Over wine deeper red than the blood spilled at the Massacre of the Latins, two women spoke of mankind being driven to the brink of insanity. Stefani Manard is the writer of the new psychological horror comic, Psychopath. She’s also co-host of comic-culture podcast, The Way Station on the Podcast Detroit network. The show is a pit stop for indie creators in the midst of their journeys; to sit a spell talk about their experience.
Now it’s her turn.
KP: So tell me about Psychopath.
SM: Psychopath is a horror comic series about what makes people break. Having studied psychology in school (and through my experience as a social worker) I find the mind extremely fascinating. So I wanted to write a horror/thriller about individuals that start out pretty normal… I asked myself “What would it take for someone to do something wildly destructive and completely out of character? A bad day? A slew of bad days?” So that question was the catalyst for the first issue.
KP: Is this based on (or loosely based) on anyone you’ve encountered in real life?
SM: Luckily, no. I don’t know anyone who would have gone THIS far. (laughs) I mean, I work with those who suffer mental illness and some with criminal histories. But nothing reaching the level of what is portrayed in the series. It’s really based on my own ideas of what would make one descend into such behavior.
KP: In your opinion, what do you think makes one more prone to act like this?
SM: Well, those who have suffered childhood traumas, perhaps; abused. Those who suffered a loss at a young age, as well. The young mind is like putty. I think it’s harder to acknowledge the damage when you’re unaware of it and grow without having healed from it. So I think a lot of what would turn someone into something they don’t want to be is carrying that weight with them. At least, that’s what I’ve seen in my work.
KP: How many issues can we expect?
SM: Three. Actually, this idea was something that was originally pitched to me. I completely revamped it from what it was. This person had wanted me to do a full-on horror book. I saw it from a totally different perspective, however. I changed the mechanics of the stories, how they worked, and made it my own.
KP: So you’d say this is a “psychological” horror?
KP: I take it you’re a fan of Silence of the Lambs?
SM: Oh my God… I love that movie.
KP: Tell me about your artist.
SM: Paul Gori has illustrated Oathbound and Astropunk. I met him through mutual friends on Facebook. (Cause that’s how we network nowadays) He’s great and I loved his work. I was thankful he stepped in too. I had unfortunately lost my original artist as the deadline neared. However, I plan on putting out a trade once the three issues have been released. That will feature some of that original art in the back as a bonus. (shrugs) Things happen.
KP: Why horror?
SM: I absolutely love horror. I think my interest in people has a lot to do with that. People themselves are very interesting and scary. I don’t like super gory slasher, per se. I mean, I’ll watch it. But I prefer movies that make you think. Movies that are more cerebral like The Exorcist or…
KP: I love The Exorcist. My favorite horror movie of all time.
SM: Mine too because the focus is on the family and how people’s lives are abruptly changed by what’s happening to this little girl.
KP: I’m so happy you mentioned The Exorcist. Our next project should be a stage script or musical based on it.
SM: I could see that.
KP: (sings) “In time…” OK. When did you love of comics start?
SM: It started later in life for me than post people. I was poor when I was a kid. Since we didn’t have much, I didn’t start reading comics until I was a teenager. Then I became obsessed with X-Men! Powers, kicking ass, saving the world… I mean, pretty amazing stuff. However, I prefer to write prose. So writing a script was a bit more challenging for me. You’re limited in what you can say and you have to get to the point. The pacing is very different too. Yet I can write 40 pages for a book no problem.
KP: The preference may say something about the person you are. You strike me as someone who likes to be very much in control.
SM: Only when it comes to my work. When it comes to anything else, I can reel back. But if I put my name on it, I get a little crazy. I’m trying to work on that. (laughs)
KP: Well, I don’t think it’s a good or bad thing. It’s simply who you are. Let’s let that lead into your working relationship with Paul Gori.
SM: It’s really good. He read the script and completely understood what I was going for. There’s a couple of scenes that are risqué and were a bit uncomfortable for me to write. So I was really worried about giving anyone this script. But he read it, understood it, and started doing layouts right away. He’s great with communication, as well. That’s what I really liked about him. I didn’t have much communication with my first artist. I feel really safe in Paul’s hands. My heart feels good about it.
KP: What started you writing in the first place?
SM: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was little. I used to write fairy tales. I also have books and books of poetry I used to write. I mean, some of them are terrible but I was a kid. Gimme a break.
KP: Well no one wants to see my horrible 9th grade stuff. Trust me.
SM: I’ve always loved writing. However, being very self-conscious about it, I never thought it was something I could actually do. I just wrote for myself. Then when I met my best friend Jason, we started writing together. That kind of took me out of my shell. I was 17 when I met him. Neither one of us thought it was ever going to lead to anything. We just did it for fun. As I got older, I got into the Drunk Dorks stuff (podcast) and writing articles. I also got to meet more creators and watch them grow and that was very inspiriting. That’s when I said “I’m going to do this. This is what I want to do. What am I afraid of?”
KP: Right. Because there’s no difference between them and you.
SM: Right. We’re all human beings and even if I write the worst thing on the planet, at least I tried. I put myself out there and I strive to do more things that may make me uncomfortable.
KP: When can we anticipate the release of Psychopath?
SM: Right now, the plan is to debut it at Cherry Capital Comic Con May 27th-29th of this year.
-Kasey PierceShare This Post:by