Here's an interview I did over at the Working Title podcast, hosted by J.P. Cane. You can listen to it by clicking here.
In episode 24 of Working Title podcast, I speak with storyteller Clay McLeod Chapman, who will be one of the speakers at this year’s James River Writers conference in October. We cover his career thus far as a writer of plays, short stories, film, and comic books, as well as his teaching film-making and performing in his Pumpkin Pie show. We discuss the essentials of horror stories, how aspiring writers can break into comic books and movies, and the importance of always saying “Yes.”
August 16, 2018
It's time. The Pumpkin Pie Show: ONE-ON-ONES is coming to New York City. For six weeks, starting in September, I will be performing to one audience member at a time.
From our press release:
“For 20 years, Chapman’s rigorous storytelling session The Pumpkin Pie Show has delved deep into the depraved minds of those who drift along the periphery of humankind. For his new show, One-On-Ones, he will take one audience member at a time on a dark ride through the domestic horrors of the everyday, finding terror within our own households. Sometimes darkly humorous, sometimes strangely heartbreaking, this intimate storytelling experience is Edgar Allan Poe for the modern age; a heart-to-bleeding-heart with a motley crew of madmen, murderers and monsters all dying to tell their story. No fourth wall, no escape.”
Ever hear of seven minutes in heaven? This is twenty minutes in hell…
August 9, 2018Related: The Pumpkin Pie Show
The fine folks at Newsarama revealed the amazing full three-part connecting cover for my TYPHOID FEVER crossover. The art is by R.B. Silva and it truly is a beautiful thing to behold. I'm writing all three issues that will have Typhoid Mary going up against Spider-Man in issue #1, out in October, The X-Men in #2, out in November, and Iron Fist in #3, out in December.
You can check out all three covers together at Newsarama here.
July 30, 2018Related: TYPHOID FEVER: SPIDER-MAN #1
The fine folks at Transmundane Press interviewed me for their upcoming TRANSCENDENT anthology, featuring my story 'coatroom.' You can read the Q/A here. Pick up your copy of this awesome collection, on shelves this November!
July 28, 2018Related: Transcendent: An Anthology
At San Diego Comic Con this last weekend, Marvel Comics announced the release of IRON FIST: PHANTOM LIMB… written by none other than yours truly and art by Guillermo Sanna. Lettered by Lee Loughridge. And check out the cover by Khoi Pham! To read the Newsarama announcement, click here. Paste Magazine was super-sweet to list the release as one of The Coolest Comic News of San Diego Comic-Con 2018.
Can't wait to share this crazy story arc with you all! It's going to be a doooozy. Chapters #1 and #2 will be released on October 3rd.
July 23, 2018Related: IRON FIST: PHANTOM LIMB #1
Marvel just announced a new 3-part event series called TYPHOID FEVER! Guess who's writing it? I'm tackling one of the best, bad-assed baddies around: My queen Typhoid Mary! Here's what my editor Devin Lewis had to say:
“Typhoid Mary has one of the most dangerous powersets in the Marvel Universe – and writer Clay McLeod Chapman (EDGE OF VENOMVERSE) is determined to use those powers in ways we’ve never seen before. Pyrokinesis, telekinesis, and mind control… and that’s all in the first scene! Wait’ll you see what else Clay has planned, and what artist Stefano Landini has done with the script for TYPHOID FEVER: SPIDER-MAN!”
First up, we're putting Mary against none other than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man! TYPHOID FEVER: SPIDER-MAN #1, written by Clay McLeod Chapman with art by Stefano Landini, hits shelves Oct 3!
July 18, 2018Related: TYPHOID FEVER: SPIDER-MAN #1
Just got word that BIRTHDAY BOY, a new short horror comic artist Jey Levang and myself put together, will be included in the annual IF Anthology! Thanks to the fine folks at Alterna Comics for including our creepy little tale in their annual collection. Can't wait!
