James Tynion IV talks The Nice House on the Lake, Batman, and more!

Today, Melissa got to sit down and chat with iconic comic book writer James Tynion IV. They talked all about his career at DC, writing over 300 issues of Batman, and his latest, and highly anticipated new horror release, The Nice House on the Lake.

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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas

Theme music by Ardus

James Tynion IV interview

[00:00:00] Melissa: Or their country and I’m Melissa surgeon today on the show. I’m excited to welcome a comic book creator here to talk about his new release, the nice house on the lake, James Tinney and the fourth. Welcome to the show.

James Tynion IV: Thanks so much

Melissa: for having me. Thanks for being here. I congratulations on the new release.

James Tynion IV: Thank you very much. It’s been a really, really exciting and overwhelming and a yeah, no people, people seem to like it. Yeah.

Melissa: That’s awesome. Yeah. It’s always hectic on launch day. Right? Super stressful. And you know, a million interviews. I’m sure

James Tynion IV: too. Absolutely.

Melissa: Yeah. Before we get into to the new release.

Cause I wanna hear all about it. You know, I’m curious, when did you, when did you know that you wanted to be a writer and I also am curious, did you want to start out in comics or did you like try it?

James Tynion IV: Oh, that’s a really good question. [00:01:00] It’s you know, I, I always have trouble putting the finger on the exact moment.

I wanted to be a writer. I know that like, I think there was like a fourth grade report that I had to write at one point about what, what, what career I wanted in my future. And I did write that I wanted to be a writer in that. In that little report. So it was clearly like, it was already in my head around that.

But it was something that you know, I loved creating worlds and I loved living in, in, in fictional worlds. And I knew that that’s what I wanted to do with my life from a very young age. And you know, to the point that I started using it, like, I, I rebuilt. My all, I basically took all of the electives that I had my, my junior and senior year of high school, and basically became a defacto English major as a high school.

Just basically maxing out the number of slots with English courses that I could take. And, and then I went into writing you know, for in college and all of that [00:02:00] stuff. So it is something where it’s like, if there’s a long, a long app of writing, but. You know, comics were you know, a key part of that.

And, you know, they’re, they’re, I would say high school is really when it clicked that that was the sort of writer that I wanted to be. It was the, it was honestly, it was, you know, I had been reading comics for years at that point, but it was, it was discovering the books that were being put out by vertigo.

And this would have been in the. You know, I was in high school in the mid two thousands. So it’s, you know, it would have been right around then that I was, I was basically reading the entire backlog of all of these books and this was the heyday of why the last man and books like that. So it was, you know, all of that sort of came together and was You know, it was what pushed me towards, okay.

I want to pursue writing writing comics, but there wasn’t like a college you could go to, to learn how to write comics. So I ended up going [00:03:00] to school for writing prose, but it is but it was like all for the, you know, in pursuit of the comic book medium.

Melissa: Right. So you basically learned how to read comics just by reading them really and studying them.

James Tynion IV: Absolutely. Yeah, no it’s and then in, especially you know, one great thing, great resource that I always latched onto is whenever they would print a script at the back of a trade paperback, I would read those scripts next to the comics. Like. Over and over and over again and trying to sort of learn all of the secrets.

Melissa: Yeah, that’s cool. And I read that you started at DC as an intern, and I’m curious, how do you, how did you get the opportunity or make that transition from being an intern to being a full-time writer?

James Tynion IV: Well, honestly, a lot of it has to do with the fact that when I was in college, I had a writing professor who was a [00:04:00] young guy, had only ever written short stories at that time on his name was Scott Snyder.

And while I was in that class with him was when he was starting to pitch on American vampire and his first superhero work, which was actually over at Marvel before he jumped over to DC. And he, and I developed a really close working relationship together and I became a bit of a sounding board for him.

So when he heard that there were opportunities to apply for an internship within vertigo, he will, you know, he had my back and was able to recommend me for the position. And I learned a tremendous amount of about, you know, the inner workings of the comics industry. And I, I tried to apply for a job. I think it was in collected additions.

