Yesterday, Heavy Metal’s first standalone comic title, Hoax Hunters, went on sale in comics shops and the Heavy Metal online store. Then, just hours later, news of a Hoax Hunters movie project was announced. Not a bad day for a comic book that ended its first run (with Image Comics) back in January 2014. But in apt fashion for Hoax Hunters, which trades in the supernatural and macabre, it’s returned from the grave stronger than ever. Co-writer Michael Moreci gave us the lowdown on Season 2 and the Hollywood thing.
Heavy Metal: Those were two huge things that happened for Hoax Hunters yesterday—back in January of last year did you, could you, envision the series coming back like this?
Michael Moreci: Not really, no. We had really run out of gas, creatively and commercially, to be honest. Fifteen issues is a lot to string together for an indie comic that isn’t by a huge name; while I’ve made some strides since season one ended, I was practically a nobody then. Luckily, there were some great people, especially artists, who believed in the book and chipped in to help keep us going. But when we finally got to the end of season one, after a long journey, I thought that was the end. Luckily, Jeff Krelitz [one of Heavy Metal’s two CEOs] had faith in the book and did everything necessary to keep it going.
HM: Obviously you’re going to continue making Hoax Hunters comics at the same time Craig Titley is thinking about how to make Hoax Hunters a movie—what do you see as the advantages of each media for the Hoax Hunters concept? Will the film allow Hoax Hunters to do some things that are harder to achieve in a printed comic?
MM: I’ve spoken with Craig on a number of occasions, and he has an amazing handle on this world. I think his story idea, if done right, would make for a great film—I’m kind of jealous, actually, that he hammered out such a great tale.
Other than being excited for the film, it doesn’t really affect my day to day work on the book. It’s cool something is out there enhancing the HH brand, but my comic will always be my comic. And the film will be its own thing as well, streamlining the story and benefitting from the elements of film that don’t exist in comics (performances, a score, etc.). It’s a win-win, and if we do this right, we’ll have a great comic and a great film.
HM: Speaking of storytelling—in Hoax Hunters you’re telling a story beneath a cover story—this group is hunting supernatural phenomena while pretending to be a reality show about debunking said phenomena. And of course there is plenty of human drama among the characters, as we see in this first issue. How do you keep the stories moving and believable on these different levels?
MM: I think any story that’s well told is believable. As the writer, you make the rules of the universe—as long as they’re consistent and follow the internal logic of the world, it’s believable. That’s really our goal and has been from the start. We have a pretty specific world we’re dealing with, and we’ve known so much of it for a long time—the rules, mythology, etc. Couple that with strong, relatable characters, and I think you have the formula for a story that resonates with a lot of people.
HM: There is a huge, immense question that hangs over the team at the start of Hoax Hunters #1: Will Jack come back? Do you have any comment/hint/tantalizingly cryptic statement on that question?
MM: Mwhahaha! You’ll have to wait and see!
HM: Jack or no Jack—what is in store for the team over the next few issues? What are the challenges for the team in Season 2 (including but not limited to the lack of Jack)?
MM: It’s going to be a lot of fun to explore this new dynamic with Donovan at the helm and the team really vulnerable and not very good at their job. Also, monsters. BIG monsters. We also get a little more of Borges, the shadowy figure from season one who trapped Jack in the parallel universe and has ties to he Hoax Hunters brass.
And did I mention monsters?