When I last talked to Jeremy Haun, he was working on a series for ComiXology along with Christopher Mitten called 40 Seconds. Little did I realize that he was also in the middle of a very personal project at the same time. Using the fear, and anxiety many of us were feeling during the peak of the Pandemic, Jeremy channeled that uncertainty into his work. In time, he produced a black white short story anthology that touched upon those dark places in the human psyche. Haunthology is the fruit of his labor and it is now in Kickstarter.

Having read through the preview, it seemed like a good time to reconnect with Jeremy and learn how he funneled his time into this remarkable anthology. So let’s welcome back Jeremy Haun to GVN’s Talking Comics.

Dealing with COVID Creatively

GVN: Thanks for the return visit, Jeremy. I have been talking to many of the creators about how they adjusted to the whole Covid pandemic through most of last year. So, it appears that Haunthology was one of the ways that you dealt with the isolation. What made you decide to explore some of the anxieties of the pandemic in this manner?

JH: I needed something. Desperately. We all went pencils down. Projects were put on hold for an indefinite amount of time. There was just this miasma of uncertainty over everything. I’m the kind of creative that just doesn’t feel….right if I’m not making things. I need that connection. That outlet. While I was having as good a time as possible hanging out with my family, watching movies, playing games, and making elaborate meals, there was something missing. The creativity.

I turned all of that around when I created the first short story for HAUNTHOLOGY. I took all of that frustration, fear, loneliness, and anger and channeled it into a story. The second I finished it, I knew I just had to do this again. So I did. I was able to journal out my feelings…but in a different way. I didn’t really talk about the pandemic, quarantines, or masks on the page. It was just about the things I– WE ALL felt. I told monster stories and post-apocalyptic stories and it felt absolutely right.

Multi-Tasking

GVN: I last interviewed you back in August of 2020 (right in the middle of the Pandemic) for your ComiXology series 40 Seconds with Chris Mitten. Were you at all contemplating this book at that time?

JH: Yes! We were well into 40 SECONDS at the time. Chris, Brett Weldele, Thomas Mauer and I were having a blast on that book. I was definitely working on HAUNTHOLOGY then. By August, I’d finished five or six of the stories. I had a feel for it. I knew what I was wanting to do and was starting to understand how all of this tied together.

The Challenges of a Short Story

GVN: You basically formatted this anthology where most stories or excerpts are told in 3-4 pages or less. What made you decide to go this route and does limiting your space make storytelling easier or harder? (It’s amazing the kind of twists you fit into four pages or less.)

JH: Short stories aren’t easy at all. There’s such an art to it. You have to clearly build all of that tension in just a matter of moments. It’s definitely harder to tell a story in a few pages. We don’t really ever want limitations as creatives. We always want to add just ONE MORE PAGE…ONE MORE SCENE. There’s always more to tell. The trick is picking your moments. You don’t have to know everything. In some ways, it’s better if you don’t. I like to focus on that right moment. My goal is to let the reader know just enough about the character– the situation, and then yank the rug out from under us all. I feel like telling short stories makes you a better writer. It teaches you to trim the fat.

Black and White

GVN: In that, you were extremely successful. The black and white presentation brought back memories of the old Warren publications Eerie and Creepy. Was this a choice you made from the start or was color ever on the table?

JH: There were two things to the black and white decision–The first is that I just love black and white. I’ve always been a huge fan of horror done that way. It’s stark. Packs a visceral punch. I still absolutely love color comics. I’ve had the opportunity to work with brilliant colorists throughout my career. I just felt like this was supposed to be black and white. The SECOND reason was just greed. I wanted to do ALL of this. I wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered HAUNTHOLOGY. If I’d done color I would’ve been the one doing it. While I think I’m okay at color…I don’t know that I could’ve done it in a timely enough manner and still be happy with it.  And again– black and white just looks SO damned good.

Kickstarter Stretch Goals

GVN: It was definitely a great choice. Although if push came to shove, I think you would have done the color justice. Your Kickstarter for Haunthology is in full swing. As the campaign continues, do you have any surprises in store for fans as far as possible stretch goals?

JH: Oh, definitely! We’ve already unlocked SEVEN stretch goals…which is…a bit crazy. They went really fast. I love stretch goals– upgrades. I’ve always been a fan of the extra things. Give me a HELLBOY mug, a cool vinyl HEADLOPPER figure, or, well, anything from Becky Cloonan and I can’t get my wallet out fast enough. I wanted all of the stretch goals for HAUNTHOLOGY to be truly experiential. I wanted to take this book and all of the things that come with it and just continue to make them better and better. We’ve already done a paper upgrade, added spot gloss, and a ribbon bookmark to the book itself. But we also just added sixteen more pages to the book. It’s up to 160 pages and there’s at LEAST one more stretch goal to add even more.

We also just added another enamel pin and t-shirt variant, and a cool PDF pack of printable goodness. Probably my favorite stretch goal was THE COIN OF THE 4 AND 7. It’s an actual hand carved coin that we’ll see featured in two of the stories in HAUNTHOLOGY. The coins will also feature heavily in two of my upcoming mini-series in 2022-2023.This stuff is just cool. I love it. I love that we can make all of these things even cooler as we go along.

Upcoming

GVN: Sounds like I might be buying another book. Another notch in my wallet. Thank you so much for talking to us today, Jeremy. Before I let you go, do you have any other projects upcoming
you want fans to know about and where can fans follow you on social media?

JH: Fans have waited SO patiently for the final issue of THE BEAUTY. It’s FINALLY coming out this September. After such a long time away, it’s incredibly important to let retailers know that you want a copy, so please head to your shop, pre-order THE BEAUTY, and tell them how awesome they are. Other than that, I’ve got a lot of stuff in development. HAUNTHOLOGY has been my major focus year. 2022 is going to be…really cool, though. 

Jeremy’s Haunthology is currently in Kickstarter. You can check it out and get in on the fun here. Also you can check out the preview pages below.

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