Originally released digitally as part of Comixology Originals’ high-profile deal with Scott Snyder’s Best Jackett Press, We Have Demons will see its first issue get a print release on March 22nd, 2022. The action/horror romp finds writer Snyder reuniting with artist and longtime Batman collaborator Greg Capullo, alongside inker Jonathan Glapion, colorist Dave McCraig, and letterer Tom Napolitano.
As a huge fan of Snyder and Capullo’s decade-long run of various Batman-centric DC projects, I loved seeing the team let loose with this creator-owned project. There’s a palpable sense of danger throughout that makes for a thrilling read, but the horror-averse will also find memorable characters, laugh-out-loud moments, and as per usual from Greg Capullo and company, exemplary art. I couldn’t wait to talk to Snyder and Capullo once again about what’s sure to be another hit.
Gregory Paul Silber: First of all, I love We Have Demons. I’m sure you guys hear that all the time, but–
Greg Capullo: No! No, not enough. Thank you.
Silber: It’s a ton of fun. There were a couple of points in which I laughed out loud. But I’m gonna start with the questions. Greg– Great name, by the way–
Capullo: I agree! Yeah.
Silber: So you drew Spawn for many years. And then when you started working with Scott on Batman for close to a decade on various projects…
Capullo: [Laughs] I know, it’s crazy!
Silber: That run had a lot of different demonic characters and imagery too. Most recently, of course, you drew We Have Demons, which, as the title suggests, is all about various Hellspawn. What attracts you to demonic stories and what do you enjoy about drawing demons?
Capullo: I’m gonna get my pin out and I’m gonna burst your balloon right now. I’ve been typecast! I have never had any interest in horror movies, or any of that stuff at all, period. Never. I just wanted to be a regular, conventional superhero guy. But the first door that opened was a local publisher with a title called Gore Streak. So I did that. And then I did what I wanted, with the superheroes of X-Force, and then Todd drafted me and I got on Spawn forever. And so then I go, “Okay, I’m going back to mainstream. Comic book! Comic book! Regular superheroes! And then I hook up with Scott Snyder, a horror writer, and all of a sudden Batman is now more the same. And then I go and I do Reborn with Mark Millar. And here we have We Have Demons. So, I just give up. This is who I am now.
Silber: Scott, maybe next time you guys do something together, it can be like a romance comic or something.
Capullo: [Laughs] I’ve given up man. I’m on Gilligan’s Island and I’m never getting off!
Scott Snyder: Yeah, but you love it dude. I always love going to a con and it’ll be like, people bringing up old issues of Spawn and everything. And it’s like, “oh, this is my favorite cover.” And it’s like, the goriest thing. I get it. And then it gets my imagination going. I’m like, “alright, let’s do it.”
Snyder: The thing that I think people forget about Greg sometimes because he’s so good at the bombast and the horror and the big epic scenes is that, to my mind, he’s the best in the business when it comes to acting, when it comes to the really intimate emotional sequences between characters, the gestural and facial sort of movements that are so minute sometimes, so he’ll go over them many, many times to get it right. But if it wasn’t for that stuff, the other stuff wouldn’t play. That’s the skeleton key, I think, to Greg’s greatness is that it comes from a place of heart and passion for what the characters are going through, and an emotionality that powers all of the horror, and allows it to be either scary, or if it’s an action sequence with monster fun, because you care, you know? And he makes you care deeply about about the characters he draws and creates.
Especially on a project like this, where I mean, the whole beauty is that as much as I love doing all of our DC stuff together, and I’m really proud of it, and grateful to have gotten to do it, you’re never your own boss. And there’s a significant amount of energy that goes towards the politics internally of getting stories through, getting designs through, and then the calculus that you do in your head about what fans expect of you and how to how to sort of use that energy to do what you want, but also acknowledge them. All of that stuff is.. it’s a lot, month in and month out. And to be able to do this, our own book entirely from scratch. I think it’s freed us both up to be able to do the kinds of things you’re talking about where I think, yeah, it’s monsters and horror, but I feel like it’s his best work when it comes to the acting also. And it’s allowed me to make something really personal.
I wrote the book because I want my 14, 15 year old son to essentially have something that is the kind of Saturday morning cartoon fun that I grew up on. But it’s tailored to the things that he’s thinking about and going through. And it’s about finding faith in a moment… it is very difficult to see any light through the darkness. Because in all of the big things we’re facing, you know, and the ways in which I think our generation’s, and generations past, let this generation down. So that to me is the beauty of doing something that’s ours. It allowed us to kind of flex all these muscles that maybe people don’t always see.
Silber: That combination of bombast and intimacy is something that I loved about both of you guys and your collaborations from the beginning. I mean, I recently wrote a piece about how I’m one of the New 52 success stories. Batman #1 was one of the ones that got me into comics. But I want to talk to you about something else you mentioned: the fact that this is a creator-owned title. You guys have autonomy on We Have Demons in a way that I would not imagine working with DC would afford. So what has that experience been like? I know both of you have done creator-owned projects in the past, but after so primarily working with DC in the past decade, are you trying anything different here?
