As a fan of all things horror, horror comics are a big part of it. Therefore, it’s only natural I would move towards the horror comic art of Ben Templesmith, whose resume includes Hellspawn, Squidder, Dagon, Wormwood and 30 Days of Night, just to name a few. Ben talks the challenges he faces getting his comics to the public, how horror is in his blood and re-imaging an established character may not be his thing. So, take a moment to ride the squid with this 7 Question Session journey with Ben Templesmith!
EQB: How did you get involved in horror comics?
BT: Well, comics in general really… since I started on horror and will probably die doing horror comics too. I just got lucky being seen by an art director of Todd McFarlane Productions back in 2000 or so, seeing my art on a comic message board. I was asked to do some samples and then found myself on their book “Hellspawn” the darker gritter version of Spawn. That’s how I met Steve Niles and then we went on to do 30 Days of night, basically in our spare time between issues of the TMP comic… and it got the movie option and got popular… and I really went from there. Always done horror comics or things with a bit of a horrific bent to it.
EQB: Have you always been into the horror genre, or was it something you later gravitated to?
BT: Yeah, it’s just what I like, visually. Mood and such. Nothing calculated about it. My work hopefully just lends itself to it. I just like the dark.
EQB: What challenges have you faced in getting your comics/art out to the public?
BT: Well, that’s all distribution really, and either playing the game where many middlemen make more money off your work of figuring out ways to profit the most off your own work! Comics are in my blood so I’d be doing them anyway, but the struggle is always how to do them and still pay the rent.
EQB: If you could re-imagine any horror character, who or what would it be and how would you alter them?
BT: I’m not really into re-imagining other’s work honestly. I’d rather try to create new things if I can! I once took a stab at werewolves because I thought they were rather lame in look… so I tried turning them into hulking rotting things crossed with the Skesis from The Dark Crystal and then put them in a prison. Still rather proud of my take. The amazing Julien Mokrani turned part of it into a live action film really faithfully too: https://vimeo.com/29832031
EQB: You have had several successful Kickstarters for your books. What goes on behind the scenes in order to get your book ready for crowdfunding?
BT: Behind the scenes? Mostly insanity. I’ve done enough now to know every single pitfall of them. Learned most the hard way. But they’re far more rewarding and better for creators willing to put the work in than just working for a paycheck and seeing some numbers on a royalty statement! I get to actually know the names of the folks directly helping me to do the book. It’s rather grassroots.
EQB: What advice do you have for those looking to get into making horror comics?
BT: Hmm, maybe… learn that a real horror comic isn’t just the story, but the art and the sense it can give you to experience the story. The best ones out there don’t have the “superhero look”as such. A lot of what horror is about is what you *don’t * see, it’s in the mood and the atmosphere.
EQB: What is up next for you?
BT: Working on BLACKHOLERS via my patreon (patreon.com/templesmith and http://www.theblackholers.com ) as well as working slowly on new WORMWOOD: GENTLEMAN CORPSE and FELL. Plus some new stuff I can’t talk about!
Wanna talk horror art? Hit me up @horrorevilqueen