Hack/Slash: Euthanized (Tim Seeley, Stefano Caselli)
Slashers. You know the genre....some masked nut case chases down and creatively murders a group of attractive teenagers with poor decision making skills, who have unleashed the killer's repressed psychosexual anger. These movies are associated with popcorn fun. They're low brow entertainment to take a hot date too.
But for Cassie Hack, this ain't no popcorn movie. Cassie, the daughter of the notorious Slasher, the Lunch Lady, travels the world with her monstrous partner, Vlad, hunting and destroying Slashers where ever they may be, whatever form they may take. But Cassie may have met her match. The residents of the small town of Eminence, Indiana are becoming victims, one-by-one, of a viscous undead killer and his army of zombie pets. Cassie and Vlad will have to wade, hip deep, through undead hamsters, cats, and dogs to save a beautiful veterinarian from a monster that makes all those "popcorn" Slashers look like Mother Teresa.
"She is the daughter of an undead slasher called the Lunch Lady, right out of your favorite horror flick. She was forced to kill her undead mom, a second time, and feels obliged to travel the country in search of other slashers. If a bunch of teenagers turn up dead in a single area under mysterious circumstances, you can bet Cassie, and her large, ugly brute of a friend, Vlad, won't be far behind looking for the supernatural menace responsible for it all. In the first one-shot, Cassie and Vlad go up against a cross between Jason from 'Friday the 13th' and the horrors of 'Pet Cemetery.'"

Hack-Slash creator Tim Seeley

By Daniel Robert Epstein

Walking through the racks of your local comic book store you might spot Hack/Slash and think that it’s just another horror comic. But if you read it you’ll find that it’s one of the more inventive and clever books out there on the shelf. It’s only been around for a short time so it has yet to reach the symbolic heights of a book like The Walking Dead, but give it time.

Hack/Slash tells the stories of Cassie Hack and her indomitable partner Vlad. They hunt a certain kind of killer, serial killers that have come back from the dead and have now become slashers. Cassie learned her trade as the daughter of a slasher, The Lunch Lady. The new trade paperback of Hack/Slash collects the first three specials of Hack/Slash and contains appearances by Goth icon Messy Stench, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and 30 Days of Night co-creator Steve Niles. Also they all get killed!

Check out the official site for Hack/Slash


Daniel Robert Epstein: How was the San Diego Comicon for you?
Tim Seeley: It was really fun. You get home and you’re like “Oh my God! I have seen so many things.” So many dorky things.

DRE:
Did a lot of people stop by your booth?

TS:
Yeah definitely. This is the first year people were actually like, “Oh it’s Hack/Slash guy.” Finally it wasn’t like “hey there is the GI Joe guy.”

DRE:
What issues of GI Joe did you draw?

TS:
I drew issues 24 to 43. Now I am drawing the Dark Elf Trilogy which is a Forgotten Realms thing. Then in my in-between time I am trying to squeeze in some writing. I am going to be one those pain in the ass guys that does both.

DRE:
What’s funny is that you don’t draw the book you created.

TS:
After you draw all day as a staff artist you get home and you’re like “Fuck this.”

DRE:
What does staff artist mean exactly?

TS:
Basically I am here to do one book a month and then when anything needs fixing or emergency stuff I am here to change artist’s work and piss them off.

DRE:
I used to go to Messy Stench’s website before I found SuicideGirls and you included her as a character in one of your books, do you know her?

TS:
Yeah, she is a pretty good friend of mine. Actually she used to live here and actually met her through a personal ad. We emailed back and forth just as friends. Right away we hit it off pretty good. That was great. I love that girl.

DRE:
Did she have to sign anything to be in your book?

TS:
No, I was like “Hey if I make a lot of money out of this book I will pay you.” She was really like excited do it because she always wanted to be a comic book character. We’ve talked about doing a comic book called Meet Messy Stench. But it just never came together because we could never find anybody to publish it. It was just too raw and disgusting. This was a chance for me put her in a book. She fit in real well with Robert Kirkman, Steve Niles and Skottie Young.

DRE:
How do you know Robert Kirkman?

