Coming Soon to Kickstarter from Hex Publishers, Featuring Variant Covers by Robert Hack, Aaron Lovett, Clara Meath, Juan Samu, and Xander Smith
Also Featuring a CD/Digital Soundtrack by Celldweller, Essenger, Circle of Dust, Cantervice, Young Medicine, Scandroid, PYLOT, and The All Things; as well as a Latex Mask by Oktober Studios
Experience the world of horror fandom like never before with TRUE BELIEVERS, a gripping and grisly new comic book mini-series co-written by bestselling Bram Stoker Award-winner Stephen Graham Jones and Denver Post bestselling writer Joshua Viola, with interior artwork by Ben Matsuya. The three-issue series, which delves into the world of cosplay and fan conventions, is set at the Colorado Festival of Horror. A full-color, four-page ashcan preview of TRUE BELIEVERS #1 will be available exclusively at this year’s festival, which is based in Denver, CO, and runs from Friday, September 15th to Sunday, September 17th. The first completed TRUE BELIEVERS issue will be available on Kickstarter, along with a TRUE BELIEVERS CD/Digital soundtrack powered by the USA-based record label FiXT, featuring Celldweller, Essenger, Circle of Dust, Cantervice, Young Medicine, Scandroid, PYLOT, and The All Things, as well as a TRUE BELIEVERS latex mask from Oktober Studios. The campaign is now live on Kickstarter.
TRUE BELIEVERS was co-created and co-written by bestselling writer Stephen Graham Jones, whose most recent comic, EARTHDIVERS, is set to become a TV series through 20th Century Television and whose most recent novel, THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS, is a New York Times bestseller. “TRUE BELIEVERS is for the true believers out there,” says Graham Jones. “It’s for those who like the masks, the machetes, the blood and the grins.” He has written numerous other slasher novels, such as MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW, DON’T FEAR THE REAPER, NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS, and THE LAST FINAL GIRL.
Some seek out fan conventions for community. For safety. For understanding. There are those who believe they reveal their true selves by becoming a cherished character, but sometimes obsessions turn dark. The first issue of TRUE BELIEVERS introduces a new bone-chilling slasher character, Killr™, who offers a sinister and unforgettable take on fandom. In the world of meta horror, Killr™ emerges as the embodiment of evil within the slasher genre, born from a cult-favorite short film that inspires a trilogy. Amid the franchise’s rising popularity, devoted fans fervently embrace Killr™, celebrating the character with enthusiastic cosplay. At the Colorado Festival of Horror, fanatics Rip and Kit—proudly labeling themselves as “true believers”—embark on a profound journey of self-discovery under Kit’s guidance. However, the boundaries between reality and fiction blur, prompting them to question the ramifications of idolizing such malevolence. This gripping meta horror tale delves into the intricate interplay of identity, horror, and obsession, challenging the very essence of their connection with the enigmatic entity they revere. The Kickstarter edition features the first 24-page story in the three-issue series.
“Killr™ is one of the purest distillations of evil ever produced by the slasher genre,” says Joshua Viola, the Colorado Book Award winner and Denver Post bestselling author of Denver Moon, Nightmares Unhinged, and It Came from the Multiplex. “Our villain, Killr™ (the trademark symbol playfully satirizes the franchising of horror properties), presents a refreshing perspective on the concept of wearing a mask and the diverse interpretations fans can derive from it. “Killr™ is truly a cosplayer’s dream.”
TRUE BELIEVERS features interior art by comic book artist Ben Matsuya (Jupiter Jet, Midnight Massacre). The series includes haunting variant covers by fan favorite horror comic artists, such as:
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina artist Robert Hack;
- Monster Train artist Aaron Lovett;
- Goosebumps artist Clara Meath;
- Elvira artist Juan Samu;
- American Horror Story artist Xander Smith
Everyone who backs at a physical level will receive a copy of the first issue. Other tiers include variant covers; signed books by Stephen Graham Jones, Joshua Viola, and Ben Matsuya; signed prints; patches designed by AJ Nazzaro (Hearthstone, Overwatch), latex masks; an opportunity to become a character in Issue 2; a 2024 Colorado Festival of Horror 3-Day Pass for 2; and a CD/ digital soundtrack for TRUE BELIEVERS.
“Stephen Graham Jones, Joshua Viola, and Ben Matsuya have delivered a mind-blowing, twisted comic,” says Colorado Festival of Horror co-founder, Bret Smith. “TRUE BELIEVERS is set at our very own horror convention, featuring a cutting-edge psycho killer stalking our Slasher Hotel hallways!”
