DAVE: Pete, CHAMBER OF CHILLS is a classic series from the Harvey publishing era correct? How did PS decide to publish this series?
PETER: I've long felt that most of those old comic books — and I'm thinking here of not just Harvey or the much more famous EC line but also Fox and ACG, Avon and Alax-Farrell — I felt a lot of them were in desperate need of a renaissance. So I got in touch with my good friend Paul Stephenson, a fellow enthusiast with a big collection, to see if he wanted to come on board with me on a subsidiary company to PS called PS Artbooks. Our first volume was a celebration of the life and work of Dan Dare artist/creator Frank Hampson called TOMORROW REVISITED and the second is the first of four collections of Harvey's CHAMBER OF CHILLS. Coming up next are WITCHES TALES, then TOMB OF TERROR and finally BLACK CAT MYSTERY. But, at the same time, we're also developing ACG's FORBIDDEN WORLDS and ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN . . . the latter being the very first anthology horror comic.
DAVE: PS Is issuing the CHAMBER OF CHILLS series in four volumes. Volume one features an introduction by Joe Hill. Will Mr. Hill be a part of every volume or with there be other guest introductions for the rest in the series?
PETER: Ever supportive, Joe agreed to give us a boost with the first book — he won't be doing any more. The second book (WITCHES TALES) has an Intro from Ramsey Campbell with cadaverised artwork from Bryan Talbot. The third one (TOMB OF TERROR) features a foreword from Stephen Jones (editor of the award-winning Best Horror series) with ghoulish rendering art-wise from Randy Broecker. Here's Bryan's piece for Ramsey (see artwork featured here).
DAVE: Artist Glenn Chadbourne is involved in the first volume. Can you clarify what he will be adding to this edition? Will he also be involved in the future volumes?
PETER: Glenn — along with Joe — is signing the special art-boards for the tray-cased lettered edition of CHAMBER . . . just 26 copies. Joe, meanwhile, has signed the cards for all the slipcased copies. Although we're not planning on having him do any more Harvey volumes, Glenn has just completed a new take on the cover art for ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN #2 and he's also turned in a couple of wonderful pen-and-ink self-portraits. PS favorite Edward Miller is doing the same with a copy of FORBIDDEN WORLDS. We've got plans to speak with other artists along the way — and guest introductions from lots of other household names who are dyed-in-the-wool comics fans: let's face it . . . there's a lot of volumes to go at, so long as they perform well commercially. And all this is for the ACG volumes, which will follow a slightly different route to the Harvey ones in that there will not be a traycased edition. So just 300 slipcased and 674 bookshop copies.
DAVE: The first volume is being released in three states. The 300 signed, the 674 hardcover, and of course the lettered edition. Will the 300 and 674 edition both be numbered?
PETER: The full run is one thousand copies: that's 26 lettered, 300 slipcased and 674 unsigned. The 300-copy run will be numbered but there are no plans to number the 674 unsigned copies. I guess we could produce a separate sheet for the bookshop edition that I could sign by way of a proven limitation — let's see what the fans say.
DAVE: Is there anything else you would like share with us about this series?
PETER: We're having a ball . . . an almost obscene amount of fun. But it's hard work. These comics are occasionally a little clunky in the plotting and dialogue departments but, man! . . . the artwork just sings off the page. I kicked off my love of comics with British black and white editions of the likes of DC's CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN, THE FLASH, MYSTERY IN SPACE and BLACKHAWK just before we started getting the regular four-color versions (dated November 1959) in the spring of 1960. But a personal fave for me was ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN which ran for 20 British issues before it was dropped to make way for the US original. I still have all those comics and it could be we'll put out volumes of those, too. Like I say, we'll just have to see how they're received. But believe me, we've got lots of plans for the future…
Thank you for filling us in Peter. As a long time fan of comics, and horror comics especially, I'm looking forward to this series.