Very little is known about the men behind the very awesome series Deadhorse (from 215Ink). Luckily one of the team has decided to break his silence and tell us a little about himself, Deadhorse, and the process that brings this well written lovingly drawn book to us issue after issue.
WR: Eric Grissom thank you for talking with us.
EG: Hey Chuck, thanks for the kind words. I’m happy to do it.
WR: First and foremost let’s bring people up to speed, if they haven’t yet read a copy of Deadhorse (for shame!) or the review on this very site (again I say SHAME!), how would you describe the series?
EG: Deadhorse is the story of a guy named William Pike who wakes up one day to find a letter in the mail from his father, a man who by all accounts died forty years ago. The letter contains a key to a box that his father warns has a dark purpose. As soon as Pike receive the key, people start trying to kill him for it, including a rather large fellow in a plastic ape mask. So the story follows Pike as he makes his way across Alaska protecting the key and trying to learn what exactly it is it unlocks and how it all relates to his father’s death.
I’d describe it as a mystery with lots of action and adventure. The tone sort of jumps between moments of darkness and humor.
WR: August 15th will see the release of Deadhorse: Chapter Four – Vacancies. Having read a preview I can confidently say it is a big important issue in the series with one hell of a cliffhanger! Where are we in the story arc? How long can this mystery stay a mystery? You’ve mentioned that Book 1 “Dead Birds” is told in six parts what happens then, do you already have Book 2 under way?
EG: Chapter four really is an important piece to the story. Everything changes. I don’t want to give away any details or spoil anything, but I will say there is a moment in part four in which the entire story pivots. Where we go from here might not be what people are expecting.
In regards to the mystery I will say this, at the end of chapter six you will know what’s in the box (cue Brad Pitt). You may also have a whole new set of questions.
Book Two is outlined and I have a portion of it written. It will also be told in six chapters. Release will be a bit different this time around though. I’ve decided rather then do a month to month chapter release, we’ll do it all at once and release each chapter weekly digitally. At the end of six weeks we’ll do the collected edition in print. Because this is going to add a long delay in between the end of Dead Birds in October and the release of Book Two, Phil and I will be doing a 32 page one shot in between. It will focus on two new characters that will have prominent roles in the second series. It will be a self contained story, but will be firmly planted in the Deadhorse universe.
WR: I just have to ask, have you been to Deadhorse Alaska?
EG: No, but if you’re heading that way I’d love to go. I spent a lot of time researching the area, specifically Denali National Park. The rangers there were extremely helpful and sent me a lot of really good source material. I would love to go to Alaska. While I’m fantasizing, I’d really like to go to Iceland. With three kids, I’m lucky to get to the edge of the driveway.
WR: So where did Pike come from? Did this story come fully formed our are these characters and events things you’ve worked on/with before?
EG: The original appearance of Pike was in a short story I wrote back around 2008 or 2009. It was essentially the scene in Deadhorse 1 with the Vogels. After that I decided to turn it into a comic and when Phil agreed, the story and characters took off from there. It’s a much different tale then it was as a short story.
WR: I noticed in your (rather short) bio on the deadhorse site your background is in prose, what brought you to comics?
EG: I’ve always been a comics fan. In fact in grade school I ran a comic’s store on the steps of St. Mary’s elementary. It was a financial disaster. Writing though has always been a part of my life. Between creating comics as a kid, writing bad poetry as a teenager, to doing mostly sketch comedy and short stories in my twenties and beyond, the idea of creating something that wasn’t there before is something I can not live without. I find comics to be the perfect medium too. I can’t begin to explain how lucky I am to have artists like Phil and David to work with. I have an unlimited budget in terms of storytelling. What’s even more amazing is I can put something down on paper, and when it comes back from these guys it’s even better. Wait, did I even answer your question?
WR: How did you and Phil Sloan get together for this project? How did David Halvorson get into the mix?
EG: In another life I owned a video game store (red devil games) and Phil worked next door at a pizza shop. We become good friends. When I started to see some of the comics he was working on, I asked him if he would be interested in doing Deadhorse. Lucky for me, he agreed.
David is a little different in that he lives hundreds of miles away. In his case, I saw a link to his comic “Tales of Armstrong” on Twitter. I highly recommend people check it out. I fell in love with it and so I just emailed him to tell him. We become friendly after that and when we signed the deal with 215 Ink, Phil and I decided we needed a dedicated colorist. I asked David and he said yes. Couldn’t be happier with the result.
WR: Besides your obviously wonderful team on Deadhorse is there anyone out there in comics you’d like to work with?
EG: Fiona Staples. Make that happen Chuck.
(Wish I could! Hey Fiona! You out there! -Chuck)
WR: What else do you have in store for us? Any other projects you’d like to promote?
EG: Yes! And I’m super excited for it. It’s called Planet Gigantic and I’m working on it with David Halvorson. It’s an ongoing book about two teenage super powered astronauts who crash land on a strange planet. It’s a big book. Full of rock monsters, giant insects, time elves, smoke ninjas. Time elves Chuck! I’m having so much fun with this book it’s hard to not keep smiling as I answer this. The art work coming back from David is out of this world, and you know what, that pun is totally intended. Planet Gigantic is an all ages book that would be similar, and I mean this only in terms of audience, to something like Avatar: the Last Air Bender, or Doctor Who. Meaning, this adventure comic could be enjoyed by a ten year old or a forty year old. It’s not a comedy, it’s not self referential. There’s no winking. This is serious gigantic adventure. Not sure about the release schedule, but each issue will contains two 18 page stories plus some extras. The first two stories are written and I’m working now on the 2nd and 3rd issue.
We’ll have a 13 page prequel to the series available in print in time for the cons at the end of the year. That is currently inked and being colored as we speak.*
*(Note from Chuck: I really really hope I get to preview this book! If I do you know you’ll read about it right here!)
WR: Will you and Phil be at Asbury Park in September? What about NYCC?
EG: Yes to both, we’ll also be at Baltimore Comic-con in September. If anyone attends please stop by and say hi.
WR: Thanks for taking the time to do this Eric! I’ll be seeing you guys in Asbury in September!
EG: Absolutely, thanks for listening! Look forward to seeing you later in the year.
Okay everybody now that we’ve heard from Eric let me tell you how cool issue four is. We’ve been following Pike for three issues now, watching him dodge disaster, and a Sasquatch assassin, by the skin of his teeth. He’s made it to next step in his quest and it finally seems like he’s finally going to get some answers but will he like what he finds out? Find out on August 15th in …
Written by – Eric Grissom
Artist – Phil Sloan
Colors – David Halvorson
Published by 215ink
Available through graphicly.com/215ink/ www.deadhorsecomic.com/part_three.php and www.215ink.com/catalog/
Retailers – www.deadhorsecomic.com/retailers.php