfect anatomy and detail. It’s about shadows and mood. I like drawing that way a lot. And, I always like drawing things that are “mine.” It’s easier to put my heart into it.
What was it about Dark Horse that made it the perfect home for this project when you’ve typically went through Image to publish other creator owned books like Hack/Slash and Revival?
Seeley: Well, in this case, Dark Horse asked us if we had any cool horror stuff kicking around. Editor Scott Allie and I always like working together, and he knew DH was making a big push to be the horror comics company with a new line. Josh and I had been tinkering with Ex Sanguine when Scott asked, so it was good timing.
BD: Many of the books that you a hand in creating deal with the supernatural or fall into the horror genre. What is it about that genre that keeps you coming back to it and continues to inspire you?
Seeley: I kind of came up on superheroes and horror at the same time. When I was a kid, I spent most of my time reading superhero comics, and then watching horror movies. So there’s are just the two I’m most attracted too, nostalgically. But, I feel like superheroes, at least at the moment are kinda dominated by Marvel and DC, and there’s just too much of it. So most of my worthwhile comic book ideas are horror. Part of it too, is just that I’m kind of warped I guess. As long as I get it all out in comics, I won’t be too creepy for anyone to hang out with me.
While you are working on Ex-Sanguine you are also still writing Hack/Slash, Revival and Witchblade. What can you tell us about those series and where are they headed in the next few months?
Seeley: Well we’re moving towards the end for Hack/Slash, and issues 20-25 are one big, very epic storyline called “FINAL.”
Revival will keep on being all creepy and mysterious with lots of good character stuff. Mike Norton draws a snow mobile chase scene in issue 5 which I totally love.
Witchblade is moving towards a cool crossover with the other Top Cow books, and I’m really excited about that. It’ll deal with some aspects of the “Rebirth” story.
Hack/Slash was optioned for a movie a while back, what can you tell us about the progress of a possible feature film?
Seeley: Your guess is as good as mine. I went into this whole thing not really understanding Hollywood, and seven years later, I’m even more fucking confused.
BD: Thanks for chatting with us Tim! Look for “Ex Sanguine” #1, which drops everywhere this October.