Interview with Rachel Deering

In the Dark – A Comic Horror Anthology
Interview with Creator Rachel Deering
By: Brad Gischia

Everyone has seen how Kickstarter has changed the indie comics industry.  If you have a good idea and good talent there is nothing that can stop you from getting funding.  Millions of people see the site and donate daily to projects they feel strongly about.  What happens when you take a seasoned comic professional and add the Kickstarter gene into the pool?  In the Dark happens.  Thank you Rachel Deering.

Ms. Deering is a professional writer, editor, and comic letterer, as well as the creator of Anathema, her own horror comic.
The Kickstarter project was 51% funded the second day it was available.  By the end of the weekend it had reached the 75% mark.  That should tell you something.  But there’s still a ways to go.  You can’t get through the list of contributors without saying “Holy S@*t to yourself simply because the list of talent is so amazing.  It is an All-Star Team of writers and artists, sure to make this book a fantastic buy.

On In the Dark-

This is a Kickstarter campaign but IDW has its stamp on the book as well.  How does that relationship work?

IDW was kind enough to offer their expertise in printing, warehousing, and shipping the books for me. I have to pay for the services, but they come at a much lower cost than if I had tackled this on my own, and their experience with all of these facets of production will mean the book is top quality, fulfilled in a timely manner, and seen by as many people as possible.

How involved does the company get in the content?

Not at all. They are very hands off with this project. They just have faith in my vision and want to help the book succeed in every way possible. They are a great bunch of people.

You’ve compiled quite an impressive list of writers and artists for this anthology.
How did you go about contacting these people?

Nearly all of the contributors are personal friends of mine, so it was just a matter of sending a text or email, really. The few people who I didn’t know came onto the book by way of recommendation from those friends. It was all fairly simple and smooth, really.

Are there any writers/artists that you didn’t think you could get for the project that surprised you?

Sure. F. Paul Wilson stands out the most. He wrote for the original CREEPY and EERIE back in the 70s, so I figured he’d be untouchable, but he’s actually an incredibly nice and approachable guy. I was thrilled when he agreed to come onboard.

What is the goal of In the Dark?

All I wanted to do with this book was to create what I considered the “ultimate” horror anthology. I wanted to present readers with a wide range of all-new horror tales, as well as a comprehensive history of horror comics. Most of all, I wanted to give readers something fun and thrilling.

When is the projected release date?

I talked about that a lot with IDW. We are shooting for April 2014. They seem confident that we can get the book out by then. Solicitation is what takes the longest.

Are there any plans for another volume?

If I raise enough money to pay the creators a reasonable page rate and still have enough money left over, I would love to put together a second and third and fourth volume. I’ll make horror anthologies as long as people will buy them.

How would you draw someone new to the horror genre into this book?

I have several writers on the book who have never touched horror before. People who are well known for writing sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero books. Hopefully people will see their names listed and want to give their horror stories a shot.

Do you feel that indie books and self-published comics get fair play in today’s market?

Haha, no. I don’t think anyone believes that. We’re all living in the shadow of the big boys. We fight tooth and nail to get the tiny bit of exposure we’re granted by media outlets and comic shops. The digital marketplace is maybe a little different, but not by much.

You say that In the Dark has roots in magazines like Creepy and Tales From the Crypt, what is your favorite old horror comic?

Creepy is, always has been, and always will be my favorite comic. Not just horror comic, but my favorite comic overall. Nothing can touch it. Creepy #63 in particular. Jenifer is a perfect story.

What drew you to the genre specifically?

Nothing else made me feel the way horror did. I love being scared. I love monsters. I love creepy old castles and haunted houses and cemeteries. I can’t quite put a finger on what it is about the feeling of jumping out of my skin that I enjoy. It could just be that I’m a person of extremes…or it could be some awful mental imbalance, I don’t really know.

On Kickstarter-

You Kickstarted your first book, Anathema, and now are returning for In the Dark.  How has the Kickstarter experience been for you so far?

It’s awful for my nerves and stressful for my social networks, but the payoff is most definitely worth it. People get a product that they are excited about, and played a part in creating, and I get to create. I am really thankful for Kickstarter, but I hope I never have to run one again, haha.

Was anything easier than you expected it to be?

No. Nothing about kickstarter is easy. Nothing.

Was anything harder?

There were a few hoops I had to jump through to get the campaign launched. I had to include some very specific wording at the request of Kickstarter, but it wasn’t really that big a deal. I was prepared for this one after running two campaigns for Anathema.

On Rachel –

What comics do you read on a monthly basis?

Locke & Key, The Sixth Gun, Hellboy, and whatever limited series or one-shot happens to be running at the moment. I don’t really read anything from the mainstream.

Who are your favorite comic/non-comic writers and artists?

I love everyone on IN THE DARK. I’m not playing favorites when it comes to comic writers, haha. That’s just asking for trouble. As for writers outside comics, I’m a huge fan of Robert E. Howard, Algernon Blackwood, Lord Dunsany, J. Sheridan LeFanu, Count Eric Stenbock, Poe, Lovecraft, etc. As for artists, it’s really all about Bernie Wrightson in my world.

In the Dark will be a fantastic buy for any fan of horror or comics.  The “Holy S@#t” moment comes now.  The list of contributors reads like a veritable honor roll of talent.  To list them all would take up a lot of space and a lot of your time better spent going to Kickstarter to pledge.  The writers include Cullen Bunn, F. Paul Wilson, Tim Seeley, Michael Moreci, and Valerie D’Orazio and Rachel Deering.  Add to that art provided by Christopher Mooneyham, Christian Dibari, Alison Sampson, Mike Henderson, and Garry Brown, among piles of others, you couldn’t go wrong.

This is going to be a fantastic work, a great swath of asphalt in paving the way for horror comics.  Rachel Deering has done the hard part, now all you have to do is go out and pledge a couple of shekels towards something that could become something more.  In the Dark promises to be a fine addition to any shelf, a book that you can take down and read again and again.  Can you imagine if there was an In the Dark 2?  How great could 3 and 4 be?  Rachel Deering and Kickstarter can provide that.  Go there today and give a little to get so much more.

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