HACK/SLASH ANNUAL: SUICIDE GIRLS
Author: Jhonen Vasquez & Tim Seeley
Artist: Tim Seeley
Cover Artists: A) Tim Seeley; B) Ross Campbell; C) Jhonen Vasquez
When a heartbroken killer gets a new lease on life from a freak electric chair accident, a Suicide Girl becomes his next target. When Cassie and Vlad come to the aid of the girls from SuicideGirls.com, things get deadly – and extremely sexy as Cassie agrees to pose for her own photo set if that's what it takes to stop this slasher.
COVERS A-B—48 pgs, FC $5.50
COVER C—48 pgs, FC $9.50
More interior art at the bottom of the page!!!
Writer and artist Tim Seely has come along way from reading, drawing and dreaming about comics as a kid in his parent's basement in Wisconsin. Over the years, he's managed to write and/or draw some of the most popular cult-favorite comics in publishing, including Kore, G.I. Joe, G.I. Joe vs. Transformers, Forgotten Realms: The Dark Elf Trilogy and most recently, a comic based on the Holloween movie franchise.
He's also the creator of the hugely popular and successful comic book series Hack/Slash, which is currently being produced as a feature film by Rogue Pictures and expected to be released later this year. Recently, ComicMix sat down with the prolific artist and writer to get all the latest details on Hack/Slash the comic, the movie adaptation and his latest project with the Suicide Girls.
COMICMix: Hey Tim, thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
TIM SEELEY: Sure, no problem at all.
CMix: You're the staff artist for Devil's Due Publishing, but your most well-known work, Hack/Slash, is a creator-owned project?
TS: It is creator-owned, yeah.
CMix: How did you come up with the idea for it?
TS: My girlfriend always gets embarrassed that I tell this story at all, but I was sick for a couple of days with the flu or something so, and it was right around Halloween. I'd just lay in bed for three or four days, and all I did was watch horror movies, like every station, they all run marathons, you know? So I'm just sitting there and I'm on cold medicine and I start noting patterns in these horror movies. I took a bath because I'm feeling all crappy, and all of a sudden, it gelled in my head, and I jumped out of the tub and ran over, dripping-ass-naked in my house, and I wrote down this kind of outline for the comic. There's a girl that goes from slasher movie to slasher movie. It's a whole meta-idea or whatever, so then I started to build Hack/Slash from there. I just wanted to do something that didn't have the flavor of what most comics have, something more like, B-movie, kind of totally creative, not so serious, something more like Psychotronic Movie Guide, like gonzo silly, but make it really important that the characters There is a lot of characterization, and it was going to be about two characters and about their relationship. So, I kind of combined what I like about bad movies and what I like about good movies, and just got rid of all the other stuff.
CMix: Now, in addition to the comic, there's also the Hack/Slash film in production as well... How's that going?
TS: Yeah, they're working on it.
CMix: How involved are you in that?
TS: Fairly. A lot more than I thought, and a lot more than people said that comic guys would be involved in a movie. The director and I got to be good friends, so he's actually been bouncing things off me. He's working on it, the studio is talking to him about new script writers and that kind of thing. He really keeps me involved as much as he can, so I think that just by virtue of his involvement and our relationship that I'm just by proxy working on this movie. Which, you know, I was kind of afraid to ever do because I was afraid it was one of those things that could be a bottomless pit of hopeless. Like always one step closer to making the movie and then you have to cry bacause it isn't going to happen... again. I mean, look at Wonder Woman. It's taken 17 years and it's gotten nowhere.
CMix: Oh, yeah, there's a lot of things that get stuck in "development hell." They have a name for it for a reason.
CMix: So you didn't write the screenplay yourself?
TS: We wrote a treatment of it. There are drafts and versions and stuff but I did work on a draft with Todd, the director. The version that they're working on right now is done by a guy called Justin Marks. He's writing the He-Man: Masters of the Universe movie, Voltron, Street Fighter, all that other good stuff.
CMix: So he knows something about comics and animation then?
TS: Exactly. And we didn't even have to give him any of the books because he already had all the Hack/Slash books.
CMix: That's helpful.
TS: Yeah, so he knows his stuff.
CMix: Do you think it would be difficult to condense Hack/Slash down to a two-hour movie?
