Q&A: Slipknot’s Corey Taylor on first comic, “HOUSE OF GOLD AND BONES”
Rock ‘n’ roll and comics are not so far apart. Both have been blamed for corrupting the youth, both have inspired the other, and both are certainly owned by the Devil himself. It is little wonder that musicians are finding themselves behind the pages of a few four-color panels themselves with the likes of Life of Agony’s Alan Robert, and now Slipknot/Stone Sour front man Corey TAYLOR: , the newest musician to be bitten by the creative bug. Fresh from his fifth album with Stone Sour titled HOUSE OF GOLD AND BONES PART TWO (part one was released October 2012), TAYLOR: has dropped the similarly titled bookas a companion piece. Part dreamscape, part horror, the story follows the journey of a nameless man as he wakes up in an unknown world, hunted by a strange creature. As he attempts to put together his fragmented memories, he inexplicably finds himself attracting demonic doppelgangers, dark shadows, and more questions than answers.
FANGORIA: How did you come up with the concept for HOUSE OF GOLD AND BONES?
COREY TAYLOR: It was an idea that I had for a while. It was kind of a feeling for an idea that I was playing around with for about four or five years, but I never quite took the time to flesh it out or explore it; to really see how far it can go. It just kind of sat on the back burner for a while. Right around the time we were doing Sonisphere with Slipknot, that’s when it came screaming to the front. I saw the story very clearly, the entirety of it. I saw the possibilities and that kind of triggered all this music, this story. Before I knew it, six months later, we were in the studio and I was finishing it. It was kind of crazy but it was fun. It’s something that I had for a while but it was something that was just sitting around, just waiting to happen, and I’m glad I waited until it came to me instead of me trying to chase it down.
FANG: Why did you decide to do a music/comic hybrid?
TAYLOR: It just felt right. I don’t know how else to describe it. When I was writing the story, I just kept thinking to myself, “This is very visual.” I wanted to write it in a way that was very evocative because I knew that if I encouraged the listeners to listen to the music while also reading the story which accompanied it, that they would be able to see it in their heads and if I could get it right, it would be a perfect way to have a comic book. Being a fan of comics, I guess I wasn’t exactly looking to write a comic but I just knew that if there was ever going to be a time, it was going to be this. I just felt that it was a perfect little piece to the rest of this puzzle and lo and behold, I opened my big mouth and created more work for myself.
FANG: It originally started as a short story, is that correct?
TAYLOR: Yeah. The short story that I wrote, we ended up splitting in half and put each half into each CD, so you kind of had a cliffhanger of part one and the resolution in part two. But I just knew that such a special project, it was so big, so creative that I felt anything worth doing was worth overdoing. So why not try to get into comics as well? I’ve never written a comic strip before but I knew what I wanted to see and I knew that if I found the right company, they could show me the ropes and how to make it work. With the right artists, we could make it very, very cool. It was just one more way to make this a very special project.
FANG: How did you and the artist, Richard Clark, get involved?
TAYLOR: It was a matter of Dark Horse sending me a list of artists who were available and I went through and looked at each of the persons artwork. I had a very specific style in mind that I wanted to see for the comics and Richard’s style was just perfect. I knew that I didn’t want to do anything too cartoonish; nothing that was too far-fetched, but at the same time not too stylized. I wanted this to look like an illustrated version of a movie and Richard’s style really felt like that, especially the work he did on the FRINGE comics. He has such a great way of illustrating not only real people, but fictitious characters as well, and I knew that was kind of what I was looking for. So, luckily he was available. I really lucked out with that.
FANG: Do you feel like he did a good job capturing what is such a large and beautiful piece, with a lot of unspoken elements, into a visual medium?
TAYLOR: I thought he did great. I was blown away by it because it’s very strange to see something that you’ve only seen in your head finally on a page. It’s almost unnerving, it’s weird. Perfect example: the scene where the human finally meets Alan and he found his way into the cement building and there is this thing sitting there. Richard really nailed it for me. I had a very vague impression of what it was going to look like, but when I saw Richard’s interpretation of it, I thought “this is perfect.” He’s gotten even better with each issue, if you can even fathom that. I’m really excited. The first issue has always been to set up the mystery and two, three, and four, will slowly, surely reveal everything and that’s why I think that a lot of people are really going to enjoy this comic.
FANG: I’m loving this story because you never quite know what’s going on; if the character is dreaming or if he actually is in another world. It’s very H.P. Lovecraft.
TAYLOR: Oh yeah, it definitely has an esoteric vibe, yet there is something very visceral about it. Like, you know this could very possibly be a dream, but he feels the fact that he is in very mortal danger. That’s the great balance and it’s very hard to pull that off sometimes, but I feel that we pulled it off and it’s gotten better with every issue. It also gets a little more entertaining as well. There’s a lot of dark spots, a lot of intellectual passages, conversations you’re trying to figure out and there’s a lot of twisted humor as well. I hope I just did a good job of balancing it.
TAYLOR: I wanted people to have time to digest the first part. Honestly, it was a calculated risk because I was gambling on the fact that the excitement for part one would sustain itself until part two came out, and it came out in spades. Honestly, it built more excitement for part two than I even realized. I was pretty excited. Part two came out a week ago and we did more units of part two than we did of part one in the first week. That definitely makes me feel like we did something right, that the gamble paid off. So I knew that if that excitement could sustain itself, then it would give us enough time to do the comic properly. I didn’t want to rush anything, I wanted to make sure that everything was done the way an actual comic is done. Just for respect of the company, respect for the material, and respect for the artist. It takes a long time for a piece to be put together and I knew if I wanted for this to work, it had to be done right, so it just made sense to wait and try to time it with part two coming out musically. Luckily, we found that window and it built a lot of excitement.
I was in Australia about three months ago and I was in a comic shop. The guy said he had never had a pre-order like the one he had for HOUSE OF GOLD AND BONES. It made my day. As a comic fan, that’s the stuff you want to hear. So, artistically it made sense, but from a pragmatic stand point, I had to make sure we did everything properly.
FANG: Since you are huge fan of comics, will there be more projects like this in the future or just comic projects in general?
TAYLOR: Maybe. I never say never. It would have to be something right. Something about this project made sense and it was short. With this comic, I really got to focus on it and make sure it’s to the best of my ability. If I had an idea for something, maybe, but it would have to be something really cool. It would have to be something that I felt was never done before. It would have to be something I believed in, something that I think people would be interested in. I never put anything too far on the back burner because you just don’t know. We’ll have to see.