Horror and comic books: chances are you love one or the other of ’em — most likely both, or why in the hell would you even be reading this? Anyway, a dude that deals in both of those fine subjects all simultaneous-like just came a-waltzin’ into the Crypt o’ XIII. Please put your claws together for Rough House Publishing’s Derek Rook!
Famous Monsters. Welcome, Derek; please kick that corpse outta the way and take a load off! Now, please tell my faithful Coffin Club all the jucy deets about Rough House Publishing!
Derek Rook. We’re living in a golden age of nostalgia and retro pop culture and at the same time in an age where modern comic book IPs have become little more than advertisements for a much larger and profitable medium… namely movies and TV shows. I had a go around with independent publishing in the early 2000s. We were doing comic book adaptions of horror movies (great horror movies, not that post-SCREAM bulls—t that was coming out at the time) and much like today, the desire to see true independent features brought back to life in other mediums was new and a big deal. I always remember saying ‘Why isn’t anybody doing this?’, but alas, the audience wasn’t 100% on board yet. We weren’t far enough away from what the TV generation grew up on to miss it yet. I never would have figured that in 2016, where the entire world is being transferred into digital mediums and stored in clouds, that we would burst into the “analog resurgence” that we’re living in now. It’s a glorious time… but I digress.
Rough House Publishing was born out of that old do-it-yourself, punk rock mentality that made true independent publishing such a unique niche back in the 70s and early 80s. Much like your favorite music became the soundtrack to your lives, your comic books were mile markers along your road that you could enjoy 10 or 20 or even 30 years on. Stuff that wasn’t made for mass market value, but instead, made by people just like you! We wanted to take the concept back to formula and create some genuine comic books completely outside of the system and from a very genuine place. We want our stuff to remind people why they loved comic books and pulp media. Pure and simple.
We run our publishing company more like a travelling rock band consisting of myself (Artist/Publisher), Mike “Corpse Monger” Wasion (Writer/Creative Development), Sarah Michelle (Promotions/Sales), and Todd Adams (Layout Design/Marketing). We’re a little company with GIANT ambition and we can’t wait to meet our fellow Roughians on the road!
FM. When I had the pleasure of meeting you at Fantacon last year, you were promotin’ a sick lil’ number called The Dead – Omnibus. I know the viscous volume has sold out, but can you give us the low-down on the book, and are you planning a second printing?
DR. Sick is the word! The Dead – Omnibus is the most violent and depraved zombie comic book out there, bar none! It was spawned by Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr, the two guys responsible for the infamous original ongoing zombie comic book series, Deadworld, back in the mid 1980s. I grew up on that book, and it was the first comic book I collected that had NO RULES! It went anywhere it wanted to go, and I do mean ANYWHERE! I was floored when I first read it. Little did I know that in the early 90s, the boys did a second and even more depraved zombie outing simply titled The Dead! I saw advertising for it years ago, but I always thought it never came out, until about 4 years ago. Unfortunately, The Dead came out at a time when horror and indie comics were getting the rug pulled out from under them. The Dead was a casualty of its time. So when we had a chance to meet up with the legendary Ralph n’ Stu, we pitched the idea of publishing ALL of the issues of The Dead in one giant omnibus… and writing a continuation story that would tie the various threads and volumes together into one giant splatterfest.
We published The Dead – Omnibus last October and we couldn’t keep the books on the table. 296 pages of the sickest shit on the planet brought to you in part by Jason Moore, Matt Mason, Deidre Crouch and Vince Locke, complete with a soundtrack CD, a “The Dead Walk” newspaper, stickers, sketches, and even a Signature Barf Bag… it was nuts! Had we known that audiences would have embraced that book as they did, we would have published a bigger print run. It was a glorious way to push off Rough House‘s maiden voyage, while working with our comic book heroes to boot!
We WILL be putting out a second print run of The Dead – Omnibus later this spring with all the extra gory goodies still intact, while supplies last!
FM. I was super F’n excite (technical jargon) to see that Gore Shriek is bein’ resurrected like some sort of comic book Frankenstein’s monster, albeit with paper and staples instead of dead flesh ‘cuz it’s a comic book and not a shamblin’ corpse collection… wait, what was I talkin’ about? Oh yeah, Gore Shriek! How did you come to be involved with the project, and what’s in store for yer revoltin’ readers?
DR. Oh, make no bones about it, Gore Shriek is all dead flesh and rawhide! Again, talking ’bout working with independent comic book heavyweights… my partner in crime, Corpse Monger, put a line out to Gore Shriek creator Tom Skulan and asked if he’d be interested in resurrecting his infamous 80s title with us. Incidentally, Tom had been receiving correspondence from his fanbase for YEARS, begging for the return of Gore Shriek. From there we formed a partnership to bring back a true continuation of Gore Shriek in the vein of its unique look, content, and feel. We’ve been fortunate enough to bring back some of the alumni that were synonymous with that title, like the great Bruce Spaulding Fuller and Stephen Bissette! We’re doing two initial books entitled Gore Shriek – Resurrectus Volumes 1 and 2 with 48 brand new pages of unadulterated horror, gore, and viscera. A true splatterpunk nightmare with the revolting writings of Corpse Monger, Stef Hutchinson, and more!
Resurrectus Volume 1 comes out in late May or early June, with a follow up in October just in time for Halloween! Inside you’ll also see works from yours truly, along with our friends Jeff Zornow, Putrid Matt Carr, Austen Mengler, Mark Bloodworth, and many, many more! Fans of the original Gore Shriek can Shriek and Shriek again!!!
FM. Since you fine fiends deal in the horror biz, what are some of your fav fright flicks, and how have they inspired your work?
DR. There are many! Without my partners in crime here to weigh in, I think it would be safe to say if it’s Fulci, Carpenter, Romero, Craven, Coscarelli, Dante, O’Bannon, Hooper, Argento, Holland, Morrissey, Mattei, Gordon, Landis, or vintage Spielberg… we could all make you a separate grocery list. There are also many non-horror influences that have permeated into our approach and style; it’s hard to nail them all. Honestly, we’re just huge fans ourselves, and making fun collectibles that people can enjoy for years to come is our main gig.
We’re waist deep in entrails and viscera, no doubt, but our future is already being paved out to other genres and mediums. Comic books are huge for us, but we want to give people a full compliment of our creative catalog, so who knows?
FM. Finally, where can my 1s of readers find you online?
We’ve been using social media to it’s fullest right now while our website
is being built, so people can find us at Facebook
or on Twitter
. Thank you for letting me talk your ear off and see you guys on the road!
FM. Fangs, Derek. Consider yourself and all at Rough House official members of my Coffin Club!