Headlining today's Horror Highlights are details on Joe Lynch's Mayhem, which just joined the Shudder streaming lineup with a new commentary track featuring Joe Lynch and Steven Yeun. We also have Daily Dead contributor Sam Hart's interview with artist Trevor Markwart, who teamed up with Hart on the new black metal horror comic book series Tales From the Black Circle, as well as Shriekfest's call for entries in 2018.
Mayhem on Shudder: "Blow off some work related stress with Shudder's latest exclusive! Starring The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun and SMILF's Samara Weaving, MAYHEM sees a virus spread through an office complex causing white collar workers to act out their worst impulses.
The film's exclusive Shudder debut will also include a special commentary track with director Joe Lynch and Steven Yeun.
In addition to Mayhem, Joe Lynch will also be programming Shudder TV for the first weekend of February, introducing some of his favorite films on the service. Some of Lynch's top picks include: Battle Royale, High Tension, Phantasm and many more!"
To learn more about Shudder's streaming library, visit them online.
Sam Hart's Interview with Artist Trevor Markwart: The story of Norwegian black metal is a fascinating and frightening tale of true-life terror. Burnt churches, sensationalistic suicide, and macabre murder often overshadowed the beautiful, influential music scene that was birthed in the early ’90s. Bringing these satanic stories to grizzly graphic comic book pages, Canadian artist Trevor Markwart dropped by for an exclusive interview about his work on the debut Corpsepaint Comics issue, Tales from the Black Circle.
For readers who may not be aware, could you tell us a little about Tales From the Black Circle?
Trevor Markwart: It’s the legendary real-life horror stories from the 1990s Norwegian black metal music scene told like a 1950s EC-style horror comic book. It’s a high-concept graphic novel. It's got murder, church burnings, satanic rituals, cannibalism, death, obsession, and rock and roll. Three horror hosts introduce the dramatic stories of heavy metal musicians who dressed up as corpses and, when they weren't making records and giving concerts, terrorized Scandinavia. They made themselves larger-than-life horror characters. Dramatic and operatic in scope, the stories are nonetheless meticulously researched, even down to the writer interviewing people who were there on the scene.
What made you want to be a part of the Tales from the Black Circle project? Are you a fan of black metal?
Trevor Markwart: I read the idea and was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that nobody had done it before, that somebody was asking if I wanted to get on board with it, and I was completely sold.
As a teen I was a fan of Motörhead and Judas Priest. I became aware of black metal after and appreciated Venom and other bands and liked them, but didn’t love them. Something was missing, I thought. In the mid 2000s, I discovered Norwegian black metal and found lots to love. My top three albums would be Nemisis Divina by Satyricon, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas by Mayhem, and A Blaze in the Northern Sky by Darkthrone. Those three seem to have really stood the test of time. Black metal is an acquired taste, but very rewarding when it’s the best of the genre you’re listening to.
Tell us about your background as an artist.
Trevor Markwart: Like most people who are artists, it really isn’t something they decide, it’s just a natural path that presents itself early on in life. I have extensive training as a fine artist, and some modest success as a filmmaker, but I’ll keep talking about comic books. Unlike most comic book artists, I abandoned my drawing for years at a time. There was no place for what I wanted to draw. It seemed pointless to pursue my love of horror comics in a world of superhero comic house styles and then manga formula drawing and then super slick computer-generated “drawing.” “Why bother?” I thought, as I gave up time after time. But things evolved with the internet and in the past couple of years I decided to try and take another stab at fulfilling one of my childhood fantasies of being an EC / Warren horror comic book artist. Who knows what can happen now?
Who are your influences?
Trevor Markwart: Richard Corben and Graham Ingels: completely unconventional, non-formula, immediately recognizable. Corben’s Rowlf is burned into my childhood memory banks. His color works for Heavy Metal magazine and Warren are for the ages. And he is a great horror comic artist. But Graham Ghastly Ingels is the greatest horror comic artist who ever lived. Ingels is to horror comics what Jimi Hendrix is to the electric guitar.
