Bloody-Disgusting and Dark Horse Comics have teamed up again to offer fans the “Criminal Macabre” mini-story, “Call Me Monster”, online for free. The series leads right into the upcoming “Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein” mini-series that hits shops on September 25th.
“Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein” is the perfect jumping on point for new readers as it kicks off a brand new story-arc. While dealing with ghouls dying all around him and his own mysterious illness, occult detective Cal McDonald encounters the Frankenstein’s monster, who needs a new set of eyes.
Bloody-Disgusting sat down with legendary horror writer Steve Niles to get the inside scoop on what is going on with Criminal Macabre, the current status of a possible Criminal Macabre movie, his new monster Nazi-killing series “Breath of Bones” from Dark Horse, and his new book Chin Music over at Image Comics.
BD: Tell us a bit about the upcoming ‘Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein’ series you have coming up.
SN: Cal recently died and came back as one of the Ghouls, but since then he’s been very ill. This series with deal with that illness and in a way, it deals with Cal being a ghoul. The main story is about the Monster who comes to Cal for help. This is the intelligent, well spoken monster from the Shelley novel so when his eyes start to go, he needs them replaced.
BD: Dark Horse recently put together a motion comic for Criminal Macabre. What was it like to see your creation come to life in another medium and how involved were you in the project?
SN: I’ve seen some of my stories converted to motion-comics before but the one for Criminal Macabre was really good. I loved it. And it shows the first meeting of Cal and the Frankenstein Monster.
BD: Universal Pictures has optioned “Criminal Macabre as a feature film What can you tell us about that process so far and what stage it’s at?
SN: It’s no longer at Universal. I am working with Mike Richardson and Dark Horse Entertainment to find Cal a new home. Hopefully we’ll have some news soon.
BD: Tell us a bit about where the idea for ‘Breath of Bones’ originated from and how it came about?
SN: I’ve wanted to a Golem story for a long time but I never found the right tone until Breath of Bones. The golem is such a great monster and great legend, but like so many of the others it has roots in religion so I wanted to make sure I was respectful to that.
BD: The story is based around a giant clay monster that goes on a Nazi-killing spree. Was there any historical research done for this book or was it about creating your own twisted version of history to tell this story?
SN: I did a lot of research but I pulled back from a lot of it because I didn’t want this to be a historical comic. It covers what happened to a lot of villages and cities during the Nazi reign of terror. I wanted to capture that without getting bogged down my specific places and dates.
BD: Between ‘Breath of Bones’ and “THE EYES OF FRANKENSTEIN’ you seem to be working with classic horror movie monsters. What is it about those classic characters that you find such inspiration in?
SN: I think you just answered that one yourself. They are classic and they’ve lasted a long time. It’s fun to play with those characters.
BD: Tell us about your new book Chin Music with Tony Harris over at Image.
SN: Chin Music is a new creator-owned series I’m doing at Image with Tony Harris. It’s been doing well so I hope this means more books for me at Image.
BD: What was it about the Capone era of mobsters that inspired you to put a horror spin on it?
SN: Capone came after the idea actually. Tony and I knew we wanted to set this chapter in Prohibition Era Chicago but it won’t until later we discovered we could use real world characters.
BD: Is Chin Music this an ongoing book or a mini-series? Do you already have an ending in mind?
SN: It’s a mini right now but I would love it to turn into an ongoing. This first arc introduces us to Shaw and his world but the end of the arc shatters it.
BD: I’m interested to hear your take on the current state of the horror genre and where you think it’s at right now….
SN: Um…Seems a little quiet to me to be honest but horror always comes in waves and I am anxious for the next.
BD: Over your career you’ve amassed a large body of creator owned work in comics and been a big advocate for creator rights. There still seems to be this idea that you can’t earn a living doing solely creator owned work in comics. Why is that and why do you think that some of the bigger writers/artists at Marvel/DC don’t do more creator owned work?
SN: I can’t explain why somebody would choose to work for a corporation over working for themselves. I believe corporate culture is one of biggest problem we face in modern society. If we continue to dehumanize our business it can only lead to bad things. A world defined by quarterly profits instead of human need and growth will wind up hurting us all someday. I see it in action every day, really nice people fall into that world and quickly become corporate shills, backstabbing the people who helped get then there. It boggles me because very few creators has ever NOT been fucked by these companies. I want to say “I know you’re hot right now, but if they’ll fuck over Simon, Shuster, Kirby, Ditko and on and on, then what chance do you have?” More than anything creator-owned offers creators a chance to do what creators are supposed to do. Can’t think of a better reason than that.