While our primary focus is on horror movies, there are times when something spooky gets our attention from less conventional spaces. One such place is Deep Dark Fears; a webcomic series by Fran Krause. I stumbled upon Fran Krause’s work while hanging around Tumblr a few years ago, and I’ve been a big fan ever since. What Deep Dark Fears does is unique. Users submit their deepest fears to Fran in hopes that he’ll visualize and draw them out for them. Sometimes what’s created is sort of hilarious, at other times it’s incredibly disturbing. But the entire time it’s quite entertaining.

I managed to track Fran down and ask him about his work, how he got started, what his process is for each piece, and what the fuck is with that one scene in The Shining.

I just started off by drawing my own fears. I started writing a list and found out that I had a lot of odd-feeling irrational fears. After a few months of drawing them – posting one a week – people just started sending me their own fears. When I posted a few fears that were sent in by readers, I started getting more submissions.
Well, I’d say the first one I posted was something that popped into my head a lot when I was living in New York City – the fear that my kneecaps would be scooped off by a poorly-driven plain white delivery van.

Fran’s first Deep Dark Fears drawing

I don’t know if I’d say cathartic, because I feel like catharsis is a fast and energetic emotion. Like yelling in traffic. Maybe therapeutic is a better word for my process? Comics are a slow and thoughtful way to mull over things.
When I read a submission, if an image pops into my head, I’ll try to draw it. I usually have the main idea figured out in my head before I draw. I spend a lot of time staring at blank paper. If I’m doodling in my sketchbook it’s fine if I don’t have an idea first, but when I’m making comics I need a clear image in my head first. I also write down all the text before I start drawing, because the images usually embellish the text more than the text embellishes the images.
I can’t draw every submission, partly because I try to do something a little different each time. I can only draw so many comics about scary mirrors. But you never know – there might be a submission that shows me a new angle on something I’ve already visited. I do need some way of showing a fear visually, so if it’s all about invisible existential dread, it could be more of a challenge. A lot depends on my mood, too. If I’m having a rough day I might draw something that’s closer to how I’m feeling, and if I’m having a good day I might go for something humorous. I’m trying to think of something undrawable… maybe something that involves too much set-up? Like a fear about something your mom said twenty years ago on a family vacation to Yosemite and how you feel whenever you go camping today? That might be hard to fit into four panels.
Not really, but sometimes I’ll add a sentence that might seem like a title when I post the comic online.
The comics usually take from 3-6 hours to draw, if that’s what you’re asking. If you’re asking how long from when they’re submitted to when they’re drawn, that varies a lot more. Sometimes I’ll get a submission in the morning and draw it in the afternoon. Sometimes I sit on a submission for a while. Like, this one was in my inbox for about two and a half years before I thought I could handle drawing a comic based on something so heavy:
People can submit anything they’d like, and since they’re sending in their deepest fears I often get some things that are pretty raw. I don’t think I avoid drawing things that are too dark, but I think my view of what is “too dark” has probably been affected by reading a lot of fears for the past four years. I think it would be pretty hard to shock or surprise me at this point, so long as someone is being sincere.
One of a woman who’s slipped in the shower [A]. I’m happy with the colors because I think color is the hardest part for me. When I draw for fun, almost everything is in black & white. Sometimes I wish I could tweak the colors and make them fit together in a clearer way. I’m happy that the different variations in the color turned out well – seeing through water, that sort of thing. I’m also pleased with it because I think the story fits my comics in a really satisfying way.
For the other [B], I think I drew an earlier comic with God, and it was just the generic Judeo-Christian old guy with a robe and beard, and I wished I’d done something less obvious and more challenging. It was interesting to sort through images of old hieroglyphics and find a really interesting image to use for the god character.


Of course! I’d say the Shining and Night of the Living Dead and Evil Dead 2 are my favorites. I like suspense, creepiness and humor. There are some that have too much cruelty for me to handle – but I like the creepy ones. By the way, I think the Shining is a great book and a great movie. I can see why Stephen King didn’t like the original movie, since it’s nothing like the book, but I think they’re both fantastic. I re-read the book every few years.
Eh, I read the Wikipedia page, but I don’t think I’ll dabble into that world. I’m really happy with the Shining as a full, complete story and I don’t think I really want to add to its general world in my head. For instance, I’m guessing Dick Hallorann has probably passed away at the time of the new book. (And in the movie timeline. Spoilers!) But I’d like to keep him alive in my own little timeline. Also, Scatman Crothers is fantastic in that role.
Dude, you need to read the book. That’s actually a guy in a dog costume, and the other guy is Horace Derwent, a former owner of the Overlook. It’s all explained in the book. I always think of that scene as if Kubrick is looking directly into the camera and saying, “Yes, I read the book, and I don’t fucking care.”
I haven’t seen those yet. I’ve been pretty slammed with the new Deep Dark Fears book (available in stores fall of 2017!) but hopefully when I wrap up the artwork in January I’ll be able to pursue some extracurricular activities again 😉
Yup, that's a future nightmare

Yup, that’s a future nightmare