Alan Robert is not only a musician, but he is one of the most exciting creators to step into the realm of horror comics in the last few years.
At New York Comic Com 2012 Rob Caprilozzi had a chance to sit down and chat with creator, Alan Robert about the development of the Crawl to Me movie and the upcoming Killogy comic.
Horror News Network: So Alan, can you update us on the “Crawl to Me” movie and where that is at this point?
Alan Robert: Yeah. A few months back we went through a “treatment process.” We’ve been receiving a bunch of different treatments by a bunch of different screenwriters to see how they would adapt it for the big screen. We found this fantastic, up and coming duo David White and TJ Cimfel. They just wrote and unbelievable script. It’s terrifying and it’s true to the material.
Horror News Network: As the writer of the comic, can you talk about how it was different was the source material (the comic) to what you received back from them? Did you have any reservations about anything they changed? How was the process?
Alan Robert: They were big fans of the material, which was a plus. We had a bunch of different writers we were looking at and some of them were just panel- to- panel versions of the material, while others were like alternate universes of the material, but these guys tool what was there and they enhanced it, in my opinion. They made the scary parts even more terrifying. The build is very realistic, and I think people are going to be pretty impressed with it.
Horror News Network: That’s cool. The comic was really scary and you weren’t really sure what was going on with Ryan?
Alan Robert: That part of the films stays true to the book too. You’re really unsure of where it’s going. There’s definitely a few different red herrings that take the story in different directions that you think you may know what’s coming, but you definitely won’t.
Horror News Network: How does it feel to have “Crawl to Me,” something you completely created (wrote, illustrated, etc.) from your heart being taken to the next level? In other words, taking it from print to the big screen?
Alan Robert: It’s unbelievable! It’s also a big, huge learning experience for me. The whole process of receiving treatments and seeing what gravitates to what I like in a horror film. In comics, there’s a totally different feel to it. There’s no audio. There’s no building suspense through eerie violins, it’s all about controlling the pace through the panels. With a movie, you do have control over the when the audience is going to get hit with something. Just learning the ins and outs is a great experience. I’m learning every day, and I’ve been very proactive with it. I’m a producer of the film as well. I plan to bring my experiences into as well from shooting music videos. I’m very accustomed to how things are shot and how the technical side works. So, I’m really enjoying all that.
Horror News Network: Some people like to say horror comics don’t work because you can’t build suspense. How did you go about it in your books building the suspense, creating the atmosphere? How as a creator did you accomplish that and still make it scary?
Alan Robert: I was very conscious of the limitations, especially with “Crawl to me” being that the dialogue what somewhat limited, a lot of it was in the main character’s head. I really wanted the reader to experience things in real time as the character experienced them. So, there wasn’t a lot of narration. It was all dialogue and images basically. So the reader was experiencing things first hand through the main character’s eyes.
The atmospheric art direction was something I was going for as well. You never saw the character’s eyes until the end. I tried to build up a lot of shadow work and hypnotic lighting effects.
Horror News Network: Where is Crawl To Me in production at this point? Has casting started yet?
Alan Robert: We just got the final draft of the script. It went through a few different revisions. We are extremely happy with what we have now. We plan on revisiting those studios that showed interest prior to us even having a script.
Horror News Network: What is your best guess at when we can see a teaser trailer for the movie? Next year, or maybe two years from now? Can you tell I want to see it?
Alan Robert: From what I learned in this short amount of time is that you can go two different routes. You can go the independent horror route and do it really down and gritty or you can go with a Hollywood Studio. If you decide to go with a studio you have a lot less say in casting, locations and script details.
The flip side to that is you can potentially have a bigger budget, more marketing and access to bigger stars. If you do it independent, which is appealing to me, I can be hands on right until it hits the theaters.
Some of my favorite movies in the last few years, and I really am looking forward to Sinister, have been low budget. Insidious and the Paranormal Activity movies were done for not a lot of money and they were successful.
Horror News Network: Let’s switch gears to your latest project, Killogy. Last time we talked we gave our audience a preview of what to expect on the book. The first issue is due out shortly. How are things going on the book?
Alan Robert: Everything has been good so far. People have been saying good things about it and advanced reviews have been a hit.
I’m excited about it because it is something very different for me. There is some dark comedy in the book so it is not straight up horror.
Frank Vincent is a character in the book and some of my favorite mob movie lines came out of his mouth. Some people may view his character as a terrifying gangster, but he just cracks me up. Aome of his stories are just amazing.
Horror News Network: Marky Ramone is in the comic as well. What was it like bringing these legendary figures into the comic, and getting them to agree to it?
Alan Robert: It was a little tricky, although they were very receptive. This concept really has never been done before in comics, so this was even a first for my lawyer to look into and draft up documents. It was like “So you want to use their likeness, but they don’t know the words that are going to come out of their moths.” I don’t’ work with a script. I go into the comic with and outline and a general idea. I know what the characters motivations are, but I’m an artist, so it’s all in my head. “Killogy” didn’t have a script. It’s pretty much three sub stories, kind of like “Twilight Zone.” There are three stories with an over arching narrative. What I did was pitch them each their small stories and they loved it and got on board with it.
Horror News Network: Have they read it? Do they like it?
Alan Robert: Yeah of course! I actually sent it to them before publishing. They were all very excited about it.
Horror News Network: What was the most difficult part about putting this together?
Alan Robert: Well I did have to pitch it to each one of them after the publishing deal was already in place. At first I didn’t plan on basing the characters on anybody. It was just going to be these Twilight Zone-type stories, and the publisher dug that, so we did the deal. Then when I was doing my character designs I had a mobster, street-wise thug and a starlet. The designs kept looking like who I ended up putting in the book, so I thought “why don’t I just see if they want to do it?” So I was able to get to them and pitch it. They all jumped on it.
Horror News Network: Would you consider this your bloodiest comic yet? I know “Wire Hangers” and “Crawl to Me” were pretty intense. Where does this rank?
Alan Robert: Well the blood is actually more pronounced in this. The other books had a lot of texture. This is more flat color, old school comic style, almost like a rock poster. The blood is bright red and jumps out of the panels at you. I looked to some of my heroes for inspiration like Mike Mignola, and Frank Miller.
Horror News Network: Let’s talk about your art style for a minute. Yours is definitely different. A lot of comic art can start to look the same, but yours has its own style. What’s your process?
Alan Robert: For the first two books, everything was hand drawn and scanned in, and colored. With “Killogy,” I went back to the old school style because it suited the story. Part of the charm of “Killogy” is recognizing the stars, and I don’t think you would’ve been able to do that with the other style. Everything you see was drawn digitally this time.
Horror News Network: “Crawl to Me” is in development right now. Basically, “Killogy” already has your stars. Has there been talk of a movie version of this new book?
Alan Robert: It has come up, I wouldn’t say it would be a stretch of the imagination.
Horror News Network: The street date for “Killogy” is Halloween?
Alan Robert: Yes! That Wednesday. We have an animated trailer.
Horror News Network: What’s up for you after “Killogy”?
Alan Robert: “Killogy” has been really demanding on time, as I do everything down to the lettering. So I think a vacation!
Horror News Network: Thanks for your time, Alan. Have a comment? Post it here.