by Kidwell, Seeley & Parvanov
Hack/Slash’s Cassie and Vlad uncover a bizarre series of missing women, and are drawn to the deep south to investigate. It just so happens the trail leads right to the home of Bump’s resurrected serial killer Edgar Dill, and his flesh-hungry Treehuggers! Will Eddie “clean” poor Cassie and use her to fill one of his Huggers, or will Vlad send the monsters back to Hell?
MATURE THEMES 32pgs, FC (1 of 1) SRP: $3.99
EDIT: Sollicited by Fangoria Comics, but FC quit business. Seeley is however bound to deliver this one nevertheless. `
First up is our chat with Bump writer and artist, Mark Kidwell.
NEWSARAMA: Mark, how much of the story idea for Bump-Hack/Slash was yours, and how much was Fangoria Comics chief Scott “Vlad” Licina’s?
Mark Kidwell: Scott came up with the crossover idea, and got Tim and I together on it. I came up with the plot, and shot it to Tim. He approved it, made a few dialogue changes for his characters, and shot it back to me for final scripting. We rolled with the final draft until Tim had some last-minute changes for the ending. They worked, I made the changes, and he finished up the art. I should mention that Tim provided the idea for the investigative reporter character. My original script had him as a cop. I thought Tim’s take was a better one, and made the change. Scott read over everything, and approved it as we went. It was all a very smooth, enjoyable collaboration.
NRAMA: Bump’s main character, Edgar Dill, is in essence an undead slasher, and seems perfect to be weaved into the world of Hack/Slash.
MK Yeah, that’s what led Scott and me to approach Tim about the project. We figured it wouldn’t be long until Cassie got wind of a woodland massacre, and started poking around, doing her thing. The coolest feature about the situation is, since none of Dill’s crimes were ever reported, he’s an unknown quantity to Cassie and her partner, Vlad. They head into the woods knowing only that there’s a huge body count and a totally baffled police force. Owing to their experiences with slashers, they may be ready for the likes of Edgar Dill, but, they never dreamed they’d meet an army of hungry, re-animated Tree Huggers.
The Bump-Hack/Slash crossover expands on Vlad and Cassie’s resume, adding monster hunters to their long list of gruesome achievements.
NRAMA: Mark, what’s your take on Cassandra Hack?
MK She’s hot. Tim draws her hot. Damn Tim and his hot drawings!
Seriously, what I like about Cassie’s character is what Tim hasn’t revealed about her. We’ve seen her brash exterior and her driven, tough side. We’ve even had a peek at her vulnerable side, and her loyalty and feelings toward Vlad. Still, Seeley leaves a lot of unexplained territory in Cassie’s overall storyline. I think he’ll reveal tidbits along the way, fleshing her out more and more, until readers will say, “Damn, I didn’t see that coming!” Not knowing everything about both characters in Hack/Slash will keep readers coming back for clues, and I think when Tim’s done, we’ll have some well- rounded, 3-D slasher slayers to root for.
Oh, yeah…and she’s hot.
NRAMA: Tell us a little about the main plotline.
MK There’s been a horrible massacre in the wooden environs of rural Alder County. Over thirty environmental protesters, camped out to march on the looming construction of a paper mill, have gone missing, leaving only the shredded remnants of tents and gear at their blood-soaked campsite as a clue to what took place. Enter Cassie and Vlad. Having read about the massacre, the two slasher hunters are hot on the case, heading into the woods of the Deep South in a rented RV provided by Vlad’s lucky win with a scratch-off lottery ticket.
While investigating the bloody campsite, they encounter investigative reporter Phil O’Grady and his most erstwhile fan, an overweight female sheriff’s deputy. From there the group finds itself being led to a tumbledown antebellum mansion, deep in the woods, where a serial-killing psychopath and his ever-growing army of cannibalistic, wooden murder machines lie in wait.
NRAMA: Tim Seeley’s artwork has a fantastically creepy vibe to it.
MK Tim’s stuff is great. It’s more polished and comic-booky than my style. He brings more of a fun horror feel to the story. His Edgar Dill is like an incredible Hulk with a carpenter’s auger. He packs tons of action into every page, and makes the swarms of Tree Huggers really come to life. Plus, the ponytails he put on some of the monsters cracked me up. My take on the Bump universe is darker, meaner, and without hope. With Tim’s stuff, you feel like somebody might get out of this whole mess.
NRAMA: Would you like to work with Tim again?
MK Definitely. Tim and I are both horror junkies, and our tastes run a lot alike. In fact, we’ve already touched on doing some more original stuff as soon as both of our insane schedules clear up a bit. Working on Bump-Hack/Slash was a breeze, and it yielded phenomenal results… so, it’s a no-brainer that we’ll do more. One of the coolest things about this book was seeing how much damage I could inflict on both sets of characters. I remember one set of pages he e-mailed me, where his typed note was: “YEAH! KILL KIDWELL’S GUYS!” Cracked me up. I’ll work with Tim again, definitely.
