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Monday, June 7, 2021

‘Cursed Cornfield’: Chatting With Bill Moseley About His New Horror Anthology Comic Book [Blood/Ink/Staples]

Welcome to Blood/Ink/Staples, a recurring column which will shine a spotlight on creepy comic books new and old. Here, we’ll be taking a peek at forgotten graphic novels and hot-off-the-press floppies, buried indies and newly-released big labels. Some articles will be historical deep dives, others will feature interviews with creators, but all will attempt to steer our readers to the very best fearsome funnybooks to be found out there in the wild.

Chop-Top. Ricky Caldwell. Barbara’s brother Johnnie (and the zombie he eventually became). Otis Driftwood. Luigi Largo. Mayor Buckman. The Magician. Drayton Sawyer.

Actor Bill Moseley has portrayed some fascinating freaks in his time as one of the genre’s most beloved boogeymen. Over the years, Moseley has often brought to his roles a gritty mix of edge, humor and offbeat charm, whether they were essayed for screens big or small. Now, the actor has made the leap into another medium with Cursed Cornfield, a new comic book written by Moseley and featuring his likeness in the form of Onions, a wicked and wickedly humorous scarecrow who joins not only the ranks of his own indelible characters, but those of such funnybook horror hosts as the Crypt-Keeper, Cousin Eerie, Uncle Creepy, Cain and Abel, the Vault-Keeper, and the Old Witch.

With its macabre EC Comics sense of humor and its grisly Gore Shriek aesthetic, Cursed Cornfield is a title that looks to fuse the sensibilities of those two horror anthologies, all while telling an inaugural tale that’s both modern and tinged with a bit of wonky science. The first issue’s opening salvo is “Waltzing Mathilda”, a gruesome little number that is, as the book itself describes, “a tale of perversion, cannibalism, and…syzygy.” That’s right, planetary alignment figures into this sordid story of a creepy morgue janitor, his truly alarming predilections, and the horrific comeuppance that he inevitably meets by the issue’s end. Bookending this dire ditty are appearances by Onions, who watches over the Worm Farm, the titular cornfield haunted by he and his pet bird Scowl. Onions introduces the story in comedically crass fashion and provides a suitably amusing wrap-up by the final page, cementing himself as a horror host as fun and striking as his four-color forebears.

Cursed Cornfield shows a great deal of promise in its setup, writing and art, all but guaranteeing what one imagines will be an essential horror anthology with innumerable issues to follow. Joining Bloody Disgusting to chat about this new foray into fearsome fun is Mr. Moseley himself, who was kind enough to discuss with us its origins, its stunning artwork, and the possibilities for its future on both page and screen.

Bloody Disgusting: How did this project first come about? Why tell this tale with this particular medium?

Bill Moseley: Cursed Cornfield Comics artist Szymon Kudranski and I go way back, at least twenty years ago, since before we met in person at a horror convention in Essen, Germany. Szymon has done muscled renderings of my main movie characters Otis Driftwood (Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, 3 from Hell) and Choptop Sawyer from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; an awesome fan-art poster for Werewolf Women of the SS, Rob Zombie’s fake trailer for Tarantino’s Grindhouse; sketches for my screenplay Storage Space (co-authored with Ezekiel Zabrowski), including one of Sid Haig as our “Brown Jenkin” character; and an eleven-page color treatment of my screenplay Devil Deer (co-authored with John Wentworth).

About a year ago, Syzmon messaged me that he’d like to create a comic book with me (this during the pandemic), and did I have any ideas? I’m a Midwesterner from Illinois, always thinking about corn, cornfields, scarecrows, old barns, cows, clods, haylofts and tractors. Back in the 90’s, my opus primus with guitar god Buckethead (on his Giant Robot album) was a song we co-wrote called “Onions Onleashed”, wherein I voiced the scary scarecrow, Onions (I originally called my scarecrow Shoo Bird; t’was Bucket who named him Onions). Onions had lain dormant throughout the new millennium, so I figured it was time to resurrect him, put him to work as a horror host and a role model for the younger generation (which at this point is just about everyone). The story itself just popped into my head, with a tip of the scalpel to Nacho Cerda’s Aftermath. I’m an old Omni Magazine writer and science buff so syzygy has always been near and dear to me. While brushing up on the subject, I learned about Nibiru (aka Planet X), and figured adding that to the alignment could and would surely bring the recently deceased back to life.

