Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your comic book series, Evil Cast! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the graphic novel’s premise?
Kyle Stück: Thank you! Evil Cast is a horror, buddy comedy following two podcasters who, much to their dismay, find themselves caught up in a mystery adventure filled with all the monsters and evil they previously didn’t believe in. Think Scooby-Doo meets Superbad meets Evil Dead II.
BD: How would you describe your creative process in bringing this story to life, and what (or who) were some of your creative influences in terms of the characters and tone?
KS: I host a podcast with one of my best friends (Noah Baslé) who also happens to be Evil Cast’s editor and letterer, so this whole thing originally started with me just imagining what it’d be like if we were in a horror film together. Would we make it? As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I started laughing because Noah and I are a bunch of goobers and would be the absolute WORST protagonists in a horror story. Scenes of us slipping on blood, arguing over weapons, and debating inconsequential things during inopportune times came to mind, and it all continued to just make me laugh. I pitched the idea to Noah, and he agreed that making a comic about fictional versions of ourselves navigating a horror story would be a lot of fun, so we did it. I say all of that to establish that the relationship and dynamic between Noah and Kyle, along with their love and knowledge of horror, is what drives Evil Cast and my process.
When I’m writing an issue, I’m constantly asking, “How would a real person deal with this insane circumstance?” Or, more specifically, “How would a horror fan deal with this?” Noah and I, like millions of other people, watch movies and TV, read books, and are aware of horror as a genre, so if we ever saw a zombie in real life, we wouldn’t go, “Huh? Why’s that person eating that person? Are you okay? Let me get within biting distance and check…” No way! We’d say, “Oh my god, that’s a f*****g zombie! Go for the brains, dude!”
While Evil Cast is a fun and imaginative “What If?” scenario, it’s also a love letter to my favorite genre, so a big part of my process is figuring out fun ways to pay tribute to and poke fun at it. There are a lot of Easter eggs, and each issue’s cover is a recreation of a famous horror movie poster.
In terms of creative influences, I owe a great debt to Sam Rami and Edgar Wright. Their pairing of horror and comedy, along with their uses of “the everyman” type of heroes, made a big mark on me and is something I try to replicate in Evil Cast. Who doesn’t like stories about normal people bumbling their way through extraordinary circumstances? It’s funnier and, more importantly, more relatable. I’m sorry for such a long answer! I don’t know how, but it’s Noah’s fault!
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Evil Cast's story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
KS: I hope that readers will be refreshed and encouraged by Noah and Kyle’s relationship. While Noah and Kyle are flawed (just like their real-life counterparts), they aren’t your typical “leading men” and great care was put into combating the toxic-masculinity sometimes present in horror or, just male protagonists in general. Kyle and Noah are very much “male” and yet there’s an intimacy to their relationship. They talk about their feelings, they encourage and affirm one another, and they acknowledge their weaknesses. I wish that was more normal in the male friendships portrayed in media; it’s the kind I have and strive to have in real life, so in-between all the blood and screaming, that was something I wanted to represent.
Along with that, Evil Cast, like many horror stories, is about overcoming fear and the truth that it’s okay to be afraid. I struggle with anxiety and found that putting a fictional version of myself into danger was very cathartic. For anyone else who struggles with that, I hope watching Noah and Kyle persevere and grow throughout their journey can be encouraging and inspire them to be courageous in their own lives, along with emphatic towards others who may be struggling. If none of that happens, maybe the dismembered limbs and “Your mom” jokes will do it for you?
BD: How many total issues do you have planned for this first arc of the series?
KS: Six issues at the moment! If I’m being honest, they’re not so much an “arc” as they are a prologue. At the end of issue six, some truths will definitely be revealed, but it’s more of a transition to Noah and Kyle’s main adventure. The first issues are mostly focused on getting to know the characters, the world, and the main conflict/mystery. After that, I don’t know how many issues it’ll take to reach the end of Noah and Kyle’s journey, but I have it in my head. Even then though, that’s just one specific adventure; depending on readers and my own interest, I could see Noah and Kyle getting into mischief for years!
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
KS: I’ve got some other comics brewing but can’t say too much about them at the moment! The only other thing right now I guess is that I’m currently in the process of pitching Cats 2: Electric Kittenloo, but for whatever reason, studios and producers aren’t biting. Shame. 2020, am I right?
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Evil Cast and your other work?
KS: If they weren’t scared away by this interview, they could go to my website (Ominous.Media) and read Evil Cast for FREE! There, they’ll also find the aforementioned podcast that Noah and I host (Humming Fools) which contains our art-related discussions and fun interviews with other artists. If you stop by, please say hi! Noah and I love meeting people and are always down to chat or collaborate with new friends. You can find me on Instagram or Twitter, too.
Thanks so much for the questions and thanks to anyone who ends up taking a look at Evil Cast. I really appreciate it!