Hack/Slash: Girls gone dead
Cassie and Vlad travel to Florida to stop a wrathful slasher who targets partying college students on Spring Break!
Can Cassie resist temptation long enough to protect the wild, wild girls of Girls Gone Naughty?


HACK/SLASH: GIRLS GONE DEAD

Recommended (8/10)

Devil's Due Productions
Writer: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Federica Manfredi
Colors: Davide Amici, Fabio Mantovani & Federica Manfredi
Letters: Marshall Dillon

Price: $4.95 US

The second Hack/Slash has all the fun of the first, with artwork that I found more to my liking, and the result is a very entertaining read. As with the first, it is aimed squarely at those with a fondness for the slasher movie genre, but Seeley casts his parody net a little wider this time out, also poking fun at Spring Break and the "Girls Gone Wild" videos that seem like permanent evidence of those hedonist vacations. With the premise established in Hack/Slash, Seeley has more room to maneuver in terms of setting up his bad guys and his backdrops in this one, and that pays off with a stronger story, although those who missed the first one-shot will find little exposition about the background of Cassie and Vlad. Fortunately, most of what readers need to know is explained on the inside front cover blurb, and the lightweight tone of the book keeps things breezing along to keep readers new and old engaged.

Seeley has really zeroed in on what makes the slasher formula work, a combination of high concept killers and a hefty dose of teenage hormones. Setting this one in Spring Break means more sex than usual, although Seeley and Manfredi keep things PG at best, using the ever-popular pixellation to evoke the "Girls Gone Wild" videos and by almost having the girl pull off her top, only to pull the camera away at the last second. The result conveys the "get naked and laid" vibe of Spring Break without unnecessarily turning the book into a mature readers book. It also conveys the common slasher flick message that sex = death, from the opening scene that plays out just like the opening of a slasher movie to the chaotic, action-packed finale.

While Hack/Slash is a paean to the slasher movie genre, it is also a tribute to butt-kicking feminist heroes like Sydney Bristow and Buffy Summers, and Cassie Hack sits pretty comfortably alongside those two TV icons. Her shyness around guys, and her inability to fit in with a normal social situation, is a nice achille's heel for a character who is otherwise very capable, smart and acerbic. Mind you, the most fun moments with Cassie are not when she's being vulnerable, but when she's playing to her strengths. Her showdown with half of the serial killing team is a lot of fun, and her banter with Vlad (I loved the gag when she called him on the phone) are very entertaining. Seeley has imbued Hack/Slash with a fair amount of humor, and no small amount of that comes from Cassie's personality, especially when she's reacting to things like what she sees in her hotel room search.

Of course, in a slasher story, the story is only as good as its killer, and Seeley has come up with a pretty nifty set of villains here. I don't want to give too much away, but the religious theme and jealousy that drive the characters serves as a nice counter to the Spring Break ethos, and it's interesting that there could reasonably be some sympathy for the point of view that one of the characters has, if she wasn't batshit insane. Her partner, of course, was evil in life and is even more evil in death, and makes for a great punching bag for Vlad.

My biggest complaint about the first Hack/Slash was with the artwork, but I have no such complaints this time around. Federica Manfredi, with the help of additional colorists, presents a look that reminds me very much of the work of NYX's Josh Middleton. Manfredi's work is at its best when depicting the happy expressions and hedonistic chaos of partiers in Spring Break, and certainly you've got to give it up for some very nice cheesecake, but there's some terrific action here as well. The design for the undead slasher is suitably creepy and powerful looking, and the parallel slugfests that take place during the climax of the book have a brutal and inventive touch to them that makes them very entertaining to watch.


Email Randy Lander at The 4th Rail comments about this review.

Hack/Slash: Girls Gone Dead (Comic Book)

Temptation doesn't run any hotter than in Florida (well, except for maybe in L.A.). Bare flesh is basking in the UV rays all along the state's coast and during Spring Break there's mucho sin to spare. This is the unusual backdrop Tim Seeley sets his sophomore entry in the Hack/Slash series against, but truthfully it's not so odd when you realize that Spring Break is fertile breeding ground for slasher activity! And that's just what Seeley's caffeine-free heroine, Cassie Hack, finds out when she and her behemoth monosyllabic partner, Vlad, take on a religious zealot who digs on introducing the word of God to young folk by burying a crucifix in their noggin'.