TS: It's actually not. It was actually easier than I thought, because when we started doing the one-shots, the sort of idea is that it would be like a movie. So because they're sort of using some of that approach it's pretty simple. Basically, it's Cassie's story, Vlad's story and the Lunch Lady, and it's actually not as difficult as I thought. Some stuff is going to be difficult. Like, Hellboy, obviously that was going to be a cramped film because you know, no matter what you do with the concept, it's gotta be big. Fortunately with this, the whole point is that it would sort of be about two people and . . .
CMix: The characters first, and then what happens to them.
CMix: So, do you mind telling me a little bit about how you got started and some of your influences, if you were into comics as a kid and that kind of thing.
TS: I grew up in Central Wisconsin and it's cold all the time in Wisconsin except for three months. So all there was to do was to read comics and just sit in my basement and draw. I always wanted to do comics and stuff so eventually when I went to college I majored in illustration. Then I got a job at a children's book company and worked there for awhile. Later, friends of mine I always went to comic book conventions with, hounded girls with and had beers with like Josh Blaylock, started to get real jobs in comics and later he started Devil's Due. When he did that, he gave me a job as a staff artist. All I had to do was move to Chicago from Minneapolis. So, I started working on G.I. Joe for him and then came up with the Hack/Slash thing so I could have something for myself to write. Now I'm a staff artist at Devil's Due, kind of doing whatever comes up, but I usually pick my own projects and work on my own stuff too. I'm working on Halloween most recently, I just finished that up. Then I'm doing the Suicide Girls crossover, with Hack/Slash annual for right now. Then I start a thing with Larry Hama on his Spooks Omega Team book. That's my next project. So, there you go. Nice, short, totally succinct. (laughs)
CMix: You prepared that well.
TS: I wanted to have something to say.
CMix: When you were growing up and you said you were reading a lot of comic books, were there any ones in particular that were more influential on you?
TS: When I was a kid, it was definitely just about stories. At first, I never really noticed a difference in the art. I think Spiderman was the first thing I ever got, and figured out there was Marvel style, DC style, whatever. Before that I was just really into sort of the stories and characters and stuff and then when I started getting into the indie comics when I was a teenager, then I started to really notice the art more because it was so diverse with a lot of different styles. Layered stuff, all kinds of different science fiction books came out from former Malibu Comics and all this weird kind of stuff. The Crow, when that first came out from Caliber...I really got into the art styles of that stuff. And then obviously the Image guys, I mean, you're never going to escape where you grew up in the generation that I did. The Tick - when I was a kid, I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. Scud the Disposable Assassin, anything that was just kind of maybe avant-garde or funny, or fun all around, I just thought was hysterical and influenced what I did.
CMix: When you start out to create something, do you think about the characters first and what happens to them after that, or is it story first, or...?
TS: It usually sort of ends up being a combination of the two because you know you have to serve your character so you don't want to put them in something that wouldn't work for them, but you do have to come up with what you want to do for them, or what you think the readers will respond to. And then, once you set up that framework, then it has to be about how the character will react to it. I do have to think about. Very rarely do I say, 'Well, I'm just going let them do what they want and a story will come out of it...' it gets too difficult to explain when you have to write solicitation text, you know? So, I kind of come up with a loose plot and the characters kind of help fill it out.
CMix: You're also working on a Hack/Slash and Suicide Girls crossover. Can you tell me more about that? How it came about? What's the story going to be, etc.?
TS: The story revolves around a serial killer who attacks Suicide Girls through their computers. To draw him out, Cassie does an SG photoshoot and teams up with some of the girls to kick slasher ass. It came about pretty simply. I've had an SG account for like five years and I've been trying to get something going with them for a loooong time. I mean, obviously, I really like goth/punk girls. Finally, I came up with a good idea, and Missy (the head of Suicide Girls) said yes!
CMix: Have you done many comics online before or is this crossover your first?
TS: This is my first, technically. Though I have posted stuff from my print comics online in the past.
CMix: Do you have to do anything differently when writing or drawing a comic that's going to be published online?
TS: You guys might (at ComicMix) but I didn't. I treated it exactly the same.
CMix: Do you think there will ever come a time when comics will only be distributed online and not in print? Or, will there always be a demand for printed comics?
