By: Christine Caprilozzi
HNN’s Sr. Editor, Christine Caprilozzi, recently spoke with Corey Taylor about his journey from lifelong comic fan to comic author with “House of Gold and Bones.”
Horror News Network: “House of Gold and Bones” doesn’t seem like the typical horror comic. It appears to have a lot of psychological elements to it. Can you describe a bit how you went about writing the story?
Corey Taylor: Yeah, there are elements of a thriller to it, and sci-fi fantasy elements in there too. There’s a lot of psychology going on, and that was the approach that I took when I was writing the short story that it’s based off of. I knew that I wanted to create this world that was very grandiose and alienating, but I also wanted to ground it in some very human reality. The world is only as crazy as the human personality perceives it. For me, it was about balancing that reality and trying to infuse the character with that feeling you can totally understand what they are going through, so you can relate to it. I want the audience to read it and think “how would I react to this?”
Horror News Network: Is that why your character is nameless, just “Zero?”
Corey Taylor: Definitely. I wanted to give that feeling of this could be anybody. It didn’t necessarily have to be a man, or a woman. It didn’t necessarily have to be anyone specific. I wanted it to be that subconscious mirror so people could see themselves in it. I think maybe it’s because I kind of wanted to give that feel while people were listening to the music, while also reading the story. I also wanted that to transfer over to the comic as well.
Horror News Network: Most Issue #1’s of a series usually layout the plot and introduce characters. What’s great about this first issue is that, without giving anything away, you don’t really know what’s going on. Then, it ends where you just HAVE to get Issue #2. Did you do that so it wouldn’t be a typical first issue?
Corey Taylor: I wanted people to get drawn in. I knew the way it was written that it was only going to be four issues, so I knew I had to grab people’s attention right away. That was the great experience I got from Dark Horse. They really helped me establish how to do that in a comic. Honestly, my first attempt at writing comic scripts were pretty atrocious! There was so much dialogue and I thought “the artist will get it, he’ll understand once he reads the short story.” They had to tell me “look, there’s probably a good chance the artist is not going to read your short story.” So I had to learn how to balance that passion for storytelling with the ability to guide the artist about what I wanted to see.
It’s always been easy for me because I can see what’s in my head, and hope other people can see it, or have their own interpretation of it. With comics, I really had to describe everything I saw in my head and make sure I got it down righteously enough where the artist could take over from there. That was actually really fun since it allowed me to develop a pretty good rhythm for writing scripts for comics. That “dun dun DUUN” suspense was sort of a happy accident. At the same time, I wanted to make sure people got drawn in as much as I wanted them to be drawn in with the music as well.
Horror News Network: Well, from a comic “fan” viewpoint, to get an “Issue #1” that is just a generic introduction of characters, it’s annoying you just paid money for it. So it’s really cool when the first issue DOES draw you into the story. The artwork is also pretty cool in the book, especially the darker scenes. How did you end up teaming up with Richard Clark & Dan Jackson, because even the coloring and tones her uses are dark and brooding?
Corey Taylor: Pretty much through Dark Horse. They REALLY got it right away. Dark Horse was the first company to come in and immediately understand what I wanted to do. They understood the project behind it, understood the concept albums, and they understood how exciting it was to put the story out there for people to follow along with it. That excited me because we were really on the same page. They asked me who I’d like to work with, but also sent me people who they thought would really work. They are the ones that sent me Richard Clark and Jason Alexander (covers).
I had an idea of how the artwork should go and had no specific names, but when I saw Richard’s, I thought “this is perfect.” Being a comic book fan, I had this very grand idea in my head how it should go, and Dark Horse really brought me the rest of the way there. They really were key with the artists and in making this a reality. I’m not sure it would’ve turned out as good if I had went with anyone else.
Horror News Network: “House of Gold and Bones” is a series of 4 based off of a short story of yours. When you start the first issue, did you have a vision of what issue #4 of the comic would look like?
Corey Taylor: I’ve always visualized this story as two movies so it’s very weird to try to visualize it from an illustrated standpoint. But because I’m a comic book fan, it made it a little bit easier. Honestly, once I was able to get the story illustrated, it actually helped the guys in the band understand the story I was trying to tell. That kind of let me know I was on the right track. When I was writing the story itself, I was trying to make it very visual. That was one of the reasons it popped into my head that this would be a really cool comic book. But having said that, I really had no idea of how it was going to look. I knew what I wanted it to be. I knew I didn’t want it to be too “cartoony.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wanted it to have a realistic vibe.
