‘Ghosts Are People Too’ Writer/Artist Peter Ricq: The Conskipper Interview

From the littlest goblins to adult monsters, Halloween is a holiday that can be enjoyed by all. It is also often the first introduction into the spooky realms for young people, which comes in the form of costumes, cartoons, and illustrated books.

The later are often the most difficult to locate these days both for kids and for the parents who wish to share them with their children, revisiting some of the early memories Mom and Dad have of ghosts and the macabre.

Writer/illustrator Peter Ricq is looking to solve this problem with his new Kickstarter project, Ghosts are People Too. Ricq took some time to discuss his book with us on the eve of Halloween when all the ghosts are resting up for their big night.

Where did the idea for Ghosts are People Too originate?

Peter Ricq: I saw Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies in a bookstore a couple of years back and thought “Why aren’t there more of these great spooky gems on the shelves?” I really loved things like that as a child, anything with horror sprinkled on top was for me and I knew that I wasn’t the only one.

I wanted to do something along those lines to help the cause of the abundance of these types of books on the shelves and it would be an excuse for me to do something I’m passionate about.

You mention the influence of Edward Gorey on your work. Why was his work such a big influence?

Ricq: His work was mysterious, Halloweeny yet clever, cartoony and dark. It’s mixing two opposite words at once all the time. It just sucked me in at a very young age when watching his animated opening for the BBC show Mystery

Ghosts Are People Too is a sweet and funny look at ghosts and the Halloween season. Why do these elements work well for horror and comedy in fiction?

Ricq: I love scary-horror but a solid horror-comedy when done right, that’s what I want to see any day, anytime. I think with horror, it’s just quite ridiculous that to make fun of it, it brings it back to reality and exposes how fun it is to watch. Also, comedy and horror are both about timing and always ending with a punch line.

How would you describe Ethan for readers?

Ricq: He’s a sweet 7-year-old boy with a big heart. Ethan wants to be friends with the living scary people that share his home but it makes it difficult because they scare him.

Nostalgia is a big part of Halloween (and ghost stories). What are some of your first memories of celebrating and your first memories of ghosts and monsters?

Ricq: I remember watching It Came From Outer Space, coming home from trick or treating and my brother and I watched that movie on TV while counting our newly acquired treasures.

How is the process of creating a book more/less challenging than an animated program such as The League of Super Evil?

Ricq: It’s a lot simpler, more personal, and gratifying. An animated series takes many many talented people to be involved and so your vision gets skewed, changed, and sometimes it really isn’t yours in the end. With a book, it’s really 100% your own. My personality, illustrations, and storytelling can really shine through to its completion and I love that about making a book or comic.

Where did you gather the “real” ghost stories in your book from? Any experiences yourself?

Ricq: I’ve listened to a ton of ghost stories since I was a kid. I’d ask friends, families for stories, I watched anything on Tele that was ghost-related and read anything I could find on the paranormal.

Upcoming projects?

Ricq: Working on a ton of stuff. A couple of horror projects including movies and series. One of them is an animated feature based on Once Our Land (my first graphic novel). I’m still writing and producing music with Gang Signs, The Red, and some newer bands. Humans is still doing some stuff (another band of mine).

Also, I’m illustrating a couple of album covers and doing music videos, live-action, and some animated.

Ghosts Are People Too is currently available through Kickstarter. The campaign ends on November 19.

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