Adventures in Poor Taste: Glad to talk to you again Pat! Last we spoke was back in August. Anything new happen lately in that writer’s life of yours over at Zenescope?
Pat Shand: A bunch of craziness. For some reason, Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco saw enough promise in my scribblin’ to make me editor! So now, I’m writing and helping make other writer and artists happy on their own books. It’s flexing a different muscle, and I love it.
I just showed one of our new writers, Shane McKenzie, the lettered proof of his first comic with us. He’s big in the horror prose industry, and this is his first comic. Man, I could TELL he was stoked. Being able to get him that gig, and just bringing in new talent across the board, has been really thrilling. I’m glad that Ralph and Joe trust my judgment, because I learn new things from them every day.
Shand: It’s time for Liesel Van Helsing to take the spotlight, good sir.
I try to put as much of myself as possible into every book I write, but I think my affinity for ROBYN HOOD is pretty clear. What was an awesome feeling, though, was that when I started writing HELSING #1… I felt the same way. I really hope folks like what I’m bringing to this title, because I care about this character and this story waaaay too much. Every time I finish a script, I almost get anxiety because I just need to know what happens next. I approached it as a British ghost story that spans the world, but I ended up falling in love with the character. It’s very Buffy in its balance of humor, horror, and drama, but it’s moody and modern and sometimes feels like it’s in the middle of brewing up some Earl Grey for me while I’m scripting.
In other words, Helsing is dope and you should pre-order. I’m trying to do right by the character, because fans really liked her role in UNLEASHED. She debuted not even a year ago and she’s already one of our most cosplayed characters, so I’m feeling this really intense purpose, you know? I have to make her as awesome as everyone believes her to be. I think people will like what we’re doing with her.
Variant cover for Helsing #1 by Ruffino
AiPT: When can we expect this Buffy British explosion that is Helsing #1?
Shand: April! It’s in Previews now, so there’s no time like the present.
AiPT: Being such a frequent visitor of conventions you must see some impressive work, but there must be an extra tickle of fancy when you see a character you write in the flesh. Can you tell us what emotions you go through seeing these awesome costumes?
Shand: Oh, it’s amazing. There was this one convention in Arizona – I think it was Phoenix Comic Con last year – where a group of cosplayers came as Van Helsing, Masumi, and Robyn Hood. It was surreal for me and art director Anthony Spay to see these Zenescope characters we’d been working on so much that year. You go to a convention and you see more Marvel and DC characters than you know what to do with, but it takes a special kind of dedication to come an a character from a more independent comic. I love it.
Variant cover for Helsing #2 by Ortiz
AiPT: Helsing has a strong steampunk look. Tell us about your love, or historic love even, with steampunk.
Shand: Man, I wish I could answer that in a more interesting manner, but I’m no authority. It’s an element to the character, and the book has a steampunk aesthetic, but we’re not going full into a steampunk world here. This is set firmly in the Grimm Universe, so it’s more about Helsing, as a sort of woman out of time, marrying her Victorian upbringing with modern technology… and her own pizzazz as an inventor.
AiPT: How much backstory did Helsing have before you got your hands on her, and a follow up, how much fun is it to invent things for a character?
Shand: I was the first to write her, in UNLEASHED #0 last year. She was Ralph’s idea – Raven and I were cooking up four monster hunters, and Ralph suggested a female Van Helsing. I loved the idea, but I also loved the idea of legacy and duty. So instead of turning Abraham Van Helsing, the iconic character, into a woman, I made Liesel his daughter. And this series is his as much as her’s – the shadow of his legacy is cast over this book from page 1 through the end.
AiPT: How much can we expect Helsing to develop and grow in this new solo series?
Shand: The cool thing about Helsing is that we don’t have much of an idea about her history yet. She’s going through a lot in this series; as much as Robyn did in her own. And Robyn, as we now know her, is not the same girl we met in the first issue of that series. So I can’t wait to take Helsing on her journey and see how she comes out on the other end.
AiPT: Alright, sorry to say Pat but you died. Who takes over for you on your books… the dream writer if you will?
Shand: Damn. Death is a pain in the ass.
I’d say I’d want one of my heroes like Joss Whedon or Matt Fraction or Kieron Gillen or Brian Bendis or JK Rowling or John Green to take over for me, but f--k, they’d probably do a better job, wouldn’t they?
AiPT: If there were a holiday in your honor what would it celebrate?
Shand: It would celebrate Ginger Beards. Notice the capitalization. Proper noun. Better recognize, David. The gingers are coming for you.
AiPT: Alright, so you’re an editor and staff writer…where do you see yourself in five years considering how far you’ve come since our first interview?
Shand: You know… I have no clue. I’ll still be banging out with Zenescope, because they have shown me love and support and creative freedom like no other. I get to create here, and I love my collaborators. I feel like they trust me as a writer, and that’s not something that’s easily gained. What my role will be, I don’t know! It’s crazy to think that I published my first comic in 2011. Just two that year. Then twenty the next year. And then FREAKING SEVENTY something last year. Insane. And I write and edit funny books for a living. It’s a dream come true. So I know I’ll still be doing this, but I’ll likely be doing a whole lot of that to. The years will determine what that is, but I’ve loved the journey so far, so I’m in no rush to get there.
AiPT: Thanks for your time, Pat. One last question. Helsing enters a monster hunter bar. Buffy, Blade and Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated all look up. What happens next?
Shand: Pretty sure Helsing buys Velma a drink.
If you’d like to learn more about Pat, follow his blog at patrickshand.tumblr.com.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!