Cause that was the only editorial position that was open at the time. And I didn’t get it. And I thought at the end of that internship, that, that was, you know, the, like, I didn’t know that it was ever going to work out and, you know, I [00:05:00] stayed close with Scott and I was that, but I started working in advertising for, for about a year and a half before I got my first opportunity.

To write, which was a co-writing job with Scott on the back-up stories to Batman. Oh,

Melissa: what an interesting coincidence that he was your professor, and then you both ended up in the industry doing really, really well. I, I like that. That’s a cool story. And yeah, and he brought up Batman. That was one of the major things that you’re you’re known for is his Batman.

And what is, what has that experience been like for you? I mean, being a fan of comics for, you know, from such a young age and then getting to work on one of the biggest franchises of all time.

James Tynion IV: I mean, honestly, it’s been a dream come true. The bat, the bat characters specifically, you know, I’m, I’m someone who always loves her, all the supporting characters.

Like I love Batman as a character himself, but I think anyone who’s read a Batman comic by me knows, I like to turn every book into an ensemble piece. [00:06:00] And my detective comics were on. I used a lot of the Batman family characters, the Robbins. And all of that. And then in my current run on the, the flagship Batman book, I’m bringing in a bunch of villains to basically be the ensemble for the cast, but I’ve, I’ve loved those characters for my entire life.

And. You know, I’ve, I always, I always think about it as like, you know, this is my chance to, you know, open the toy box that, you know, I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid and I get to pick up the toys and mash them together. And then on top of that, I get to sort of create a few new toys that I get to put back in the toy box and hope that they, you know, that future generations of writers pick them up and continue to develop them and tell their stories.

Melissa: Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. Batman is my favorite of all time. There’s just, you know, the allure of the Gotham city and the darkness of it all. And like you said, the villains really, I believe, shape out the story, you know, and really [00:07:00] make it well-rounded and engaging for. For readers because, you know, I think pat and villains are the best, to be honest, they really are.

You know, as, as you’ve been, you know, working on it for such a long time and you might not have a favorite, but what has been your favorite, like Batman storyline that you’ve worked

James Tynion IV: on? Oh, that’s a really hard question. Honestly, I’m having so much fun right now on everything, everything that I’m doing on the, you know, on the Batman books and the big scarecrow story that we’re telling the cowardly lot, that’s building to the big fear state event coming this fall.

But the, but honestly, you know, if I were just deep fanboy love the, the one that I probably, you know, the, that I love the most is probably my The lonely place of living a lonely place of living, which is an arc I did in my detective comics run where after, you know, it briefly appeared the Tim Drake was dead.

This was the story where we [00:08:00] brought him back. And, you know, honestly, it’s one of my favorite things that I’ve had a chance to do in my time at DC.

Melissa: Wow. That’s cool. I know it must be hard to pack. I’m like, choose your baby.

James Tynion IV: I did account once and I think I’ve like written around 300 Batman comics in the last yeah.

So it, it is it has been quite, quite a bit and you know, some of those are co-rec writing, so I’m sort of cheating a bit to rack up those numbers. But I named my name is on that many times. That’s

Melissa: awesome. That’s a huge accomplishment maybe for, you know, such a young age. I mean, yeah, I mean, you hear about like the old timers, you know, racking up their issues, but that’s, that’s awesome.

So you’re really pumping them out. Like, were you doing them? You did a monthly or weekly.

James Tynion IV: Oh, I mean, at different points, like for every combination I did, I worked on the two Batman, weekly comics, Batman eternal. And Batman and Robin the terminal. And then I followed that up with a bi-weekly book [00:09:00] in detective comics.

And then I did Batman biweekly last year, and now Batman’s monthly again, which is like, I’m, I’m very grateful for yeah. You know, it allows me to. You know, although it’s not like I, I stopped working on that many books. I just, you know, now I’m working on, I don’t know. It feels like I work on about 80 comic books a month.