The anthology hits shelves this November! Promise it'll be pretty out there…
June 3, 2018Related: IF Anthology: Horror
The Pumpkin Pie Show rose from the dead for a special run at this year's Overlook Film Festival. We brought new and old tales and our one-on-ones to New Orleans… and some lovely folks wrote nice things about it. Here's what they said:
“Another major staple thus far of the fest has been The Pumpkin Pie Show by creator, writer, and performer Clay McLeod Chapman (Co-writer of 2015’s The Boy). Described as a sort of Edgar Allan Poe for the modern age, Chapman is a storyteller like no other, relaying tales of terror from the seemingly mundane to Gothic monstrosities that pour out of him as if possessed from beyond.” —Bloody Disgusting
“A beautiful 20 minutes of human connection.” —Filmmaker Magazine
“What happens when you take a delightfully talented (and somewhat twisted) actor/writer who’s used to performing in packed theaters and give him an opportunity to entertain just one person at a time? Pure macabre magic. Sitting face-to-face with Clay McLeod Chapman alone on stage in New Orleans’ Le Petite Theater as he transforms in the span of 15 minutes from the nicest guy at the festival to a monster who may-or-may-not have just murdered his daughter is a stunningly eerie sight to see.” —No Proscenium
“The Pumpkin Pie Show: One-on-Ones proved to be a stunningly personal experience. As its name suggests, this performance was literally one actor with one audience member, an extremely limited experience during the festival. That actor is the incredibly versatile Clay McLeod Chapman, whose one-man show is entirely free of costumes, makeup, lighting, music, set pieces… or anything other than himself. And yet, it is completely immersive thanks to his brilliant storytelling skills. Armed with a variety of his own dark writings that bring to mind the classic tales of Edgar Allen Poe, Chapman transforms before participants’ eyes through his acting abilities alone, delivering a performance that’s impossible not to become entranced by.” —Inside the Magic
“There were too many other fun events, parties, and activities to list them all, but a quick mention for both Clay McLeod Chapman and his Pumpkin Pie live storytelling show, and for Grady Hendrix and his Paperbacks from Hell event. These guys are super talented and if you have a chance to see either one of them, don't miss it!” —Screen Anarchy
“Clay McLeod Chapman is a genius storyteller. Full stop. From performing in front of a large crowd, to intimate one-on-one performances, Clay’s ability to transport audiences deep into the heart of his stories is nothing short of remarkable.” Here's an interview with No Proscenium at the Overlook Film Festival where I talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and have no chin. Check it out here.
April 29, 2018Related: The Pumpkin Pie Show
Whoa! I just found out Comic Book Resources listed our Spider-Man redux #2 on their “16 Darkest Versions of Spider-Man” list. Me and Elia Bonetti created the second darkest Spider-Man ever in the whole wide world for our Edge of Spiderverse issue!
Here's what they had to say…
“In the 2014 miniseries, Edge of Spider-Verse, we saw alternate versions of Spider-Man characters and Edge of Spider-Verse #4 (Clay McLeod Chapman, Elia Bonett) was a horrific take on the Spider-Man origin. Instead of Peter Parker, it was Patton Parnell who lived with his cruel Uncle Ted instead of Aunt May and stalked his next-door neighbor, Sarah Jane. When he visited the labs of Alcorp Industries, he was bitten by an experimental spider.
If that sounds familiar, what happened next isn’t. Instead of turning into a superhero, Parnell started webbing and eating people, including his Uncle Ted. He bit Sarah Jane before turning into a monster that was drained by the vampiric Morlun. Instead of a happy ending, the next morning we saw hundreds of baby spiders coming out of Sarah Jane’s neck. Parnell was what Spider-Man would be like if he had been a monster.”
We're number two! We're number two!
April 25, 2018Related: Edge of Spider-Verse
Thanks to Horror Talk for having me on as their guest for this week's Funny Book Splatter! You can listen to the interview by clicking here.
April 14, 2018Related: LAZARETTO #1
The Pumpkin Pie Show rises! We have been resurrected for a special presentation at The Overlook Film Festival this April 19th-22nd. Brand new tales, some best ofs, and one-on-ones are all in store for those brave souls willing to head on down to New Orleans.
Click here to go to their website and check out the killer line-up of films.
THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW: NEW SKULDUGGERY
Live Show: Creator, Writer, Performer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Author Clay McLeod Chapman is bringing BRAND NEW STORIES to the Overlook! The Pumpkin Pie Show has remained a staple of the fest – and this year they’re offering an even sweeter treat: original tales that have never been inflicted upon an audience anywhere. Flesh-eating bacteria, killer baby carrots and haunted comic books are all on the menu. These new campfire stories will be sure send a shiver up your spine. Hear them first before they’re unleashed upon the rest of the world!
THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW: ONE-ON-ONES
Immersive Performance: Creator, Writer, Performer: Clay McLeod Chapman
A returning favorite from last year’s fest, please join author Clay McLeod Chapman as he takes one audience member at a time on a dark ride through this depraved, intimate storytelling experience. Think of it as a heart-to-bleeding-heart with madmen, murderers and monsters telling their own story. No fourth wall, no escape. First come, first serve. Sessions will last 20 minutes. Available exclusively for all-access pass holders.
THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW: BEST OF SHOW
Live Show: Creator, Writer, Performer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Come join us for an encore presentation of the best Pumpkin Pie Show stories from over the last 20 years. Author Clay McLeod Chapman will lead the audience through the back-catalogue of his personal favorite tales, offering a view into the sordid lives of Southern Gothic monstrosities that explore the domestic horrors of the everyday, finding terror within our own households. This is Edgar Allan Poe for the modern age, people.
March 28, 2018Related: The Pumpkin Pie Show
All grotesque things must come to an end. With our fifth and final issue of Lazaretto, we would like to say thanks to all the fine critics who were kind and considerate enough to review our mini-epic. Here's what folks had to say:
“As Chapman continues emotionally beating the hell out of you with the script, Jey Levang matches him stroke for stroke with the art choices. Levang’s deceptively delicate lines and washed out watercolor palette drew us into a false sense of security, before giving way to torqued layouts, skewed panels, blood, and sputum. By the end of this thing, you’ll want to wash your hands and bathe in hand sanitizer. Second thought, forget the sanitizer. Get out the bleach and Brillo pads.”—Comicon
“A face-peelingly awesome finale… Lazaretto is one of those rare things in the world of comics – a fascinating premise that actually manages to live up to its potential.”—Big Comic Page
“Lazaretto has been as emotional as it has been gross; as thought-provoking as it has been violent; and as visually stunning as it has been narratively structured.”—ComiConverse
Lazaretto “find(s) those beautiful and brilliant moments of authentic humanity in the midst of decay, decay and misery. There are not many authors capable of skillfully combining both aspects of human nature.”—Mundos Hipotecticos (Hypothetical Worlds)
“Chapman crafted the perfect epidemic story: incredibly believable and entirely fatalistic… You can’t read this book without craving a long hot shower and Purell. Unsettling. Timely. Great.”—The Oregonian
“Lazaretto #5 pulls no punches in a finale that is poignant and devastating in equal measure.”—Broken Frontier (review)
“Chapman sends us on a rollercoaster in this one… Any ending, good or bad, seeing these two characters and their bond was truly inspiring.”—Pop Break
Lazaretto is “full of dreamy watercolour violence and face-ripping.”—Women Write About Comics
“Both scary as hell and oddly, grimly optimistic in the end.”—UPROXX (This Week's Best New Comics)
“Lazaretto has topped itself with every subsequent chapter. It's only gotten more and more unsettling and insane. This finale is riveting and unbelievable… Lazaretto would give any clean freak nightmares for months. It's a disturbing journey that will make you want to bathe yourself in hand sanitizer after reading it.”—Horror Talk
Lazaretto “will play around with the reader’s emotions before they reach the shocking final pages.”—Villain Media
“This series has just been getting crazier and crazier with each issue.”—Rogues Portal Pull List
“What’s more disturbing than a roughly drawn madman pulling the skin off his face?”—Big Shiny Robot
“Chapman is a hell of a writer.”—Comics Heating Up (Pick of the Week)
“Lazaretto has been a mucus-splattered body horrorfest from start to finish.”—Broken Frontier's Staff Picks
Best Covers of the Week, VOl 215—Geek Rex
“Buy this Comic”—Geek.com
The Crimson Cowl podast: “Not dinner-time reading.” (Click on at 40:45)
Smash N' Grab Comics (Click on at 35:00)
Serious Issues podcast (Click on at 01:32:00)
AB Conversation (Click on at 01:03:35)
Fellowship of the Geek (Pick of the Week)
Building up to his review of Lazaretto #5, Comiconverse's Daryll Robson put together a thorough examination of our icky series. “One of the best comics of 2017.” You can read his roundup here at his site The Comic Cutdown.
February 6, 2018Related: LAZARETTO #5
The fine gentlemen at SpectreVision did a deep dive into their filmography in the latest episode of The Core, including our film The Boy. You can hear Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh Waller discuss genre as drama here, exclusively on Shudder.
