Harold Schechter is well-known for his examination of serial killers and true crime cases, having written dozens of books on the subject.
So, when it was announced that Schechter and The Goon’s Eric Powell would be collaborating on an upcoming graphic novel investigation of one of the most famous killers in American history, fans of true crime and comics took notice.
We got a chance to speak to Schechter about Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? and what it was like making the transition to writing a graphic novel in this exclusive interview.
How did you become involved with Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?
Harold Schechter: Eric initiated the project. He contacted my agent who contacted me. As a longtime comic fan–and a lover of Eric’s art–I was thrilled when he proposed a collaboration.
You have written numerous books on serial killers and true crime. Have you ever researched the Ed Gein case before the new graphic novel?
Schechter: My very first true crime book, Deviant, was–as I immodestly believe–the definitive biography of Gein. I did a great deal of deep research for that project, including a trip to Wisconsin, where I was able to interview some of Gein’s friends and neighbors in Plainfield as well as other people involved in the case.
Was it difficult to transition to writing a comic? What was the creative process like between you and Eric?
Schechter: It wasn’t difficult for me since Eric ended up doing the lion’s share of the work. Since we were working at the height of the pandemic, our collaboration took place largely over Zoom. We spent a good deal of time exchanging ideas about the story we wanted to tell. Then I wrote a rough draft in the form of a movie script. Eric did significant rewrites and translated it into comic book format. I went over that, offered editorial suggestions. When the final script was done, Eric took over and produced his astonishing visuals.
Why do you think that the case had such an impact on pop culture over the years?
Schechter: Right from the moment the story broke back in the late 1950’s, Gein struck the public as a folklore monster made flesh–exactly the kind of creature whose unbelievable story lends itself to constant retellings in movies, etc. The pulp writer Robert Bloch immediately re-imagined him as Norman Bates in his novel Psycho, which Hitchcock transformed into his cinematic masterpiece. In the guise of Norman, Eddie revolutionized the modern horror movie, igniting the entire genre of slasher films.
Schechter: I’m currently at work on a kind of illustrated history of crime but can’t say more about it because –mostly for superstitious reasons–I don’t like discussing works-in-progress.
Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? will be in finer comic stores everywhere on August 11.