TS:
We go back years from when we were in the trenches of indie comic books. Kirkman was the guy that got famous the fastest and he was gracious enough to let me kill him, which I appreciate it quite a lot.

DRE:
I really like Hack/Slash but it seems more like a movie idea than a comic book.

TS:
Yeah definitely. I obviously watch a lot of movies. I am a big dork but it's never been something I wanted to work in necessarily. I came up with a good movie but I wanted to do it as a comic book first. I think every comic book creator at certain point says they have to make something that can be a movie some day with action figures, lunchboxes and the whole deal. It’s like your version of buying real estate because you are a nerd and you can't do anything mathematically or financially except for making shit up. So I think this was my investment idea, because I knew I could sell it someday. I am going to sell out. I admit it.

DRE:
At least you are willing to admit it, unlike like a lot of other people.

TS:
Yeah I mean there are definitely things I come up that won't be a movie in a million fucking years and I am good with that you. But you have to be mercenary about certain things.

DRE:
How long you have been a SuicideGirls member?

TS:
It was a Christmas present from another comic book artist last year.

DRE:
It's great, isn’t it?

TS:
Yeah man, it's a distraction everyday from work. Like I should be drawing but then I’m like “hey what did Stormy write today?”

DRE:
Do you use read SuicideGirls’ journals to come up with stuff for Cassie?

TS:
Yes, if I need Cassie to have some new funky clothes I can just go on SuicideGirls and pick and choose what I want her to wear.

DRE:
Which girls?

TS:
I think Stormy is the penultimate SuicideGirl. I’ve talked to her and she appeared in Hack/Slash versus Evil Ernie. As far as attitude, Claudia is so bad ass.

DRE:
How many issues of Hack/Slash have come out?

TS:
There were three issues, Girls Gone Dead. Euthanized and Comic Book Carnage, which are collected in the trade paperback. The fourth one is with Evil Ernie which won’t be in the trade. The trade does have some additional material like an eight page Christmas story which is illustrated like a children’s book.

DRE:
Who owns Evil Ernie now?

TS:
There is whole bunch of cumulated history too but Chaos Comics under Brian Pulido went under and all the properties went up for sale. They were bought by a company called Tales of Wonder. I had said in an interview that someday I would like to have Cassie and Vlad fight Evil Ernie. So the people that owned it got a hold of me and said “Hey we like this idea too.” So I met up with them at last year’s San Diego Comicon and our talks led to them wanting to bring back the entire Chaos line through Devil’s Due

DRE:
Did Brian Pulido work with you on the book?

TS:
I asked Brian to write it with me but he’s distanced himself from the characters since he lost the rights. For myself I spent two weeks just reading Evil Ernie everyday.

DRE:
How was it writing Ernie?

TS:
Oh man it was a blast. When you write a character like Ernie, you are digging back into your teenage years. Ernie is that sort of just fuck the world, don’t give a damn. I fucking loved it.

DRE:
Could Hack/Slash ever become a deeper book or you?

TS:
Oh I think eventually. Right now Hack/Slash is an experiment for us because we first did it as just a 48 page one shot. Now we are going to try and do a three issue mini series called “Land of Lost Toys” that starts in November. We’ll see how that goes.

DRE:
With Hack/Slash, what came first the concept or the characters?

TS:
Definitely the concept. We had a marathon of slasher movies right before Halloween. After watching those movies my brain was like mush because they are so brilliant. I was taking a bath and I thought, why isn’t there some girl that kills slashers.

DRE:
Will the next miniseries go into Vlad’s origin?

TS:
I think people might be not as interested if actually know it exactly. So I will drag it out as long as I can. You always get hints in the stories. I figure if I give you like two or three hints every issue people can put it together.

DRE:
Do you want to do more crossovers like Hack/Slash versus Jason?

TS:
Yes, I actually talked to them about doing that. It seems that the legal stuff is too much. So it really won’t happen that way. At some point I want to do Hack/Slash and The Crow. The Crow is a good slasher. The guy comes back from the dead and. It’s essentially the slasher formula applied to a sympathetic character. So I’d love to do that.

DRE:
How is Hack/Slash doing in Hollywood?

