Physical trauma often leads to pain and suffering, but when it comes to emotional trauma, humans feel torment on a whole other level. In folklore and fiction, emotional agony even transcends death, resulting in things like ghosts or the hateful, undead killing machines that stalked the pages of Tim Seeley's cult horror/humor comic, Hack/Slash. It was the job of the series' title character, Cassandra “Cassie” Hackm to end the rampage of these so-called Slashers, and she did so in bloody, violent style.
Introduced in a 2004 one-shot from Devil's Due Publishing, Cassie Hack was a twist on the classic horror movie “Final Girl” trope who began her crusade against Slashers after her mother became one and she had to put her down. After that, she graduated to her own ongoing series, which eventually moved to Image Comics. That series came to an end in 2012, and since then Cassie has appeared in the occasional team-up miniseries with other horror characters. Now, she's back in action with a new series of her own: Hack/Slash: Resurrection.
With this new volume, Seeley is serving as editor to the creative team of writer Tini Howard and artist Celor. CBR spoke with Howard about how writing Cassie is a dream come true, what Cassie's been doing since the end of her original ongoing series, and the scenario that brings her back into the world of Slasher hunting,
CBR: Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley makes no secret that the series was born out of a love for horror movies -- both the good and the awesomely bad. I'm guessing you share that love.
Tini Howard: Yeah. Tim and I have been talking for a while. I had actually sent him something I had written for a book that was putting together essays on the subject of the anniversary of Dick Grayson. This book was collecting essays about all parts of the character's life span, and I was really enjoying Tim and Tom King's run on Grayson. I'm kind of an academic nerd when it comes to literary criticism, so I did that with their run and sent it to them.
Since then, we've talked casually on and off, and Tim reached out to me and asked if I wanted to write Hack/Slash. I'm a horror geek, a loudmouth, bisexual, and a girl, so I share a lot in common with Cassie. She's a character I've loved for a really long time because I've always looked at the book as more than just a love letter to slasher movies. Tim did a lot of really smart things. He critiqued films and explored other aspects of the genre in a lot of different ways.
One of my favorite movies that sort of captures the feel of Hack/Slash is Tucker &Dale Vs. Evil. It's legitimately gory and weird, but also very subversive towards the horror genre. That's a lot of what I'm trying to do, have those great and gross moments, but to also throw in nods to things I love. For example, the setting for our first arc is Camp Indigo River, which is an obvious Camp Crystal Lake parody.
The Camp itself has an ulterior purpose, and Cassie's role there is not what it initially seems, because it would be a boring story if it was just her going there to be a camp counselor. Though, I would have fun writing that, because I'd have fun writing Cassie reading the phone book. I love her so much that I write pages and pages of dialogue for every issue that never make it in. I like Cassie being a smart ass. It just comes naturally to me, but I'm also a very guarded person.
I like to think that Tim saw my potential and he asked me to write this book because of that. He's said a couple times that he wanted to bring Hack/Slash back, but not until he felt like he found the right people to do it. He already had an artist in mind, and then he brought me on.
The original Image Hack/Slash series ended about five years ago, and since then Cassie has appeared in a number of places including the Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain miniseries and crossover/team-up stories that paired her with characters like Ash from Evil Dead and Vampirella. Where is she both physically and emotionally when you pick up with her in issue #1?
We're coming out the same time as the Hack/Slash Vs. Vampirella series, so there was an opportunity to crossover and work with that book. Ultimately, I decided part of the fun of writing indy comics is, you get to do whatever you want. So I decided I wanted to let Shaun [Aldrige] and his team do whatever they want over on Hack/Slash Vs. Vampirella, which has been a blast and super fun.
We start a little quieter. When we open up, she's been off the grid for about five years. She's living in a trailer on a mountain where she has good enough Internet access to make her living basically as a Twitch streamer playing video games like Friday the 13th and Dead By Daylight. She plays survival horror games, and she's very good at them because she knows what to do. She's like, “I never freak out because my adrenal receptors are basically fried at this point.”
She's realized she can make a living with these games. People pay her to fight zombies, and that never happened when there were real zombies. She's like, “I have a cat. I'm off the grid, and nothing bothers me. It's great.” In the preview pages we've released, though, you can see that people are already looking for her, and she's actively avoiding them. She eventually decides to go clean up this mess before she has real zombies in her front yard. That leads to the inciting incident of the book, which is her going to Camp Indigo River.