With the release of Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? Graphic novel today, we are so delighted to be joined by the very talented co-writer and artist Eric Powell.
Hi Eric, thank you for sitting and chatting with us today. We are so happy that we can do this; we have been fans of your work for a very long time. We are so excited to chat with you about your new graphic novel with Harold Schechter.
How would you describe Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?
At its core I guess I’d have to say it’s a period piece about a family steeped in madness. But there are a lot of angles to this book. We examine the distorted inner workings of Gein’s fantasy world, and how the sterilized 1950s America dealt with these almost inconceivable crimes, among other things.
How did the collaboration with Harold Schechter come about?
I’ve been a long time fan of his. And was very aware of his book Deviant. The best and most accurate account of the Gein case. When I got the idea to do a graphic novel on Gein I began to have second thoughts because I didn’t believe I could do anything better than what Harold had already done. But I thought perhaps Harold might want to collaborate on it. Thinking he had probably come up with more material and insights since working on Deviant. I reached out through his agent and had little hope he would respond. In which case I would just move on to another project. But luckily it turns out that Harold is a huge comic fan and was really excited about the idea.
What was it like to write with Harold?
Great. He’s a super generous and unselfish collaborator. He also came up with perspectives that I would have never dreamed of. It was a very positive experience.
On average, how long did it take you to create a page of art for the graphic novel?
It depended on the page. And the way I worked on the book, I can’t even really say how long an individual page took. I did pretty extensive story layouts to make sure it was flowing well, and those were done in chunks. I do know I was inking a minimum of 2-3 pages a day when that part of the process came about.
Before you started work on this graphic novel, how much did you know about Eddie Gein?
I wouldn’t say I was an expert, but I was pretty knowledgeable. That didn’t really prepare me for the experience of completely immersing myself in this part of history, though. I found out pretty quickly the difference between working in fiction and non-fiction. Fact checking and research really add a lot of complexity to the process.
Was there a time when you were creating the art for the graphic novel that you found it difficult to create the art?
There are projects I’ve done where I found it difficult to portray the subject matter. Big Man Plans for example was a hard book to draw. I got pretty depressed at times. But the kind of analytical approach Harold and I took with this book made it not too difficult to tackle. We didn’t set out to make a grotesque book. Although it’s impossible not to be grotesque at moments when telling this story. But we wanted it to be more of a psychological horror.
During the process of creating this graphic novel, have your thoughts about Eddie Gein changed?
Yes, a little. While his crimes are unforgivable, I always had a bit of sympathy for what he went through in life that turned him into the ghoul of Plainfield. However, I found myself having slightly less sympathy for him as I did more research. He never acknowledged or showed remorse for his crimes. He always claimed ignorance or tried to pass blame. It’s hard to find anything redeeming in that. I see him as an unredeemable pathetic and pitiable figure.
Any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
If you enjoy true crime, dark history and horror, I hope you check out “Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?”!
We would like to say a big thank you to Eric for taking the time to chat with us.