TS: Print is going to have to go the way of the dinosaur eventually. I think their will always be some printed materials. I think graphic novels and trades are one of them, but comics will definitley be moving online.
CMix: So, speaking of crossovers, is there any character existing in comics that you would love to do a crossover with?
TS: There's this superhero stuff that I really don't think I can do anything with at Hack/Slash because I just think the superhero stuff is really played in its own universe and I don't think I'd get to do what I want to do with Hack/Slash. If I could do some of the Senator, or Madman or you know, one of those characters, I may have to make it work because I like those characters so much. I would love to do a Hellraiser thing someday, too. I love those movies. I still want to do The Crow some day. That's a little bit of a pipe dream, I think, but because he's sort of a good slasher that'd be a cool thing to be able to do.
CMix: Turning to the technical side a bit, do you use a computer in your artwork at all?
TS: I do. I'm not like a real high tech guy, like my friends are all tech heads and gadget freaks. I use it for art, I use it for drawing. I use it for coloring. I type on it but that's about it.
CMix: Is it a Mac or Windows?
TS: It's a Mac. But I'm still not the kind of guy to rush out and buy new stuff. But I definitely try to keep up with the technology. If I think it's something that will help make better books, I will use it.
CMix: So you write the stories on the Mac and then you use a graphics tablet to draw with and then color it in Photoshop?
TS: I still like to do most of my drawings on paper because it's sort of more fun for me to do it that way and I can sell the original art. If I do it just on the computer, there's nothing to sell, which kind of sucks.
CMix: Well, you can print it out, but then it's not really original...
CMix: And that's how you learned, also, and it can approximate a pencil, but it's not exactly the same.
CMix: There's something about the feel of it on the paper.
TS: That's it. I've seen guys who can draw on the computer as well as they can draw on paper. I know it's possible. But so far, it's paper for me. But I'll use the computer for as much as I can.
CMix: What comics are you reading right now?
TS: That's a good question. I'm reading a lot of stuff from Image because I just like a lot of the crazy, creative stuff they do. I always read Invincible. I'm reading the new Scud series because that's really cool. Annihilation, that's cool. I'll be picking up Guardians of the Galaxy for sure. I also like The Bull from DC, because it's sort of an old school, The Spirit look that just seems to be a lot of fun.
CMix: Not into Secret Invasion or anything like that?
TS: I don't read any of that crap. But I like Vertigo stuff. I've been picking up a lot of stuff at trades, so basically last year has been like, Animal Man, Swamp Thing all the trades in that stuff. Let's see... what else do I remember? It's always getting smaller because all this stuff is getting crossover branded and I just don't want to deal with that stuff. Savage Dragon has always been one my favorites. I really like Suburban Glamour by Jamie McKelvie, that was really good, really well drawn. Most of the stuff from Image. If it's a nice, quality, creator-owned thing, I'll probably enjoy it.
CMix: Since you both write and draw, which do you prefer?
TS: Writing. It's so much easier, a lot less time consuming and in this day and age, it's what get's ya the most fame and fortune.
CMix: Finally, if you suddenly couldn't do what your doing now, for whatever reason, what other career or job would you ever consider doing?
TS: Whew. That's is a scary thought. Y'know, I"m not really good at anything else. But, if I had to do something else, I think I'd try and get into the FBI.
Something almost as cool as comics.
Well, Cassie and Vlad have their hands full in Devil’s Due’s Hack/Slash Annual.. Joining the festivities are the popular internet vixens the Suicide Girls as they guest-star in the inaugural annual of the Hack/Slash series. This crossover Annual runs parallel to the Re-Animator story arc running in the monthly series. In the annual, a strange electronic malevolence known as "D1AB0L1Q" is killing off Suicide Girls—and it’s up to a haggard and road-worn Cassie and Vlad to save the girls from impending doom.
Newsarama sat down with series creator Tim Seeley to talk about the Hack/ Slash Annual and his four day plans involving San Diego sun and Comic-Con fun.
Newsarama: Tim, the Hack/Slash Annual is a very special project, isn't it? You've got some very special guest-stars for the book...
Tim Seeley: We've got real live Suicide Girls, tattoos and all! The idea was to have Cassie become involved with the website, SuicideGirls.com, a pin up website that specializes in alternative beauty, and is largely run by the girls themselves. People have always compared Cassie's 'tude and style to the Suicide Girls, so it was a natural progression, I think.
