One of the coolest aspects of the indie comics revolution is that films are being made from obscure comics. One of the latest projects to join that trend is The Chair. Published by tiny Eterna Comics, the dark horror of this bleak tale has recently made it to the screen. I had a great time chatting with writer/creator Peter Simeti about this project and what it took to produce his dream project.
Jason Sacks for Comics Bulletin: For those who don’t know the story, can you tell us about The Chair and its journey from page to screen?
Peter Simeti: The Chair is a dark and intense psychological thriller that takes place on death row. It’s about one man’s struggle to escape execution while he confronts his own horrifying past. It was originally released as a small print on demand run in 2006 and then went on to be released nationally as a graphic novel in 2008. In 2009, I was approached by a few different production companies about adapting the story for film and several hundred steps later, here we are.
CB: How has the reception been to the film?
Simeti: For the most part, people have really been digging it! There’s been a few people that thought the film was too intense for them and they ended up having to walk out of the theater, but everyone that stays with the film the whole way through, has really liked how it pans out. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart because the film just doesn’t back down from dealing with strong subject matter. It’s easily the most disturbing comic book movie ever made.
CB: Do you see a lot of crossover between fans of the graphic novel and fans of the film?
Simeti: Yep! I find that all the graphic novel readers have really enjoyed it and even though the film builds on the book, it’s very true to the source material at the same time.
CB: Did you always plan on making a film of The Chair?
Simeti: No, definitely not.
CB: Did the comic help you get financing for the film?
Simeti: I think it did, especially since about 50% of the budget came from Kickstarter. The comic almost acted like a storyboard, to show backers and investors what we had in mind.
CB: Are there scenes you thought were even better in the movie than the graphic novel?
Simeti: I thought all of the guards in the film did such a terrific job. Everyone in the movie really did a great job with fleshing out the characters though, it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing.
CB: As the publisher of a small comics company, how do you see the market changing over the next few years?
Simeti: We’re in the golden age of indie comics right now. Comic books are so much more accessible to those that want to find them. Between digital books, self-publishing, Kickstarter, and then other traditional means – it’s very easy to discover new books. With that said though, it’s all the more difficult to have a book that stands out from the pack. Creators need to work that much harder to get noticed but I think things will come around and start to even out.