Today Jaime Johnesee, author of The Misadventures of Bob the Zombie, talks about a topic that you don't often hear linked with horror - humor.
Laughter and Horror
First I want to thank Christine for having me on her blog. I’d like to talk to you about horror comedy. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart as well as Christine’s.
There is a bit of a stigma surrounding horror comedy, and those who write it, as if we are somehow less talented or not to be taken as seriously as our straight horror counterparts. To be completely honest, this prejudice pisses me off. I challenge any reader out there to pick up a Jeff Strand novel or grab Christine’s GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie and tell me it isn’t as well written or entertaining as any straight horror piece.
(I agree! And thanks! – Chris)
When I was at World Horror Con in 2013, an agent came up and was interested in me and my work. She’s a lovely lady and a fantastic agent, but the second I said my last book was horror comedy she shut down completely, said “Oh” and walked away without another word to me. It didn’t matter to her whether my writing was brilliant or not, all she heard were the words horror comedy and it was over for me. Completely unfair? Absolutely. I never had a chance. None of us really do.
It isn’t all bad. I love getting fan mail telling me how much they love my character Bob the Zombie. I enjoy hearing how I’ve brightened someone’s bad day. That, to me, is why I do this. I write to entertain people. I put my blood, sweat, and tears into a piece the same as any other author. Does it hurt that my work will never be seen as on par with someone who writes books about demons or werewolves killing people? Yes, yes it does. However, it is something that I enjoy writing. I like to make people laugh. I like to inject a bit of humor into my horror and make the terrifying titillating.
I enjoy seeing a horrifying werewolf trip over his feet and end up stuck fang first to a hardwood floor. I find it fun to write a zombie dancing to AC/DC and having his hand fly off and hit some other creature in the face. I love the absurdity of a serial killer accidentally killing himself by tripping on a cat toy.
So, while it stinks that we will never be treated as equal to our straight horror counterparts, I wouldn’t do anything different. Mostly because to do it differently means to become something I am not. I use humor daily to deal with horrific things that happen to me. My St Bernard attacked and nearly killed me last year. To deal with it and work past it I made all kinds of Cujo jokes. Does that make it less traumatic for me than for someone else who doesn't use humor to cope? No, we each process things in our own way and mine is to make light of the dark.
The great thing is that while there may be a bias against horror comedy in the genre, I haven’t seen the same bias with some of the authors. My Zompoc writing friends embrace me as one of them even though my zombies are different. They don’t look down on me for not writing killing machines, they see me as a fellow zombie author and, to me, that’s the greatest thing in the world. Zombie authors, be they zompoc or zomcom, are the best dang people on this planet and the most supportive.
Next time you’re considering what sort of book to get, try a horror comedy. Pick up something by Jeff Strand, Jeremy C. Shipp, Hal Bodner, Christine Verstraete, or myself. Take the time to see for yourself that we, too, can weave a world of interesting and lifelike characters, even if they are funny. You might just find a new genre to love. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you have a wonderful and hilariously awesome day.
* Check out Jaime’s Collection - The Misadventures of Bob the Zombie
* Visit her Amazon page for all her books.
(Thanks for the great topic, Jaime. We all can use a laugh, even (or maybe especially) when it’s horror and in those dark moments of life, too!)