Exclusive Interview: Norse Horror in RATATOSK — Now on Kickstarter!

Are you desperately in need of a spine-tingling story? Do you wish someone could guide you through the shadowy realms of Norse mythology’s creepiest haunts? Well, you’re in luck, because a new project on Kickstarter called Ratatosk does exactly that!

Writer Grant DeArmitt, artist Armando Zanker, colorist Shan Bennion and letterer Lucas Gattoni have put together a book that’s sure to keep you up at night, and Monkeys Fighting Robots got the chance to ask them all about it.

About RATATOSK (from Kickstarter):

Ratatosk treads the misty ground between investigative thriller and folk horror. It’s a story for people who know not to go into the woods at night, but can’t help wondering why.

Book One is the first of three chapters; it introduces the main cast, central mystery, and the strange fictional town of Sturridge, Vermont. If you’re a fan of Twin Peaks, Picnic at Hanging Rock, or American Gods, we guarantee it’s a comic you’ll enjoy.


Monkeys Fighting Robots: What drew you all to Ratatosk in the first place?

Armando Zanker, Artist: I’ve been hopping between genres for a while, but I’ve been riding a horror wave lately and could not be happier. You pretty much just need to say ‘Monster’ to get my attention, and once I’d hear what Grant had in mind, it was a no-brainer.

Shan Bennion, Colorist: I love myths and legends, had been hearing about Ratatosk from God of War 2 funnily enough!! And as a colorist, you gotta appreciate the art you’re going to be playing with, and I love the shadow work!

Lucas Gattoni, Letterer: Half the mythological side of the pitch, and half Grant’s sizzling energy and push to get this one out!

MFR: What is it about the character of Ratatoskr that stuck out to you in all of Norse Mythology?

Grant DeArmitt, Writer: Armando and I wanted to do a story featuring a Krampus-like character – a creature from folklore that had a Green Man, wilderness god feel – that we could turn into a monster. Ratatoskr had that sense about it, and with very little actually written about the character, there was a lot of room to extrapolate, play, and rework, etc. And by the way, that last ‘R’ in the character’s name is left out on purpose. I promise it’s not just a spelling error I’m too proud to correct.

Not this time.

MFR: What would your elevator pitch be to readers? What’s the thing they shouldn’t miss that this book has?

DeArmitt: “Viking-flavored True Detective” is the elevator pitch. As for what’s unmissable about this book, I have to tout its atmosphere. Between Armando’s scene composition, Shan’s mood-setting colors, and Lucas’s eerie-sounding letters, this comic really does have more of a ‘feel’ than most of what you get on the shelves right now.

MFR: What comic book creators did you borrow tools from? Who influenced your work?

Zanker: Chief among all, Kirby– Grant are both big Etrigan the Demon fans, as I hope will be obvious if we can complete Ratatosk, and in the case of this particular comic, I’m always looking at my Eerie, Creepy and House of Mystery collections– that’s the spirit I hope to be channeling.

MFR: What works outside of comics — books, movies, TV — influenced your work?

Bennion: Ohh, hm. Definitely anything by Guillermo Del Toro, the exquisite joy and sadness so intertwined with horror and fantasy, that’s my alley! Terry Pratchett is also incredible, what a story teller! And so much animation right now, She-Ra, The Owl House and Over the Garden Wall are a few favs!

MFR: How did you folks find each other, as a creative team?

DeArmitt: I think Armando responded to a tweet I sent out a while ago, one about possibly making a horror comic. We started brainstorming soon after that and the idea for Ratatosk was born.

Once the idea turned into something we were both committed to making, I started hunting down the rest of the team. Out of a couple colorist options, Armando suggested Shan for their painterly style, which he knew the book needed. And then Lucas’s online profile is so extraordinary, I reached out expecting him to say no. By some miracle, he didn’t.

MFR: What’s your personal favorite part of this project (that you can share)?

DeArmitt: You mean besides talking to the hotties at Monkeys Fighting Robots?

Zanker: Monster design, absolutely– I really hope we get funded so we can share it with the world!

Bennion: We’ve only gone through a little of it so far, so I can’t go too deep but I love the vibe of it, the southern horror and deep colours I’m allowed to play with!

Gattoni: So far it’s been coming up with the lettering style for a certain group of characters that you can see right away in the preview pages.

MFR: How can we get you to work together a million more times? The pages I’ve seen are incredible, this feels like a creative team that makes pure magic.

Zanker: Oh damn, thank you! And it’s true, Grant has put together an incredible team– I love sending pages and seeing how Shan and Lucas take them to another level with their kung fu. Hopefully, the book is funded and we keep going from there!

Bennion: It always depends on the story! You gotta love what you work on, especially if you’re coloring the characters a hundred times through! And, you know, of course the support, a fella’s gotta eat!

Gattoni: Well, you have to support this Kickstarter, and tell ALL your friends they should tell ALL their friends to do the same, times a million!

Support Ratatosk!

The only way this amazing book can be completed is with your support. Check out the Kickstarter here, which is full of amazing tiers, rewards, and incentives. Ratatosk is a delightful treat for fans of mystery, horror, and folklore just waiting to happen!

Zac Owens
Zac Owens
I'm a world traveler. I've lived in Australia, Canada, Tanzania, Kenya, and the United States. I studied theology in Switzerland and did humanitarian work in Egypt. I first got into the medium through DC Comics, but now I read everything under the sun. Some of my favorite works include HELLBOY, FRIDAY, ON A SUNBEAM and THE GOON. I currently live in Reykjavik, Iceland. That is, until my Green Lantern ring comes in...