Get $1 off during the first week of release!
Offer valid from September 4th thru September 10th, 2019 at all participating retailers.
Something Is Killing The Children #1
Story by James Tynion IV
Art by Werther Dell’Edera
* GLAAD Award-winning writer James Tynion IV (Memetic, Batman: Detective Comics) teams with artist Werther Dell’Edera (Briggs Land) for an all-new limited series about staring into the abyss to find your worst fears staring back.
* When the children of Archer’s Peak begin to go missing, everything seems hopeless. Most children never return, but the ones that do have terrible stories-impossible stories of terrifying creatures that live in the shadows.
* Their only hope of finding and eliminating the threat is the arrival of a mysterious stranger, one who believes the children and claims to see what they can see.
* Her name is Erica Slaughter. She kills monsters. That is all she does, and she bears the cost because it MUST be done
Diamond Code: JUL191304
FOC due AUGUST 12nd, 2019
In stores on September 4th, 2019
Why It’s Cool:
“Like a lot of good horror, Something Is Killing the Children starts slow. We see the aftermath long before we see the carnage. We see the effect that this horror is having not only on the individuals involved, but the whole community. And when, as the title promises, we finally see the killing of the children: it hits. Something is Killing the Children makes the most of it’s DNA. A little Hellboy here. A little Twin Peaks there. Imagine if Stranger Things was stripped of its bubblegum nostalgia and all that was left was bleak swathes of grey and plenty of blood. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more killing, and plenty more blood, before this series wraps.
Q&A with James Tynion IV & Werther Dell’Edera:
Tell us a little bit about Something Is Killing The Children. How did everything come together?
James Tynion IV: It’s funny, because this is NEVER how it works with me, but it honestly started with the title. Normally I’m the sort of writer who has an idea I love, and then I struggle for weeks and weeks to get a title that feels right. In this case, I had a title that I knew was right. I knew it had some power, and that it evoked the kind of stories I like to tell. I think the first time I pitched Boom! a permutation of Something Is Killing The Children was almost five years ago… But it was a title and a premise without a story. Kids were going missing, but I didn’t know what was killing them. A town was reeling from their loss, but I didn’t know who would arrive to deal with that threat. I put the concept in a box for a long time, but pretty much every year I would have a conversation with the bosses at Boom! and they would ask me about Something Is Killing The Children.
It was last summer that I started picturing this character. This blonde young woman with these haunted, heavy eyes. I pictured her arriving to small towns who had no idea who she was, and killing the monsters they don’t even realize are haunting them. I had this vision in my head, and it wasn’t until I told my main editor at Boom! about it, and he asked me “Is this SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN?” that I knew that it was. That these were all part of one singular idea. But even then, the idea was originally to do these standalone stories, one-shots of Erica Slaughter (our lead) arriving in a town, dispatching a monster, and then moving on… But halfway through writing the first issue, I realized that the story was a very different sort of animal than I had first imagined.
Writers talk about how characters can drive a story to unexpected territory, and I’ve had moments where that’s happened with me in the past, but this comic more than any other has led me more than I’ve led it. It’s a really exciting experience, like I’m unraveling a mystery that already exists fully formed. It feels like my characters know more about the story than I do, and it’s been the most thrilling experience. The last line of the first issue really cinched it. It changed everything I thought the series was, and I knew, as I wrote it, it was the right choice, even though it meant throwing the roadmap out.
This is all a lot of words to say that I think there’s some kind of strange dark magic in this series, a life to it that keeps pulling me towards the individual character’s grief in the face of something truly horrifying. That brings a story that’s ostensibly about a monster hunter arriving in a town and killing a monster, and takes it to this deep, dark, personal and frightening place that has already made it one of my favorite things that I have ever written.
Werther Dell’Edera: It was all editor Eric Harburn’s fault! He reached out to me with this project and put together the team. When he sent me the details, all I knew was that I love James Tynion IV’s work, really love his comic books, and that what I had in my hand was something big and beautiful and totally cool. I fell in love with Something is Killing the Children from the very first page.
What are you reading/watching/listening to as inspiration for this work?
JT: I think we’re in the midst of a great boom in horror cinema these last few years, with incredible new voices coming out with these deeply personal, and unique horror films… From Jordan Peele with Get Out and Us, Ari Aster with Hereditary and Midsommar, all of the filmmakers digging into Stephen King’s whole bibliography and bringing it back to life… There are really too many good movies to count. It feels like there’s a whole new graduating class of horror filmmakers and those moments are always really exciting for a genre. It opens everything up, and makes it feel like anything is possible. I think there’s a lot of horror in the real world right now, and horror fiction has always been the best way to express it. Every time I watch an exciting new horror movie these last few years, I’ve been processing it and waiting for the opportunity to unleash my own brand of horror out onto the world.