NRAMA: And Cassie is crossing over on the SuicideGirls.com as well; how did this project get set-up?
TS: I've actually been working on how to do the idea for a few years, but it wasn't until I got interviewed by the site that I figured out who to talk to get it moving. At the same time as I was sniffing around, Missy Suicide, the creator of the site, was looking for ways to reach comic readers, who are the perfect type of audience to enjoy the website, since a good portion of the girls are genre geeks like us.
We flew out to LA to meet Missy, and she told us how other creators had come to her with similar ideas, but they'd never actually done anything. She just figured comic types were a little flakey. I assured her, that if I started, I would finish, because if there's one thing I can focus on...its hot girls.
NRAMA: Breaking the fourth wall, with real people like the Suicide Girls, is fairly unique in the industry--did you have any inspiration for this crossing into reality?
TS: For sure...initially I did a "real people" crossover in the third Hack/Slash book, Comic Book Carnage, which featured Steve Niles, Skottie Young, and Robert Kirkman.
And yeah, admittedly, this idea is taken from Scooby Doo. I loved it as a kid when the Globe Trotters and someone would show up, and sort of sell the "reality" of Scooby.
It added to the fun! Hack/Slash is nothing if not a great excuse to have fun, get scared, and maybe, with SGs in it, to get turned on as well! (laugh)
NRAMA: It’s mentioned in the Annual; is Bikini Car Wash a favorite movie of yours—?
TS: I have a major affection for any film with "Bikini" in it. It makes it instantly fun. For example Terms of Endearment. Not a fun movie...but, what if it was "BIKINIS of Endearment?" (laugh)
NRAMA: (laugh) Or “Terms of Bikinis”...
Were any live models harmed (or used for drawings) in the making of the Hack/Slash Annual?
TS: When we created Cassie's "set" (i.e. the series of pics where she gets nekkid), I intended to use a real model. But, I had a lot less time than I would need to wrangle that...so all I could do was shoot the backgrounds and I had to draw nekkid Cassie out of my head, sans reference. fortunately, I have spent at least 20 years looking at naked girls, so I can get a lot of mileage out of my imagination.
But, yes, a few models are "harmed" in the making of this comic. One gets roasted in an oven in fact. And, let me tell you, it is very weird to draw girls you're friends with getting killed in horror movie ways.
NRAMA: Would you like to cross more real people into Cassie and Vlad's world in the near future?
TS: Yeah, I mean, I always like to make sure I have a good story before I try anything...but, I think I could easily come up with a rockin' Suicide Girls sequel. I still want to put a real band in Hack/Slash...and some day, I think the guys working on the Hack/Slash movie have to get their own story—a murder on the set of the Hack/Slash movie maybe?
NRAMA: What can fans of the series expect to see later this year?
TS: Whew...so much. We've got the three part Re-Animator story, which also brings in Cassie's dad. And, after that, Pooch gets a starring role in an issue...seriously.
NRAMA: There's a very interesting underlying theme taking place in the story--with the homeless and generosity--is there a softer side to Tim Seeley and Hack/Slash?
TS: One thing I like to do in Hack/Slash stories is make the book about the setting to a degree. I've been to LA a bunch of times, and I'm always fascinated/ horrified by Hollywood Boulevard—the sad mix of tourism and how Hollywood glamour meets the gritty reality of homelessness and mental illness. With Cassie and Vlad being there, I can really play that up after all, they're not far removed from the people scrounging to make a living in a town where only a few blocks away, the prettiest people in the world are being paid millions to pretend.
NRAMA: The final moment of the book has a somewhat cryptic tone to it; does "No one lives forever" bare any kind of relevance on upcoming plots in the regular series? Is that the last we've seen of Ian Matheson/ D1AB0L1Q ?
TS: An important aspect of D1AB0L1Q is that more than just being a nut, he's a nut with a plan—a manifesto. I wanted to create a slasher who was more than an immediate danger; his blogs, his words...even if Ian is gone, those live-on. This was another element inspired by LA; the way a dangerous person can create followers as dangerous as he...L. Ron Hubbard anyone?
Hack/Slash Annual debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2008 and is currently in stores.
Want to see Cassie’s “photo shoot” for the Annual on SuicideGirls.com? Click here.