Bryan Baugh on Hack/Slash and More...
Interview with Comic Monsters Website
September 1st, 2009. Bryan Baugh is a well known artist in the horror community. We spoke with him about his recent work on Hack/Slash and what to expect from Wulf and Batsy.
CM: How was it working with Tim Seeley on Hack/Slash?
BB: Tim and I got along very well. It was a very smooth collaboration. He pretty much gave me free reign to interpret his stories however I wanted, which was great, to be given that much freedom, and to know that the creator/writer of the series trusted me. As long as I stuck to the basic ideas and action described in the script, Tim was okay with me approaching each scene my own way. I really tried to put an old-fashioned horror comic book spin on each issue of Hack/Slash I drew, and Tim seemed to like what I was doing. So yeah, we got along fine.
CM: What was the best thing about drawing Cassie and Vlad?
BB: Well, Hack/Slash was just so right-up-my-alley in terms of subject matter. I love to draw horror stories, and big, ugly, mean guys, and cute, sexy girls, and you get a good dose of that in every issue of Hack/Slash. So just the basic concept of the book played to my strengths as an artist and was a very comfortable fit for me. I would love to come back and work on it again someday. Or even just another project with Tim. His ideas are a lot of fun.
CM: Was the topic of a Hack/Slash, Wulf and Batsy crossover ever discussed?
BB: No, but there was never much time to discuss anything other than the issues I was working on at the time. The schedule on Hack/Slash was really tight. And then I got sick twice that summer, which was weird because I never get sick. To get sick twice in such a short time span was really unusual for me. But because of the tight deadline, and me getting sick, I ended up having to rush a lot. I was literally drawing 2 pages a day for much of the time I was on Hack/Slash, just to keep up. I was so obsessed with trying to hit the deadlines that I honestly wasn’t thinking much about anything else, except just getting each issue done! Sorry, that was a very long, convoluted answer to a short question.
CM: Speaking of Wulf and Batsy, let's talk about the recently released TPB. What stories does this collect?
BB: The “Wulf and Batsy Volume 1” Trade Paperback contains two complete stories: “We Have No Home”, which is a basic introduction to the characters, and “Bizarre Experiments” which is the first big adventure where Wulf and Batsy meet zombies and battle other monsters.
CM: How many pages is this TPB and what is the price?
BB: The whole book is 240 pages, And the cover price is $20.00
CM: Are there any extras in this TPB?
BB: Yes, the end of the trade paperback is a 40 page Supplement which displays all of my early sketches, along with explanatory text, describing the whole creative process I went through, in creating the characters, and writing and drawing the stories. This 40-page Supplement was a pretty personal document for me to put together because it explains the ups and downs of trying to get the comic finished - let alone published - when it was only a personal project created during spare time, on the side of my day job. When I was working on those early Wulf and Batsy stories, there was never any money or any reward in it except the fun of making it. So it was this strange situation where the thing I loved most in the world always had to be relegated to last priority status. That made the book quite a struggle to create and so, I would think the supplement at the end of the trade paperback should be an interesting read for anyone else who has worked on a personal project like this.
CM: What's up next for Wulf and Batsy?
BB: I have already finished another 200 page story which will be published in Wulf and Batsy Volume 2. It’s all done and ready to go, the pages are completely finished, lettered and everything. I want to allow a little stretch of time between each volume, so for now my plan is to keep Volume 1 in the spotlight and have Volume 2 printed and available for sale by December 2009.
CM: Wulf and Batsy has bounced around from publisher to publisher. Is there any chance of getting this book out more often from one publisher?
BB: That is a good question. The publishing history of this comic book parallels the arduous journey of the characters in the story. Wulf and Batsy certainly is the wandering comic book that can’t find a home.
It started out being published by Chanting Monks Press. They were nice people and treated me very well, but they just didn’t do enough advertising in my opinion, and the book didn’t sell as well as I thought it could have.
Then it got picked up by Viper comics, where things seemed to be going great for three issues, until… well, your guess is as good as mine. All I know is, just before Wulf and Batsy Issue #4 was supposed to come out, the publisher had a disagreement with their printer and had to stop publishing for a while. I had all of my material ready to go, and I kept getting emails from fans asking when the next issue was coming out. I had a hungry audience and I just wanted to keep giving them new chapters of the story. So finally I told Viper I needed to keep moving forward, and I self-published Issue #4 on my own. That was a fun experiment. But it taught me that making and selling single-issue comics is too costly, and more trouble than it is worth.
So instead of putting out an Issue #5, I just said, the heck with single-issues. From now on, I’m just gonna do trade paperbacks. Then people only have to buy one book, and they get the whole story, and there’s more room to put in fun extra stuff. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and it seems to be going over very well. Believe it or not I have actually made a fair profit from the books I have printed and sold myself.
I would still love to get Wulf and Batsy picked up by a regular publisher, if I possibly could. It would be wonderful if all I had to do was write and draw the stories and let someone else worry about the printing and distribution and promotion and all that, which is so much work and takes so much time away from the writing and drawing.
But I’ll tell you, I have shown Wulf and Batsy around at comic book conventions for years now, and just can’t find a publisher who is interested. It is the weirdest thing. It seems like every person who actually reads Wulf and Batsy has come back later, either at a convention or through email, to tell me how much they enjoyed it, and to ask how soon I will be putting out the next book. The actual readers seem to unanimously love it. But for some reason, no publisher is willing to take a chance on it. I just can’t convince them. Well, what are you gonna do. So I just keep making my books and selling them, and I figure, the people who are interested in the book will find it. Who knows what the future will hold.
CM: Where can our readers find out more information on what you are up to and Wulf and Batsy?
BB: Everything you need to know about Wulf and Batsy can be found at my website: http://www.cryptlogic.net/
I also have a STORE page on the website where you can order the Wulf and Batsy Volume 1 Trade Paperback from me directly if you want. The address for the Store Page is: http://www.cryptlogic.net/store.php
CM: Thank you for your time, Bryan! Best of luck to you and these fantastic characters, Wulf and Batsy!