For our Horror Week conversations segment at Capes and Tights we sat down with comic book artist Tyler Crook to discuss his role in creating some of our favorite horror comics.
Tyler Crook is an American artist living in the 21st century. For twelve years he toiled in an unlit cubicle making art for sports video games. This left him bearded and almost completely translucent. Then in 2011 he struck gold, comic book gold, with the release of Petrograd an original graphic novel written by Philip Gelatt and published by Oni Press. He is survived by his wife and many pets… but he’s not dead… yet. In fact, he is very busy working on titles like Witchfinder, Badblood, B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, 6th Gun and Harrow County. And oh yeah, he won a Russ Manning award in 2012 which is kind of an Eisner Award… but not really.
JS: What was your journey into comics?
TC: My comic book “journey” is such a mess, it barely has any kind of plot to speak of. Maybe we could say my journey is a portrait of a guy trying really hard to make stuff in the medium he loves?
What is your horror genre journey? Is the horror genre something you have always been attracted too?
Unlike a lot of my colleagues, I didn’t like horror movies growing up. I really avoided them. However, in high school, I got really into bands like Bauhaus, The Misfits, GBH, and The Cramps. The first Twin Peaks TV series was coming out about the same time. Those two things really opened me up to a lot of horror stuff.
What are some things that can make or break a good horror comic book?
The trick with a horror comic is to maintain a mood. The kinds of scares that you can get from a movie are basically impossible to pull off in a comic so the writer and artist need to lean into a vibe that is disturbing. It’s more about what you don’t show.
What do you look for in a horror comic, either creating or reading?
I basically want the same things from horror that I want from all my stories. I want them to have a mood. I want them to have an idea or a theme that they really want to explore. I want them to try to find something true about the human experience.
What are some of you all-time favorite horror books, comics or movies?
The classic Nestor Redondo Swamp-Thing comics are my favorite horror comics of all time. Redondo’s work on those books is really under-appreciated. The Girl with All the Gifts is my favorite zombie book I ever read. And Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is my favorite horror movie.
Why is horror storytelling important to you and is creating comics in the horror genre something you hope to do for a while moving forward?
I think horror stories give us a way to look at the true horrors of the real world in a safe and controlled way. And I think as a genre, horror is incredibly flexible; it deals with a wide variety of human concerns. And on top of that the Horror genre pairs so nicely with lots of other genres, like comedy, romance, historical fiction, etc.
Thank you so much for all your beautiful work in comics, specifically horror comics! We are huge fans of Tyler Crook, keep it up!