Michael Forsyth is a writer who resides in Greenville, SC., and has taught film and journalism at Coker College in Hartsville SC. Michael was also a writer and reporter for the Weekly World News, the infamous and outrageous black and white tabloid most famous for Bat Boy and many other bizarre and entertaining stories from around the world.
Originally from New York City, Michael has a degree in English Literature from Yale as well as an MFA from NYU’s prestigious film school. Michael is also the author of four novels which are available on Amazon.com; Hour of the Beast, The Blood of Titans, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House and The Identity Thief.
From an early age, Michael has also been a fan of the horror genre and is currently working on a Kickstarter Campaign to fund his latest project, ‘Night Cage’, which is a 100-page graphic novel in which vampires take over a women’s prison.
See the link below:
The story takes place in the Ravenwood Correctional Institution, which is a state-of-the-art maximum security prison built underground to make escape impossible. Thanks to brutal matrons, racial strife and savage shower room catfights, the place is quite literally a hellhole. But when a pale, mysterious murderess who turns out to be fledgling vampire arrives in the slammer, things REALLY get out of hand.
The vampire contagion swiftly spreads and soon almost every prisoner and every guard in the prison has been turned into a blood sucking vampire. All except for four badass women who’ve been tossed in solitary confinement at the very bottom of the jailhouse and overlooked. Trapped 230 feet below the surface of the earth in an escape-proof prison, their only hope of survival is to battle their way up through a gauntlet of bloodthirsty vampires.
Michael was kind enough to speak to SciFi Pulse about his very fun and exciting campaign and graphic novel, which is not only quite entertaining, but also sheds light on the trials and tribulations inherent in getting a comic and graphic novel off the ground, published and into the hands of the comic industry.
We wish Michael luck with both his Kickstarter campaign as well as with what promises to be a very dark, sexy and action packed ‘Night Cage’.
1. Tell us a little about the graphic novel/comic you are now working on entitled, ‘Night Cage‘?
“Night Cage is a graphic novel about vampires taking over a women’s prison. A Hollywood producer would boil it down to Orange is the New Black meets Salem’s Lot. The joint is pretty much a hellhole even before the vampire epidemic breaks out. As the contagion spreads, claustrophobic terror “gets the max.” Worse still, the prison is built underground, so the vamps don’t have to worry about sunlight.
The protagonist is just the opposite of that pampered yuppie Piper in Orange is the New Black. She’s “trailer trash,” and when she’s tossed in a cell with a tough African-American killer, Peaches, there’s plenty of tension between them. The clashing prisoners–and two other convicts–are in solitary confinement at the very bottom of the prison when all hell breaks loose. To survive, they have to work together as they climb level after level to the surface, battling their way through a gauntlet of bloodthirsty former gang leaders, sociopaths and serial killers — who are now something much, much worse.”
2. What was the impetus behind ‘Night cage’ and to what extent is horror another of the genres you are passionate about?
“When I graduated from film school some years back, I wanted to make a low-budget horror film. I originally wrote Night Cage as a screenplay, and when graphic novels began to grow in popularity, I realized the story was so visual, it would translate perfectly into that format. I still hope the graphic novel will catch the eye of a Hollywood producer.
I’ve been a horror fan since I was a kid and my sister and I used to watch “Creature Feature” on TV, which would show classic fright flicks like The Bride of Frankenstein and The Blob. As I grew up, I came to appreciate the way horror can be an allegorical and explore the depths of the human soul — such as the conflict between good and evil in a man in ‘The Wolfman’. Plus, it’s a genre that can incorporate surrealism like none other, as with ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’.”
3. You are also working on a kick starter campaign for ‘Night Cage’; how much are you seeking and how do you envision a successful campaign panning out for the story logistically?
The Kickstarter campaign for Night Cage is off to a rollicking start. There’s been an amazing outpouring of interest from bloggers and Facebook groups focused on vampires and the horror genre. If the project is fully funded, producing and distributing the books will be challenging, but I’ve made some great contacts in the comic book industry who’ve promised to guide me through it.
4. For those other budding comic writers or authors looking to break into the world of comics and/or graphic novels, what are the challenges faced with putting this kind of project together?
The key for me has been putting together a really effective pitch package — that’s the meat. You’ve got to be able to show potential readers you can really pull the project off, not merely have an idea. So I bit the bullet and paid an artist to illustrate 8 pages that captured the essence of the story, just as if I were making a pitch to a comic book publisher.
5. I did notice some art associated with ‘Night Cage’, does this mean you already have a penciler in mind for the project or are you still looking for one?
“The sample pages were illustrated by Nigel Raynor, a wonderful British artist who worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but unfortunately he’s tied up with other projects this year. I hope that Ronilson Freire, who did the cover for my novel Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House, is available.
So, yes, I am open to seeing the work of the other penicilers and inkers (the book will be in black and white). The person has to be able to draw women, of course. Sexy goes without saying, but also someone who can deliver a variety of distinct body types and faces.”
6. At the end of the day, what at base is the nature of your vampire drama and what can your future readers expect from ‘Night Cage’?
“At its heart its about a diverse set of people fighting for survival, not unlike The Poseidon Adventure, one of my favorite movies and also built around the theme of climbing to the surface. Readers can expect drama and interpersonal conflict as you see in the great Walking Dead. And of course loads of beautiful women taking showers, undergoing strip searches and having catfights!”
7. Are you open to going with an established publishing house if asked? If so, are there any publishers you would like to see ‘Night Cage’ published by?
“I sure wouldn’t mind if a major publisher took an interest in Night Cage. It would take the burden of producing and distributing the book off of me. IDW, BOOM! Studios and Image have done a good job of getting independently created comics and graphic novels to the public.”
8. Lastly, how long have you been working on this idea and how much (if at all) has the story changed from the initial idea came to you?
“I started toying with the idea many years ago, long before Twilight and even Interview with the Vampire, which introduced kinder, gentler vampires. But I stuck with the breed I like best: evil creatures bent on spawning more of their kind, like in Salem’s Lot, which I still consider the best vampire novel since Dracula. I would say that Orange is the New Black has changed the way I look at and will present prison life.
Initially, my image was based on those cheesy B movies of the ’70s like Caged Heat. The Netflix show, which is a marvelous blend of drama and comedy, made me realize that it’s not exactly non-stop violence in a women’s prison. I’m going to portray the prison in a somewhat more realistic manner — although hopefully one will feel that one is trapped in an exploitation movie that has gone awry in the most terrifying way imaginable!”
Thanks again so very much for sharing your thoughts, passion and enthusiasm on the upcoming ‘Night Cage’ Michael, and SciFi Pulse looks forward to following up on what is sure to be a very successful Graphic Novel.