Shawna Gore - Bringing 'Creepy' Back at Dark Horse

Shawna Gore on the New Creepy

Its horror pedigree is substantial. The list of contributors is a who’s who of legendary comic book creators. Monsters and ghouls were never more disgusting, more devastatingly horrifying or more terrifyingly lethal than beneath its covers. Suffice to say, the original Creepy magazine casts a considerable shadow over every horror comic that has followed it.

After reminding readers just how terrifying horror can be with the Creepy Archives reprinting the original series, Dark Horse Comics is looking to chill readers with an all-new Creepy series.

What’s changing, what’s staying the same, what’s in a name, Dark Horse editor Shawna Gore took time out to answer some questions about the new Creepy.

Newsarama: Shawna, which came first, Creepy Archives or the new Creepy?

Shawna Gore: The Creepy Archives were certainly first. In fact, we've approached the entire notion of creating new Creepy very carefully, because we want it to live up to the name of the original, and everyone involved knows that to do so is to aim high.

NRAMA: Dark Horse has had a very good run of horror comics over the last decade or so. How does Creepy complement what you’re already publishing?

SG: I think the new Creepy is going to be a really fun forum for writers and artists to just run with the notion of horror in small doses. We've had a lot of fun in recent years with the Dark Horse Book of ... series that Scott Allie edited. Those books are anthologies based around specific ideas, like Monsters, Witchcraft, Hauntings, etc. I think Scott was very smart to have approached that series as being a finite thing. Yes, we could have gone on to do The Dark Horse Book of Shape-shifting Space Aliens and any other number of categories that would have worked pretty well, but I think the right idea was to do it as a very limited series, taking the best stories based on the best concepts. We're doing the same kind of targeted thinking on Creepy. We're not resorting to specific themes to keep this series focused, but we're definitely embracing the original concepts of horror from the original run of the magazine, so the emphasis will be on supernatural and occult-based horror stories, and hopefully we'll see lots of strangeness, lots of monsters, inexplicable phenomenon, etc.

NRAMA: What about the publishing dimensions? The original series was a magazine. Are you sticking to comics format for the new series? Monthly release schedule?

SG: For a few different reasons relating to direct market concerns, we've decided to go with standard-size comic-book format and a quarterly schedule.

NRAMA: Creepy comes with a considerable artistic pedigree. What type of talent are you lining up to contribute?

SG: Right now I'm still reading pitches and looking at art samples. We've been talking to a lot of creators, from industry greats to people who are just coming up, and lots of people who fall somewhere in between. I can't name anyone yet, as we're still making selections and haven't issued any contracts. And when I say "we", I'm talking about myself and the guys at New Comic Company who now own the license for Creepy. In addition to being knowledgeable business partners, they're all really great people who are fans of the material.

NRAMA: Current publishing schedule willing, when does the new series debut?

SG: We'll celebrate the release of the first issue with a signing event at San Diego next year, and we're hoping to actually get it into stores in May.

NRAMA: I have to ask, Shawna, how does an anthology fit into the current market commercially?

SG: Commercially, in the starkest sense of that word, I think anthologies can be a risk. I'd love to talk more about why that is, because I'm not sure and I'm curious about it. I love anthology comics in the same way I love short story collections of fiction. But comics anthologies usually involve more creators, and I think there's a good chance a majority of comics fans have specific taste and distinctly prefer the work of certain creators. So anthologies that collect the work of five different writers and five different artists might have a hard time finding fans among people who only read the work of a handful of writers, no matter how good any of the stories or creators are. This was a determining factor in setting a quarterly release schedule for the new Creepy. There were two—one was the incredible amount of work anthologies require editorially, and the other was how much support could we expect from the market. Between the new material and the archive series we're publishing, there's going to be a lot of Creepy in the world, and we don't want to exhaust our readers or their wallets.

NRAMA: From the publishing side of things, what do you gain by taking the Creepy title rather than continuing with the Dark Horse Book of … series or creating an original horror anthology?

SG: I think it helps to remember that Creepy was never simply as a catch-all title for a bunch of random horror stories. It was a collection of stories that grew out of the same tradition of supernatural and occult-based horror stories, and it had a really cohesive aesthetic throughout most of its original run. One of the reasons I always loved Creepy was because I thought of it almost as the comic-book equivalent of the Twilight Zone, which also had a very distinct tone and sensibility. I think in a lot of ways Archie Goodwin was the Rod Serling of the comics industry. And as much as I love the Dark Horse Book of … series. what those books accomplished is very different than what Creepy is. They collected a wide variety of stories in a vast range of styles to ruminate on one central theme in horror. That's a great thing to do with an anthology title, but there are other compelling ways to approach anthologies.

Creepy Archives vol. 1 is now in stores. The all-new Creepy #1 debuts from Dark Horse Comics in spring 2009.

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