Where did the idea behind Croak come from?
Back in high school I came up with an idea for a Slenderman parody video – there’s actually this one page in CROAK #2 that was directly from that! But a couple years ago I had planned on creating a horror short film after getting sick of so many of the recent horror films. I found a majority of them to have this copy and paste storyline, which is just pure laziness. People are paying to watch a film, so why not put in some more effort? Five minutes into a ninety-minute movie, you already know how it’s all going to play out. Ultimately, the short film fell through a couple days before filming, which was a major bummer, but after I finished college I decided to turn it into a comic!
There was a real feel of comic books from the sixties and seventies rippling through the series. How much were you influenced by those decades?
At the time of writing the book, I hadn’t read much from those decades. Old school horror films definitely had an impact, but what I notice about both comics and films from that time period, was they felt real. They had real people getting thrown into these completely horrific and unreal situations. To me, that’s what real life can actually be like – the scary stuff happens out of nowhere, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t keep the story or characters grounded to the point where it’s relatable. Whether there are monsters, aliens, ghosts, serial killers, or whatever, your story can still feel real.
So, which movies had you enthralled as a child, horror or otherwise?
Fun fact, I hated horror as a kid for the most part, but now I love it! I was a bit of a wimp, so when someone told me how terrifying a film was to them, I’d run for the hills. It went from me not wanting to watch anything horror related to me now scavenging to find a film that’ll scare me.
Growing up I’d watch a lot of cartoons and found myself watching a lot of superhero and fantasy related shows and films for the most part. Even though I mentioned I was terrified of most horror stuff, I loved Goosebumps and Tales from the Crypt Anthology shows are awesome in my opinion. When it comes to film, Lion King is my all-time favorite and was actually the first movie I saw in theaters.
And which current horror comics do you read?
Right now I’ve been reading Babyteeth and Redneck from Donny Cates. After reading God Country, which reminded of the stories I loved growing up – I’m a bit mythology fan – I’ll read whatever he puts out.
I’ve been considering the idea that we’re actually in a golden age for horror comics right now. What are your thoughts on that?
I definitely see what you mean. I kinda hope there’s a publisher who takes advantage of that. I’m lucky enough to get a sneak peak at some of the upcoming Alterna titles and I really have to say there are quite a few I’m excited for. Horror is gaining some traction in the comic industry and it’s only going to grow from here if I have to say anything about it.
Do you have any favourite comic writers out there?
Neil Gaiman is the penultimate writer for me. My favorite comic book series is Sandman and my favorite novel is American Gods. Geoff Johns inadvertently got me hooked on comics when I snagged a majority of the trades for his Green Lantern run when a local bookstore was closing.
Actually, my first convention as a fan was New York Comic Con 2012 and I got to meet guys likes Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Sean Murphy, Scott Snyder, Kieron Gillen, Jonathan Hickman, and a ton others.
Grant Morrison spent several minutes giving me advice I’ll never forget and Geoff Johns told me to go to school and get published. So I have to thank Geoff and Grant for giving me the greatest advice that’s helped me move forward in my career.
Croak looked like a match made in heaven; with an accomplished genre writer at the helm and a hugely talented artist in Iaquinta. How did the collaboration happen?
I google searched “comic artists for hire” and found a forum Francesco had posted on. I emailed him and we worked on a short comic that hasn’t see the light of day – but let’s just say I have another story I’m working on with him that I can’t wait for! I’m being a bit of a perfectionist with it, but it’ll be worth it I think. Francesco is awesome and Chris O’Halloran’s colors in the book were flawless. I couldn’t have been luckier to work with those two (and you can’t forget Dezi Sienty for his lettering)!
Wow, that easy?
I get asked this question at conventions a lot and the answer is never what people expect. I think a lot of people believe it’s hard to find an artist, but it’s pretty easy! Social media has been a godsend for indie comics and it’s easier now to find an artist that it was ten years ago. Twitter, instagram, tumblr, deviantart, and even facebook can help you.
How was Croak received in the UK and Europe compared to the US? Do you see the markets as very different?
Honestly, not really. Horror seems to be that genre that anyone anywhere can really enjoy. Obviously there are different senses of humor everywhere, but we all know what it’s like to be scared. Horror is universal which can either be a good thing or a bad thing.
And, lastly, what have you got in the pipeline? Have you any intention of bringing us another run of Croak?
I’ve got a lot in the works that I can’t say much about. 2018 seems to be a very busy year for me and I’m beyond ecstatic about that. The busier the better!
I do have one title out in February of 2018 through Alterna Comics. It’s called Sonitus and it’ll be in comic shops all over the place! I cowrote it with the editor of CROAK, Dan Sheppard, who happens to be a good friend of mine. Sonitus is a horror series, but definitely more a psychological haunted house story.
I’m also a part of the 2017 IF Anthology: Crime edition that Alterna Comics is putting out later this year!
I’m involved in the Death of the Horror Anthology, which should be launching on kickstarter in October, so keep an eye out for that. It’s a horror anthology that features death in every story with inner demons being the theme. I’m working with Eli Powell (Yakuza Demon Killers, Infernoct) on a story for it. Eli’s an artist I’ve wanted to work with since before CROAK ever hit shelves.
As for Croak, I don’t think I’ll do a sequel to it at any point, but I don’t like ruling anything out. I do have a Croak related story cooking in the back of brain that I need out there soon. I am launching a CROAK kickstarter next year for the graphic novel edition. Definitely have something special I’ll add to that!
Thank you for reading our Chico Comics Interview with Cody A. Sousa. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Interview by Arun Sharma.
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