With issue #13 of GHOSTED out this week, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with Josh Williamson, who’s also writing NAILBITER for Image Comics and is working on the upcoming Image Comics/Skybound title BIRTHRIGHT.
You just started a new arc with GHOSTED #12, where we met Trick’s son, who’s making a living turning stalkers into ghosts so they can haunt their obsessions. That’s such a genius idea and plays out so creepy. Where did that idea come from?
It had been in my head for a bit when I started the book. I was always thinking of and making lists of new ways to use ghosts. This, I think was one of the better ones. And actually, I had started to work on a comic about grave diggers that never went anywhere. Partly because it was too close to Ghosted and a lot of those ideas ended up getting slid into Ghosted.
Issue 13 comes out this week, what teases can you give us?
A group of bad guys from an earlier issue make a return!
A lot happens in that issue. And it involves a voodoo doll!
Finding Charon isn’t going to be easy for Jackson, but along the way we learn a few more things about him. AND Anderson has an odd encounter when she is confronted by another ghost.
You like to plant clues that don’t play out until issues later. How far in advance do you normally plot your stories?
I have notes that go pretty far down the line. Most of my outlines are pretty loose because I like the characters to have some freedom. But with Ghosted and Jackson, I’ve known his path for a long time, and have a lot of it mapped out. Some pages for issues really far down the line have already been written, because I want to make sure I get it right.
But it’s fun dropping clues of stuff I have planned. My hope is that if someone does a re-read they pick up on all of it.
You’re working on three titles for Image (2 of which are here at Skybound) AND books with other publishers. How hard is to keep everything straight? How do you get in the mindset for a particular title?
It’s super challenging. I’d like to believe I’m a great multi-tasker, but I’m not. I do a lot of notebook work and dedicate days to projects. Days and weeks. It makes me be really schedule based. But takes a lot of locking myself in my office.
Each book gets it’s own notebook and I really keep the information to that notebook. It helps a bunch with keeping the projects together. But I do have to have my head space in the world of the book I’m working on. So to help with that each book has it’s own playlist. It’s silly but it helps.
Have you ever contemplated a crossover? GHOSTED and NAILBITER, perhaps?
Yup. Maybe not those two together. Ghosted with something else. Nailbiter with something like Hack/Slash or Chew. I think a Ghosted/Thief of Thieves one-off issue would be rad.
What can you tell us about your upcoming Skybound title, BIRTHRIGHT?
Birthright is about a young kid who is kidnapped and taken to a fantasyland where he is told it is his destiny to defeat an evil lord, rescue a princess and save a kingdom… and he does. And then he goes home and sees how different he is and the world he left behind is.
In our world he was gone a whole year, and it ruined his family. The world thought the kid was dead, y’know? So it’s a big impact when he returns.
A lot of Birthright is about what happens after you accomplish your life’s goal? Do you just move on? If you were told your entire life was a build up to one moment… what happen next? What do you do after that? This is the story about the adventure.
When I was a young I was a big fan of all the adventure/ fantasy movies like Goonies, Wizard of Oz, Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Neverending Story, Legend… etc… but then I had to think… what did these kids do after that adventure. What happened next?
It’s being drawn by Andrei Bressan and it is amazing. he is doing killer work on the pages. It’s amazing.
What do you think will distinguish it from your creator-owned work so far?
It’s not straight horror? The scope of it? A lot of my work is super grounded and smaller stories… very character based in a small setting.
With Birthright I hate using the word epic but is the best word to use. It’s a much bigger story with way more moving pieces. But at the same time it has my same style and tome that I’ve done with the rest of my books.
Where did the idea for BIRTHRIGHT come from?
Destiny. I thought a lot about life and life goals. What do you do after you get what you want. If you set a big goal and then accomplish it… what happens next. Again, when I would watch movies, or TV shows, I always found myself interested in what came after… I think it’s why I’m so drawn to TV lately, and why I love Walking Dead so much. It’s what happened after the movies. The story didn’t stop.
I wanted to show what happens after the fantasy adventures.
With an unlimited budget, which Image title of yours would you most want to see turned into a show or movie?
Hahah, that’s tough. I’d like to see them all go somewhere. I think Birthright would work as a TV show. It has the tension and character bits people would relate to.
Same with Nailbiter. Ghosted could be a great movie.
BUT, one thing I would love to see happen is a Ghosted video game. I think it has the perfect story dynamics for that.
Maybe I just really want to play a good haunted house video game.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Josh! Stay tuned for more about BIRTHRIGHT in the upcoming months, and for all you horror fans, keep enjoying GHOSTED and NAILBITER!