Kickstart the Week(end) with Turner Family Terrors 1: Horror/Comedy/Adventure Comic

Kickstart your weekend with the Turner Family in their horror, comedy, and adventure series Turner Family Terrors, which follows a family of monster hunters. Get ready to slay some demons and, even more terrifyingly, change some diapers!!!

The first issue of Turner Family Terrors is the beginning of an ongoing saga when the dysfunctional Turner family discovers their adopted daughter is the Princess of Darkness and they have to protect her from the forces of evil who want to use her powers for—what else—evil! Plus they have to deal with an apocalyptic plot created by a Russian occultist. Just a typical Sunday afternoon for the Turners!

This is an extended 32-page black-and-white issue with the art style paying tribute to 50’s and 60’s horror series such as Eerie and Tales from the Crypt and the contemporary Rachel Rising and The Walking Dead. The comedy is akin to Young Frankenstein and family-filled comedies such as National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Turner Family Terrors is written by Robert Krisch, a writer, director, and Emmy nominated TV & Film editor (check him out on Instagram!). This is his third horror project and his first-ever graphic novel! The artwork is by Aleksandar Bozic Ske, whose work includes Go to The Museum, Sex and Violence Anthology, and Life Under Construction.

The editing team consists of editor Christopher Angel (director of Wishmaster 3 and 4) and assistant editor Lauren Krisch (who worked at various museums and literary journals such as Time, Inc. and Random House Publishing), the inspiration for the mother of the Turner family, Laura!

The project has hit its $1,650 goal and will continue its Kickstarter campaign until July 25, 2020, at 12:21 PM EDT. Rewards include digital ($10) and physical ($25) copies of the first issue as well as the creator’s short film The Crows of Culver ($40). So get an exclusive copy of the book or your own image drawn into the first issue ($100) by pledging Turner Family Terrors here.

Enjoy my in-depth interview with writer Robert Krisch below!

Robert Krisch

Me: How are the Turners different from your typical monster hunters?

Krisch: The Turners are not looking for fame, fortune, or glory; they are reluctant heroes. In this first story arc, the Turners discover their adopted daughter is the Princess of Darkness and must protect her when the forces of evil attempt to harness her power. They are very much the ones hunted in this first issue. It’s ironic since Mom Laura Turner spent her entire childhood being trained as the next great monster hunter and adventurer like her father. However, Laura rebelled from this path decades ago, trying desperately to find some sense of normalcy in the suburbs raising her family. As our story begins the Turners find themselves on the run from a ragtag group of monsters inspired by ancient Russian lore. Hunting monsters might not be the Turners’ main concern, but they’ll have to do a lot of slaying if they ever plan on making it back to their life of Little League Baseball and PTA meetings.

Me: If you had to pick one, which member of the Turner family is your favorite and why?

Krisch: That’s a tough one. Bob, Laura, Matty, and Sophie are all a dysfunctional mess in their own lovable way. I’ve tried my best to give each character unique powers and mysteries for them, along with the reader, to discover. But issue one focuses more on Laura, so I’ll go with her. I just feel for her. She has finally found some peace in her life, focussing on her kids, only to have that rewarding routine snatched away from her. Unfortunately, she’s forced back into the workplace, ends up being crapped on by her new boss, and now she’s being attacked by these Russian monsters. There’s a lot going on and she’s not handling any of it particularly well. It’s all good fun.

Turner Family Terrors #1 Page 14

Me: Which horror comics are your favorites and how would you say they’ve inspired your work?

Krisch: I’m pretty much a fan of whatever Mike Mignola touches. Hellboy, B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson, Baltimore, Joe Golem—I tear through it all. His monsters and mythology are captivating and the Lovecraftian artwork is creepy, weird, and beautiful. I thought if I could tap into that sense of story and design even a little bit, I could have something cool. My twist would be the humor, making it totally over the top and farcical.

I’m also a huge fan of black and white horror books, especially the classics like Creepy and Eerie. The stories from Archie Goodwin and art from masters like Ditko and Williamson are wonderful reads even today—“The Success Story”—being one of the most famous and one of my favorites. That visual tone is all over the pages of Turner Family Terrors.

Me: Can you tell us about your creative team and how you brought them together to work on this project?

