Former Vertigo editor Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Pornsak Pichetshoteupdate collaborate on the classic haunted house trope in their new horror comic INFIDEL, debuting March 2018 from Image Comics. The story explores what happens when a Pakistani-American Muslim woman and her multi-ethnic, religiously diverse neighbors move into a NY apartment building that’s haunted, specifically by ghosts that feed on xenophobia.

Pichetshote, who is a first time writer, says that so much horror nowadays is remakes of old stories, and since horror tends to use the anxieties of the day, a lot of the horror coming out is dealing with issues that aren’t relevant. To him, race is the issue of our day, and it’s something we need to talk about more. “We don’t agree with what it looks like, we don’t agree with what it is,” Pichetshote said, so it can be a difficult subject to tackle, but one that felt very personal to him.

Personal stories can be very powerful, and Pichetshote says that Scott Snyder was a big inspiration to him, in how Snyder uses his insecurities and experiences to drive his work. Pichetshote’s insecurities about race are foundational to Infidel.

Not only was having a multi-ethnic cast important to him, but it reflected his own life and friend group. To make sure the characters were as authentic as possible, he did a lot of research, not only by reading books and newspaper articles but finding people to have conversations with. “Today research is conversations,” Pichetshote said, joking that an easy way to freak someone out is to ask if they know any Muslim women. Since one of the main characters is a Pakistani-American Muslim woman, he wanted to get that first-person narrative.

Finding the right artist for the book was also key. He needed someone who could not only draw scary imagery but someone who can capture realism. This is to make sure the book shows race accurately, and that person was Aaron Campbell, Pichetshote said. Campbell took the lead on the visuals by taking a unique approach using a foundation of traditional digital art and making the ghosts a painted wash effect on top. Pichetshote said he was excited to work with artists who weren’t afraid of experimenting and helped influence the story.

Look for this 5 issue mini in March of 2018 from Image Comics.