I have written so many big bombastic stories in the last few years with my work at DC Comics. The cosmic-level of the stories we’re playing out in the Justice League titles is something I am extraordinarily proud of, but there’s so much power in something more grounded. A story that takes place concretely in the real world with real people, with real emotions. Writing a scene that essentially takes place in an Applebee’s is suddenly thrilling, because you don’t need to explain how any of the rules of the reality work. It’s our world. It’s our reality… And the things that are WRONG in that context… When actual monsters show up, the horror hits you just like it would in the real world. That’s the intent, anyways. So as much as this is inspired by the new wave of American Horror Cinema, it’s also a counter to the larger than life superhero fiction I’ve been writing at DC.
WD: I read a lot of books, comics, and manga, so it’s difficult to say if there is a precise inspiration. I also listen to a lot of music (classical and jazz, sometimes rock) or the radio. No specific examples but I kind of let everything I enjoy inspires my work. I used to watch movies or have television on in the background while I was working but they were too distracting so it’s just music now.
When you started this project who did you have in mind as an audience for this, and did it change by the time you finished?
JT: I think this is a bit more mature than some of my other creator owned titles. This is probably not the comic to hand sell to a big fan of The Backstagers. The title doesn’t lie. Something IS killing the children and it happens, graphically on the page in the first issue and it only gets more frightening as it moves forward. This is meant to be deeply unsettling horror. I started reading deeply unsettling horror comics when I was around 15 years old, but I had other 15 year old friends who were not ready for that kind of content. I’d say this is a book for older teens and adults. To say whether or not that was the intended audience from the start? Honestly I think my first intended audience was always myself. I read a LOT of comics every month, and I wanted to make something that I would pick up every issue of. I think I pulled that off! Now it’s time to see if anybody else agrees with me!
Can you give us an idea of what readers can look forward to in this series, maybe a little down the line?
JT: As much as I talk about the fun little human moments, the core of this series is still what it says on the packaging. It is a horror story, starring a bad-ass mysterious Monster Hunter who shows up in an upper Midwestern town ready to hunt and kill a monster that’s been stalking and killing lots of local children. That’s the heart of the book. I was having a conversation with my friend Steve Orlando after I showed him the first issue, and he told me that the series was, essentially, Hack/Slash meets Twin Peaks, and while that comparison hadn’t hit me when I started writing it, it’s very apt. This is a strange small town, grounded in realism, faced with a strange supernatural threat… Erica, our monster hunter, grew up in that realistic world, but know is a part of a stranger dark underside to reality. The book exists in the push and pull between the strangeness of Erica’s world, and the mundane real world.
What’s great in comics right now that you’re currently reading?
JT: Everything Jeff Lemire is writing. I just reread all of Gideon Falls from the start and I think it might be the best comic out on the stands right now. And all the Black Hammer books, too… It’s honestly very inspiring and intimidating. I think Jeff’s firing on all cylinders and doing the best work of his career. It makes me want to do better and think bigger. I’ve also been really impressed with the White Noise collective of writers from the UK (Ram V, Alex Paknadel, Dan Watters, Ryan O’Sullivan). Just like I said about horror cinema, I think we’re having a moment in comics where we’re seeing a new graduating class of comic writers arriving on the scene with these amazing voices at the same time as we’re seeing the last big wave of new talent reach new creative highs, at the peak of their craft. It makes for exciting times as a reader.
WD: Well, there are a lot of great comic books out there, and as I said before, I read a LOT. I’ve really been enjoying superhero comics in the last year, specifically Justice League Dark, Immortal Hulk, Black Panther, Captain America, and Superman. Also, I’ll read anything by Grant Morrison, Tom King, or Brian Azzarello.
What has it been like building this would with your art team?
JT: Werther has been an absolute dream. We started out with the design of Erica, and he just got the character immediately. He understood exactly what we were going for and just ran with it. Those first few character sketches… They captured both the power of the character, and the ingrained sadness that comes from seeing so much horrific death, over and over gain. He captures both sides of the series perfectly… The horror, and the grounded humanity of this fictional Archer’s Peak, WI. I also can’t say enough good things about Miquel Muerto’s colors, which just bring the series to life in this vibrant way. The book is absolutely beautiful. It feels like a complete package, and it’s my job to make sure not to screw it all up, because every page of this series is a winner.
WD: More Erica Slaughter!