Based on true stories, can you elaborate on the creative process behind Tales From the Black Circle? How would you define your style?
Trevor Markwart: I read over the script, do up thumbnail sketches, then draw the page full scale. Because with this project, the characters were real people, I had to look at photos of them so that they would look like themselves! The handy iPad is an invaluable tool for a comic book artist for this reason. There is nothing wrong with using some photo references for drawing, but there is something seriously wrong with being a slave to the photo. You must make it your own. There’s a great scene in the documentary Crumb, where Robert Crumb and his son draw the same photo of a person. It's an art teaching moment. His son’s drawing is photo-realistic but uninteresting while Crumb’s looks like the person, but it’s clearly Crumb’s powerful vision of that person.
Style-wise, I guess there are some Ingels and Corben in my work. I come from a university drawing and painting studio trained background through a couple of degrees in art and art education. As a result, I have no illustration formula, and my work probably looks a bit rough compared to the super-slick norm out there, as I’ve never set out to be a polished, highly stylized illustrator. But I like to think it gives it some life and energy that’s unforced. I might describe my work as having a vintage underground comic feel, too.
What materials did you use for the comic [ink/paper etc]?
Trevor Markwart: I draw on old-fashioned Bristol board. I work much larger than normal comic book artists do, nearly at the Golden Age size. I use a mechanical pencil, a kneaded eraser, and I ink over that with India ink using a mix of a #4 synthetic watercolor brush and a dip pen depending on instinct. Then I erase the remaining pencil marks and go down to the copy shop and scan my originals. So the actual line art is truly old-school comic book drawing. In my opinion, computer inking really sucks the life out of drawings. The finishing with the panel lines, the coloring, and the lettering are all done on computer. That simply can’t be beat for those tasks.
Tales from the Black Circle contains various vintage horror movie/German Expressionist Easter eggs within the comic, are you a fan of the horror genre?
Trevor Markwart: I am of course a life-long horror fan. And, for a brief period of torture and ecstasy, I was a produced horror screenwriter. The feature yo (2007) was based on an original spec I created. It was pretty decent financially for me, though a mixed bag creatively as I was rewritten. I also wrote and directed a few short horror films that did some underground film festivals and had four specs that scored development money, but have not been produced. Maybe I’ll get a chance to do some more films.
I brought in some German Expressionist references to the book because the genre of music really has that feel and even visual aesthetic. These guys are walking around with “corpse paint” on and dressed in black, like characters out of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Also, I made some references to A Clockwork Orange because Varg Vikernes struck me as a 1990s Norwegian version of the character Alex. Even Varg’s Burzum albums have some synth pieces that remind me a little of the soundtrack to that film.
Are there any other projects in the works you would like to mention?
Trevor Markwart: I just did a story for an anthology horror comic with a group out of Chicago (I’m the only one who doesn’t live there) with the title 10/31: A Halloween Anthology that they’ve started doing signings for all over the place, apparently. I am currently commissioned and am drawing an eight-page and cover pitch for a Charles Manson family project involving a witch and a demon. I also have another project in the works that I’m writing and drawing that I’ll keep under wraps for now. If anybody is interested in my work, I have a modest collection and contact information at https://www.artstation.com/morbidhorrorcomics
Gearing up for the launch of the Indiegogo campaign, Corpsepaint Comics have showcased their love of vintage horror with the release of a new set of promotional ads for their debut release, Tales From the Black Circle.
In addition to page after page of true life terror, Tales from the Black Circle comes complete with a read-a-long cassette as one of its perks. Entitled ‘The Hooded Fiend Presents… A Journey Through Helvete’, the cassette features the intriguing, medieval-sounding melodies of Dutch artist Tsjuster. Lo-fi, minimalist, and macabre, the cassette gradually creates a state of listening that is one of trance-like enchantment. Each track corresponds with a different tale, setting the tone of the narrative perfectly and just as you are reaching a climactic point of the story, the music will correspond in tune. It's an experience that every comic fan should experience and it allows for an immersive good time.
Check out the Tales from the Black Circle on Facebook for information about their upcoming Indiegogo campaign launching in February!