My name is John Lees, and I’m a comic book writer from Glasgow, Scotland. I’m best known for my work on folk horror And Then Emily Was Gone with artist Iain Laurie, horror anthology Hotell with artist Dalibor Talajić, and hard-boiled Glasgow crime saga Sink with artist Alex Cormack. My other credits include The Standard, Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare, Quilte, Mountainhead and a story for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Universe, and my most recent project was The Crimson Cage, a pro wrestling retelling of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. You can learn more about me and my work in my weekly newsletter, which you can subscribe to at, and you can grab my comics at my online shop,

My name is Adam Cahoon, and I’m a comic book artist and designer from the Bay Area, California. I’m best known for my self-published comics The Tuffs, Origin House: Spa and Retreat, and Anomaly, as well as my design work with Second Rocket Comics. My other credits include the fan comic Silver Surfer Grey, and the forth-coming I Was A Teenage Ghost Rider. I have design work as well as short comics in the forthcoming books Everything Is Different Now from Justin Richards, Morsels by J Donahue, and Dead Blood by DB Andry. You can see more of my work at and find me on most socials as @AdamCCahoon.


EDIT: Thanks everyone so much for stopping by our AMA and asking questions! We had a blast! Don't forget to grab a copy of The Nasty when it hits stores April 5th (and if you need help finding your local comic shop, check out:!

Comments: 57 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

pabodie3 karma

Have you guys got love for Glass Eye Pix, and particularly their "I Sell the Dead"? If you like horror comedy it's pretty excellent IMO.

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From John: I'm a fan of Larry Fessenden in anything I've seen him in. I actually did a horror panel with him once at NYCC!

HotDogNMustard2 karma

Okay, so, what three things (any three things) could I like that would immediately mean I should read THE NASTY?

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From Adam: IT, Monster Squad, What We Do In The Shadows

From Adrian: Horror Movies! Secret Handshakes! Red Vines!

From John: Only 3? I could go broad here and be like, "Comics, films and horror!" But I'll try to offer some specific suggestions. Hmmm...
One Cut of the Dead
Giant Days
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

DivineUK2 karma

Is there any truth to the suggestion that some comic creators make books primarily with the intention of the project getting optioned for film/tv, then dropping the book prematurely when it doesn’t garner the desired interest?

Also, should comic artists use the likeness of celebrities in their work without consent/credit?

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From Adrian Wassel: Yeah, sure, there's some truth to it. But you're not going to find any real editors out there who will greenlight comics like this. Comic fans have the very best bulls**t detectors.
No. Do not do exact likenesses without consent/credit. That's a big no-no. That said, artists use celebrities, and friends, and figurines for reference all the time and that's great.

From Adam: I think there are comic artists that have an eye toward optioning, absolutely. For me, if it were to ever happen, great, I would gladly accept all the riches that come, but I am in this 100% to draw. That’s all I’ve ever needed. I would just want to keep drawing. If a live action anything was made from something I worked on, I don’t think I would care and would probably not watch it as it wouldn’t be my drawings, or anybodies drawings.

From John: I don’t doubt that there must be people out there somewhere with the idea of making comics as a shortcut to film and TV glory. But that’s not me, and it’s not any of the comic creators I know. My personal inclination is that, if you’re not in comics because you love comics, you’ll burn out pretty quickly when faced with the actual realities of making comics.
As far as likenesses go, I think my good friend Alex Cormack, artist of SINK and THE CRIMSON CAGE, has a great balance for this. Sometimes, when we're riffing on the appearance of a character, he'll ask me who I would imagine playing them in a movie. Then, he'll draw that person, not using any reference, but from memory. Which means that the design we end up is someone who evokes the general spirit or aura of that person while still being their own distinct design rather than just being based on their likeness.

HotDogNMustard2 karma

For anyone! What’s the toughest part of your job making a comic book? What’s the best?

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From SPECIAL GUEST VAULT CEO Damian Wassel: Toughest: the production, sales, and marketing cycle. It’s an elaborate bit of choreography between 6-10 people, 3-5 businesses, and thousands and thousands of retailers and fans. I don’t think it’s possible to appreciate the amount of work involved until you’ve done it. Best: holding a book in your hands that you’ve helped bring to life.

From Adam: HA! Toughest part: I have reduced feeling in the pointer finger of my drawing hand, and at the end of ALL “work days” it aches. Other than that this whole thing is a gift. As long as your team is solid there isn’t a thing about it that’s tough. You get up, you create with other creatives, and at the end of the day you say “I’ve made a thing” and you go to bed happy.

