Death in the Mouth kickstarter (Image: Angie Wang and Darius Ou.)

The Horror Anthology DEATH IN THE MOUTH on Kickstarter Showcases Grim Stories of Those in The Margins of Society

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Māori writer Cassie Hart and mixed Indigenous artist Sloane Leong are teaming up with other people of color in the horror-anthology DEATH IN THE MOUTH. The roughly 250-page book will feature 20 original stories “exploring new and unique manifestations of horror.”

The landing pages on the website and Kickstarter both read:

I ka ‘ōlelo ke ola, i ka ‘ōlelo ka make.

There is life in the mouth and death in the mouth.

Death in the Mouth book cover gif (Image: Angie Wang and Darius Ou.)

Editors Hart and Leong share a love of horror and are accomplished creatives. Between Hart’s pen names (J.C. Hart and Nova Blake), she’s earned several awards and is nominated for a 2021 Hugo. Leong is best known for her award-winning graphic novels (she wrote and illustrated), A Map to the Sun, and Prism.

“Like many other creative fields, the horror scene in the Western world has been overwhelmingly white for a long time. Because of this, not all editors are attuned to non-Western narratives and haven’t necessarily cultivated an appreciation for stories from those traditions,” said Leong.

“That’s where we–Sloane and Cassie–come in. We’re both voracious readers and authors with a knowledge and taste for stories outside the cultural mainstream. We’re running this campaign so that we can provide support to BIPOC authors and artists while also getting this book directly to the wonderful readers we know are out there, who crave unique and entrancing stories from writers all over the globe.”

Authors C Pam Zhang, Darcie Little Badger, Jewelle Gomez, An Owomoyela, Karin Lowachee, Jahra Wasasala, K-Ming Chang, Rachel and Sean Quitsualik-Tinsley, and more were invited to contribute.

Each of the stories will be paired with a black and white illustration by a skilled artist. However, if the stretch goal of $50,000 is met, all the illustrations in the book will be in color.


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A post shared by joy san (@snarkytuna)

Some of the artists include:

Michael DeForge

Joy San (a.k.a. Snarky Tuna—one of my favorite artists)

Jabri Weathers

Makoto Chi

Allissa Chan

Pinchas Segal

Alicia Feng

Natalie Hall

In addition to backers, Hart and Leong seek more underrepresented authors and artists to contribute to the project. While the stories involve shadows and secrecy, the professional rates are transparent, and there are no submission fees. They write that though there will be a mix of new and established authors, “the majority of stories included in this anthology will come from the open call.”

As the family “scaredy cat,” I am new to the horror genre. I kid you not when I say before Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Ari Aster’s Hereditary, I would never willingly choose to engage with any aspect of the genre. Sure I read some Dean Koontz growing up, but that was like once every few years and they felt more like thrillers and mysteries. Even in reading Koontz, I only tried his books because I was trying to impress a crush. I’ve always been okay with gore, just don’t scare me with it, if that makes sense?

Since diving into the genre the last year, I’ve found myself returning to the works of Octavia Butler and Stephen Graham Jones. (Both authors are also mentioned by Leong.)

After you browse all of the rewards, images, and general information, check out the update tab of the Kickstarter. There you’ll find interviews of the writers’ and artists’ relationship with the horror genre. Also, there lies a behind-the-scenes look at the design process of the typography for the book’s cover.

In promotion of the Kickstarter, Leong released a mini-comic asking “What is Horror?” at Rue Morgue.

Those interested in a print copy must to reserve their by contributing by August 31, 2021. After the campaign ends, the there will be no finding this on physical bookshelves as this as a Kickstarter exclusive. So, send this to your friends!

If/when fully funded, the print and ebook should release between August and October 2022.

Check out DEATH IN THE MOUTH here.

gif of teeth falling. (Image: Angie Wang.)

(via Twitter, feature image: Angie Wang and Darius Ou)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.