NYCC 2018: We Believe In Horror With Image Comics
by Brendan M. Allen
What scares you? Like, really, really scares you? I’m talking about jumping out of your seat, cold sweats in the middle of the night, sharp intake of breath scary. In the last several years, we’ve been seeing horror step back up as one of the leading genres in comics. Image Comics is at the front of that charge, with such titles as Outer Darkness, The Gravedigger’s Union, Wytches: Bad Egg, Infidel, Regression, Moonshine, Ice Cream Man, Bitter Root, Gideon Falls, Burnouts, and several others.
On Thursday evening, several of Image Comics’ horror creators sat down to talk with us about the recent horror comics renaissance at Image’s New York Comic Con 2018 panel: We Believe In Horror. On the dais were editor Will Dennis (Gideon Falls, Wytches: Bad Egg) and writers Pornsak Pichetshote (Infidel), Matthew Rosenberg (What’s The Furthest Place From Here), W. Maxwell Prince (Ice Cream Man), Dennis Culver (Burnouts), and David F. Walker (Bitter Root).
One of the themes that kept popping up in discussion is how modern horror has shifted in recent years from ridiculously complex and implausible scenarios to a more relatable, real world approach. Will Dennis nailed it with the statement “Horror is just how scary the real world is. Take the real world. Move it five minutes to the left. That’s true horror.”
The creators each took some minutes toward the end to describe their worst fears, and it was interesting to see just how some of those real world experiences influence what they’re now putting into the pages of Image horror comics.
For instance, Matthew Rosenberg’s mom is C.A. Rosenberg (I know, RIGHT?). Having watched his mother’s film Maniac at a young age, Rosenberg was desensitized to horror pretty early. But then one night, he and his older brother found themselves in a scenario where it looked like they were definitely going to mugged, beaten, or worse, and Matthew saw the helplessness on his brother’s face and realized for the first time that he didn’t understand the world. It’s full of real dangers, and you have no control over them. That’s the heart of modern horror.