Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your comic book series, Hotel Hell! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Andre Mateus: Thank you so much! Hotel Hell is a different take on Heaven and Hell, starring Lucifer as the disgruntled manager of a supernatural hotel, trying to figure himself out in the midst of an inspection, a visit from his estranged son and the impending Apocalypse. It’s funny how the idea for the series came about, actually. I was channel surfing on the couch after a family dinner back in 2015 when I came across one of those Gordon Ramsey TV shows where he tries to yell success into people. The show was called Hotel Hell, and I immediately thought it was a damn shame that such a great title was wasted in such a mediocre reality program. After a few minutes thinking about how I’d put it to a better use, I had to grab a napkin to jolt down the genesis of what this series would end up being.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing the series, and what have been some of your creative influences? Likewise, how would you describe your process in working with the creative team?
AM: It was a long road to get here since that napkin, and I’d say the biggest influence on my mind while developing Hotel Hell was Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I always loved Gaiman’s work (There’s actually a Sandman reference hidden in the first issue, among many others.), but I think Good Omens is where he’s at his wittiest. It was a real challenge to try and capture that dark, subtle, yet poignant British humor while also not ruffling the feathers of the more religious people in the script. Luckily, I had a great partner with me on this: Pedro Mendes. I’ve worked with Pedro in Deiciders, and he’s been my travel buddy for the last few years as we’ve done more than half-a-dozen conventions together, both here and abroad, and he was very supportive and enthusiastic about the idea (and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity of drawing a hippie, flirty Jesus). Rolands was incredibly easy to work with, and getting Ben Templesmith to do the cover was a dream come true. He liked the concept and our DIY mentality so much, he lowered his rate significantly for us!
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
AM: First of all, I want them to be entertained. If I can make them laugh or cry or get scared or in any way, shape or form, allow them to ignore and escape the troubles of the real world for a few minutes, I’ve done my job. Then, there’s usually an underlying message, a theme or a question that I’m trying to convey. In Hotel Hell, the core of the story is two authoritarian fathers (God and Lucifer) and two rebellious sons (Lucifer and Damian) working on forgiving each other for their absence and trying to get reacquainted with one another. I believe that is something many of us can relate to.
BD: Do you have a certain number of issues planned for Hotel Hell?
AM: I have a 6-issue story arc planned that leaves open the possibility for more.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
AM: I think Hotel Hell would lend itself well to a limited TV series format, both live-action or animated. Have you seen The Haunting of Hill House yet? I’d love to see Hotel Hell done like that!
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
AM: I’m working on a couple projects that are still in the “too early to reveal” stage, but the one I can talk about is Kiss Kiss Blam Blam, my second collaboration with the amazing artist Rahil Mohsin after The Big Sheep: A Farm Noir. It’s a romantic comedy one-shot with a lot of heart, guns, and even zombies! We’re waiting to hear back from some publishers before deciding whether or not to self-publish.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Hotel Hell?
AM: You can find more about it on my Tumblr, as well as Pedro’s Facebook page, and get the book on ComiXology, ComixCentral, and Comichaus.