Meet Cassie Hack, the lone survivor of an attack by the vicious slasher known as The Lunch Lady, a killer who happened to be Cassie’s mother! Now, Cassie and her monstrous partner Vlad travel the country, hunting down and killing slashers before they can leave a trail of blood and terror.
Hack/Slash is the best horror comic I’ve ever read! It’s a loving tribute to the slasher movie genre that began with John Carpenter‘s classic Halloween (1978) and was popularized with Friday the 13th (1980) and its sequels. This comic, unlike most of those sequels, is smart, sexy fun. “In almost every slasher movie, there’s one girl who makes it all the way to the end.” Enter sexy goth girl Cassie Hack. “She’s the survivor… the Final Girl.” Cassie, as drawn by various talented artists, is the sexiest final girl in the genre; and, with her trademark baseball bat inscribed with the words “KISS IT”, she is one of the most bad-ass heroines in comics. However, Cassie Hack is more than just a fearless slasher killer who prefers short skirts that often expose her panties – she is a complex young woman searching for clues about her mysterious past as well her own sexuality. Her partner Vlad is a disfigured hulk who oftens hides his face behind a gas mask. Cassie met the gentle brute when she and Vlad were hunting the same slasher. She befriended him and, now, they work together.
Hack/Slash was created and (mostly) written by Tim Seeley. The comic was launched as a series of one-shots for Devil’s Due Publishing in 2004. The first came to be known as Euthanized (April 2004). In this one-shot, Cassie and Vlad encountered Bobby, a vengeful slasher who can reanimate and control dead animals. The issue also included the 3-page story “The Strange Story of Cassie Hack”, which detailed Cassie’s origin. In the second, Girls Gone Dead (October 2004), Cassie and Vlad tangled with scorned Catholic schoolgirl Laura Lochs who controlled vengeful slasher Father Wrath; while, in the third, Comic Book Carnage (March 2005), Cassie and Vlad battled Lloyd Sundermann and his parasitic twin Jimmy at a comic book convention. Comic Book Carnage guest starred real comic creators Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Skottie Young and Steve Niles, who were all killed! Hack/Slash vs. Evil Ernie (June 2005), The Land of the Lost Toys #1-3 (November 2005-January 2006), Trailers (February 2006), Slice Hard (December 2006), and the cinematic crossover Hack/Slash vs. Chucky (March 2007) followed.
Hack/Slash: The Series began in May 2007, at Devil’s Due Publishing, and continued for 32 issues, ending in March 2010. Notable crossovers had Cassie and Vlad meeting the SuicideGirls [Hack/Slash Annual #1: SuicideGirls (July 2008)] and Dr. Herbert West of Stuart Gordon‘s zombie classic Re-Animator (1985) [Cassie & Vlad Meet the Re-Animator (#15-17)]. Hack/Slash: Volume 2 picked up the ongoing series in February 2011, at Image Comics, and continued for 25 issues, ending in March 2013 with the series finale. Notable crossovers had Cassie and Vlad encountering Victor Crowley of Adam Green‘s “Old School American Horror” film Hatchet (2006) [Hack/Slash Annual #3: Hatchet/Slash (November 2011)], Steven L. Frank‘s Zombies vs. Cheerleaders [Hack/Slash Meets Zombies vs. Cheerleaders (June 2011)], and Josh Blaylock‘s devil girl Mercy Sparx [Hack/Slash & Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell (October 2010)]. Recently, Cassie Hack (sans Vlad who was killed off in the series finale) teamed up, at Dynamite Comics, with Deadite killer Ash [as portrayed by Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness (1992)] in the 6-issue crossover mini-series Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash (2013-14). Currently, Cassie Hack is back fighting “monsters and madmen” in Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain, a new 5-issue mini-series [for now] written by Steve Seeley and Michael Moreci for Image Comics. Issue #1 was published in July 2014.
