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EXCLUSIVE: Lemire & Sorrentino Explore Horror in Gideon Falls

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comic News Comment
EXCLUSIVE: Lemire & Sorrentino Explore Horror in Gideon Falls

The creative team behind Green Arrow and Old Man Logan — writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino — have joined forces again, this time to battle evil in a new ongoing, creator-owned series from Image Comics titled Gideon Falls.

Announced in advance of New York Comic Con 2017, Gideon Falls is the first creator-owned series for Sorrentino, but marks Lemire’s fourth endeavor with Image following in the footsteps of Royal City, Descender (with Dustin Ngyuen) and A.D. (with Scott Snyder).

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In an exclusive conversation with CBR, the frequent collaborators shared extraordinary observations, insight and art from Gideon Falls, which follows the lives of a young man believed to be suffering from mental illness. He is obsessed with a conspiracy in the city’s trash, and when a Catholic Priest who questions his faith before (and after) arriving in a small town full of dark secrets, both characters learn they’re connected and drawn to the mysteries of The Black Barn.

Gideon Falls, which will be colored by nine-time Eisner Award winner Dave Stewart, is expected in March 2018. Stewart also colors Black Hammer for Dark Horse, co-created and written by Lemire.

CBR: I love the high concept for Gideon Falls and I have read the first issue and it’s fantastic, but I have to say, you had me when it was announced that you two were working together. Your collaborations have so much energy and I am excited to see how far – and how dark – the two of you will go on a creator-owned property.

Jeff Lemire: The longer I’ve done this, the more I’ve discovered that there are certain artists that I really click with. Dustin [Nguyen] on Descender, Dean [Ormston] on Black Hammer and Andrea is the other. Those three guys are completely different from one another, and yet they complement what I do in different ways.

In the case of Andrea, he and I started on Green Arrow, and we really found a rhythm on that book really early on, where he would just take my scripts and my ideas and constantly one-up them. He would experiment and do things with layouts and storytelling that I hadn’t even imagined and then I would see that and it would push me in new directions. We would just riff off each other, back and forth, which you don’t always get… I always know wherever we start with a story, it’s going to end somewhere completely different than where we imagined and it’s going to be better. And that’s awesome. I love that about him.

Andrea, why do you think you and Jeff work so well together?

Andrea Sorrentino: I think it’s more or less what Jeff has just said. I like to push things to some limits. I like to try new directions or to try to take some unconventional techniques that belong to other mediums into the comics that I draw. And as Jeff said, it’s really like a circle where we usually push each other to surpass our limits.

Also, I think we really have similar tastes when it’s about the way we like to put things on the paper. The pace, the cinematic angles, and in general the atmospheres we like to work with. This means that I’m always in love with his scripts after I read them and this helps a lot [Laughs]

For Gideon Falls, we’re both aiming pretty high. Everything in the pages has some meaning and there are little details put here and there that have been carefully studied and placed on the page. Also, I’ve done some of my craziest art for it, from the promo art to some double spread of the first issue, this is the project where I’m probably pushing my art the most. We’re going very dark and very crazy.

Full disclosure: I’m not a huge horror fan. I didn’t love getting scared as a kid and I don’t love it now, but I have been intrigued by some of the new horror properties that seem to tap into more chills and nostalgia than gore.

Lemire: I’m not a big horror fan either to be honest. Growing up in the 1980s, there were a lot of teen slasher movies, and that stuff really repulsed me. I didn’t watch any of it. I was not drawn to it all. I think it was because it was just gore. It wasn’t really horror. There was no intelligence behind it. There was nothing smart about it. I always think there is a huge difference between gore and horror and a lot of the time it gets confused. I have no interest in gore but I do like psychological storytelling and exploring characters and I think using horror in that way can be really effective.

That’s really the origin of Gideon Falls. In many interviews, I have been asked about my early work and stuff that I did before I started getting my books published. I have alluded to the fact that I spent at least five years trying a whole bunch of comics that I never published and knew that I would probably never publish. A lot of Gideon Falls came from stuff that I was working on in 2000-02. These were stories that I was drawing and learning my craft on but they really never came together because I was still hadn’t really found myself as an artist so the characters in Gideon Falls have been around since then. I never really thought that I would do anything with them, and then when I started working with Andrea, these ideas started popping back into my mind. I realized with him that I could almost reinvent them and make them work in a whole different way. In a way, these are some of the first characters that I ever came up with – before Essex County and Sweet Tooth and all of that stuff.

Sorrentino: To be honest I don’t think, as adults, we can be still really scared from things you see in fiction or books. So the horror, if we still want to call it that, has to come from something more related to the everyday basic fears like the knowledge that dangers or evil exists, our struggle to find a place in this world and the fear we will not be good enough. It’s about the kind of horror that comes from inside, from your basic fears – maybe coming out of a bad experience or the culture you have grown up in – lurking into your mind. It’s made of paranoia and fear and sometimes it makes you lose your grip on reality. It’s something much closer than a random monster or a serial killer to all of us.

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