From John: The toughest part of writing comics is the periodic existential dread that crops up between projects. "What if I never come up with another good idea ever again?" "What if I'm never able to successfully pitch anything I write to a publisher again?" "What if pursuing comics instead of focusing all my energies on a stable job with a pension and benefits is going to haunt me in my older years?" "WHAT IF I'VE WASTED MY LIFE?!"The best parts are the writing itself, that period of pure creation when I'm putting together a script and feeling a new world take shape. Seeing the art come in, and the stuff you wrote coming to life. Getting a big box of comps on your doorstep, and seeing all your work take shape as a finished comic. And, honestly, just every time somebody reaches out to you and tells you that a story you wrote meant something to them.

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From Adrian: Toughest part: not letting myself get so excited by reading scripts and looking at layouts that I forget I'm there to provide the watchful eyes of an editor.
Best part: getting so excited by reading scripts and looking at layouts that I forget I'm there to provide the watchful eyes of an editor.

[deleted]2 karma

John, what comic solidified your love for the medium?

Adam, I know it has to be difficult picking up where George left off, how do you decide when to blend in seamlessly or do your thing?

floridabudguy1 karma

My questions stuck in limbo?

vault-comics1 karma

Sorry! Hiccup on our end!

From John: This is a tough question, as I've been reading comics for as long as I remember! It wasn't the first comic I read by any means, but I do have vivid memories of sitting up late at night in bed, just devouring a big, bumper collected edition of BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL. That took my love of Batman that already existed from the films and the cartoon and escalated it to another level. That was the specific moment where I recall coming to the conclusion that the comics Batman was the "real" Batman.

From Adam: Well, some things were changed after early conversations with John, There were things here and there that were maybe off the mark a little and we just moved them back toward his initial vision. Nothing drastic. I’ve tried to keep the character designs close to George’s original designs to keep the transition as easy as possible for readers. But where there was room to push a design, like the character Crudgel I have. In John’s description of her he mentioned Mary Whitehouse and Tilda Swinton specifically her character from Snowpiercer. She appears briefly in the first issue as a very Mary Whitehouse looking character. I made her very much in the vein of Tilda Swinton from Snowpiercer…because if given the option, the answer is always Tilda Swinton from Snowpeircer.

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From John: This is where I take the opportunity to add the little nugget of film trivia that Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer is doing a Mary Whitehouse impersonation with her character!

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From Adam: It has been tricky. I very much like George’s work. But I draw differently, so it’s going to look different in spite of my best efforts. But at every stage I’ve tried to make it as close to John’s vision as possible.

Sure Tilda is doing Mary as much as I’m doing my best George. But watch an interview of Mary and then watch Snowpiercer and see just how far the acorn has fallen.

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From Adam: ooh new AMA where we just talk about asking Sally Cantirino if we can commission her to draw Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer

floridabudguy2 karma

I loved the fake movie posters. My favorite was skate to hell, are there any that stick out as your favorites?

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From John: Pervert Bigfoot still makes me laugh, that's a fave of mine. I also enjoy Butt-Munchers, Hunk McBuff: Vengeance Man, and Poopypants!
I didn't expect to be writing "I also enjoy Butt-Munchers" this evening.

From Adam: ooh yeah, really happy to hear you liked Skate to Hell, that one was for me as well, I made that one thinking if they made any of these into prints what would I put on my wall. Pervert Bigfoot was modeled after Meatballs or Porkys and I feel like it landed on the mark. The first Labor Day poster makes me laugh.

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From Adam: Also Labor Day 4 Guts Parade

Fluffsy the Puppy is a drawing of my dog, so it makes me happy every time I see it.

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From John: Your Poopypants! poster is one of the funniest for me, as for all the wild directions you could have taken that, it's just a guy sitting there with a little smile on his face. And I'm like, "Look at that dirty beast, he just looks like a poopypants!

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From Adam: hahahaha yeah, that title is so much i tried to to go real small with the drawing. I gave that title to A24. Specifically Her.

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From Adam: Honestly that poster project was some of the most fun I’ve ever had drawing. there are so few that don’t bring me joy. Death Cabbage, Gore Shower, the Saul Bass Hang Nail.

Death Cabbage, Gore Shower, the Saul Bass Hang Nail all bring joy. That answer reads wrong.

From John: I just get images of the trailer for that movie, and it's like the Grindhouse DON'T trailer, only it's various little skits that end with this guy dropping a load in his drawers and gravelly voiced trailer man saying "POOPYPANTS!"

dandle2 karma

Thoughts on Glenn Danzig, Verotik comics, and the Verotika movie -- incompetent enough to be bad-good, or just bad?

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From John: I've not actually seen Verotika. But I think it might be on Shudder. Should I be checking it out?

