AHOY Comics Editor-in-Chief Tom Peyer: The Horror News Network Interview

by Nick Banks

The horror anthology has long been a favorite of comic readers, dating back to the origin of  horror comics with William Gaines’ seminal EC Comics titles Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror.  We still get the occasional horror anthology comic, but they are much too infrequent for fans of serialized horror, so the news that comic veteran Tom Peyer is launching a new horror title along with his other anthologies from AHOY Comics was met with much excitement.

Peyer will serve as the editor-in-chief of the new company and he has assembled some top creators to work on the new line and we recently got a chance to talk to Peyer about the one that will appeal to horror fans the most:  Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror.

Horror News Network: Congratulations on the launch of your new imprint AHOY Comics.  How did you assemble such a diverse and talented group of creators for AHOY Comics?

Tom Peyer: Thanks! It’s a good group, isn’t it? It was weirdly easy to pull it together. I knew some people, CCO Frank Cammuso knew some people, Operations guy Stuart Moore knew some people, publicist David Hyde knew some people… Enough of us have been in comics for a long time. But it’s not all crony capitalism! Once we had material to show, we were able to use that to lure in some creators we’ve admired from afar, and a few we were hearing of for the first time.

HNN: The comic magazine is a well-loved format for readers, especially with horror comic fans.  Why did you decide to print your titles using this format?

Peyer: I love those, too, but we’re not doing magazine-sized pages like Creepy or Dracula Lives! They’re comic book-sized, maybe a little thicker sometimes. We call them comic magazines because we’ve expanded the range of material that goes into the issue. After the comic, stick around for a short story or two, maybe a poem, a humor piece, a memoir, a single-panel cartoon.

HNN: Out of all of the possible choices for a title and anchor character/inspiration, why did you select Poe? 

Peyer: It really, really helps that he’s dead. And that he’s been dead for so long. We don’t have to pay him, or listen to a lot of complaints about what we’re doing to his work. And we are doing awful, terrible things to his work. On purpose.

HNN: Your horror title Edgar Allan Poe’s  Snifter of Terror seems to combine horror and comedy. Why do these two genres work so well together?

Peyer: They both provoke deep, honest, involuntary responses in the moment. Fear, laughter. I guess the audience is glad not to be the slasher’s victim or the butt of the joke. But! i don’t want you to go in believing that we’re trying to scare you in Snifter. We’re trying to make you laugh, and maybe gross you out a little.

HNN: One of the staples of horror comics since the days of EC is the anthology.  What types of inspiration are you taking from some of those early anthologies or the original horror comic magazines such as Creepy or Eerie?  

Peyer: I love Creepy and Eerie, especially the early days when Archie Goodwin was editing and writing it. He would bring in these artists I followed in mainstream comics, like Steve Ditko and Gene Colan and Wally Wood, and just let them go crazy with any medium, any technique they wanted. It was like an art education every issue: wash, hatching, shading film, scratchboard, DuoTone. I still get tingly. The media have changed since then, but what Archie did, making a place where artists can play, is an example we should all be following.

HNN: What do fans have to look forward to with this series?

Peyer: Some great work by some great talents. Mark Russell, Dean Motter, Ann Nocenti, Rachel Pollack, Rick Geary, Linda Medley, Peter Milligan, Peter Snejbjerg, Devin Grayson, Hunt Emerson, Richard Williams…. I could go on and on. And you can look forward to a scathing, completely false take on Poe himself: a pitiful drunk who finds himself reduced to introducing horror stories in a comic book.

Look for Snifter of Terror’s debut on Halloween of 2018 at finer comic stores everywhere.

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