Th3rd World's "Creature Feature": Spawn of Cheesy Horror!

Inside "Creature Feature"

There's nothing like the thrill of going to the drive-in theater to watch horror movies, but Creature Feature from Th3rd World Studios is hoping to capture that experience in a comic book.

Creature Feature, a two-part series that begins in September, will have 48 pages in each issue, filled with monstrous stories by a variety of veteran writers -- the first issue featuring writers Chris Yost, C.B. Cebulski, Andy Schmidt and Brian Smith. Inspired by the success of the series Space Doubles (see the Newsarama feature on that series here), a flip book that featured science fiction stories, Creature Feature will tell scary stories inspired by horror movies.

"Everyone really took this concept and made it their own. The book just brings me back to the absolute joy I had discovering these movies as a kid," said editor Mike Raicht, creator of the series for Th3rd World. "In this first issue we have four very different stories but they all flow together. They are over the top, filled with pretty ladies, cool dudes, and creatures gone amuck. From front cover to back cover this thing is crammed with fun horror stories meant to make you laugh and squirm and maybe say ‘ICK’ out loud. Everyone involved really did a first rate job. I'm proud to be a part of this. It's the closest thing to seeing a 1981 Drive In horror movie marathon that you are going to find... beyond actually traveling back in time."

In the first issue, the stories are:

- "Night of the Abductors" is the story written by Chris Yost and is what the writer calls a "classic tale of teenagers in love who meet aliens and beat them up with a baseball bat, and the horrific repercussions of said beating."

"I remember watching E.T. when I was a kid, thinking that thing was the most horrible, ugly, scary thing I'd ever seen, and how if I ever saw something like that I'd want to bash its brains in until its little heart light went out. So, the idea has been festering for a while," Yost said.

- Brian Smith's story "Rockenstein" continues into the second issue and focuses on a head banger who gets kicked out of medical school for trying to resurrect the dead by using what Smith calls "the power of METAL (insert devil horns here)."

"Rockenstein's radical theory is put to the test when the biggest heavy metal band in the world dies in a mysterious tour bus explosion, and he's left to pick up the... hrm... pieces in order to seek revenge," Smith said. "Growing up I was always more of a ‘Kung Fu Theater’ guy, but over the years Mike has introduced me to many terrible, terrible '70s and '80s horror films. Wait... let me clarify that: 'films.' Much better. Being exposed to all of that definitely altered my brain. So when he asked if I wanted to be involved with Creature Feature, I jumped at the chance -- and after having read the first issue, and seeing how awesome everyone's work turned out, I'm so glad he let me join the gang."

- "Hooters" is the title of the story written by C.B. Cebulski, is about -- wait for it -- a pack of snowy owls.

"I took my love of teen sex comedies, sprinkled in a dose of genetic sci-fi, and then mixed in the horror ingredient that Mike wanted. And out it came my Creature Feature story, ‘Hooters,’" Cebulski said. "I honestly don't know where the idea to use owls as my mutated animal of choice came from, but once I hit on it, it stuck and the story came out of me fast. 11 pages wasn't even enough. I built a whole back story as well, and was soon bummed I could only tell one short chapter of the whole story, but that's the tale you'll find in Creature Feature."

“Hooters” begins as four college sorority sisters go on a weekend kayaking trip to the lake. "Their lives are changed forever when they run into a pack of snowy owls far, far from home. (Start spooky music.) Hence, the name 'Hooters,'" Cebulski laughed. "It actually started as a joke, but the more we used it in passing, the more it stuck, and in the end, Mike suggested we keep it. It does get the point across though, eh?"

Cebulski said he isn't a big horror movie buff, but -- just like Smith -- has been introduced to the genre through Mike Raicht's movie collection.

"We used to get together now and again, and Mike used to show us some really obscure, crazy films. Movies that ran the gamut from schlock to cheese to disturbing to downright f-ed up! What scared me more was that he owned these movies, that they were a part of his personal collection. So when Mike called me up and asked if I wanted to contribute a story to Creature Feature, I had to say yes out of fear alone."

- Andy Schmidt's story in Creature Feature is called, "Why Did It Have to be Spiders?" As the title suggests, the story is about those creepy crawlies with eight legs.

"It's about a little planned suburb town and the guy that built it. As luck would have it, he moves his family in and finds his house infested with spiders," Schmidt said. "There's a lesson in here too. The main characters are the developer, his wife, and their son. But really, the main character is the fantastic artwork by newcomer Joe Lalich."

Schmidt, whom most regular comic readers will remember for his years as an editor at Marvel, said he wasn't used to writing horror, so getting the creepy build to the story was a challenge at first.

"But I found two things to be true: First, I really enjoyed the creepy build and secondly, that it applies to more than just the horror genre," he said. "Other than that, just trying to make the characters feel real in such a short space was the biggest challenge. I'll let the readers decide if they think it worked out. "

Raicht said that the second issue has three-and-a-half more stories. "We have the metal-tacular conclusion to Brian Smith's ‘Rockenstein.’ We have a tale by Stuart Moore and Alberto Ponticelli which is sort of a '70s-era, cop-buddy TV show with a killer cockroaches tale thrown in," he said. "John Reppion, Leah Moore and PJ Holden deliver a very cool blob tale called ‘Imago.’ (Who doesn't love blobs?) And then I'm lucky enough to be working with Jacob Chabot of Skullboy fame on a silly little thriller called ‘Don't Eat the Snow,’ a tale that deals with the horrific side of sledding and eating snow. What's not to love?"

Creature Feature is $4.50 for each 48-page issue, with no advertisements. And as Raicht points out, "that's cheaper than going to the actual movies."

"And you can buy one and sneak your friends in without getting in any trouble... although I'd prefer you buy one for all of your friends if possible," he said. "Eventually we would love to do more. We're really hoping people respond well enough to these tales that we can maybe do some new stuff and, of course, unleash the inevitable sequels to these tales on everyone."

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