Smarter than the usual slasher fare, but certainly not any less wet with the red stuff than your favorite cinematic massacre, Hack/Slash is popcorn entertainment for worshippers of pulp-based carnage, except there's no greasy residue and you don't have to sling around that oft-repeated term, "Guilty Pleasure," to describe it. For the uninitiated, Hack/Slash got its start in the one-shot book Euthanized in which we were introduced to Cassie, a gal who had no choice but to put her mother down because she was a slasher (known as The Lunch Lady); Cassie now travels the country looking for similar undead killers. Where Euthanized delved into Cassie's origins and touched on her growing concerns that her mother's bloodlust may be flowing in her own veins, Girls Gone Dead reveals another emotional shade to a girl whose attire can get "none more black."

It's subtle character touches that elevate Seeley's latest Hack/Slash chapter above the horsecrap Hollywood was churning out in the '80s. Furthermore, Seeley's showing that he's got a grasp on the series' tone which comfortably fluctuates between the absurd (see the panel where Cassie barges into a hotel room with midgets getting their S&M freak on) and sincere. If the dialogue gets a little shaky or cheeseball, it's executed knowingly with a nod to the genre. Seeley's work is consistent...even if the art between Euthanized and Girls Gone Dead is not. Federica Manfredi steps in succeeding Stefano Caselli (who illustrated Euthanized and supplies a pin-up this issue) with some sharp, immaculately clean pencil work. Like Caselli, she makes Cassie an absolute eye-pleaser and she knows where to visually position the reader for maximum slasher mayhem which arrives quite often throughout Girls Gone Dead's forty-eight pages. Can I get an Amen for that!

- Ryan Rotten at Dread Central


"HACK/SLASH: GIRLS GONE DEAD" LAUNCHES IN OCTOBER FROM DEVIL'S DUE
by Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer at CBR

Posted: June 16, 2004

Official Press Release

Everyone’s favorite SLASHER hunter, Cassie Hack gets a follow up to her April Debut in HACK/SLASH: GIRLS GONE DEAD. In this installment of Hack/Slash, Cassie and Vlad must save hundreds of drunken spring breakers from the evil FATHER WRATH.

The first Hack/Slash, “Euthanized” debuted in April striking a chord with fans of both horror and comic books, warranting a sequel which pokes fun at the slasher genre (inexpensive movies with undead killers that tend to target unsupervised teenagers) while maintaining a creepy, scary edge.

“‘GIRLS GONE DEAD’ takes this one step further, and unabashedly satires the ridiculous antics of college spring break gatherings nationwide, while dealing with the fact that Cassie never had such a youth, revealing even more depth to the character than in the original.” Says Devil’s Due Publishing president, Joshua Blaylock. “While she thinks these kids act like idiots, she can’t help but envy them.”

Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley added, “ Plus, spring break is just a killer set-up for mass murder on a slasher scale. Where else better for an undead vengeful killer to find the happy, horny teenagers he so intensely despises?”

While other stories, such as the SCREAM movies deconstruct the Slasher genre, Hack/Slash takes the classic “lone surviving female” slasher victim, and develops the icon one step further. Cassie IS that survivor, who instead of going back to a normal life, has morphed herself into a hard-as-nails fighter and vowed to face other slashers head on. Thus insuring no one else suffers the same fate as she.

Cassie is an anti-hero for today’s teenage audience, as well as the millions of fans raised on a healthy diet of 1980’s slasher flicks.

Co-creators Tim Seeley and Stefano Caselli are working with Blaylock on the future of Hack/Slash, and contemplating telling Cassie’s origin story next. Cassie Hack’s mother was a slasher herself, known as the LUNCH LADY, which is why the heroine feels so compelled to hunt these monstrosities to the ends of the Earth.

Hack/Slash is currently in development as a feature film with DIE-HARD Producer Charles Gordon, along with Adrian Askarieh and DDP’s manager, Daniel Alter. Gordon and Askarieh are currently in pre-production on Universal Studio’s tent-pole franchise, SPYHUNTER, based on the hot video game. Attached are the ROCK and JOHN WOO.

What the Critics Say:

“Seeley creates a tale easily placed on the same shelf as /Nightmare on Elm Street/ or /Friday the Thirteenth/...” - BrokenFrontier.com

“...its self-aware sense of humor and strong art make it well worth a look to genre fans...” - Ain’t It Cool News

“4 out of 5 Dracs!” - Creature-Corner.com

Hack/Slash: ‘Girls Gone Dead’ is written by Tim Seeley, with art by Federica Manfredi, with cover art by Tim Seeley with Sunder Raj, and Chris Crank.