Melissa: You don’t sleep or eat or anything.

James Tynion IV: No, it’s a dream to go outside more often, but it’s definitely true.

Melissa: Well, I mean, I guess this past year, we all had an excuse not to blame it on that. Yes. Well, when you started getting into like your own creator, you know, own stuff, where did you find yourself, like referring back to things that you learned doing Batman and, or like using the similar plot mechanisms?

James Tynion IV: Oh, yeah. I mean, it all, it all sort of plugs into it itself. And honestly one thing that I learned early on, [00:10:00] especially in terms of the, you know, what draws people to comics and that’s what that is. One of the benefits of getting to work on one of the big, big titles on a title like Batman, you get to sort of see like, okay, what actually drives the, you know, the market.

The comic market and like what what’s books do you do? Like what do people connect to and what don’t they connect to? And what are ways that you can lean into that? And one thing that I learned both in my, my time on the bat books, but also on, in one of my creator own titles something is killing the children is the importance of a really iconic.

Central character that, you know, and, and even beyond that key visual elements that, you know, make a cover pop. And I think that a lot of times, you know, I, in recent years, there’s been so many amazing creator owned comics coming out from so many different companies. But a lot of them don’t, you know, they’re, they have characters [00:11:00] yeah.

In plain clothes in the lead and they don’t sort of have a core iconic look. And I think having that core iconic look is important in comic books and not even just American comics, like there’s people. I make jokes about how in manga and anime. Like you can always tell the protagonist because their hair is crazier than all of the other characters.

And it’s just like that. That’s true. And it’s just, it’s a simple visual, like touchstone that tells you, like this character is the central figure of the book and, you know, like, you know, when it operates in the same way as a superhero pasture, and even though it’s not a superhero costume, so that’s, that was something that I learned in a big way on something that’s killing children that I’ve tried to carry forward into my other creator on books and making sure that every creator on book has a series of like visual touchstones that, you know, look good on a cover that you might want to get a, you know, you might want to pay someone to do a sketch or something like that.

And that. You know, that element of, of, you [00:12:00] know, of like a core visual element is, is key in every single story.

Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a really good point. It’s very similar in in novel writing to, you know, you have to have your cover has to fit the genre because audiences expect. You know, a certain thing.

And if they, if it doesn’t fit, then your book’s not going to get sold because it’s not appealing to the audience that you’re trying to target, essentially. So that’s interesting. I didn’t, I didn’t realize it. I mean, it makes complete sense, but I never thought about it as you know, in comic book terms as well.

Just having, having those covers match. What is the content is essentially.

James Tynion IV: Oh, yeah, no. And that, and that first cover is the most important thing. Cause that’s the, any time anyone talks about your book, it could have been out for years and years and years, they’re always going to show the image of that first cover.

So you have to capture the core essence of it. And you know, that that was something that in this newest series, I was happy. Like, you know, we went. Back and [00:13:00] forth and back and forth. But then when Alvero Martinez pulled together the, that, that design of, you know, our, one of our lead characters, Ryan in the water, surrounded by skeletons with the nice house on the lake, in the background.

And it just captured that perfect tone of horror that we were looking to capture with the series. And you know, that that’s going to be the defining image of the entire series, no matter how long it runs.

Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. I was going to ask you about that cover cause it’s very eye-catching it, you instantly know it’s, it’s whore.

It’s going to be maybe a little disturbing or sinister. And so when you were collaborating with him did he, did you kind of give him some guidelines of like, this is what I’m looking for or did he just sketch something and show it to you? And then you worked from there?

James Tynion IV: I think it started with, I think he sent a, an over a batch of designs, but I don’t think it started with that.

With a clear direction of like, this is the way to go. I think he had the idea and then he presented the idea and then it was sort of just [00:14:00] tinkering with it from there. But it was like, honestly, if I remember correctly, he sent over a batch of. Designs and we were sort of hemming and hawing over a few of them, but then he was like, actually I have a different idea.

