Recently, Geoff Collins got the chance to catch up with Tim Seeley to talk about Hack/Slash and give us a look into the workings of his projects with DC and Marvel.
Geoff Collins: When you working on the first mini-series of Hack/Slash, did you have a set run in mind or were you always picturing it as an on-going series?
Tim Seeley: Actually I had a list of plots I wanted to do — I had three of them. I pretty much used all three in the first mini-series and after that I was like, “Shit! I gotta come up with other stuff!”
The characters sort of write themselves. So it started off with “Land of Lost Toys” then other stuff would come up, like doing a Chucky one or doing Evil Ernie. It kind of started writing itself. It became very organic and now I have it plotted out to issue 60.
GC: What changes did you have to make to the writing to start doing a Hack/Slash on-going series rather than a mini?
TS: The mini-series didn’t really have a supporting cast because it was supposed to be set up sort of like a movie every time. Whereas when I wanted to do a series I wanted to have a supporting cast that was as interesting as Cassie and Vlad. So the first thing I wanted to do was add those characters.
I wanted people with a normal life to kind of parallel against Cassie and Vlad’s and Pooch, the sort of alien-dog-thing. I wanted to have those guys serve as the supporting cast. I think it’s really important when doing an on-going to have at least a parallel of normal life that you don’t get to see with Cassie and Vlad.
GC: What can you tell us about the Hack/Slash movie?
TS: They just picked a new director that the studio likes, a guy named Fredrik Bond. They’re doing some more slight script tweaks. They want to start rolling with filming in January. It sounds like they’re serious now.
GC: How involved are you with the film?
TS: Not terribly. The guy producing it is a good buddy of mine, so I know what’s going on. I’m a comic book guy so I don’t do movies. I’m not terribly interested in being involved because they’re going to make a story that they need to do to make the film. I draw shit and I write comics. It’s a different job.
GC: How do you feel being an artist helps with writing Hack/Slash?
TS: After years of drawing comics and seeing scripts I know what’s hard to draw and what’s hard for an artist. So I try to structure the panels so it’s easier for my artist.
I don’t know if it always works. But I can definitely tell when someone comes from screenplays or they come from novels and they try to write a comic strip and it’s just impossible to draw. Verses a guy who’s drawn a lot of comic strips and knows what will work better.
I’d be curious to see what my artists would have to say about that comment.
GC: Do you get more involved with the art then a normal writer would?
TS: I do a lot of the designs for the characters because I have something very specific in mind a lot of times. I like the artist to do the artist thing. I know as a guy who has drawn comic books I don’t like the writer up my butt. So I try to avoid being a pain in their asses. I’ll be there and I tend to think I know what I’m doing, but I let the artists do their thing.
GC: When you started to work for Marvel, did it help to know a couple artists like Stefano Caselli and Skottie Young?
TS: I think so. I kind of got in backwards because I actually got my job at Marvel because the guy was a Hack/Slash reader. But definitely once you’ve been working there a long time your buddies can give you good reviews to your editors and stuff. It never hurt me at all to know Skottie and Stefano.
GC: How does working with Marvel or DC compare to working for smaller, independent companies?
TS: When you work with Marvel you definitely get a paycheck. That’s always nice…
I was actually really surprised. It was a lot easier to work with DC/Marvel then I expected. As an indie guy you sort of get that, “you think you’re punk rock,” “you think you’re a bad-ass,” “I’ve got my own way.” When you work with these guys, they’ve been doing it a long time and they know what they’re doing. I actually had really good experiences working with both DC and Marvel which I’m glad for and surprised by, I’d say.
GC: Are there any particular writers you want to work with as an artist?
TS: Oh, yeah, definitely. I think everybody’s got that, “Love to work with Alan Moore,” thing. I don’t know how possible that is but he’s my favorite writer, I’d love to do something with him.
I actually like a lot of what Warren Ellis does. I really enjoy Peter David — he’s one of my favorite writers. It’d be fun to work with Robert Kirkman or Steve Niles because they’re guys that I’ve known for a long time but have actually never worked with. Any of those guys I’d love to work with.
A guy named Will Pfeifer who worked for DC and Marvel a long time. He did this book back in the day called Finals, which has always been one of my favorite Vertigo books. He wrote Catwoman and Aquaman and that kind of stuff. I always thought he would be a good guy to work with because he writes really weird, dark stuff, which I appreciate.
GC: Are there any characters you want to draw?
TS: Yes! I have my little wish list. I’ve always wanted to do something with The Creeper. He’s cool and he seems underrated. Devil Dinosaur, The Sleepwalker, Shade the Changing Man are all on my wish list…Swamp Thing.
Any of those guys. They’re all long shots but they’re all characters I’d like to do something with.
GC: Are there any plans for writing a DC or Marvel book?
TS: I think people just think of me as an art guy or a horror guy. Nobody’s ever been like, “Hey, you should write something for us.” Nobody’s ever asked. I’m doing a strip online called Colt Noble and the Megalords which is my teen-sex comedy crossed with a space opera. Hopefully people will see that and be like, “Oh, he doesn’t just write slasher-movie stories.” I’m always interested but so far I’m glad to be doing what I’ve got so I’m not too sad about it.
GC: Has writing affected your art? Do you do anything differently because of your writing experience?
Yeah, I think it’s inevitable to get more focused on the story-telling. I see the way I wrote a script and how the artist translated it. I think that makes me more aware of what I need to focus on. So I think it definitely helps.
GC: When crafting a comic, what would you say is the most important part of the writer-artist relationship?
TS: Definitely communication. It really works best for the creators to work closely with each other and know what page the other is on. If you can be friends with your creative team it’s so much better — you get a vibe of what they’re thinking.
GC: Will Hack/Slash continue without you?
TS: I don’t know — that’s something I’ve never really thought about. If it becomes one of those things where the movie comes out and it becomes really successful and then if I decided to stop doing it, somebody will be like, “Well we’re going to do it anyway.”
I don’t know. I feel like I’ll have said what I have to say at a certain point and then I’ll be done. And that would be a sort of good wrapping point for the series. I would say I think in general the series would die with me — but maybe not. You never know.
GC: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Tim!
TS: Thank you!