Brendan Deneen is a critically acclaimed graphic novelist and playwright, having scripted/plotted Flash Gordon and Casper the Friendly Ghost, as well as Phoenix (with Jim Krueger) and his original creation Scatterbrain (called “one of the best indies of the year” by Ain’t It Cool News). Deneen’s children’s play, Mortimer the Lazy Bird, was favourably reviewed by The New York Times, which compared the story to both Aesop and Disney. His debut novel, The Ninth Circle, was just published and this fall will see the publication of his original graphic novel The Island of Misfit Toys.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
I’ve always been a fan of horror. I remember buying DC Comics’ The Night Force when I was way too young to be reading that book. I was shocked at what was going on and thought it was awesome. Then, when I started renting movies from the local video store (VHS, baby!), I went on a horror movie binge. I co-wrote a novel when I was 12 years old that was a murder mystery. In Junior High School, I remember writing a story about a kid who wears a gas mask and kills people. If a kid did that these days, he’d probably be immediately expelled!
What is your most notable work?
Up until now, that has to probably be my run on the Flash Gordon comics. But this fall, The Island of Misfit Toys (an original graphic novel that I wrote) is coming out and I think it’s going to get a lot of attention, especially since this Christmas is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’s 50th anniversary.
What are you working on now?
I’m under contract to write a horror novel called The Chrysalis. I pitch it as The Shining meets Alien. I’m very excited about this one.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Is it cliché to say Stephen King? I also love Laird Barron (who I admittedly used to represent). I think he’s one of the best writers working today, in any genre.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Ironically, especially considering the second to last chapter of The Ninth Circle, I cannot handle gore. I can’t even watch medical shows on TV. I love psychological chills. They’re a lot harder to pull off.
Why should people read your work?
I think The Ninth Circle is honestly unlike anything else out there. It’s based on a classic, it’s a coming-of-age tale, some of the characters have almost supernatural powers, it’s a love story, and it’s really dark. And if dark isn’t your thing, all of my comic book stuff (except Devil’s Hopyard) is kid-friendly.
Recommend a book.
I have to recommend Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. It was a huge influence on my writing of The Ninth Circle.
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