From Adam: PLENTY of thoughts on Danzig himself. Have not seen Verotika.

CraryDAway2 karma

What’s up gang!

A VHS rental shop is a primary location in this story. So my question is: it’s 1995, you’re at Blockbuster or equivalent, what are you renting, and what is your pizza order to go with the flick?

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From Adam: oooooh excellent. hmm, the cool answer would be City of Lost Children and Dead Man but the real answer is more likely Tank Girl and Jury Duty. Tell no one. For pizza, in 95 there was a pizza shop by my house that made a cheeseburger pizza, which I KNOW, sounds TERRIBLE….but it was amazing. and I miss it every day.

From John: In 1995, I'm at Video-World on Rutherglen Main Street. And what am I renting. TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT was a big film for me that year. Or perhaps I'm renting forgotten Alex Winter oddity FREAKED for the 20th time? Then, I'm going to the takeaway on the other side of the road from the video shop, and I'm ordering a ham and pineapple pizza. YES PINEAPPLE, DEAL WITH IT!

From Adrian: I'm renting Species and 12 Monkeys. And I want mushroom and black olive please.

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From Adam: OH 12 MONKEYS!! Yes!

DaveScheidt2 karma

What are you top Five Slasher films of all time?

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From John: 5. Black Christmas, 4. Psycho, 3. Scream, 2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 1. Halloween. And I love slashers so much that I put together a TOP 100 list here:

From Adam: Is this the part where I list all 5 of the slasher films I’ve seen? Texas Chainsaw is 1. Friday the 13th 3. Scream? Scream is a slasher John?! Definitely that one is up there. And Psycho?! You can pick Hitchcock?! That one too. Where am I at 4? I don’t know…Ghost?

From SPECIAL GUEST ADRIAN WASSEL, VAULT EDITOR IN CHIEF:HOW am I supposed to limit myself to five. Right now, at this second:
Sleepaway Camp
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
But I want to say X, too.

DivineUK2 karma

Hey guys!

John, you’ve always maintained SINK is a crime series. With this latest volume you seem to be really leaning into your horror sensibilities, was this a conscious decision to take the title down a darker, more supernatural path?

Also, how much of your characters/storylines are adapted from local folklore? I’m aware of the Gorbals Vampire (which I would encourage everyone to Google!), but how about Bonnie Shaw, or the Blue Van? Do these have any basis in local legend?

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From John: The fun thing about SINK is that, once we established the world, we had leeway to take it in any genre direction we liked while still staying true to the spirit of the world. So, under the SINK umbrella, we've done horror, crime, action, drama, even romantic comedy. With this particular story, yes, we're entering particularly dark horror terrain. But as always with SINK, be ready for a few unexpected left turns along the way!

As for folklore, the Gorbals Vampire is indeed a genuine story. The blue van clowns are totally a legit urban legend that was big in Scotland when I was a kid. Bonnie Shaw, however, is totally made up. The creepy thing is, though, at cons, I have had people from Orkney come up to my table, and tell me they remember stories of Bonnie Shaw from when they were kids. So, perhaps we have invoked this demon into reality!

badsamaritan872 karma

How was the experience working with Vault, and are you a fan of anything else they’ve released?

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From Adam: How is it working with Vault? You know our bosses are watching right? It’s been incredible. So much support and enthusiasm for what we’re doing. And I’ve liked just about every single thing they’ve done, but some favorites: Heathen, Resonant, I Walk with Monsters(!!!), End After End.

From John: Working with Vault has been absolutely fantastic! I was already a fan of their work before we started working together, with titles like THESE SAVAGE SHORES, BARBARIC, MONEY SHOT and THE AUTUMNAL, to name just a few. But I've become even more of a fan since we started working together on THE NASTY. Across the board, the whole team is great, so engaged and committed to this project, making it feel like a real team effort.


From Adam: ooh I like how we picked very different titles. Yours are all good too. OOH PLOT!!! PLOT TOO. God that one is SO GOOD. Besides The Nasty, or better, along with The Nasty, I think I Walk with Monsters, for me, is the most Vault of all the Vault titles.

From John: Now you have me kicking myself that I forgot to mention I WALK WITH MONSTERS! I was obsessed with that book!

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From Adam: And Sally [Cantirino]’s pencils are unreal. As soon as I got on The Nasty I wrote to her, I think for the first time, and told her how I could’t believe that I was going to have a cover on the same book she had a cover for and how much of a fan I was of hers and Monsters

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From John: Sally is fantastic. Let's start another Reddit AMA that's just people asking us questions about how much we love I Walk With Monsters!

