Coming off of Tini Howard’s dozen-issue run in “Hack/Slash: Resurrection,” “Hack/Slash” creator Tim Seeley (“Revival”) is returning to his horror epic on December 5 with the “Hack/Slash vs. Chaos!” miniseries, crossing his characters with those of “Chaos!” Comics for the first time in approximately thirteen years.
We spoke to Seeley about the new miniseries, and we’ve got some exclusive line art from the first issue to show off as well.
What is it like coming back to Cassie Hack and Vlad after around five-ish years of others writing the stories, albeit with your overall direction?
Tim Seeley: It’s a weird combination of totally comfortable and totally awkward. I’ve gotten used to other people writing Cassie, and I’ve gotten used to writing other characters. I guess it’s kind of like an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. It takes a little to catch up and get back in the swing, but once you’re there you get on like a house on fire.
How would you consider this miniseries is for newcomers? Can people jump right in without prior knowledge of the “Hack/Slash” epic, with that knowledge just being a bonus, or is it more of a sequel that implies the readers have knowledge of previous works?
TS: I tried to play it the way I play most anything…it’s highly accessible by design, but it’s canon and part of continuity, as far as both “Hack/Slash” and Chaos are concerned. Everything you need to know is there, on the page, but if you’ve read other stuff, it’ll play for you too. To me, that’s just the job of serial comics, and I take that job seriously!
Any particular reason you felt you wanted to do this crossover as your return to the Serial Killer Killer? Aside from the coolness factor, of course, which could be reason enough on its own.
TS: Yeah, I wanted to do an event, which can be difficult with creator-owned books because by design they’re often contained “universes.” But one of the best things about “Hack/Slash” has always been how flexible the concept is, and how I can really put Cas and Vlad into almost any other comic book or film world. I mean, they met Milk & Cheese once, and it made perfect sense. “Chaos” is a perfect horror-comic epic, full of characters for Cas and Vlad to intersect with. Plus, I have a good relationship with the fine folks over at Dynamite and getting to work with them is always a pleasant, easygoing experience.
Judging from other crossovers with “Hack/Slash,” franchises ranging from “Vampirella” to “Nailbiter” to countless famous slasher movie franchises all exist within the same weird world as Cassie and Vlad, but others, in particular “Bomb Queen” and “Halloween Man,” were explicitly in their own world or dimension that brushed against her Earth in some way. Which of these is the case for “Vs. Chaos!,” an existing, separate world or having been a separate corner of the existing one of which she was always a small niche?
TS: Honestly, I personally treat everything as if it’s in one big ass shared universe. The creators of “Halloween Man” and “Bomb Queen” wanted to make their characters part of a different universe, so I obliged, and had fun with the trope of the “cross-dimension caper” story. But, for me, generally, there’s just no need. When Cassie and Vlad meet the “Chaos” characters, they’re all in the same universe. If she bumps into He-Man or Michael Meyers or Glenn Danzig, for that story, they are, and have always been in the same world. It’s the magic of comics, baby!
You’re coming right off of the recent twelve-issue “Resurrection” run, even though you did work on that one as well outside of the writer’s chair. How much would be continuing off of that? Will we hear about what’s happened to Laurie Peacetree, or to Dario the cat?
TS: Not right away. I let Tini wrap up her tale, and those characters, while certainly part of the world of “Hack/Slash,” aren’t in this particular tale. And, when you read this book, you’ll see why…it starts off right in the middle of big, crazy violence, and just goes from there.Continued below
Also off of “Resurrection,” that series was, within the timeline of the whole epic, roughly five years after the original run ended in 2013, with some other works happening in between to some degree. How long has passed in the world since we last saw the now 25-year-old Cassie Hack?
TS: Not much…we’ll refer to stuff from previous series and “Resurrection.” Cassie is 25 here…she’s not a kid anymore, and so she reacts a little differently than she did at 19 (as she was when the book first started).
When we last saw Cassie, she was… well, maybe “happy” isn’t the right term, but happier than normal for her. However, as we have seen, it doesn’t take much to bring her to a pessimistic, albeit realistic, view of her world coupled with her antisocial behaviors. Where exactly can we assume our protagonist’s mindset is by the time “Hack/Slash vs. Chaos!” starts? It’s not exactly out of character for her to descend back into her darker mentality with little prompting on account of her many, many personal issues.
TS: Heh, yeah, here she’s drawn to a case that brings together several of her old enemies, who she thought she’s already killed, and that brings her to Evil Ernie. So, she doesn’t have much time to thing about being happy or having a life…she’s gotta kill some teenage-slashin’ monstrosities.
As we’ve seen, the more mystical elements of Cassie’s physiology, in particular the black ambrosia that was again brought up in “Resurrection,” seem to be negatively affecting her mindset. While the active form of it was seemingly neutralized at the end of your first run, the dormant form seems to be still a problem, unless that was actually neutralized as well. With your return to the writer position, will we see a clearer cut answer on what exactly is left in her, or how much her bloodline may have a continued effect? “Resurrection” seemed to indicate there was something wrong with her that even Vlad noticed, but it seems a closer examination of her increased hostility may fit into this crossover.
TS: It’s not super important in the beginning of this story, but certainly, supernatural entities like Chastity and Purgatori know Cassie has some dirty blood in her. But, we’ll see whether or not that makes much of a difference when Cassie is going toe to toe with a vampire goddess and/or assassin.
This one is kind of a two-parter. Ernest Fairchild, a.k.a. Evil Ernie, and Cassie Hack haven’t crossed paths since ‘Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie’ back in 2005. Last we’d seen, he was in love with her due to his telepathically gaining an understanding of all of her hardships in life up until that point, including her desire to have someone love her. Considering he’s been out of her life for around seven to eight years within the timeframe of the series, if not more, how has he changed with regards to his feelings for and interactions with Cassie herself? After all, he was fully willing to sacrifice everything and anything for her to live, and even tried to fight killers to help her in his own way. Conversely, how has Cassie changed with regards to Evil Ernie? When he first confessed his love, she was still, as you said, nineteen, and had a hard time believing anyone would love her for who she is, inside and out. In the intervening period, her attitudes regarding romance and sexuality have evolved and shifted many times, enough that it’s unlikely she would be nearly as flustered or scarred by the idea of a killer having feelings for her.
TS: Yeah, I mean, this is a different Cassie, certainly. Her relationship with Ernie is definitely the starting point for this series. These two do know each other, but they’ve each been down separate roads since then. But, despite originally being enemies, they do have a shared connection…they understand each other very well, and that sets up a lot of this epic crossover.
Are there any story elements that you are excited to get back to that may have not been used by some of the previous writing teams? The magic, the severely messed up psychopathology of the broken slasher basher, anything else?Continued below
TS: I’m picking up a lot of what Tini gave Cassie…a brash confidence that she didn’t have before, which, really, comes from Tini’s personality. Tini treated her as a passionate woman who makes very bad decisions sometimes, and I really adopted that. And, I think, since I did my last tour on H/S the Deadpool movie and Venom and whatnot have debuted, and the world is ready for a kind of postmodern humor that has always been part of this series, so I’m going to lean into that even more. We’re the Deadpool movie of slasher flicks.
The solicitations for the first issue state that “some of the series’ most beloved slashers” will be returning. Considering some of them were killed in a manner that was shown to seemingly negate the means by which they reanimate or heal, are there any of her classic rogues that are off limits in your eyes, or is everything fair game?
TS: There are a few we won’t touch, but I felt like the rules of the “Chaos” universe opened up a whole lot of possibilities that we haven’t had before. To me, readers are going to want to see our monsters vs. Chaos’ monsters, so I had to oblige!
Does this series indicate that you’re interested in yet more crossovers, be it with other comics or more classic horror icons like Chucky or Victor Crowley in past issues? Or are those more on the back burner?
TS: I have another one I’m ever so slowly putting together, with a very enthusiastic editor at another comic company. I won’t say what it is as not to jinx but if I get this one together, I’ll basically be able to retire, because I’ll have done every character I ever wanted to do!
Anything else you’d like us to know about your return to your slasher comic epic? Both for returning fans and newcomers?
TS: Just a big thanks to everyone who has supported this comic over the years! I can’t believe I’ve been doing “Hack/Slash” for 14 years. 14 years!! It’s a testament to the passion of comics and horror fans that we’re still doing this.