In 2004, the comic world was introduced to a young woman turned vicious hunter. Created by Tim Seeley under Devil's Due Publishing, Hack/Slash tells the story of Cassie Hack, a horror victim who decides to strike back at the "slashers" who prey upon teenagers. Imagine Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode not only surviving her first altercation with Michael Myers, but then waging a "one woman war" against him and all other sharp object-wielding psycho killers in the world. Add a bit more vulgarity and a lot more bloody vengeance and you have the woman I refer to as my Horror Goddess.
Cassie is a profane, sarcastic, cynical anti-hero. She is the Jessica Jones of the indie-horror genre. Her attire is a balance between loner goth and the school girl outfit worn by Britney Spears in the "Baby One More Time" music video. If Trent Reznor and Olivia Munn had a daughter, Cassie Hack would be that girl. She is not a woman of faith, yet she is fully aware that there is something on the other side. What else could explain the phenomena she has experienced? Eventually, her adventures will lead to her meeting with Vlad, a muscle-bound, but disfigured, behemoth whom Cassie mistakes for a slasher. Seeing his kindness and good heart, Cassie offers a partnership with the big man and Vlad quickly becomes Cassie's loyal and faithful Herculean sidekick in her never-ending war against horror. Hack and Slash.
After the end of its initial run and a financial disagreement involving nonpayment by Devil's Due Publishing, Tim Seeley took his creation to Image Comics. In 2010, Image published Hack/Slash: ‘My First Maniac’ (written by Seeley, art by Daniel Leister and coloring by Mark Englert), a four-part mini-series telling the story of Cassie's first hunt in her bloody war defending the innocent against the slashers.
The story opens with Cassie narrating from her own diary, explaining her past. Fatherless and picked on continuously in high school, Cassie's mother Delilah, the school lunch lady, decides to protect her daughter the only way she sees fit: by murdering the teens who mock her, chopping them up and feeding them to the students at lunch. When Cassie discovers what her mother is up to, she informs the authorities, who then corner Delilah in her own school kitchen. With a final "I love you" to Cassie, Delilah plunges her head into the pot filled with boiling gravy, killing herself. However, much to Cassie's surprise later on, her mother has returned from the dead, now as a soulless, killing monster continuing her terror. Cassie has no choice but to unload two rounds into her own mother's head. Retuning her body to the grave, Cassie pledges to no longer live in fear and take the battle to all slashers that may exist. She makes the choice to become the hunter instead of the hunted, and what drives her is not only her devotion to stalking down the slashers who prey on the innocents, but the pain and heartache of turning her mother over to the authorities, watching her kill herself, and then having to kill her mother again when she became a maniac herself. She is cursed with sinking her hands into the inexplicable without hesitating or wavering.
Cassie learns about the tale of Farmer Fig, a farmer in Iowa who was extremely protective of his property, including his only daughter. Any young men who would attempt to sneak onto his property and take part in "extra-curricular activities" with his daughter would find them themselves gutted and posted up as scarecrows in Fig's crops. Before the town could implement its form of mob justice, Farmer Fig and his daughter took their own lives. However, it is believed that Farmer Fig still roams the property, killing any teenagers who decide to have late night parties on his land. With this knowledge, Cassie heads to small town Iowa. Concealing her identity, she gets a part time job as a bar-back and enrolls as a new student at the local high school. She researches the town, the different cliques at the school and aligns herself with them, making friends and getting invited to the parties. Eventually, Cassie is invited to the party on Fig Farm. Ready to take on whatever evil plagues the farm, Cassie quickly learns there is more behind the tales of the farm and the slasher who roams it.
This series marked the beginning of Cassie Hack's run under the Image Comics banner; a banner she remains under to this day. After over a decade of one-shots, volumes and omnibuses, the story of Tim Seeley's Cassie Hack continues later this month when writer Tini Howard and artist Celor helm the upcoming Hack/Slash: Resurrection, beginning with the release of issue #1 on October 25th; just in time for Halloween. As a huge fan of Hack, I am excited to not only read the upcoming series, but to also go back and read her past adventures. ‘My First Maniac’ was my introduction to Cassie, and I am happy I came across this memorable character. She is a lone warrior: A vicious heroine wielding unforgiving vengeance in a beautiful and bloody manner.
As I wait for her well-deserved arrival into the mainstream, whether it be on the big screen or a digital streaming service, I will continue to promote her and introduce anyone I can to the memorable Queen of Slasher-Hunting, Ms. Cassie Hack.