Cassie Hack and Vlad, over the past ten years, have hunted and killed many colorful slashers who have populated Tim Seeley‘s action-packed story arcs, but, along the way, they’ve made some allies and even some friends, too. Chris Krank and Dr. Lisa Elsten are survivors of slasher attacks. Together, as a couple, they support Cassie and Vlad via Hack/Slash, Inc., a website for slasher survivors. Pooch is a demonic hairless dog from Nef, a world ruled by great and powerful gods. He was sent to Earth by the Neflords to kill Cassie. However, he failed and, instead, befriended and was, eventually, adopted by Chris and Lisa. Pooch talks, too. Samhain is a former slasher who wears a jack-o-lantern mask. He saved Cassie from the Black Lamp Society. Cassie and Samhain, eventually, have hot, steamy sex. Then, there’s Catherine “Cat” Curio, Intrepid Detective. She’s adorably sweet. However, my favorite minor character is Georgia Peaches (aka Margaret Crump). Her relationship with Cassie gives this visceral series its heart – but, not the kind ripped, still beating, from a slasher victim’s chest.
Cassie and Vlad first meet sweet Georgia Peaches in Shout at the Devil (issue #2-4 of Hack/Slash: The Series). Georgia is an aspiring actress working as a stripper, but, she has a “firm moral center.” Georgia is a virgin. However, she is also a fan of metal band Acid Washed whose frontman Six Sixx, in exchange for fame, sacrifices virgins to the Neflords. Cassie is a virgin, too. While in captivity, Cassie and Georgia discuss their virgin status. “Maybe you’re… gay,” Georgia suggests. “Maybe. Sometimes I think it’s possible,” Cassie replies. Georgia tells her that if she could she’d have sex with Cassie to make them impure for the sacrifice. “Really?” Cassie replies. “See, now that sounded a little too excited. You are definitely gay,” Georgia jokes. Vlad, eventually, rescues them, and Cassie and Georgia become friends, talking via cell phone. Soon, Vlad becomes jealous. However, in Tub Club (issues #7-9), Cassie tells Georgia not to call her anymore because she’s a freak who hunts freaks and puts her friends in danger. But, later, she imagines herself kissing Georgia. At the end of Little Children (#11), Cassie breaks down, and calls her. “I just need to talk,” she says. In Over the Rainbow (#14), Georgia, while filming a remake of The Wizard of Oz, decides to take on a slasher terrorizing the set, alone, but, when her plan goes awry, she is forced to call Cassie, who comes to her rescue. Cassie is angry, at first, but, then embraces Georgia and tells her how she really feels. “Just don’t die on me. Please,” Cassie pleads. “There’s too much death in my life already,” she adds, then, gently kisses Georgia’s forehead. In Closer (#18-20), Vlad calls Georgia to comfort Cassie who is distraught after losing here parents (again). Cassie tells Georgia that she wants to live a normal life with her, but, is concerned about leaving Vlad alone. They end up in Cassie’s bed, in their underwear, making out, but decide not to have sex. At the end of Mind Killer (#21-22), Georgia wants to make love with Cassie, but, Cassie turns her down. She tells Georgia that she can’t quit hunting slashers because people will die. Georgia tells Cassie that she loves her and that she has broken every rule she has just to be close to her. “What are you so afraid of?” she demands. Cassie tells her that she doesn’t love her and that she doesn’t think she’s really into girls. “It was a mistake,” she adds. Cassie doesn’t want to admit how she really feels about Georgia, and Georgia knows it. Her frustration takes hold in Sons of Man (#24-25). “What do you want me to say?” Cassie wonders, after she and Vlad take Georgia home. “There’s only one thing to say,” Georgia replies. She kisses Cassie, but, then Cassie turns away. In Hack/Slash Annual #2: Murder Messiah, Cassie confronts Georgia at work to tell her she’s in danger, but, Georgia’s still mad at Cassie. Vlad picks her up, and takes her home. Later, Cassie kisses Georgia, in the shower, after Georgia helps her with a fresh wound, but, Georgia stops herself. “I can’t do this until I know something,” she says. Cassie decides to tell her how she feels, but, finds her at the hands of slasher Dale. Cassie saves her, but, realizes that, if she’s with Georgia, Georgia will eventually get hurt or, worse, killed like everyone else in Cassie’s life that she’s ever loved, so she and Vlad leave again.
