They say that breaking up is hard to do, but when you’re a horror victim turned hunter of slashers with an enormous force of nature named Vlad watching your back, breaking up is a somewhat easier affair. At the very least, there are no hard feelings on behalf of “Hack/Slash” creator Tim Seeley as he relocates his fan-favorite property from its longtime home of Devil’s Due Publishing to Image Comics.
As announced at Emerald City ComiCon, Seeley is giving “Hack/Slash” a new home at Image. Their first collaboration together will be June’s “Hack/Slash: My First Maniac,” a four issue miniseries written by Seeley and illustrated by Daniel Leister with cover art from Jenny Frison, Nei Ruffino and Seeley himself. Following the conclusion of “My First Maniac,” Seeley will kick off a brand new ongoing “Hack/Slash” series, also through Image.
CBR News spoke with Seeley about the announcement and discussed his feelings on moving from Devil’s Due to Image, how the change in publishers will affect his work on the book and what fans can expect from the franchise moving forward.
CBR News: Tim, how did the move to bring “Hack/Slash” from Devil’s Due Publishing to Image Comics come about?
Tim Seeley: Well, at a certain point, it became pretty clear that the pretty well [publicized] financial problems DDP was having weren’t going to help me get my book out every month or help me get my creators paid on time. I’ve been working with Image on my other creator-owned stuff like “Loaded Bible” and “Colt Noble and the Megalords,” and I’ve always had great experiences working with [Image Comics Publisher] Eric Stephenson and [Sales and Licensing Coordinator] Joe Keatinge and the rest of the crew. And, most of the comics I read and enjoy every month come out of Image. So, with the help of DDP president Josh Blaylock, I set up a deal to bring Cassie and Vlad over to Image.
For you personally, what makes the most sense about having “Hack/Slash” at Image versus DDP? In what ways does this move benefit you and the franchise?
I think “Hack/Slash” being a creator-owned book always made it a little bit of a sore thumb among the licensed books at DDP, so I’ll be right at home with Image. And moving it there lets the book and me stand on our own – we’re not inhibited by financial problems. Maybe best of all, being at Image ensures that when I win any kind of horror related award for “Hack/Slash,” it’s easier for me to rub it directly in Robert Kirkman’s face!
In what ways will the move to Image affect the book, and how is this going to affect your approach to “Hack/Slash” as a creator?
Well, I’ll be doing a lot more things myself than relying on the good people of DDP, but I’ll also be able to reach more comic stores and more readers. But I think, generally, the book will look and feel like the “Hack/Slash” comic readers have come to expect. You know – blood, boobies, laughs and screams.
Right off the bat, I’ll be changing things up a bit as we’re jumping into Cassie’s past to tell a new story that’ll be really accessible to both new and old readers. So, instead of chugging along on the ongoing as I have for three years, I’ll be jumping into a four issue miniseries. We’ll do the initial miniseries called “My First Maniac,” and we’ll follow that up with a brand new ongoing.
“My First Maniac” is set between Cassie’s “origin story” and her first encounter with Vlad, so we’re seeing her take on a slasher by herself for the first time. It’s kind of our “Batman Year One,” but with school girl uniforms!
Can you talk about the creative team for the new era of “Hack/Slash” – you have Daniel Leister on board for art chores, plus Nei Ruffino, Jenny Frison and yourself on covers for this first issue. What is everybody bringing to the table in your opinion?
Dan can draw hot girls, scary monsters, and he can do it on time and with enthusiasm. That makes him a saint in my book. Dan really knows his horror, and he has a lot of experience doing the sort of gothy girl stuff, so he’s the man for the job.
And I think no matter what people might think about “Hack/Slash” they have to admit we get some awesome covers, and I don’t intend to stop doing that.
You’ve been hard at work on “Hack/Slash” for quite a while now, TIm. After so many years spent in this world with Cassie Hack, Vlad and the other characters, what keeps you excited about the franchise? How do you keep it fresh for yourself?
I think I finally just gave in and let the characters do the work, and that really keeps it fun for me. I think you hear that sort of thing from writers all the time, and it sounds kind of pretentious and douchey, but it really does work for me, and I think the readers can tell when I’m enjoying finding out about Cass and Vlad as much as they are.
As “Hack/Slash” moves to Image, what sort of feelings do you have about leaving DDP? Any hard feelings or is this a fairly amicable move?
There are no hard feelings, since Josh and I both realized this was the best thing for “Hack/Slash” and Devil’s Due. Josh helped me get the paperwork and such set up so I could take over the property and the financial stuff, so it’s not like we’ve only talked through lawyers after I stormed out and slammed the door. But I’ll always be grateful to DDP for giving me a start, and I’ll miss working with DDP publisher Sam Wells, as he’s one of my favorite dudes on earth.
At the same time, does the excitement about moving over to Image kind of trump your feelings about the series leaving DDP?
For sure. I mean, I’m going to get to sit next to Rob Liefeld at convention panels now!
I’m pretty sure that I would lose my credentials as a geek reporter if I didn’t ask you about the “Hack/Slash” film. Is there anything new to report?
You know, I just talked to some of those Hollywood types this week, and I guess no one has yet said, “Screw this, let’s just make ‘Twilight’ knock offs.” “Hack/Slash” is still in the hopper. When will we see casting news or something? I have no idea.
Any final thoughts you’d like to add about the move to Image and the future of “Hack/Slash” at large?
I just hope that people who have heard good things about “Hack/Slash,” or who have wanted to try it but haven’t, will use this as a chance to read it, at least for one issue. There’s a reason we’ve been kicking around for so long, and I think I’ve always had the right characters and creators – now, I’ve got the big, respected company to publish it at.
Tim Seeley’s “Hack/Slash: My First Maniac” #1 of 4 arrives in stores on June 9th, 2010 courtesy of Image Comics.