Utah writer generating buzz over ‘5 Senses’ comic

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Writer Jake Black interviews with Deseret News.

By Nate Traylor, For the Deseret News

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Writer Jake Black makes a living spinning tales for kid-friendly comics and TV shows. But he recently took a surprising turn by trying his hand at horror for Viper Comics’ fall release, “Five Senses.”

The result is a critically acclaimed new title, which could be creeping its way toward the big screen thanks in part to a Bradley Cooper-starring viral video.

The Eagle Mountain man is also working on another project that will be a departure from his cartoon and comic-book roots: an inspirational book looking at cancer through the lens of Mormon spirituality.

"5 Senses" is a Stephen King-ish creeper but with tamer dialogue.

Viper Comics
“5 Senses” is a Stephen King-ish creeper but with tamer dialogue.

Meanwhile, “Five Senses” continues to generate a buzz since its digital release in September. The Stephen King-ish creeper about a man who didn’t have the sense to come forward after witnessing a violent murder and is therefore cursed to lose his — as the title suggests — five senses garnered favorable press from Wired and USA Today, among others.

“It’s definitely the best reviewed thing I’ve done,” said Black, 32. “I’m astounded at how well it’s been received.

When Viper Comics commissioned him to pen the chiller, it was an opportunity to put his own stamp on a genre he hadn’t explored professionally before. As expected in horror, there’s violence, but the dialogue is decidedly tamer.

“I tried to pull back on some of the language they had in the dialogue, mainly because of my reputation as a kids writer,” he said.

Still, it’s not the sort of thing he’ll let his 3-year-old son read.

“He’s the reason I write kids stuff. I want to mostly write stuff he can read,” said Black, who made a name for himself in such properties as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”