For some people, death is the end… while for others it’s a new beginning. The sophomore Image series Haunt kicked off a new era last week when writer Joe Casey and artist Nathan Fox took over the series. The book spotlights two brothers – one dead, one not – who are eternally tied by a strange force called the Haunt. Originally created by Todd McFarlane and Robert Kirkman, Casey and Fox take over the series and take the Kilgore brothers in a new direction that aims to live up to its tormented title.
Haunt #19 hit shelves last week with the next issue coming later this month, and we caught up with Casey and Fox to talk about the the book’s mythology, it’s unique nature, and what it’s like picking up after Kirkman and McFarlane.
Newsarama: What can you tell us about Haunt going forward?Joe Casey: I can tell you it's going to be some crazy, f**ked up s**t. Nathan and I have literally been let off the leash and you see the results right away. The book's been weird up until now, but we're pushing it into new areas of weirdness that will defy imagination.
Nathan Fox: Like Joe said, it's time to scare the s**t out of people. Todd has been amazing ever since we got started. He asked Joe to take Haunt in a whole new direction, put the “haunt” and horror back into series - and that's pretty much what we're aiming to do. As far as moving forward goes, I'll say these two things (cuz any more will ruin the experience)...
• EVOLUTION! Kurt & Daniel have no F**KING clue what is about to be unleashed upon them and Haunt has no idea what he's in for - to say the very least.
• and lastly, three words, one name --- STILL HARVEY TUBMAN. We meet this man in issue #20. You can glean a little bit of who or what he's about from a few covers in solicitation and released sketches but he is by far one of my favorite characters so far - there are a whole slew of new characters to come, by the way and old favorites will return - but he will be a force to be reckoned with among them. Tubman will not disappoint.
Nrama: For people who haven’t picked up Haunt #19 yet, what do people need to know to understand the series if they start now?Fox: Just the basics. 2 brothers. One's, well.... dead and haunts the other. They merge to form - Haunt. Characters, chaos, mayhem, sex, violence, drama unfold in our revamped tale of horror from there. (If you dig where we're headed - I do recommend reading issues 1-18 for both new and old fan's alike. There are some amazing arcs in our tale but the groundwork for what we are doing is well established and worth the read! Bad-ass art to boot!!!) Nrama: What’s it like taking over from the previous creative team, who also happen to be the series creators?
Casey: It's pretty easy when you've got their blessing. They pretty much picked us, so if it all goes horribly wrong... you know who to blame.
Nrama: You’re at a point now where you can pick and choose the projects you work on, so what drew you to this one?
Casey: After initial conversations with Todd, and being able to help convince him that Nathan was absolutely the right artist for the gig, I figured it'd be fun. These days, that's my main litmus test. I love comic books in all of their various forms, from creator-owned series to work-for-hire stuff. The best part about Haunt is that it straddles that line in a very interesting way. It's work-for-hire, but Nathan and I are as committed to it as we might be a purely creator-owned project.Nrama: You two worked together in 2009 on Marvel’s Dark Reign: Zodiac. Can you tell us how you decided to carry that party over to Haunt?
Fox: We had a blast and were looking to either continue Zdoaic somehow or work on a new project at some point. I'm totally sure how the story goes behind the scenes, but Joe was in touch with Todd and Todd pitched taking over Haunt. Joe gave me a jingle (by phone) and then proceeded to promise more fun-filled-scripts-of-fancies with loads of rainbows and unicorns, M4's and horror drenched characters with blood tentacles and other un-earthly, other-worldly powers --------- I was in.
Nrama: Todd has said that he hopes the mythology of Haunt will be explored going forward. Can you talk about?
Casey: I can tell you we start to explore that mythology on the very first page of our very first issue.
Nrama: Nathan, following up after names like McFarlane, Capullo and Ottley can be daunting. How are you aiming to live up to the artistic continuity of the title without it weighing you down?
Fox: I'm just going to keep doing what we set out to do. Todd gave us the reigns, free and clear, and in issue #19 we're really just getting warmed up!...
It's pretty amazing to pick up the Haunt torch from such amazing talent, but we're on a complete 180 degree path with Todd's blessing. It may not be in the same drawing or inking style, but the story and characters are all there, ready and waiting. Capullo and Ottley's work established a core set of tools for us to reap from moving forward, no doubt - we're just taking the story further than readers and fans have seen to date. The way Joe picks up the series, we wipe the slate clean and move forward in a new direction. A lot of original characters are scattered to the wind as Joe and I take over the series, but they'll make their way back into the series in unexpected ways to say the least. So we're not so much weighed down with what has come before - we're just running flat balls out in a new direction with the awesomeness those three bad-asses already established.
Much thanks to Todd for that kind of range and freedom. It was an opportunity and an honored nod I couldn't pass up. I hope our work lives up to the opportunity, fans and series as the new direction and story of Haunt evolves and unfolds.Nrama: Although you two are doing the book now, how would you describe Todd and Robert’s involvement?
Casey: Todd's like the Godfather of Haunt. Everything passes his desk, in one form or another. I get the feeling Kirkman prefers to read it like a fan... so he can bitch with righteous indignation to me about the absolute hell I'm putting the characters through.
Nrama: Your first issue, Haunt #19, just came out – how far ahead are you in the book?
Fox: We're well into #21, on cover #24 and getting ahead production-wise as it all progresses. Our hopes and plans for the series are pretty ambitious and I'm sure, from chatting with Joe, that he's not planning on dialing back any time soon. Personally, I'm looking forward to evolving the series farther than people have seen to date and beyond. And to boot! - we'll be collaborating with guest artists on fill-in / additional episode issues that will sprinkled into the series from time to time in order to expand the characters and series even more. Can't wait to collaborate on those stories and pages as well.
So Stay Tuned! - it's going to be a happily bumpy and insane nightmare of a new ride!