Capullo: Well, I mean, first off, it’s a more relaxed thing, because you’re not having the monthly crunching deadline bearing down on you all the time. So, you know, you have more luxury to, in Scott’s case, you know, rework some of his dialogue or scripting. And I have the luxury of spending more time on the art, whether it’s to make it better, or after I’ve drawn something I realize, “oh, maybe I could have done it a little bit differently,” and I have time to change it. So in that way alone, I think it does a great service to the work and makes it more pleasurable for the fans. But of course, without anybody looking over your shoulder telling you what’s right or wrong, you know, ‘that character wouldn’t talk that way or that thing would look that way.’ No one could tell you that, so it’s really your own thing and there is no right or wrong. It’s all what you feel it should be. So it’s as raw, as real as you can get it.
Snyder: Honestly, for me too. It’s way easier for a writer. My stresses when it came to working in DC were less deadline oriented and more political, like in terms of making sure we could do the story we wanted. There were definitely moments of great stress in that, especially as Batman got bigger, and then we did Metal and then Death Metal. But you know, ultimately, watching Greg and the art team, who are my friends and family, sort of struggle month in and month out because of that grind… and also there’s pressure all the time on having those books sell to a certain degree, have them communicate certain things that the rest of the line needs to then pick up on, set things in motion for other books… all of that math you know, being free of that has been such a joy. Not that I didn’t like it, but this allows us to just have fun together. We text all the time and go back and forth. This is the experience that I wanted with Greg for so long…
Capullo: It’s everything you think comics is supposed to be or are going to be when you’re trying to get into the industry! Until you find out, “oh…” [laughs]
Snyder: Exactly. And the fact that the book has done so well already, luckily, for Comixology and hopefully now for Dark Horse in print, to me it’s the kind of thing like I would love to return to as soon as possible and also do more creator-owned with Greg. It sort of confirmed everything I’d hoped working together in a creator-owned capacity would be. We’re very grateful to Comixology and Dark Horse for everything.
Silber: Certainly the end of this first book leaves you wanting more. Not only are the two of you guys back together, but you’ve also got Jonathan Glapion on inks, Dave McCaig on colors, Tom Napolitano on letters… it’s a real “getting the band back together” kind of feeling. How long have you guys been talking about, “you know, once we’re done with our DC stuff let’s work on this creator-owned thing together?”
Capullo: Scott’s mentioned that for quite a while. He’s always had it in the back of his head. And I’ve always wanted to finish up my Creech, which I started writing just as I took over Batman, and so that got put on the back burner. Now that Scott and I have done this thing together, it’s gotten me to focus on that again, and Scott and I have future plans for creator-owned. But I want to say that, you know, sure there’s the fights and the hardships of doing conventional comics for the Big Two or whatever. But still, I mean, it’s the whole reason I wanted to get into comics, so I can’t see not wanting to still do that as well. I’ve been talking with Marvel, and DC still wants to do some stuff. So we’ll still do that stuff. But the self-expression and the no shackles and the constraints and the crunching of the time… once you taste it and go “oh, yeah!” It’s nothing you want to walk away from entirely, right? So I think both Scott and I plan on doing more things together, both for companies and creator-owned as well.
Snyder: There are tons of things I’d love to do with Greg. Licensed, from Marvel characters to DC projects. But knowing that this avenue is not only open to us, but has been so rewarding, I think both creatively and in a practical way with the book selling and being able to be a part of something that we believe in… for me, the whole idea of doing something during the pandemic that we both believed would strengthen comics or help push the industry in a direction that we believed in, whether or not it was something everybody felt, was important. The idea that these books were the first book to come out, that was digital, to come out single issue with variant covers, and to come out with extra material in it from Comixology, to make the print version valuable in a different way, and to be a different thing than the digital so that you’re not just giving trades to comic shops, not that there’s anything wrong with giving trades, but we’re pretty heavy direct market sellers with single issues, historically, me and Greg and our team. So giving them the opportunity to sell something single issue for us was like, “well, look, this shows how you can get all of our stuff, like 100-plus pages of this book, for the price of one comic a month. And for that you get 1000s of other books, including all my other stuff for Best Jackett. And then when it comes out in print, you’ll get a different package that you can put on your shelf, and it’s beautiful. 50-plus pages, essentially, beautiful Dark Horse designs, and you can get different covers, you can get us to sign it, you can get a booklet, all those kinds of options being there.”
