Published on October 15th, 2018 | by Jeremy Carr0
Bil Richardson Interview – 1000 Nightmares
Bil Richardson is an author, artist, and filmmaker and nationally know historian. He has written, produced and directed feature films, documentaries and TV series. His recent work is 1000 Nightmares, a series of short stories of horror, suspense and the macabre. You can see my review of his first two issues here on Impulse Gamer. It’s been my pleasure to talk with Bil about this project and learn more about the man behind 1000 Nightmares.
Where did the inspiration come from to make a comic full of short stories?
I love short horror. The first feature film I had a big role in was short horror tales and the book that made me want to be a writer was short horror. So I love the medium. I’ve also been frustrated with the form and wanted to create stories that improved upon it. I’m tired of stories where nothing happens till the end and you know the ending on page two. So I wanted to create stories that had horror on page one and keep ramping up the terror until the even bigger climax.
The other reason was that I wanted to experiment visually. Comics have been done virtually the same way for over 100 years but today we have all these new tools, technologies and art styles – and for the most part the comics industry has ignored them. I love traditional comic art and most of the stories are done with pencils, inks and colors etc. but on several of the tales I got to experiment. Examples include Heroes, The Meaning of Life, The Devil Inside Me, Nevermore and others. Basically all the stories I did the art for.
Now I know in the issue you talk a little about the idea and some of the concerns from others about this style of comic, did you ever have any doubts yourself that something like this could work?
I didn’t doubt the quality of the work but you always wonder how audiences will respond. A lot of people have been disappointed by previous comics with short stories in them and you wonder if they will be willing to give the book a chance. That’s why it is so valuable when folks like you shine a light on the work. It helps readers decide that this book really is worth their time.
One of my favorite stories was Heroes, with its story and art style. Is this something we can expect more of?
I already have another story written and the visuals picked out for it. If I do another issue it will be in it. But visually I want to take it up a notch. Instead of looking like a turn of the century scrapbook it will be much more cluttered and random to match the mind of the person telling that story. It’s called The Curse.
The story of how Heroes came about is interesting. I set a challenge for myself to create a story using only found images. No image could be created for the story. The story had to be built around already existing visuals. I discovered a set of photos of a girl and her friends before and during WWI. Those became the basis for the narrative and I built everything else around it.
Do you have any plans on revisiting any of these stories and building on them more?
Yes. I’ve already written four issue scripts for The Oracle and STD.
What is your writing process when it comes to short stories? Do they just come to you while driving down the road or while doing random things?
Sometime things come to you and sometimes you have to prime the pump. A word or phrase may inspire an idea or it may come in that place between wake and sleep. Other times I keep cramming things into my head until something comes out. I have this thing I call creative cross training. I gather up books, movies, poetry, non-fiction etc. Things that are very diverse in subject matter and style and then consume them all one after the other. I also find that travel and modern art museums inspire me.
A couple of your stories talked about cults and religion, which I loved. Is there any subject that’s off the table for you?
I don’t have many taboos. However, I never set out to offend anyone, only to get them to think.
What can we expect from this series down on from here?
There are five issues in the series so far. Number three is an all zombie issue and the last two are even more eclectic than the first two. If audience respond and buy them then there will be more. If not then there probably won’t be. It’s up to the readers. If they support the books then the next round will be even edgier. I’d love the freedom to really experiment visually and shorts are the perfect opportunity to do that.
With the two issues I got to read, there have both been parts at the end where you discussed a little about what went into some of the stories. This is something I absolutely love. Will we continue to see this in the upcoming issues?
Definitely, I always like seeing behind the scenes in the creative process and I thought readers would enjoy that too. So that’s in every issue.
I think comics have an enormous untapped potential. It’s so much easier for me to work in prose and I have novels on Amazon etc. But I keep coming back to this visual medium because I think there are great opportunities to experiment and push it forward. If comic readers will support my work then I will do my best to create things that are different and a step beyond what they are used to. And who doesn’t want to see something new and fresh.