Despite the unfortunate events which happened in Boston, causing the cancellation of the Boston Comic Con, I was able to make it out Comicazi! in Somerville, Massachusetts and talk shop with writer, artist, and creator Tim Seeley, best known for his work on Hack/Slash, Witchblade, Revival, Devil’s Due Publishing‘s G.I. Joe, and the upcoming Hack/Slash vs. Army of Darkness.
Comichype: Tim, thanks for taking the time to talk to us here today at Boston Comic Con, even though we are not exactly there. Despite the events that have transpired, what are you most excited about just being here today at Comicazi! in Somerville, MA, despite the events that have occurred?
Tim: I feel like we are part of some kind of seminal moment in history, where we are basically saying even without the comic convention set up, the fans are able to rally around something and get together. This is important I think for people to still be able to have a great weekend as a fan, and we are going to make it happen. We’ve figured out a way to have a “mini-bus” comic con all across the city, which is, weirdly, going to be historical I think.
Comichype: How did you get involved in writing and drawing graphic fiction, and what aspects of the medium inspired you to really pursue this as a career with the great body work you’ve done over the years in the medium?
Tim: Basically, the moment I read a comic book when I was five years old, I decided that this is what I was going to do. So, I don’t even remember the moment that I decided this was going to be a job, it was basically just, I’m going to make these things, and if I get paid to do it, that would be awesome. When I got out of college, I started illustrating for a book company. The entire time, I was trying to make my own comics, and somehow, that became a job. It’s just weird that was like fifteen years ago by this time (laughing) but it was pretty cool.
Comichype: You’re the creator of arguably one of the hottest, most well received books that’s on the shelves right now, Revival, with artist and collaborator Mike Norton. With zombies and the undead being such a popular pop culture phenomenon, what prompted you to create this wholly original, “undead noir” like book, and what’s it like collaborating with Mike? It really is one of the most original pieces of zombie fiction I have read in a while.
Tim: Mike and I have been friends for ten or eleven years already, and we decided very early on that we should really work together. We always knew we wanted to collaborate, but it just had to be the right project. Revival kind of comes from the idea that I think zombies originally were,thematically, about fear of our neighbors. They were sort of about humans being concerned about those that lived with or near them. Can we trust them? What would society do if we were faced with a social breakdown? I think to a degree, zombies really became reliant on the tropes, and not as much about what originally made them scary. So Revival is sort of our idea that returns it back to what made it frightening. The sort of idea of who do you trust? Can you believe that someone can come back from death and be normal? It is the idea of fear of conformity and of our fellow humans, which I think is more relevant now than it has been in thirty years.
Comichype: I think the rural environment and the ensemble cast really drive the book. What’s it like assembling all the pieces and having such a strong female lead? To me, when I read it, it’s kind of like Fargo meets what I wouldn’t really call the “undead” but people coming back to life. Can you comment on this?
Tim: Yeah, it’s definitely based on the town I grew up in, Wausau, Wisconsin and part of it was just taking advantage of the rich cultural history of the place and the kind of people that lived there. One of our big things was to make a female lead that was realistic, that was human, that was unique, and interesting and lovable because she IS completely human. That was our goal. We ended up with two of those, which we are really happy about.
Comichype: Awesome. Any info you can give fans for the upcoming future of the series without spoiling too much?
Tim: Issue twelve, Skottie Young does the cover, and Art Baltazar, who did Superman Family and Tiny Titans, is going to do five guest pages. It’s gonna be a horror book drawn by Art Baltazar, which should be unique and totally frightening.
Comichype: Also, you are currently writing Witchblade for Top Cow which is a loved and venerated property. What’s it like creating in the world after the Top Cow Rebirth and Progeny, the most recent crossover? What’s it like having Sara Pezzini resonating so strongly with her fan base?
