Creepy-crawly horror is some of the most uncomfortable horror to behold–but in a “can’t look away” sort of uncomfortable. From Arachnophobia to Them! to The Fly and so many tales (and tails) in between, audiences have long had an affinity for the gooey, gross, killer bugs of all shapes and sizes that can strike at our clean and pristine lives. We’re freaked out and fascinated in equal measure.

That’s something that the creators of Mad Cave Studios’ Skeeters know well. Writers Bob Frantz, Kevin Cuffe, and artist Kelly Williams bring comic book readers of extraterrestrial mosquitos that have set their sights to plague a small beach town, with only a ragtag team of a sheriff and two exterminators to stave off their threat. It’s glorious gory fun on every page and we are here. For. It.

The entire Skeeters miniseries just hit trade paperback this month. I spoke with writers Bob Frantz and Kevin Cuffe and artist Kelly Williams recently about the conceit of Skeeters, how the series took shape, the Cronenberg feel of the book, and a tongue-in-cheek appeal to Gremlins director Joe Dante.




FreakSugar: For folks who might be interested in picking up the book, what can you tell us about Skeeters?

Kevin Cuffe: It’s a weird love letter to B-movie creature features that we’d imagined for a Kaiju anthology we were asked to do. So, we set out with the goal of making a comic version of an 80s VHS horror movie that you’d rent from Blockbuster. (I’m dating myself—I know.)

Kelly Williams: Alright. See, there are giant mosquito monsters. That’s all I got.

Bob Frantz: If you hate fun then Skeeters isn’t for you. This book comes right out of the shute with gore and chaos and more importantly, fun. I love this comic!

FS: We meet a whole bevy of characters in the first issue. What can you tell us about the cast we’ll meet?

KC: There’s Carla, the sheriff who is unhappy with her job due to the glass ceiling in the small town of Kankakee. There’s JJ and Luis who are exterminators who stumble upon this big mosquito problem that is currently happening in the town. And finally, there’s A mysterious G-man from the research facility who is trying to contain this mess before the news gets out.

KW: Carla, JJ and Luis all have a tattoo of the local bar “Hawt Dawg Pete’s” sign on their inner thigh, right leg, above the knee.

BF: I thought it was a “HAWT DAWG PETE” sign shaped birthmark?


SKEETERS #1 Lunar Exclusive Cover


FS: The first issue feels immersive from the get-go. What was the genesis for the series?

KC: We wanted to have it start quickly and just keep building from issue to issue and ramp up the stakes, the scares and the solutions until we got to a place where we’ve taken on you on this really wild yet gross and fun ride throughout the story.

KW: One of my favorite things is how much important info is kinda front loaded in the first issue. You get a pretty clear vision of who these characters are. I love when readers can learn the basics of a world in a story without even realizing it.

BF: To quote the Wu Tang Clan, “We wanted to bring the f-ing ruckus.” WE know that you gotta grab the reader’s attention in the first few pages, so that’s what we did.

FS: The book has a very Grindhouse, Cronenberg feel. What were conversations about how the book should look?

KC: That was entirely the genius that is Kelly Williams, from the get-go Kelly was just going as far as he could with every aspect of making these creatures as disgusting as possible but then even going above and beyond with each new one.

KW: I really like Cronenberg, so I guess that’s a compliment. Thanks!

BF: Yeah, that’s all Kelly. He did such an amazing job bringing these creatures to life. Kelly was a joy to work with. He just kept pushing the gore and the goo. This book is VERY gooey.



FS: Following up on that, what are your influences that might have impacted the book?

KC: We were really pulling from a John Carpenter The Thing kind of place but with the mood of something like Them! Or Eight-Legged Freaks.

BF: Take bit of Tremors, A pinch of Stephen King, And a dab of Joe Dante and you get Skeeters. Mr. Dante, if you’re reading this, I’d love for you to direct the film. Ha.

KW: I don’t know. Mike Ploog?

FS: The first issue feels very cohesive from the jump. What has the collaboration process been like?

KC: Bob and I always work together— so we work similarly on every project we work on— it was a real joy working with Kelly, who just made this whole comic a fun, blood-spattered gore fest. Chas Pangburn (our editor) was also pushing us on every issue to just go bigger, make it more bloody and more fun throughout. It’s been a pleasure working with Mad Cave— we hope they let us come back again for another project!

KW: I’ve known Bob and Kevin for a little bit now. Working with them is great because I think we have similar senses of humor. Which is important for this book.

BF: We are like the A-Team or the Dirty Dozen in the sense that the four (can’t forget CHAS) of us formed a very tight bond when we were in prison.

FS: If you had a final elevator pitch for the comic, what would it be?

KC: It’s a small town with a big bug problem.


BF: “Hey, you like goo?”

The Skeeters trade paperback is out now from Mad Cave Studios.

From the official paperback description:

Small town hijinks ensue as extraterrestrial mosquitos descend on a sleepy beach town.
When giant mosquito-like alien creatures invade a rural seaside community, a frustrated sheriff and two oddball exterminators end up being the town’s only hope for survival. A comedic and gruesome story for fans of Slither, Arachnophobia, and other classic creature-features!