(UnHeavenly Hosts Development Journal 1)
In October, I posted this image to social media, with a proclamation that I’d make this long-gestating idea a reality in SOME form in 2023. And I mean it! I thought it’d be fun to do something a little different, which I haven’t ever done before, which is to do a development journal around UnHeavenly Hosts. So you can follow along with me on my journey. I’ll do longer journals here, along with some micro-journaling on social media like my Mastodon, Facebook, and Instagram pages. So you can follow along however you prefer.
What is UnHeavenly Hosts?
Well, it’s either a comic book or illustrated book (more on that in a bit) that is basically Suicide Squad X Monster Squad. The FBI sends in their elite team of investigators to check out the most haunted hotel-turned-shopping center in the country, and they utterly fail. Desperate, they decide to pull in a motley crew of strange beings that they’ve been hiding in plain sight—as TV horror hosts!
How Did You Think of This?
I’m a big fan of horror TV hosts. I don’t follow them all, but it’s just a fun concept. First, I’m a HUGE fan of Elvira. I just think she’s the best. I’ve had my photo taken with her a couple times (once as Elivra and once as Cassandra) and buy way too much of her merchandise. But I’ve also become a fan of Joe-Bob and Darcy on The Last Drive-In on Shudder. Back in 2016 or so, I first had the idea of bringing together a group of horror hosts to combat the supernatural. Of course, the twist was that the horror hosts were ACTUAL monsters and creatures, hiding their nature in plain sight. It was a fun concept, and I did some sketches of characters, but it wasn’t really a story at that point. Ideas do not equal stories.
Here’s a look at some early sketches:
What’s Happened Since Then?
Well, a few things. In 2021 I found some of the old sketches and notes I made, and decided to flesh the idea out into an actual story. I was inspired by a trip to Alton, Illinois for their (excellent) Haunted History Tour. I didn’t necessarily want the story to be in a typical haunted house. I loved the story behind Alton’s Mineral Springs Hotel, and decided that would be a good place for the haunting in the story. Or, to be more precise, a place somewhat like it. I wrote an overview in July, and finished the script for a twenty-two page comic book in September of that year. This was partly motivated by a possible opportunity at a publisher that eventually didn’t go much of anywhere, but I liked the concept enough it was still in the back of my mind. Here are some more sketches:
Good question! The short answer is, I’m going to keep exploring the character designs. I’m also exploring a particular style of illustration I’ve not tried before. I’d love to partner with an illustrator to do the full comic book. But, with not enough funding to pay someone that’s always tricky. So I’m exploring whether I could commit to trying to do it myself (would I be happy with the results?) or if I should concentrate on making it an illustrated book. I’d be on much more confident ground doing some illustrations that way. Do you have any thoughts on that?
In the meantime, I’ll be posting more development sketches and updates on this blog and on social media. I’d love any feedback you have.