Exclusive Interview: What keeps indie comic writer and “Something Real” creator Joey Turnage awake at night?
In August, the crowdfunding campaign for issues 1 and 2 of the horror comic series Something Real is went live on Indiegogo. At the time of this writing, the Something Real project has already been fully funded having raised over $5 thousand.
Something Real is a tale of terror written by Joey Turnage and featuring illustrations by Ian J. Miller and colors by Fredrik Mattsson. We reached out to Joey Turnage to ask him a few questions about the Something Real project. He was gracious enough to respond, and his answers below are represented “as written.”
The Splintering (TS): Something Real certainly appears to be inspired by A Nightmare on Elm Street. Are there other stories that inspired Something Real, horror or otherwise?
Joey Turnage (Joey): Yeah, certainly. I love the concept of dreams/nightmares so A Nightmare on Elm Street was definitely big. But, I’d say that Stephen King’s IT was pretty huge, as well. Our boogeyman’s key traits & abilities were influenced by powerful characters like Pennywise.
TS: Will issue 2 be the series finale? If not, how many issues is the full Something Real story planned to be?
Joey: I’ve never really said because it more so boils down to whether or not we get picked up by a publisher. A small-press publisher may only be comfortable with us doing a smaller 3-4 issue arc. If that were the case, I’d need to alter this first arc in order for it to conclude after that 3-4 issue span. But, I think a 5-6 issue arc would be ideal for us if we continue the route of self-publishing. And, of course, we’d then want to continue on with the next arc and allow our boogey-verse to grow.
TS: Now that you’ve achieved your funding goal, do you intend to use the extra money to finance the next books in the series, or do you have other plans?”
Joey: For now, since we haven’t raised a huge surplus, we’ll just focus on hitting fun stretch goals for backers. Something to allow us to throw in extra merchandise like stickers, prints, etc. But, sure, if we’re able to keep this going and can raise enough, it would be great to have a little bit left over for us to put towards the production of #3.
TS: Your first issue was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, but you switched to Indiegogo for issue 2. What about Indiegogo convinced you to transition over to their platform?
Joey: We actually took a stab at Kickstarter again for the 2nd issue but canceled that campaign after the first week. We were doing okay on that platform, nothing to hate about it, but we had a good buddy of ours who suggested we make the leap over to Indiegogo. So, we took that risk and so far it seems to be paying off.
TS: You’ve chosen a child as the protagonist of Something Real. Did you ever consider an older protagonist? Do you feel that horror is more effective from a child’s viewpoint?
Joey: I think its effectiveness really just depends on the story. Something Real was always going to have a child protagonist due to its plot. But, still, we essentially have two main protagonists if you include Phillip’s father. He’s featured more throughout the back half of this first arc, but he has a huge influence on Phillip and the overall direction of the story.
TS: There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the boogeyman after issue 1, though he is very prominent in your promotional art. What do you find most interesting about him as Something Real’s antagonist?
Joey: I think he has a lot of depth. That’s what all characters, good or bad, really need. His story is fleshed out in subsequent issues but I definitely love that about him. He’s not your typical boogeyman; he has understandable issues/weaknesses, a full-fledged goal & an overall sense that what he’s doing is good for the world.
TS: I understand that veteran comic book writer Chuck Dixon laments that comics took a hard turn towards superheroes several decades ago, and that the industry would be healthier today if it had not largely abandoned other genres like horror. Do you agree? How would you describe the current state of horror comics?
Joey: Superhero comics definitely outweigh other genres, no doubt about that, and I’m sure that’s negatively affected the industry in all sorts of ways. I mean, go out and talk to the majority of folks who don’t read comics. They tend to assume that comics only star caped crusaders. Maybe some horror fans would find interest in the vast array of current horror books if they had only known that such a thing existed. But, luckily, the indie scene has been steadily expanding and so the horror genre has been growing along with it.
TS: Horror films often rely on the unseen, “jump scares” and sound design to build suspense. What makes the comic book medium unique as one well suited for horror?
Joey: First of all, comics can do crazy things. Most horror films don’t have outrageous budgets. Comics allow horror stories to carry out the wildest of ideas because art can easily bring these concepts to life. Sure, horror films are wonderful for many reasons, but there’s no limit to what art can do for those stories in the comic book medium.
TS: What is the most frightening nightmare that you can remember?
Joey: Oh, man… I had one several years ago, probably almost a full decade ago, that I’ll never forget. I was with a group, walking through the desert, when we came upon a random door that led underground. So, of course we walk inside and look around, only to find a long descending stairway with a dimly lit room at the bottom. A small creature sat silently at the center of that room. He fidgeted with something at his desk until he heard us. Once our eyes locked, we ran out of there. He quickly transformed into a 10+ foot beast with 4 arms, ripping me and my friends to shreds. In my dream, the words ‘GAME OVER’ were displayed right before I woke up.
Needless to say, it was pretty wild.
TS: How would you characterize your relationship with Something Real’s artist Ian Miller?
Joey: We’re pretty close colleagues, I’d say. We mainly communicate through email and have done so for nearly a year. He’s lived in New York all this time and I’m from Alabama so we have yet to meet, but Ian has been tremendous to work with. We love this series and hope to both be working on it and expanding its world for a long time to come.
TS: A year from now, how would you describe success for the Something Real project?
Joey: Just being able to still produce Something Real in a year’s time would be a success to me. As long as we can keep putting these books out, I’d be happy. Whether that be with a publisher or through our self-published channel, I want to continue spreading boogeyman awareness.
TS: If you could haunt the nightmares of any fictional character, who would it be?
Joey: I’d probably haunt Freddy Krueger’s nightmares just to give him a taste of his own medicine. Besides, how epic would it be to see a battle between Freddy and Something Real?
TS: What would you do with the power of the Beyonder?
Joey: Hmmm… well, I’d probably start by forcing mainstream comic companies to focus more on sales and marketing, that way we could actually help grow the industry and get more comic shops out into the world.
Oh, and World Peace would also be cool!
We would like to once again thank Joey Turnage for taking the time to answer our questions and to have some fun with us. You can follow Joey Turnage on Twitter @joeyturn14.
You can check out the full Indiegogo page for Something Real here.