Left Hand Horror was lucky enough to shake down the super-creative team behind the amazingly engaging Deadhorse, Eric Grissom and Phil Sloan.
1. Murder! Suicide! Hand puppets! That’s a hell of a premise. How did Deadhorse come to life?
Eric: I had an idea to build a story around a guy with a key to a safe deposit box that happened to be located in an abandoned Bob’s Big Boy. Lots of things changed and grew from this initial idea, there’s no longer a Bob’s Big Boy and the safe deposit box is a thing of the past, but at its core that’s really where it all came from.
2. Eric, you’ve written stories for Weird Tales magazine. Do these weird and quirky stories come natural to you?
Eric: I don’t know, I guess I tend to lean that way. The Weird Tales Magazine story was based on email SPAM subject line, so there are only so many places you can go with “BOY EATS FRIED RAT”. I like to take pretty absurd ideas or situations and then treat them in a sincere and earnest way. At least I hope that comes across in my work.
3. How did you guys get started in the world of comics?
Phil: I had always wanted to create comics so I studied illustration at the university of the arts in Philadelphia. I got sidetracked into painting, but having no luck breaking in that way I took up pen and ink art in order to start my own comic. Shortly after that I met Eric and we started Deadhorse.
Eric: This is my first real comic, in this form anyway. I had done a web comic in 1997 that I wrote and drew, but it was nothing like this. It was really a matter of just having a story to tell and then just doing it.
4. Everyone at Left Hand Horror has to answer this one. What’s your favorite horror movie?
Phil: I don’t know if it’s traditionally horror, but The Shining is one of my favs period.
Eric: There are a few films that come to mind. The original “Halloween” is definitely up there. When I was younger, I was really freaked out by John Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness”, which of course meant I watched it over and over and now every once in a while, have to look over my shoulder for any Alice Coopers. I haven’t seen it in over twenty years, so I’m not sure if it still holds up. There were a lot of really cool ideas there.
If I had to pick one though, I’m with Phil. Kubrick’s “The Shining” would top my list. I absolutely love it. If you’ve seen it, you may recognize a certain photograph on Charles Gadsworth’s wall in issue 2. It’s one of those films where the more times you watch it, the more you get out of it. I’m trying to do similar things with Deadhorse, as far as the layering goes. Whether or not its successful remains to be seen, but I hope if people give it a chance they’ll find some reward in multiple readings.
5. Deadhorse has received some very high praise from reviewers. What do you think is drawing people in?
Phil: Honestly? Me. But more likely the noir ish off beat flavor to it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.
A page featuring the awesome Sasquatch…
Eric: We’ve been really fortunate in that regard. I’m quite sure that if you run a comic related site, at some point I emailed you about a review. There are so many comics available, just from the big publishers alone, that getting someone to take the time to review a self-published book like ours is really an achievement. So a big thanks to everyone, including LeftHandHorror, for giving us a read. As for why we’ve gotten some nice reviews, who knows? I hope it’s because they recognize that we’re doing something that’s not quite like anything else out right now, but I also know before I finish this sentence someone has posted links to six other comics about keys to mysterious boxes in abandoned Alaskan cities.
6. I’m turning into a bigger and bigger fan of digital comics. What do you guys enjoy most about the format?
Eric: I love the idea that there is no longer a barrier between your story and your audience, well aside from your own insecurity, the struggling economy, and the painful realization that your competing against 5 billion other forms of entertainment. Seriously though, the fact that we can reach a reader across the ocean without spending a dime on printing costs or shipping is quite remarkable. As a reader, I love the idea of interconnected data. Take the ComiXology app for example, I can buy “Saga” from my couch, read it, and then click Fiona Staples’ name and see all of her other work across multiple publishers, all available for immediate purchase. That’s a great way to get people to discover new books and to let a creator’s lesser known work get the attention it deserves.
Phil: I love the potential. Once everyone is on board you can access thousands of stories with one device. Plus it’s a lot less heavy.
7. Free plugs! Go nuts…
Eric: Okay, so when we started this interview we were self-published. Things however have changed, and we’re really pleased to say we’ve signed with 215 Ink. They are a creator owned publisher that has been putting out some really interesting books and we are happy to be among them. I’d recommend checking them out; a lot of their number 1 books are free too.
This also means Deadhorse #4 will be delayed. Starting in May we are re-releasing #1 under 215 Ink at the Asbury Comic-Con. We’ll have print copies for sale, so if you’re in the area please stop by. Following that, every month a new issue will be released until the six issue story arc concludes in October. There’s also another reason for the delay and that is because the first three issues are being recolored right now by our new colorist, David Halverson. David’s an awesome artist and Phil and I couldn’t be happier with the pages coming back. I posted some more information on everything, including the schedule, on my blog which you can find linked from Deadhorsecomic.com.
Thanks again, guys, we love to work with you any chance we get. I urge all my readers to take a look at Deadhorse. It’s a great reason to love comics again.