Split Lip is a horror anthology webcomic in the tradition of Creepy and Tales from the Crypt. Creator Sam Costello writes each of the short, self-contained stories, which run the gamut from body horror to ghost stories to creepy close encounters sure to send a shiver up your spine. Each story is illustrated by a different artist, and their styles vary as widely as the myriad themes Costello explores. The result is a remarkable collection of terrifying tales—with something for horror fans of all stripes.
Costello just released the third printed volume of Split Lip stories, Termites in Your Smile and Other Stories. Costello emerges as a keen student of horror, one who understands the nagging thoughts that keep us awake at night, as well as sharp-eyed curator of artistic talent. We spoke with him about working with different artists, the economics of horror comics, and why it’s far more frightening when your protagonists live than when they die. Note: This contains plot spoilers for some of Costello’s stories, but does not spoil their inherent creepiness.
Why did you decide to start working on Split Lip?
Originally, I had thought about trying to get into working on comics about 10 years ago, so maybe around 2000, 2001. I was kind of going through the traditional channels of trying to network and trying to place short stories in anthologies as a way to break in and build up connections, and I just wasn’t having a lot of success with it. I had placed maybe one story in a pretty small anthology, and I realized that I didn’t want to have my opportunity to get my stories into other people’s anthologies to stop me from telling the stories that I wanted to tell. And I realized looking at the web and webcomics at the time that there was no reason I couldn’t do that also. So basically, I started writing the stories that I had been making notes on for a while and thinking about, and once I had maybe six or seven scripts done, I started looking for artists.