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NYCC '21: Sandy King on 'John Carpenter's Tales for a Halloween Night' and the future of horror

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NYCC ’21: Sandy King on ‘John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night’ and the future of horror

Interview: Sandy King talks ‘John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night’ vol. 7.

Writer, editor, producer, and Storm King Comics CEO Sandy King appeared at NYCC on Friday morning as a part of a panel of all-star creators promoting John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night Vol. 7an anthology graphic novel produced by her and her husband, legendary director John Carpenter. 

King sat down for an exclusive interview with AIPT to discuss the comics, the latest volume of the anthology, and her thoughts on the current horror landscape.

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AIPT: Why did you make the jump from film and television primarily to comics?

NYCC '21: Sandy King Interview on John Carpenter's Tales for a Halloween Night and the future of horrorSandy King: I was at a studio developing a major series and it was going nowhere. The point of the story was that Lucifer was coming through the city of Angels, and they wanted to set it in some sleepy snow-covered town. They didn’t get it – Los Angeles has to be the setting.

So me and my co-creator decided it had to be a graphic novel instead. I went home and John [Carpenter] “how’d it go!?” I told him we’re doing a comic now. 

AIPT: How did the anthology first come about?

SK: Our story Asylum went on to win some awards, and then I really went into studying the art form of comics, which is a much different kind of writing. Eventually, we decided that the comic shops needed something from John Carpenter for Halloween. It started as a three-story single issue, and then we decided on six stories. Now it’s a yearly tradition that we put together a 12 story graphic novel every year for Halloween with these amazing creators.

AIPT: And you’ve expanded to include other things beyond just the horror anthology as well.

SK: Then it grew into another anthology we do as well called Tales of Science Fiction. We also have Night Terrors for the longer form stories, as well as The Storm Kids imprint for younger readers who also want to get in on the horror, but don’t necessarily need to be disturbed.

AIPT: Why is it so important for you to have stories ranging from kids to young adults all the way to adult horror?

SK: I think that the things we consider scary or horrifying change all the time and get much more existential as we get older. For a kid, we have stories about ghost best friends and things like that because as a child your biggest fears tend to be about isolation and abandonment. They need stories about empowerment and things like that.  A lot of teens love the monsters and the slashers, but the more adult books go over their heads because it’s fears and dread that they don’t quite understand yet.

AIPT: By the nature of your anthology, you produce a lot of different subgenera of horror. Do you have a particular favorite?

SK: I don’t have a particular favorite. I’m not very into blood and guts or torture porn I would say. My exception is Dario Argento because he is a genius and can give me nightmares right away. 

NYCC '21: Sandy King on 'John Carpenter's Tales for a Halloween Night' and the future of horror

AIPT: Horror has seen so much change, expansion, and deconstruction as a genre over the years. Is there an element or a quality you think a story needs to have for it to be under the umbrella of a horror story?

SK: Horror isn’t a subject, it’s a response that you have to a certain subject. I think for something to be horror, it has to just stroke a deep chord of dread inside you. It has to make you respond viscerally to it. I think deep down a lot of us are scared of the same things – death, dismemberment, big changes in the world you don’t understand, those are all universal.

AIPT: What do you think of some of the more socially conscious horror that’s in the culture now like Get Out

SK: I like it! Horror is becoming about something again, which I think it needs to be in order to be a good story. You think of George Romero whose movies were about the ills of society or John [Carpenter ]’s stuff which is about the idea of the monster underneath. Who are you really?

AIPT: Do you have a favorite horror movie of all time? I’ll take Halloween off the table as a presumptive first.

Frankenstein. The original from 1931.

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