There’s nothing worse in this world than the rat race.

I bet when you learned there was a sequel to last year’s THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY, a story about the cult-like fandom surrounding a massive pop star, you probably weren’t envisioning an Office Space-type story to be at the heart of its sequel. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate, either, but there are definitely some points made about the literal soul-sucking nature of paperwork, legal red tape, and working for the man.

Office Space itself might not be a horror movie, but so many of us can relate to the horrors of the rigamarole of working life. Of cubicles, deadlines, pesky co-workers, the onslaught of emails—sure, it may all sound like very first-world, 21st-century problems, but they’re ubiquitous enough that so many can relate. It’s not just that work sucks, it’s that the corporate element of work makes it so hard to enjoy—and yet so necessary to live.

If you’re at all familiar with THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY, you’re probably asking yourself what any of this has to do with a pop star who sold his soul for worldwide acclaim. Well, once you’ve outsmarted the devil and found your way to the top, what else is there to do? Why, go corporate, of course.

INITIATION picks up a few years after the events of THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY, with an opening montage reminiscent of VH1’s classic Behind the Music series. We learn that Bingo, after achieving the height of fame, seemingly disappeared. But it’s not that he went missing or gave up on a life of stardom, he instead decided that the real money, the real power, was in becoming a manager, and getting other folks to sign over their souls to achieve even an iota of the success he once had.

Cullen Bunn is a modern master of the horror comic, and one of the many joys of his writing is that he can tell a story that feels so grounded even when its premise is entirely out of this world. This is a story about a man who has sold his soul for stardom, and he’s advancing his career further by garnering more souls, but it’s also a story of climbing the corporate ladder, about the things people do to get ahead; the deceptions that so many make to stay atop their perch.

A great aspect of horror as a genre is how it so often explores the darker aspects of human nature and the absurd lengths people will go to survive. This is, sadly, reflective of human existence under capitalism. Anyone in the workforce can attest to the hierarchical structures within and the lengths folks will go to compete for promotions and backstab one another to climb the corporate ladder. With things like deception, manipulation, and betrayal being commonplace, it only makes sense that horror would have to amp those factors up to eleven. Still don’t believe me? Let’s explore how this is done in THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY: INITIATION.

In so many office scenarios, deceptive promises can be made to keep folks in their roles, offer them bonuses or advancement, or lure them to new opportunities in exchange for hard work and dedication. This isn’t far off from the devil offering power, wealth, fame, and desires in exchange for souls. In both cases, the party who’s lured may find these promises to be hollow or, if they’ve made good on their promises, will learn that these things aren’t just what life is all about. Bingo realizes this in THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY when his fame costs him the life of his longtime girlfriend Samantha Smythe and yet, he still climbs up (or I suppose, down) that ladder of fame closer to Hell.

Working for the devil and working in the corporate world share common themes of competition and deceit. Individuals may be set against one another, competing for supremacy, recognition, or rewards. Betrayal and backstabbing can occur when people navigate the nuances of workplace politics or the perilous terrain of serving the devil. In INITIATION, Bingo works with a number of business-minded demons who, although appearing to be on his side and looking out for his best interests, are clearly working for one master at the expense of others.

Both scenarios can also lead to a loss of identity as folks become consumed by their roles. Whether it's selling one's soul to the devil and losing one's humanity in the process, or getting caught up in the demands of a corporate job and sacrificing personal values and passions, people may find themselves struggling to maintain a sense of self amidst the pressures and expectations placed upon them. All Bingo really, truly wants to do—all he’s ever wanted to do—is sing and perform for the masses. Now he’s stuck making other performers’ dreams a reality—at an incredibly high cost. He is not a mentor or a guide, he’s simply a cog in the Hell-machine with dreams of his own.

The only difference is that Bingo can ask his boss for a favor and have his wildest wishes granted. It’s kind of like a genie in a bottle situation; assuming the wishes the genie grants come with the cost of the asker’s humanity, and maybe a few casualties along the way. But I won’t say anything further, you’ll have to read THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY: INITIATION to see for yourself. And if this all hasn’t enticed you enough already, artist Dan Schoening’s delightfully demented demon designs will definitely change your mind.

Until next time, friends. And remember: don’t become just another cog in the machine. Carve your own path. Follow your dreams. Just be wary of any paperwork you sign.


Read on for additional details on The Cult of That Wilkin Boy: Initiation, check out our previous preview pages from the new one-shot, and go here to catch up on all of the past installments of Archie's House of Horror!


Returning to the world of last year’s successful THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY, Bingo is now a music manager—and the devil incarnate. He’s initiating others by exchanging their souls for stardom. But is this what he really wants out of life? Is this what he worked so hard for? Bingo embarks on a quest to return to his first love: performing music. But the road back to superstardom isn’t going to be an easy one, and it’s going to take a lot of souls to get there.

Script: Cullen Bunn
Art: Dan Schoening, Ben Galvan
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: Jack Morelli
Cover: Dan Schoening, Luis Antonio Delgado
Variant Cover: Robert Hack
On Sale Date: 4/24
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Cover by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado:

Variant Cover by Robert Hack: