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’ll take you inside the big moments & mysteries of every issue. This month, we said goodbye to the Albino King and the Hauncheyville Gnomes, Donovan shows a couple new sides to his “personality”, and Jack played around with the multiverse some more.
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. It’s clear that Michael and Steve have huge plans for this book. Really high-concept stuff with a massive scope. Let’s dive in:
Nice maverick move by Ken in announcing a “charitable” donation to Hauncheyville on behalf of the production company. All of these characters have so much dirt on one another and are so good at manipulating one another. When does it reach a breaking point for our characters?
Steve Seeley: We’ll definitely see a much more solid divide of trust. We’ve toyed with the idea from the beginning that a team that hides the truth can not ever entirely be trusted; even amongst themselves. There’s already an obvious divide between the Hoax Hunters and their “management”, but we’ll also focus on the ever growing chasm between the team members themselves.
We see a little more of Regan’s true power. Is Donovan simply playing to her ego and emotions by calling her potentially the “most powerful person on Earth”? How powerful is she?
Michael Moreci: Well, power is a tricky thing. Regan is very powerful, there’s no doubt about that. But The Faceless Man (who we see return at the end of issue 8) is powerful as well, but in a very different way. Which is ultimately more powerful, well…we’ll just have to see, won’t we?Continued below
I will say this — Regan is more powerful than we know her to be, currently. It’s not just energy blasts and language control, not just sorcery. She’s even more powerful than she knows. In the coming arc, titled “The Book of Mothman” (which won’t begin until August – we have issue #9, the trade, and the annual coming first) we’ll see exactly what she’s capable of and it has huge implications for the Hoax Hunters universe.
Hearing Donovan refer to Regan as a “witch” stuck out to me. I never thought of her as that, but it fits in with the modern horror mythology that you guys are creating. Is that just a sarcastic term of endearment for Regan, or should we really consider her a modern witch? And, oh yeah, when do we get to see more of her backstory, because you guys have really been teasing it?
MM: The power of witches, and the devil to a degree, is rooted in manipulation. It’s casting spells, it’s convincing people to do things they otherwise would not do; persuasion, tricks, illusions. And what is the root of it all? Language. The greatest tool witches and the devil have is power over language. There was a time when language did have power, literally. Culling songs, tribal hymns—language, when used a certain way and from the right source, could create or destroy life. That’s what we’re tapping into with Regan—she was possessed by a demon, we know that. What this left her with is the ability to use language. We’ve saw it in the first arc, and in issue #7 when she tries to get Donovan to order his golem to attack him. Her energy blasts have glyphs surrounding them, language again. This is central to Regan.
As for her specific backstory, issue #10, big time. Our plan has always been to focus on a character in each arc. Jack was the first arc, Ken the second, now we get to Regan (and Murder was issue #0). Like the other character, she’s gone through some times – and there’s a really clear reason why she’s a Hoax Hunters. More than you’d think.
Fascinating! We can’t wait to read more about her.
Donovan reveals that the people that he murdered were rapists and murderers. Can we believe him here?
SS: Simply put, yeah. Donovan is definitely fickle. And a liar. And, well, completely deceitful. But I’d have a hard time saying he’d straight up murder innocents.
That certainly says something about how complex Donovan’s character really is!
Cafe Norton? Cafe “Mike Norton”?
MM: Mike and I went out to breakfast before a show once (or a signing, or something) and I ordered this huge meal. And he was like “you’re going to eat that?!” And I did, every last bite. I’m on the smallish side, but I can eat diner food like nobody’s bizness.
The Café Norton mention is for our breakfast memories.
Donovan explains the idea that in Hauncheyville, the lore has been “willed” into existence. What does this mean for the scope of the book? Is this something that is going to spin out of this arc and become a bigger deal? Does it have anything to do with the Multiverse that we know Jack’s dad is toying around in?
MM: It’s HUGE! I hope people are starting to now realize the Hoax Hunters do not work for the government. There is something totally different going on than your run of the mill conspiracy plot, believe me.
I have to be careful about my wording, but the notion of a location on earth that has special “properties” to make fiction reality has enormous implications for the Hoax Hunters. It’s part of our unified universe theory (that which ties the grand Hoax Hunters story together) and is intertwined with the multiverse we’ve teased in these first few issues.
All of this is going to show us what the weird, unexplainable phenomena of our world are—we’re going to see how things like The Faceless Man come to be, and what it all means.
All these pieces—Jack’s dad, the device, the multiverse, places (yes, placeS, plural) like Haunchyville, The Faceless Man—these are all pieces of the larger Hoax Hunters puzzle. We’ll see it all come more into focus as we wrap up season one.
Is this the last of the Hoax Hunters Hunters?
SS: For Crawley’s team? Yeah. Since you know, one of his team had her brain wiped, and the other, well, lost his head. But the idea of a group of people that try to disprove a team of people who disprove stuff for a living, is a super fun, and at times, almost “meta” idea. With that said, I’m pretty sure we’ll see some sort of reincarntaion of a Hoax Hunters Hunters eventually.
We see Jack using the device to access another “portal” in Hauncheyville. Can you tell us a little more about how the device works? Or how multiverse travel works in the “Hoax Hunters” world in general?
MM: This will be answered in the next arc. I know, we’ve been really mysterious about the mechanics of this all, but when it happens, it’ll be one of those really cool “ohhhh….sh*t” types of moments.
Does Jack have any idea of how large in scope a task it will be to find his father? How much does he know about the “science” behind dimensional travel?
SS: Because of his dad’s “mastery” of dimension traveling, Jack has knowledge of it, atleast more than the others. However, that doesn’t mean he knows how to go about doing it, or, more importantly, how to control it. We’ll see relatively soon just how dangerous amatuer demisnion travel can be.
The end of the issue teases the higher ups in the “Hoax Hunters” organization setting their sights on the team. What does the next arc hold for our heroes and when can we hope to see them butt heads with the less visible powers-that-be?
MM: This sets up the race to find Jack’s dad. In the next arc, it becomes much more than Jack wanting to find his dad — it’ll become an imperative mission to find him. The Hoax Hunters are at the disadvantage of playing from behind. They don’t know how the device works or what Haunchyville’s powers means. The Faceless Man and Borges, they know every detail and can control the situation. Except one part of it: Jack’s dad. He’s the wild card, chaos in the system.
As the Hoax Hunters (and Donovan) get closer to the answers they seek, The Faceless Man has to react. There may not be a direct confrontation yet, but we’re getting there.