The Fireman – Now in Paperback

You can find it at your neighborhood indie bookstore, your local big chain, or your favorite online emporium!

Last week, Skelton Crew Studios released the Biblio Key, to raise money for educational and free speech charities (Donors Choose,826 Valencia, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund). It was possible to order the key alone, or in packages with signed (and sometimes doodled) books.

It took seven days to sell out nearly the whole run and we raised $15,129$. FIFTEEN THOUSAND AND CHANGE, BABY. That’s five grand for each of those fine causes.

You guys are so goddamn wonderful.

A handful of items still remain and a few more will be added to the Skelton Crew store in the next few weeks. I know we’re planning to auction off 9 big beautiful poster sized broadsheets of my story, “By The Silver Waters of Lake Champlain,” with Biblio Keys, in the very near future. So stay tuned.

Should we do a couple questions?

Allen Huntsman on Goodreads asksHow would you define a horror story? What are the key ingredients that make a story fit that category? I read in a book called The Philosophy of Horror that the story must depict people of our ordinary world in conflict with something extraordinary and unnatural–something we can’t understand logically or scientifically. Do you agree with this definition, or do you think the category of horror is much wider?

“Horror” is a word that describes what you feel when you or someone you care about is faced with the worst. When a work of fiction stirs a sense of “horror,” we’re entering a heightened state of empathy. Someone is in terrible trouble – the swamp monster has a girl by the ankle and is pulling her down into the weeds – and we want her to escape, to paw her way back to the surface of the water, to taste the air again.

This is why the most important ingredient in any work of horror fiction is not a cleverly engineered supernatural menace. It’s your central characters. If they’re well developed, well imagined, unique and uniquely lovable, we will feel horror for them when the army of laughing, knife-wielding puppets comes for them. If they’re unexceptional “types,” they’ll just bore us. Instead of rooting for them, we’ll be on the side of the puppets, cheering every time one of our straw man heroes are cut down.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see that a lot of the slasher films of the 80s failed as horror, but sometimes worked in the way the Warner Brothers cartoons work: as giddy, silly slapsticks.

@ReedeBeebe on Twitter sends this inquiry:

The Wizard of Oz.

Also, La La Land will win Best Picture and almost deserves to. I didn’t think it was better than Silence (which wasn’t even nominated), but it was still one of the very best things from last year, so, okay.

That’s it for this month’s Q&A. Got a question for me? Ask me on Goodreads, or tweet me, using the hashtag #joesescapehatch.


This exists to pleasure your eyeballs. It will be available in any comic shop worthy of your respect.The Graphic Novel collection includes the Eisner nominated Cape, the sequel Cape ’69, and Wraith, which extends the world of NOS4A2. Hope you dig it.

That’s it, guys. All I’ve got this month. Hang in there and I’ll see you in a few weeks, okay?