In Final (issues #20-25 of Hack/Slash: Volume 2), Cassie, after being told by Cat Curio that she’s infected by Samhain’s “black blood,” calls Margaret [aka Georgia]. “I just wanted to tell you. I could have loved you,” she admits. “Forever,” she adds. “I know,” Margaret assures her. However, unbeknown to Cassie, she, now, has a girlfriend. Meanwhile, Cassie and Vlad learn that slashers they thought they killed are returning and, under the command of Akakios and the Black Lamp Society, are targeting survivors. They kill Chris and Lisa and take their infant child Sandy. They also kill Margaret’s mother and kidnap her girlfriend, so Cassie and Vlad gather the remaining survivors, at Margaret’s childhood home, and prepare to stop the chaos and carnage. Cassie, Vlad and their allies save the world, of course, but, at a great cost – Vlad’s death. In the end, Cassie leaves, taking Sandy with her, but, Margaret stops her. “I think you should take me with you, too,” she says. She tells Cassie, again, that she loves her. “You and me. Somewhere off the grid. Raising Sandy. Best friends. Lovers,” she adds. In Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash, Cassie and Margaret are, in fact, living together, raising Sandy – until Ashley J. Williams pays Cassie a visit. “Yeah, I heard about you. Didn’t know you were into… uh…” Ash says, upon seeing Cassie with Margaret. “Women?” Margaret snarls. “Huh? No… Hummel statues or whatever they are,” Ash counters, referring to Cassie’s Heaven’s Little Helpers collection. Finally, in issue #1 of Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain, Cassie has left Margaret and Sandy. However, working as a bounty hunter, Cassie is haunted by her guilt in Margaret’s image. I like this idea, and I hope her “guilt” haunts her throughout the new series.
Slashers, twisted tales, blood and gore, goth girls in underwear, and a lesbian romance – what more do you need? I focused on the lesbian romance in the lengthy synopsis above because I love that aspect of Hack/Slash (especially with Cassie being conflicted about her sexuality), but, also because Hack/Slash is a very popular comic and I wanted to share a different side than most other bloggers have. I hope this doesn’t throw you off if you’re a horror fan and new to the comic. Cassie’s relationship with Georgia (aka Margaret) is important in understanding who Cassie Hack is but, at the same time, it’s only a minor part of the whole gory story.
Rumors of a Hack/Slash movie adaptation have been swirling around since the beginning. In fact, many of the first issues and collections are adorned with the phrase: “Soon to be a major motion picture from Rogue Pictures!” The project, it seems, has been stuck in development hell forever. The last I heard was that remake auteur Marcus Nispel [The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Friday the 13th (2009)] was set to helm the adaptation for Relativity Media. However, that was 2012. I’m still holding out hope, but, who would take the lead role? Megan Fox, at one time, expressed interest in playing Cassie Hack. I think Fox would be a good choice for the part, but, not the best choice. She has the look down (if you goth her up), but I don’t think she can pull off the fearlessness of tough-as-nails Cassie Hack. Kat Dennings has also expressed interest in playing the role, but, I can’t see her as Cassie. So, who would be the best choice? I don’t know. Hollywood will, undoubtedly, choose the wrong A-list actress [like Scarlett Johansson or even Helen Mirren], so I’d rather see an independently-produced feature with an aspiring no-name talent. But, if I were forced to pick a name, I’d say Jessica McNamee. She played Mia in The Loved Ones (2009). She’s perfect for Cassie [based on Mia]. What about Vlad? Some have suggested Ron Pearlman. Or Kane Hodder. OK. Georgia Peaches? Well, that’s easy – Amber Stevens (from 22 Jump Street and ABC’s Family’s GRΕΕK). She’s the right amount of adorable [but, she’s also kind of tall].
