It’s a good time to get into Image Comics’ Hoax Hunters – not only does the series have an annual out today with contributions from some top artists, but the whole series is now online for free at Keenspot. We spoke with series co-creator Michael Moreci about how things are going for the intrepid documentarians of the unknown, the awesome name of new series artist T-Rex Jones, and much more.
Newsrama: So, Michael, what do you have coming with Hoax Hunters?
Michael Moreci: It's busy at Hoax Hunters HQ! We just signed the option for a movie deal earlier this year, and I'm currently writing what will be the final arc of season one, starting with issue #10. Hoax Hunters is being serialized on Keenspot, and we have our very first Annual issue coming on June 26. And last, but not least. we're introducing a new artist, T-Rex Jones!
Nrama: How's this "Season One" coming to a climax?
Moreci: A bloodbath. Wait, is that a spoiler?
Kidding...This final arc is going to be the best Hoax Hunters story we've done thus far. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of everything that's come before, but this story we're telling is intense, strong with the characters, and pretty darn scary.
But, also, it's awesome to finally bring a lot of hanging threads together--Steve and I have been plotting this out for well over a year, and seeing storylines come together is great. I have to hand it to our readers, they're a patient bunch, but those waiting for answers to a lot of the mystery we've posed will find a lot to love in issues 10-13.
And the ending itself...we've got a little bit of a shocker coming.
Nrama: And you've got an annual with some cool boys droppin' art. Name names!
Moreci: Nick Pitarra! Erik Burnham! Brian Level! Okay, the exclamation points are nauseating even me. But there's Tim Seeley, Anthony Marques and Frank Barbiere, Gabe Bautista, Tim Daniel, a whole bunch of talented creators. Even Ben Hansen from Fact or Faked drops by.
Nrama: Tell me about your new artist T-Rex Jones. I want to know everything, mainly because of that name. That is SWEET.
Moreci: Well, T-Rex is kind of the man. No, he is the man. Seriously, his art is incredible. Absolutely incredible. We've became friends over the years, and he never ceases to amaze. T-Rex actually did the cover for issue #2, the famous Murder/Bigfoot pose shot, and when the time came to find a replacement for Axel, T-Rex was a no-brainer. He's killing on the book.
Nrama: You gots one o'them movie options! How is that rolling along? Have you become corrupt and developed a cocaine addiction yet from that good Hollywood money?
Moreci: Good! The producer, Jeff Krelitz, has put some amazing things together in a short amount of time. The man believes in Hoax Hunters, which is something I love--his enthusiasm is unbridled. A lot of coals are in the fire--I hope to talk about them soon.
As for part two of your question...I do spend all my excess money on blow. But the good news is that I only use it for recreational purposes--going to the club, the grocery store, visiting my parents, when I go to buy stamps, the moment I wake up, things like that. So there's absolutely no problem.
Nrama: And you're releasing the whole series on Keenspot -- why did you decide to go in that direction?
Moreci: I've always embraced digital, for starters. I think it's going to continue to do nothing but grow, and my philosophy is to utilize it in any way possible and capture as comprehensive of an audience as possible.
Keenspot has a ridiculous fan base, in terms of the numbers they draw--I think the Hoax Hunters page got 25,000 hits in the first week alone. If, say, 5% of those readers get translated to buy the book, that's over a 1,000 new readers.
Not to mention I just want people to have fun with the book. I'm confident that, given the chance, people will enjoy what we're doing. But, you know, comics is a crowded marketplace, and no one working on the book is a superstar creator. Since we don't have that, we have to be creative and take risks, like partner with Keenspot and release our work for free.
Nrama: What all can you tell us about the status of Mini Comics Included, and how it's coming along since the Kickstarter concluded?
Moreci: I think we might be one of the few Kickstarters that actually ships on its promised date. All of the six books are now with the printer, Tim's done with his commissions, Brandon has the toys ready, and Steve and I are neck deep in the things we have to do. Once we have the copies in hand, we should be pretty set to start the [horrendous] process of mailing everything out.
We also have some cool news to announce soon with the entire Mini Comics line, something we're really excited about.
Nrama: What else are you currently working on?
Moreci: Here comes the part of the interview where I have to be dodgy as hell. Well, I have Skybreaker running with Monkeybrain, which is one of the best publishers going. I have another project coming soon with them that hasn't been announced.
Then there's a different project with a new publisher, one I've had an absolute blast working with and am thrilled to be working for. There's some projects I'm trying to get off the ground, but Hoax Hunters and the two mystery projects--along with Mini Comics--keeps me pretty busy.
Nrama: What's your favorite non-monster hoax? I'm quite fond of the fake Howard Hughes autobiography myself.
Moreci: I like something similar, in the Orson Wells story, especially late in life. Have you seen F for Fake? It's a nice snapshot of Wells' later life, how it is impossible to separate fact from fiction, represented in this story of art forgery. It's a fascinating portrait an artist, Wells, who was never in step with his time. Also, the Philadelphia Experiment is endlessly fascinating.
Nrama: Give us the hardest sell you dang well can on these here Hoax Hunters.
Moreci: X-Files for the reality TV generation. Fringe meets Mythbusters. It's strange, it's scary, it has a very human heart that is channeled through its characters, and it's fun. Give it a try--you'll be glad you did, I know it.
Nrama: What else is coming up for you?
Moreci: Just staying busy. I'm banking on a productive fall, with at least two titles being released and/or announced. Couple that with Hoax Hunters resuming and Skybreaker coming to an end, and my dance cart is pretty full. Still, I'm always plotting out new work and pushing to do more. I'll never learn...
Hoax Hunters’ annual is out today, and catch up with the series for free on Keenspot!