2011: The Year in Horror—Tim Seeley on “HATCHET/SLASH” and “WITCHBLADE”

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on Dec. 26, 2011

Now in stores, HACK/SLASH ANNUAL 2011: HATCHET/SLASH (Image Comics) pits the biggest stars in horror comics against the biggest star in indie horror. Cassie Hack and Vlad, from Hack/Slash Inc., unexpectedly find themselves crossing paths with HATCHET’s Victor Crowley and the slasher slayers are the only ones who can stop him. FANGORIA spoke with author and HACK/SLASH creator Tim Seeley about how he and HATCHET director Adam Green conceived the project, the significance of HACK/SLASH issue #10, and what readers should expect from his run on WITCHBLADE #151.

FANGORIA: How did you and Adam get together?

TIM SEELEY: The horror industry is not very big, obviously. So, he was friends with a couple of friends of mine. I had seen HATCHET and I really liked it. I met him at a couple of shows. He was the MC at a Troma Roast that we did. He was hilarious! I thought he was really funny. So, we kind of started talking about it. It didn’t occur to me like, “Oh my God! I can do a crossover with this. The guy owns it.” It’s so much easier than having to go through a studio and get permission from marketing people and all that stuff. I emailed him and said, “Can we make this happen?” He said, “Yes, it’s real easy. We can do this easily.”

He and I met at a bar in LA. We plotted out the story. We gave it to writer Benito Cereno to translate into a script for us because we were both busy. He was working on his TV show, HOLLISTON. I was busy with the HACK/SLASH stuff. I think we made the perfect combination of HATCHET and HACK/SLASH, which is going to be the kind of gory, sorta funny, sorta scary; the way that both properties are.

FANG: In the HACK/SLASH series, Cassie and Vlad have fought against Chucky, from CHILD’S PLAY, and Dr. Herbert West, from RE-ANIMATOR. What is it about Adam Green’s Victor Crowley that interested you?

SEELEY: I learned a lot. One of the things I wanted to do with HACK/SLASH was that we could crossover into existing horror properties. The world itself of HACK/SLASH allows for that so easily. The thing I learned with trying to do a crossover with Jason Voorhees or a Freddy Kruger, they’re owned by giant corporations with a lot of red tape, which is very difficult to make that happen. When I saw HATCHET, this is a classic style of slasher character, but it’s done by an independent guy. It’s not owned by a giant corporation. I thought the vibe of the stuff was exactly what we were going for; classic fun slasher film. They’re not overly gritty. They don’t take themselves extremely seriously. They’re scary, fun, and sexy. That’s what we were trying to do. I thought it was a perfect lineup.

FANG: You and Adam Green came up with the story, with Benito Cereno taking over writing duties. Was it easier for you to let someone else write the script? Or, do you become concerned that the protagonists will act out of character?

SEELEY: I actually knew Benito for quite a few years. And he writes THE TICK comic, which is one of my favorites. I actually chose someone I knew I could trust right off the bat. It’s how I try to do everything. Instead of ever having problems, just choose the right guy for the job. He knew the characters. I knew he would get the fun and scary. I basically sent him a rough idea that Adam and I came up with. He completely did it. I had no changes. We went right to art.

FANG: Artists Daniel Leister and Kyle Strahm have done their own interpretations of Cassie and Vlad. How does artist Ariel Zucker-Brull’s version differ from theirs?

SEELEY: Ariel comes from a fashion design background. His Cassie is really slender, feral, like a wild woman. He’s got a really cool style. I actually met him at New York Comic Con last year. He was showing his portfolio around. I was looking over someone else’s shoulder, and I thought, “Oh my God! This guy’s perfect for something.” It’s an awesome job! His Cassie and Vlad are impressive, but his Victor Crowley is amazing. He really gets the crazy big monstrous savage face on him. It looks really good.

FANG: On December 7th, HACK/SLASH entered issue #10, representing a decade’s worth of issues. Tell me about the significance of these ten issues to you.

SEELEY: It’s weird. When we did the first series, we got up to issue #32 before we moved publishers. At this point, every time we do the book, we’re still here. Every month is significant I think. It’s gotta be that way. It used to be, “Oh my God! We made it to 20 issues! That’s huge!” I know how comics is such a tough business, especially doing a horror comic. Every issue is a milestone to us. At issue #25, I’ll have done basically 70/80-something HACK/SLASH comics, which is a longer run than a lot of independent books; so, I’ll feel really good about it.

FANG: Tell me what interests you about Sara Pezzini from WITCHBLADE.

SEELEY: WITCHBLADE came out when I was in high school. It was the perfect time for me, because I wasin high school and very interested in scantily-clad women. It was a really well-drawn book by Michael Turner. I picked up the book when it first came out. Then, I read it for awhile. As I got older, I started discovering college comics, indie stuff. I dropped all my books, my Marvel stuff and everything, but I came back to WITCHBLADE when Ron Marz started writing it. I know he is a really good writer, and I was really anxious to see what he had done. I actually enjoyed his run on the book. Getting a chance to follow him up as a writer is kind of intimidating. It’s also the first time I’ve done on a book where I’m coming to an existing run. I’ve done a lot of writing for different people, but it’s like a mini-series or starting a series from issue #1. So, this is me learning what most comic book writers do; drop into a book that someone else already established and issues exists. I’m really using Ron Marz’s approach as a jumping off point. It won’t be too far from what fans are already enjoying. It’ll be pretty close, but with a little twist, the way I do things.

FANG: What should readers expect with WITCHBLADE after issue #151?

SEELEY: It’ll be much keeping in tone with the character. But there are some things that happen because of the ARTIFACTS crossover. It will change fundamentally a lot of things about the character’s world. It’ll be a starting point, adding some new and exciting stuff for existing readers, and giving a nice, fresh jumping-off point for new readers. If we have done our job, it will be in line with what I think WITCHBLADE should be and what Top Cow wants it to be. It’ll basically be the same series, detective/police work, same take on the supernatural, and a new status quo for Sarah.

FANG: What are you working on now?

SEELEY: I just finished up some stuff from Marvel, drawing some SPIDER-MAN, writing WITCHHBLADE, and some HACK/SLASH stuff. I’m working on the old Extreme comics title, BLOODSTRIKE, which was a Rob Liefeld created book. It’s about a team of superheroes killed and brought back to life as zombie soldiers. We’re relaunching that. I’m writing it and an artist by the name of Francesco Gaston is drawing it. It’s black humor, science fiction, military, superhero book, in the vein of what Liefeld originally had. I’m pretty psyched about it. It’s that weird thing that people have a certain view of books from the 90s. There were some great ideas in those books, even if not all those books were great. They’re so full of crazy, original ideas.

FANG: How can readers find out more about your work?

SEELEY: I’m all over internet. I’m on Twitter at @HackinTimSeeley, my website is Tim Seeley Art, on deviantART, and Facebook. I have a hosted forum for HACK/SLASH at CBR, the Image section. I can be emailed at
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BLOODSTRIKE will be out in stores summer 2012.