I purchased the initial Hack/Slash one-shot from DDP back when it was first published. My copy was misprinted, but, DDP kindly replaced it. I’ve been a big fan of the series ever since, and have collected every single issue, every trade paperback and every omnibus. The following is a chronological summary of those collected works [complete story arcs, full character profiles and insightful critiques are left to other sources – for now] …
Volume 1: First Cut (Devil’s Due Publishing, October 2005). “She survived Halloween, Friday the 13th and summer camp… Now the slasher victim slashes back!” This volume collects the one-shots Euthanized, Girls Gone Dead, Comic Book Carnage, and a bonus short story Slashing Through the Snow. This volume also includes a covers gallery, extensive annotated sketches (including additional photos of Sandra Kammerer modeling as Cassie for an alternate cover of Girls Gone Dead), an in-depth report on the Hack/Slash stage play presented by Chicago’s New Millennium Theatre Company (with Stefani Bishop as Cassie Hack and Adam Mack as Vlad), and psychofiles (aka character profiles). Tim Seeley‘s initial Cassie designs were based on the lovely Sandra Kammerer whom he met at a convention in 2003.
Volume 2: Death By Sequel (Devil’s Due Publishing, January 2007). “The final girl is back… for the sequel!” Cassie and Vlad encounter “ginsu knife wielding chefs, killer sharks and teddy bears with attitude.” This volume collects The Land of the Lost Toys #1-3, Trailers [“Blood & Nuts”, “Renegade Knife: Itai!”, “ORBITuary”, “Tub Club”, “Dead Celebrities”, and “Once Bitten”], Slice Hard Pre-Sliced 25¢ Special, and Slice Hard. This volume also includes an intro by B-movie scream queen Tiffany Shepis, a covers gallery, psychofiles, and a pin-up gallery (including an adorably sexy pin-up by Dead@17‘s Josh Howard).
Free Comic Book Day (March 2007). DDP’s contribution included the short The Strange Story of Cassie Hack (from Euthanized) and a preview of the upcoming ongoing series.
Volume 3: Friday the 31st (Devil’s Due Publishing, October 2007). “It’s Hack/Slash 3 in 3-D!” Cassie and Vlad “tangle with a skinless maniac, a hell born hair metal band, and cinema’s most twisted doll.” This volume collects the crossover one-shot Hack/Slash vs. Chucky [with art by Matt Merhoff] and issues #1-4 [Gross Anatomy (#1) and Shout at the Devil (#2-4)] of Hack/Slash: The Series. This volume also includes a covers gallery, psychofiles, and annotated sketches.
Hack/Slash: Omnibus 1 (Devil’s Due Publishing, January 2008). This omnibus collects TPB volumes 1-2 as well as the crossover one-shots Hack/Slash vs. Chucky [in Volume 3] and Hack/Slash vs. Evil Ernie (aka Hack/Slash: The Final Revenge of Evil Ernie). Evil Ernie was created by writer Brian Pulido and artist Steven Hughes.
Volume 4: Revenge of the Return (Devil’s Due Publishing, July 2008). “The return of the revenge of the hot tub honeys from hell!” This volume collects issues #5-10 [Love Stories (#5), Archie Comics–inspired Double Date (#6), Tub Club (#7-9), and Little Children (#10)] of Hack/Slash: The Series. “A small town full of naive jugheads becomes prey to a reborn madman, a lesbian murderess stalks the hot tubs of an all-girl school, and cannibal children roam the forests of Montana!” This volume also includes a covers gallery, psychofiles, and pin-ups.
Volume 5: Reanimation Games (Devil’s Due Publishing, December 2008). “By axe. By computer. By Syringe. Bye bye.” Cassie and Vlad “come face to face with vigilante killers, hot, undressed goth girls, and the Mad Scientist of Cinema, Herbert West.” This volume collects issues #11 and #14-17 [The Coldest Dish (#11), Over the Rainbow (#14), and Cassie & Vlad Meet the Re-Animator (#15-17)] of Hack/Slash: The Series, non-crossover parts of issues #12–13*, and Hack/Slash Annual: SuicideGirls (aka Murder/Suicide). This volume also includes a covers gallery, psychofiles, and sketches. Cassie’s nude “photoset” with SuicideGirls was actually posted on the website. Stuart Gordon‘s Re-Animator (1985), by the way, is one of my favorite zombie movies.
*The two-part Hack/Slash crossover with Mark Kidwell‘s Bump was cancelled due to the shut down of Fangoria Comics in 2007, but was published in Hack/Slash: The Series (#12-13) with additional pages to connect the story, and has not been re-printed in any Hack/Slash TPB or omnibus.
