By Christine Caprilozzi
Alan Robert Talks Movies, Comics, & the Angel of Death
Horror News Network: First off, I want to ask about “Crawl to Me” the
movie. How’s it coming along? And what is it like seeing your creation
being brought to life on film?
Alan Robert: The whole idea of adapting the comic to the big screen is
really exciting. I’m a producer on the film and have been very involved in
all of the creative decisions. It has been great collaborating with my
producing partners Chris White (My Super Psycho Sweet 16 franchise, VHS 2),
Jeff Mazzola (Descent), and everyone at Rodar Y Rodar (The Orphanage),
along with director Victor Garcia (Gallows Hill) and screenwriters TJ
Cimfel and David White.
We announced the ‘Crawl to Me’ film news at San Diego Comic Con this past
July, and since then we have been fine-tuning the script with the help of
the director’s input in order to get the pacing just right. Don’t get me
wrong, the script was great to begin with – and stays very true to the
source material, but now with the adjustments we made it is that much
better. It is just incredible now and I couldn’t be happier. So now that we
have a solid script in place, we have been figuring out all of the
technical aspects of the shoot with our visual effects supervisor, Glenn
Allen of Brainstorm Digital (Boardwalk Empire), and deciding on the best
approach for some of the more dynamic and challenging visual sequences.
The next step will be going out to actors and locking in talent. We’ve been
speaking with some top-notch casting directors who are eager to help us in
that regard. They have responded greatly to the script, which is very
encouraging. Especially since these people read tons of material everyday
and have casted some of my favorite films. They really see the potential
for the project, which is awesome. We have a short list of actors in mind
for the lead roles – it certainly is an exciting time!
In fact, IDW is running a great promotion right now for fans who want to
get the book before the movie! During the month of January, they are
offering a 25% discount off of the Red Label Limited Edition of ‘Crawl to
Me.’ This is a top-shelf hardcover that comes signed, numbered, and
includes original, one-of-a-kind artwork done by me. There are only limited
quantities, though, So once they’re gone, they’re gone! Check it out at:
Horror News Network: How involved are you in the filming process, as far as
direction, casting, etc?
Alan Robert: I’m involved in pretty much every creative aspect of the
project, which is a lot of fun for me. We have a great team on board who
all share the same vision, so it’s a pleasure to work with them on this.
There are lots of inspiring ideas to bounce around. And even though the
actual process of getting the film made is long, you know, the decisions
we’re making are going to make this one scary and emotionally charged movie
that stays true to the original story. Which is key, I think. We hope to
get it casted within the next few months so we can start shooting during
Horror News Network: Is there any casting news you are able to share at
this point in time?
Alan Robert: I wish! It’s a bit too early to share anything just yet.
Horror News Network: You obviously have a successful music career with Life
of Agony. Has your experience in the music industry help you navigate both
the world of comics and film as far as the business and logistics of it all?
Alan Robert: Absolutely! I’ve been working in the entertainment business
for over two decades as a musician and songwriter, and I acted as the point
person for the band when dealing with managers, record labels, lawyers, and
booking agents all throughout that time. That experience definitely shaped
me and prepared me for the comics industry, and now with developing films.
If you think about it, it’s utilizing the same skill-set. It basically has
a lot to do with keeping open communication, dealing with creative people,
staying organized, and the ability to collaborate with groups in order to
get stuff done. Finding the right people you can depend on is the most
important, people that share your passion for the project. You can’t do it
Even though I’m writing, illustrating, and lettering my own books, I found
a great home at IDW Publishing. Those guys give me the creative freedom to
do my own thing, and to tell the stories I want to tell. They get the books
into people’s hands and work with me to market the projects through
promotions and whatnot. It’s an easy and fantastic partnership. Same goes
for my producing partners on the film. Everyone is excited to connect the
dots to get this film made. Every producer on this project has carried
their own weight in their own way. They all have their own strengths and we
balance each other out in order to get the project closer to completion.
Horror News Network: So in your quest to conquer the comic industry, you
have “The Shunned One” coming in 2014 centers around the Angel of Death.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration and thought process behind this one?
Alan Robert: Ahh… ‘The Shunned One’, my new baby! Inspiration for this
literally spawned from the emptiness I felt watching the news during all of
those random shootings in Aurora and Newtown. All of those innocent lives
taken for no reason. So young. Just senseless violence. For what? Jesus.
It’s just absolutely heartbreaking. As a father, myself, it’s unthinkable.
The pain those families are going through…
That was the inspiration, though. I took those feelings I had bottled up
and created a fictitious storyline around the concept that death occurs for
a bigger reason than what we see and experience everyday. I created a
supernatural system that has been in place since the dawn of man. In the
book, a divine plan is carried out by guardian and death angels who
regulate human souls. The death angels take the souls according to a
preordained order. ‘The Shunned One’ story arc follows what happens when
that balance is rocked by a death angel who goes rogue, as he begins to
take lives according to his own agenda. This isn’t a religious book, by any
means. It’s more of a supernatural story that is grounded in an urban
setting, and built up around complex characters, both humans and angels.
It is an interesting subject to me, mostly because there are so many
injustices in this world. If good people actually got to live longer as a
reward for their good deeds, life would make a hell of a lot more sense to
me. But as we all know, many innocent people succumb to sickness or even
death everyday, just as randomly as people who commit heinous acts live on
and on. It appears as if there is no rhyme or reason behind it. Just
imagine if karma was real and precise, and there was a high power enforcing
it. These are the ideas that keep me up at night!
Horror News Network: This one promises to be a pretty grim and deep story.
Would you say that this brings you to more of a darker place than some of
your previous books?
Alan Robert: Definitely. This is a very personal story for me on a few
levels. One being that my cousin was recently diagnosed with brain cancer
and is fighting for her life. She is only 50 years old with two young
children. My wife and I help out as much as we can. But it makes you
question why someone like Charles Manson gets to live to a ripe old age,
and on the other hand here’s this innocent woman with a family battling
this horrible disease. As people, we try to reassure ourselves that it must
be a part of some bigger picture that we just don’t understand. But at the
end of the day, it just completely sucks to watch someone you love suffer
through something like this, especially long before their time. ‘The
Shunned One’ attempts to pull the curtain back and reveal the inner
workings of life and death in this fictitious tale of an angel who just
can’t take it anymore.
Horror News Network: From the promo images released so far, the artwork
looks killer. Did you once again change up the style a bit to match the
feel of the story?
Alan Robert: Thank you! That’s exactly the stage I’m at right now. I am
creating the style guide for the series. As with all of my previous books,
‘The Shunned One’ will have its own art style and direction. I put a lot of
work into creating the right tone for each story. Once I nail that down, I
get into to actual page layouts and all that. There’s a lot of preparation
that goes into it…character designs, figuring out color palettes, location
Horror News Network: When can fans expect “The Shunned One” in their hands?
Alan Robert: I am crackin’ away at it right now. I’d love to see it ready
for a Halloween release.
Horror News Network: Thanks Alan! Expecting great things from you in 2014
Alan Robert: Thank you and huge thanks for nominating ‘Killogy’ for a
Horror Comic Award. It was a real thrill to win ‘Best Scene of 2013’! Big
shout out to all the fans for signing up and voting! Happy New Year!