I wanted it to be, even though in this crazy made up world, you could still see it on a street or on a screen. That is one of the reasons why Richard was so perfect for it. I was a big fan of the artwork he did for the “Fringe” comics, and that got me thinking, if these were real people, what would they look like? How would they be interpreted? He really did such a great job of making sure that although it’s a comic book, it still has that human element. You can see the emotions on their face and see what they are going through. It felt really good knowing it was in his hands.
Horror News Network: You mentioned the Stone Sour CD. Did the music come first or the story? It’s really cool to have a comic with a soundtrack.
Corey Taylor: Yeah, I have to say, if you’re only on Issue #1, stop listening after track #5 on the CD. The idea for the story came first, but it wasn’t fully fleshed out. Once I started fleshing out the story, that’s what sort of triggered all this music I started writing, all these things I wanted to say and have people feel while they were reading it. So one sort of fed the other as the process as going on. I was actually working on the story while in the studio. Once those two were done, that’s when I started to tackle the comic piece. I think because those two were done, it intensified my want to actually do this.
Horror News Network: Obviously, people know you from Slipknot and Stone Sour. Quite a few other musicians have made their way to horror comics. Why do you think it is that heavy music and horror seem so intertwined?
Corey Taylor: I think because metal music is so intricate and so evocative. When you listen to a great heavy metal album, it makes you see things sand evokes your imagination. There’s a reason why some of the most intelligent people on earth listen to heavy metal. That music brings out a certain energy and emotion in you. I think that’s why its sort always been married to horror.
All you have to do is look at Alice Cooper. He is one of the progenitors of shock rock/horror rock. They present all these images. Over the years they really started to intertwined, which is why Kiss were one of the first to do a comic book. It’s also the reason why so many movies have become comics like “Alien vs Predator,” which were terrible movies. I have those comics though, and that’s how I knew Dark Horse. I mean I have ALL of them. You can do these types of battles in comics.
I think heavy metal is such a good soundtrack. Nobody I know is reading horror comics listening to Pink. I’m sorry, but it’s just not happening. Nothing against her, but there’s just something a little more bent out of shape that comes with listening to heavy metal music.
Horror News Network: You’ve always been a comic fan, I won’t ask if you’re a collector or hoarder, but what comics did you read /collect growing up? And what are you reading now?
Corey Taylor: I read my first comic when I was 5, probably one of the reasons I learned how to read because I was such a big comic book fan. I grew up a Marvel kid. My favorite character of all time will always be Spiderman. Maybe because I didn’t have the greatest childhood, but to me there was something so wonderful about this superhero who had just gone through hell, but has such a great grounding in his upbringing and had a sense of morality. Even when he got his ass kicked, he still did the right thing. As a kid I looked to comic books to get something out of life that was moral and good.
As I got older and things started to change, it was pretty much give me something insane or get it out of my face pretty much. I got out of comics for two years, until a friend of mine turned me on to “Preacher.” I became a hardcore Garth Ennis fan. That got me back into comics and it got me following writers. People like Ennis, Ellis, Bendis, who would take these characters, even if they were established and really put them through hell. They would make it dark, but also funny. I love the duality in a book like “Preacher,” where you have Jesse Custer. He’s moral, but not infallible. There’s also all this crazy shit going on. It’s really some of the darkest and grossest I’ve ever read. That appealed to me…I loved it! It was like reading a Quentin Tarantino movie in a comic book.
I still read Garth Ennis, and got to meet him at New York Comic Con last year…you would’ve thought I was meeting the Beatles. I still buy anything Ennis writes. I don’t get too much time to go out and buy comics, but every once in a while I sequester myself and sit on the couch and read comics.
Horror News Network: What scares Corey Taylor?
Corey Taylor: Sharks! Seriously, sharks terrify me like nobody’s business. I think because my mom took me to see “Jaws” when I was three. It ruined me, but it’s something I force myself to face. Whenever there’s a shark movie that comes out, I force myself to see it in the theater. That is honestly, besides worrying about my family, the only thing that really scares me.
Horror News Network: The comic is due out April 18th. What else should people know about “House of Gold and Bones?
Corey Taylor: Well, I hope people think that it’s smart, funny, and it’s cool. I hope it makes people think and maybe fucks with them a little bit. I’m ecstatic about the comic and that I’m able to do a project in a genre I’ve loved since I was a kid. I guess I just want people to have that same excitement about it that I do.
Horror News Network: Thanks for your time Corey!