Hack/Slash: Omnibus 2 (Devil’s Due Publishing, January 2009). This omnibus collects issues #1-4 [see Volume 3] and TPB volumes 4-5. “Beyond sequels. Beyond remakes. There is… Hack/Slash!”
Volume 6: In Revenge & In Love (Devil’s Due Publishing, July 2009). This volume collects issues #18-23 [Closer (#18-20), Mind Killer (#21-22), Double Feature: The Mad, Mad Mailman/Blood Blower (#23)] of Hack/Slash: The Series and the one-shot Entry Wound. Cassie “is blamed and arrested for the murders commited by the very slashers she has sworn to eliminate” while Cassie and Vlad “cross paths with everyone’s favorite 8-year-old dream-reaper, Ashley.” This volume also includes a covers gallery.
The Art of Hack/Slash (Devil’s Due Publishing, August 2009). “Because we know you don’t buy the comic just for the story …” This over-sized volume (11×16) features 25 covers (perfect for framing) as well as interviews with creator Tim Seeley about some of his collaborators like Stefano Caselli, Frederica Manfredi, Matt Merhoff, Emily Stone, and more. Volume 2 was cancelled by Devil’s Due Publishing. Bastards.
Volume 7: New Blood, Old Wounds (Devil’s Due Publishing, January 2010). This volume collects issues #24-28 [Sons of Man (#24-25), Foes and Fortunes (#26-27), and Archie Comics–inspired Something’s Fishy! (#28)] of Hack/Slash: The Series and the exclusive story Vlad and Cassie vs. Bloody Mary (written by cartoonist Jeffrey Brown). Cassie and Vlad “encounter the mysterious Samhain, a deadly masked man who may be an ally – or another slasher in need of a good stomping!” This volume also includes a covers gallery.
Volume 8: Super Sidekick Sleepover Slaughter (Image Comics, November 2010). “It’s the genre mash-up you’ve always secretly wished for: teen superheroes meet teen slasher!” This volume collects issues #29-32 [Super Sleepover Sidekick Slaughter Prelude (#29) and Super Sleepover Sidekick Slaughter (#30-32)] of Hack/Slash: The Series and the exclusive Hackoween web comic with Halloween Man (written by Drew Edwards). This volume also includes a covers gallery, pin-ups, annotated sketches, and super sidekick profiles.
Hack/Slash: Omnibus 3 (Image Comics, November 2010). This omnibus collects TPB volumes 6-8 as well as the crossover The Living Corpse Annual #1 (guest starring Hack/Slash) [written by Ken Haeser who created The Living Corpse with Buz Hasson]. “Fear can be fun!”
Hack/Slash: Trailers Part Two (Image Comics, November 2010). “Thirteen Tales of Naked Fear!” This is a 64-page one-shot [courtesy of various writers and artists] that includes the following shorts: “Butterface”, “Too Cute”, “Campfire Stories”, “Equal Opportunity Executioner”, “Malice in Wünderland”, “Blood on the Dancefloor”, “Wallow in Death”, “Rape Van”, “Home”, “Home on Derange”, “Deadbeats!”, “Hack, Slash, Repeat”, “Womb With a View”, and “Psyche”. This one-shot will never be collected in trade.
Hack/Slash: My First Maniac (Image Comics, November 2010). “The first tale of the last survivor…” This volume collects issues #1-4 of the stand-alone mini-series [written by Tim Seeley with art by Daniel Leister] that “explores Cassie’s first case!” This volume also includes an introduction by Warehouse 13‘s Allison Scagliotti, a covers gallery and annotated sketches.
Hack/Slash: Me Without You (Image Comics, January 2011). This one-shot is the follow-up to Hack/Slash: My First Maniac and tells Vlad’s origin story. It has not been collected in trade.
Bomb Queen vs. Hack/Slash (Image Comics, February 2011). This one-shot crossover pits Cassie and Vlad against Jimmie Robinson‘s anti-superhero villainess Bomb Queen and her black cat Ashe. The one-shot was collected with other Bomb Queen one shots in Bomb Queen: Gang Bang (October 2011).
