Legendary cartoonist Eric Powell and award-nominated writer Edgar Harold Schechter join forces to create HEAR WHAT EDDIE GEIN DID?–an original graphic novel about the serial killer whose disturbing crimes inspired people like Psychopath, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Y The silence of the lambs.
As of today, Powell’s Albatross Funnybooks company has launched a Kick starter campaign for HEAR WHAT EDDIE GEIN DID? Signed special edition, featuring an exclusive Kickstarter pocket edition of the book, featuring a cover by acclaimed horror artist William Stout, a hardcover edition with an exclusive Kickstarter dust jacket from Eric Powell, limited edition prints and more. The book itself is scheduled to hit comic book stores on July 21, 2021 and in bookstores on August 3, 2021. And Screen Rant is pleased to offer the description of Powell and Schechter’s book, their motivations, and what readers should prepare for.
The collaboration between Powell, creator of comics like The bully Y Hillbillyand Harold Schechter, author of true crime classics including Deflected Y The Serial Killer Files will bring true crime fans an all-new 200-page original graphic novel that tells the twisted story of the Gein family. Thoroughly researched and illustrated, Schechter and Powell’s true crime graphic novel offers a unique new perspective on one of the most notoriously deranged murderers in American history, Ed Gein. Readers can find our full interview, as well as the first preview of HEAR WHAT EDDIE GEIN DID? embedded below.
Screen Rant: The idea of ’a graphic novel about Ed Gein’ will catch your eye, but can the two of you talk about the origins of this project? How did each of you connect for this collaboration, and what ideas, if any, were already brewing that ultimately made this graphic novel a reality?
Harold Schechter: Eric approached my agent and proposed the project to him. As a lifelong comic book fan who has written books on the subject, I consider Eric to be arguably the greatest comic book artist of his generation, so I accepted the offer.
Eric Powell: I had the idea to do a graphic novel about Gein while driving through Wisconsin on my Goon 20th anniversary book tour. The isolated landscape really got me thinking about how an unbalanced and battered person like Gein would handle it. Well, we know how he handled it, and it wasn’t good. Family dynamics and extreme isolation is what I thought could really be explored in this case. But, being a huge fan of Harold, I was aware of his work on the subject. I thought there was no point in trying to explore Gein’s case as I could never get over what Harold had already done. But then I came up with the idea of trying to collaborate with my favorite true crime author. If I could get him on board, I would. Otherwise it would go to the ideas pile unfinished. I was dizzy to find that he was equally excited about the idea and an avid fan of the comics medium.
SR: While the average person may know the name, and movie fans probably know what inspired Ed Gein’s crimes, can you discuss the decision or the reasons behind telling a larger story, a larger family story? Gein?
HS: While many people have a general idea of Gein’s crimes, the story of what led to those horrors, and their impact on late-20th-century American culture, is so compelling that it deserves the kind of graphic treatment when it comes to it. that we aim. stop in our book.
EP: Exactly. We are really examining the creation of Gein and the psychological impact of his crimes. And I’m proud of the fact that we don’t put a single sight down the reader’s throat. We present the evidence as we understand it and, through the characters in the book, present different perspectives. As Harold and I have argued many times, Gein doesn’t quite fit the mold of traditional serial killers. He was not a sexual sadist. His motivation, from what we can understand, was to gather bodies for company and to recreate his mother. So it ends up being a bit more complex than the other serial killers we know of whose motivations were to inflict pain and suffering on a victim in order to feel power over her. And while history is full of monsters who have inflicted far more pain and suffering on far more victims than Gein, why is this deranged individual who killed two people that still haunts us?
SR: Just for the title, this story will focus on the response to Ed Gein’s crimes. What about that part of this story, or more importantly, this real life historical account is of particular interest or importance to you?
