When it was announced earlier this year that Rob Zombie and Steve Niles would be teaming together on the horror comic "The Nail" for Dark Horse Comics, most people probably thought to themselves, "Well, that makes sense." Niles had become the current master of horror comics and Zombie's own roots in horror, with both his film and music work, was well known. The fit seemed like a natural one. The collaboration has worked out so well for the duo that they've taken it a step further by forming a new horror-themed production company, Creep Entertainment International. CBR News caught up with Zombie and Niles to learn more about their plans for the company.
"Originally we wanted to call it 'The Marvel Comics Group'" Zombie joked when asked about CREEP by CBR News, "but our lawyer informed us that it was apparently already in use somewhere. Go figure.
"It is a rare moment when you can find someone to collaborate with," continued Zombie. "Most people assume that if you work alone it is because you are a control freak. That's not always the case, it is just that finding a person who sees things in a similar way is almost impossible. So when it happen you've got to take advantage of it before said person kills himself with cheap booze and hookers."
"Rob and I started toying with some ideas and the next thing we knew we had a freakin' slate of material," Niles told CBR News. "Then when it came time to write scripts, I wrote some, Rob wrote some and bang we had a book in half the time. Forming some sort of team seemed obvious.
"Rob's busy as hell. I'm getting busier and by pooling our resources we can get more work done. That's basically it; two like-minded freaks putting our big mutated heads together and branding the stuff CREEP so it's easy for people to find. It's like a comic studio or a record label... for horror."
The plans for the production company are to tackle a number of different industries under one brand. Comics, films, music and books are all planned projects.
"Well, one thing is for sure, we don't want to go crazy at first," said Zombie. "We want to develop quality projects over quantity. The big mistake people make with something like this is trying to over expand too quickly. Thus, chaos ensues. We got plenty of time to over expand and fuck it all up."
"Exactly," continued Niles. "Right now CREEP is just a way to label our stuff, but as we move on...who knows? I've always liked introducing new artists and if there are more projects there will certainly be more new talent.
"By the way, when you say CREEP you have to sort of yell it out of the corner of your mouth, 'CREEP!'"
The plan is to have the comics worked produced under the CREEP brand to be published by both Dark Horse Comics, publishers of the first CREEP product "The Nail," and IDW Publishing, publishers of the next CREEP product, "Bigfoot." Niles told CBR News that pre-existing projects will remain in their current place with projects the duo came up with together falling under the CREEP banner. Niles did make a point of mentioning that while the two will be working closely together, he won't be showing up in any of Zombie's videos anytime soon. "Nobody wants to see that," joked Niles.
"We decided from the get go that anything we want separate will stay as such," explained Zombie. "That's the beauty of the situation. Right now I am in pre-production on the sequel to 'House of 1000 Corpses,' which will remain separate."
Creatively, working together has been a breeze for both creators, taking different roles depending upon the project.
"The process is basically whatever works," said Zombie. "With 'The Nail' Steve started the script first from my treatment and with 'Bigfoot' I started the script first from his treatment. We send it back and forth, over and over changing things. But since we have a similar writing style it all works out. I never thought this would work but it does."
Niles explained the process similarly. "I write a little, send it to Rob. He writes, sends it back and bang, we have a comic. It's cool because Rob and I are very like-minded but we each bring something different to the table. It's not quite 'Spookshow International,' but it's not really 'Dark Days.' It's something new."
Following "The Nail" will be "Bigfoot," coming from IDW Publishing sometime in 2004. The Bigfoot story began in America in 1958 when Ray L. Wallace used 16-inch feet-shaped carvings to create tracks that ignited the Bigfoot legend. The story goes that a bulldozer operator who worked for Wallace's construction company in Humboldt County, Calif., found huge footprints circling and then leading away from his rig. Reportedly Wallace asked a friend to carve the wooden feet and he and his brother Wilbur wore them to create the tracks. The legend grew in 1967 when a film surfaced by rodeo rider Roger Patterson that purported to show proof of the existence of Bigfoot. The film contained grainy images of an erect apelike creature striding away from the camera. With "Bigfoot" the comic, Niles and Zombie will be putting their own spin on the legend.
"I don't want to give away too much of the story, but when I was a kid Bigfoot was fucking scary," admitted Niles. "I remember seeing that Patterson footage and a chill running up my arm (shut-up, I was like 8). We just want to make Bigfoot scary again."
"Bigfoot is definitely something that freaked us both out as kids," continued Zombie. "Obviously it has been perverted into something stupid over the years, but we are ignoring that and turning it back into something fucking cool. This ain't your Mamma's Bigfoot."
The comic is based on a concept from Niles that Zombie finished.
"We pooled our ideas," said Niles. "I wrote an outline and Rob went nuts. I turned around to pick up something and when I turned back he had the script written. That was when I knew this would work. I'd forgotten I already started the story a year or so ago and when we compared them they were almost identical. We either think alike or Zombie's been busting into my computer."
"It's funny, but I had a Bigfoot story in the back of my mind for years," said Zombie. "I guess any kid of the seventies does. So bringing this to life was easy."
The artist on "Bigfoot" is newcomer Joker IX from Malaysia.
"Steve found him," said Zombie. "The day we saw his sample page is the day we knew this would work. The art was always our biggest fear with this book. If the creature didn't look scary then it was all over."
"He's yet another jaw-dropping, unbelievably great artist," said Niles. "And Marvel better stay away this time! [A reference to Marvel's scooping up artist Milx shortly after his announced work 'Wake the Dead.'] I found him the way I find a lot of artists these days, on mine or Ben's message boards."
In an interview with Variety, the team revealed their other CREEP project, "Lords of Salem," a combo music-comics project. Zombie told Variety that in addition to writing a comic that stars a satanic band, an actual band will be formed and music will be published in conjunction with the comics project.