She sees you, but the worst part is that you can see her too.
She is The Red Mother and terrible things are about to happen.
BOOM! Studios' new horror series The Red Mother by writer Jeremy Haun and artist Danny Luckert tells the tragic story of Daisy, who lost her loved one (as well as her eye) and now she has horrific visions on an unknown entity and the darkness that lies beyond this reality.
With the series debuting this Wednesday, Haun spoke with Newsarama about his return to horror, his writing style as a whole, and the research that he dove into for the creation of prosthetic eyes.
Newsarama: So Jeremy, let's talk about the main character here, Daisy. She experiences a great trauma pretty much right off the bat, and loses an eye. Eventually she gets a prosthetic. What kind of person is Daisy that we see from the first issue?
Jeremy Haun: When we meet Daisy, she's in a good place. She's done well in her career and has a good relationship. She's comfortable - happy.
And then all of that changes.
She loses her eye and the man she loves and wakes up to a life that's no longer quite her own.
That's a lot to process - grieving for both Luke and her eye. And there is just something about how it happened. Something... odd. Then there are the things she starts to see. The red. And the horrible, horrible smiling thing.
Nrama: Did you do much research about the making and installation of prosthetic eyes?
Haun: I have a friend who lost an eye. We sat down and talked about her experience. While it was vastly different than the trauma that Daisy goes though, I learned a lot about the process and the steps involved in getting a prosthetic. She also introduced me to a "Lost Eye" community online. It's an amazing group of people talking about their own experiences, needs, and issues.
I was immediately fascinated by the fabrication of prosthetic eyes. Ocularists, the individuals who craft these things are typically doing so completely by hand, creating a custom eye for each new person. I dove pretty deep into researching the process. Ocularists are really artists. They paint every single strand of pigmentation in the iris. The detail is absolutely unbelievable.
Nrama: Another interesting thing is that we see Daisy go through some intensive therapy over her loss. What was your biggest concern when writing this scene in particular because it's a good chunk of their session.
Haun: I'm always hesitant to write therapy scenes. They're tricky and can just be really really on the nose. There's always the thing that someone is saying...and then there is their truth lying somewhere underneath all that. That's really what I wanted to explore with Daisy's sessions with Dr. Green.
I also felt like it was important to deal with Daisy's trauma in the right way. She needs help. She needs to be able to talk. I love writing scenes that take place in a world where dark spooky things exist. If none of that was there, Daisy could truly find the closure she needs. But that isn't this world and that isn't the case. Whether Daisy likes it or not the Red Mother is there watching.
Nrama: So I guess I should ask who exactly the Red Mother is? Ghost, demon, or something even more nightmarish?
Haun: We'll learn more about the Red Mother as the story progresses. She is something old and terrible though. And she's watching from the Red Court. My favorite kinds of horror let you see just enough without giving you everything out the gate. I want to wonder what's out there - to be unsettled for a bit.
Nrama: In the first issue we don't really see Red Mother and it's really Daisy's story from the start. Do you feel like their relationship, if you can call it that, is more of a slow burn or something you want to make right away?
Haun: I suppose you can call it a slow burn if you'd like. Daisy will get to know the Red Mother. Much much more than she ever wants to.
Nrama: You've been really stretching your wings lately as a writer with The Beauty, The Realm, and now this, do you feel like you're finally comfortable in this position?
Haun: Yeah! It feels good. This is what I'm supposed to be doing.
I've always written. Growing up, writing and drawing went hand in hand. I didn't even really distinguish between the two. Hell - when I was 12 I wrote and illustrated a Conan novel. The whole thing was written longhand and drawn on typing paper. I don't even remember where it ended up. Point is, I've always kind of done both.
As I got older I realized there were stories that I wanted to tell and I wasn't going to be able to draw them all. Better yet - I could find people better than me to draw these crazy stories.
I'm going to be writing a lot more in 2020. Maybe for the first time even more than drawing. I'm excited about it.
Nrama: How would you describe your writing style?
Haun: Yeah - it's kind of weird. I like to write in unique places. It's an experiential thing. I pick a place that sort of sets a mood and try and do as much work as possible. With The Red Mother, I found this amazing spot in a derelict, turn of the century building, here in downtown Joplin, Missouri. I'd explored the space years before and was absolutely fascinated by it. The second I walked into this odd room on the second floor I knew I had to write something there.
It's been kind of fantastic. I walk downtown, make my way through the dark building and up the stairs, then set up at my little table and write to creepy music. It's moody, eerie, and perfect. Sometimes I even come close to scaring myself. But only sometimes.
Nrama: What do you think the best thing is about Danny Luckert's sequentials for The Red Mother?
Haun: I'm so lucky to be working with Danny Luckert. I'm an artist too sometimes, so I want to do a thing for a minute where I talk about our collaboration and what my creative partner brings to this book. He brings everything. From the moment that I knew Danny was a possibility for this project, I knew that he was the one.
I'd liked his work on Regression a lot. It was creepy, gross, and unsettling - all the best things for a horror story. But the real trick was the way he handled the little moments - the character bits. Being able to draw cool monsters and stuff is fantastic, but that doesn't work if you can't convey the emotion and humanity in a story.
We started working on the book and began the process of looking for a colorist to work with Danny. That can really take time - it has to be the right fit. Somewhere in there Danny mentioned that he'd maybe like to do it. He sent in these samples that were gorgeous. There's nothing this guy can't do.
Nrama: Was the Red Mother difficult to design? Even though we don't see her a lot in the first issue, we still have her presence felt. What was important when creating her design?
Haun: I had all of the creepy stuff in this book in my head from the beginning. I knew what I wanted - what everything looked like. I think visually. We talked a bit about what I was wanting and Danny pretty much nailed it out the gate. More than that - he brought a lot to the look and feel of things. It's important to be able to let things go - to collaborate. The end product is so much better that way.