When your job is destroying undead serial killers, the idea of a dull, normal life isn't a frightening thing; it's something you hope for. That's the situation 20-year-old Cassie Hack currently finds herself in. Can Cassie, the star of writer/creator Tim Seeley's "Hack/Slash" series from Devil's Due, let go of that life, and will the Slashers of the world let her? CBR News spoke with Seeley for some answers.
Part of the reason Cassie has decided to try for a normal life is that she's forced to think about life and death a lot more than most people. "One of the things I really wanted to deal with in this storyline was Cassie's realization of her own mortality, and that despite that teenage feeling of immortality; she's going to get older. Cassie has her life in danger all the time," Seeley told CBR News. "She noticed life was short a lot earlier than I ever did. So, part of that is the realization that she can't do this forever. And that if she takes the 'normal life,' Vlad might not have a place in it."
Vlad, Cassie's hulking misshapen partner in Slasher slaying, is also anxious over whether or not there will be room for him in Cassie's new life. "Vlad knows that Cassie offers him a chance of the one life that he really fits well into. The possibility of losing her to something more 'real' terrifies him," Seeley said. "Vlad has gotten used to be being the sidekick to a slasher-hunting badass. What would he be without that?"
Complicating matters further is the other person who's entered Cassie's life, Margaret Crump, with whom Cassie is falling in love. "Margaret's character is someone who actually sees Cassie for who she is, she's maybe the only other one besides Vlad," Seeley explained. "And even though she never considered herself gay or a lesbian or whatever, she fell in love with that person. Maybe that' sort of a testament to what an incredible person Cass is under the 'bad-ass-bitch' exterior. So, when faced with that powerful of a realization, I think Margaret would be ready to follow Cassie everywhere."
The intensity of emotions that Cassie, Vlad, and Margaret are all experiencing makes the dynamic between the three characters incredibly complicated. "That's what makes it so great to write, and hopefully to read," Seeley remarked. "Cassie would love to have a normal life, but she doesn't want to lose Vlad. Margaret doesn't want to take Cassie away from her 'job' but she's realizing she doesn't want to be without her. And Vlad wants Cassie to be happy, but he's terrified at the thought of living with out her. Take that, daytime soap operas! My little slasher comic is full of love triangles!"
Cassie, Vlad, and Margaret aren't the only ones going through an intense experience. On sale now, "Hack/Slash" #19, saw their friends Chris and Lisa and the extradimensional dog, Pooch, narrowly survive an assassin sent by Pooch's masters, the monstrous Nef Lords, to kill him and Cassie. "I like to play Lisa and Chris as you or I. They react to this crazy shit like normal people would. Normal people who live with an alien dog," Seeley remarked. "But I think most everyone has noticed that nothing brings people together like tragedy, and Chris, Pooch and Lisa are facing that on a pretty regular basis."
The final page of "Hack/Slash" #19 gave readers their first hints of two new major players in the title: a knife-wielding masked man named Samhain and the mysterious group he's linked to, The Black Lamp Society. "The Black Lamp Society will play out over the next few issues and become a new threat for Cas and Vlad to deal with," Seeley explained. "I'm pretty psyched about Samhain too, as he's going to be the coolest good guy/bad guy/superhero looking dude I've ever made up."
"Hack/Slash" #20 kicks off a new three-part story arc titled "Mindkiller." "This story puts Cassie through the ringer," Seeley said. "She's gonna go to prison, meet the Black Lamp Society, fight two of her archenemies, and probably be in her underwear at some point."
One of the archenemies Cassie tangles with is Ashley Guthrie, a vicious slasher who stalks people in their dreams like Freddy Krueger. Seeley had to remain mum on who the other enemy was, but could talk about some of the supporting cast in "Mindkiller." "We're going to really focus on Margaret and Gertrude Hall, who were both introduced in the 'Shout at the Devil' arc. I love Gertrude, and we'll get to see her in all her glory in the next arc."
For the first installment of "Mindkiller," Seeley is collaborating with artist Kevin Mellon. "He did the book 'Gearhead' which I really liked and a book called '13 Steps' with Phil Hester," Seeley said. "Kev is on for issues #19 and #20 and then Emily Stone comes back after a little vacation to thrill us all some more."
Seeley promises "Mindkiller" and the arc that follows it, "Double Feature," will be action packed and blood soaked stories. He plans on using those arcs to set up an even grander story. "This all leads up to issue #25, which will be my huge celebration that I've had an indie horror book go on for two years," Seeley said. "It's be a big thank you to the readers, and the story will be epic."
Tim Seeley envisions "Hack/Slash" as a finite series spanning about 60-70 issues, meaning issue #25 will bring the writer nearly halfway through book. "I'm just happy to have gotten this far!" he said. "And, yeah, there's still lots of crazy, scary, sexy shit to come."