FRANK TIERI INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by James Ferguson
Frank Tieri has been writing some incredible horror comics as of late, such as Jughead: The Hunger, The Hangman, and Pestilence, not to mention a solid array of titles from the Big Two. With Pestilence entering its second volume with A Story of Satan beginning on May 30th, I had a chance to speak with Frank about the comic that began with the idea of the Black Death re-imagined as a zombie plague.
James Ferguson: I was going to ask how you can possibly top knights vs. zombies, but you went and brought Satan himself into Pestilence. How does the Devil get involved?
Frank Tieri: Well, the thing is, Satan has ALWAYS been involved. If you remember, when we make our big reveal in Vol 1—that elements within the Church not only knew about the Black Death all along but they also helped cover it up—the claim was that it was Satan who was the creator of the plague. Well, as we find out in Vol 2, that wasn’t just hyperbole and we’ll see him making his presence well known in Vol 2. VERY well known.
JF: Does this somehow make the Black Death even worse?
FT: Oh yeah. With Satan more directly involved now, the Plague, which was starting to wane, will now get a jump start instead and morph into something else… something far more deadly, as we’ll see. Before the zombies were mindless, now they are of one mind… and that mind is Satan’s. And as we all know, Satan’s mind is pretty fucked up… what with him being Satan and all.
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JF: Does Roderick gain any new allies in Pestilence: A Story of Satan? Fiat Lux's numbers were cut down quite a bit in the last series.
FT: When we open up with vol 2, it’s a few years later after the events of Vol 1. And Roderick… well. Roderick is in a very different place. He’s sort of like Clint Eastwood at the beginning of Unforgiven. He’s done with his past life, done with trying to convince the world of what Cardinal Price and others in the Church have done, done trying to save the world… he’s just done.
He’s living with Jaqueline and his son in a little fishing village in the south of France when the Plague revs up again. Now, Jaqueline and little Abel—which is what they named their son —well, they were more of something Roderick was trying to reach in the first volume. This time around, they’re along for the ride and as we quickly see when it comes to Jaqueline, she ain’t no dainty little maid waiting around for Roderick to save her. She more than handles her own.
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JF: Oleg Okunev's artwork is incredible with some of the most well detailed and varied zombies in the first volume of Pestilence. What is it like working with him? Did you have any specific requests when it came to the designs?
FT: Every now and then I give a specific design for a zombie, but for the most part, I let Oleg do his thing. And really, to me, it’s designing the best damned zombies in the biz. In this one, the inaffected are actually more possessed by Satan than zombies—but that doesn’t stop Oleg when it comes to cool ways in designing them. Black eyes, twisted faces, black shit pouring out of their mouths and noses… they’re fucking horrifying and disgusting at the same time. And that’s not such a bad thing when you’re doing a Horror book, ya know?
JF: Are there any other time periods you'd like to explore through a horror lens?
FT: Oh, tons. I’m both a horror nut and a history nut, so this all is right in my wheelhouse. In fact, I do have another horror title in the works that does explore other time periods… but it’s way too early to talk about that. Stay tuned, kids…
Pestilence: A Story of Satan #1 is scheduled for release on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018, at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.
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