Greetings fellow horror and indie fans, as you well know horror stories and indie comics are two of my favorite pastimes so when Sandy King Carpenter handed me this wild and lovely mock-rosary containing John Carpenter’s ASYLUM I was beyond delighted and began flipping through the accompanying teaser issue immediately. After talking with Sandy for a bit about John Carpenter’s ASYLUM and horror in general, her passion and our overlapping viewpoints rang out so clearly I just had to sit down with her and share some of that passion with all of you.
N – Hey Sandy, thank you so much for the amazing comic and taking time to answer my questions! My first one is pretty basic, describe to me the creative process and inspirations behind John Carpenter’s ASYLUM. How did it all begin and come together as a team?
SKC - Thanks, Nikki. In the past, people have come to us asking to “brand” comics with John’s name that were not his creation and generally were not what he considered to be good enough quality for his fans to entice him to become involved with their production. This comic came from an idea for a television show that Thomas Ian Griffith brought to us and which Thomas and I then extended into a pilot and bible for a TV series. Whenever we are putting together a film project, we also bring in the art department and work up visual ideas for a presentation package.
This project kept looking really strong visually and started making us all think that this might be “THE ONE”…the one to be a John Carpenter comic book. So Thomas and John and I wrote out all the story and character arcs to last a couple of years, but we all knew we weren’t experienced comic book writers and the audience deserved better than amateurs. So I brought in Bruce Jones, who graciously agreed to join the party and show us the way a pro does it. What a writer! At the same time, Jason Craig had been in contact with me when he was in Los Angeles for the Scream Awards and wanted to do something with us. We had liked the work he did on Jason v Freddy v Ash, so we brought him on board, too.
Eventually we got Russell Jackson for the teaser and later Jonathan Glapion and Jessica Phillips as inkers on volume one. Jonathan brings real depth and character to the page. Russ was great in a different way–a little dirtier, grittier look that worked well for the alley scenes in the beginning. Jeff Balke has been our phenomenal colorist since the beginning. Our art director from film, David Redier-Linsk, who is a consultant on the books, compares Balke to a lighting director, the way he works a page.
We have all had some amazing 2am discussions as deadlines hit.
N – What are the personal draws of a comic like ASYLUM to you as a creator?
SKC - Just the fun of telling a good story in a new format. It’s an interesting challenge to adapt to learning a new discipline–a new way to tell a story and make it the best entertainment you can for the reader. Our fans cross formats for their entertainment. They like comic books and graphic novels; they also like gaming in all its formats: hand-held devices through PC and arcade games; and, of course, movies. We want to deliver in whatever format we are working at the highest level. It’s a challenge to meet and hopefully exceed their expectations. It’s also been great to meet and work with the artists who bring these words and ideas to life.
I started in movies as an inker in animation, so the process doesn’t feel entirely unfamiliar.
N- Do you have a favorite character?
SKC - One of my personal favorites is King Leo, the blind leader of the homeless encampment. Bruce Jones took a character we had just sketched in and has made him into something far richer, so he’s gotten more interesting to me. In the future, I think Frank the detective will have some cool turns that make him something of a Jekyll and Hyde character that should prove kind of different and exciting as well.
N- What’s the most enjoyable part of getting to put out a comic like ASYLUM?
SKC - Whatever I’m doing, it’s always the people I’m working with that make it worthwhile. We put the project first, and how everyone works to achieve the end goal of the best way to tell the story is the magic.
Getting all the talent together and finding out how to get the best on the page is what’s fun.
Then it’s a matter of looking at the pages as they come together and seeing if we are hitting it.
Seeing if we really are getting the story across the way we meant to and are going to take the audience on a ride and give them their money’s worth. Are they going to feel like we gave them a John Carpenter experience they can hold in their hand?
If we succeed, then that rocks.
N – Final question. As an obviously avid fellow horror fan, why would you recommend John Carpenter’s ASYLUM to the rest of us?
SKC- It’s another flavor of Carpenter. It’s a slow burn story, like an all day sucker. WIth a movie, it’s all over in 90 minutes. With a game, you play it in a week or so. With this comic, we tell you a tale that goes on for a long, long time and hopefully keeps you intrigued and coming back for just a little taste more.
“There’s a war coming and the battle ground is the City of Angels. In tunnels beneath the city, in the dark alleys among the homeless…demons lurk and Lucifer bides his time. One man knows. One man sees. One man walks those dark streets.” - John Carpenter’s ASYLUM on Facebook
You can find John Carpenter’s ASYLUM on Graphicly and get the teaser for free. There are also a ton of amazing photos on their Facebook linked above, I highly recommend checking them out.
A beautifully arted and scripted work of darkness, light, and the painful realms in between, John Carpenter’s ASYLUM is highly recommend for lovers of horror and gothic imagery alike. Come take a walk down the dark streets of the world and the soul, come face the darkness and embrace the light in the way only horror can bring, and do so guided by true masters of it. -N