After years of being entangled in legal red-tape, the Chaos Comics cast of characters are finally making their return to the printed page in a new 6-issue mini-series “Chaos!” by Tim Seeley and artist Mirka Andolfo. Dynamite Entertainment has given the creative duo with the herculean task of resurrecting fan favorite characters “Evil Ernie”, “Chastity”, “Purgatory”, and “The Omen”. The characters are definitely in good hands, as writer Tim Seeley has a proven track record of success within the horror world with his work on “Revival” and “Hack/Slash”.
Tim Seeley took a few minutes to talk to Bloody-Disgusting about the hurdles he faces bringing back these iconic characters, and his passion for the Chaos characters. Seeley also talks about his upcoming projects from Dark Horse, including all the gory details on his new creator-owned series “Sundowners”.
Bloody-Disgusting: Tell us about your pitch to Dynamite Comics on why you should be the writer for this series. What do you think it was about your pitch that got you the gig?
Tim Seeley: I basically just said I was going to start off with the end of the world first. I guess what probably got me the gig is the ten years of writing “Hack/Slash”, and the two years of writing “Revival”, and the covers I drew for “Evil Ernie”. I’m kind of a horror guy, and I’ve kind floated around doing pretty CHAOS-esque stuff for awhile!
BD: Were you always a fan of the Chaos characters during their original run?
TS: I read the earliest stuff religiously. I bought the first “Evil Ernie” series off the rack, and followed that through the first several years of Chaos Comics. I think I started to drop off when they did the big ‘Armageddon’ crossover, and I just got confused on which thing I was supposed to read when. But, I was there for the “Black Label” stuff, and I used that story to set up my “Hack/Slash” crossover with Ernie.
BD: Personally, I think the biggest obstacle for any team in bringing back these characters is recapturing the tone and voice of the original series. Are you updating the characters for modern day or is it about staying faithful to the original characters in this new series?
TS: They’re all mildly updated. The original stuff, as cool as unique as it is certainly of an era, and in this case, it’s pretty firmly the 90s heavy metal era’. I kept their personalities and origins almost 100% intact, but just dusted off some of the big hair and ripped jeans aspects.
BD: Is there any pressure for the new series to stand up to the original?
TS: Yeah, for sure. Fortunately, most every gig someone can take in comics is full of pressure to either stay true to something beloved, or make something new that people care as much about as things they already have, so I’m pretty used to it.
BD: On this series you are working with Mirka Andolfo, who has a very unique style. How did you two hook up for this series and what made her the perfect artist to bring this dark world to life?
TS: I headhunted Ms. Andolfo off of the internet actually. One of my hobbies is to search for new and talented artists with unique styles, and I’ve had Mirka in my back pocket for a while, waiting for the perfect gig. I felt like she would bring something to the Chaos character that we’d never seen…a slightly more fantastical, cartoonier aspect that would really sell the mayhem and sexiness without looking too much like every superhero comic on the rack. The artists who originally worked on the Chaos! books went on to pretty much draw every DC and Marvel book, so it was important for me to go a different direction, closer to Stephen Hughes, the original ”Evil Ernie” artist.
BD: Dynamite attempted to re-launch the characters last year with a new “Evil Ernie” series by Jesse Blaze Snider, but the book was plagued by lengthy shipping delays. Will this new series incorporate any of the Jesse Blaze Snider run and how far ahead are you on the book?
TS: This book follows Jesse’s mini-series. That said, you won’t need to read it to understand this, but I think it logically flows from the events of that series. I finished writing this series a few months ago already, and Mirka is drawing issue 3. We should be done, entirely with the six issues by the time the first ships.
BD: This series is set to feature some of classic characters from Chaos Comics, can you tell us how you managed to get all these characters together for one story?
TS: Well, that was the toughest part really, but to me, this was about introducing the whole universe of characters. The thing that brings them all together is a vision of the future; an apocalyptic vision. But, since this is a universe of monsters and anti-heroes, this vision doesn’t cause them to immediately team up to stop the threat. It causes them to scheme and backstab and fight!
BD: For many of these characters this will be the first time they’ve appeared in comics in over a decade, is this a fresh start or will there be a re-telling of some of these characters origin stories?
TS: It’s a no-continuity reboot basically for all of them save Ernie; all new and fresh. That said, I didn’t go out of my way to change and update their origins, just the world they live in and how they now interact with each other.