And then he sent over a, a rough version of what is essentially the final cover. And we were like, yup, that’s it? That is

Melissa: just clicked. Yeah. Like he got like the chills. And you were like, that’s it? Yeah. Let’s talk about it. Yeah. I’ve read a bunch of reviews that are just really, really raving reviews about the book.

And it’s, it’s interesting because a lot of people in the reviews are like hesitant to give too much away, you know, they’re, they’re trying to save the mystery. So without giving too much away tell us a little bit about the premise of the story.

James Tynion IV: Well, basically a. A man named Walter invites you know, 10 of his closest friends to a nice house on the lake and upstate [00:15:00] Wisconsin.

And you know, and then everything goes perfectly well.

Honestly, it’s it is difficult to sort of, to talk about on just because, you know, I do, I do want to let the, the twist at the end of that first issue really hit, but it’s a story about you know, it’s a horror story, like first and foremost, and it’s on one level it’s about the. You know, the live, what it feels like to be living in, what is essentially the end of the world, which is something that I think we’ve all felt at times, especially after the last year.

Is that just the sense that, you know, the world is burning all around us and we have to kind of make a decision. Do we, are, do we look into the fire or do we turn away from the fire and basically try to. You know, try to keep living the best that we can. And, you know, on one hand, it’s kind of about that feeling and that notion.

And then on the other [00:16:00] hand it’s about you know, just the, the ways friendships grow and change over time and the distance that seeps in, especially once you enter your, your thirties that, you know, there is this kind of. Slow drifting away. That happens among people who used to be very close and think that they know each other very well, because they were around for such formative moments in their lives.

But there is a kind of, you know, there was a strange distance that grows in that time. And then there’s a lot of horror in. Not knowing your friends anymore and not being sure if they know you or if anybody knows. And so there, there are lots of questions like that on a philosophical level that the series kind of, but then there’s also the upfront and center horror element of the series that I won’t spoil here.

But you know, there there’s some spooky stuff that happens in the book. Like, you know, Yeah, scary figures and all of this stuff. So, [00:17:00] I’m, I’m very, very excited for people to see it. And I’m also excited for, you know, a month or so from now, when I’m a little more, when I could just talk a little more directly in school.

Melissa: Yeah. Once it’s been out for awhile and enough people have the opportunity to read it. That makes sense. Yeah, because I literally just dropped it today and then there’s been a, probably a handful of people that had. You know, the pre, the advanced reader copies and things like that. But yeah, no, that’s that, those are two really interesting concepts.

I mean, it’s so true about how girl Pyre, I mean, wait, till you get into your forties, that’s even further. And people are, you know, having their own families and, you know, you just, it’s hard to get together and it’s hard to connect and people do change. Essentially. So that’s an interesting concept. Kind of weave into a horror story as well.

Cause it’s a kind of horror in itself just to, you know, lose out on those connections that you cherished when you were maybe a teenager in your twenties.

James Tynion IV: Absolutely. And I mean, and I think that that is [00:18:00] like, it’s a deep fear. I think we’re all afraid of a kind of loneliness, like and afraid of afraid of distance and afraid of.

You know, just being isolated. And I think especially after the last year, I think we all know how afraid of isolation each of us can be and how, how much that can get into your head. And. You know, and, and mess you up in a real way. And I think that, you know, I w I want it to sort of tap into all of that.

And that was one of the strangest things, because a bunch of people, they read the book and they think that obviously I had to have cooked this up during quarantine and all of that, that this was a. COVID year idea. And honestly, I pitched this book back in 2019. So like, even though like, there’s there are a number of elements that then I tweaked once we were up and moving and, you know, I actually had the experience of kind of feeling trapped in a house play [00:19:00] in what felt like the apocalypse.

But you know, it is a. You know, that that’s, that, that is key to the book. And some of the biggest changes that came from that come a little later, a few few issues down the line. There was a whole, I’m excited to be able to talk about this at some point, but it’s like, there’s a whole mechanism that I originally had laid out.

