We recently had both Joshua Williamson (the brains behind our newest title, Ghosted—out tomorrow, preview HERE!) and Sina Grace (former TWD Editor and co-creator/artist of upcoming Image title Burn the Orphanage) in the office so we did what we do when Sina comes by—put him to work. Here's Sina's chat with Josh about Ghosted:
Sina Grace: How did you come up with the idea for Ghosted?
Joshua Willamson: I’ve always been obsessed with haunted houses. I really wanted to do something that I felt was a little bit scary and something in a haunted house. I’ve always wanted to do a book on a haunted house. The visual’s always been in my head. And I also want to do a crime thing. So, I kept thinking about trying to find a way to mash up crime and haunted houses. Those Ocean’s Eleven movies energized me with this idea of like well what if I did something with Ocean’s Eleven and sort of with a haunted house. The hardest part was trying to find out what would they be stealing from the house, like why would you want to break into a haunted house. And then one day it just hit me, what are the things that haunted houses have that are exclusive, ghosts.
SG: And how long is Ghosted?
JW: Ghosted is five issues.
SG: How did this project end up in Skybound’s lap?
JW: My managers and I had been shopping it around trying to find a publisher for it. We talked to different publishers, but nothing really added up. Eventually, we talked to Skybound and immediately Skybound was interested, which made me extremely interested and very happy. It’s one of those things where you talk to a publisher and you turn a pitch in and you don’t hear back for a while or seems like there’s back and forth or rewrites and this and that you have to do, but Skybound immediately was interested and they were able to hit the ground running, which made me extremely happy about the project.
SG: What has Robert Kirkman’s involvement with the project been like?
JW: Robert’s been great with Ghosted. He’s given me a few notes here and there. With the first issue, it was sort of funny because when we got the green light we were at New York Comic Con and I agreed to try and turn it in before Halloween. And I did, I made the deadline. I was a little worried about what people would think, what Skybound would think, like anytime you turn in a script, but the feedback was very much like "you knocked this out of the park" and everyone was really happy with it. And then, I started getting more excited about it and just talked with them throughout the process. Kirkman would give me notes and they were always on the ball, like everything made total sense.
SG: What’s it been like working with Goran Sudzuka?
JW: Goran with Ghosted has been great. With that first initial phone call with Skybound, they brought him up. I love Y: The Last Man and I really liked Outlaw Nation, so yes Goran would be perfect. And I met Goran at New York Comic Con, we stood in front of the convention center talking about the book and I really felt like him and I were on the same page immediately about what we wanted to do and the kind of book that we were looking to do at the point of both of our careers. After that he started getting pages in, I really never had any notes with him. Looking at the pages, this is what we had talked about. This has been great and been really rewarding to see your words come to life on paper so well.
SG: Who are your influences on this book?
JW: With Ghosted, my influences were definitely Ed Brubaker, I don’t think that’s hidden at all in that work, I mean if you look at things like Gothic Central, [with] him and Rucka, there’s a little bit of Brian K. Vaughan in there and some Bendis as well, but Brubaker is all over that book.
SG: What’s your dream project?
JW: I’m doing it with Skybound and I can’t talk about it.
SG: Tell me some of your favorite ghost stories, movies, books, etc?
JW: Definitely, The Shining. The Shining I think is a great, subtle sort of haunting ghost story. I remember when I first saw The Shining as a kid, we went to go TP houses afterward and end up scaring each other. I think when you see something really great and afterwards you can scare each other talking about it, thinking about it, that was really The Shining. The Haunting of Hill House* was great. The Shining, Hill House, those are good ones that I like a lot.
SG: On a pie chart, what the percentage of action, drama, horror, and comedy in Ghosted?
JW: There’s a little bit of comedy, I think comedy’s like 20%. The comedy that’s in Ghosted is such black humor, there’s a lot of dramedy going on where the humor comes from the tension of what’s going on sort of how the characters interact with each other their drama is where the comedy comes in. I think only 20% comedy, 30% action, and then 25% drama, 25% horror. It kind of fluctuates depending on the issue because as the book goes on, more and more horrors start happening. The first issue is very, very prime and then as the series progresses because they get deeper in the house and the secrets of the house, more of the horror elements start coming into play.
SG: What else are you working on?
JW: I’m doing Captain Midnight for Dark Horse. I’m doing a few different things for Dark Horse. I’m in that weird zone where everything I’m working on I can’t talk about.
SG: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
JW: Stop being obsessed with breaking into comics and prepare yourself to actual be in comics and what it actual means to work in this industry.
SG: Any last words for readers?
JW: I hope that they get Ghosted, enjoy and see what we did and really appreciate the work we put into this book.
SG: When does Ghosted come out?
JW: Ghosted is coming out on July 10th.
SG: Will you be at San Diego Comic Con?
JW: Yes, Ghosted will be at San Diego Comic Con and we are having varying coverage from the convention.
And that's that! Thanks Josh! Thanks Sina!
*Note, neither the awesome intern that transcribed this nor I could tell if this was Hell House or Hill House, but because The Haunting of Hell House is some indie, low rated horror movie from 1999 and 1963's The Haunting of Hill House is considered a horror classic based on a classic book, I'm assuming it's Hill House. Josh, feel free to punch me in the face if I've offended your love of 1999's The Haunting of Hell House.