Welcome back to Hoax Hunters Backstage Pass, where you get a behind the scenes look at the work done by writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley. They’re taking you inside the big moments & mysteries of every issue.
We’re coming back from a long absence here. I know I was clamoring for more “Hoax Hunters” – and I’m sure you were too. We haven’t talked to these guys since April! This month we’ll catch up with the guys, talk about stellar new artist T. Rex Jones (his art is seriously great, guys and gals), and explore the rifts that are forming within the ‘Hoax Hunters’ team.
Special thanks goes to Tim Daniel for supplying us with our terrific “Hoax Hunters Backstage Pass” banner! You can see more of his work here.
Remember that we’ll be spoiling these issues, so read the book before getting the inside look. Let’s dive in:
First of all, welcome back, guys! It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten to do one of these. I have to say, I’ve missed it. What have you both been up to since we last talked in April?
More importantly, what sorts of “Hoax Hunters”-related stuff, specifically, were you guys doing in the 4 month hiatus?
Michael Moreci: Steve has kept me busy hunting for toys he wants and posing for his art. It’s been…weird. We’re closer than ever, though!
In the free time I’ve had, I’ve mainly been writing. New Hoax Hunters, new projects, all the glamorous deeds of a writer’s like.
Steve Seeley: Wow, has it really been that long. Damn. Well, Mike and I have been traveling the world on our Hoax Hunter money (insert long awkward pause to regain composure)…just kidding. I’ve been busy with work on life, Hoax Hunters, art stuffs, and toy hunting, you know, the usual.
Let’s talk about the big change with this issue: T-Rex Jones joins the book as the new ongoing artist! Jones’ style is, if I may say so, a little darker (perhaps even gothic, at times), more impressionistic, and more fluid than what we’ve seen on the title until now. Is this a hint at what sort of tone you guys want the book to have? Is this going to inform the way that you write “Hoax Hunters” going forward?
SS: We knew the third arc was going to be darker from the get go. We knew wanted the art to match. We wanted that dark, gritty style, which was why we were attracted to Tristan. Well, that and that accent of his! Swoon!!! But seriously, once we started seeing Tristan’s pages we definitely knew we had something special. I think he’s a great fit, since he brings a wonderful creepiness to the book.
We finally get a long-teased and long-awaited Regan-centric issue of “Hoax Hunters.” It looks like she’s had quite the troubled childhood. A couple questions with this one: The town clearly knows she’s a witch – how does Regan now emotionally and physically handle a public life as a Hoax Hunter, when she’s spent so much of her life in exile from the people who hated and feared her for supernatural reasons?
Moreover, how did the Hoax Hunters bottle this one up, so her “secret” didn’t go national? Or are we going to see that in future issues? (you guys know how much I like to ask these “wait-and-see” questions)
MM: Your first question gets right to the heart of who Regan is, and that’s what we’ll be showing over the course of this arc. The things that happened in her past are definitely going to inform her actions in the present, for better or worse. The idea of loneliness and isolation are prevalent in Regan’s mind when she thinks about her upbringing, and those are powerful emotions. Like Jack and Ken, she has this past that she can’t quite get over—to me, Regan is the most complex of all the characters, and certainly the most fun to write (outside of Murder, of course).
We probably won’t get into how the Hoax Hunters “debunked” her demonic possession—however they did it, it’s done, and probably not interesting enough to explore.
You guys couldn’t help dropping another mystery on us, could you? What can you tell us about the mysterious book that Donovan’s after? Apparently it was in his possession at one time, or at least in a place of safe keeping? What is Donovan afraid of?
MM: Ha, well, what’s a conspiracy comic without mysteries!? This one, you’ll be happy to know, will be fully realized by the end of this arc (issue #13). I can tell you that the book, on a character level, will tie nicely into Regan’s arc for these issues and reveal a good (and surprising) chunk of Donovan’s back story. For those keeping score at home, during the first three arcs, we’ve made it a point to tie a particular device or object to the character story we’re telling. In arc one, it was Jack and the multiverse device; arc two, it was Ken and the Albino King; now, in arc three, it’s Regan and the Book of all Futures. I don’t want to tell our character stories in a vacuum—they have to retain some sort of relevancy to the story that’s happening concurrently. That’s why it’s taken so long to get to Regan, it just didn’t make sense for the story. Hoax Hunters is a slow burn, but we do get to meaty stuff and when we do, it has more impact than if we just rushed right out with it.
