The Sleep of Reason is a 360-page black-and-white anthology of horror comics for mature readers. Inspired by likes of Taboo, Uzumaki and Black Hole, this collection is devoid of the familiar by design. There are no garden-variety monsters in The Sleep of Reason; no well-worn terrors from film and television. This is an anthology of comics that strive to inspire unparalleled dread.
We caught up with creator, C. Spike Trotman to talk about The Sleep of Reason.
Horror News Network: How did the idea for The Sleep of Reason anthology come about?
C. Spike Trotman: One of my favorite anthology series of all time is Taboo. It was a horror anthology coordinated by Steve Bissette; it was published between the late 1980s and mid '90s. And it was fantastic, an amazing showcase. The first chapters of Alan Moore's From Hell were in there; what would eventually become Charles Burns' Black Hole was in there. Every story was awesome. I bought the first copies in comic shops, but eventually hunted down the full run on eBay. Seriously, it's just all so good. And ever since I got into the comic anthology business (ha ha, "business"), I've wanted to do something like The Sleep of Reason. An anthology of singular horror comics.
Horror News Network: What makes this anthology, The Sleep of Reason different from others that are on the shelf today?
C. Spike Trotman: You're not gonna find typical horror comics in here. The stories don't rely on familiar elements, which is something I'm really proud of. Most times, when you pick up a book that calls itself "horror," you usually know what to expect. There's a stable of creatures people default to when they wanna be "scary." Vampires, zombies, werewolves, that kinda stuff. That's allowed creators to get lazy. You don't have to put as much work in, because it's the famous monster pantheon, we know all the rules. Their weaknesses, how they can get you, where they come from. And I feel that knowing the whole story like that kills any fear you may have of something.
I banned vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. from The Sleep of Reason. I want readers going in having no idea what to expect. And I know I lost a big chunk of potential readers doing that, the ones who love the classics, LOVE knowing the whole story. But trying something new was more important to me.
Horror News Network: Can you tell us the creators involved in this anthology?
C. Spike Trotman: There are tons. Like, over 30. Eisner Award winner Carla Speed McNeil has a story in it. Eisner nominee and Adventure Time character designer Michael DeForge did the cover. Ignatz Award winner Gabby Schulz did what's probably my favoritre story in it. And there are contributions by cartoonists like KC Green of Gunshow, Evan Dahm of Riceboy and Vattu, Der-shing Helmer of The Meek, Jason Thompson of King of RPGs, Randy Milholland of Something*Positive, LOTS of people. The Sleep of Reason is over 360 pages. It's a huge book.
Horror News Network: What can we expect in terms of blood, guts and scares from this anthology?
C. Spike Trotman: There are gonna be a lot of pages that make you feel very, very uncomfortable. There's blood, there's mutilation. But the most common thread is DREAD. Absolute dread. Comics that make you feel genuinely disquieted by the stories they're telling, stories that make you physically pull away from the book. I really look forward to selling this thing at conventions, watching people thumb through it, furrow their brows, and say "Oh my God."
Horror News Network: Can you tell us what users will receive for backing this project?
C. Spike Trotman: The basic deal is a $30 copy of the book, with free shipping in the US, along with a complimentary copy of the ebook version. You can also just buy the ebook version for a special discounted price, $15. That price will go up when The Sleep of Reason is released to the general public. And, of course, since it's Kickstarter, there are various special backer levels on offer: commissions, monster dolls, poster prints. And for one special high roller, one REALLY unqiue backer level: one of our creators, an entomologist working in Australia, will name a newly-discovered species of beetle after you. You'll get a color photograph of the insect, a copy of the formal description once it's published, and the artist will draw a "memorial" pin-up of you being fatally savaged by your new namesake. That's $1,500.
Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about this horror anthology?
C. Spike Trotman: The Kickstarter page is the best place! We still have about 12 days to go, so please, check us out, and help us hit some stretch goals, like variant covers and a hardcover edition.
Horror News Network: In closing, what would you like to say to our readers about The Sleep of Reason?
C. Spike Trotman: I'm convinced there's an audience out there for horror comics. A BIG one. Horror comics were once one of the biggest genres in the medium: Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror. Books like that were bestsellers. What killed the genre wasn't a lack of interest; it was a moral panic that forced the industry to self-regulate with the Comics Code Authority, and that put the brakes on horror comics overnight. I want to find those tons of people who love horror as it once was. And I want The Sleep of Reason on people's bookshelves ten years from now, all dog-eared and beat to hell, and influencing the next generation of readers and creators. This book is amazing. It's worth that.
Horror News Network: Thank you for your time. Best of luck with this anthology!