We recently corresponded with Andrew Guilde, writer of the horror OGN Man of Sin and the Kickstarter series Forgotten Hymns, to discuss his approach to writing during the pandemic, challenges making a scene terrifying on the page, and a tease for his next Kickstarter project.
Disclaimer: Andrew Guilde is a friend of mine and collaborator on the previously ongoing Behind the Page web column.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Hey, Andrew. Long time, no see. Thank you for joining me today. First, congratulations on meeting your goal for issue 2 of Forgotten Hymns, but for those of us not familiar with your work, what’s Forgotten Hymns about?
ANDREW GUILDE: Thank you so much, Alex! I really appreciate it. It’s always a nice feeling to know that your Kickstarter is going to get funded. I really couldn’t have done it without my family, friends, peers, and fans!
As to your question, what is Forgotten Hymns about? On the surface, Forgotten Hymns is a Lovecraftian noir about a billionaire heiress that is trying to cover up her father’s crimes; but in doing so, she uncovers the dark occult secrets her family’s legacy is tied to. That said, it’s really about what terrifies me as a father, about those real-world monsters that lurk in plain sight that we don’t know about, about being a horrible parent and what that does to your child…all of these things helped influence Forgotten Hymns.
CBY: When we first met, you were finishing up your first horror series, Man of Sin. How has your approach to storytelling changed going into Forgotten Hymns, if at all?
AG: I don’t think my approach to horror, or storytelling, has changed all that much. What’s changed is the way we’re telling this story. Man of Sin jumped around in time quite a bit. It was an extremely ambitious story that fully embraced non-linear storytelling. Forgotten Hymns is more straightforward as far as the timeline goes; however, what we do have is a multi-perspective narrative meaning that we’re telling this story [through] the eyes of a few different characters all at once.
"...anytime you’re setting out to tell a story, it’s your chance to tell the world the right way to live."
CBY: Now that you’ve reached issue 2, have you noticed an evolution to your collaboration with Isaac Noe Perez and DC Hopkins?
AG: I’m super lucky to be able to work with both Isaac and DC. Seriously, both are incredible, and really make this book the book that it is. DC is such a pro and an absolute beast when it comes to lettering, I really just let him do his thing. We’re pretty lockstep in terms of our storytelling approach.
As for Isaac, there really aren’t enough words to describe how amazing it is to work with Isaac. For the most part, Isaac likes to work from a full script. However, there are times where I throw in a “marvel style” page where I let Isaac do his thing. What’s so amazing is that Isaac’s choices in storytelling and the level he’s able to bring is just amazing. Whether it’s a glance from a character, or some background element, Isaac's ability to create the atmosphere in the story is just… jaw-dropping.
CBY: The horror genre can be a deeply personal experience for creators and fans alike. What is it about horror that appeals to you most?
AG: For me, anytime you’re setting out to tell a story, it’s your chance to tell the world the right way to live. What I mean by that is how the story unfolds, the arc of the characters, their obstacles, etc. [have] in some way, if done correctly, some kernel of a real-world problem being solved for the audience. So, for me, horror allows me to tackle some pretty serious topics in interesting ways. My first series, Man of Sin, was about how you deal with a death in the family. Forgotten Hymns is about parenting. The horror genre allows me to explore those topics in some pretty creative, and spooky, ways.
CBY: What would you say has been your biggest challenge writing in the horror genre?
AG: With comics being a hybrid medium of both visuals and words, it’s still been tricky to figure out how to scare our readers. In movies, some of the biggest “jump scares” comes from the sound in the film. We don’t have that luxury. Also, most readers have been pretty dang desensitized in this day in age. So, anything Isaac draws isn’t going to scare someone; it might make them cringe, or feel gross, but [it] won’t necessarily scare them. To combat this, we rely on our narratives, what we show or don’t show; my horror is much more psychological because of this. I like to think it sticks with the readers long after they’ve put our book down.
CBY: It goes without saying that the past year has been a life-altering event for everyone, but clearly, you’ve managed to keep yourself busy through it all. What was one lesson you learned over the past year and some change that helped you stay creative through it all?
AG: I’m not really creating for myself anymore. I’m creating for my daughter, and soon-to-be son (as of this writing, he’s due any day now!). I want to look them in the eyes and tell them they can do anything they put their mind to, and have the proof to back that statement up. So, if anything, I keep going because of them.
CBY: What’s next for you after Forgotten Hymns Issue 2 wraps? Are there any other projects in the works you can tease?
AG: Sure! We’re continuing on with the next chapter with Forgotten Hymns. Issue 3 should be coming out on Kickstarter in the fall of this year. That said, I do have another project that I’ve been working on that is my first crack at sci-fi that should be coming out this Summer on Kickstarter. It’s a mix between the real-world dystopia of Children of Men and the sci-fi crime of say Blade Runner! It’s been a lot of fun creating and working with artist Nathan Lueth (of Impure Blood fame) on this project and watching it come to life has been incredible.
CBY: When’s the deadline to order a copy of Forgotten Hymns?
AG: The Kickstarter for Forgotten Hymns #1-2 ends Friday, June 4th at 12pm Central Time. If you missed this first issue of Forgotten Hymns, don’t worry, we have catch-up bundles for you that include both physical and digital copies. We also have some amazing collectibles including variant covers from horror heavyweights like Ben Templesmith and Alex Cormack!
CBY: Where can readers find you on social media?
AG: Insta: @Aguilde
For a free copy of Man of Sin issue #1, go to aguilde.com/freecomic.