Additionally—you knew we had to add in a “wait-and-see” portion—the Book will really open up a giant part of the overall mythology and show that this story is just as much Regan’s as it is Jack’s. Jack has been front and center, but now that we’re digging deeper into what’s really going on, we’ll see Regan get pulled deeper and deeper into this overarching mystery.
Steve got to drop a reference to his (and my) hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. Tongue-in-cheek question: “As if they didn’t have enough problems.” A reference to your brother’s work with the city over in he and Mike Norton’s “Revival” or the fact that basically the entire city could easily fit right in on PeopleOfWalmart.com?
SS: It’s a nod to Revival. Although the latter is pretty hilarious and sorta true. I’ve always thought about writing a story were Globsters and Bigfoots exsist right out in the open in a town like Wausau and no one seems to notice since they visually fit right in. But I feel terrible picking on my hometown; which is why I will now have it set it in Gary, Indiana. Sorry, Gary.
There’s a split in the house of “Hoax Hunters” when Donovan and Regan head off on their own. Does Jack feel betrayed by Regan? With Jack heading off on his own multiverse explorations and Donovan constantly manipulating Jack and Regan, how functional is the Hoax Hunters organization at this point?
SS: I don’t think Jack feels as betrayed by Regan as much as he doubts and question Donovan. I always love the relationship between Jack and Regan. They’re similar ages. They understand each other. They are both good looking. Yet they’re relationship is hazy. Does he only see her as a sister? A colleague/friend? Something more?
As for the team. We’ll see much more of how the divide tests the limits of the team in this arc.
The Hoax Hunters receive several supernatural sightings of interest that are said to be focused in a relatively close proximity to Hauncheyville. Will we be going back there? Is it time for fans to go back and re-read those Hauncheyville issues again to make sure they’re caught up? Anything we should have paid particular attention to?
MM: We won’t be going back there, not physically, but there are certainly important takeaways from that story that have a huge impact on the current arc and what, exactly, is going. The most salient thing is the Jack and Donovan diner conversation in issue #8. The idea of places that have “special properties” is, believe me, central to our story. What are they? How do they function? What do they mean?
The whole idea of the Hauncheyville story was that, in this special place, a myth can become real. These gnomes and their king—the stuff of urban legend—materialized in reality simply because people believed. Fiction into reality—keep your eye on that.
I don’t trust Donovan for a second. So when he talks about how similar he and Regan are and the idea that they’re searching for answers, I can’t help but try and figure out just how he’s going to use her. Something tells me that Donovan knows exactly what the two of them are going to be up against and he’s holding back on her. Am I on the right track?
MM: Bingo. But—BUT—I can promise you this: Donovan is going to surprise you. I don’t want to say how, or why, but in issue #11, you will get an unexpected glimpse into what makes Donovan tick.
I’ve always said how huge of a LOST fan I am, and how that show inspires Hoax Hunters (I mean, come on, places with “special properties?!”). Well, Donovan has become my Ben. For those who don’t know, Benjamin Linus was only supposed to be on the show for a few episodes. There were no plans to keep him around for as long as they did, or to develop him into the amazing character he became. Donovan is similar—he was supposed to be a background Hoax Hunters character. But the more I wrote him, the more I understood him, the more he fit into the fabric of the story. Now, his role is so crucial I can’t imagine moving forward without him.
What is going on with Murder? I know you guys won’t want to spoil things, but am I right in assuming that it’s got something to do with those other recent sightings?
SS: Yeah, absolutely. I guess its safe to say, and hopefully it wont ruin anything, but Murder is being used as a pawn. Question is, is it for good or bad??
With the final two pages, it’s clear that Regan is going to be having a major character arc here. We see just how haunted she might be with the way that the last sequence plays out. Is your strategy with Regan and the gravity of her arc part of the reason why we’ve waited so long to know more about her? What are your plans for her, as far as her importance in the grand scheme of the series and has your approach to her character changed over time?
MM: It’s two things. One, again, her story didn’t fit previously, it didn’t make sense to tell it earlier. But, we had to get to it now because in the grand scheme of things, she is an incredibly important character (and we’ll why, somewhat, in issues #11-13). I’ve always had this planned, where Regan and Jack were going (Ken figures more heavily down the road); by the end of this arc, which is the end of season one, both characters will be in very unexpected places, and I think readers will be clamoring to know what’s going to happen next. And don’t worry! Season two is (broadly) planned. But, pulling back, I can’t wait for issue #11—she does something that I think is going to make people say “NOOOO!”