What’s up my fellow comic book fans? The Crimson Blur is back and I’ve got an exclusive interview with the team over at FREAKSHOW! If you are looking for a creepy, but totally cool take on super heroes, you need to check this out. Just take a look at the featured image, that is the cover illustrated by interior artist Joe Suitor! It already makes me want to read every word and see what that dark world is all about.
I also have a bunch of exciting, but obviously freaky preview images from their upcoming FREAKSHOW projects. What?! You want one right now?! Anything for my fans! Or…to make fans.
This is called Meet Psychosis and it’s a Comic Booked exclusive! Yeah, we know people.
I’m ridiculously curious about who or what is controlling those eyes. Thanks for the incredible art! This is the other cover illustrated by Darick Robertson. I can’t decide which one I like more!
Ok, enough pictures and side comments from The Blur. Here is yet another Comic Booked EXCLUSIVE! We have a full interview with the FREAKSHOW team!
FREAKSHOW: MEET PSYCHOSIS
FREAKSHOW, the three-issue dark superhero limited series from Ape Entertainment, will launch in stores on January 26th. From the FREAKSHOW creative team, series editor Isaiah Samson discusses a ComicBooked.com exclusive sneak preview of interior artwork from the first issue with co-creators and co-writers David Server and Jackson Lanzing:
SAMSON: So, obviously we’ve got this striking image of this really unearthly, eldritch cosmos of eyeballs, but why don’t you guys start us off with some context. Who’s the man on the table, what are we seeing here, and how does he fit into the comic as a whole?
LANZING: The story of FREAKSHOW rests on the back of our five main characters, each of which has been mutated and broken following a massive chemical explosion that kills the world’s only superhero. They’re left with defective, borderline monstrous superpowers – and this page is a perfect example of just what that means. The man on the table is called Psychosis, he’s one of those five “heroes”, and on a traditional superhero team, he would be the telepath. But in the world of FREAKSHOW, he’s a silent, enigmatic madman who can reach into your brain and share his twisted version of the world – whether you want him to or not.
SAMSON: Considering how deeply the blast damages these characters, even down to a basic psychological level, did you have a hard time getting into your protagonists heads?
SERVER: Part of what’s interesting about writing these characters is that the book is all about grieving. We like to say the thing that makes this story distinct is that while other series have shown what superheroes look like thrown *into* an apocalyptic event, this book is about that disaster *creating* them. They’ve lost their humanity, and so they’re each forced to mourn that loss in their own way – Stronghold is furious, Fog retreats into detachment, Rot is sardonic, etc. And frankly, as writers, these are all responses we’ve had when we’ve had to deal with tragedy ourselves. As monstrous and damaged as they can appear, I think their sadness is what makes them relatable. Certainly to us as writers, hopefully to readers as well.
SAMSON: Absolutely. Now, this isn’t completely visible on this page, but Psychosis has a really great design. Straitjacket with the arms loose, creepy blank mask, and then the insignia of this truly bizarre, lop-sided smiley face. Can you talk a little about the design, where it came from, and what it all represents?
SERVER: The core design dates all the way back to the initial version of the book I hatched back in 2002. I always wanted to contrast the blank emotionless mask and the creepy stitched-on smiley face patch. Psychosis is mute and no one on the team knows where he came from, so the only way to try and understand him is deciphering the illusions he creates. But with that straight jacket…is he actually insane? He’s definitely a mystery in the book.
LANZING: In line with their origins, the characters of FREAKSHOW are what I think of as “found object superheroes.” These aren’t people with the time or resources to design a costume, so each of them has taken what is natural to their situation and adjusted it towards the iconic. In the case of Psychosis, we’re meant to assume that he’s been in that straight-jacket and mask since long before the quarantine – so it’s less a “design” and more “what he had on at the time”. The chest-centered smiley, on the other hand, is clearly an echo of the classic superhero concept – but where it came from or how it ended up on Psychosis’ chest is a secret for another day.
SAMSON: Alright, great, let’s slap a bow on this. As comic fans speaking to comic fans, we’re all familiar with insane psychics, giant guys with anger issues, and other classic tropes that you draw on for FREAKSHOW. You mentioned the unique origin story that binds these characters in shared trauma, but as long-time fans, what would you say really sets FREAKSHOW and its characters apart? What do you guys do that you always wished more comics did?
LANZING: Honestly, though I grew up reading Marvel and DC books, I didn’t really fall in love with the medium and become a raving fanboy until I encountered the widescreen, decompressed comics of writers like Warren Ellis, Brian Bendis, Garth Ennis, and Grant Morrison. There, I found stories where the Big Action Beats were appropriately big and action-y, but the quiet character moments held the real meat. It’s when the masks and capes come off that the true story begins. So while FREAKSHOW is anything but decompressed (we’re telling a complete story in three issues, which is pretty much the opposite), we were dead-set on tackling the story with the emotional honesty, brutality, and heroism of the works that inspired us to take on the task in the first place.
SERVER: Absolutely. I’ve loved classic X-MEN comics since I was a little kid, so that old-school creativity you’re referring to is certainly what first grabbed me as a reader. But, like Jackson, I think what really inspired me as a writer was something in the modern approach to the genre from guys like Bendis, Joss Whedon and Brian K. Vaughn. The situations they create may be these epic larger-than-life conflicts, but they always ground everything in their approach to character. Underneath all the super-science and super-powers, these should feel like regular people just trying to survive. Sometimes that means unexpected, or even unheroic, responses. How would an actual person, with frailties and vulnerabilities and flaws, react to these kinds of unimaginable, sometimes horrific events? What does that reveal about who they really are? We wanted to make sure the characters in FREAKSHOW represented that same approach. If we’re lucky, maybe we can bring some new fans to comics ourselves!
Crimson Blur again. Now I love the flashy-do-gooder-type of super hero. But sometimes us comic book fans crave a darker hero who breaks the rules. This looks like it’s definitely going to be one of the groundbreaking series in the comic book world. FREAKSHOW is going places!
I am so stoked for January 26th! Make sure you come check Comic Booked for updates on all of your favorite comics! Leave me a comment with what you’d like to see.
For more information on FREAKSHOW, check out the Production Blog and Facebook Fan Page for regular updates.
FREAKSHOW Production Blog