Indie Horror comic Infidel lands movie deal after two rock-solid issues

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

We have exciting news for all of you Indie comic book fans out there! It's been announced that Michael Sugar and TriStar are making plans to adapt the new Image Comics series INFIDEL for the big screen. Created by Pornsak Pichetshote, former editor of DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, and illustrated by Aaron Campbell, INFIDEL is a haunted house story that follows an American Muslim woman, Aisha, and her multiracial neighbors who move into a building haunted by entities that feed off xenophobia.

Shortly after the movie deal was announced, Heat Vision had the pleasure of sitting down with Pichetshote, Campbell and the title's colorist/editor Jose Villarrubia for a chat about the series. When asked about how the group went about telling a haunted house story that deals directly with race relations in a modern-day setting, the creators had plenty to say about their inspiration and process.

"So many nerves. All the nerves," says Pichetshote. "There were two central conceits that Infidel plays off of. As you noticed, it very consciously wants to explore the cultural moment we’re in right now. We’re coming at a time where America as a culture wants to talk about issues of race and gender that it previous hasn’t, and one of the things we’re quickly finding as a society is that we haven’t developed the vocabulary to talk about those issues, because we haven’t been encouraged to talk about it. I know I certainly hold my breath when people I admire talk about an experience outside their race and gender now, because I’ve gotten more used to people getting it wrong than getting it right.

So that, in my opinion, is the world outside my window, where things like racism and xenophobia unequivocally exist, and while we can all agree it’s insidious, we can’t necessarily agree with what it looks like. And if we can’t agree on that, how do we fight it? So, the idea with Infidel was to acknowledge that world and plop something as familiar as a haunted house story on top of it, and see how it makes something familiar different.

Then, I wanted a story that looked like the world outside my window. That looked like me and my closest friends. A group of people of different ethnicities and faiths where our life decisions are informed by our backgrounds and not incidental to them. But to tell a story that seeks to cover a multitude of ethnic perspectives while striving to be accurate to them and not exploitative is a terrifying task. Especially on a topic that’s steeped with so much uncertainty and confusion. So yeah, every aspect of writing this book scares me."

When asked to give his thoughts on the subject, Campbell told Heat Vision the following:

"I definitely feel that this has gone unexplored, especially in the ghost genre.  Ghost stories have always existed as a proxy for our own existential fears about life and all its unknowable qualities. Ghosts themselves are irrational actors. They are the residue of a broken or tormented life and so life itself become the focus of their rage. This is, in essence, how bigotry and xenophobia find their genesis. A person struggles with life and looks outward for the source. They do not have the capability or desire to take ownership over their own failures and shortcomings and so they point the finger where it is easiest — the other. The ghost is the perfect template for these ideas. Frankly, I’m astonished it’s never been done before."

Finally, Villarrubia joined the conversation by lending his perspective of how the series struck him as a potentially impactful read and exploration of race relations wrapped snugly in a horrific five-part story:

"Pornsak had the idea of Infidel for years. When he decided to turn it into a comics mini-series, to later be collected as a graphic novel, he contacted me and told me all about it. I thought it sounded terribly exciting. Pornsak had been my editor at Vertigo for some of my favorite projects: Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth, Crossing Midnight and the graphic novel Aaron and Ahmed, A Love Story, which dealt with the causes of terrorism. We had become good friends and I told him that I would love the opportunity to be an editor, particularly for a very interesting project like Infidel. Pornsak agreed and we got to work right away, discussing the plot, characters, title of the series, etc…

One major point that Pornsak entrusted me was to find the right artists for the series. After much consideration, I proposed Aaron, whom I have known for a couple decades, and whose style I felt would be ideal for the series. And Pornsak suggested Jeff Powell to be our designer, letterer and de facto production manager. After that the team was set and we all got to work together."

To read the entire interview with the creative team behind INFIDEL, you can click here.

INFIDEL issue #3 of 5 hits shelves on May 16th. I highly recommend picking it up, and I make no bones about admitting to you that the first two issues of the series scared the crap out of me. It's good stuff.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.