Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: You recently announced the upcoming release of a new comic book horror anthology called Skin Crawling Comics. What inspired you to initiate this project, and what is your vision for the anthology?
Rachel Pandich: I’ve wanted to do this for about two years. I love the horror stories that creep me out, but, in the last decade or so, it seems that “splatter porn” was the popular thing. I believe that if you want to fix something to just get up and DO IT. But, at the time I had no idea how to put an anthology together or how to fund it. Skin Crawling was put on the back burner, and I worked on Aspire with Ashley Lanni, trying to build a name and meet other comic creators. Then, Renae De Liz posted that tweet, that’s when magic happened. Renae’s ability to organize over 100 women for Womanthology was inspiring, and Kickstarter became less mysterious for me. That is when I knew that Skin Crawling could become a reality. Hopefully, this will do well enough to make this a bi-annual anthology, but I’m thinking waaaaay ahead. That’s still in the “maybe” category.
BD: Over 30 writers and artists have been paired together to work on collaborative stories for the anthology. What can you tell us about the individuals on the creative team, and what have been your experiences thus far in compiling the project?
RP: The creators involved are all amazing people. As mentioned earlier, Womanthology inspired me to just go for it. Well, Womanthology also made me realize that there are a ton of people with talent that just need the opportunity. Why not let Skin Crawling be that opportunity? Everyone on this project is a true indie creator. We have people that are involved in self-publishing, E-published (like straight to the Kindle Bookstore), webcomics, and some that have only been published once or twice in other anthologies. In fact, anyone who picked up Womanthology might recognize a few names when reading Skin Crawling.
When it comes to compiling the project, it is a lot of time. It has been tiring but rewarding. This started as a Jacksonville, FL,-based project that blew up. It got to the point where I was turning people away, which sucks. I hate having to be a hard a--, but that just shows that there are so many people hungry to create new stories. Everyone on it is very excited to tell a story that has been percolating in them that is finally coming to life.
BD: Do the stories in the anthology possess a specific horror theme, or do they cover various horror sub-genres?
RP: Skin Crawling spans the horror spectrum. The only rules were no “splatter porn” and no rape as plot fodder. Every panel needs to be pertinent to the storytelling. No boobs and blood, because “yay boobies and gore.” If that’s your thing, that’s fine, but not on this book. The point of Skin Crawling is to creep the reader out, not make them want to vomit.
BD: Will Skin Crawling Comics be appropriate for readers of all ages, and would you recommend the anthology for both casual and hard-core horror fans?
RP: There is some graphic content. It IS horror after all. I would say sixteen and up and for all levels of horror fans. There is something for everyone: monsters, slasher, ghosts, and psychological.
BD: Skin Crawling Comics is currently an independently produced project. What are your plans for publishing the anthology, and do you have a proposed release date in mind?
RP: I am in the process of putting together pitch packages and emails for some publishers. Hopefully, we’ll get picked up. As stated earlier, there is a lot of talent on this book that is worthy of being published. Worst case scenario, we’ll take it to Kickstarter. The optimal release date is October 2013, just in time for Halloween.
BD: This project is not your first experience working on an anthology, as you were also a contributing writer for Womanthology: Heroic. Do you feel that anthologies offer a special opportunity for creators to work together?
RP: I co-wrote “Ladybird”with Jenna Busch (from Cocktails with Stan Lee, and who will be writing the forward for Skin Crawling) for Heroic. “The Tea Totaler” was the story I did for the Sketchbook.
Anthologies are fantastic opportunities for creators to work together. I met so many talented people from Womanthology that, between that and social networks, I’ve developed a wonderful comics-creating support system. You just never know who you will end up working with, and that partnership on the anthology you’re on might blossom into a continuing working relationship.
BD: What impact do you hope that Skin Crawling Comics will have on today’s comic book industry and its readers?
RP: I hope that it shows that everything does not have to be boobs and blood all the time to sell horror books. But, I guess we’ll find out when the sales come in.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for readers to find out more about Skin Crawling Comics prior to the anthology’s release?
RP: For right now, you can follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, or my website (www.RachelPandich.com). The final drafts of scripts just came in, and the artists have started on their pencils, so I will be updating more regularly.