In the comic that then living through it, I was like, oh, this is how it would work. And that, and it just like, it changed a core dynamic of the book for the better. And I’m excited for people to see what, what, what we ended up. Yeah. That’s

Melissa: that’s interesting. Cause I was going to ask you if you had.

Started writing this during the pandemic, but that you said you pitched it in 2019. So it’s funny because I’ve, I’ve talked to a few author, friends of mine who had similar experiences, where they started writing a book. About a pandemic essentially, and bef way before. And then they had the unfortunate launch dates during the pandemic.

[00:20:00] And a lot of people were angered, like thinking that they were trying to capitalize on it or something like that. And I was like, no, let me show you my receipts. I started hiding this two years ago. So, yeah, that’s gotta be challenging. But, and very brave to put it out anyways. I know that there’s a lot of characters in this book.

There’s like 12, if I’m

James Tynion IV: correct. Yeah, no, we have we’ve got a big

Melissa: cast. How did you come up with all the different characters?

James Tynion IV: Honestly, they’re all kind of hybrids of, you know, me and my friends to be perfectly honest. And it was something that. I, you know, I remember in the, in the buildup to me writing the book, I was like reaching out to friends.

It was like, okay, I’m going to take a bit of your personality and I’m going to match it with this other friend’s personality. And I’m basically going to create a new person. So, so yeah, honestly, that, that helped. And it’s, it’s a trick I’ve used before where, you know, sometimes. You use close friends as kind of touchstones is, you know, like inspirations for certain personality types and it helps, it gives you a [00:21:00] nice shorthand for what would this character do in this scenario when you actually know someone like the character.

So you can. Tell what they would do in that scenario. But the, you know, the most one-to-one thing is that the one of the central characters in the whole story, this character, Walter is 100% based on me. And, you know, effectively, you know, for those who haven’t read it, Walter is you might call him the villain of the series.

And I don’t know. I th it’s something that I’ve, I’ve, I’ve done that sort of thing before the. I did one of my first creator on series was a book called the woods and it also had a large ensemble cast. You know, that was a story about a bunch of high schoolers, but I definitely took the, this main character you know, Adrian, who was very much based on me.

So honestly I, you know, like it’s it’s me doing a little therapy where I get to sort of bring all of my worst traits out. And sort of, you know, lay them bare on the table and then see what,

[00:22:00] Melissa: yeah. So it’s like a cathartic process as well. Absolutely. Were there any characters that didn’t make the cut.

James Tynion IV: Absolutely. And there were characters that changed a lot. You know, and once again, this is something that will be easier to talk about further into the series, because it’s sort of the, you know, there, there are paths that you know, I, I felt. We’re a little too melodramatic that would have required a set up in a different way.

And and then ultimately I already, like, I have a gigantic cast as it stands. So I had to sort of be like, okay, no, I don’t need this. Like, you know, because when you’re building something out of like actual people, you know, in real life sometimes like, You know, for the sake of a story, you only need a group of like two or three friends, but in real life, it was a group of five friends.

And you want to kind of mimic what real life was. But at the same time, you kind of know that those two extra people, they don’t, they’re not really relevant to this story. So they sort of fall fall out of it a bit. But yeah, it’s [00:23:00] a. You know, I think, I think down the line there, I’ll be able to talk more about there’s a character Molly, who was originally going to be a very different sort of character who is still in the book, but her role in the book was going to

Melissa: be okay.

So that’s so that’s changed. And now I know it’s so hard to ask these questions because I don’t want to spoil anything for myself either because I want to read it. Does does each, do you focus on like, a specific character in each issue or is it sort of fraud? Okay.

James Tynion IV: Yeah. So the, the first issue uses this character it focuses on a character named Ryan and she is she’s the first focal point into this, but there is a, there is a different character that kind of introduces every issue.