Founded in 1999, as both a commercial art studio and a small press comic book publisher, Devil’s Due Publishing has grown to one of the largest comic book studios in the industry. Launching into mainstream publishing in 2004, Devil’s Due Publishing has gained a reputation for highly regarded creative teams and innovative thinking, and is quickly on the rise as one of the top ten publishers in comics.

Visit www.devilsdue.net for more information about Devil’s Due Publishing and the wide variety of products available for purchase. Pop culture IS our culture.


HACKING AND SLASHING, SLASHING AND HACKING: TIM SEELEY ON H/S: GIRLS GONE DEAD

From Newsarama

After a successful inaugural one shot in spring Hack/Slash: Euthanized, Tim Seeley’s back with more Hack/Slash in October’s H/S: Girls Gone Dead. This time, Cassie Hack, hunter of slashers, heads to the beaches of Florida with Vlad, her trusty sidekick, to stop the murderous rampage of Father Wrath, a priest who’s full of…wrath.

You get the picture – sinning teenagers, vengeful/angry priest. Blood for miles, local cops stymied, yadda, yadda.

Enter Cassie and Vlad.

But before the story starts, enter Tim Seeley, creator of Hack/Slash. We sat down with the creator for a look into the special, as well as the whole concept. We laughed, we cried, and well…learned why Seeley will burn in Hell.

Newsarama: So, first off, why dip your toe back into this pool? Was the response to the first special that good?

Tim Seeley: Yeah, y'know, believe it or not, the first one did sell pretty well. It had really good reorders pretty much right away...I think it was one of those books where enough people thought it was a neat idea, and then the whole package got them talking enough to inspire others. I'm so damn glad too, because I love this concept and the characters, and even if no one had bought it, I'd have written a sequel just so I had something fun to read on the toilet.

NRAMA: And there’s your eloquent cover quote right there. What were some of the responses you heard to H/S: Euthanized?

TS: I heard things like "Wow, that was actually really good," "Are you gonna do another one?" and "Seeley, get out of my yard and put your pants back on." and "No, we don't want that lawn gnome back."

“Especially now.”

NRAMA: Now that we’ve probably lost any readers, why don’t you just entertain me and reminisce about the “heroes” of Hack/Slash, Cassie and Vlad. Who are they, and what are they out to do?

TS: Cassie Hack, our heroine is a teenage girl who survived an attack by a slasher...this one was called the Lunch Lady, and it turns out she was Cassie's mom! (dun dun DUN!) So, Cassie takes to the road to kill other Slashers before they can make piles of dead teenagers around America.

Vlad is her partner...a big, malformed guy, who looks like a slasher, but is actually a nice fella. He wears a gas mask, wields machetes, and cracks more bad one-liners than Arnie. The series follows them on their Slasher hunt.

NRAMA: So who specifically are their targets?

TS: The term "Slashers" is a blanket term used to describe the killers in all those wonderful teen horror film that spawned from stuff like Friday the 13th and Halloween. In Hack/Slash, all these Slashers exist...they're a kind of “undead” just like a vampire or a zombie. And because Cassie and Vlad are a pretty low budget crew, they find them by digging through newspapers and the internet. Y'know...using keywords like "teen murder" and "steak knife through the face."

NRAMA: Or “brutal killing victim found in extremely ironic setting.”

TS: Bingo.

NRAMA: Hack/Slash seems to be one of those projects that has a universal understanding among its audience due to the simplicity of the concept – the girl goes on the hunt. Jamie Lee Curtis from Halloween or Nancy from Nightmare on Elm Street gets proactive. What got this idea rolling for you? Watching one too many horror films with the lone, surviving female?

TS: Yup...exactly. Geez, you psychic?

NRAMA: Not right now. No offense, but Hack/Slash seems to be one of those ideas that’s a no-brainer – something that, once other people hear it, think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” because coming up with the concept didn’t require much more than watching a lot of movies – something that anyone can do...

TS: Yeah, pretty much. Essentially, I've always been a fan of this kind of stuff, and I knew I wanted to do a slasher comic. When you watch enough of these things you obviously start to notice that they all follow a very distinct formula...something which was even played upon in the Scream films.

