Mike Garley and Mike Lee-Graham are the writer and artist, respectively, behind the horror comic Our Final Halloween. Joined by Mike Stock on letters, Our Final Halloween is live on Kickstarter with two weeks left to go. The 35-page one-shot gives nods to HP Lovecraft and John Carpenter.
Tim Midura: Our Final Halloween is about five kids who wake up in an abandoned house. What's the scariest place you've woken up?
Mike Garley: Nowhere anywhere near as scary as that. I did go camping one time and everyone woke up and got up before me, so I woke up alone and confused. But it wasn't really that scary.
TM: You kept the pledge levels to only three. What went into that decision?
MG: We were keen to tool the KS to reach as many people as possible rather than make a bunch of money. We've had a lot of people pledge over the top pledge level, which feels pretty great that people want to support the project that much. We've talked about adding higher pledge levels to thank those people, but we don't want to do it until after we're funded as I think it'll feel like we're cheating.
TM: Will there ever be a physical release?
MG: That's a hard maybe. We wanted this to be in everyone's hands on Halloween, which would have been impossible to do with a physical book that Kickstarted over October. If the book does well enough then we'd definitely be up for exploring a physical release, but for now we just wanted to put everything we could into the digital copy.
TM: The Kickstarter touches on this being influenced by Lovecraft and Carpenter. Can you expand on that?
MG: Sure. We play with lots of different types of horror, but MLG's artwork, the setting, and our characters all have a fast paced Carpenter-styled edge to them, whereas the story explores similar themes that HP Lovecraft did in his work. Our Final Halloween is very much its own entity but horror fans should appreciate the nods, whereas people less versed with horror should still enjoy, what we hope will be, a fun character exploration tied within a mystery.
Mike Lee-Graham: Mike and I both love the films of John Carpenter, and setting the comic in one location in a horror setting naturally brought up comparisons with his filmography. Visually, The Thing and Prince of Darkness helped as a kind of blueprint of how to handle multiple characters in a small space.
Lovecraft for us is also a great launching pad for cosmic horror and monster designs.
TM: 35 pages is on the high end for a comic. How did this affect the story?
MG: One of the joys of digital is that we don't have to worry so much about the page turns, or working in multiples of eight (sometimes it's most cost effective to have your page count as a multiple of eight as there's less waste paper). For OFH we just told the story we wanted to tell and if we wanted to spend a bit more time on a certain scene then we could. We weren't forced to cut everything down, which gave us more room to build up the eerie and unnatural world of OFH.
TM: Michael, can you touch on your artistic influences for this story?
MLG: Heck yes I can. I have an unhealthy obsession for horror films and one of my favourites, from a purely visual standpoint is 70s horror SUSPIRIA. The cinematography and lighting in that film was a big influence on how I wanted to approach the colours in the artwork. I kept the pallet very limited and tried to keep each scene/area limited to two KEY colours. Sometimes it made things easy, other times I wanted to smash my fists into my screen.
TM: How did being digital-only affect your approach to the art?
MLG: Not a great deal at all to be honest. I put the pages and panels together with the idea that down the line we could get this comic printed if we wanted. I am personally very interested in creating digital comics in the future that suit digital formats better but for this comic I wanted to play it safe and keep it as a traditional comic format.
TM: Should we expect Another Final Halloween next year?
MG: Final means final... Just like it did in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (the 4th Friday the 13th film). Or Jason goes to Hell: The Final Friday (the 9th of the 12 Friday the 13th films...).
MLG: I'm going to be David Lynch levels of vague and just say one of my favourite video games is titled Final Fantasy VII.
Check out the Kickstarter here.