For Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley, 2015 is going to get pretty heavy. Heavy Metal, that is. Their creator-owned comic Hoax Hunters, which completed a successful run at Image Comics, is returning for a second season at Heavy Metal, where it will be the flagship title in the company’s new comics line.
Hoax Hunters, for those of you not in the know, follows the crew of a reality TV show as they travel around the country hunting down urban legends, paranormal phenomena, and all manner of tall tales. Under the guise of reality television, however, the crew are secretly covering up the existence of monsters lest the public get wind of the truth. Equal parts humor and horror, Hoax Hunters Season 2 is going to raise the stakes higher than ever with its March 2015 release. Trust me — it’s never good news when an army of undead skeletons is conscripting new soldiers.
In advance of the comic’s release, I caught up with Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley to talk about what’s coming our way in the second season of Hoax Hunters. And in case you’re not up to speed, we have an exclusive look back at season one for you at the bottom of this very page.
Nerdist: Unless I’m gravely mistaken, this is the first new Hoax Hunters in nearly a year. What can readers look forward to and what made now the right time to return to this weird, wonderful world?
Michael Moreci: Yes, indeedy. It’s been awhile since we last saw Jack, Murder, Regan, and the entire HH gang. It was a nice break in a lot of ways. Steve and I started writing Hoax Hunters when we were just wee little babes, more or less. It was our first stab at a regular title, and I wouldn’t be lying if I said there weren’t some creative bumps in the road. What I mean is we were learning, a lot, as we went. Which isn’t altogether a bad thing (heck, we’re still learning now), but I think we’ve grown a lot and know better how to fashion an ongoing, monthly comic.
I think what the break enabled us to do is step back and really examine what works with HH and what doesn’t. What readers will see, I hope, is a sharper take on the story they enjoyed before. We’re really opening up the story so it’s slightly less beholden to an intractable mythology and, thus, has more flexibility to do fun, crazy things within this universe. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still building on what was established in season one—this is no reboot. We’re just allowing ourselves to incorporate a broader universe along the way. We’re thrilled to have the chance to do so; HH had a great run its first time around, and I think it’s only going to get better.
Steve Seeley: I think Mike and I needed the break from HH so we could take the time to venture elsewhere creatively. Like Mike said, Seaspm 1 really was our first true venture into an ongoing, and so the time we’ve had between volumes really has allowed us to craft a much tighter story. Plus, I think at first we didn’t know what we could get away with, and now, we know…the answer is essentially anything we want. So it’s been nice to push the concept of HH into a very bizarre new world. Once again, as Mike stressed, we don’t want to take anything away from Season 1, we are both very proud of it, but Season 2 has a freshness that I don’t think we knew we could do the first go around. I am by no means saying we are seasoned vets now but we definitely aren’t rookies anymore and I’m pretty convinced it shows in the new season.
N: Regarding season two, how accessible is it to newcomers? Will you need to have read season one in order to be up to speed or will this be a good jumping-on point for new readers?
MM: I think it’s accessible as can be. I won’t lie and say “perfect jumping on point”, which is just desperate sales jargon. The nature of serial stories is there’s a sequence of story events that continue to build on each other. So, if you’re starting at any point other than the start, you should at least try to get some sort of idea as to what’s going on.
But, we’ve made it as new-reader friendly as possible. The missions are all new and we try our best to “introduce” the characters without being too clumsy about it. New readers, though, are truly in luck because we’ve made a nifty PDF that can be downloaded for free that will catch you up on all of season one. For real. It’s like eight pages that highlight the most essential parts of those initial 14 issues. Did I mention free? Because it’s free, and Nerdist has it for you.
N: That’s right — you can check it out at the bottom of this very page! You guys are making the leap from Image Comics to Heavy Metal. Why the move? Does Heavy Metal afford different creative freedoms than Image?
