Posted by Decapitated Dan |

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Todd McCullough

I recently had a chance to talk to Todd McCullough about his book Who Needs the Moon and more. Check it out:

Decapitated Dan: Hey Todd thanks for taking time to talk with me about Who Needs the Moon . First of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?

Todd McCullough: At the moment I'm sort of a stay at home Dad and a caretaker to my wife, who's been fighting late stage cancer for a few years now.

In the past I studied Drawing and Painting at OCAD in Toronto Canada, but because there didn't seem to be a good future in art I later studied 3D animation and modelling. After that I started working for video game studios, working either as some sort of artist or as a level designer. But, mostly I just ended up focusing more on 3D character modelling.

DD: How did you find yourself getting into making comics?

TM: When I was younger I loved comics and like a lot of comic fans, all I wanted to do, was draw and write them. I wanted to create the next great superhero.

But at art school in the '90's, I was sort of told that, Fantasy, Science Fiction and comics weren't art, so I began to steer away from anything related to comics and those genres. I stopped buying and reading comics too.

Which is dumb, because looking back, I think that was my own misconception about the Fine Art world. Looking around now, genre stuff is everywhere and I think that's because many artists had similar impressions to my own, but unlike me, they said, "Who cares. I'm still going to do it." I wish I had done something similar.

So instead from 2000 up to about 2011, I went to work and did the job I was to do there, but later when I went home, I sort of took off that hat, dropped those game influences and tried to make what I thought was "Fine Art". All the while I'd doodle this or that, which was comic or genre related.

But back in 2006 I think maybe later, I stumbled upon the trade paperback of Black Hole by Charles Burns at someones house. That book really kind of altered my percerptions of comics! I'd never come across anything like it to that point. It suddenly sparked this huge growing hunger for comics again. Since then I have been slowly devouring more and more books.

So a few years ago. I thought to myself. This is what I truly want to be doing. Storytelling is important to me and I want to tell the stories locked up in my head. And comics is the best medium to do it in where I can potentially have 100% control. So I started creating ideas based on characters I'd already created and have been working towards the point where I am at now.

DD:  So what can you tell me about Who Needs the Moon? What's it all about?

TM: Who Needs the Moon is about a guy who is a monster. He's a bitter guy that blames most of his problems on others and resents the world for it. While he knows that he is a monster, he is unaware of how truly awful he is. So he sort of goes around believing that he does good, while mainly he only causes more harm.

DD: Who are the main characters?

TM: The story is sort of a first person narrative, that revolves around the werewolf and so we really on get a glimpse into him and his thinking. The miniseries will follow him through what I hope will be an eventual downfall.

There is a large cast of supporting characters, like his dead family, the ghosts of the people he's killed, Ted the bartender, Adeen and her mom Pauly, Anne the motel owner, other townspeople and of course the members of the vampire coven who we will learn more of later on.

DD: Where did this idea come from?

TM: I guess it sort of came from my own life experience.

Without getting too personal, Ethan, the Wolf was sort of born out of a time in my life when I was sort of going through a lot and I wasn't handling it so well. I drank often, which was common for me and most of my peers, but while most drunks pass out, I'm one of those that doesn't, and instead I became a bit of a Mr. Hyde.

While I never reached the point where I did something horribly awful, I'm still ashamed of some of the things I did but I'm honest and okay to talk about them. What I learned from it was that there may be something potentlally bad in me that I need to control. The Wolf was born in that period of time, and is a sort of catharsis for me. It's another way to get it out and keep it controlled I think.

DD: If you were to give this book a movie style rating (G, PG, PG-13, R,  X) what would it get, and why would you say that?

TM: That's kind of a hard one. While I think that there are going to be some graphic images in the book, dealing with graphic violence, gore and some sexual content that may include rape, according to the rules it could be PG-13. But I guess depending on how I render everything, it's probably safer to say R.

DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from this story?

TM: First and foremost, I hope that everyone who reads it, enjoys it. But, if I do my job right, I hope it comes across as a good character study story. Even if a reader comes to it looking only for a creature feature, vampire/werewolf blood shed type story I hope there might be a lesson that can be gleaned from it.

DD: Your art style has a very European feel to it, I think of artists like Tirso and  Frederik Peeters when I see it. So who are your art influences?

TM: I'm Canadian so the Group of Seven, especially Tom Thomson are big for me. With Who Needs the Moon, I felt that I should somehow incorporate the way they rendered the Canadian Wilderness into my backgrounds. I would say that it is only really noticeable with the Jack Pines I've drawn in here and there though.