Tim: To me, the best part about that book is that I get the character and everyone else, all the fans of that book, I understand WHY they love that character. That to me is the reason I love that character. It’s the same reason. She’s tough, very sensible, very smart, she doesn’t believe there is a middle, gray ground. She has a very distinct set of morals. It’s different than every other character I write who doesn’t know or have any sense of what is good and bad. They use it for themselves. Sara is one hundred percent about what she judges wrong being very important. I love that character. It is an honor to write it, and it’s one of my favorite jobs every month to sit down and do.
Comichype: I personally love your contributions to the old Devil’s Due G.I. Joe series which really brought the franchise back into the mainstream in my opinion. What are some of your favorite moments from the series, and what was it like working on such a beloved, fan-centric property where the fans really drive what they want to see in the series?
Tim: It was a blast. It was an interesting job to be my first real gig because it sort of set me up for everything that comes from working in comics, which is that fans are passionate and very vocal. I learned a lot about fandom from working on that series. To me, it’s just, the toys are voiceless without the guys that worked on that. To me, the series was a tribute to Larry Hama, a tribute to the guys who worked on the cartoon, more than it is about these little plastic toys that, without that story, no one would care about. It was interesting to see the voices, the really important voices, and people actually acknowledging that. People know that Larry is the voice of the file cards and getting to hang out with the guy, and be completely aware that he, when we were kids, being a huge fan of G.I. Joe, that this was the man that made that happen. That was a great part of that gig.
Comichype: Here’s a tough one. What’s your favorite G.I. Joe and/or Cobra character?
Tim: It’s actually not that tough. My favorite Joe’s are probably Roadblock, Shipwreck, and any of the characters with a distinctive voice. Beachhead was a personal favorite, because he was such a hard ass. Bad guys wise, you can’t beat the Baroness. I think it’s one of the greatest pop culture characters maybe ever invented. Sort of a dangerous, scary, sexy character for kids. You can’t really beat that.
Comichype: Hack/Slash is your other book. In light of its end, can you comment on the announcement Dynamite made about the upcoming Hack/Slash/Army of Darkness crossover that’s coming up?
Tim: We’ve been working to get it going for a long time. It ended up weirdly, appropriately, right at the end of the series. It took a while to get it to make it happen, but the story fits perfectly with the crossover. It comes at the end of Cassie’s mission where she’s done what she wanted, and her mission is over. Now, she’s stuck back in a new mission with this guy who’s a complete jerk. So it’s kind of a fun character piece. One of my favorite gigs I ever had was writing Ash Williams. He’s hilarious, but an idiot, yet can also be clever when it comes down to it. Sort of the anti-Cassie Hack. I think it’s a blast to do. I’m actually really excited, and I can’t wait for people to read it. It should be one of the best Hack/Slash stories, I think.
Comichype: Any other upcoming projects planned?
Tim: I have some stuff coming from Dark Horse, and some DC comics stuff coming up. So I got my fingers in a whole bunch of stuff, and I’m really excited that people care what I think about their stuff. It’s a good time to be in comics. I think there are so many opportunities, and so many more people reading comics than there have been in a long time. I’m just excited to be part of it.
Comichype: Tim, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us at comichype about your work. I really appreciate it.
Tim Seeley’s Revival, a rural noir, is available now, monthly, on comic shelves from Image Comics, and the first trade paperback, You’re Among Friends, is available at major comic retailers. Witchblade is available monthly from Top Cow Productions. Hack/Slash is available in omnibus volumes at major comic retailers, and if you can find older issues or trades, I highly recommend you check out Devil’s Due Publishing’s G.I. Joe work by Tim.
(On a personal note, as a resident of Watertown, Massachusetts, I am thankful for the opportunity to interview a creator of Tim’s caliber. We at comichype really appreciate his time not only for this interview, but also for his commitment to his fans and comics, doing free sketches at Comicazi! in Somerville, Massachusetts despite an unfortunate turn on events, cancelling Boston Comic Con. Tim, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, and cheers!)