After working their way through the DC Universe (and Dark Multiverse) over the past decade, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are trying something different. The writer/artist team just launched their new creator-owned horror series on Comixology this week, and they talked about the book and their collaborative process at a New York Comic Con panel on Saturday.
In July, Snyder announced a deal with Comixology that his company, Best Jackett, would produce eight creator-owned series, all written by Snyder, with each having a unique digital and print release schedule (with Dark Horse distributing print collections). First up is We Have Demons, drawn by Capullo, who he worked with on the New 52 relaunch of Batman, as well as DC's popular Dark Nights events over the last several years.
Other artists involved include Francis Manapul, Rafael Albuquerque, Francesco Francavilla, Jamal Igle, Jock, Tula Lotay and Dan Panosian. Snyder and his co-creators hold the rights to all of their titles, including film and television, so they can profit off any adaptations — unlike their work-for-hire assignments for DC and Marvel. (Snyder has already jumped into the creator-owned pool, with Image Comics series Wytches, Nocterra and Undiscovered Country.)
The plan is to have three books come out on Comixology on consecutive weeks each month, all told in three chapters, totaling about 100 pages. The sci-fi murder mystery Clear, created with Manapul, debuts October 12 and the horror story Night of the Ghoul, in partnership with Francavilla, comes out the following week. When these first three books conclude, three more will debut and follow the same cycle. (Print collections will come out a few months later.)
We Have Demons made a blood-soaked splash this week and is already one of the most popular books on Comixology. "We Have Demons is about a young woman named Lam who discovers that her father, who she thought was just this sleepy-town pastor, is in fact one of the best demon hunters of all time," Snyder said. "He's part of a secret organization that has been hunting demons for centuries.… And [Lam] finds herself in the middle of this big battle between good and evil that's been raging for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years."
The duo say they love working for DC, but have long had an eye on making something they could own. "DC's been very kind to us, but still the whole time we've been wanting to make something that's ours," Snyder said. "So for this we wanted to come out with all the stuff we love to do: Big heart, big fists, fangs, claws, gore, action, more gore, all of that."
Though Snyder is best known as a superhero writer, he feels drawn to the horror genre. "When good horror is done right it's like the purist expression of conflict, a character facing off with the thing they are most afraid of," he said. "I love what horror means to me. It's that immediate, brutal conflict. And that's what I liked about it as a kid, because it would make me face all these fears in a safe way."
And sometimes he's created scenarios of horror for his artist collaborators. "He had no idea labor-intensive some of the things he wanted me to draw were, like every single Batmobile that's ever been created," Capullo said with a laugh. "So I started to send him emails explaining why some of the things were so brutal. Like, 'This one page took 30 hours to draw what you typed in five seconds.'"
But ultimately their partnership works. "We have the same storytelling sensibilities," Capullo said. "Scott throws everything at me because he knows I'm capable of drawing anything. … He gives me some very hard, challenging things because he knows that I'll be able to turn it around. He's always pushed me one way or another."
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