January 1, 2018Related: The Boy (feature)
With 2017 (finally) behind us, we took a glance in the rear-view mirror and spotted Lazaretto cropping up on a few Top 10 lists. Not only… Members of our creative team either won or were nominated for their kick-assery. Check it:
#4: LAZARETTO: “With a clever title, writer Clay McLeod Chapman and artist Jey Levang examine a college where everybody is trying to find their own identity. In a terrifying twist, a deadly virus reveals the worst between men and women.”
“I’ve read so many different comics this year, but the one that has stood out for me this year has to be Clay McLeod Chapman and Jey Levang’s Lazaretto. The story is a cross between Lord of the Flies meets Contagion, allowing you to feel claustrophobic, disgusted and extremely uncomfortable, but that’s the point! Chapman and Levang keep you invested in the characters and their journey to keep reading. They create a scenario that’s horrifying and can very well happen but twists it. You never knew what steps anyone will take to the series. You never know what these humans will do. This comic completely puts you on edge and allows you to come into a great story, but also skeeves you out in the best ways. Chapman doesn’t hold back with his college narrative that’s a little slice of life underneath, and Levang doesn’t hold back with how sickening he can make it look.”
Aditya Bidikar received the 2017 Broken Frontier Award for Best Letterer on his work for Lazaretto, Paradiso and Kid Lobotomy. Congratulations, Aditya!
(Also a huge congrats to illustrator Jey Levang for being nominated in the Breakout Talent category for their work on Lazaretto. Much deserved!)
What creators weren’t on your radar before 2017, that you are fans of now?
“Clay McLeod Chapman (“Lazaretto”): This is a total cheat, I know, but… Jey Levang. It wasn’t until our editor, Eric Harburn, suggested them for “Lazaretto” that I got my hands on a copy of their indie-comic HELL(P) and I was totally smitten from that point on. I will follow Jey in whatever they do next and pray we get to work together again. I’m a complete convert.”
Thanks to everyone who picked up our little icky comic… We couldn't have done it without you! And don't forget: One more issue to go! Pick up #5 at the end of the month to see how it all wraps up. It ain't gonna be pretty.
January 1, 2018Related: LAZARETTO #1
Just in time for Christmas, Issue #4 of LAZARETTO hits the shelves… Here's what the critics have been saying:
“Chapman is really starting to tighten the screws… Jey Levang gradually dials up the decay… The imagery makes you want to reach for the nearest bottle of hand sanitizer, then strip naked and bathe in it… Lazaretto is an especially unnerving piece of survival horror that unapologetically pokes holes in our false sense of security.”—Comicon
“This series is the chronicling of an evolving fever dream disaster, a slow sink into madness, depravity and sickness rendered in disturbing pencils and soaked by heaps upon heaps of blood.”—The Oregoneon
“Everything looks dirty and disease-ridden, with sickly greens and browns punctuated by splashes of crimson helping to make a thoroughly disgusting aesthetic… There’s no denying that Lazaretto has been one of the most impressive BOOM! Studios books of 2017.”—Big Comic Page
“One of our favorite new comic titles of 2017… This issue alone built up the intensity like crazy.”— The Pop Break
“Clay McLeod and Jay Levang’s disintegration of a college dorm and the students trapped within has become the back bone of one of my favourite comics of the year… I would recommend reading this on an empty stomach. Levang’s art work will make you shudder and potentially retch.”—Comic Cut Down
“A bone-chilling read, Lazaretto #4 (BOOM Studios) will undoubtedly freak out readers as they get an unflinching glimpse at body horror. A wickedly imaginative blend of zombie movies and Lord of the Flies…”—Villain Media
“Lazaretto remains disgusting, beautiful and scary.” (In German!)—Dragons Eat Everything
“Lazaretto #4 is a remarkable comic.” (In Greece!)—Comicdom
A “Rogues Portal Pull List” pick—Rogues Portal
A “Comic Pick of the Week”—Comics Heating Up
December 23, 2017Related: LAZARETTO #4
I got sick and totally barfed all over The Pop Break during this interview about LAZARETTO… or did I? You'll just have to read and find out for yourself, won't you? Check out the interview here.
