The Roadie #1: Tim Seeley Talks Hitting the Road as “Hell Meets Heavy Metal” in New Dark Horse Series
Dark Horse Comics recently released the premiere issue of the new limited series with The Roadie #1. The first issue set the roadmap for 80s-infused heavy metal mayhem imbued with the gruesome evil that lurks around every corner. A roadie must now return to a job he put behind him long ago as he fights to save his daughter. The series was created by Tim Seeley & Fran Galán. Seeley writes for the series with Galán providing art & colors. They are joined by letterer El Torres to make up the creative minds behind this story embellished by everything we loved about 80s metal.
The Roadie #1 is available at your favorite local comic shop and digitally now with issue #2 arriving on October 26th, 2022. Seeley took time to answer some of our questions about the series which you can check out below:
GN: You picked an iconic period to tell the story of ‘The Roadie’ with both metal and horror being in their prime. What inspired you to choose this era to place your story in?
Seeley: The thing that struck me was that around this time, I was working on a couple different projects about this subject, including a film I made with Mike Moreci, ‘Revealer’. I kind of felt like the Satanic Panic was coming back, which I unfortunately was right. The thing with American culture is that when people feel like things aren’t going the way they should, they have this tendency to blame it or hint at a more supernatural reason for it.
So I was partly inspired by how someone who lived through the original Satanic Panic in the 80’s and what they’d be doing through the Satanic Panic now. I was also partly inspired by changing diapers and what it’s like having a daughter and how that has changed me.
GN: Fran Galán absolutely slays in the first issue. The expressions and panel placement makes the concert and crowd jump out at you. What can you share about your experience working with the talents of Fran?
Seeley: Fran was someone who I was introduced to through Dark Horse. I never worked with him before, but I was familiar with his Marvel stuff. I started out as a comic book artist before I was a writer, and the more I got away from that, the more I felt like it was harder for me to connect my stuff. But then when I heard they got Fran, I was like ‘Great, now I don’t need to draw anything and can just let him do it!’
He is just so good and he brings a visual sense that I don’t have! He has a very painted and atmospheric sort of work that’s not the kind of thing I do, so I felt really comfortable just letting him do his own thing. The really interesting thing is that he’s not American, so he didn’t really grow up with this kind of influence. So I had to provide him with some references that I grew up with that he might not get, like MTV and Head Bangers Ball.
GN: What was your inspiration behind the demons? Without revealing any spoilers, is there anything that inspired the first encounter between ‘The Roadie’ and the demon?
Seeley: When I started working on this book and also on the Revealer movie, I was reading books on where the origins of demons came from. Basically, the origins of demons in Christian mythology is picked up from so many little bits of other religions. Sort of as a means to make those other religions the bad guys. So going back through the Bible and seeing what they really said about the devil and what they really said about demons, I tried not to use the stuff that’s on heavy metal cover albums.
Sort of to contrat the idea of what a heavy metal head sees demons on the cover of an album vs how demons are described in the Bible, and it’s always so much weirder. The mythology that’s actually there, is not the stuff that we talk about and it’s definitely not the stuff brought up in the Satanic Panic. I feel sometimes the people who spew the most about Satan and Demons, haven’t really read what’s in the bible. So I’m really just trying to do that. Like the character of Meridiana is a succubus and I wanted to make them really as they were described. So I gave Fran a lot of reference for that kind of thing and it feels like it’s much creepier in the Bible than it is on any heavy metal album cover ever.
GN: The evil forces at work seem almost biblical to me, what kind of sources did you dive into when giving form to the demons in the series?
Seeley: Yes, the Bible was a major source and all the associated books of the Bible, like the book of Solomon. It’s interesting how so much of heavy metal and that whole aesthetic developed their own version of what that looks like. So instead we really just wanted to go back to the source. Even the version of Hell we portrayed is much closer to the way it’s described in the Bible. And I think even the word Satan is actually meant to be more of an official title like: “The Satan.”
Much of the Bible is the politics of the time and even Hell in the Bible is a combination of a few different real world locations of the time, one of them being a garbage pit. So I really wanted to cut away from the heavy metal version of it and go back to the source material. I also wanted to play off this idea of having a character who can sort of laugh at people singing about Satan and is comfortable wearing a t-shirt with Satan’s face on it cause he knows the truth.
GN: I may be one of the few people that enjoy some background music while reading. Any songs you can recommend that will pair nicely with ‘The Roadie’?
Seeley: A big inspiration for the story was going back to the earliest connections of the devil and demons to what would become rock music. So a lot of Robert Johnson’s music is a big influence to the story and some of the more traditional songs that Blues players would play. And there’s so much of it has some version about making the deal with the Devil or a woman that’s a devil. So I would say a lot of his music is really great. And then other songs like Looks that Kill by Motley Crue and The Number of The Beast by Iron Maiden. Montero (Call me by your name) by Lil Nas X would also be a fun one haha.
GN: Dark Horse listed the series as a four-issue miniseries. Can you share with readers if this story is closed off to be told within those issues or will there be a possibility of the series continuing in the future?
Seeley: I would love to do more! What I really wanted to do lately is do a series about a character. A lot of times now, comics seem to be more focused on some kind of story engine and it becomes all about that plot and the stories are kind of contained, which is great. But I also loved stories about a character and to me, Dark Horse does it so well. For so long, Hellboy has been such a staple among comic readers and is such a perfectly constructed character and has such a big world.
So I really wanted The Roadie to be one of those, like he has this amazing huge history but he’s brought back into the modern world which has kind of left him behind. I feel like there’s so much I can do with him, like we got through Hell in this story, but we haven’t touched Heaven or any of the other religions. A big thing we talk about in the book is Joe’s past, and we see one brave moment with Joe on tour with Young Massacre back in the 80’s and we could do an entire series just around some of that. So yes, I would love to do more with the character. It would be amazing!
GN: You wrote the movie Revealer, which is on Shudder (congrats by the way!). You have also penned some great horror comic series (Hack/Slash, West of Sundown, The Occultist). What draws you to the horror genre both as a writer and a fan?
Seeley: The main thing is that I was really anxious as a kid and I’m still even kind of an anxious old man haha. As a kid, I had a lot of fears and insecurities, but the thing I found in therapy that really worked for me was horror. Having general anxiety and some kind of fear of a nebulous future or event that I can’t really even comprehend why I’m afraid of, I found there’s something really therapeutic about experiencing something concrete and scary. So as a kid I would go through my dad’s old horror comics that he would pick up at the grocery store or even sneak into a vampire or slasher movie and found that horror just made me feel good.
Thank you Tim for answering our questions!
Source: Dark Horse Comics