Hack/Slash and Halloween Man: Quite the Scary Crossover

A comics interview article by: Shawn Aldridge
October 15th sees two creator-owned properties crossing over with Halloween Man and Hack/Slash getting together for some spooky little fun. The best part is readers can read the crossover for free on the Halloween Man website at www.halloweenman.com. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Drew Edwards, writer and creator of the web comic Halloween Man, and artist David Baldeon. I even had the chance to toss a few questions to Tim Seeley, the creator of Hack/Slash, as well as David Baldeon, the artist of the series.

When not penning the adventures of Halloween Man, Drew can be found at Cheesecake and Crime, a mystery book store and bakery in Henderson, Nevada. There he runs the graphic novel section, teaches a class on writing comics, and chairs several events like the film and book discussion group, Monsterpiece Theater. He'll also be hosting the 24-hour comic event at the store.

Tim Seeley is best known as the writer/artist/creator of Hack/Slash. He has illustrated a variety of comics, including Loaded Bible,Kore, G.I. Joe, G.I. vs. Transformers, and Forgotten Realms: The Dark Elf Trilogy. He also has some work from Marvel coming soon.

Spanish born artist, David Baldeon, is rather new to the American comics scene, though some readers may recognize his name from recent fill-in issues of Blue Beetle and Robin.

Shawn Aldridge: Drew, can you give readers who may not be familiar with Halloween Man a quick description of the character/series?

Drew Edwards: Halloween Man is the story of a goodhearted but flesh eating ghoul who inhabits a retro-futuristic Texas city. Solar City has everything you'd except from flying cars to robots to time travel. But it also has an increasingly large problem with vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night. So our hero hunts them down and does the monster mash.

It's also a love story. As the thrust of the whole comic comes from his relationship with glamorous super-scientist Lucy Chaplin, the beauty to Solomon's beast, because our relationships with our loved ones is the only thing that keeps us from being monsters at the end of the day.

SA: What's the history of the web comic itself? How did it come about? Was it your first idea/attempt?

DE: It wasn't the first time I dabbled in comics. But it was my first serious attempt. I was 18 years old and didn't know any better. (Now I'm 30 and don't know any better.) It was total "garage band" style comics. One of the things I love about the Halloween Man site (http://www.halloweenman.com/) is you can see those early, rough efforts along side more polished stuff. So you can see the progression. There's something awesome about that. It's proudly DIY.

SA: I love that term--"garage band" style comic. So, what were some of your inspirations for the concept?

DE: It is cocktail of silver age comics, cult horror movies, and punk rock. Basically I noticed this pattern is many a classic horror movie in which the monster wanted the girl but she ended up with some jock at the end of the film. I mean look at King Kong, Creature from the Black Lagoon...it happens over and over again. I wanted the monster to get the girl for a change.

SA: How did the crossover with Hack/Slash develop? Are you friends with Tim Seeley?

DE: We have a mutual friend in Brian Crowley. It was his idea. He got the two of us talking, so it sort of grew out of that. Tim and I have a lot in common. I certainly admire what he's done with both Hack/Slash and Loaded Bible.

What does the crossover revolve around?

It's a battle of archetypes. The final girl vs. the thing that should not be.

But a long the way we lampoon Marvel Zombies, Hellboy, the various DC Crisis mini-series, and hentai. Nothing is safe. There's a lot of silliness offered up, but it's made for a good gumbo.

SA: Can readers expect the standard "fight first, friends later" plot point?

DE: Of course you can! Sure it's a massive cliché, but half the reason of doing crossovers is so we can see our favorite characters beat the snot out of each other.

I actually did a draft of the script that didn't have anything like that simply because I was trying to avoid the cliché, but it felt kind of flat. It lacked zip. So I went back and put it in. And it's more entertaining for it.

Now the fun part is that Halloween Man is a lot more powerful than the slashers that Cassie and Vlad normally fight. So they have to be quick on their feet and use their environment Jack Chan style. So you get one hell of a slobber-knocker out of it.

