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CCI: Dark Horse Horror – Drawing on Your Nightmares

by  in Comic News Comment

Jeremy Atkins, Dark Horse Comics’ Director of Public Relations, kicked off the publisher’s Drawing on Your Nightmares: Horror in Comics panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego by pointing out how cool it was to be at a horror panel on Friday the 13th. He also said that he’d be turning the moderation over to editor and writer

Next was a question about where (if at all) the writers draw the line in what they’ll cover in their work. Tobin opened by saying that he doesn’t do gore for its own sake and told an awesome story about a custodial job he once had in a Biology building’s Experimental Cadaver Room. He described it as the most scared he’s ever been in his life.

“I was there probably like 3:00 in the morning and I was alone, the lights were off, and there were about 50 corpses all under sheets.”

“And,” Niles reminded, “it’s called ‘Experimental Cadaver Room.'”

“Exactly,” replied Tobin. “And one wall was nothing but ice cream buckets…full of brains. So they’re coming right after you as soon as they get back up. That really taught me a lot about horror because I would walk in there, and it’s not really scary. And about ten minutes in, it’s like, ‘I heard a noise, but the building’s creaking.’ And in twenty minutes, it’s like, ‘That sheet moved.'”

Niles said that there’s really no line for him, but that he has his own tastes. Allie supposed that that’s the way it was for the entire panel. It’s not about lines; it’s about interests. Writers don’t write about things or scenarios that don’t interest them, violence towards women being an example for Allie. He also mentioned Tobin’s earlier statement about characterization and said that the problem with a lot of lowbrow horror is the tendency to treat characters like victims and not characters. He used the treatment of Laurie Strode in the “Halloween” movies as an example. In John Carpenter’s version, she’s a relatable character; in Rob Zombie’s version, not so much. Tobin added that whatever a horror writer does or shows, everything has to have a reason.

The final question concerned faerie creatures that were historically feared in past ages, but are seen as cute and comical by today’s audiences, with the questioner asking if there is still potential there as a source of horror. Allie responded that while it’s not an interest of his, it’s something that Mike Mignola has used quite a bit in his comics.