Joshua Williamson is quickly making a name for himself at Skybound where the first two issues of his latest series, Ghosted, have sold out. Originally slated as a mini-series, Ghosted has recently been announced to be continuing as a monthly ongoing title with the publisher.
In addition to writing for Skybound, Williamson's work can be found at Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. His all-ages graphic novel, Dear Dracula, was also adapted as an animated show for Cartoon Network.
Cosmic Book News M.E. Byron Brewer caught up with Joshua Williamson to discuss the Ghosted ongoing and more.
Cosmic Book News: Congrats, Josh, on Ghosted going from a mini to an ongoing. How did this come about?
Joshua Williamson: Thanks. You have no idea how excited I am that we made the change. This started with a simple “Ocean’s 11 in a Haunted House” and has built to be so much more.
A bit before issue one came out Skybound and I started talking about what we wanted to do if we could continue with the series. Once the numbers started to roll in we knew it was an option and that if we were going to do it we needed to act fast. I went in for a meeting to chat about a few different projects and laid out my plan to keep the series going. Skybound liked what I had to say and gave us the green light.
Which I’m super happy about because I love Ghosted. I could write this book forever.
Cosmic Book News: Tell us, for the uninitiated, the long origin story of the Ghosted project.
Joshua Williamson: For a long time I had it in my head that I really wanted to do a Haunted House comic. I love the idea and the visual of haunted house. Been a bit obsessed since I was a kid. The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is one of my favorite things ever. Along side that I knew I wanted to do a crime comic, eventually I combined them. At first it was just “Steal something from a haunted house.” And I kept thinking “what would you steal? What are exclusive to haunted houses?” That’s when it hit me. A Ghost.
I pitched it a around a bit with no bites when I finally got a great response from Skybound who loved it and we were off to the races. Goran was attached from day one, and I couldn’t have been happier. It’s been a long time coming but well worth the wait.
Cosmic Book News: A lot of genre mash-ups in comic books today. How do crime and horror go together?
Joshua Williamson: They can both have seedy characters and be grounded in the real world. Horror and crime, to me, are like peanut butter and jelly. The best horror is about the people. The unseen, not the monsters in the dark. It’s the same with crime, its not about the caper but how the crime changes the and manipulates the people. I think crime and horror lead themselves to some of the best character pieces in genre fiction.
Cosmic Book News: For your master thief Jackson Winters, is it all about the challenge or all about the money?
Joshua Williamson: Neither. It’s about freedom, and his personal obsessions. Jackson just wants to be left alone, but things keep happening to him. BUT one of the things we explore in the next arc is… do these things keep happening to him? Or does he let them happen? Does Jackson invite them?
Cosmic Book News: Your third issue is about to come out. In this brief time, which for you really hasn't been that brief, is there one character that has caught you by surprise?
Joshua Williamson: Trick. At first Robby Trick was sort of a throwaway but became one of my favorite characters to write. The guy has such a nasty personality that it’s fun to continue that story.
Oh, and Anderson. The response to Anderson has been rad. It really caught me off guard how many people online have talked about how much they like Anderson Lake.
Cosmic Book News: Josh, can you tell us to what inspiration you look for the crime aspect of your book (you once mentioned Oceans 11), and to what inspiration do you look for the horror? Is there one genre you enjoy over the other as a writer, crime or horror?
Joshua Williamson: The crime aspect appeals to me more, but it’s like Sofie’s Choice, y’know? BUT I think I was a bit more influenced but by the horror aspects.
With the inspirations. Crime, is a lot of TV shows like The Shield, Breaking Bad, and a lot of comics: Criminal, 100 Bullets, Gotham Central, Preacher, Y the Last Man. With horror it was Preacher, again, Locke and Key, Walking Dead, Outlaw Nation, The Shining, Hell House, Psycho, and Silence of the Lambs.
It wasn’t until didn’t recently that I realized how much Ghosted was influenced by Hellblazer. Jackson has a lot in common with the sleaziness of John Constantine.
Cosmic Book News: How important has the Haunted House been to Ghosted?
Extremely. It’s its own character. The setting and the basis for the whole book, y’know. Like I said earlier the visual of the book all started with the idea of a Haunted House. I’ll miss it as the book goes on.. but eventually we’ll get back to it.
Cosmic Book News: Why is Goran Sudzuka the right artist for this mash-up book? Big fan of his?
Joshua Williamson: Goran is amazing. Been a fan of his work since Outlaw Nation. Goran has the ability to bridge the gap between crime and horror. Couldn’t do this at all without him. His character work and his talent to add the creepiness to the world around then is crucial. So great.
Cosmic Book News: What has been the most difficult thing about the book's first arc?
Joshua Williamson: Keep the story contained to just five issues. There were times that I wish we had more pages in each issue. In fact issue five clocks in at 26 pages.
Making sure that both sides of the crime and horror are represented has been challenging but also one of the main highlights for me personally.
Cosmic Book News: Josh, any other projects current or future you would like to mention?
Joshua Williamson: Mostly I’d like people when they get Ghosted to check out Captain Midnight from Dark Horse. It’s a very different kind of book but still a lot of fun. Then my digital comic Masks and Mobsters; a very important book to me. Those three are the books that I focus on right now.
In the future, I have another Skybound book cooking, and another thing planned with Dark Horse. Can’t wait to share them. Oh, and Mike Henderson, the artist on Masks and Mobsters, and I have something else planned that we hope surprise people. 2014 is going to be interesting.
"Ghosted" #3 hits this Wednesday, September 11th!