BD: Have you heard any feedback on the book some the original CHAOS creator, Brian Pulido?
TS: I haven’t. Understandably, the loss of his company is a bit of a painful spot for the guy, and I would never want him to have to relive it if he didn’t want to. But, I’m obviously a big fan of his work, and I’ve known him for years, so I hope he’ll know I went into this with nothing but love.
BD: Can you tell us a little bit about the upcoming “Chew” crossover with “Revival”? It seems like a very odd pairing of titles to have a crossover….
TS: It is odd, and also awesome. Mike Norton and I are old buddies with John Layman, and when he pitched it at us, it only took us a few months of thinking it over to say yes. I think what we came up with is a great way to introduce new and old readers to each of the worlds our series take place in.
BD: Tell us a little bit about your one-shot from Dark Horse “Jack Kraken”…
TS: It’s actually a King-sized one-shot, rather than a mini-series. But, “Jack Kraken” is an action/sci-fi series about a mysterious guy who works for “HUMANOID INTERACTION MANAGEMENT” (H.I.M), tasked with dealing with incursions between non-human humanoids and humans, as well as between each other. In Jack’s world, humans aren’t the only humanoid entities on Earth, and we get to use that conceit to tell stories about the tribal nature of humanity, racism, classicism and, of course, big explosions, and cool fights. The tagline is “Someone’s got to keep the mermaids and Bigfoot’s from killing each other.”
BD: You have a new creator owned ongoing coming up from Dark Horse called “Sundowners” what can you tell us about the book? I read that real life superheroes helped inspire the concept…
TS: “Sundowners” begins as a story about a support group that helps people compelled to dress up and fight evil as “real life superheroes” and at some point takes a weird twist on horror territory. It was totally inspired by the wave of “real life superheroes,” people like Phoenix Jones, who’ve been inspired by the characters in comic books, and the way the world reacts by instantly assuming that these people are nuts.
BD: What can you tell us about the characters that make up “Sundowners” support group and the crooked psychiatrist Dr. Shrejic that runs it?
TS: The main cast is made up of four “superheroes” and their “doctor,” Dr. David “Shreds” Shrejic. ‘The Concerned Citizen’ is a vigilante who believes crime is connected to a vast conspiracy to overtake the world. ‘Crowlita’ is a go-go dancer and former drug addict who hates people, but can’t help but try to protect them. ‘Arcanika’ is a sweet religious woman who believes doing evil helps her gain power to do good. ‘Karl Volf’ is a sixty-five year old stroke victim whom has vivid memories of fighting demons and monster, but he can’t tell anyone about them, because he can no longer speak. And Dr. Shreds…he’s got a lot to answer for, and he thinks he’s sitting on the perfect headline to put him back on the spotlight.
BD: You described the series as “They Live” meets “Kick Ass”. Is it safe to say that “Sundowners” are ready to chew bubblegum and kick ass?
TS: Chew Ass and Kick Bubblegum!
BD: The few pages of art by Jim Terry that have been released from “Sundowners” so far really give it an old-school EC Comics kind of vibe. Did you have a specific vision for how you wanted the series to look with the art and color?
TS: I did. I tend to be that guy when it comes to my creator owned book, envisioning them from the cover art to the style of the lettering. Jim Terry has the style I wanted to see this book done in.
BD: You have “Revival” over at Image Comics and “Sundowners” at Dark Horse. What was it about this series that dictated you publish it with Dark Horse verses Image or someone else?
TS: Well, there were a few factors. I think both Image and Dark Horse are great companies. But, with “Sundowners”, I really wanted to work with my friends Scott Allie and Daniel Chabon. So that was a bonus. I also think Dark Horse has a fan base for this kind of story…action/horror stuff in the vein of “Hellboy”. They’re great at dark superhero/horror stuff, and I wanted to have editors to tell me when I’m wrong, and to pick up some of the management of a title, which can take as much time as writing it.
BD: You’ve said that “Sundowners” is an ongoing title, but is there a definite end plan in mind as you head into the series or is it open ended?
TS: This one’s a little more open-ended. “Revival” is so intensely plotted and intimate, I wanted to do something flexible and vast. “Sundowners” is that kind of comic book!
BD: What other projects are you currently working on or have coming down the pipeline?
TS: I’m writing “Batman Eternal” for DC Comics, and a few other cool little things. Taken altogether, I will likely flame out spectacularly quite soon. So, enjoy it all now!