Aside from what I just mentioned and old masters of painting, comic art has been a huge part of my "art diet" for a good couple of years now. Since I fell out of superhero comics for quite some time, its been American alternative comics, some Japanes Manga and some French Bandes Dessinées that have been directing me. But it's mostly the work of recent books and the artists who have done them that have been heavily influencing me lately.

Brian Ralph's zombie apocalypse buddy book Daybreak.

The artwork on the new Prophet done by Simon Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis and Brandon Graham.

The artwork Fabien Mense has done on Agito Cosmos. You know this whole western style of manga is becoming so appealing to me now.

Frank Quitely's work on Jupiter's Legacy most recently.

Trad Moore on Luther Strode stuff. Oh and Terry Moore's Rachel Rising.

There's so much more though. I get hooked on someone different on a weekly if not daily basis.

DD: Were you into any horror titles growing up that lead you to want to create a book like this?

TM: Growing up in a small Canadian town from the mid 1970's to the 90's meant that there wasn't much in the way of horror comics for me to look at. There wasn't even much in the way of a comic shop. We did have video stores like everyone else though so movies played a big role in my life. I think my family may have watched a bit more horror than the average family. I certainly remember watching a lot of horrors with my siblings and their friends. Not so much my  own friends. Anyways, horror films scared the hell out of me, but I kept going back for more. It may come as no surprise to some readers of my book, that two films from way back have had a heavy influence on me. The made for TV Salem's Lot haunted me from the time I was 8 until I was into my mid teens, forcing me to keep my curtains closed every night in fear that finger nails might start raking down the windows. Also An American Werewolf in London is one of my all time favourites, and while that one didn't so much haunt me, it has had me thinking about it yearly to this day.

DD: Is this a series that we can expect more and more and more issues of in the future?

TM: I can only say no for now. Since it's a miniseries there will be an end to this story. Being mostly new to comic making, I'm just not sure at the moment how many issues that will be. Currently I'm thinking about 7 or 8 digital books. That isn't to say that I am done with this world that I am creating. I have actually been
picturing scenarios where I could write potentially another miniseries or two.

DD: What was the most horrific thing that happened to you when you were working on this book?

TM: That's pretty easy. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer just after our daughter was born and that really sort of derailed everything in our lives, including this book. So that is the most horrific. Once she completed chemo I got busy again, but she was later diagnosed with stage IV cancer that had spread and metastasized. The whole experience has been incredibly tough on her and has taken a toll on us and our kids, who are now 2 and 4.

Another thing was when I deleted all my files which were stored on a seperate hard drive from my OS disk. I am working 100% digitally on this book and to make a long complicated story short, I overwrote the hard drive I was working from instead of the drive I wanted to install a new OS on. Fortunately I had a another back up hard drive, so my work wasn't completely lost. But since I didn't back that hard drive up often enough, I lost roughly 2-3 months of work. It was actually more of a nightmare than that though. I think I sat there at my desk for a good while with my head in my hands and it was sort of the icing on the cake.

DD: Can we expect more from you horror comic wise in the future?

TM: Definitely. Most of my stories kind of revolve around ideas that are just suitable for horror. Not to say that I don't want to try other things, but I think that, regardless of whether I try a different genre, there will always be an element of horror in my work. I watch horror films pretty much religiously and read horror novels now and then, so I'm always steeped in it.

I have a critical, cynical way of seeing things which influences the tone of what I draw and write too, making it mostly pretty dark.

DD: So where can readers find out more about this book, and buy copies?

TM: Right now, it is only available digitally. In the future, I intend to print up one complete volume of the entire series, but for now it's just all digital. You can buy direct DRM free PDF copies from me through my blog and through Or you can buy from, which for many people is probably the most convenient.

DD: Where can readers find out more about you?

TM: I have several social accounts and a couple of blogs. I'm on twitter a lot it seems, @tamccullough. I have facebook and google+ accounts which are easy to get to from my blogs. Those are,, which is the oldest and has quite a bit of info and posts or on tumblr at I think tumblr has a pretty cool system in place for artists, so I may use that a lot more often in the future.

DD: So in summary give me a quick recap on Who Needs the Moon and why fans should give it a try.

TM: Like the films I mentioned above, Who Needs the Moon I hope, is a sort of Salem's Lot meets An American Werewolf in London. The werewolf in Landis' film, is my idea of what a werewolf should be, a powerful four legged mayhem making slaughter machine. And King's vampires in Salem's Lot are what I see vampires as, sort of like a succubus/incubus creature that lives in a sort of coven. The vampires in my book are not super human undead people like in True Blood or Twilight.

While the basic idea is what would happen if the two crossed paths, I hope to put a deeper story there about a man who just wants to control his own life and how life seems to work otherwise.

Fingers crossed that people love it.

DD: Thanks so much for your time Todd.