Regular readers may already be aware of Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Death, AHOY Comics’ weird and wonderful Poe-centric anthology series that’s been described as a “stew of horror, mystery, and inebriation.” (Think MAD magazine or Vertigo, folks.) Today (October 6), issue #1 of another six-part collection hits shelves, and features stories from Mark Russell and Peter Snejbjerg and Stuart Moore and Frank Cammuso as well as various “illustrated prose features.”
Ahead of that release, we spoke with Russell about his ongoing story, “The Monster Serials,” as well as the book itself and other fun and spooky topics (like scary viewing options and yummiest cereals).
AIPT: “The Monster Serials” are fairly poignant stories, this month especially, how do you find bringing a seriousness to a series like this?
Mark Russell: One of the good things about writing a story about cereal mascots is that the premise is so ridiculous that you don’t have to lean too heavily on the comedy. The fact that what you’re writing about is inherently goofy frees you up to take your subject seriously. To ask yourself, “Well, what if I was a chocolate-obsessed vampire in real life?” As stupid as that may sound, it opens up a lot of possibilities, story-wise.
AIPT: We’re really seeing the rise of the Monster Serial “universe” now, are there any characters you’re itching to write?
MR: I think I eventually manage to work just about every cereal mascots character into this story, to give them at least one line, except for maybe Apple Jack (or Jacques, as he appears in my story) who merely appears as a corpse on the ground. I do wish I could have spent more time with Diggem, the frog. I feel like there’s a dark backstory there.
AIPT: What’s it like working with Peter Snejbjerg and how do they react each time a script like this one comes in?
MR: I don’t know how Peter reacts to my scripts, but I always look forward to getting his art. He always imbues these characters with such expressiveness and attention to detail. It’s a big part of what gives what may be the world’s stupidest premise some dramatic credibility.
AIPT: Do you have a favorite cereal yourself? Or could readers infer your taste in breakfast by following the plot of “The Monster Serials?”
MR: I don’t eat cold cereal myself. I think readers would imagine I’m a big Count Chocula fan, since the story runs through the Marquis de Cocoa, my facsimile of him, but I hate all breakfast cereals equally.
AIPT: What is your favorite Halloween go-to story? How about movie? How about comic?!
MR: You want some Halloween recommendations? Okay, here we go. Comics: Anything by Junji Ito, but especially Gyo, or maybe Fragments of Horror. Candy: The once and future king of all Halloween candies is the fun-sized 100 Grand bar. Also really like the Cadbury Mini-Eggs. Not the obscene big eggs filled with weird goo, but the small candy-shelled eggs of pure chocolate. Movies: Maybe start with Stephen King’s The Mist, because it’s the perfect matinee. For the main course, I would recommend The Others or maybe The Fly if you’re more of a gore person. Then maybe wind down after the trick-or treaters are gone and the party is over by watching the Twilight Zone marathon on TV. That seems like a pretty full and satisfying Halloween to me.