Volume 9: Torture Prone (Image Comics, August 2011). “A new era in terror begins …” Cassie and Vlad “contend with a twitter-pated serial killer and two returned slashers they’re pretty sure they already offed” and “street witch Libby Lochs” who “attempts to travel back in time to undo a future where slashers rule and murder is law.” This volume collects Hack/Slash Annual #2: Murder Messiah, issues #1-4 [Crossroads] of Hack/Slash: Volume 2, and the original short story Night Funeral in Eminence. This volume also includes a character guide, a covers gallery, pin-ups, and sketches.
Hack/Slash/Eva: Monster’s Ball (Image Comics/Dynamite Entertainment, January 2012). This volume collects issues #1-4 of the crossover mini-series (written by Brandon Jerwa). Cassie and Vlad join forces with Eva [who was introduced in Army of Darkness #10 (September 2006)], the daughter of Dracula, and Michael, Frankenstein’s kind-hearted monster, to fight monsters. This volume also includes all of the covers by Tim Seeley.
Volume 10: Dead Celebrities (Image Comics, February 2012). “Gods, monsters, & pop stars vs. Cassie Hack.” Cassie and Vlad “face off against Hatchet star Victor Crowley, the goddess Fantomah, and a society obsessed with fame and bad pop songs.” This volume collects the crossover Hack/Slash Annual #3: Hatchet/Slash and issues #5-8 [Mystery Woman (#5) and Fame Monster (#6-8)] of Hack/Slash: Volume 2. This volume also includes a covers gallery, pin-ups, sketches, and a photo album [H/S cosplayers].
Hack/Slash: Omnibus 4 (Image Comics, May 2012). This omnibus collects TPB volumes 9-10 as well issues #9-11 [see Volume 11], the 2011 Hack/Slash Holiday Special (aka The Gift of Hack/Slash), and the crossover one-shot Hack/Slash Meets Zombies vs. Cheerleaders (written by Steven L. Frank). “Still making a splash!”
Volume 11: marry f*ck kill (Image Comics, December 2012). “Blood, Sex & Tears.” Cassie and Vlad “face off against the escaped inmates of an interdimensional women’s prison, and then must venture to a bizarre island in search of a cure for slasher-turned hero Samhain.” This volume collects #9-15 [Interdimensional Women’s Prison Breakout (#9-11) and Monster Baiting (#12-15)] of Hack/Slash: Volume 2. This volume also includes a covers gallery. Cassie, by the way, chooses to “f*ck” Samhain.
Volume 12: Dark Sides (Image Comics, April 2013). “By strange hands.” This volume collects #16-19 of Hack/Slash: Volume 2 and the crossover one-shot Hack/Slash & Mercy Sparx: A Slice of Hell (written by Josh Blaylock with art by Joe Song). The Good Son (#16-17) was written by Justin Jordon (Luther Strode), The Case of the Killer and the Question King (#18) was written by bestselling dark fantasy author James Lowder with art by Matt Merhoff, and Hack/Slash/Repeat (#19) was written by Steve Seeley and Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters). Hack/Slash/Repeat, in which Cassie and Vlad meet “a slasher they can’t kill fast enough to keep in his grave,” is one of my favorite stand-alone stories. This volume also includes a covers gallery and pin-ups.
Volume 13: Final (Image Comics, June 2013). “The dark at the end of the tunnel.” This final volume collects #20-25 [Final] of Hack/Slash: Volume 2. This volume also includes a covers gallery and “7 Hack/Slash Facts (You Maybe Didn’t Already Know)”. The series finale delivers an awesomely satisfying conclusion. Vlad will be missed, but, Cassie will never forget him. Neither will we.
Hack/Slash: Omnibus 5 (Image Comics, May 2013). This omnibus collects issues #12-15 [in Volume 11] and TPB volumes 12-13. “The fatal finale!”
Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash (Dynamite Entertainment, July 2014). This volume collects issues #1-6 of the post-finale crossover mini-series [written by Tim Seeley with art by Daniel Leister]. “Two horror icons join in the mash-up that fans demanded!” This volume also includes an introduction by Tim Seeley, the original script to issue #1 and a complete covers gallery.
Finally, check out Hack/Slash Inc, the source for all things Hack/Slash and Tim Seeley.