When you lock two people inside a large building with undead, homicidal maniacs chances are those two people are going to die in a spectacular and gory fashion unless those two people are Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad. Cassie and Vlad have been stalking undead killers or "slashers" for awhile now in the pages of Tim Seeley's horror humor series "Hack/Slash" and in the latest installment, October's "Hack/Slash: Slice Hard," a 48 page special from Devils Due Publishing, the duo find themselves unarmed and up against not one but six slashers. CBR News spoke with Seeley about the story which pokes fun at the conventions of both action and horror films.
"Slice Hard" picks up right after the events of last month's "Slice Hard Pre-Sliced 25 Cent Special" and Seeley is happy to bring readers who might have missed the economy priced issue up to date. "You missed the 25 cent special?! What's wrong with you?! It was only a quarter!" Seeley joked. "I kid. In the 'Slice Hard Prequel,' we saw Cassie and Vlad try to catch a slasher called Acid Angel, but the tables were turned and the duo was lured into a trap and captured by a mysterious organization. Cliffhanger-larity ensured."
The mysterious organization captured Cassie and Vlad by tasering them into unconsciousness and when the two awake they find they are the prisoners of this sinister and shadowy group. "'Slice Hard' finds Cas and Vlad waking up in a pharmaceutical company called Ceutotech, a giant corporation that's doing nefarious experiments with slashers....." Seeley told CBR News.
The Ceutotech employee who caught Cassie and Vlad in the "Slice Hard Prequel" won't be appearing in "Slice Hard," but readers shouldn't think that Cassie will forget about him. "He's a mercenary that works for Ceutotech," Seeley explained. "He doesn't show up in 'Slice Hard,' but I have plans for a confrontation with him down the line."
The promotional art for "Slice Hard" showed two of the six slashers that Cassie and Vlad will have confrontations with in the special. If these two slashers seem familiar to long time "Hack/Slash" readers, well, they should be. "Two of the slashers in this one first appeared in 'Euthanized' [The first Hack/Slash special] in a panel where Cassie explains slashers," Seeley said. "The tic tac toe guy is called XO. The other one from that scene is Mortimer Strick the rodeo clown."
Readers can expect Cassie and Vlad's confrontations with XO, Mortimer Strick and the other slashers to end with scenes of spectacular and often twisted, wacky carnage. "I really pushed it in this one," Seeley said. "Basically, I had to combine the 'action movie death' with the 'slasher movie death' which makes for some hilariously twisted stuff. This one is definitely the most over- the-top 'Hack/Slash' I've done. With six slashers instead of one, I kinda had to make it that way."
"Slice Hard" won't be just over the top humor and violence. In each issue of "Hack/Slash," Seeley provides a fun, twisted and amusing tale chock full of boobs and blood letting, but he also uses each issue to further develop his two protagonists and provide insights into their pasts . "I can't do a Hack/Slash story without any relevance, and in this one, you'll see some of Cassie's past explored," Seeley explained. "Vlad basically acts as the John McClane of this one, so there wasn't much time for flashbacks with him. Haha."
It won't be just Cassie's past that readers will learn about in "Slice Hard." Since the plot of the issue involves a corporation studying slashers, readers can expect some glimpses into the phenomenon behind the creation of a slasher. "Bits of the slasher back story are revealed here - there's more to it than random resurrections of bad dudes," Seeley stated. "Ceutotech will play a part in the future as we'll see that you can't have unstoppable killing machines running around without people taking notice and trying to exploit that."
Another detail that Seeley plans to further develop in "Slice Hard" and future stories is Cassie and Vlad's growing celebrity status among certain circles of society. "I want to play up the 'underground fame' or 'urban legend' status that Cas and Vlad are getting," Seeley said. "People are forming web groups and writing blogs about their experiences. Cassie, Vlad and the slasher phenomenon are finding a place in 'kook culture' alongside alien abductions and ghost hunting."
To bring to life Cassie and Vlad's latest exploits for the annals of kook culture, Seeley enlisted the art team of Nate Bellegarde and Mark Englert, a team whose work might not be familiar to all "Hack/Slash" fans but should be familiar to fans of Seeley's work at Image Comics. "Nate and Mark did the art on my Image comic, 'Loaded Bible: Jesus vs. Vampires,'" Seeley said. "I loved how that book turned out. Nate and Mark together make this really amazing, energetic artwork. I figured that would be perfect for 'Slice Hard,' and I think I was right. It's looking awesome...even better than the stuff they did on 'Bible.'"
Nate Bellegarde will most likely also illustrate the next installment of "Hack/Slash," which is currently in the planning stages. This story will catapult Cassie and Vlad into the big leagues and pit them against a well know adversary. "The next one-shot will star an actual famous film slasher," Seeley said. "I can't say who yet, but the guy has a bunch of movies under his belt, and a huge body count. I'm psyched for that one...I'm using that to get Nate to draw 'Slice Hard' faster, since he'll be perfect for drawing this one."
Cassie's next exploit is against a fiend with a film franchise and someday soon the slasher hunter may have a film franchise of her own because the "Hack/Slash" film is currently in development. Seeley had good news about the film for fans. "The movie is chugging along, and everything I've seen looks awesome," He said. "'More blood, more boobs' is the edict. And, I want to thank all the Hack/Slash readers, who recommend it to their friends or review it online. Our numbers are growing, and it's all because of readers like that!"