INTERVIEW: Joseph Donohue and the Horrors of Morsels

Nachiket sits down to talk with comic writer Joseph Donohue about Kickstarter horror book, Morsels!

Brought together by Joseph Michael Donohue, Morsels is a 48-pages horror comic with bite-sized stories described as a love letter to Tales from the CryptCreepshow, and Tales from the Hood that looks to recreate the feeling of classic horror comics. GateCrashers’ writer, Nachiket Naik, sat down for an interview with Donohue to dissect the book, and the inspiration and thought behind it.

GC: To ensure I maintain the highest standards of journalism at GateCrashers, what are the favorite sandwiches of the horror characters in your book?

J. Mikey: Hmmm, I’d have to say that most of the creatures would probably be partial to a tongue sandwich. Or maybe even a good calzone. But I may be opening a can of worms claiming a calzone as a sandwich. I might as well send us all into total anarchy by claiming that a hotdog IS a sandwich.

Image: Sinnerman, Second Rocket Comics.
Image: Sinnerman, Second Rocket Comics.

GC: What is the origin story for the idea of creating this anthology?

J. Mikey: Well, you see, one day on a planet on the brink of extinction, a writer and his wife knew they alone must preserve their society’s most cherished stories. So, they delicately placed their book of stories into a spaceship and sent it hurtling through the cosmos, until it finally crash landed in the backyard of a struggling comic writer. And since no one was around the struggling writer quickly changed the name and passed the stories off as his own. Okay, that’s not quite it, but It sounded really cool.  The truth is I’ve spent the last two years writing short horror comics to help build my portfolio and I thought this book would be a fun way to collect my work and showcase the amazing work of my collaborators. 

GC: The title “Morsels” bite sized horror, is superb. How did you come about this title?

J. Mikey: I had this handful of horror stories that ranged from 3-5 pages long, and knew that the other stories wouldn’t extend past 10 pages, so I needed a title that fit the format. Plus, “Morsels” just seems to roll off the tongue.

Image: J. Michael Donohue, Jeremy Simser, Roman Stevens, Micah Myers.
Image: J. Michael Donohue, Jeremy Simser, Roman Stevens, Micah Myers.

GC: How did you go about putting together the team and collaborators?

J. Mikey: I can’t say that I necessarily had any rhyme or reason outside of the fact that every artist I’ve worked with I unconditionally adore. There’s something about each and every style that really spoke to me. some stories I had written and thought they would fit a particular artist and some I wrote specifically for the artist.

GC: What elements of horror do you feel partial towards and inject into your stories?

J. Mikey: I think one of the elements of horror that has always been the most terrifying to me is the setting. When a story is set in a far off place it’s harder to picture yourself there, so there’s a bit of a disconnect. But if the story is set in your own backyard then it’s easier for the monsters to creep underneath your skin.

Image: J. Michael Donohue, J. Paul Schiek.
Image: J. Michael Donohue, J. Paul Schiek.

GC: What are your favorite horror anthologies from any form of fiction?

J. Mikey: Oh, man. This is a tough question because I am an absolute sucker when it comes to horror anthologies. If I had to name a few I would have to say Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Hood, Tales of Halloween, Trick r’ Treat, The Mortuary Collection, etc. The list could go on and on. Creepshow is probably my all-time favorite. I love the twisted, dark humor that comes with each story, and how the wicked always seem to get what’s coming to them. My dream would be to contribute to Creepshow in some way, so if you know anyone, talk me up.

GC: If readers could have only one single bite from Morsels, which one would you pick and why?

J. Mikey: I feel like you’re trying to trick me into saying which of my kids is my favorite. Tricky, tricky. It’s really hard to pick just one because all of the stories are so varied. I wanted each and everyone to stand on it’s own and I feel like the team really succeeded in that aspect. I will say that I recently got the art for my story with Nathaniel Ooten and it’s awesome! I’m also really excited to see the final two stories, from Adam Cahoon and Noah Bailey, come to life.

Image: Adam Cahoon.
Image: Adam Cahoon.

GC: You did something unique which is to include fun mock print ads in this book. What is the inspiration behind that?

J. Mikey: I’m a huge fan of the old horror comic books and magazines, and always felt drawn to the ads. They were kooky and fun, and I always wanted to send away the ads.

GC: Please walk me and our readers through the timeline of this project, the logistics you had to work through and how you organized the project to keep it moving forward.

J. Mikey: As of right now I’m shooting to deliver the book to backers in October, but if I can do it earlier, I’d love to do it. I have four of the eight stories completed, two of the stories nearing completion, and the last two are shooting for completion late spring/early summer. At that point I hope to have everything ready for the printers in the summertime, but with so much uncertainty in the world I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time to deliver the best book I can.

Image: J. Michael Donohue, Christian DiBari, Roman Stevens, Jim Campbell.
Image: J. Michael Donohue, Christian DiBari, Roman Stevens, Jim Campbell.

GC: Which parts of the writing and comic making process do you enjoy the most?

J. Mikey: I think I love the brainstorming/outlining process a lot. The rush of new ideas is fun and exciting, and it’s the stage before all of the self-doubt and anxiety begins to creep into the old noggin. I also love getting new artwork in my inbox. To finally see a story I wrote come to life is exhilarating.

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