SA: How do you juggle two characters owned by two separate creators in a single crossover? Did you guys split the script chores? Or was it a more immediate back and forth, a straight team effort?

DE: Tim gave me a Hack/Slash series bible and a list of things Cassie and Vlad cannot do. But other than the stray note here and there he was pretty hands-off. At the time I think I was the first person other than him to write the characters. So it was really intimidating. I'm just honored and flattered that he'd let me play with his toys.

SA: Tim, did the idea of someone else writing your characters make you nervous at first?

Tim Seeley: Definitely. But, Drew and I come from similar backgrounds, writing wise and fandom wise, so I knew he'd get the basics and references.

SA: Drew mentioned you gave him a series bible. When handing the characters off to someone else, what's the main points you tell them to insure your characters remain consistent?

TS: Don't let anybody have sex with Cassie, and don't make Vlad talk like Ben Grimm. For some reason those are always things that people want to mess up. Drew didn't though. :)

SA: Definitely reasonable demands. Beyond that, did you ask to see previous work? The script first?

TS: I'd read Halloween Man. And I did make him let me read the script. Drew was good about sending me the art and such as well. It all turned out well, and it's a fun little lighthearted adventure/horror story.

SA: Who handled the art for the crossover? Was it split up?

TS: We used the ultra talented David Baldeon. He's a superstar waiting to happen this guy. I had worked with him several times before. Everyone knew he was the right guy for the job.

SA: Seems like the perfect segue to ask David a few questions. So, David, how did you meet Drew? He mentioned you had done some work together before the crossover.

David Baldeon: I met Drew through the Millarworld forums, a great place to meet talented people and just have some fun! I penciled a 12 page story for him, and had the chance to add my view of the character's origin a few months ago. After those, Drew offered me the possibility of tackling the Hack/Slash-Halloween Man crossover, and here we are...

SA: Since the crossover involves two different sets of creator owned characters, did you feel it necessary for you to met the approval of both creators?

DB: I certainly did, but Drew and his crew did a fantastic work coordinating and leaving me only with penciling tasks and completely free of worries. Both the script and specifications were very precise, so I just had to follow them and have fun! Which I did! Halloween Man I already knew, but Cass and Vlad were a wonderful surprise.

SA: So, do you approach doing the art differently for Halloween Man, it being a web based comic, than you do a print comic?

DB: Not really. I'm really interested in the work of Scott McCloud and other authors on how to adapt comics to web and make the most of the format and the screen. But when investigation and experimentation of that kind is left aside, I'd say that the print comic storytelling nowadays (four, five panels in each page) adapts quite well to the net in terms of legibillity and visibility. So yes, I had a particular care in thinking of the scanned page as closer to the final product, but once you keep that in mind, the actual pencilling is identical.

SA: What's next for Halloween Man and Hack/Slash after the crossover and for you as creators?

DE: Well, we're going to take some time off from the web comic after the crossover. We've put so much into that, a lot of stuff has taken back seat. But it's going to come back, bigger, badder, and deader than ever.

In the mean time I'm going to start doing some cult and horror movie reviews on the site. Plus, I'll be restarting my old "Digging My Own Grave" column via the site.
There's also some possible print projects for Solly and co. down the pipe line. But more on that when the time is right.

DB: My immediate plans are to complete the art part of a project I scripted myself, a History-based tale with Celtic warriors and Roman legions, but (if I got it right) with a very powerful message to it, I think. We already have a Spanish publisher for it, and I'd like to get it printed in the US and a larger European market. After that, the idea is very much continue working as I have so far, being able to combine the work for the Big Ones, fun interesting projects like this crossover and hopefully get a shot to do my own stuff from time to time.

TS: I have two books a month coming out from Marvel from November through January: Weapon X: First Class and New Exiles, and of course a monthly dose of Hack and Slash action.

Once again, the Halloween Man-Hack/Slash crossover begins October 15th at www.halloweenman.com. Until then, go read the past adventures of Halloween Man. As the site says it's, "more fun than a barrel of mummies." Hack/Slash isn't a bad read either.

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