And then as the kind of focal point of that issue. And so that, that’s honestly one of the ways that I can deal with the large cast that we have for the series. So is

Melissa: that there’s 12 issues then, right?

[00:24:00] James Tynion IV: Yes. So it’s, you know, like, and there’s a, there’s a bit of like, people will see how how we do that.

And, and you know, what, we’ve sort of what we’ve said publicly a few times is that we sort of see these first, these 12 issues as the first season of the book that the, the story. We’ll reach an ending there, but if people continue to support the series, like there is, there is a larger story to be told here.

You know, th this is, this is something that I could see. He, you know, having, having a life over a few

Melissa: years. Okay. Let’s see. I just depends on engagement, sales, all those fun things

James Tynion IV: and fully, thankfully the first issue is done incredibly, incredibly well for DC. So this is, you know, it’s really exciting.

It’s I think this is the. The highest selling creator own title that they’ve had and you know, in over a decade. So it is, it feels very, I I’m extraordinarily grateful for the support. People have shown the series.

[00:25:00] Melissa: I was reading that you had over a hundred thousand pre-orders. Which is mind blowing. You definitely locked into your job there.

I don’t think I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere. Yeah, I can’t even imagine, like, did you, when you found out, were you just like, wait, what?

James Tynion IV: Oh yeah, I was, I was totally besides myself and I always, I always You know, I, I launched my previous creator on book last September at image comics, the department of truth and that also broke a hundred thousand, but this one actually ended up, you know, crossing that line even further.

So it’s, it is nice. It’s a nice feeling that each, each creator on launch. As launching bigger than the previous one. So yeah, it feels

Melissa: pretty good. Amazing. Now, I mean, you may not know the answer to this, but do you think that was a combination of like marketing and, you know, buzz that, that maybe you had DC created?

Or is that just from people by like loving from Batman and from your previous works? I mean, have you heard any feedback about [00:26:00] that?

James Tynion IV: I mean, I think that, I think there’s a, you know, I think there are a number of things that have contributed to it. One thing that. Helps is the fact that, you know, both something is killing the children and the department of truth hit very, like launched very strong out of the gates but then kept selling out over and over.

So I think there was this sort of sense of like, okay, let’s not miss out this time. Let’s get in right from the beginning. So we don’t sell out of this first issue which I. I’m really grateful for. And thankfully, you know, that having a few books in that kind of horror space that are already selling big for retailers, it makes it easier for retailers to buy into what I’m doing, which I’m extraordinarily grateful for.

And you know, I think aside from that, like one thing that I. You know, not, not to toot my own horn, but I, I have I’ve been running a newsletter for a while that I’ve sort of used to be my like direct sales tool to speak directly to retailers. And that has, you know, that has been really, really.

Helpful over the last few years and helped you know, [00:27:00] especially because when I started that, that was how people were finding out information about my Batman run. But then I was able to sort of parlay that towards like, Hey, you should check out, something’s going to the children, you should check out department of truth.

And as all of that is kept, kept building. I have I have a nice steady audience there and, you know, and it’s nice because I think, you know, in this day and age, I think there’s a, there’s a lot of content out there that doesn’t actually reach the people you’re trying to sell the book to. And the retailers are so important.

They’re so, so, so important. If you don’t have the retailers on your side, it is You know, you’re not going to sell the wall. So it’s, it’s something where now that I, you know, like it’s being in the privileged position of, I have a few books that make retailers a good amount of money. So now they are willing to invest in my next.


Melissa: Yeah. They trust it. They know it’s going to do well. Based on past experience, then that’s such a great point. You brought up about the newsletter. I don’t think enough [00:28:00] people authors and creators realize. How effective those can be because it’s, it’s your own personal. Little army, essentially of fans that are literally subscribing to you because they want to hear about this stuff.

Whereas, you know, on social media, sometimes people just keep scrolling or they’re like, oh, you know, another promo post or something like that, that your newsletter is they’re specifically coming to you to hear about. Your promo and your, and your books and things like that. So I think that’s a really good point.

