Gothic Tales of Haunted Love Aims to Revive Forgotten Comics Genre

When Hope Nicholson wants to revive a forgotten piece of comics culture, it's unwise to bet against her.

The Winnipeg-based editor and publisher brought attention to early Canadian comic books with reprints of Nelvana of the Northern Lights and Brok Windsor, and helped inject new life into the anthology format with The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, originally published by her Bedside Press before being picked up by Dark Horse Comics.

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In her seventh and most recent Kickstarter campaign, Nicholson seeks funding for Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, a 200-page anthology from creators including Cecil Castellucci & Willow Dawson, Mel Gillman & Jen Vaughn, Katie West & Ray Fawkes and Rahzzah. The book aims to revive the genre of gothic romance comics, which has a brief heyday in the '70s with titles such as Haunted Love and Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion.

Yet the anthology looks to not just evoke the feelings of the era but move the material forward into the present day. As Nicholson -- who is editing the project along with S.M. Beiko -- writes on the Kickstarter page, "The genre is also full of tired tropes -- blonde women shrieking across the thunderstorm-streaked moors of England, anyone? -- and while we love the images gothic romance conjures, there could be so much more to it."

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love currently is 85 percent funded, with $18,493 US pledged of its $21,620 goal. The campaign will run until Sept. 12.

CBR has the first look at "Goldblind," a six-page story written by Nicholson for the anthology and illustrated by Scott Chantler; inspired by gold-rush stories from authors like Robert W. Service. As Nicholson told CBR, she wanted to write a story for the anthology partly to become a better editor.

"I wrote a story in this anthology for the main reason of going through the process of writing a comic script and collaborating with an artist so I could be a better editor," Nicholson said. "I pretty much am going in blind advising writers and artists, even if I have the best of intentions, so I thought at least one hands-on experience would help me relate more and identify difficulties and help the creators along in their process. And yeah, writing comics is hard! I'm not a terribly visual thinker so it was a bit of a headache for me, so of course I chose the best artist I could imagine, Scott Chantler, to help my script along in the process."

"Hope sent me this script to get my advice on it, and I loved it so much I offered to draw it," Chantler added. "Unlike many first-time writers, Hope really put the story across visually. I could 'see' it in my head immediately. I like the historical stuff, and don’t often get to draw anything this dark, so it was in my wheelhouse but also a nice change of pace."

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