Exclusive: Creator Joe Pruett Talks Black-Eyed Kids
Reading the first issue of the ghostly comic Black-Eyed Kids, I found myself scared witless. This is clearly a series that will offer only good things in the future, so I caught up with creator Joe Pruett to get an idea of how the book took shape.
Be sure to head over to Comixology to pre-order the first issue.
Dread Central: Firstly, can I ask about how the series came about? Was it an idea that you had for a while?
Joe Pruett: I’ve been thinking about BEK (short for Black-Eyed Kids and much easier to type) for about 3-4 years, about the same day I came across the mention of this creepy little urban legend on the internet. The more I researched it, the more fascinated I became by it; and with the great visuals the concept provided, I knew it had to be a comic book.
Originally I was going to do the series with Jessica Jones co-creator Michael Gaydos, but his schedule and mine just never could get on the same track, so the series got pushed back, luckily to the time AfterShock Comics was formed.
I knew I wanted to do BEK but had decided it would be in year two of AfterShock’s publishing schedule, but when Szymon Kudanski became available, I knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up and was able to get it approved and moved up on the schedule.
DC: We’ve seen a ton of horror stories about creepy kids, so how did you make BEK stand out?
JP: They stand out because it’s not just the creepy kids. Yes, the kids (and teenagers) are the backbone of the story, but the way I’ve conceived it, they are able to influence and control adults as well as children. The BEK are visually the focus, obviously, but it’s the undiscovered history, the unknown connections between our main group of characters, the family unit and how it affects the storyline… all of it comes into play and moves way beyond just a small group of creepy little kids.
DC: “You are worthy.” That line creeped the hell out of me. Without giving too much away, can you give us an idea of what it means?
JP: Okay, without giving too much away… that’s tough… I guess you can say that the character in question is “worthy” of becoming more than human… to become, if not “one” of them, “one” LIKE them. It’s a slow burn to get to where I get to the point where that line becomes crystal clear, but the payoff will be pretty frightening.
DC: I really loved the sharp, clear artwork; can you talk about that?
JP: Szymon is freaking amazing! Why this guy is not a superstar name I have no idea. His pages mirror my thoughts and images when I write the script (so hard to do between a writer and an artist). It’s like he’s reading my mind and seeing my imagination and putting it directly to pen and ink. This type of story demanded a realistic approach to the art, and that plays to Szymon’s strengths. His imagery that he can put to paper is atmospheric and so moody that this series could have easily been published in black and white without color, and it would have had the same effect as the colored pages (not to say that Guy Major, our colorist, isn’t doing an amazing job in his own right, because he is).
DC: Are you planning to expand this universe?
JP: I’m content with it standing on its own right now, but we’ll see where the future takes us.