With Halloween around the corner I welcome anything and everything monster related… usually at the expense of my wallet. One such recent find was MONSTER MASSACRE, a new (ongoing) hardcover anthology that features the generation-spanning talent of comic creators like Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Andy Kuhn, Dave Wilkins, Mark A Nelson, Dave Elliott and more.
As both a contributor and creator of Monster Massacre, Dave Elliott brings over 25 years worth of experience to the title which he hopes will put some “sexy fun and crazy adventure” back to comics. Dave was awesome enough to join us at the clubhouse to shed some light on the series.
Thanks for joining us, Dave. Can you give us a brief history of who you are and how you got started in creating comics?
DE: I got into comics almost by accident. I’d always wanted to do comics but living in London I didn’t see as many opportunities there as the US seemed to offer. I’d done some magazine illustration, film storyboarding and advertising concept design work but wanted to also do something for fun so I started my own greeting and postcard company doing small limited run cards that were a little weird or bizarre in nature. So one day I walked into a comic store to take an order and was instead offered work on a new comic line. It meant working out of their basement but I was going to work in comics.
I said yes and have been regretting it ever since. *laughs*
Over the years I have worked with Marvel, DC, 2000AD, Deadline magazine, Dark Horse, IDW, Heavy Metal, Penthouse magazine and Image Comics. While I tried to keep a balance of doing editorial and publishing work with writing and drawing, the editorial work usually won out.
DE: Love of what I do. You can’t last long in comics if you don’t love them. The elephant in the room is that doing comics generally doesn’t pay too well. A lot of the rates haven’t kept in line with inflation and in some cases even reversed. This is one of the reasons more and more creators are doing their own material. It may not pay much at first but it’s all yours and eventually you can have trades out that act as a revenue stream.
Among your many accomplishments within the industry, you seem to have quite the track record when it comes to anthologies. What can you get with an anthology format that you can’t necessarily with a regular comic?
DE: Anthologies are actually more difficult to put together than regular titles. Almost as much work goes into dealing with a 6 page story as you would on a 22 page comic. Unlike a Batman or Spider-Man comic you have to have a beginning, middle and an end to the story in those 6 pages. You can’t fill it with fluff.
With MONSTER MASSACRE, and with A1 in November, I want to give both the creators and the readers to explore new worlds and new art styles. Anthologies are a great way to experiment for both the artist and the reader.
And of course with this anthology you get to read the book without any cliff-hangers. Every story is complete.
Speaking of which, Monster Massacre is a pretty eclectic compilation, sort of a mix between low and high brow. What was the premise behind it?
DE: Fun mostly. There are plenty of heady graphic novels out there but I felt something was needed that played to the imagination more. My favorite movies are the ones that take me away from the norm, that offer escapism. As a reader I want that and as a creator I want to tell stories like that.
DE: MONSTER MASSACRE is most definitely a series. Finishing off volume 2 now and straight into volume 3. The volumes will appear regularly every 6 months. I don’t think we”l try theme volumes until further down the line. They can sometimes feel a little forced if you don’t have the right group of contributors. Variety is the spice of life after all.
Will any of the stories persist from issue to issue or are they all one-offs?
DE: There will be some continuing characters that will appear in more volumes. El Zombo, Sharky, A Pair of Thieves and Hitch will all be making return appearances and Mister Monster will be making an appearance in A1 in November by his creator Michael T. Glibert in a story written by Alan Moore. There will also be new characters appearing soon.
So are you a horror fan at heart? Any favorite monsters?
DE: While I like very human monsters like Hannibal Lecter, which highlights the very real dark side that is in most people and makes it believable, I prefer the more fantastical monsters. Godzilla, the Alien, the Thing as well as the classics Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The classics win out though because they usually originate from a tragedy and often do not have control over their own actions.
Monster Massacre is one of several releases you’re working on from Titan’s new comic imprint. How did you become involved with them?
DE: It’s actually funny that it took this long. I’ve known Nick Landau, Titan’s publisher, for getting on for 30 years. I brought Monster Massacre to him just as he was planning on launching his own comic specialty imprint.
DE: You actually answered that yourself. It is because of Titan’s background beyond the comic book stores that appealed to me. I’d recently worked with one publisher and they complete screwed up the release of several trades because they weren’t knowledgeable enough about the book trade. The solicitation material to the book stores went out 6 months late! That kills titles. I wanted to work with a company that had deep connections to the mass market and understands it while not being a total stranger to the comic book store market.
If you look back through the history of comics, anthologies were always great sellers. In the comic market the audience have gotten used to getting pieces of established characters stories fed to them over time. With anthologies we can build up the characters over time with several stories.
Having strung together our own SKC anthology, I can definitely agree. Okay, before we let you go there’s one last question. It’s sort of a tradition around the clubhouse: What’s the strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?
DE: Let’s see… Blowing up old model kits was one of my faves. We also used to moon travelers on the train down by the train tracks. I’d tell you about my adventures as a 7-8 year old playing doctors and nurses with the girl next door but maybe we shouldn’t go there. *laughs*
MONSTER MASSCARE Vol. 1 is now available from Titan Comics. You can find it online or on the iPad, iPhone, Web, Android and Kindle Fire, exclusively through the comiXology app and comiXology.com.