Krisch: I found my artist, Serbian illustrator Aleksandar ‘Ske’ Bozic, on a Facebook group called “Connecting Comic Book Writers and Artists”. After checking out his incredible work in the book The Adventures of Cordelia Swift, I knew Ske was the right artist to draw Turner Family Terrors. Ske is a brilliant artist but also a great guy and, lucky for me, very patient. This is my first graphic novel and my first real collaboration with an artist. Ske answered every question I threw at him, continuing to deliver stunning pages week after week. It was like Christmas morning every time I’d check my inbox and see a new batch of illustrations. I’m very thankful I hooked up with Ske.

I’m also extremely lucky to have a group of uber-creative friends and colleagues who helped make this comic come to life. Editor Christopher Angel, Assistant Editor Lauren Krisch (my favorite person), and so many other collaborators helped rein this story in and shape it into the creepy, funny, emotional story it became.

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Me: Your previous horror works have been in other formats. What about this graphic novel project is different from your previous horror projects that surprised you?

Krisch: Hmm, what surprised me?  Maybe it was how much flexibility I had to shape the story on the back end of the process after I received the pages from my artist. I really didn’t think that was going to be the case.

In tackling a graphic novel for the first time, I went into the project thinking I did not have that “fix it in post” luxury I have in TV and film. I thought once I gave the script to my artist my input was kinda done; I’d get the pages back and there was the book. So, I really killed myself early on in writing the story, and showing it to people, editing it down, then creating thumbnail page sketches, then revising those again. I was very paranoid about being prepared, so I did a ton of work before I handed anything to my artist.

After I got my pages back I realized there was just a whole other layer of collaboration that was possible starting at that point. I could tweak the dialogue to match the artwork better, then work with my artist to do some minor tweaks to the art to fully realize some of these new ideas. It was great to discover that throughout the entire process I could continue to work to make the book even better.

Me: Have you run into any unexpected issues while running your Kickstarter during the pandemic? Do you have any advice for creators looking to run a crowdfunding campaign during these chaotic times?

Krisch: We decided to delay our Kickstarter campaign three months, and seriously reconsidered our strategy to launch the series. But after checking in on Kickstarter and realizing backers were still supporting projects, it became clear it was the right time to move ahead. We wanted to launch the series in hopes of continuing to support our creators, artists, printers, shippers, comic shops… the entire community. We also felt there was no time like the present to get the book out there so people could see some amazing art and hopefully laugh at a few jokes… lord knows we all need a good laugh these days.

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Me: What is the number one reason why someone should back your Kickstarter project?

Krisch: If readers enjoy the monsters and myth of a Mike Mignola book, or dig the beautiful line art of Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising, or laugh at the absurdist humor of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, then they’ll get a kick out of Turner Family Terrors. Another easy way to describe TFT is it’s Hellboy meets The Simpsons. We are hoping with our stretch goal campaign to unlock issue 2 of the series for all our current backers. So that would be another reason to support this Kickstarter—you’ll hopefully be able to grab two issues of the series by backing just this first campaign.

Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?

Krisch: What I would say is that this is a very much achievable goal. Turner Family Terrors is my first book, so a year ago I was an aspiring comic book writer as well. Now I’ve written and created my first book, so it’s possible. I would just say to start asking a lot of questions of people in the comic book community. Most people are really cool and doing this because they love comics and are more than willing to help. Take a class online, or connect through social media groups, or read books on creating comics (my favorite being Bendis’ Words for Pictures). Oh, and don’t be afraid to create a Kickstarter campaign to fund it – it’s not as daunting as it might seem. Just start the journey and hopefully, in a year, you’ll be holding your first book in your hands.

Me: Thanks for sharing the Turner Family antics with us, Rob! If you’re reading this and interested in joining in on the mayhem, plus helping them reach their stretch goals, check out the Turner Family Terrors Kickstarter!

Turner Family Terrors Villains

Do you have a crowdfunding project? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on “Kickstart/IndieGogo/GoFundMe the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website. Also check out the official Kickstart the Week: Interviews with Comic Book Kickstarter Creators Volume 1 on Kindle and Etsy! 

Other “Kickstart the Week” features:

Like Father, Like Daughter #1-6

FALLOUT #1 – A Crime Noir Comic Book Thriller

HAUNTING #1 – A Supernatural Horror Comic

KITH + KIN: An Anthology

Two Swords Til Mercy: Chapter One—A medieval tale of bloody revenge.

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