As <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/Hack-Slash-Image-100313.html>announced</A> earlier this month at Emerald City Comic-con, the long-time Devil’s Due title Hack/Slash has picked up stakes and moved to Image Comics. Hack/Slash, which rose quickly since it’s debut in 2004 to be the defacto flagship title of Chicago-based Devil’s Due Publishing, was one of the breakout independent titles in the mid 2000s. Created by cartoonist Tim Seeley, the title spawned several successful miniseries and was launched as an ongoing in 2007 with news of a potential movie in it’s future as well.
For its creator/writer and sometimes artist Tim Seeley, this move has been a long-time coming but is surprisingly civil between the creator and his former publisher. Seeley, who was employed by DDP as a staff illustrator from 2002 to 2008, was a key player with DDP, illustrating many of DDP’s key titles in his six year tenure. After ending his employment in 2008, he worked as an artist on Marvel’s New Exiles and now DC’s Wildcats while keeping a good relationship with his former employer and then-still publisher by renting office space from them.
With Seeley now moving his book to Image, he is re-launching it with a four-issue miniseries entitled Hack/Slash: My First Maniac. The series, illustrated by Daniel Leister, promises a “Year One” approach to the lead Cassie Hack’s first year as a serial-killer killer.
Newsarama has covered the title on numerous occasions, and with news of the title moving to a new publisher and re-launching with a brand new series set to debut in early June, we talked with Seeley for more information.
Newsarama: Tim, what led to Hack/Slash picking up and moving to Image Comics?
Tim Seeley: Well, at a certain point, DDP's financial problems were starting to affect my ability to get the book done, and to pay my creators. So, the only responsible thing to do was to buy the rights back, and take it to Image, which will make it easier to reprint out-of-print books and get out a monthly series.
Nrama: Speaking more about the decision to move Hack/Slash from DDP to Image, BleedingCool reports that it was due to some money owed by DDP to you and other creators involved. Can you tell us about that situation and how you resolved it?
Seeley: Well, at a certain point, it just became very clear that DDP was going to have a lot of trouble paying the people working on Hack/Slash, both from past debts, and for each month. The money problem was also causing the book to be late, and that's something I never wanted to have happen with Hack/Slash. So, Josh and I had a good long talk about it, and he agreed that there was a better solution. So, I took the book to Image, and I'm going to take out a loan to pay all the creators with back debt owed for their Hack/Slash work from DDP. In a way, I sort of "bought" the Hack/Slash license for the cost of the debt.
Nrama: This isn’t your first work at Image – you did your popular Loaded Bible series here. But what made it the right choice for your book?
Seeley: Image does a lot of my favorite comics, and I had a really positive experience working with them on Loaded Bible and Colt Noble. And, since Hack/Slash is a creator-owned book, Image is the perfect place for it.
Nrama: For many years, Hack/Slash has been the defacto flagship title at Devil’s Due Publishing and you held a staff position there for years. Interestingly enough, the press release announcing your move to Image says DDP publisher Josh Blaylock was involved with transitioning the book to Image. Can you tell us about all that?
Seeley: Josh knew it was the right thing to do because it was in his interest to get creators' paid. So he made it easy for me to take the book back, and helped me set up the legal stuff to make it happen.
Nrama: For this first jaunt at Image, you’re telling Cassie’s “Year One” tale. Can you tell us about that?
My First Maniac #2Seeley: I wanted to be able to have a really easy "jump on" point, and there was really one major Cassie story I'd never touched: Her first "mission." So, we're going to see an inexperienced Cassie finding her footing, and introduce her world.
Nrama: And this is before she runs into – and teams up with – Vlad, right?
Seeley: Right, this tale pretty much goes from the moment after she fights the Lunch Lady right up to when she moves to Chicago and runs into Vlad.
Nrama: Drawing this for you is Dan Leister. Can you tell us about working with Dan, and choosing him to illustrate the new series at such a pivotal moment for the book?
Seeley: I've had great artists on Hack/Slash, and I think I have a good eye for great fits for Hack/Slash. Dan is finishing out the DDP series, and I wanted to continue working with him . He really gets one of the most important aspects of the book and that's good storytelling and "acting."
Nrama: There are several collected editions of Hack/Slash comics out there published through DDP. Will they continue to print those, or will you be moving those to Image as well?
Seeley: Everything that goes out of print at DDP will be picked up and reprinted by Image! So, right off the bat we'll be doing the Omnibi, Trade 3, and whatever else people want!
Nrama: Hack/Slash has been heavily promoted as an upcoming movie, with a writer & director attached. Will this publishing change affect that? And can you give us an update on where the film is at right now in terms of production?
Seeley: Yeah, moving publishers doesn't affect the movie at all, as that's a completely different animal. But the flick is still in the works, but, obviously, at this point, anyone holding their breath for it is long dead. [laughs]
Nrama: You’re a busy man, balancing this with work on DC/Wildstorm’s Wildcats and doing a webcomic. What’s your work life like for you?
Seeley: I wish I could say I was working 9-5 on this...but it's like 9-9. Yeah, my wife loves it. [laughs]
I draw all day, and write at night. But, it's stuff I love so I'm happy!
Chris Arrant is a freelance writer that's written about comics for Newsarama, Publishers Weekly, CBR, TOKYOPOP and Marvel Comics. For more, visit his website at www.chrisarrant.com.