Yeah. So, you know, getting back to the story just a little bit you mentioned earlier that there is a twist at the end of issue one. Now, is there going to be a twist at the end of every issue or, or is it just the first initial sort of like.

James Tynion IV: There is one very big twist that sets the stage for the whole series.

I don’t, I don’t think I can claim, like, I hope that the ending of every issue is impactful. And you know, there’s always going to be like a little twist, but there won’t, you know, the first, the twist at the [00:29:00] end of issue, one. Sets the stage for the entire story and what the comic is going to be. And that is, that is, you know, there, isn’t going to be a game changer on that level at the end of every issue.

But you know, I do hope that there’s like every issue will have a new piece of information revealed and all of that is the mystery around the nice house on the lake you know, unfolds.

Melissa: Right. No, that’s awesome. What, what influences do you have as far as like core? Cause you know, when you’re just, I am getting a mixture of like kind of clue, which is a little bit more, you know, campy, if you will.

But then also like haunting of hill house and those kinds of vibes too. Are those, you know, some of your influences and what are your influences really in horror and books or, or

James Tynion IV: television? Oh yeah. I mean, I, I, I read and. Like watch a lot of horror and like pretty much every, every corner of horror there, you know, I, so [00:30:00] there’s there’s a bunch of different influences, but I think in this case I’m trying to think of the best.

Like I would say that there there’s something about Stephen, King’s it, that will always, you know, make it one of my all time favorite stories. And it is about that interplay between the memory of these kids when they were friends as children and what that, what those friendships are like as an adult.

And the story itself is very different, but that core piece is. Like as a storytelling element is something that I’ve always been incredibly drawn to. The other thing that I would point to which isn’t a horror story, but is definitely a big influence is I was a huge fan of loss when it was running.

And you know, it’s not so much You know, even though loss definitely add horror moments, but in terms of this big sprawling mystery and, and telling very human stories about people in the midst of this larger, dangerous mystery that I, you know, [00:31:00] I cannot you know, under. Like, I, I can’t overstate how how much that influenced the series.

And you know, and I think as, as we continue, people will see some of those influences come to the surface. Cool.

Melissa: Have you, have you seen the movie Indian farmer? Okay. That movie came out. I want to say early to mid nineties and it was not a horror at all, but it has that same sort of element that you were describing of like friends who have come back together and to, to their summer camp, essentially.

Oh, yeah, it’s really cool. But definitely reminds me of that a little bit. Just those relationships and how, you know, you’ve got some married couples and some that are single, some are still acting kind of like they’re in college, still. The others are like with children and it’s just an interesting, like dichotomy to kind of see how that goes.

It’s, it’s a cute way. Cute movie from the nineties,

James Tynion IV: but I will hunt it down. And you know, another one that I think is a big influence along [00:32:00] those lines is the big chill. Like, you know, when I was, when I was pitching this to editors at the same time, it’s like my, my shorthand was always imagined the big chill, but as it’s an apocalyptic horror story, right.

So. Yeah, no, it’s I love those stories about, you know, old friends coming together and what they’ve learned and what they haven’t learned and all of that. I think it’s just, it, it speaks to something very human and all.

Melissa: Yeah. Everyone can relate to. Do you ever find yourself when you’re watching different genres or reading different genres, like thinking to yourself, God, this would be a great idea with a horror?

James Tynion IV: I mean, I think. Like that is definitely happened, but it’s, it is definitely something we’re watching, you know, I’ve watch and read a lot of books and movies and all of this stuff, because, because that is the, you know, when you’re engaging in media and you’re taking in media, you, it gets you thinking and it gets your, it gets your imagination cooking.

And honestly, A lot of times, one of the things that gets the imagination, cooking more than [00:33:00] anything is when you watch something that’s a little mediocre, because then you’re just like, oh, if they did this, that, and the other thing, this would’ve been a much better sort of thing. And even if you don’t ever do anything with that, it’s always, it’s a kind of fun, private, creative exercise that I would never do that.

