Some people become killers. Zoey was born that way.
Ever since she can remember, Zoey Aarons has felt the urge to kill. For eighteen years she resisted those urges and fought to be someone better than her base instincts would allow. In a moment of weakness and anger, however, she let go and took a life. That hazy Seattle summer day still haunts her, and as she begins college far away from home, she’s afraid that she will kill again.
We caught up with creator, Larime Taylor to talk about his comic, A Voice in the Dark.
Horror News Network: How did you come up with the concept for this title?
Larime Taylor: It started out as an idea for a campy horror parody. I grew up in the 80's, so Friday, Nightmare, all those things helped shape my writing. In those movies, one rule was the the ethnic character always dies first, so I decided that in my story, she'd be the only survivor. Then I thought, what if she survives because she's the killer? By turning everything upside down, I stumbled across the idea that eventually became this book. A young, bi-racial serial killer. I realized that there was a lot more depth there than my original spoof idea would allow, so I took it more seriously and started fleshing it out, and this is where I ended up. Some of the camp of the original idea is still there – it takes place in Cutter's Circle, California, at a college that the students have nicknamed Slaughter U – but the story is much more layered and grounded than that.
Horror News Network: Having the physical limitations that you have, can you talk a bit about creating this comic?
Larime Taylor: I was born with Arthrogryposis, a birth defect that leaves my arms and legs in locked positions. I use a power wheelchair and draw with my mouth. I am currently working on a Wacom Cintiq tablet screen that Wacom kindly donated to me about 4 years ago Everything is drawn digitally, with the stylus in my mouth.
Horror News Network: How do your own experiences influence the character development in the story?
Larime Taylor: Part of the concept behind the book is that Zoey, the serial killer, was born the way she is. She's not a psychopath, wasn't abused, and is fully capable of having empathy and feeling regret. She was born with these urges, these compulsions to kill, but because she does have a conscience, she never acted on them growing up. Finally, shortly after graduating high school, something happened that caused her to lash out and take a life. Now that she's done it, she's afraid – and rightly so – that she can't stop.
I was born with my disability, but how I live with it and what I choose to do with it is up to me. That's the core of Zoey's story – figuring out how to live with what she is.
Horror News Network: Can you tell us more about the main character, Zoey Aarons?
Larime Taylor: Zoey's a fairly shy, introverted young woman from Seattle, just starting college at an elite women's college in California called Blair University. She was a straight A student, graduated top of her class, and received a full-ride academic scholarship to the school. Her family is lower-middle class, but they're generally happy, and she had a normal childhood. Her father is from Ghana, and her mother is a white suburbanite. There's nothing in her history to suggest that she'd become serial killer, and yet she's always had urges.
As she has empathy and a conscience, she never tortured or killed animals and never acted out in violent ways, but she's always had a very active imagination, and often daydreamed about it. She'd read about killers and carry out their sprees in her mind. Now that she's actually taken a life, her daydreams are getting more frequent and vivid, and she starting to worry that they won't remain daydreams much longer.She's desperate to find a safe outlet because she doesn't want to be a killer, but it's who she is.
Horror News Network: Can you talk a bit about teaming up with Top Cow?
Larime Taylor: I did a Kickstarter to fund a mini series to use as a pilot and shop to publishers, and Top Cow was one of several that were interested. I decided to go with them because I could see that Matt Hawkins liked the story, and they were willing to make it an ongoing monthly right out of the gate. It's a huge honor to be a part of the Image stable of comics, and at such a prestigious imprint like Top Cow.
Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about you and your comic, A Voice In The Dark?
Larime Taylor: It comes out in November and is in September's Previews right now (item code SEP130501) for pre-order, and they can visit my website at www.larimetaylor.com.
Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Larime! You are without a doubt an inspiration!