Ashley Neuhaus 5-APR-2012 It seems like beautiful vampires are running wild and ruling pop culture these days. Rachel Deering has set to change that with ANATHEMA. The main character, Mercy Barlowe, is a beautiful lesbian who is fighting to save her lover’s soul. And oh yeah, she’s a werewolf. Deering has created a second Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to have the last five issues produced. If this is a successful campaign, the money will be to pay for her artist and colorist.
I got a chance to send some questions off to Rachel who was more than willing to talk about the project, the comics industry, and herself.
AN: So…lesbian werewolf, eh? Why a werewolf?
RD: Werewolves have long been my favorite monster. It all started with The Howling when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I guess. The whole movie just captivated and scared the crap out of me, and I’ve been in love with werewolves ever since.
AN: Where did you draw the inspiration for ANATHEMA and the character of Mercy Barlowe?
RD: The inspiration came from watching way too many Hammer horror movies, and reading Warren and Skywald magazines from the 70s. I just wanted to create something that would resurrect that classic horror feel, and bring timeless monsters back to pop culture.
AN: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to a character?
RD: I‘d say killing Mercy’s girlfriend and then forcing her to become a werewolf in order to get revenge is pretty terrible. I’ve killed a lot of characters, but this is the first time I’ve ever subjected them to such extreme mental and emotional anguish. I’m sure I’ll top myself before long, though.
RD: I’ll be doing C2E2 in a few weeks, which is something I’ve dreamed about for some time, so that’s totally rad. I’d really love to do SDCC, Baltimore, and NYCC in addition. We’ll see how it all works out!
AN: Do you have anything playing in the background while you work?
RD: Definitely not while I brainstorm, outline, or script. I like to have total silence during those times, as those tasks require every bit of my attention. If I had music on in the background, I’d be tempted to sing along, or tap out the drumbeat on my desk. When I’m lettering, I definitely have something playing. I’m a big fan of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse, Gypsyhawk, Royal Thunder, and a ton of other metal bands.
AN: What do you think is the biggest contribution to comics in today’s market?
RD: Probably the whole digital revolution. More people are picking up new titles because it’s as easy as turning on your computer or e-reader and downloading an issue, or a whole series. I’m not a fan of digital myself, being a collector, but I’m hopeful that the format will bring in a lot of new readers, and will encourage people to try titles they wouldn’t have otherwise.
AN: What drew you into comics in the first place? More specifically, what about the horror genre appeals to you?
RD: The first comics I ever read were horror comics, so I was a devoted horror junkie from the start. My uncle gave me an old stack of his comics, which included stuff like Tales From the Crypt, Creepy, Conan, and Heavy Metal. I was so drawn to them because even if I couldn’t understand all of the words, I could still look at the art and make out what was going on. That was a big turn on for someone who was just learning how to read.
AN: If you weren’t in the comics business, what would you be doing?
RD: Probably the same thing I was doing before comics. Jumping from one job to the next, trying to find my place in the world. I’ve done everything from working in electronics stores, to computer maintenance, to lawn and garden, credit card debt collection, assisting people with mental and physical disabilities (AKA wiping the asses of grown men), driving forklifts, and everything in between.
AN: What comic related event or thing are you most looking forward to for this year?
RD: Aside from getting four or five issues deep into Anathema and releasing some of my other projects? Uhhh, probably the conclusion of Locke & Key. I’ve been hooked on that book since the beginning, and I’m dying to know how it ends.
AN: Are there any other projects besides Anathema that you’re working on?
RD: Certainly. I’m working on a graphic novel called The Other Side, I’ve put together a horror anthology with 11 other talented writers, and I’m doing a story for the third installment of the NY Times best selling anthology FUBAR. I’m sure I’ll add plenty of other gigs to the list before the year is up.
AN: Where can people learn more about your work and cyber-stalk you?
RD: The best place to keep up with my shenanigans is through Twitter. You can follow me @racheldeering to get all the nitty gritty details on my upcoming projects, and probably learn a thing or two about me that you will never be able to un-learn. It’s a good time.
There are some sample pages of the book on the Kickstarter page and with only 25 days left, it’s still roughly $14,000 short of its goal of $20,000. There are some pretty cool rewards for backers such as PDF copies of issues, printed AND signed copies of issues, and original artwork. Help keep ANATHEMA alive! Don’t you want to see if Mercy saves her love’s soul from those pesky cultists?