While IDW Publishing is known for publishing a number of licensed properties such as "CSI," "Angel," "24" and "Transformers," they're probably best known as the company that helped revive the horror genre in comics. With a few notable exceptions, horror was a very underrepresented genre in comics for almost 30 years. Then the Steve Niles/Ben Templesmith book "30 Days of Night" appeared on the scene and the genre began to explode within comics again.
In the early 1950s to the 1970s, Warren Publications put out illustrated magazines like "Eerie" and "Creepy," books that brought back to the forefront the kind of horror fiction found in the classic EC books from years ago. IDW Publishing is hoping to invoke a bit of that memory this October with the launch of a new bi-monthly magazine called "Doomed."
Much like those Warren books, "Doomed" will be printed on newsprint in a magazine format. The black-and-white magazines will feature adaptations of short horror fiction from some of the genres greatest masters like Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, David J. Schow and F. Paul Wilson. Each issue will feature four, 16-page adaptations. To find out more about this new horror magazine, CBR News caught up with IDW's Editor-In-Chief Chris Ryall
Ryall explained how "Doomed" came to be. "The project started a few months back-- we were enamored with the possibility of collecting the great Warren publications like Eerie and Creepy into nice, thick packages," Ryall told CBR News. "While that didn't quite happen, the idea of doing a horror magazine that paid homage to those old horror magazines stuck. Ashley Wood, who's also a big fan of those old magazines, was into the idea and so 'Doomed' really coalesced thanks to his participation.
"We originally planned to solicit new stories, since there are so few outlets for good short horror fiction now. And 'Creepy' and 'Eerie' were responsible for really launching the careers of people like Richard Corben, so we liked the idea of doing the same thing here. Of course, then reality set in and we realized that the marketplace is very different now and that the best chance a new horror anthology magazine has to survive is by featuring stories by popular, recognizable writers. Besides, people like Richard Matheson and Robert Bloch have so many good short stories that it'd be a shame to not use this opportunity to present their works to a new audience who might only know them from higher-profile novels. And guys like David J. Schow and F. Paul Wilson are two current writers whose short stories very much deserve wider recognition."
Each issue of "Doomed" will be presided over and narrated by the eyepatch-wearing Ms. Doom, IDW's answer to the Cryptkeeper. "As for Ms. Doom, she once slept with the Cryptkeeper, back in the 1940s. Let's just say he didn't survive the experience, but he went out happy," joked Ryall.
The first issue sees Ms. Doom present Ashley Wood's take on Richard Matheson's "Blood Son," as adapted by Ryall. Next up is F. Paul Wilson writing "Cuts" which is illustrated by Ted McKeever. Ryall plays double and triple duty on "Doomed" #1 as he adapts David J. Schow's "Blood Rape fo the Lost Ghosts" and "Robert Bloch's "Final Performance" as illustrated by Eduardo Barretto and Kristian Donaldson, respectively. Each issue will also include interviews and editorial features. The first issue features covers by Ashley Wood and Jeremy Geddes.
"The first four issues will feature short stories from the aforementioned foursome, Matheson, Bloch, Schow and Wilson," explained Ryall. "In the first issue, I adapted the other three stories, but F. Paul Wilson is adapting all of his own stories into comics form, the same as he's doing with 'The Keep' [due from IDW in September]. After that, we've talked to some other folks about some of their stories, too.
"The thing about Robert Bloch's work is, people know him as the writer of 'Psycho.' But his short stories, most of which were written around a half-decade ago, are still so good, and so resonant. It'll be nice to expose his works to people who maybe haven't read much of his short fiction. Same with the others-- all four of these writers have a very different style, but all of the stories featured in the magazine have the same thing in common-- they live up, or down, to the name of the magazine. No happy endings here."
As for the work Ryall's doing on this issue, he found each story he adapted had to be tackled in entirely different ways. For instance, the Matheson story presented a number of challenges for the writer. "With Matheson, much of the horror is left off the page, more suggestive, and he doesn't feature an over-abundance of dialogue in his short tales," explained Ryall. "So for those, in some cases, I created 'characters' to go along with the stories, adding new dialogue and new situations to the stories to make them work more effectively as visual tales."
For the time being, each story in "Doomed" will be self-contained, which means every magazine will be accessible to someone who's picked it up for the first time. But the book still has one hurdle to climb-- that of being an anthology series. While original graphic novel anthologies have fared better in recent years, historically regularly published anthologies don't always perform all that well, but with the focus being on horror stories the fates may be in IDW's favor. "I suppose we'll see. As much as I love anthologies, I admit that there are always stories I like and stories I don't," said Ryall. "The way we're approaching it, these are all good stories by established guys, and all feature good art. And there's only four of them. So if you come to this mag wanting to read good horror fiction, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Maybe one difference I can see between this and other recent anthologies is that we have a very specific vision of what we want to feature here.
"Also, we're working with guys like Ashley Wood, Ted McKeever, Kristian Donaldson, and Eduardo Barretto (in issue one), and folks like Mike Hoffman, Tony Salmons and others in future issues, so the art credentials of this magagazine are very secure, too."
Being published in a magazine style format might make "Doomed" more attractive to the newsstands and what not, but Ryall admits the content inside the magazine might make that a bit difficult without polybagging eachissue. That being said, publishing in this format is all about making a nod to those great horror magazines of yesteryear. "It all started as an effort to pay homage to those old magazines and to offer something so today's audiences have a good illustrated horror mag to call their own. Which isn't meant as a shot at 'Vampirella' or any of the others-- I like those magazines-- just that we're going directly for a 'Creepy' or 'Eerie' feel. So, people who're sick of their Dads telling them that there are no good horror mags like they grew up with can toss a copy of 'Doomed' in their face to quiet 'em down."