Ok-Feedback56042 karma

Your opinion on: Fictional horror stories downfall(because today these are not getting as much popularity as used to get in past) How much vfx contribute to make a horror story more creepy and memorable(the nun recent example)Does nowadays every movie should use vfx more and more?

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From John: I think I'd disagree on the point about horror's popularity. I'm old enough to have lived through some dark days for the genre, and now it feels like it's thriving. In the world of film, some of the big non-tentpole-IP cinema success stories of last year were horror movies like SMILE or THE BLACK PHONE or TERRIFIER 2, or M3GAN this year, and in comics, there is so much exciting stuff out there at the moment. I think there's always going to be stuff that's bad or that isn't for us, in any era, but by the same token, there's always good and exciting stuff if you know where to look.

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From Vault EIC Adrian Wassel: I actually think horror is in a renaissance moment. For instance, slasher novels are now a thing—a big thing!—and it makes my crooked little heart squeal with devilish joy. As for VFX. I adore good VFX, especially practical effects. 1982 The Thing for instance...burned into my mind forever. In some ways, I think CGI has actually stripped movies of VFX by making it easier. I love a "cerebral horror" flick as much as the next person, but sometimes, I want Pumpkinhead, where I'm there to eat my popcorn and soak in the visual ingenuity!

Hot-Share-61982 karma

One of my favorite things I've seen in the marketing for THE NASTY are all the silly fake B-rate horror movies, like PERVERT BIGFOOT and REVENGE OF THE PACIFISTS and such. Who came up with these ludicrous movies? How do they play into the story?

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From Adam: HAHAH YES! John wrote the list of titles (save for Revenge of the Pacifist and The Hardest Snog…those were me) then I took the list, before he and I ever spoke, and just drew what came to me from the titles. I tried really hard to make them unique to different directors, poster artists and studios.

From John: I wrote a big master-list of dumb made-up movie titles, which Adam them drew as posters. Apart from REVENGE OF THE PACIFIST, that one was all Adam! Monster-Dome Video is one of the central locations of our story, and to make it feel more real and full of personality, we wanted it to be filled with all these cultural artefacts, to really create the sense of a bigger world beyond the story we were telling. And some of the most fun I had in crafting dialogue is having all these horror fans just throwing back and forth all these references to horror movies they avidly love, but which don't actually exist!

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From Adam: These posters were the beginning of our relationship, both professional and personal. I could tell immediately from just the titles that John was very much someone I wanted to work with.

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I got to read #1 (thanks to Adrian Wassel's Twitter share), and no spoilers, but the unseen (and never to be seen) movie HOUSE OF CREEPING FLESH plays an important role in the overall plot.

Does John have a version of HOUSE OF CREEPING FLESH in his head? Or is it like a total wild card?

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From John: The never-to-be-seen version of THE HOUSE OF CREEPING FLESH is intentionally open-ended. It could be anything. It's whatever you think would be the scariest thing in the world. However, I will say that the opening prologue from the film that we see a snippet of in the first issue is 100% cribbed from the opening scene of the 1931 FRANKENSTEIN, still one of the all-time great opening scenes - "We warned you!"

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Also, seeing a bunch of "favorites lists" type questions: Are there other creators working right now in comics or film you guys look to for inspiration? Anyone who's work was especially influential on THE NASTY?

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From Adam: SO MANY. In general Artists: Matthew Allison, Charles Burn, Nicole Goux, DWJ, Sally Cantirino, WARRWICK JOHNSON CADWELL!!! For the Nasty I looked at Sally a lot, a little Charles Burns, and Junji Ito.

From John: This answer may seem a bit left-field, but a big inspiration for THE NASTY was Bill Forsyth, the filmmaker behind LOCAL HERO and GREGORY'S GIRL. As a Scot myself, I'd say Forsyth has made some of the best Scottish stories ever, and I wanted to capture some of his charm and wit and translate that across into the world of video nasties and slashers.

LastOneAvailable1 karma

Hey to both of you!

What are your favorite comics? And what exactly could I expect under "horror comedy"?

Thanks for the AMA!

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From John: My favourite comics! A big question. Honestly, the big Naoki Urasawa trifecta of 20th CENTURY BOYS, MONSTER and PLUTO are all up there, and depending on my mood, I could choose any as my fave.
As for what to expect from horror comedy, my answer would be something that offers some scares AND some laughs. I think it's different from just a horror that has some jokes in it, a horror comedy is generally lighter in tone.

From Adam: Favorite comics currently: Cankor, Matthew Allison. Fuck Off Squad, Baker and Goux. End After End, Andry and Daniel. Went to Edgar Wright and Tim Burton even some Miyazaki for “horror comedy” inspiration