It's been 15 years since Cassie Hack first slashed her way onto the comic book scene - and creator Tim Seeley is celebrating. No, not with a party - with a one-shot.
Last week's Hack/Slash 15th Anniversary Celebration brought back Seeley, original artist Stefano Caselli, and many other familiar faces (an a few new ones).
Don't worry, Vlad's back too.
Newsarama spoke with Seeley about this milestone one-shot, the franchise as a whole, and the chances of him returning for more - and oh yeah, that long-in-development TV series.
Newsarama: Tim, it's been 15 years since it all began - and 10 since you found a new home at Image Comics. How has this decade treated you and Cassie together?
Tim Seeley: Holy shit, I didn’t realize it was that long at Image! I mean I knew we were at Image longer than Devil’s Due, but Jesus. I mean, I guess I kinda knew that. But yeah, there’s your reaction. It’s been pleasant enough that they just flew by.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to work in comics, but never like write Batman or work for the Big Two. At the time, I wanted to have my own Savage Dragon; I wanted my own Image book. When I was 13, that was the goal, so going on nine years almost 10, I feel like it’s one thing I can check off my list.
It fits my philosophy really well. They’re supportive and let me do my own thing. It’s the creative dream for sure and breathe that rare air, that’s for sure. To have people keep reading after 15 years, I consider myself lucky.
Nrama: It’s interesting you name Savage Dragon as something you wanted as a kid and now Malcolm Dragon is on the cover of your book. Almost poetic.
Seeley: Oh that was on purpose! I knew we were going to redo the first trade cover because, you know, it’s one of two images I always see associated with Hack/Slash: it’s that cover and the first cover for “Slice Hard,” where it’s Cassie on the freezer with the severed clown head.
Those two images I always see associated so wanted to do one of those, but I picked the Image characters as almost a celebration of us being at Image and having a great relationship, but also because I can do whatever I want, wanted to have Malcolm Dragon on the cover. Because I can do that. That’s definitely part of the celebration there.
Nrama: You mentioned that you never saw yourself writing Batman, but here you are having written him and added your own bits of mythos to the character, but Cassie and Hack/Slash is still the biggest thing your fans associate you with. How do you feel when you get new fans not through Batman or Grayson, but through something of your own?
Seeley: Oh, it’s great. I’m absolutely happy with that. Also, I’ve never been more pressiant since that moment, but in 2004 I was going to conventions every other weekend all across the United States with Devil’s Due and noticed there are so many women here like goth girls, punk girls and nobody is making comics for them. I felt like we weren’t appealing ourselves to them as much as I thought we should though. So that was one of the impetuses of creating Hack/Slash was I know there was this passionate kind of reader out there that was under served. And I was right.
The industry now is so different than, too. There are so many more women readers and so many books out there that cater to them, but I think we were a little bit ahead of the curve and has been able to stick around for so long because it might have been so fresh at the time. So if people remember me for that, I’m grateful for that, but also because we figured something out. We had our figure on the vein a little bit, ya know?
Nrama: You revived Hack/Slash two years ago with the aptly-titled "Resurrection" arc, with Tini Howard taking the writer’s reins, but do you ever see yourself going back to the series full-time?
Seeley: Yeah, I have. [laughs]
When the character first debuted, I had this long, drawn out storyline in mind with revelations and mythology and all this stuff and I’ve got to do it from beginning to end. To some degree though, I feel like there are things yet to be said about Cassie but I was pretty comfortable for a while there, let other people say it.
For me it was fun to come back and do crazy crossovers with Chaos Comics or the Crow, but sitting back down for an ongoing series it means I have to come up with a new epic story. Which, up until recently, I didn’t have the right idea.
I’m starting to have the nuts and kernels of something, but I didn’t want to jump into it without anything to say.
Nrama: So what do you feel like you had to say with this anniversary special?
Seeley: I mean the one-shot is about this idea of celebrating all the things Hack/Slash has done to my life. The main story stars me and the double-edged knife one has when you have a character like Cassie Hack to be associated with you. Also it’s about having success with an indie comic vs the success you have with a mainstream comic, and about my relationship with her...I think?
The rest of it was picked to celebrate our big contributors and also to reach out to fans of the series and new creators do stuff with it. There’s a guy I met years ago and he’s a big fan of the book and always been asking me to do something with or if he can write a story. So I figured this was a celebration and gave him a chance like somebody gave me a chance years ago and I hired him for a story.
I figured I wanted to celebrate so many parts of my life with this comic, whether it be with new fans or old friends, I wanted something to encompass that.
Nrama: What would you want to do for a 20th anniversary?
Seeley: [Laughs] Man, when the 20th anniversary rolls around, let’s hope I’m celebrating the TV show debut or something. It’s kinda what the main story is about since we talked about doing a TV show, people keep asking me and asking me and drives me crazy. [Laughs]
I just have to get something done with this thing.
Nrama: How is the progress with that coming along?
Seeley: [Groans] It’s different all the time. I used to always joke that the developmental time that it took Wonder Woman is the only thing longer than Hack/Slash and I can’t even say that anymore since they made her movie! So it’s just...I don’t know, we always been dealing with things that are not creative like studios being bought and sold, executives being fired over things I never, ever, ever wanted to deal with.
But I think it’s getting better. You know, I just had a long conversation today that, maybe, will end up a better situation for us. I will have something firmer, I never know. I make comic books, I can’t make a movie by myself. I don’t have $15 million to make this movie. I have no desire to make films by myself.
Nrama: At least you can still make comics by yourself.
Seeley: That, yeah, I can do!