Shannon Eric Denton Teases The gHosts #1 Zoop Campaign: “Halloween Year Round!

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No, you’re not reading your calendar wrong… Halloween, and technically the spooky season ended over a week ago. But writer Shannon Eric Denton is keeping the scares going all year round with the new Zoop campaign for gHosts.

First launched free online from Monster Forge Productions and GlobalComix, the monster mash-up brought together horror hosts from various other anthologies, and a team of all-stars. Those include co-writers Denton and Cullen Bunn, artist David Hartman; and featuring the creations of David Dastmalchian (Count Crowley), Rodney Barnes (Nita Hawes), Vamp (Vamp), Cullen Bunn (Shock Shop), and Chynna Clugston Flores (Ms. Halloween).

“We have a lot of different universes and eras all our characters are from,” Denton told Comic Book Club over email. “We didn’t want folks getting caught up in the pseudo-science of how this works but instead just wanted to tap into that childhood awe at the world of magic and the supernatural.”

As you might expect from the story — and the creative team — gHosts is a cheeky, trope-flipping take on horror hosts that mashes them all together, lovingly paying tribute to the genre while poking fun at it, at the same time. In advance of the Zoop campaign, Comic Book Club talked with Denton about the comic, the appeal of horror hosts, and what dream hosts Denton and Bunn would want to snag for the inevitable sequel.

General question first: what do you think the appeal is on horror hosts? Why has that trope/format/whatever you want to call it lasted so long?

The gallows humor. Making fun of the things we love while still loving it for what it is. It’s having a guide on a two-hour journey to discover something new or revisiting an old friend. After enough time that guide feels like a friend as well. I love that the idea of the horror host goes back decades but there are still folks like Vamp making it new and fresh for a whole generation that discovered horror hosts through social media rather than a UHF channel…or a haunted VHS cassette. 

More specifically, you’re bringing together a number of pre-existing hosts here… What was important logistically in mashing these universes together?

Magic!  Specifically the magic of Halloween. As you pointed out we have a lot of different universes and eras all our characters are from.  We didn’t want folks getting caught up in the pseudo-science of how this works but instead just wanted to tap into that childhood awe at the world of magic and the supernatural. 

Expanding on that a bit, you definitely play with the idea that a lot of what these, and other horror hosts do, overlaps. How did you make sure the main ones felt unique? Particularly since you’re working with the people who created them.

That’s where the part where being good at our craft overlaps with being fans of the material.  In this case, each other’s material as well as being a fan of each other.  We REALLY wanted to see more of each character because we love them all. So we had a good sense of each character’s voice going in and if we had questions, all we had to do was ask the folks involved!

Similarly, you’ve got a lot of cooks involved in this – what was the process of putting the story and book together like?

Joyously simple. The harder issue was just getting started but once we had the idea of how to make it work, it took off. Again, everyone involved is great and great at what they do so we were all pretty lucky. Despite all the work, it was a ton of fun!

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In the story, you throw in a ton of classic horror tropes… There are touches of The Ring, classic Universal monster movies, and a million other influences. Was there anything that ended up on the cutting room floor, so to speak?

There were a ton of ideas that ended up on the cutting room floor. Luckily, we keep track of them all and those are now springboards for new projects or moments we can insert into other Halloween Specials!

Can you talk a bit about what Dave Hartman brings to the project? The art is a fun mix that walks the line between approachable and cartoony, without veering totally into outright humor book territory.

There’s a reason Rob Zombie uses David for so much of what he does.  Dave is so good at horror but he’s also got such a fun style that mixed with his decades of directing for animation makes it all very approachable for the reader. 

This book is available digitally… Why bring it into print with Zoop? And what can fans expect from the print edition?

We are so happy with the folks at GlobalComix for how big a push they made with the digital book.  They’ve been great partners. Not everyone wants a physical book taking up room in their place and we wanted folks to be able to read this regardless of their shelf space.  On the flip side and as all-around comics fans, we also know some folks really love print and want to have the physical book to take up space on their bookshelf! Zoop has been exciting in helping us realize our dream of getting this out in a prestige hardcover format worthy of the holiday and Hartman’s gorgeous art. We’re throwing in extras to the print edition too!

This is pretty much a done-in-one story, but if there’s one thing I know about horror is that it loves a sequel… Are there any plans for gHosts 2? And if you did do a sequel, is there a dream host you’d like to add?

There are plans for more gHosts for sure. It’s safe to say after a lifetime of loving Halloween for all of us, this will surely continue. As for dream horror hosts, how great would it be to get Svengoolie and Elvira in here? And with the magic of Halloween, I definitely would add Vincent Price. Here’s to everyone who loves Halloween year round!

You can sign up on the Zoop campaign page for gHosts #1 to be notified when it officially launches.

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