FCBD22 Interview: Sleepy Hollow
Apr 13, 2022
Izzy Crane is new to Sleepy Hollow, and already sick of the town's hokey obsession with Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. She has no time for superstition with a new school, a new home, and a new crush on Vicky Van Tassel, AKA the town's teen royalty, descended from one of the families featured in the famous old story.When it turns out that the Headless Horseman might be more than just a story though, it's up to Izzy, Vicky, and class clown Oscar to uncover a sinister, centuries old plot... and they've only got 'til Halloween to put a stop to it!
We caught up with series writers Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White to learn more about what inspired their extraordinary characters, what to expect next in the series, AND to rifle through some really fun rapid fire questions!
Check out the full interview below and be sure to head to your local comic shop on Saturday, May 7 to celebrate FCBD in all it’s glory! To find a participating comic shop near you, use our FCBD Store Locator.
Free Comic Book Day (FCBD): Set up your title for those that might be new to your comic book: What will new readers need to know before diving into your Free Comic Book Day issue?
Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White: HOLLOW is a modern spooky YA adventure-comedy that takes place in the actual town of Sleepy Hollow, New York, and features its most famous legend, the Headless Horseman…along with goofy antics, jealous glances, and queer smooches.
FCBD: What are some of the core themes present in your book? What do you hope readers take away from your title?
Shannon: Not to take anything at face value…everything is a little more complex than you think.
FCBD: What part of the book was most fun to write/draw?
Shannon: We are very funny, it seems. Our artist, Berenice Nelle, is even funnier, though. She knocked it out of the park from start to finish.
Branden: The humor in the dialogue and the visuals was so fun to write. Even while editing, waaaaay late in the process, we would still be cracking up–about jokes we had written! We’re sophisticated that way.
FCBD: Can you share some of the inspiration behind certain characters, settings, etc.?
Branden: We got the idea for the book on a vacation to Sleepy Hollow! The way the place has embraced the spooky-fun spirit (pun!) of the original story is so awesome, I think we couldn’t help but start percolating how we would do a re-telling.
FCBD: If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?
Shannon and Branden: We would tell them how lucky they are to meet an actual UN-living legend!
FCBD: Looking to the future, is there anything you can tease about what’s coming up for the title and its characters?
Shannon and Branden: We definitely have ideas for more trouble our characters could get into, on future paranormal adventures…
FCBD: Let’s pivot a little bit here to talk about your personal experience with comics. Many newcomers will pick up comics for the first time on FCBD – what was the first comic you remember reading?
Shannon: Also in the newspaper! I loved PEANUTS immediately, along with CALVIN & HOBBES and FOXTROT. The first comic book that I went to a comic shop to pick up specifically was BONE after it was in DISNEY ADVENTURES magazine!
Branden: In the newspaper, when I was a kid–I loved Gary Larson’s The Far Side, even as a lil’ kindergartner.
FCBD: What is your favorite part about working in the comic book industry?
Shannon: The medium of comics itself…sequential storytelling is extraordinary, and the industry embraces more and more of its facets with every passing year!
Branden: HOLLOW is my first time working in graphic storytelling. I’m a fiction writer, and getting to collaborate with an artist to make a world move across the page blew my mind! It was so liberating to not have to do all that heavy-lifting by myself, lonely in sentences, and those moments of seeing the things that we’d visualized “come to life” in the art and colors was beyond cool.
FCBD: Tell us why everyone should read comic books!
Shannon: Because it’s fun, and unlike reading anything else! There’s a comic out there for you, I know it.
Branden: Because you should read anything you can get your hands on, all the time, especially if it’s about people or events outside your own experience. Stories are the surest way we have of learning what it’s like to be, and how to do it with more grace.
FCBD: Now, we have a series of rapid-fire questions for you! They’re, ya know, mostly related to comics... Answer as quickly as you can and try not to over think it!
Do you listen to music while you’re creating?
Shannon: Yes, absolutely. I usually make playlists for each project, or listen to a GIANT playlist I’ve been making with stray songs for the last decade and change…Shannon Radio!
What’s your favorite comic book genre?
Shannon: Slice-of-life, Romance or FOOD COMICS!
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Shannon: The morning. I’m up with the sun.
Branden: Right in the middle of the day. I’m a slug in the morning, and a slug in the evening.
Do you think you could survive in a zombie apocalypse?
Shannon: I sure think it’s worth it to try!
Branden: Would there be coffee?
Would you rather be invisible or have the ability to fly?
Shannon: Flight, absolutely.
Branden: Invisible! I would use my powers to gently spy on animals in the wild, and enjoy them just acting naturally.
If you were a comic book character, would you rather be the hero or the villain?
Shannon: Depends on who’s writing my book.
Branden: The love interest. I like love stories best <3
What’s your favorite comic book or graphic novel?
Shannon: I can’t choose a favorite, I love too many and have too many people I love making comics!
Branden: At the moment: John Allison’s Giant Days, Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsch’s Barbarous, and I’m so excited that Saga is back!
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