Earlier this year writer Justin Aclin and artist Ben Bates took MySpace Dark Horse Presents by storm with the story of the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce — S.H.O.O.T. First or, as Sean called them, the Super-Atheists.
Now we’re really excited to present an original prose story that Justin wrote for Robot 666 Week — S.H.O.O.T. First: “The House That Ate Halloween.” And Justin even invited his brother, Jesse, to contribute illustrations for it!
So a big thank you to the Bros. Aclin for spending part of their Halloween with us … check out the story below!
S.H.O.O.T. First: “The House That Ate Halloween”
By Justin Aclin. Illustrations by Jesse Aclin
S.H.O.O.T. First created by Justin Aclin and Ben Bates
“We have a Craigslist ad?”
The man who currently called himself Codename: Infidel took off his baseball cap and shook his head in amazement. An average day with the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce was strange—S.H.O.O.T. had the very important job of protecting humanity from seemingly supernatural creatures who were trying to manipulate and harm us for their own reasons, so things tended to get weird pretty frequently. Maybe it was the fact that he had never celebrated Halloween in his native Afghanistan, maybe it was the fact that he was currently dressed up as a member of the Boston Red Sox—complete with cleats and a large, awkward practice duffel. But for whatever reason, S.H.O.O.T. having a Craigslist ad struck Infidel as just about the weirdest thing that he’d heard in the few months since he’d joined up.
It was an awesome thing to behold. My friend Justin Aclin — editor of ToyFare magazine, head writer of Twisted ToyFare Theater, and author of the graphic novel Hero House — came up with a great idea for a comic, about a super-powered team of militant atheists who track down and kill supposedly supernatural entities for meddling in humanity’s affairs. This was on a Monday. On Tuesday he pitched it to Dark Horse. On Wednesday it was greenlit. From idea to approval in under 48 hours. Amazing, right?
By now you’ve seen the end result: S.H.O.O.T. First, an eight-page story from the final issue of MySpace Dark Horse Presents. But if you’re an aspiring comics writer, perhaps you wanna see exactly how Aclin managed to catch lightning in a bottle in the first place.
Fortunately, he’s got your hook-up: On his blog, Aclin has posted his successful proposal for the comic. It sets up the concept, introduces the characters, and walks you through the plot of the initial short story in seven paragraphs and one catchphrase — pretty much a how-to for clear, concise, compelling comics pitches. Read and learn.
Over at Comics Alliance, ToyFare editor, Twisted ToyFare Theater head writer and Hero House author Justin Aclin is talking up his upcoming story for MySpace Dark Horse Presents, “S.H.O.O.T. First.” It’s a paranormal/superhero book in the vein of B.P.R.D., but with a twist: The titular team’s acronym stands for the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce, and their mission is to wipe out any and all supernatural entities in the name of atheism. Says Aclin:
S.H.O.O.T. are basically militant atheists, tasked with hunting down supernatural creatures, especially those of religious significance, that they don’t even believe in….every time you read a comic about someone fighting the supernatural, they’re really doing it on the supernatural’s own terms. If you’re fighting a vampire, you bring stakes and holy water – that kind of thing. I don’t think there’s ever been a team like “S.H.O.O.T.” that basically thinks it’s all bunk, and just goes after any threat with science and bullets, and scientific bullets.