Comedian Doogie Horner was once a contestant on America's Got Talent, and he created the cover art for Quirk Books titles, including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Now, he's got a book of his own out, 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts. We asked Horner to give us the lowdown on his favorite spooks from the book, and we've got five copies of 100 Ghosts to give away—more details below!
1. CLASSIC GHOST
"This friendly specter was the inspiration for the book, the tiny seed from which a great spooky oak grew. I drew him when I was designing a chart about the afterlife in various religions, and those round black eyes surprised me; they seemed lonely. It made me want to spend more time with him. Maybe make him a sandwich."
2. UNDERCOVER COP
"Adding a mustache to the ghost was a small change with profound implications, because it gave him a backstory. This isn’t just a ghost with a mustache, it’s a dead cop who’s still trying to do his job in the afterlife, but doesn’t realize all the criminal ghosts can tell he’s a cop because he’s the only one with a mustache."
"I didn’t come from a rich family, so we couldn’t afford fancy monsters. If we wanted to see a werewolf we couldn’t fly to Romania and hire a guide, we had to make one ourselves by getting my grandfather drunk, putting him in a fur coat, and dropping him off in the woods without a flashlight. Similarly we couldn’t dream of affording a spectral guide to call forth spirits in the parlor, so we had to make our own ghosts out of old Kleenex, buttons, and yarn."
4. PERFORMANCE ARTIST
"One Halloween my friend dressed as a classic ghost by draping a bed sheet over his head and cutting two holes for his eyes. We went to a party and the costume got uncomfortable so he took it off. The rest of the night when people asked him, 'What are you dressed up as?' he said, 'I’m a ghost, my sheet is draped over that chair.'"
5. SHOPPING BAG
"'You wanna see the most beautiful ghost I’ve ever drawn?' When I first saw that scene in American Beauty, it was 1999 and I was a teenager. Ricky Fitts’s monologue blew me away. He videotaped a bag! He saw the beauty in the world we all took for granted. But watching that scene years later it seems more like Ricky was maybe just trying to score with that girl. Now I relate more to Kevin Spacey flipping burgers. Does this empty shopping bag actually hold a second, smaller ghost, a more innocent version of myself? Or maybe a receipt for bologna?"
"The most important thing I learned while making this book is that ghosts aren’t so different from us. They’re people too—dead people who have unfinished business and are doomed to wander the earth, possibly for eternity. And just like normal people, sometimes they get nervous. You think your job is hard? Try getting the walls to bleed or floating a cast iron candelabra down a hallway! My point is: sometimes ghosts get nervous."
"Every time my wife and I go outdoors I inevitably ignore the beautiful scenery and walk around with my nose buried in a book or sketchbook. I’m allergic to grass and hope that if I don’t make eye contact it won’t attack me. During one trip to the Brooklyn botanical gardens I drew this guy while recovering from heatstroke."
8. FULL OF BEES
"This ghost is having the worst afterlife ever. I don’t know why he’s full of bees, but it’s awful for him on so many levels. First of all, it’s uncomfortable, obviously. Secondly, none of the other ghosts want to hang out with him because the loud buzzing is distracting. Third, these aren’t the kind of bees who make honey so he doesn’t even get to enjoy that perk. The only bright side of his insect infestation is that it makes scaring non-floaters (what ghosts call living people) easier because he’s flipping freaky."
"I built a little quarter scale model of this ghost out of an old coffee can, an old pocket watch, and a coffee maker."
10. CHECKING IPHONE
"I bet ghosts actually do this. If I walked downstairs one night and found a ghost in my hallway, I would be surprised, but I would be slightly less surprised to find him looking at his phone instead of booing me. Hey, ghosts are only human. DEAD HUMANS, AS WE ALL ONE DAY SHALL BE."
Want to win a copy of 100 Ghosts? Come up with an idea for your own harmless spook, and leave it in the comments section below! We'll pick our five favorites and send them a book. You have until midnight on Sunday, September 15. Good luck!