Horror anthologies are not what they used to be in the world of comics. Magazines like “Creepy” and “Tale from the Crypt” were once a major part of the industry, only to fall by the wayside, making room for less “offensive” stories. Thankfully we have people like Rachel Deering in the comics industry today. The writer/editor set out on a mission to create a kick ass horror anthology, wrangling up some of the biggest talents in comics today (seriously, just check the list). The result is a 250 page over-sized anthology, aptly titled “In the Dark”, which is currently live on Kickstarter.
The lineup of talent is just nuts, and every story in the book looks to be filled with horrific passion. Rachel Deering took the time to chat with Bloody-disgusting about “In the Dark” and her love for horror.
BD: Before we get deep into the horror, give the readers the pitch for In The Dark.
Rachel Deering: Totally. Fucking. Awesome. The book is an absolute dream come true for me. It’s a massive 250 page, oversized, full-color, hardbound collection of horror stories from some of the biggest creators in comics and prose.
BD: There are not a lot of horror anthologies in comics nowadays, why did you decide to launch In The Dark now? Has this been a long time coming?
RD: It actually started as a joke on twitter. A few creators knew about my love of horror and my desire to edit a horror anthology, so they prodded me to put one together and let them write/draw something for it, so I took it seriously, stepped up and took the challenge. I have always wanted to put together the “ultimate horror anthology”, and those tweets were just the spark I needed.
BD: You mention that the old horror magazines like Creepy and Eerie are the inspiration for In The Dark. What is it about them do you love so much? What elements do you try to capture from those magazines?
RD: There’s nothing I don’t love about those old Warren magazines. I always loved that they were larger, so the art stood out more. I loved the over-the-top storytelling and dramatic dialogue. I loved the black and white artwork, especially any story from Bernie Wrightson. I absolutely adored Uncle Creepy’s pun-laden intros and outros. I could gush for days about those books. The only elements I really try and carry through from those books to In The Dark is the amazing storytelling and artwork and the oversize format. I don’t have a horror host type character in this book, and all of the artwork is full color.
BD: Horror seems to be making a comeback in comics after having been dead for so many years. Why do you think there’s been a surge in interest? How do you feel about the current state of the genre?
RD: Horror comics never died for me, personally, because my heart and mind were stuck in the 70s. I read and re-read my favorite old horror comics even when I “got out” of comics and sold my collection of more mainstream books. When I “came back” to comics, things had already ramped up for horror again. I’m don’t know who to officially thank for that, but for me, it was Mike Mignola, Scott Snyder, and Joe Hill who brought me back. As for the current state of horror in comics, well, it’s not the 50s, 60s, or 70s, but things aren’t looking so bad. Not a lot of my particular flavor of horror on the shelves, but as long as the kids are getting what they want, and the shops are making their money, I guess I’m happy.
BD: The list of creators involved in the project is just insane. How did you rope all these people into the project? How did you choose who would get to tell their tale of terror?
RD: I asked them! I am personal friends with most of the contributors, so it was as simple as sending them an email, telling them what I was doing, and asking if they’d be interested in participating. There are a few people on the book who were recruited by folks I brought on. They were a sort of “Hey, you know who would be GREAT for the book?” kind of thing. It all came together very easily, thank goodness. As for the selection process, well, I just asked the people who I believed would tell the best or most interesting horror stories. I wanted each creator to give me THEIR version of horror, so I tried to be kind of diverse in my choices, from the no-brainer horror folks to the “Wow, I never would have expected them to write a horror story” types.
BD: Is there a specific theme that ties the stories together?
RD: Nope. Not unless you count “horror.” I really just wanted to leave things open for my writers so that I could get each individual’s interpretation of what horror is to them. I wanted to have something in this book to scare just about anyone. If a second volume becomes a reality, I might go with a theme. We’ll see.
BD: And you have Scott Snyder writing the introduction? That’s pretty rad.
RD: That’s SUPER rad! Especially consider the fact that Scott was one of the dudes who brought me back to comics a few years ago. I have James Tynion IV to thank for bringing Scott into the fold.
BD: You’ve been a horror fan for most of your life. How were you first introduced to horror? What about the genre appeals to you? Why horror comics specifically?
RD: Yeah, since I was eight years old, actually. My weird old uncle gave me this stack of ragged magazines and told me to read them. Creepy, Eerie, and Savage Sword of Conan, that type of stuff. After I read those things, cover to cover, I was totally hooked. Nothing gave me the same type of feelings that horror did. I was addicted to the feeling of being scared. I guess it’s the same type of thrill that people get when they jump out of planes or drive really fast, but…safer.
Horror comics are, to me, the perfect medium for horror. At least the type of horror I enjoy. The reader controls the pace of the story, and tailors it to their own tastes. There is something wonderful about the dread you feel when you know you have to turn the page and face the horrors on the other side. You can build up so much tension that way, and it’s an absolute thrill. If you’re watching a horror movie, you don’t get that. You’re get the scare when the movie says you get the scare.
BD: Anything else you want our readers to know about In The Dark?
RD: I’m working my ass off to make sure that this book is a must-have for any horror fan’s collection. Not only will it feature over 20 all-new, original stories, but I’ve got a comprehensive history of horror comics feature lined up for the book as well. I want this thing to be more than a comic. I want it to be a full-on horror experience!
BD: Thanks, Rachel! I’m really looking forward to reading In The Dark.
RD: Thanks! So am I! Get out there and pick up a copy from the kickstarter, so we can make this book a reality!