NRAMA: Will we see plenty of Hack/Slash regular, Vlad, in this book?
MK For sure. I see Vlad as this hyper-sensitive, mammoth engine of action and violence. He’s pretty mild and cool until someone threatens Cassie. Then, WHAM, the blades are out, and the gore is flyin’. He goes toe-to-toe with swarms of Tree Huggers,and gets to face-off with the brutal Edgar Dill, himself. He can also now tell you what that four-foot carpenter’s auger tastes like…heh, heh. (KILL SEELEY’S GUYS!)
NRAMA: Any last words, Mark?
MK Yeah. I just want to take this chance to thank Tim and Scott for making this book happen. It was a great experience, and I think readers of both titles are really gonna dig it. Also, there are parts of Bump-Hack/Slash that may be confusing to those who aren’t familiar with the original Bump mini-series, or Tim’s books and new ongoing series. I suggest picking up the original material before you read the crossover. It will simply enrich the reading experience, and make you a better person.
And, then, there was what Hack/Slash writer/creator, Tim Seeley, had to say.
NEWSARAMA: Tim, how did you hook-up with Fangoria Comics?
Tim Seeley: Basically, I discovered that Vlad Licina owned the name Vlad, and he threatened a lawsuit on Hack/Slash. The only way to get out of it was to let him use Cassie and my Vlad in one of their books.
NRAMA: It seems to me that Bump is a property tailor-made to crossover with the world of Cassie Hack. Edgar Dill is an undead slasher. Originally, who's idea was it to do the project?
TS: This was all Scott. Basically, all the Chicago comics guys are connected… somehow...we all know someone who knows someone else, though, this still hasn't helped me get an Alex Ross cover for Hack/Slash. In any case, I had seen Scott around a few times, and he knows Blaylock and a few of my other buddies. When I found out he was the big cheese at Fango Comics, I got a hold of him. I like the mag, and they've covered Hack/Slash a few times. I also knew Kidwell, who’s not a Chicago guy, from traveling in similar circles. He’s the opposite, in fact… he's a Kentucky guy. So, we all sat down at the Fango show in Chicago, with beers and our beer guts, and hacked out a project we could all do together. I really liked the Bump comic, I like Kidwell, and I like Robert Kurtzman's work, so, I couldn't lose.
NRAMA: Your own artwork is rather creepy, itself, especially your covers. Will you be providing any of the Bump-Hack/Slash covers?
TS: I did provide the cover, yessiree, Bob.
NRAMA: How much input did Mark Kidwell give to this unholy team-up?
TS: He wrote it, so, it's pretty much filled to the brim with Kidwell's output.
NRAMA: Will we see Dill, or any Tree Huggers, popping up in the regular Hack/Slash series?
TS: Probably not, as Cas and Vlad will pretty much make short work of their woody, little asses in the Fangoria crossover.
NRAMA: Will we be seeing any more work in the future from you with Fangoria?
TS: Ask Scott. I'm still trying to get him to look at my freakin' pitches.
NRAMA: Any new developments with the Hack/Slash film from Rogue Pictures?
TS: We're just polishing up the script. We've had some cool actresses and actors interested in the project. But, I have to go with that ol' familiar, Hollywood trope: too soon to talk about it yet.
NRAMA: Will you be attending any upcoming conventions this con season?
TS: San Diego, WW Chicago, and, hopefully, that’s it.
Coming soon from Fangoria comics is a horror comic book fans dream. The slasher slaying duo of Hack/Slash, Cassie Hack and Vlad, go after Edgar Dill and the evil Treehuggers of BUMP.
TheBigBadWolf: How did the crossover happen?
Mark Kidwell: The book was pretty much Scott Licina's brainchild. He approached Tim at the Fango show in Chicago, got us together and set the whole thing up. Tim and I have known each other for a while and the two concepts mesh perfectly, so we both jumped on it.
TheBigBadWolf: Mark, what are your thoughts on Tim's work in horror?
Mark Kidwell: Seeley? He’s a total hack, man. No, really…Tim’s stuff is lively and fun. He paints it all with a dark brush and presents some really cool slasher villains, but the key is the punchy fun he injects in the characters of Cassie and Vlad. He really makes that “Hero meets Horror” concept work. Hack/Slash is always a lot of fun.
TheBigBadWolf: Have you always been a fan of his work?
Mark Kidwell: Yeah, I picked up the first HS book when it came out (I like to support Indie guyz I know who are bustin’ their asses in the industry) and enjoyed it. My time to read and follow books is rare anymore, but I pick up Cassie and Vlad’s adventures when I run across ‘em and am always entertained.
TheBigBadWolf: Your turn, Tim. Have you always been a fan of Mark's?
