Comic Watch’s own Nicholas Osborn recently had the opportunity to catch up with writer Michael Moreci regarding the widely acclaimed release of THE PLOT from Vault Comics along with Tim Daniel, Joshua Hixson, Jordan Boyd and Jim Campbell. Check out the full interview below to discover more about how Michael Moreci approaches the horror genre, how personal THE PLOT really is and so much more!
Comic Watch: To begin, thank you for speaking about THE PLOT with us here at Comic Watch! Can you give some background on how this book came together under Vault Comics and how it plays into the annual NIGHTFALL event?
Michael Moreci: I think it happened in conjunction. Tim Daniel, my The Plot co-writer, is a partner at Vault, and Nightfall has always been his baby. Once he was able to get it off the ground, we knew this book we’d been working on for some time, The Plot, had found a home.
CW: In the first panel of the first page of issue #1, we are introduced to a family motto “In order to receive, first you must give” that feels like it gets right to the heart of this series. So how important was this phrase from a writing perspective?
MM: Vital, for sure. There’s significant meaning in that phrase, and a thematic level, but it also speaks to the very specific history of the Blaine family—how they got to where they are, for better and worse, and what it is that’s haunting them throughout the years. I’m glad you picked up on that; that phrase will be seen again.
CW: It’s often said that true horror is derived from real and honest emotional experiences, can you give some insight into how this element plays into the story unfolding in THE PLOT?
MM: I think 90% of horror stories are about one thing: Death. And this could be many things: The death of innocence, the death of a relationship, the dead of a loved one, the actual death of one’s self, and so on. It’s the one thing we all experience, it’s the one thing we can’t avoid, and through these small deaths, we’re always reminded of this great equalizer, that we’re all going to die and we have no clue what that means. That say, how can horror not be emotional? There’s few things in life more raw and visceral than this, and it was our goal from the start to tap into how this works in the story and we’ve experienced it in our lives. It’s no accident that there’s two major deaths in the first issue, and that’s really what starts the story. Everything after that is the aftermath, for all our characters. Grief, trauma, sadness. It’s all baked into what makes The Plot tick.
CW: There appears to be an underlying theme of “inheritance” that is explored in both the human struggles and the terrifying supernatural occurrences in THE PLOT. Is there anything specific you hope to achieve with such a multigenerational story?
MM: Most definitely. We’re going to learn a lot of the Blaine family in issues to come. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we’re going deep in who these people are and what they’ve done/what’s happened to them. But, also, we’re keeping that fundamental building block of the story top of mind, that idea of suffering through your family. We get more passed on to us than the color of eyes, etc. Family—who and where we come from—leaves a mark on us that we can’t escape. Sometimes we don’t want to, but sometimes—sometimes we have to.
CW: The masterfully suspenseful tone is one of the scariest aspects of THE PLOT as a reader. So, what were some of your primary influences for the horror components of the story?
MM: A lot of people have pointed out the Stephen King similarities (I mean, we set the story in Maine!), and I love that. King has been with me for over thirty years of my life, and there’s few writers whose work has influenced me most profoundly. I think what I take away most from his work—one of the things—is how he normalizes horror. He doesn’t feel to make horror horrifying, if that makes sense. When something terrible is happening, like, say, a bully beating up a classmate, King doesn’t feel the need to use his craft to accentuate that horrifying moment—he knows the horror lies in these everyday moments. A second influence is The Haunting of Hill House, the Netflex show. I love Mike Flanagan, and the way he makes the horror in that series so emotional so raw—I learned a ton from his storytelling.
CW: Are there any characters in particular that you really find yourself relating to, in either their personal struggle or just their fear of what’s happening around them?
MM: For me it’s Chase. A lot of my own life is going into this story, particularly dealing with grief and hereditary illness, and Chase is in this position where both are colliding on top of him. I’ve been there, in my own way, and I can understand his sadness and anger and confusion. One of our aims was to make this story feel as authentically human as possible, through all our characters, and Chase is the one that I feel I get, in writing, closest to that mark.
CW: From what we’ve seen so far, this is a team that seems confident in where this series is going, so what was the creative process like with everyone involved in bringing it to life?
MM: Confidence is a really key word, I think. We’re all putting our very best craft into this—this is the most meticulous script, I can easily say, I’ve ever written. And Josh’s artwork is a master class in craft. He’s so very meticulous with his pages and panels—everything is a very deliberate choice, and the same goes for Tim’s and my script. We’re all making deliberate choices that feed into this story, which we know so thoroughly.
CW: THE PLOT released to essentially widespread acclaim rather immediately, but it was even being noticed before its release from major sources, including being mentioned in a NY Times article. Does this create any challenges for expectations while writing future issues or is it mostly just exciting?
MM: It does, for sure. You don’t want to blare the trumpets announcing that you have something and fail to deliver. But we—Tim, Josh, Adrian, the entire team—were confident that we had something special; we put the work in to craft something special, and we were comfortable taking the risk of publicly embracing that.
CW: THE PLOT certainly isn’t your first experience with horror in comics, so what is it about the genre that really pulls you in?
MM: For me, horror is hard to write because I draw from really personal stuff. Curse was about a father in turmoil, going to extremes to protect his son. As a dad, that story really made me dig deep into my own life. With The Plot, it’s a lot about grief and family illness, something I’ve also experienced (unfortunately). Still, I love being able to tell these really intense stories through the conventions of horror. I’m of the mind that art should be both challenging but also entertaining, and horror is such a great vehicle for doing both. But, more simply, I just love horror. I watched my first horror movie—Friday the 13th—when I was five years old, and I’ve never looked back. It’s my favorite genre, and I think between my history with it/my love for it combined with the types of stories I like to tell, it makes for a really perfect place for me to work.
CW: Without going into spoilers, is there anything you can tell us about what the future holds for the Blaine family and the terrors unfolding?
MM: Wellllll…like I said, we’re going to learn a lot, about who this family is and where they come from. But we’re also going to see them rise to the emotional, personal, and very dangerous and scary challenges before them. We’re going to see them delve deeper into what exactly they’re dealing with, and we’re going to see them all grow and change. And hopefully they all make it to the very end…
Well that’s it! Be sure to check out THE PLOT on shelves now from Vault Comics and stay tuned to Comic Watch for all your comics news and reviews!
In Order to Receive, First You Must Give: An Interview with Michael Moreci
User Review( votes)