Brendan Hay knows funny. For the past seven years, the Long Island native has been working non-stop for some of the top comedy shows on television including "Saturday Night Live," "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report." Currently, he is a staff writer for "Frank TV," a new sketch comedy program launched last fall on TBS. The show's initial episode order was cut short due to the writers' strike, but Hay kept busy with "Screem Queen," a new horror-comedy title for BOOM! Studios.
The upcoming five-issue miniseries was announced Friday at WonderCon in San Francisco, and will feature art by Nate Watson ("Plan 9 From Outer Space... Strikes Again").
"Hopefully, it will be as equally funny and scary as I hope it will be," Brendan Hay told CBR News. "I think no matter what, the art is really going to look great because Nate is doing an awesome job on that."
The 29-year-old Hay said his idea for the book came to him about a year ago when he was watching "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2." "I don't know if you have ever seen it, but I really got into the idea where they started flirting with the notion that Leatherface was falling for the girl a little bit or at least, he is sparing her because he kind of liked her," said Hay. "After the movie, the idea was still kicking around in my head. I was like, we have seen all of these slashers kill dozens upon dozens of teenage girls, but what if one them decided to actually fall for the girl? And how would this maladjusted, psychopath actually try to woo her?
"That's how it kicked off and I kept playing with it more and more and it finally became 'Scream Queen.' Thankfully, I got to speak with [Co-founder and Publisher] Ross Richie over at BOOM! and he liked the idea too and we have been building it up from there."
The main man causing the titular queen to scream is called Wrighty. "Every couple of years, you hear those terrible news stories where it is basically a girl has had a baby at prom and throws him into a dumpster. Wrighty is one of those babies, " revealed Hay. "But this baby was found by the really creepy, crazy, psychopath in his own right, janitor at the local mall and he raises Wrighty as his own. The janitor at the mall, George, hates teenagers because they make the janitor's life at the mall hell so Wrighty is basically raised to be your typical slasher. He's the enforcer type. I guess Jason and his mother never really worked in tandem, but if you want, go with that kind of model.
"Wrighty agrees with the notion that these kids are going to be your downfall, but at the same time, he has been raised away from them. He has been raised in the crawl space of the mall, pretty much, which is inspired by one of my other favorite horror movies that I saw a couple of years back and always stuck with me, called 'Bad Ronald.'
"It is basically a kid, who as a little kid, accidentally kills his neighbor. So his mom's brilliant decision is to lock him in the basement so he can't be arrested by anybody. But when the mom passes away, a new family moves in and there is this creepy kid living in the basement of the house. And naturally, the new family has the three most gorgeous daughters on the planet. And Bad Ronald is stalking through the house. And I was like, yeah, you probably would end up a little maladjusted. He wants to kill them but at the same time, he is also a little envious of the teenagers.
"In 'Scream Queen,' through a whole series of events, Wrighty gets to meet, well not directly meet, but in his mind, close enough to really meet this one girl who works at the food court and her name is Molly."
Enter the girl doing the screaming. "Wrighty ends up falling for Molly because she is the only teenager who is sweet to George," continued Hay. "She is kind of a little bit sweet to everybody. She's one of those girls, who is actually gorgeous but hasn't realized it yet. But maybe throughout the series she will. The other thing is she is one of those girls who isn't that well-to-do, so she doesn't have the time to enjoy the after school activities or just kind of hang out with all the popular kids, instead she is always working. She is the template of the beautiful popular girl but doesn't get to enjoy any of the perks of that life. She is just this working stiff at the mall.
"As Wrighty falls for her, he, in his own warped way, tries to woo her, which may involve killing people on her behalf without her asking," laughed Hay. "If people cross her, they may have to deal with Wrighty. Benefits start falling her way that she can't quite explain how they happened, and at the same time she starts to notice people just start dying around her. She is equal parts becoming prom queen and Carrie, because there is a little bit of a mystery for her to figure out, too."
And while Hay wouldn't spill the beans if Wrighty eventually lands his true love, he did tell uswhere the climatic scene would occur. "Throughout the series, he is trying to get to know her and eventually ask her to prom. Because if we are going to merge a teen comedy with a horror movie, a prom seems to be the only natural place to climax," quipped Hay.
As Hay sees his career in comics starting to boom, he admits it is something he's wanted all of his life. "I always wanted to write comics. I have actually been working in TV for the last seven or eight years, but comics were always my first passion," explained Hay. "All though high school, I worked at Grasshopper's Comics in Long Island in Willistown Park. It was a great experience. It was a store I went to growing up and then in high school, I started working there. When I got to college, I interned at Marvel Comics, which was awesome. And actually, one guy who I have remained friends with since then, who I interned with, is Tim Seeley, who does 'Hack/Slash' over at Devil's Due. While Tim and I were both at Marvel, we just kept kicking ideas around and one of the ideas we had was a comic we did about six or seven years ago, called 'Love Bunny & Mr. Hell.' I wrote about three issues of that ultimately under Devil's Due, but also under Dead Dog Comics, which was a short-lived publisher back then.
"As soon as I got out of college, I wanted to try some comics, but oddly enough, at least for the position I was in, it was easier to start getting established in TV than it was in comics. So as a writer, I was like, 'Alright, I have found work here that will pay.' So I kept going to TV, but comics were always there on my mind. And I was always, like, 'How can I get back in there?' I wrote a couple of things there and fortunately in the last year or so I have had a little more time in my own schedule where I can really dedicate some time to comics again because I don't want to be one of those guys who wants to do it on top of their TV day job and never has time to actually hand in a script. So the last year, I have had a slightly freer schedule so I wrote a story for 'Cthulhu Tales' for BOOM! that came out last fall. I actually first met Ross because we are both repped by the same agency and I kept bugging my agent more and more about pitching some comic stuff and finally he introduced me to Ross.
"I also did some work on a 'Class of Nuke'Em High' story for Devil's Due that they put out last year which was a blast. I can only hope that the Troma antholgy finds its life and its fans because I would love to write more 'Class of Nuke'Em High' stories."
Hay said the best part of writing "Scream Queen" for BOOM! Studios is working not only for but with living legend Mark Waid, the publisher's Editor-In-Chief "The legend title totally applies, and he still has 40 years of legendary writing to come," said Hay. "Working with BOOM! has been awesome, in general. Everybody there is great, but working with Mark, in particular, has just been amazing. This is a guy I have read for the last 15 years, so to be getting story notes from him is awesome. It's the first time I have actively worked with an editor. The whole process is just that much more fun. I am learning so much. This is the ultimate education."