MM: It was just one of those things where an opportunity popped up and we ran with it. Image was very good to us (and they still are—I’m doing Roche Limit with them at the moment), so the change wasn’t about leaving them, it was about going to Heavy Metal. One of the owners of Heavy Metal, Jeff Krelitz, is also the producer of the Hoax Hunters film adaption. Now that Heavy Metal is publishing their own line of single-issue comics, HH became a logical fit. Also, man, it was too hard to pass up being published by Heavy Metal, a magazine Steve and I both grew up on. Having Hoax Hunters be their first ever single-issue comic is kind of mind-blowing and surreal. But, it’s also amazing and has made us step up our game. Christian DiBari’s art and Mike Spicer’s colors are out of this world. I mean, they are doing outstanding, even by their standards. The book is beautiful and being well cared for by Heavy Metal. It’s a good time for Hoax Hunters, for sure, and Steve and I are really grateful to have reached this place.
N: A film adaptation, you say? So there’s a chance we could see Hoax Hunters make its way to screens large or small?
MM: I sure hope so. I know Jeff has some surprises up his sleeve in terms of announcing progress the production has made, which should be publicly announced soon (I think). My hope is that when the new series launches and shatters all sorts of sales records, investors will be lining up to make the HH movie. Idris Elba will call to be Jack, Emma Stone will want in as Regan, and of course, who can ask for more than Liam Neeson as Murder?
SS: Sasha Grey would make a great Regan. Or maybe Murder? Or hell, even Jack? Just put her in the movie already! I’m kidding. Sort of. But like Mike said, Heavy Metal is a great place to call home to make either of these options a reality. Personally, I’ve always seen HH as a TV show like sort of CSI meets X-Files meets Supernatural or something, but it has a lot of potential on the big screen as well. Who knows. Anything is possible. Heck, maybe we could even get Sasha Gre…wait, I did that already. Honestly, right now, Mike and I are out to make a quality comic. That’s always been our motive. If it attracts other media attention, great, if not, I’m happy with Jack as Jack and Regan as Regan doing their thing 22 pages at a time.
N: Have there been any urban legends that you have wanted to tackle but proved too difficult to adapt? Likewise, what is one of the weirdest urban legends you’ve come across in your research?
SS: Oh man, this is my wheelhouse. I love the supernatural and conspiracies and all that stuff. In all seriousness, I probably send Mike some random internet article every week trying to figure out how to tie it in to the HH mythos/universe. “Mike, did ya see a whale appeared in a field in Iowa! Mike, they found a giant human skeleton!” It goes on and on.
As for weirdest…there’s a lot. But the ones I’ve tried wrapping my head around for years are all the events that surround the Montauk Project (and it’s predecessor the Philadelphia Experiment). The whole story blows my mind: psychics, time travel, monsters, fixed futures, teleportation, weather control…so much craziness! Montauk really has been the cornerstone of my mindset when approaching HH from the beginning. Hell, the character of Murder was born from my first fall down that fantastic little rabbit hole.
N: I have to ask — are you two believers in the supernatural and the unexplainable?
SS: Absolutely. See above. I’m tellin’ ya, I’m one conspiracy away from a tinfoil hat.
N: You two have been collaborating for quite some time now on both Hack/Slash and Hoax Hunters. How has your working relationship evolved over time?
SS: We’ve grown to hate each other. Just kidding. I’ve said this from the beginning, but Mike and I really are a ying and yang when it comes to writing. We are very similar people but our approach to creating is pretty different. Yet somehow, we’ve always found a balance. When I go too gonzo, Mike reels me in and at other times my gonzo-ness pushes Mike out of his comfort zone. Hack/Slash was very different from HH mostly because it wasn’t ours. Cassie and her world already existed, so we had to help her find her new voice while staying in a set of parameters, but in the end, we still were able to craft a story I’m extremely proud of. However, Hoax Hunters really is, and has always been, a perfect Moreci-Seeley blend. It’s our world, and I do think, issue after issue that shows.
N: What other comics are you reading and enjoying right now?
SS: No bias here, but Grayson and Revival are incredible. God Hates Astronauts is fun as hell. Multiversity has changed me. Five Ghosts is so damn solid and fun. Southern Bastards is brilliant. Copperhead is awesome. And Hellboy…well, Hellboy will always be my god.
Need to catch up on Hoax Hunters Season One? Relive the highlights in this exclusive look back at last season:
Hoax Hunters Season 2 begins on March 27th.