Meet the Family in Steve Niles’ ‘The October Faction’ [Interview]
Last autumn, IDW launched The October Faction, a new ongoing series by Steve Niles and Damien Worm that tells the story of Fredrick Allan, a retired monster hunter who finds his well-being and family threatened by long-buried secrets. It's a creepy, atmospheric book, filled with new twists on classic horror tropes. With issue #6 arriving in stores next week, we got the chance to sit down with Niles to talk about how this title came to be and what he has planned for the future.
ComicsAlliance: The October Faction is a series that weaves together your own personal takes on a number of classic horror themes, and as such, it's not all that easy to describe in a single sentence. Given that inherent complexity, how did you explain the concept when you initially pitched it to IDW?
Steve Niles: It was very simple… I said "it's a retired monster hunter, trying to keep his family together." And that was it, that was what I wanted to hang the entire series on, that one sentence.
CA: Were there specific inspirations for this series? I mean, there are some comparisons that seem inevitable when trying to describe it to people…
SN: Well, part of the problem was, I knew it was going to be about a spooky family. So I knew I was going to The Addams Family and The Munsters and all these things that it's not. But It's not any of those. This family has its own identity. It might be thought of as being in there with the "crazy family" genre, but it's not really that.
CA: So was that a concern when preparing to launch this project, that you have to get past those initial connections that people make?
SN: It happens with every single thing you do. It happened with 30 Days Of Night, it happened with this… no matter what you do, people find a way to compare it to something, and I think that's just a way to grasp it.
I mean, that's what I had to do to pitch it! When I was first pitching it, I would go, "Well, there's a little Addams Family thing going on," but at the same time, the crazy family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was another one I thought about. I mean, that's sort of the ultimate crazy horror family, but there's a long line of crazy family stories.
CA: How about the artist, Damien Worm? Was he on board from the get-go, or was he someone you found after putting the story together in your head?
SN: He was part of the creation. We started it together – I saw his art on Facebook, started writing him, and he's a total horror kid, just like me. He loves, and lives, for horror. So we just started talking, and before I knew it, I was like, "what about this idea?" and he loved it.
CA: Given that you have your own comic company that you've co-founded, Black Mask, why did you decide to place this series with IDW?
SN: Well, IDW is really part of my family, and this just seemed like a good fit. I already have something going on [at Black Mask], so it was really just pick-and-choose. I had spoken to [IDW Publisher] Ted Adams about it, and he loved the idea, he loved the pitch. [IDW Editor-In-Chief and CCO] Chris Ryall loved it. And y'know, when a publisher tells you they love it, you go with it.
CA: So how far in advance do you have the story planned? Do you have a set duration in mind, or are you just seeing how it goes and riding the wave?
SN: Right now, Damien is up to issue #7. I'm on issue #13. So we have beyond the first year written. And I haven't really done that many ongoings, so in a way I am…I'm poking around and exploring.
CA: The first few issues have been packed with characters and plot twists. Do you have more elements to introduce, and are there more archetypes you want to play with and put your own spin on?
SN: Oh yes, certainly. I'm gonna keep filling it with stuff, and seeing where it can go, where it takes me. And it doesn't seem to want to stop anytime soon!