There are these great retailer variants as well. Tony Daniel from Nocterra doing one for DCBS and Tula Lotay doing one for Comics Conspiracy, and we got Rafael Albuquerque doing one for TFAW and Midtown Comics has one as well. And we’re doing one of our own. Greg’s doing a special variant for us. Being able to pull those levers and say “we’re making something that we love, that we feel creatively liberated on, that we don’t have the same pressures on, that we own together as co-creators,” but also to do it in a way that we believe is progressive for the comics industry that shows how digital and print can be confluent and supportive of each other, and are different things, that both are important parts of the comics… is a thrill. I’m really proud of that, too. So to have it be at this moment where it’s coming out in print in such a cool away, and to be the first book to do that, means a lot.
Silber: Totally. Well, I think I have time for one more question. And I’m really excited to ask it because on Dark Nights: Metal and Death Metal, both of you, with the rest of the team, liked to share your playlists of different heavy metal songs that maybe inspired the series or pair well while reading it. Greg, I know you’re not a horror guy but you are a metalhead, as am I! So I wanted to ask you both: if you were to create a We Have Demons playlist, what are some songs that might be on it? And were there any particular albums or artists or whatever that inspired you while working on We Have Demons?
Capullo: Yeah, I don’t know if I can name specific songs off the top my head, I’d have to go through a Rolodex [laughs]. When I’m drawing this stuff, people go “do you have music on” or whatever. I don’t have music on. The music’s in my head. And so whatever track seems to be working at the time, it might loop! I might hear the same song over and over while I’m drawing a scene. And so you know, it’s more about my favorite bands, like Black Label Society or Judas Priest. Judas Priest really lends itself to that stuff with the kind of imagery that goes with that, you know? You have songs like “The Sentinel” and shit like that, and “Painkiller” and all this. It’s just in my veins, man.
So it’s like, I don’t have a specific thing. It’s just that whole vibe is in me. And so the whole vibe comes out in the paper. To come out with a playlist I’d have to give that some thought and review “hey, what what was going through my head when I was drawing this particular thing?” But you’re right, man. I mean, it’s beautiful. It’s part of metal. It should have its own soundtrack. It does have its own soundtrack. So we didn’t have the opportunity to pick each individual tracks. But I did request Black Label Society. Zakk Wylde. Beyond the album, I guess he did some layering sounds. So that’s the closest I got. I got to having Zakk on there!
Snyder: Yeah man, I like this one. It was funny. I asked my 14-year-old for suggestions as well, like, what to listen to. He’s a big indie rock guy, and I’m a big ’90s indie rock guy in that way, and contemporary stuff as well. So I feel like there’s definitely hints of the old stuff, like you’d have GnR you’d have all that stuff that I can imagine Lam listening to for fun. But then there’s also… there’s a lot of good punk bands these days that I love like Fontaines DC, and indie rock stuff, like Snail Mail and Car Seat Headrest and all that stuff. So I feel like we should make a big playlist and have fun with it. You know, and just put it out there, because the other thing it has to have on it just terrible ’90s Techno dance music, because that’s what approximates Gus’s tribes sort of music–
Capullo: Counterbalance with Lamb of God and Hatebreed and these other damn bands!
Silber: Yeah, well it doesn’t get much more metal than demons. But certainly other genres come into play, too. I like that. It’s kind of woven within the text. Personally, I don’t know why, but I had the band Turnstile playing in my head while I was reading. I don’t know if you guys know them.
Capullo: No, but I’m gonna check them out now!
Silber: Yeah, they’re a Baltimore based hardcore band. Love it. Oh, looks like I do have time for one more question. Are there any special considerations that you guys take for something that is going to be read digitally first?
Capullo: Well, if I didn’t give any consideration to readers with the digital release of issue five of our “Court of Owls run,” I certainly didn’t give this any consideration! [Laughs] I’ll turn it over to Scott.
Snyder: Honestly, like, one of the benefits of the deal is that Comixology has been great about making sure that the work is ours to play with. And I think Greg, his stuff lends itself to that really close look all the time. And so watching it and writing for that, were there a lot of back and forth emotional scenes, and knowing how that’s gonna show up in guided view for Comixology has been great, because I feel like people will get to really appreciate all the fine work that he does, the real needlepoint stuff that Jonathan does, as well. And really, like, you know, the magic of the colors that David McCaig does, too. But I think the other thing that’s fun for print is that not only do we have these big epic battle scenes that will play great when you see like, the big splash and all that stuff. But, we’re trying to put in a lot of extras.
For me, it’s like, thinking about the fact that the script will be included in the back, thinking about how the designs will be included. And that’s for print, so that you’re getting something special that you can put on your shelf and say “I browsed this book” or borrowed this book, digitally. I loved it, it’s like renting it. Now I want to own it, you know what I mean? And when you own it, you get all those special things and you can pick your cover, you know, you get all different kinds of covers whatever you want. So, yeah, it’s something where the whole fun of it for me was considering both those things. I wouldn’t want it to be a part of it if it wasn’t that bridge between digital and and print and to be something that it was tailored differently to each thing different each format.
Published in print by Dark Horse Comics, We Have Demons #1 (of 3) arrives in stores in March. The third issue of the series releases digitally from Comixology Originals this week.