“I wanted to centre it around female characters without resigning them to the role of victims” Leonie O Moore talks gothic horror with Invoked

The new book from Leonie O’Moore, creator of Lord and Double Dead is another creepy slice of gothic horror. This time it’s set in a mysterious house inhabited by spiritual beings who look like animals, but who may not be as benevolent as the young girls who move into their late Aunt’s house first think. With a period setting and a classical art style, we caught up with Leonie to find out more the spooky world she has created from her feisty female leads! (Contains some mild spoilers!)

“I wanted to centre it around female characters without resigning them to the role of ‘victims’, which we often see in this style of story. “

Your new book Invoked sees a family inherit a house with some supernatural residents inside, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for it? It feels like it could be a true story, is it?

Leonie O’Moore: It’s not, to the best of my knowledge anyway, a true story. I really wanted to do something in the vein of a classic gothic horror. Something that was spooky or creepy, but not straight up scary. I’d also been thinking a lot about 17th Century demons, like those in the Ars Goetia, and the two ideas just fit together nicely. I wanted to centre it around female characters without resigning them to the role of ‘victims’, which we often see in this style of story. I thought that two sisters with contrasting personalities who respond very differently to the situation would be a fun dynamic. There’s also a little bit of gothic romance in there too, a little tragic love story thrown in.

What time period is it set in – it feels kind of Edwardian – and what made you choose to do a ‘period’ comic book, it feels like a quite unconventional move and not one we’re used to as indie fans? It feels more like a literary adaption than a comic?

LOM: I set out to make a gothic horror, and although you can apply the sensibilities of that to any time period I really liked the idea of doing a period piece. I enjoy classic gothic literature but I think this was influenced more by movies. Hammer horror movies are a huge influence, and that 60’s/70’s Victorian Gothic look they did so well, that was a big inspiration. Del Toro’s Crimson Peak was great and I think it showed there’s still an interest in gothic horror movies, so why not try it in comics? 

Growing up I loved all the old Georgian and Edwardian buildings in Dublin, so I decided to set it in the Edwardian era mainly so I could spend some time drawing and exploring that world. 

The house is inhabited by angels who are stuck in our world, which was your favourite to draw and write for?

LOM: They were all fun. I think King Purson was my favourite – just a big Lion dude holding a snake. 

We love the muted colour scheme in it, especially compared to the bright colours of Double Dead – can you tell us a bit about your process and how you work? Is it pencils and scanned in or do you work digitally?

LOM: I penciled it, inked it and I did a wash of watered down black ink for shading. I finished it digitally, adding layers of flat colour and then erasing parts to let the colours underneath act as highlights. Initially I wanted to use a Mario Bava type of colour scheme, strong contrasting reds and greens, but I found the muted colours suited the story better.

Also what are your influences in terms of comics? Your work always reminds me of old 60s and 70s comics, would that be fair? You certainly don’t have what I’d call a ‘contemporary’ style, which is no bad thing!

LOM: Yeah, definitely some comics from the 70’s; John Buscema, Bernie Wrightson, Alex Niño, Moebius. But I’d say my main influences are Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, Jill Thompson, Mike Mignola, Bill Sienkiewicz. I don’t think my work looks like any of their work, but their influence is there! 

You mention in the notes that you’d like to develop the story into an ongoing one, but which part would you look to develop? The sisters or the angels?

LOM: Both! The sisters are destined to a life of weirdness and they are going to keep meeting these odd creatures. I also want to delve in to their family history – who was their Aunt and what was she up to? I have a lot of ideas that I’d like to revisit at some point.

And finally, apart from more Invoked stories, what can we look forward to from you next?

LOM: I have another one shot comic out soon on ComiXology. It’s called ‘Don’t Fall’, a tale of peril and discovery. It’s about two kids who fall off a mountain and it’s very different to any of my previous work.

You can purchase Invoked #1 from ComiXology for £1.49 along with Leonie’s other books. You can also find out more about her work at lomoore.com