November 27, 2017Related: LAZARETTO #3
The raves keep coming! Lazretto #3 is our best reviewed issue yet. Here's what folks are saying…
“Lazaretto is an unnerving and heart-breaking experience that plays upon the tropes of the quarantine stories and its endearing characters to craft a truly absorbing tale. It’s existentially terrifying, and I highly recommend it to anyone who can stomach it. It’s a masterfully crafted social horror story.”—Bleeding Cool
“Shocking, harrowing and utterly captivating… It’s great to see Chapman and Levang working together so seamlessly to deliver their deeply uncomfortable vision…”—Big Comic Page
“Chapman has written a very tight, fear inducing script which draws the reader in and traps them there with the characters. He creates a world that no-one would want to be a part of but makes it almost impossible to walk away from. Add to this the wonderfully disturbing artwork and you have in your hands an infectious, stomach churning comic unlike anything currently on the shelf.”—ComiConverse
Lazaretto “will tear your heart out.”—The Pop Break
“Jey’s eye for storytelling is pretty amazing to me. The use of page layouts with their angles, perspective and those backgrounds really bring this to life. It’s so strong that it takes your breath away.”—Reading With A Flight Ring
Lazaretto is “downright scary.”—Pop Culture Uncovered
“Levang just creates this lurid, jittery world with inks and colors that seems claustrophobic, hectic and nightmarish. Impressively, frighteningly effective.”—Oregon Live
Lazaretto is “like we’re inside a living hallucinatory dream.”—Villain Media
“What keeps Clay McLeod Chapman and Jey Levang’s story from cheese is the very human and real friendship between a closeted gay man and a terrified young woman at its center.”—Uproxx (This Week's Best Comics)
“A claustrophobic story… Top notch and rather creepy since it could really happen.—Graphic Policy (Top Comic Pick of the Week)
Issue #4 will be on the shelves on December 27th. Two days after Christmas! Pinch those pennies and bring them to the comic store!
November 7, 2017Related: LAZARETTO #3
Wanna see something really scary? Check out this interview with me and Timothy Haskell (“This Is Real”) on Theatre Talk. “Writer/performer Clay McLeod Chapman, creator of The Pumpkin Pie Show and producer/director Timothy Haskell, creator of Psycho Clan productions Nightmare New York Haunted House and the new live experience This Is Real join guest co-host Jason Zinoman and Theater Talk producer Susan Haskins-Doloff to discuss creating horror theater.” Thanks to Jason Zinoman and Susan Haskins-Doloff for having me on to wax about spooky theater!
October 30, 2017Related: The Pumpkin Pie Show
Helen Shaw at Time Out New York gave us a lovely send-off for the Pumpkin Pie Show:
“A sound rips out from the downtown theater scene, a scream of fear and denial and shock. But is there something else in it? Can you make out—a name? That name is Clay McLeod Chapman, and every storytelling junkie in New York has just realized something awful: After 20 years, Chapman is abdicating his reign as the king of narrative horror theater. His brilliant and hyperliterary thriller series, the Pumpkin Pie Show, performed without a set or costumes by the writer and select solo actors, has been blowing minds every fall since 1996. But Chapman has finally decided he’s done. “The city’s changing,” he says. “I can try to survive another 10 years or put it to bed.”
It feels like an untimely end. But happily, final frights are in store: a three-week run of Death to the Pumpkin Pie Show at Under St. Mark’s, where Chapman and his crew—including barnstorming dynamo Hanna Cheek—are reviving some of their favorite tales from the past two decades. On Thursdays, Cheek performs 2009’s Commencement, a Rashomon-style piece about a school shooting—a difficult, beautiful work that has little in common with the goofball escapism of other PPS shows. Fridays are devoted to 2014’s Seasick, a gross-out comedy featuring songs by Kyle Jarrow; Saturdays are a grab bag, with Cheek and Chapman drawing at random from a repertoire of roughly five dozen tales. Help yourselves to a few more slices of Pie, everybody! Before it’s all gone.”
You can read the profile at Time Out NY here.
October 28, 2017Related: The Pumpkin Pie Show
Check out this interview I did for Lazaretto #3 at Comicon… It comes with a super-sweet sneak peak at Jey Levang's ooey-gooey artwork! The new issue comes out next week, on 11/1, so get ready to get icky!
Read the interview here. “‘Society Is One Sneeze Away From Collapse’ – Clay McLeod Chapman On His Viral Miniseries, Lazaretto.” Thank you, Comicon!
October 26, 2017Related: LAZARETTO #3
“A deeply eerie and evocative portrayal of what it's like to stare into the abyss and find something there waiting for you. A memorable, disquieting ghost story about stories, rendered inside a Möbius strip.”