Tim Seeley: I remember picking up Battle Pope about 6 years ago, and seeing this unbelievable monster some guy had drawn..a little old lady that turned into this crazy thing. I was working at Dead Dog Comics at the time, so I was damn pleased to see they had just hired the guy to do some more stuff. I've always dug Kidwell's stuff, not to mention his work ethic, and his dreamy good looks.
TheBigBadWolf: What stands out in your mind as Mark’s best work to date?
Tim Seeley: BUMP. for sure. BUMP let Kidwell go completely nuts, as well as allow him to write a story he drew. I dug 68 BUMPalso.
TheBigBadWolf: Both of you guys do both art and writing. How did you divvy up who does what on this book?
Mark Kidwell: Originally, Tim and I were each gonna write half and draw half. Then, I got way too busy to draw my share, so I just suggested to Scott Licina that I script the whole thing and Tim do the art chores. That sat well with everyone, so off we went. It’s a shame, really, cause I really wanted to draw Cassie and Vlad. Ah, time is the enemy. It yielded a really cool book, though.
Tim Seeley: Yes. Mark ran Cassie and Vlad by me to make sure they were in character, but otherwise it's Mark's story and my drawings.
TheBigBadWolf: What was the collaboration process like?
Tim Seeley: Pretty simple. We really barely had to yack about it. There was literally like two or three emails back and forth.
Mark Kidwell: Smooth. I sat down and produced a synopsis script. I think it was about 5 pages long or so and E-mailed it to Tim. He read it and really dug it, adding a couple changes of his own. I liked his input, made the changes and went straight to panel to panel breakdowns. I’m a super tight scripter, so once everything was laid out, Tim started the art. Nearing completion Tim had some ideas for a small change at the end, so I re-wrote a page and tweaked some Cassie dialogue in one scene and we wrapped it up.
TheBigBadWolf: Is this a one issue book or will it be a mini series?
Mark Kidwell: It’s a one shot. I don’t think Cassie and Vlad coulda survived four issues of Eddie and the Huggers.
TheBigBadWolf: When is the release date and what is the cover price?
Mark Kidwell: I believe the release date is Halloween ’07. The cover price is standard Fango cover $3.99. That’s for a full 33 pages of story and art. Hell, we even had to use the inside back cover to extend the story ‘cause I wrote 33 pages instead of 32. Bonus for the readers, baby! It’s wall to wall horror action!
TheBigBadWolf: So this book will be put out by Fangoria Comics and not Devil's Due?
Tim Seeley: Yeah, this book will be published by Fangoria Comics.
Mark Kidwell: Devil's Due was cool as hell and let us “borrow” Mr. Seeley, but yes, it’s a Fango production.
TheBigBadWolf: With Fangoria Comics putting out lots of horror stuff can we expect to see the Hack/Slash team doing a few more crossover events in the future?
Tim Seeley: Well, we wouldn't want to get too predictable. We'll mix it up if we do more in the future.
Mark Kidwell: If fan reaction is good and Tim and I have room in our schedules, yeah, I can’t see not doing it. As long as Scott and Tim and Devils Due are down with it, I’m in. I’d love to see Cassie and Vlad tangle with some of my other upcoming stuff from Fango, although I’ll tell ya, they get ahold of the “Recluse”, that might be their last stand.
TheBigBadWolf: Finally, what can fans expect from this comic?
Tim Seeley: Basically, this will be a Fangoria comic through and through, with a touch of the world of Hack/Slash. It'll be lots of damn gorey fun.
Mark Kidwell: Readers of the BUMP / Hack-Slash book should strap in for a ballz up horror action romp. It’s full of violence, gore and sarcasm. It’s lighter and funnier than BUMP and it’s darker than Hack Slash, forming the perfect amalgam of the two concepts. There are “Tree Huggers” galore and Vlad and Cassie get to kick major wood-flesh ass. Eddie gets his shots in too, so neither faction walks away unscathed. All in all, you could compare it to the classic Abbot and Costello meet (Pick your monster) films, if Abbot was a goth sex-pot, Costello was a hulking death machine with blades and the monsters they meet wanted to seal up your naughty bits in cannibalistic wooden totems. If ya go into it expecting gory horror fun, you should really dig it.
TheBigBadWolf: Thanks for taking the time to talk guys. Good luck with the book.
As the sole person who works for both Devil's Due and Fangoria... I can tell you that Bump Vs. Hack/Slash is still happening. I can also say that both companies are filled with great people with tremendous talent. Pardon the pun, but... this whole thing is just a minor BUMP in the road.
We'll get that crossover book out one way or another, and possibly quite on time. Worry not! Scott'll work out the publishing details. We all talked today, so we know we're on the same page. And, hell, I got paid for the art already..I just want everybody to be able to have a good time and read it.
Expect it in the pages of the ongoing Hack/Slash series #15