TS:
At San Diego I met with the new director that they lined up at. I think it has the best chance now than it’s ever had. I can’t tell you his name until they sign all the papers but he is doing a big remake for another studio.

DRE:
How involved with the film do you want to be?

TS:
I have to trust him to do everything. He sends me stuff like the treatment and character designs. He treats me like he just wants to know if it’s in the vein of what I perceive as Hack/Slash. Sometimes I forget that a lot of movie guys are fans too. I definitely like that he is going to keep me in the loop.

DRE:
Do you have anyone in mind to play Cassie?

TS:
I know what the character looks like and I know the real person she is based but I really can’t think of anyone in Hollywood that would work. Any of the SuicideGirls would do.

DRE:
How come you keep changing artists on Hack/Slash, is it just who is available?

TS:
It’s definitely part of that because I am doing somewhat smaller books. The artists that I pick tend to get hired for something bigger directly after I use them on Hack/Slash. I really think I have done a good job of picking artists that could to be huge. I kind of enjoyed the switching of the artists because I think each story then has it’s own character.

by Daniel Robert Epstein over at Suicide Girls


Recommended (7/10)

Hack/Slash is an unusual project, sort of a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for those who came up on Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and other slasher flicks. Seeley's script walks a line between overtly silly and darkly horrific, sometimes slipping a bit too far in either direction but generally presenting a pretty entertaining read. I'm actually not that much a fan of the slasher genre in general, so this hip and ironic take on the genre doesn't really push my buttons, but I know enough about the genre to get what Seeley is going for here and get some enjoyment out of it. The book is let down a little by some very cheesy and stilted dialogue and an unfortunate decision to digitally paint the artwork, which makes it dark and hard to read for the most part, and without the wit of Buffy, Hack/Slash does come off as a bit of an also-ran, but fans of the slasher genre or those who miss their beloved Buffy comics might look here for their latest fix.

Probably the neatest thing about Hack/Slash is that it follows up what happens after the slasher movie series is over. Recently, Hollywood chanced upon the idea of crossing over the killers of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, but Seeley goes one better, taking the heroine of one series of slasher flicks and putting her on the road to being the heroine of all the others. Seeley has clearly seen more than his fair share of these flicks, because the story of Cassie Hack and her serial killer mom really rings true in terms of slasher genre cliche, complete with the idea of a sequel with a more over-the-top monster and a perfect serial killer name ("The Lunch Lady"). Where he gets innovative, though, is in exploring the notion that the heroine of this movie might be forever changed into something else, something that was toyed with in the Scream series but really never explored on this level.

Indeed, Seeley has created an interesting world here, where the slasher is a class of monster not unlike a zombie or a vampire, and that means he doesn't have to give any kind of radioactive meteor or heightened magic explanation for their existence. It's just a thing, and you either accept it or you don't. The coincidence of Cassie running into Vlad likewise falls into this "accept it or don't" and it makes perfect sense in context of the world Seeley has created.

While I enjoy the concept and the backdrop that Seeley has created, however, I unfortunately have some problems with the execution. Seeley has a pretty good tone here, but he occasionally takes things into a realm that is a little too jokey or a little too dark. The relationships between men and women in general tend toward the melodramatic, and while I've known overly demonstrative couples in real life, it seems like every couple we see is too wrapped up in one another and given to painful romantic platitudes, which makes them feel less real, even against the backdrop of serial killers and monsters. There's also some generally awkward dialogue, and while I liked some of Cassie's snappy repartee, some of it is groan-inducing, and not in a good way.

The largest problem that Hack/Slash has is the artwork. The shame of the thing is that Stefano Caselli has done a good job here, creating some very nice visuals for the monstrous Vlad or the main killer of the story and doing some really creepy work on the zombified animals. Unfortunately, some of the storytelling is a bit on the weak side, with the action in particular needing some opening up and some of the backgrounds being very sparse. Even those problems, however, come down more to the decision to color directly from Caselli's pencils instead of using inks. While some of the book looks shiny and faux-painted as a result, the overall result is that the whole thing is far too dark, and given that the main characters wear a lot of black and dark blue, they tend to become amorphous dark blobs instead of more detailed characters. 4th Rail

 

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