Well, Hey, you know, post any of my thoughts like that, because I would, wouldn’t want to be rude to the creators. But it is something that I do like thinking about how I would approach something differently. And I just like playing with story, like story is so, you know, there’s so many different ways to tell a story.

And when, when something like really gets me excited and you know, Taps into a vein of emotion or anything that I haven’t, I haven’t seen another story do particularly well. I want to sort of unpack that and understand it and see what I can learn from that process.

Melissa: Yeah. Kind of like a choose your own adventure, [00:34:00] right?

Yeah. Yeah. I often find myself unfortunately predicting things too often now because I approach things with a writer brain. And so I’ll be watching something and I. Tons of wagon noise, everyone, because I’m like, oh right. I’ve figured this out. I know what’s going to happen. You know?

James Tynion IV: Oh yeah. My, my partner does the, does the same thing.

And I’m very much the like, oh, I just like, I’m not going to make any predictions to like, like take it in the whole movie. And my partners and it’s like, no, that’s what’s happening. That’s what’s happening. That’s what’s happening. And I’m like, you know, Danna. That’s a lot of times there, right.

Melissa: You’re like, please stop ruining it for me.

Well it, speaking of TV and movie with so much buzz surrounding this and you know, the great reviews coming in, I could definitely see this garnering some Hollywood attention. Has that something that’s come up at all or any anybody

James Tynion IV: optioning? Oh, well, I there, you know, I, that is [00:35:00] always a difficult question to answer, but it it’s something that I’ve been.

Extremely lucky in that recent years, a lot of my, a lot of my comics have been optioned for TV and movie, and I have a bunch of things in production. I have you know, like now my days are spent half writing and half on zooms with Hollywood, which is. A really, really cool thing that is very new.

And you know, a year ago I was terrified of any sort of video conferencing at all. And I just had to, I, that got that fear got burnt out of me. Yeah. Because of my clinic. Yeah. Yeah.

Melissa: Well that’s well, that’s cool. So that’s exciting. I’m sure. I’m

James Tynion IV: sorry. I would love to see that. I think, I think that particularly this one, like a lot of things, you know, I could see as either a movie or a TV show, but this one I think would be a really good TV show.

So I hope somebody,

Melissa: yeah. Anyone listening, [00:36:00] please do that. Yeah. I was just even listening to, yeah. You talk in the promise. It just sounds like. That’s something you would see on Netflix or Amazon prime or, you know, as, as a series. And though, yeah, yeah, I mean, I was just I was just watching panic. Have you seen panic on Amazon

James Tynion IV: prime?

Not yet. I wanted to check that one out.

Melissa: So that’s, that’s one with a lot of twists. That’s a good one, but yeah, it’s something like to that extent I could see definitely definitely happening. So, but before I let you go, is there, you know, what can you tell readers? What can we expect from future issues?

I don’t know, spoilers, but.

James Tynion IV: Honestly, I’m just really excited for people to see the mystery unfold and really big into these characters and you know, and scare the crap. That is, that is the goal of any good horror comics is that I want to really get under people’s skin. You know, other, other comics I have have much more in your face kind of, you know, graphic, [00:37:00] horror.

Panel to panel, but this is an unsettling, this has meant to be an unsettling story that really needles you in the brain. And I’m extremely grateful that people have responded to the first issue because we’re just getting started.

Melissa: Awesome. And when does this, you do come up.

James Tynion IV: About a month early, early early

Melissa: July.

So going to do month apart, we can expect them. Yeah, that’s cool. Well, everyone that’s listening, you know, you got to go check it out. The nice house on the lake. Is she one? And then you’re also on Twitter too at James. Yes. It’s all spelled out. We’re gonna follow you on there to get updates and new release information.

Thanks so much for coming on today. This is an awesome.

James Tynion IV: Yeah, no, thanks so much for having me. Cool. Cool.


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