Writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson take over Marvel's Cable title next week, but that's not the new title from them new on shelves: and this other one is full-on body horror. Debuting this week, Come Into Me reunites the duo with Black Mask Studios, along with artists Piotr Kowalski and Niko Guardia.
Centered around a controversial new medical procedure that links two people through a gross and weird tentacled bio-computer, Come Into Me takes a harsh look at social media culture through the horror genre. The debut follows the procedure’s creator, who is still reeling from a horrific setback in clinical trials and a mysterious new patron who sees the lucrative potential of the process, cheekily called inBeing. The two quickly find themselves connected to one another in more ways than just through the fleshy cable inserted into the back of their necks.
Come Into Me looks to our hyped-connected new reality and filters it through body horror and black humor, and Newsarama is hooking into that in a chat with Nadler and Thompson.
Newsarama: Zac, Lonnie, how did you guys first start writing together? Did you bond over genre or was it like a chance meeting where you just hit it off right away?
Lonnie Nadler: It was a bit of both, really. Zac and I met about five years ago when we were on a bus trip back from Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, heading home to Vancouver. We started chatting about our love for Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth and Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol. From there we both realized we loved a lot of the same horror movies, and I think the first or second time we hung out was us getting drunk together and going to see Goblin play a live show.
We're both huge Dario Argento fans and I think after that night we realized we were in it for the long haul. We hung out a bunch and were both writing film and TV and comics on our own, and one day decided we should try our hand at co-writing a comic. We spent months trying to figure out a concept, something that was meaningful to us, but also allowed us to explore our mutual interests in horror. The first idea we ever came up with together gestated, grew, and eventually blossomed into what is now Come Into Me.
Zac Thompson: I think Lonnie and I really bonded over horror and really got to test one another knowledge on the genre. We often talked in circles about horror movies made with a message or purpose. It was something that drove every conversation we had at the beginning and as Lonnie said eventually bloomed into Come Into Me
Nrama: Nothing brings people together better than Argento! But speaking of, what do you think it is that gravitates you both toward the genre? What do you think makes it resonate with audiences?
Thompson: I personally gravitate toward horror because I love seeing what makes people nervous. There's something incredibly provocative about the genre that makes people confront things they either don't like about themselves, the world, or others. That deeply fascinating confrontation really makes people squirm.
I love seeing how people react to mounting tension. What draws me to the genre is the same thing that I think makes it resonate with audiences: the ability to tell us a horrible truth about ourselves. Most horror is rooted in a deeply human theme. It takes something we're all vaguely aware of and slowly winds it into our temples like a screw. Eventually, that makes people come undone. Good horror says something about human nature. It prompts us to think about ourselves and the things we do to protect all we hold dear. It can make us see something completely innocuous as the most terrifying thing on earth.
Nadler: I grew up watching horror so it's been part of my life from a very young age. I remember watching Poltergeist with my older siblings and it just stuck with me. I also used to watch The X-Files with my family, and then more "kid friendly" horror on my own like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? So I have a strange natural inclination toward the genre.
Part of it, I believe, stems from the fact that I can be a pretty anxious person and I was scared of a lot of things growing up. The genre allowed me to deal with those fears in the safe form of media consumption. Wes Craven used to say "Horror is like bootcamp for the psyche," and I truly believe that to be the case. Comics, movies, books and TV allow us to explore our fears, our perversions, our fetishes – all the darkest parts of our minds – in a way that's socially acceptable (most of the time). It's as if media distances us from these aspects of ourselves and in doing so allows us to understand them better. Like Zac said, horror, when done well, is about humanity. It's about what makes us all tick. It's about exploring the unknown, both outside and in, and trying to comprehend what it mean to us on an individual and global level.
Nrama: I very much feel that. X-Files definitely as a kid burrowed itself into my head and then just grew and grew as I got older and started to study the genre. But, onto Come Into Me. Obviously it’s very high concept but at the same time very human in its execution. How does the kernel of that idea come to you? Did you both set out to do something specifically Cronenbergian or did you start with a basic plot and then work out from there?
Nadler: Well, it was a bit of everything. Zac and I knew two things when we started hashing out ideas. Firstly, that this story had to be meaningful to us thematically. It had to explore an idea that was scary to us, and something that hasn't been overplayed yet. Secondly, we wanted to use body horror as a vessel through which to explore this theme. A lot of writers tend to find their themes as they go, but generally speaking Zac and I like to know before we start writing pages so that every aspect of the book can go toward conveying said theme.
Knowing we wanted to do body horror we started talking about things that could possibly tie in well with the genre, and after many beers one evening on Zac's porch, it just came to us - the idea of oversharing parts of yourself with other people through technology.
This is something we do every single day with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and whatever else. Everyone is guilty of it, including us.
We put so much of our lives out there for people to see. But we wanted to know what happened when there was no barrier anymore. When you share every part of your being, past and present. Eventually that kernel of an idea led us to create the technology in the book, which in turn became Come Into Me.
Nrama: Before I let you go, I just have to ask: what is your favorite David Cronenberg movie?
Nadler: That's way too hard to pick. I'd have to say it's a tie between Videodrome, Crash, and The Fly. He's a master.