HS: I realized the cultural significance of the Gein story more than thirty years ago. My first true crime book, DEVIANT, was (and, if I may say so without modesty, still is) the definitive account of his life and crimes. What drew me to the case was my awareness of how Gein transformed the American horror genre. Before him, all the monsters that terrorized the movies were aliens: European vampires and werewolves and Frankenstein’s monster, invaders from Mars, creatures from a South American Black Lagoon, etc. Gein, in the form of his fictional avatar Norman Bates, was the first fully American monster, as well as the forerunner of all the “slasher” films that followed PSYCHO. You could say that he Americanized the horror movie in the same way that Walt Whitman Americanized poetry.
EP: I was born in the 70s, so I didn’t experience culture shock when Gein’s crimes came to light. But it was always a topic among the kids in school when something awful was discussed. “Did you know Leatherface was a real guy?” And stuff like that. So Gein was a bit of the bogeyman of my childhood. There is a song, rather a spoken poem, by Tom Waits called What’s He Building. It is someone who speculates on the strange activity of a neighbor. I myself grew up in a rural community, there were always morbid speculations about the somewhat strange people who lived around you. In Gein’s case, it was a rare example that the truth was far worse than a rumor.
SR: Entire novels, movies, and television shows have been created for the sole purpose of understanding the mind of a serial killer. What is it about a graphic novel that alters the challenge or presents a new lens?
HS: To state the obvious, the graphic novel is now recognized as one of the most significant art genres of our time. Part of the reason for this is its unique power to visualize and evoke the inner life of the subject. One of the characteristics of our collaboration with Gein that I am most proud of is the way we have been able to lead the reader into the ghostly workings of Ed Gein’s mind.
EP: Being that I am a cartoonist, it is just my chosen medium. So I have no choice when I visualize a story. Fortunately, people now see the format as a legitimate art form like cinema. We can cover topics like this and readers will understand that we are not taking the topic and these crimes lightly or being frivolous just because there are illustrations that accompany our words.
SR: Can each of you talk about how the process has been so far, working together with someone who comes from a different skill set, or a different perspective, and collaborating on this project?
HS: For me the collaboration has been a total pleasure. Eric and I started having long discussions about Gein, what we wanted to achieve, etc. Then I wrote a version of the script that Eric reviewed heavily (and brilliantly) and put together in the appropriate format. I was then able to review his script, offer editorial suggestions, provide documents that I gathered while researching my Gein book, DEVIANT. Eric has taken it from there, transforming our words into his stunning images.
EP: I have been able to discuss one of the most fascinating true crime cases with my favorite true crime author on a daily basis. It has been quite amazing. I had to overcome the intimidation of working with someone so knowledgeable, intelligent, and educated. He’s a teacher and I’m a barely schooled doodling fool after all. But Harold put me at ease from the beginning and he has been an incredibly generous supporter. It still amazes me that I can make this book with him.
SR: For you Eric, given that illustration is used so often to present the intangible, or to exaggerate, enhance or make the unreal ‘real’, how does that process change when you are dealing with very real and very real events? sensitive?
EP: A lot. Because this really comes down to psychology, I am making the most of the artistic freedom that the graphic novel format provides. If there’s something Ed feels in his psychosis, I can manipulate the reader’s experience by warping perspective and setting to convey those feelings. I also follow Hitchcock’s lead and keep in mind that what the viewer, in our case reader, imagines is probably more shocking than showing a lot of blood. Psychological horror is what I am trying to achieve. No exploitative blood.
SR: For you, Harold, given your own experience writing true crimes and the large audience that enjoys the genre, is there anything different that you hope to capture or communicate through the medium of the graphic novel with this project?
HS: You have to understand my lifelong passion for comics. Until I had to sell them to pay for my (first) divorce, I had an incredible collection of Marvel Comics from the Silver Age, including the first fifty issues of SPIDER-MAN in mint condition. Also original illustrations by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and other idols of mine. I regard the graphic novel as the greatest innovation in narrative since, well, I suppose, the non-graphic novel. So for a long time it has been a dream for me to turn one of my books into a graphic novel. That I can now do it with an artist of Eric’s stature and brilliance is more than I bargained for.
HEAR WHAT EDDIE GEIN DID? will be published by Albatross Funnybooks in comic shops on July 21, 2021 and in bookstores on August 3, 2021. Those who wish to support the campaign can contact directly to Kickstarter now.
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