You know it’s October when the spooky content starts coming out in droves. While Rebellion‘s Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular was originally set to come out in September, it’s stories like Olivia Hicks and Diansakhu Banton-Perry’s ‘Scare Salon‘ that prove why this special was well worth the wait. Featuring new characters and plenty of monsters, Hicks and Banton-Perry were able to answer some questions about the story you won’t want to stop combing over this month.
Rachel Bellwoar: Monster Fun includes a lot of returning characters. What was it like getting to write one of the original stories for the special?
Olivia Hicks: It was so much fun! Keith Richardson, the editor and mastermind behind Monster Fun asked me if I had any ideas for a story with the title ‘Scare Salon.’ He wanted monsters working in a hair salon but the rest was up to me. Immediately I started thinking about my cousin, who is a brilliant Black hairdresser, and how visiting her growing up helped me to define my identity. As a kid I felt extremely powerless about my hair. My parents are wonderful, but their elaborate hair visions didn’t really line up with who I was. My cousin would happily shave off most of my hair and that gave me a lot of confidence as a teenager. This script was written as a thank you to her and an acknowledgement of how important hair is in defining yourself! So it’s a celebration of Black hair but also it has monsters and puns for days – perfect.
Diansakhu Banton-Perry: I wasn’t a part of writing the story for these creatures, but designing them was definitely very fun. They’re some of the few characters where the first designs I fully pictured in my mind fit perfectly with Olivia Hick’s descriptions. I honestly adore The Bride of Frankenstein, or ‘Shelley’s’ character the most!
RB: Growing up, did you have any favorite monsters or stories you loved to return to around Halloween?
OH: I was a super square growing up so I think I would watch Nightmare Before Christmas and that was scary enough for me (sorry!)
DB-P: I can’t say I really indulged in classic monster stories. I think the closest thing is vampires, and I definitely loved watching vampire content like Interview With a Vampire and Vampire Diaries. But that was a year-round kind of thing! I loved Halloween vibes, but reading supernatural fun extends past October 31st.
RB: How did you come up with the idea for the Charlie’s Angels-inspired logo?
DB-P: Olivia came up with the Charlie’s Angels logo! It would have never occurred to me! I was a little worried I’d mess it up because I’m not particularly good with type. But it turned out pretty cute!
OH: I’m not going to claim that idea as super original as people have been parodying and homaging the Charlie’s Angels logo for as long as the show’s been around, but I think why we’re all drawn to that logo is that it’s a symbol of feminist teamwork and action… but also high camp! And I love all of those things… probably why I was drawn to it.
RB: Was it hard trying to settle on a hairstyle or wig for each of the characters?
DB-P: I think the hardest hairstyle to come up with was the Heather and Helga girls! I wasn’t sure how crazy to make them, especially since Medusa and Shelley’s hair came so naturally. So I decided I just wanted them to have good shapes that feel a little Halloweeny.
RB: Similarly, are hair puns easy to come up with or tricky?
OH: They’re hard but fun! I had to hit the hair pun scene hard and go through the many hundreds of bad hair jokes there are out there before I felt ready to write. It was a lot of research and work but it wasn’t too hairable (I’ll show myself out).
RB: Now that Monster Fun has been announced as an ongoing series, I don’t know if you can say whether “Scare Salon”will be returning, but if it does return, will we see Rhianne again (who acts as the narrator of this story)?
DB-P: I’m not sure! But I wouldn’t mind revisiting these characters! They are very fun to draw!
OH: Rhianne’s a part of the Scare Salon crew, so any further Scare Salon stories would include her learning more about this underground comb-ven of monsters (comb-ven/coven, get it?!). I can’t yet confirm if there will be more, but if you’d like to see more of Scare Salon please write into firstname.lastname@example.org and let Frankie Stein know! Especially let him know if you have any bonkers ideas for hair styles you’d like to see!
RB: Thanks again for agreeing to this interview, Olivia and Diansakhu!
Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular goes on sale October 6th from Rebellion.