For years now, undead serial killers known as "Slashers" have been quietly plying their bloody trade by only claiming victims at certain times of the year. These slashers should consider themselves on notice because slasher slayers Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad are turning up the heat on them. Cass and Vlad are the stars of Tim Seeley's horror/humor series "Hack/Slash" from Devil's Due Publishing, which began as a series of quarterly one-shots. But this May, Cass and Vlad graduate into the four color big leagues as "Hack/Slash" the ongoing monthly series launches. In part one of a two part feature on "Hack/Slash" the ongoing series, CBR News spoke with writer/creator Seeley.
Seeley is ecstatic that "Hack/Slash" the ongoing series has finally become a reality. "I always wanted to do an ongoing, but it was definitely an issue of waiting for the right time," Seeley told CBR News. "We were able to get a crossover with a major slasher character and expose the book to some new readers, I managed to find the perfect creative team, and the movie is on the horizon, so I say that time is now!"
An ongoing series has afforded Seeley a number of new story opportunities for "Hack/Slash." "Now I can introduce more supporting characters, and have crazy little things like subplots! Whooo!" Seeley exclaimed. "And, now I finally have the space to tell the story of Cassie's dad, which we've never really touched upon in the space of the one-shots."
Seeley definitely plans to tell some longer stories in the "Hack/Slash" ongoing, but fans can also expect to see some single issue stories as well. "The first issue is an intro 'one-off' with some subplots started, and after that it'll be a three part story called 'Shout at the Devil,'" Seeley said. "After that, a one-off to get more new readers up to speed, and then another three-parter. Throughout we'll have the arc concerning Cas's old man playing out in the background."
"Hack/Slash" #1 is a one-off story designed to introduce new readers to the characters and concepts of the series, but the issue contains plenty of surprises sure to please long time "Hack/Slash" fans as well. "It's very new reader friendly, but I think I managed to have it avoid repeating a lot of what old readers have already seen," Seeley explained. "The first issue will be all about introducing new readers to Cassie, while giving some new background for old readers."
The new background info in "Hack/Slash" #1 will included some revelations about the mysterious slasher phenomenon. "I guarantee that we'll start seeing aspects of that big bag of worms right out of the gate," Seeley said.
Readers will get an early preview of Hack/Slash #1 on May 5 th , this year's Free Comic Book Day, when Devil's Due releases a free book that's a split between "Hack/Slash" and their "Family Guy" title. "It'll be several pages from the first issue, and it'll include some of the older material to get everyone up to speed," Seeley stated. "The intent is, people pick it up, get sucked in, and have to go buy the first issue the week after."
New readers and long time "Hack/Slash" fans should take that week to prepare themselves because the intensity and action starts right on the first page of issue#1. "Issue #1 takes place a few weeks after the Chucky crossover, with Cas and Vlad enjoying some leisure downtime. Okay, not really," Seeley joked. "Basically, issue #1 drops us right into the thick of things, with Cas about to be an amputee. We won't get a chance to see how they're feelin' until issue# 2. Issue #1 begins with Cassie at the mercy of a brand new slasher, and the story details how a plan went astray and what Vlad is trying to do to rectify that."
Things will be pretty dire for Seeley's heroes in issue #1 but like the previous one-shots, "Hack/Slash" the series will continue to be a balance of horror and humor. "It'll be a mix, of course, with the first issue being good and damn dark, and the second issue, featuring the evil hair metal band, Acid Washed, being a bit lighter," Seeley explained. "Basically, I've noticed a trend where readers like to see their heroes beat silly (yeah, I read 'Civil War'), so I tried to oblige by opening the series with the grimmest situation Cassie's been in yet."
Many of the grim situations Cassie and Vlad face in "Hack/Slash" will be caused by sadistic slashers, but undead serial killers aren't the only obstacles the duo will have to tackle. "The intent of every 'Hack/Slash' is to have our characters battling both evil, over the top psychos, as well as having to deal with this very difficult lifestyle they have to live. So, every issue is intended to be a mix of scares, laughs, boobs, blood, and really interesting characterization."
It won't be just Cassie and Vlad that get moments of interesting characterization in "Hack/Slash." "Though Cas and Vlad are itinerant, they will have recurring characters," Seeley explained. "The main supporting cast is made up of some of the survivors of the previous stories, who as we've seen, have banded together to help Cas and Vlad out. Hack/Slash, Inc. as they call themselves will have their own lives going as well, with a bunch of stories of their own. And, of course, the characters involved in that 'Cassie's Pa' story I keep mentioning will have recurring roles too. And, it wouldn't be a good slasher story if the killers didn't keep coming back."
Readers can also expect Cassie and Vlad's support network to grow as the series progresses. "We introduce a pretty important character in 'Shout at the Devil,'" Seeley said.
Seeley's heroes will also be running afoul of many characters who don't want to assist them with their mission. Readers can expect the forces of Ceutotech (the company trying to turn a profit from slashers, that last appeared in the "Slice Hard" one-shot) to continue to plague Cass and Vlad. Also the duo's action will soon be drawing the attention of law enforcement agencies. "We'll see that you can't show up at the scene of mass murders everyday, and not get noticed," Seeley explained.
Readers can also expect Cass and Vlad's actions to draw attention from other interested parties as well. "One thing I wanted to deal with is the sort of camera phone/You Tube culture, where anything can be posted as a video in no time, and how that would affect some of these slasher cases," Seeley said. "Sooner or later, someone is going to catch a crazed nut job getting aced by Cassie on film."
With Seeley's heroes taking down slashers across the country some readers might be wondering why the news media isn't looking into the slasher phenomenon. "You'll see in the first issue that there's a reason this stuff isn't front page news," Seeley stated.
Cassie and Vlad's Slasher hunts have taken them across the country and in future issues of the series, the duo just might find themselves globe-hopping. "Since slasher films are so inherently American, I've been keeping the stories contained to the USA," Seeley explained. "But, I did tinker with it a bit with one of the 'Trailers' stories which took place in Tokyo. Sooner or later, I do intend to explore some of the other versions of the slasher film seen in other countries. We've got the Italian giallo films, and the J- horror stuff--.it's safe to say I've got enough story material to last me a good long while."
Seeley's wealth of story material for "Hack/Slash" will be brought to life by artist Emily Stone. "Ah, Emily. Where to start? Really, I didn't want to start the ongoing until I felt like I found the perfect penciler," Seeley said. "My requirements were that the artist be able to draw hot, realistically proportioned ladies, could tell a story, and was reliable. Of course, only 2% or so of all comic artists can be all these things. I stalked Em for awhile, knowing she was the lady for the job, and when I found a colorist for her, I dropped my insidious plan on her. Em doesn't so much BRING anything to the book as she IS the book. It's her Cassie that you're gonna fall in love with, and her slashers you're gonna be scared of--her death scenes you're gonna chuckle at."
Seeley hopes to have plenty of "Hack/Slash" stories for Stone to illustrate including the eventual final chapter of the series. "I do have an end," he said. "But the hope is that I don't have to get to it anytime soon. I can see myself doing a Garth Ennis or Gaiman and going for 60 issues. So, ya'know, make sure ya buy it, so I can do all the cool stuff you won't get in any other book!"
The goofiness and gore continues tomorrow as CBR News concludes its feature on the "Hack/Slash" ongoing series by chatting with artist Emily Stone.
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