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7 Horrific Questions With Fiona Staples

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7 Horrific Questions With is back asking creators the same questions concerning horror topics. It will give you insight into the creators handling of horrific content and what some of their favorite horror tales are.

Fiona Staples is the artist of North 40, a horror book published by Wildstorm wherein Lovecraftian creatures invade small town America. Fiona's smooth pencilwork lends a truly otherworldly vibe to the horrific creatures she draws, contrasting sharply with the luscious characters and environs she populates her comics with.

BROKEN FRONTIER: What is it that constitutes true horror for you?

FIONA STAPLES: A senseless, irrational fear that's stronger than my logic or reasoning ability.

BROKEN FRONTIER: How does the current market treat horror comics according to you?


FS: I think readers are drawn to familiar conventions like zombies and vampires and so on, but are eager to embrace any new spin on classic material. Maybe that's why we see a lot of horror comics that are part homage, and part reinvention. I do think the market is warming up to horror comics, as long as there's an interesting idea and a good story behind them.

BF: What are the specific challenges you are facing when drawing a horror tale as opposed to drawing, for instance, superhero story?


FS: The little details need more attention in a horror story, since it's less about the action and more about a mood or idea. So I try to pay close attention to facial expressions and textures and shadows.

BF: What is your favourite creature that strikes terror into the hearts of the innocent and why?

FS: I find ghosts to be more terrifying than any creature, slasher, alien, or monster. They're usually back for revenge, or because they hold a grudge, so their hatred is personal. They follow you around, they can appear at the foot of your bed in the middle of the night... ghosts are very intrusive. There's also really no way to stop them other than just giving them what they want, which means you're forced to communicate with them in some way, which is horrifying.

BF: What is your favourite terrorific story, be it comics, movies or books?

FS: In comics, Bruce Jones and Bernie Wrightson's Jennifer is really great.  Before I'd even read it, I got creeped out just hearing the plot described to me (I am a huge sissy).  And I love all of Junji Ito's work, but in particular, this short story called The Enigma of Amigara Fault which is about this cliff face that becomes exposed after an earthquake, and it's covered in thousands of human-shaped holes. The last page of that comic is the ultimate "big reveal" and it's extremely creepy. I think it's been burned into my brain more clearly than any other scary image.

As for books, my favourites are still the John Bellairs novels I read as a kid.  They're really well-written supernatural horror for young adults and I hope kids are still reading them.  I also really love the ghost stories of M.R. James for their understatement; the horror isn't usually explicitly described, just strongly implied between the lines.

BF: What is either your latest published horror project or the one upcoming on your schedule?

FS: Writer Aaron Williams and I currently have a book coming out from WildStorm called North 40 which could be described as an action-horror comic. It's about a small Midwestern county that gets invaded by Lovecraftian monstrosities and people undergo weird transformations.

BF: When faced with a giant octopus, his tentacles woozing your way, his one giant eye focusing on your frail human body, what do you do?
a) I reach for my can of Mace
b) I quickly try to reach for my mobile to call my zombie army: zombies vs giant squids!
c) I'll tell you what I'll do! (insert your personal option)


FS: C: Knife to the eye! I learned that from The Goon.

North 40 is published by Wildstorm and check out Fiona Staples at her website. Make sure to read yesterday's 7 Horrific Questions With Charlie Adlard and then come back the day after tomorrow for 7 Horrific Questions With Scott Allie, writer of Dark Horse's Solomon Kane!

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