Update: The publisher tells me the e-book version of the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia should be available in approximately two weeks and the paperback version in approximately a month. It will be available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. A lot of people have asked about it being in local bookstores. That’s the publisher’s call, but I believe it’s not financially feasible and a bit risky for a young publisher and a new author to mass produce copies for a local market. Anyways, while you are waiting for the book, every day in October on my Facebook page I am posting an excerpt from the book that somehow relates to Halloween. On the Television Crossover Universe blog, each day, one of the oldest posts is being updated to incorporate information from the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia. And finally, on Halloween, check out the 18thWall website or tumbler. They will be posting a list of my 24 all-time favorite horror movies.
A lot of people have been asking me if the book is out yet. It’s not, and right now it’s in the publisher’s hands. The best I can say is that it will be out SOON. I’m hoping maybe in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, I can give you a little bit of information. The book is being published by 18thWall Productions. The cover artist is Abigail Larson. There are forwards written by James Bojaciuk and Ivan Ronald Schablotski. The book will be available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and other potential distribution channels.
When I tell people I’m writing a book about horror, I’m surprised at how often I’m asked if I’m afraid that I’ll go to Hell or that demons will jump out the book and possess me. Really.
My reply usually starts with “Well, no, why would I?”
The person I’m speaking to will then say that books with demons in them are evil, and the demons in the book will come out and possess the reader. I say “Well, that’s really stupid. The bible has demons in it. Is the bible evil? Does the bible possess you with demons?”
If they persist that horror is sin, I will then explain to them that the Bible is horror. It features the devil as the main villain, and features lots of demons. Like in most horror, the most innocent and meek rises to overcome and defeat the great evil. Lots of innocent people die in the bible, even children, killed by a supernatural being.
Now do I think the Bible is of the horror genre? No, of course not. But it certainly fits within some of the themes, and certainly falls into the same categories of which my protesters would would cry out against. And the bible did introduce the greatest horror super-villain of all time.
Let me end this by saying that though I don’t like religious labels, I am a fan of Jesus and not an enemy of Christians. I am a church goer myself. So don’t take this self-defense out of context and view it as an attack on your religion. Logic isn’t always the enemy of religion.
There’s a short answer and a long answer to why I’m writing a book about horror. The short answer is that a few years ago, when I was playing with the idea of writing a more genre specific guide to fictional crossovers, I posted a poll in the Facebook Crossovers Forum, listing several genres and asking which they would like me to tackle first. The most votes went to horror.
But of course I wouldn’t have listed the genre had I not an interest in the subject.
When I was little, my parents didn’t let me watch R rated movies. But I was allowed to watch anything that was on any of the six channels our television received. So I got to see older films and edited for television films. I fondly remember on Saturdays watching the Creature Double Feature, which showed old Universal, Hammer, Godzilla and B-1950s sci-fi monster films, I was very interested in scary stories, particularly with a supernatural element. Of all the monsters, vampires were my favorite, and I even admired Dracula’s character.
Another avenue for exploring horror strangely came from my local barber shop. The barber always kept comic books in the seating area, but strangely they were all DC horror books, such as House of Mystery, The Witching Hour, and Weird War Tales. These were great stories, just light enough for all ages, back in an era where comics were still written with kids in mind.
Eventually, due to my friends having cable, and my family eventually getting cable as well, I was finally exposed to the awesomeness of 80s slasher flicks. Jason and Micheal of course were scary and fun. Something about an expressionless slow moving killer brings me back to the man from my nightmares. But Freddy was something else. Freddy was a fantastical being with amazing powers and a twisted humor. And he came with an origin which kept getting expanded with each film. Freddy was a personality who made the audience root for the villain.
Meanwhile, around that time, I had discovered movies based on Stephen King, and then the books they came from. The first horror book I ever read with the Night Shift anthology. I also tried my hand at reading Poe, but at age 11, I’ll admit it was a little more advanced than I could handle.
In high school, my obsession with vampires continued and I discovered Ann Rice. I also became obsessed with stories of hauntings, (having lived in a haunted house myself) and read and watched anything fiction or non-fiction related to hauntings. Also, my rebellion against my Catholic upbringing led me to seek out anything regarding the occult, fiction or non-fiction.
Into adulthood, my horror fandom continued to grow, and of course, I no longer had a mother to restrict my viewing habits. Despite my strong love of horror, it wasn’t until I was nearly 30 years old before I discovered one of the greatest and most influential horror writers of all.
Thanks to some discussion groups I had joined, I discovered H.P. Lovecraft, and the influence his works have had on so much horror that has come since. I began reading Lovecraft as much as I could. The first story I read was probably my favorite. That was the Shadow Over Innsmouth.
So why horror? Write what you love, they say. I love horror. I love it in all its forms. I love the serious and the silly. I love the hardcore and the watered down. I love slashers and monsters. I love the supernatural and the men in masks. I love monsters who are scary or heroic. I just love horror.
Something that always surprises me when I try to discuss what I write about is that a lot of people do not understand what a fictional crossover is. I felt that before reading the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia, I had best explain what it is.
The term crossover can be used in a very general way, or in a more specific way.
In a broader sense, a crossover can be any combination of two separate series. This can include mash-ups. An example of this would be a story or even a picture with Dirty Harry Potter, combining the character of Dirty Harry played by Clint Eastwood with the boy wizard from the J.K. Rowling books.
