Ghost, Ghouls and Golems, Oh My!
An Interview with Jacob Semahn

If you’re a fan of ghost stories, undead monsters and the people who hunt them, then you’re in for a special treat.

Goners, Vol. 1 from Image Comics – written by Jacob Semahn and with pencils by Jorge Corona (Feathers, Teen Titans Go!), colors by Gabriel Cassata (Hexed), inks and letters by Steve Wands (Batman, Dial H), and watercolors by Morgan Beem (Game Over, Playlist) – is an action-packed, modern-day Lovecraftian investigation into the unknown… with a tentacle monster or two.

We got the chance to sit down with Semahn himself to talk shop and hear all the details of monster hunting, hunting monsters and the hunters who hunt monsters.

Capture

Dork Shelf: Goners, Vol. 1 came out last week, and I believe it is your first creator-owned comic to be published. What were some of your biggest influences when writing and creating  the series? How does it feel to see your original work in print, with a big name like Image?

Jacob Semahn: Goners is indeed my first creator-owned work, and to have it published by a company like Image Comics is a dream come true. They really give the freedom to let the team tell their stories on their terms, which I almost always believe breeds the best stories. My biggest influences on Goners range from Jonny Quest to Stephen King, Goonies to Monster Squad. It’s a love letter to that ’80s feel of adventure and horror.

DS: Goners goes deep into mythology and folklore, especially Native American – Ojibway/Chippawa, Navajo and Shawnee tribes to name a few. How has the research influenced or changed your writing? How has it helped evolve the story or the characters? Were there any mythical creatures that you would have loved to introduce, but are saving for future story arcs?

JS: Goners takes place in America, and the indigenous tribal mythology was important to be true to the locale. Whether skin-walker, Bakaak, or Chenoo, I wanted to convey the interesting folklore that surrounds this nation and how most of us don’t even know about it, which I think is a shame. And there was one mythical creature that is so crazy and powerful that I had a hard time figuring out how to fit it into the Goners universe. But Jorge and I cracked it, and if/when the next arc comes, you’ll see some insane stuff.

DS: Jorge Corona, your co-creator and penciller, has done an astounding job meshing your writing style with his quirky character designs and illustrations. How did the two of you come together with the rest of your team to develop this reality TV-style monster hunting mythological bonanza?

JS: I met Jorge at the Man of Action booth at NYCC in 2013. He was in the graduate program at SCAD and a person that he was in the program with also worked on my OGN, Infected, and told him to swing by and say hi. Jorge showed me his portfolio and I had the script for the first issue that I thought his innocent and animated style would be perfect for. I already knew the rad colorist Gabriel Cassata and inker/letterer Steve Wands and watercolorist Morgan Beem from a previous project… and with our powers combined, we are Goners.

DS: Of course, Goners isn’t your first rodeo. You have also written several episodes of both Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spider-Man for DisneyXD. Were you always a fan of the world famous web-slinger and his assembling pals? What has been some of your favorite things about writing for these shows? Do you hope to continue creating more adventures for them? An “Avenging Spider-Man” crossover, maybe?

JS: High five for that rodeo callback. I love working with the Marvel characters. It’s a geek’s dream come true! And it’s funny, because two Sundays ago, I wrote the “Avengers Disassembled” episode of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. Spidey replaces Cap on the team and Ultron hijinks ensue! And by “hijinks,” I mean “deadly attack.” I’m a writer.

DS: I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of Zoe and Josiah Latimer. Can we hope to see the next story arc begin soon? Will there be yetis? Do you have any other plans for other comics in 2015/2016?

JS: I have ideas stewing for other books, and a semi-autobiography about my life as a germaphobe called Infected that’s currently set up at Image, but as for now I’m focusing on making all our schedules align for the second arc of Goners. Being on time is important to us, as I used to work in a comic shop and I know the havoc that being late can sometimes wreak on fans and stores. So we will not start Goners: The Next One [working title] until we know we can have every issue come out on time.
Available now at a comic book store near you, Goners, Vol. 1 is a must read for everyone! Especially if you’re looking for some handy advice on how to take care of that pesky chupacabra in your backyard.

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