Friday, September 6, 2019

catching up with Ross Sewage

The last time I got tangled up with Creepsylvanian thrashers Ghoul, they threatened to kill and eat me. Frankly, I was lucky to escape with my skin (even if it was covered in food colouring). But when they announced they would be releasing their first comic book, written and drawn by Exhumed/Impaled bassist Ross Sewage, I had to find out more. Ross was kind enough to fill me in on how the idea for the book came about, its Kickstarter campaign, and the likelihood of a sequel.

Dreams of Consciousness: Hey Ross, it's been over four years since we last talked. What have you been up to since then?

Well, in the last four years I've rejoined Exhumed after a 16 year hiatus and recorded two albums with them, toured all over the world with some personal heroes like Carcass and GWAR; I actually got to BE a slave for GWAR performing characters and such. I toured South America for the first time, and got to have my first South American diarrhea! For a week! And I guess I also wrote and drew up this ding dang comic book.

DoC: Tell me about the Ghoul comic that you wrote and drew - how did the idea for this come about, and how long have you been working on it?

I've actually been working on the idea of a Ghoul comic book for years. In the first iteration, I was working with some other people using a script that I wrote. I wanted to make a real anthology featuring multiple artists, with me drawing the bookend "host" pieces. But after long delays, getting ghosted on email and texts, and not receiving material, I realized the damn thing was never gonna get finished.

So I hunkered down, wrote a new script, and decided to tackle the whole shebang myself. It took me a few months to finish while also touring and playing shows. Doing it all solo, I felt I could better test the waters for such a concept and I wouldn't be dragging down any other artists or wasting their time if it fizzled.

DoC: What can you say about the plot of the Ghoul comic? How does the story tie in with the band's music?

This first issue features long-time Ghoul ally Baron Samedi recounting a few seemingly unrelated horror-filled stories. They all take place in Ghoul's country of Creepsylvania. The first one is around the time of the album Maniaxe and shows the other side of the story in the epic, first battle between Ghoul and their nemesis, Killbot.

The other stories feature characters from Creepsylvania's past, who should be familiar to Ghoul fans, alongside new characters in all new tales of terror. Ghoul and Creepsylvania have always had too many stories to tell just on LPs; the comic book is a way to finally bring those myriad stories to life in a different medium.

DoC: What is your background as an artist and illustrator? Have you worked on any other comics? Who would you say influenced your work?

I've been reading and drawing comics as long as I can remember. As teenagers, Matt Harvey and Col Jones of Exhumed and myself would have sleepovers and draw comics in-between role-playing games and watching horror movies. Then, they handed me a bass and band life subsumed any goals to try and actually break into the field of comics.

I did get a degree in art and had a story published in an old horror anthology, but my illustration and design work has been more focused on creating album and t-shirt art for the past 20 plus years. It's equal parts exciting and scary to go back to my first dream of creating comics, but the response has really buoyed my spirit.

DoC: At the time of my writing this, the Kickstarter campaign for the comic has more than quadrupled its original goal. With this in mind, are there plans for a sequel?

It's been a complete surprise. Some around me, including myself, were dubious about Kickstarter. I thought I'd give it a go, anyway. You can ask my friends; I was fully prepared for it to fail. I thought maybe it would get just past its funding goal. Within a week, we're in sight of quadrupling the funding goal and my jaw is still dragging across the floor. The response has been insane. Clearly, a Ghoul comic book was long overdue.

I opted to not make these numbered issues, though, because I didn't want to have the pressure to create some kind of serialized periodical. But with the interest shown, I really hope we'll be able to create more of these self-contained anthologies, continue to expand the real-life world of Ghoul, and bring in some other artists to contribute their visions of the splatter thrashing quartet.

DoC: What's next for you?

Next up is mailing out a shit ton of packages... so, so many packages. Then, just days after this Ghoul Kickstarter campaign and fulfillment is done, Exhumed will be releasing a new album called Horror. We'll be supporting that with a totally stacked tour featuring us, Gatecreeper, Necrot, and Judiciary.

I'll also be playing with Impaled at Quebec Death Fest and at a show also featuring Ghoul in Oakland on October 26... the day before the Exhumed tour starts! Shit, needless to say, my fall is packed to the brim with excitement and a lot of work to accomplish. I love not being bored.

If you wanna check out the Ghoul Kickstarter comic book campaign, pledges and ordering end September 26 and you can check it out at this link.

Regards, Herr Doktor Monsewer Ross “Cremator” Sewage Abwasser-Merde, Cessq.

GHOUL: The Comic Book Kickstarter Page (Ross' art and music blog)

Vault Of Horror:

Mixtape 98: