How a Former 'Daily Show' Writer Crafted a Slasher Comic
New York can be dangerous at the best of times, but in AfterShock Comics’ latest title, Maniac of New York, that reaches a new height — not that the New Yorkers in question seem that bothered, all things considered.
The series, for which The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive first look, is “a horror story about how crisis situations become our new normal,” according to writer Elliott Kalan. (Hellblazer veteran Andrea Mutti provides art.) “A slasher movie-style unstoppable killer is marauding through New York City, and since nobody knows how to solve the problem, everyone in power has given up and decides to just live with New Yorkers occasionally being hacked to death by an ax-wielding maniac. The series will look at how life changes, and doesn’t change, in the city from different angles — starting in our first arc with a story about an idealistic mayoral aide, a jaded police detective, and a very bad day for commuters on the subway.”
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As timely as the idea of settling into a new routine during trying times may be, Kalan said the roots of the series come from a far less likely source.
“The original inspiration for the series was my extreme adolescent disappointment with Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, which promised a citywide metropolitan bloodbath and delivered a couple shots of Jason walking through Times Square in a bad mood,” he admitted. “But beyond that, the New York movies of the '70s and '80s, when the city was gross and ugly and exciting and felt like it was full of real people and not just wealthy hedge fund managers. The first storyline is heavily indebted to my favorite movie of all time, the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three.”
Maniac of New York is a far cry from Kalan’s Emmy award-winning work on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Mystery Science Theater 3000 — there’s a lot more death, for one thing — but the comparison comes to life in an unexpected way for the writer.
“The biggest difference is I never have to worry about the budget. Times Square on New Year’s Eve? Not a problem, we can shoot there. Get a whole subway train? Done, no permits necessary. And casting is a snap, because we can just invent whoever we need.”
Kalan said the series is a labor of love. “I’ve been wanting to tell these stories for a very long time. I love New York in the way only a true New Yorker can — with a burning desire to see it fictionally destroyed,” he said. “I’ve never felt previous horror stories really took advantage of the nightmare opportunities the city has to offer, so it’s been exciting to play with all that. And I’ve loved watching Andrea bring it to life with his art after years of the idea living in my head.”
Maniac of New York is scheduled to launch in February 2021.
by Trilby Beresford, Sharareh Drury