Slasher hunters Cassie Hack and Vlad have been on many big, bizarre, horrific and hilarious adventures in the pages of "Hack/Slash," which launched as an ongoing series in May of this year by creator/writer Tim Seeley & artist Emily Stone and Devil's Due Publishing. Three issues of "Hack/Slash" have hit stores and the buzz around the series is building. CBR News spoke with Seeley about his plans for the book.
When "Hack/Slash" returned as an ongoing series, Seely, like every independent comic creator, was a little worried about sales, but with the recent release of "Hack/Slash" #3 things are looking up. "Sales between issue one and two were basically the same, which surprised me," Seeley told CBR News, referring the traditional drop-off in sales that occurs following the release issue #1 of any new title. "Then we actually went UP on issue 3. So, halleleiujah! We might just pull off some kind of 'Walking Dead' or 'Invincible' style coup here!"
"Hack/Slash" #4 marks the climatic chapter of the series' first storyline, but new readers don't need to really need to know anything to pick up the issue and get in on all the fun and flaying. "Basically, the back story/origin of the characters of the book is always explained on the inside cover," Seeley said. "You always get the basics right away. As of issue # 4, Cassie and Vlad have been split up while battling an evil hair band called Acid Washed [You can now rock out to some of Acid Washed's songs on their MySpace page] which uses its powers to control virgins to lure souls for it's dark master. Cass, a virgin, is in hell fighting Elvis, while Vlad, also a virgin, is trying to get laid so he can go after her. Make sense?"
In issue #3 of "Hack/Slash," the skinless hell hound called Pooch told his tale and readers learned the identity of Acid Washed's dark masters, the gods of the hellish dimension known as Nef, which were somewhat inspired by the gods of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. "Partially, I wanted to take the religious connotations out of hell, and deal with a place where they would have need of pure souls from another world," Seeley said. "What kind of place would that have to be? The Lovecraftian aspects of the Neflords stems from the fact that I really wanted to incorporate that kind of very Victorian horror with the very non-Victorian aspects of '80s hair metal."
The Neflords and their hair metal minions are proving to be a harrowing threat for Cassie and Vlad, but the fiends are not part of the larger story in "Hack/Slash" involving the mysteries behind the undead serial killers known as Slashers. "In this case, you just get a crazy, fun one off tale that allows me to play with some other kinds of bad guys that typically show up in horror films: The Whatever Is Hip at the Time Themed Killer," Seeley explained. "Horror films have typically always been the cheapest to shoot, thus fastest, so you see things based on fads. Hair metal, with its skulls and chains and fake blood was always perfectly matched for horror, so there was a rash of '80s films like 'Trick or Treat,' 'Black Roses,' and even 'Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.' I love these kind of movies and I wanted to share with 'H/S' readers!"
This story isn't the first time Cassie and Vlad have been tormented by sorcery, and in upcoming issues Seeley plans to take a larger look at how magic works in the world of "Hack/Slash." "We'll see it doesn't work like fantasy world based magic, and actually connects to our larger story," Seeley said.
When the first major story arc of "Hack/Slash" the ongoing series comes to a conclusion in issue #4, readers can expect everyone to be involved in the final showdown. Seeley revealed that not only would Cassie and Vlad face off against the Neflords, but also that Acid Washed, former chief Nef minion Elvis Presley and Pooch will all be part of the final showdown as well.
And while issue #4 sees the end of the Acid Washed story but Cassie and Vlad's battle against the wicked Hair Metal band will have a big impact on the duo, particularly Vlad, who in issue #3 sacrificed his virginity in a tryst with a drunken band groupie named Gertrude in order to save Cassie. "What were going to see primarily is a guy who's primarily been 'asexual' suddenly has a whole new world opened up for him," Seeley said. "Vlad has typically come across as a sweet and innocent guy...but what happens when his innocence is gone?"
After "Hack/Slash" #4, Cassie and Vlad's next adventure will pit them against another undying serial killer-however, this supernatural psychopath has his own comic series. His name is Edgar Dill and his fight with Seeley's Slasher slayers will be chronicled in "Bump-Hack/Slash," a crossover one-shot special from Fangoria Comics written by regular "Bump" writer/artist Mark Kidwell and featuring art by Seeley. "Scott Licina, the EIC at Fangoria Comics is a local guy, and I know him through some buds of mine," Seely explained. "We basically just sat down at the Fango Horror Con in February with beers and talked it out. I also know Mark Kidwell, so this was just an old fashioned, no corporate BS crossover."
"Bump-Hack/Slash" is crossover adventure that will be new-reader-friendly for fans of both titles. "All 'Hack/Slash' fans need to know about 'Bump' is just that it rocks, and the crossover will be a blast," Seeley remarked. "The crossover flows loosely enough that we get Cas and Vlad rearing and ready to go, without any of the issues currently plaguing them in the monthly. Essentially, we just follow Cas and Vlad as they roll into town, prepared to stomp some nasty stick monster ass."
The stomping of nasty stick monster ass in "Bump-Hack/Slash" will be depicted by Seeley, and the story marks the first time he's ever drawn a full-length story featuring his creations. "Scott's original plan was for Mark and I to each write and draw a half, with me drawing his story and him drawing mine," Seeley said. "But Mark is an in-demand guy, and he got carried away at the typewriter, so we resolved to have him write with me supplying art. After having just done like 160 pages of fantasy stuff, I almost fell off my chair scrambling to ink a deal to draw this."
October also see the release of the latest "Hack/Slash" collection, "Hack/Slash Volume 3: Friday the 31 st ." "It collects 'Hack/Slash vs. Chucky' and issues #1-4 of the ongoing. "We'll have a sketch section too, with stuff from me and Emily Stone," Seeley said. "This was done to let the slow learners pick up the trade if they missed the first issues but heard the buzz."
Following their rumble with Edgar Dill, Cassie and Vlad's ongoing adventures resume in November with "Hack/Slash" #5. "Issue #5 is really an important issue in that it allows me to do something I couldn't do in the one-shots," Seeley remarked. "In #5, we just have three short stories that set the tone for the next several arcs. They're more personal and intimate than what we've seen before."
"Hack/Slash" is artist Emily Stone's first ongoing gig, and Seeley has been amazed by how rapidly she has grown as an artist in the short time they've been working together. "I think it's evident on the page to see how far she and colorist Courtney Via have come so fast," Seeley stated. "I couldn't be happier with the team, and I know if we keep up this level of quality we'll be one of the best looking books around."
A feature film based on "Hack/Slash is in production at Rogue Pictures and many "H/S" fans are wondering about the casting process on the film and what the cinematic versions of their favorite Slasher Slayers will look like. "You can expect announcements soon ," Seely promised. "Some cool people have shown interest, but if there's one thing I've learned about Hollywood is that you must be patient, grasshopper."
"Hack/Slash" is a series inspired by the Slasher film genre, and the recent announcement that Devils Due Publishing has acquired the rights to publish new comic stories based on the mother of all Slasher films, "Halloween," has left many "Hack/Slash" fans excited. Will Cassie Hack and Vlad get a chance to confront the OG of Slashers, Michael Meyers? "I would dress as a clown and stab a slutty sister to see that happen," Seeley declared. "I'll see what I can do. In the meantime . . . send emails to DDP people!"