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James Aquilone Assembles the 'Dead Detectives Society'

We chat with the creator about his new anthology series and why the world needs more supernatural detectives.

Dead Detectives Society

Welcome to our Creator Corner, our new reoccurring interview series, where we chat with the coolest and most thought-provoking creators in the comics industry. In this entry, we're conversing with James Aquilone about Dead Detectives Society. Listen to the unedited audio HERE.


James Aquilone returns! And he's bringing a bunch of shuffling creeps with him. Once again, the creator is rocking a rad Kickstarter campaign, the Dead Detectives Society and Monstrous Magazine. The new supernatural anthology series gathers the very best sci-fi, horror, and mystery authors and asks them to celebrate their favorite weirdo detectives. And create a few new ones too.

The collection features stories by Kevin J. Anderson, Steve Niles, Nancy A. Collins, Joe R. Lansdale & Kasey Lansdale, David Avallone, Jonathan Maberry, Lisa Morton, Nancy Holder & Alan Philipson, John Jennings, Tim Waggoner, JeffStrand, Rena Mason, and James Aquilone. And with them come some classic creepoid creations like Dan Shamble, Cal McDonald, Sonja Blue, Matt Richter, Dead Jack, Johnny Fade, and Saul When: Halloween Detective.

This session is our third time chatting with Aquilone, and our convos have only become more and more inspiring. Our discussion explores the zombie P.I. sub-genre and delves into why Aquilone wants to expand it within the reader's imagination. The author is on a mission, and he's using these anthologies as platforms for grander understanding. As always, we walk away from these creator corner sessions energized and eager to up our hustle. We think you'll experience something similar.

The Dead Detectives Society and Monstrous Magazine campaign is now live on Kickstarter. CLICK HERE to give it a perusal. You can also continue this conversation with James Aquilone by visiting his Twitter and his Website.


Dead Detectives Society is a Dish Best Served Cold.

Brad: Dead Detectives Society is something a little bit different than the anthologies we've talked about before. How would you pitch it to readers?

James Aquilone: Oh, this is is is anthology of short stories featuring weird detectives, supernatural detectives. Half of them are maybe characters you already know like Dan Shamble or Matt Richter from Tim Waggoner. We got David Avallone doing Nick Carter, who is one of the oldest pulp detectives. The other half are new stories with these new weird detectives. I want to get more writers to create these these types of characters. We want to expand the genre.

Brad: Yeah, I wanted to dig into that a little bit. Obviously, there are characters here that I'm already excited about like Cal McDonald, the Steve Niles character. He was one that I was really into several years ago and I'm so excited to get a new story about him. A new Nancy Collins Sonja Blue story too. That's rad. But the idea of creating new dead detectives to join the society that's fascinating to me.

James Aquilone: Yeah, because I do I do my own dead detective - Dead Jack. I I wrote that first short story back in 2006 and I thought I was incredibly original and that there was nothing like this. Years later when I finally decided to try to get it published, I said, "Let me Google this. Maybe I'm not being that original. I don't want to inadvertently rip anyone off." One of the first things I found was Tim Waggoner's Matt Richter and the Necropolis stories. The funny thing was it was a a good thing that I did Google it because the name of my world was Necropolis too. I really would have been stepping on some people's toes. So, I changed mine to Pandemonium and then I discovered Dan Shamble. So, I realized that I wasn't as original as I thought.

Brad: What I like about this path that you carved from then to now - is you go from "Oh, there are other dead detectives" to "Let's celebrate all the dead detectives!"

James Aquilone: Um, yeah, so that was the thing. I find Dan Shamble, I find Matt Richter, and then I end up selling my first Dead Jack story, which was to Weird Tales magazine. Then, I put out my first novel, which was my first Kickstarter. It did really well. I even got the the series optioned for movies and TV. But some people would say to me, "Is this like a Dan Shamble thing?" Or even accuse me of ripping off Kevin J Anderson.

Brad: Sure.

James Aquilone: Because I wrote it in like 2006, I might of pre-dated them. By the time I got around to publishing it, that stuff was already out. Fast forward a few years, I'm working with Tim Waggoner, because he's been in all of my anthologies now, and I started doing some stuff with Kevin J Anderson. So, it's kind of like an inside joke to the book because I was like, "You know what? This is this is my answer to all those people who were saying all this is a rip off!"

Brad: To me, it's the best way to defend against a rip-off accusation. You go like, 'No, no, no. It's not a rip-off, it's part of a sub-genre! Here's proof."

James Aquilone: Yeah! And since then, I've seen there there've been so many other zombie detectives. People take them in different directions.


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