The official TRUE BELIEVERS soundtrack, titled “Kit’s Playlist,” is woven into the comic’s narrative, providing a glimpse into one of our character’s musical tastes during their cosplaying escapades. Every track featured on this playlist exudes dark themes that seamlessly align with the story’s tone, creating a hauntingly immersive experience for listeners. Among these seven captivating tunes are covers that enhance the eerie atmosphere, such as PYLOT’s remix of Scandroid’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller,” Celldweller’s rendition of “Cry Little Sister,” originally a theme from The Lost Boys film by Gerard McMahon, the spine-chilling “Halloween Theme,” a cover of John Carpenter’s timeless Halloween theme, and Young Medicine’s haunting take on “Somebody’s Watching Me,” a popular 1984 track by Rockwell featuring Michael Jackson. Each song gracefully embraces the essence of the slasher genre, amplifying the Halloween season’s allure to mesmerize and captivate listeners.
The soundtrack for TRUE BELIEVERS features:
- Celldweller/Circle of Dust/Scandroid (the prolific musician Klayton, known for intricately designed soundscapes and a blend of musical styles, has been featured in movies, games, and TV shows);
- Essenger (a musician on the cutting edge of electronic music, blending an array of influences for a sound that pays tribute to modern alt rock, EDM, and synthwave);
- PYLOT (by blending elements of synthwave and cyberpunk with finesse and attention to detail, PYLOT creates mesmerizing and immersive soundscapes that are filled with beautiful synth melodies and energizing rhythms);
- Cantervice (an American concept-based electronic rock project centered around dystopian futures);
- Young Medicine (synthwave rockers inspired by diverse genres resulting in a carefully constructed music identity that defies simple categorization);
- The All Things (a three-piece rock outfit from New York)
“We hope TRUE BELIEVERS provides thought-provoking commentary on the very essence of fandom and the meaning of being a devoted ‘true believer,’” says artist Ben Matsuya.
About the Publisher:
Hex Publishers is an independent publishing house proudly specializing in genre fiction: horror, science fiction, crime, dark fantasy, comics, and any other form that explores the imagination. Founded by writers, Hex values both the author and the reader, with an emphasis on quality, diversity, and voices often overlooked by the mainstream. Visit hexpublishers.com
Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians. He has been an NEA fellowship recipient and been recipient of several awards including: the Ray Bradbury Award from the Los Angeles Times, the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Jesse Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the Alex Award from American Library Association, and the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award . He is the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Joshua Viola is a 2021 Splatterpunk Award nominee, Colorado Book Award winner, and editor of the StokerCon 2021 Souvenir Anthology. He is the co-author of the Denver Moon series with Warren Hammond. Their graphic novel, Denver Moon: Metamorphosis, was included on the 2018 Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot. Viola edited the Denver Post #1 bestselling horror anthology Nightmares Unhinged, and co-edited Cyber World—named one of the best science fiction anthologies of 2016 by Barnes & Noble. His first novel, The Bane of Yoto, won the USA Best Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, International Book Awards, and Independent Publishers Book Awards. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, including DOA III: Extreme Horror Anthology, Doorbells at Dusk and Classic Monsters Unleashed. In 2022, he became the creative director of comics and novelization for Random Games’ videogame franchise, Unioverse. When he isn’t writing and editing, he dabbles in art. In 2020, he collaborated with his husband, Aaron Lovett, on AfterShock Comics’ Miskatonic #1 Cover Alpha Comics variant. As a videogame artist, he worked on Pirates of the Caribbean: Call of the Kraken, Smurfs’ Grabber and TARGET: Terror. Viola is the owner and chief editor of Hex Publishers in Denver, Colorado.
Ben Matsuya, a versatile illustrator, comic artist, and storyteller from Southern California, reflects a wide range of interests and experiences in his work, spanning superheroes, horror, and fantasy. His first published comic Jupiter Jet—an all-ages action-adventure co-created by Jason Inman and Ashley Victoria Robinson—was followed by the horror comedy graphic novel Midnight Massacre. Demonstrating his talent in visual storytelling, he recently illustrated a 6-issue comic book miniseries for the Unioverse videogame tie-in. Exploring the captivating space of web comics, he worked on LOOM, a high-fantasy drama showcased on WEBTOON.
COFOH Entertainment LLC, presents the Colorado Festival of Horror: Slasher Hotel event highlighting the horror genre, and all that it bleeds. COFOH is a platform for the community to unite over the love of horror and everything that creeps in the night! For more information visit www.cofestivalofhorror.com
Bret Smith retired from IBM after 34 years as a program manager. He’s a lifelong Star Trek fan and loves all things pop culture. His wife, Jeanni Smith, is an antiques dealer and avid reader. They became co-founders of the Colorado Festival of Horror in 2021, as well as copyeditors for Hex Publishers that same year. They’ve been happily married for a really long time and live in Colorado with their three cats.
Dan Crosier is a mixed media artist and accomplished comic book creator, known for works like Sons of Soil and The Exquisite Vanishteer. As a filmmaker, he has released several short films and a full feature, Isolation Man. He is the co-founder of popular events like DiNK: Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo, and COFOH: Colorado Festival of Horror.