Why this particular medium? I’ve always loved comic books, have a sweet little collection of Star Spangled War Stories and J’onn J’onzz, Martian Manhunter, not to mention an original signed rendering of a Dr. Strange-like character from Steve Ditko (a birthday present for my brother, Dan). And when you’re friends with Szymon, one of the foremost comic book artists in the world, you say yes!

BD: How was it that you got into comics – both as a fan (presumably), and now as a creator?

Bill Moseley: As I mentioned, I grew up in the Midwest in the 50’s and 60’s. When I was a kid, one of the great (and inexpensive) pleasures of life was comic books – Marvel, DC, Charlton (the Ditko years). Comic books taught me how to read, fired my imagination, helped form my aesthetics, my storytelling. Throw in Mad Magazine, Creepy and Eerie, and ultimately R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson, and life was good!

[As a creator], I’m a neophyte and a newbie. Szymon has schooled me [on the format] and guided my storytelling, and for that I am truly grateful!

BD: Cursed Cornfield is surely a horror comic, though there is a nearly cosmic component to the tale that’s told in this first issue. Will the comic stay firmly planted in the horror genre, or will it potentially branch out into sci-fi, fantasy, and other genres – not unlike the various lines of EC Comics?

Bill Moseley: Not sure what direction CCC will take. Between Onions and his buddy Scowl, the crooked cops in Linoleum City, and the ‘roided roosters and pigs on the Baxter farm, we’ll stay close to horror, that’s for sure. If a little science sneaks in, so much the better!

BD: Can you talk a bit about Cursed Cornfield’s artwork? Szymon Kudranski’s art is a knockout, and the colors are gorgeous. Both seem to perfectly complement the story you’ve told.

Bill Moseley: Szymon’s artwork has always knocked my socks off! It makes my stories ten times better than what I imagined they would look like. I’m just glad the guy likes me and wants to do stuff!

BD: Can you talk a bit about Cursed Cornfield’s initial release, and the decision to sell it to fans with the “Name Your Price” option?

Bill Moseley: I know little about the business of printing/pricing/distributing comic books, so I just followed Szymon’s suggestions. The “name-your-price” option was fine with me for the digital downloads, but I’m happier with a physical book, something I can fan through and, yes, I admit it, stick my nose in and smell! Also, I do a number of horror conventions, and the fans are excited to get a signature on the cover of the book!

BD: What are the long term plans for Cursed Cornfield? Can we expect more issues soon?

Bill Moseley: It all depends on Szymon. He is a busy, busy man and needless to say, very much in demand. I’ve got a few new stories for him, so when he’s ready, let’s go!

BD: Are there any plans for Cursed Cornfield to make the leap to television or film in the future? It isn’t hard to imagine you playing Onions in a full-length anthology or TV show.

Bill Moseley: Szymon and I would love to take Cursed Cornfield Comics to the small or the big screen. I’d love to play Onions, either for a live-action or an animated series. Szymon wants to direct an episode or two, and I’m up for just about anything to do with the Cornfield!

BD: What final thought would you like to leave readers and fans with? What do you want comic fans, horror fans, and Bill Moseley fans who have maybe never picked up a comic book before to know about Cursed Cornfield?

Bill Moseley: Final thoughts about Cursed Cornfield? I’m working up a website to sell both digital downloads and hard copies. I’ll let you know the address when it’s finished. I want to spread the recognition of Szymon’s great talents and to entertain and inspire horror fans and comic book fans alike. Hell, if we can appeal to the science and Shakespeare lovers to boot, the more the merrier!

Special Thanks to Mr. Moseley for his time.

Make certain to check out for more info on Onions and Co.!


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