After a Halloween week marathon, I thought, "What if that lone, virginal girl that survived got pissed and went after the slashers?" It seemed really obvious, but I'd never seen it before...so I went with it.

NRAMA: So why opt for Spring Break in the sequel?

TS: Slasher movies have always targeted the teen demographic...teens like to go to movies, teens like being scared in the comfort of a theater chair, and teens like to watch other attractive teens run around half nekkid. What makes slasher films scary is that the killer always punishes the kids for doing what teens do...having sex, doing drugs, etc.

When I was in college I went on Spring Break in Florida three times, and I can assure you, there was enough sex and drugs for a thousand slasher movies. So, it just seemed like such a natural place to set a slasher comic, and thus Girls Gone Dead was born.

NRAMA: So set up the story - Cassie and Vlad go there on the trail of a killer, or do they go there for vacation?

TS: They go there tracking a killer, but end up needing to take a job cleaning Spring Break hotel rooms. So, while they endure that horror, they're on the trail of a killer who's bludgeoning Spring Breakers on the beach. The story actually deals a lot with the temptations Cassie faces...she's never had the chance to be a normal teenager before, and Spring Break lets kids go crazy in relative obscurity.

NRAMA: Any scenes your particularly proud of putting in the sequel? Anything that you know you’ll go to hell for?

TS: Oh...definitely...this one could actually just be titled "Tim Seeley's One Way Ticket to The Hot Place." The killer in Girls Gone Dead is this guy named Father Wrath...he's a former priest...and well, I don't want to give too much away, but don't bother reserving me a space at the Pearly Gates.

NRAMA: Dude – it’s a Spring Break story coming out in October…I assume your April installment will be your Halloween story?

TS: Haha…jerk. Well, Hack/Slash is already pretty Halloween-y. Besides, Michael Meyers has pretty much cornered the market on Halloween night slasher stories. I'll wait until Hack/Slash gets big enough that I can do a Cassie vs. Michael Halloween story. Oh yeah..."Cassie comes to Haddonfield."

NRAMA: Before we move on to other topics other than the issue, you’ve got a photo cover for Girls Gone Dead with a model posing as Cassie. Who’s the model?

TS: That babe is my friend Sandra. And, yes, she is really that hot, and no digital manipulation was needed. I actually based Cassie a lot on Sandra, so she was a natural pick to model for the cover. She's also naturally very pouty. Hahah. Vlad is actually comic book artist Mike Norton! And, yes, Mike really is that big. So, just remember that the next time you're reading The Waiting Place. Sure, it's a sweet, introspective story, but the artist could crush you!

NRAMA: Does he always wear the gas mask?

TS: No, but he could still crush you.

NRAMA: But it wouldn’t be as scary…

TS: …crush you. Crush.

NRAMA: Well noted. So – are there more Hack/Slash planned after this? What events/settings are just screaming for attention from Cassie and Vlad?

TS: Hell yes. Next up will most likely be the "origin" story, where we'll go back and tell the Lunch Lady story. I really want to do a crossover story too...either Evil Ernie, The Crow, Freddy or Michael Meyers. I’ve just got to find the right people to bother. I've got a doozie of a set-up for a Crow crossover, and I think I could come up with a good way for Cassie and Vlad to rumble with ol' Freddy Krueger.

NRAMA: That said, where’s your line set? How much is too much in this kind of story?

TS: Oh, there's a line...I try to keep it fun, and tongue and cheek, but scary too. If I push it to far in either direction it kills the other one. And, I don't consider this an R rated story...I want smart 14 year olds and older to be able to buy it, so there's no nudity, and the gore is much less than a horror film like "The Passion of the Christ" or something.

NRAMA: Now there’s your ticket to Hell. Speaking of movies, it was announced that Hack/Slash was one of the first Devil’s Due properties picked up for a movie option. How goes?

TS: Pretty good I think! I've got the right guys in Hollywood doing the pimpin'...so, not to get too optimistic, but I think a movie will happen someday. But, comics are my bag, baby, so that's what I'm focused on right now. So far, 'Girls Gone Dead' is my best effort!

The art is by a really talented Italian lady named Federica Manfredi, and so far, I couldn’t be happier with how it’s looking. She’ll also be sure to keep the camel toes in check, which I was unable to do with the cover.

NRAMA: …


 

Click here to go back