It can also be a story that couldn’t possibly exist within the canon of the series involved. One example was the Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue animated special. This combined many famous cartoon characters, but presented them all as toys brought to life.
For my purposes, what I consider to be a valid crossover is one where two series are combined in a way that demonstrates that both series separately coexist within the same shared reality. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one great example of this. Several cartoon characters from several different animation studios owned by different companies appeared within the same story, in a manner that did not contradict their individual canons. Thus, we were able to deduce from the evidence of the film that characters like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny actually existed in the same universe, even if they had seldom crossed paths.
In the live action world of television, crossovers are used often as marketing gimmicks. A great way to get people to watch a new show is to have a character from a more well known series appear. Detective Munch was a character from Homicide, who guested on Law & Order, and then became a regular on Special Victims Unit. He also appeared on X-Files and Arrested Development. Thus, all of those shows coexist in the same reality. The Bluth family lives in a world where Mulder is uncovering conspiracies because of Detective Munch.
Of course, crossovers can be more subtle. Angel is in the same universe as Buckaroo Banzai and the Alien franchise because the fictional companies from those series are clients of the law firm from Angel. Fictional companies and products, such as Oceanic Airlines or Morley Cigarettes, can provide a link to add series to a shared reality.
For more specific examples of what counts and doesn’t count as valid crossovers for the purposes of my writing projects, see the section on Horror Crossover Encyclopedia Rules for Inclusion in the Horror Universe found elsewhere in the Introduction to the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia.
I first became aware of the fictional crossover/shared reality concept when I was five years old. As my family was about to embark on a drive from Massachusetts to California, my father gave me my first comic book to keep me occupied, and it was an issue of the Marvel Comics adaption of Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics. This is the first time I was able to comprehend what was going on here, on a significant level. All these characters from their own cartoons were appearing together, as part of the same reality, thus placing all their previous cartoons in the same reality.
From that point on, I started becoming more aware. As I started reading more comics, I noticed how all the DC characters lived in one world while the Marvel characters lived on another, and I mostly only bought team and team-up books. Of course, once Superman met Spider-Man, my mind was blown again.
I also started to notice cartoon events like the annual networks previews shows that would combine all their cartoons in the same universe. And I would also notice the live action shows. Facts of Life characters appeared on Diff’rent Strokes. Mork had met the Happy Days gang and Laverne & Shirley. Trapper John M.D. had been on MASH. Maude was related to Edith Bunker and George Jefferson used to be Archie’s neighbor.
Around the age of eight, I started keeping track of these various shared realities, particularly focusing on live action and animated television. I started lumping them into groups based on their crossover connections. When I was 12, I bought my first book about the history of television. It was an encyclopedia style with entries on every television series, and one of the appendixes was a list of crossovers and spin-offs. I was both excited to see crossovers I had previously not known of, but also to find some crossover I had found were not listed. Inspired by the DC Multiverse, I started to coin the groups together as the Television Crossover Multiverse and started to label them individually as TVCU-1, TVCU-2, ect.
When I grew up and left for the army, I left my notebooks behind, and they were destroyed in a flood. However, I continued to keep track of crossovers and recreated my groupings in a work document.
In 2001, as I was exploring the internet, I came across a few websites that perhaps changed my life. They were all crossover related sites, and for the first time, I discovered that there were other people like me who also kept track of such things. I had thought I was the only one.
Thanks to social networking, I eventually got to be friends with some of these other people who share my hobby, and the sharing of ideas eventually led to the creation of our own discussion group, the Crossovers Forum, on Facebook.
The forum became more popular than I expected, with lots of active discussions, and I was inspired to finally turn my notes into something tangible and public, the Television Crossover Universe blog. I didn’t really expect anyone to read it, and was just trying to get my ideas out there, but to my pleasant surprise, people did read it, and others began contributing to the blog.
Since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but fiction was not my strength. Finding that I do have a strength in researching and discussing crossovers, I decided to try my hand as writing a book about fictional crossovers, and should it be successful, continue with a series of books.
So why crossovers? I can’t really explain why. It seems to be something that you either get or you don’t. For me, it became an obsession from an early age, and one that only grew stronger over time. I hope when you read the book, you will feel my love for the subject.
CALL FOR ART Horror Crossover Universe To be published by 18thWall Productions in early Autumn 2014 Cover Dimensions: 9×6 PAYMENT: 8% royalties, in perpetuity. Think of the time Scooby Doo unmasked one of Henry Jekyll’s grandchildren, or the time Aliens faced off against Predators, or the time Abbott and Costello met Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, and the Invisible man. This book is an encyclopedia listing all of all of these stories, called crossovers, where a character from one series or story meets a character from another series or story. The cover should sell the idea of a *universe* of horror characters. Choice is left to the artist as to what exactly that means, be it a monster mash, a vintage-style poster, hot neon comic art, etc. In all likelihood, you will have at least two horror characters on your cover. Whatever you do, you *cannot* break copyright on characters who are not public domain; though you are more than welcome to, and in fact encouraged to, use “generic” versions of these characters. Please submit two samples of your finished work, as well as a sketch of your proposed Horror Crossover Universe cover, to James Bojaciuk at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have previously published work, please submit a CV and links (if possible) to your published work.