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Scott Snyder, the prolific comic book writer known for his work on DC’s Batman and Justice League and original projects such as American Vampire and Wytches, is lining up a roster of creator-owned projects that boast an impressive array of artists.
Snyder and his Best Jackett Press have signed a deal to co-create eight titles for ComiXology Originals. The titles will first debut via the Amazon-owned digital comics service and Kindle, and then appear in print via Dark Horse Books.
Among the titles is We Have Demons, created with frequent collaborator Greg Capullo in their first creator-owned book together.
“It was the idea that made the other ones fall into place,” Snyder tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It has everything that I love to do. It’s big and bombastic but it’s also character-driven and plays with genre and horror and monsters.”
Snyder is also co-creating titles with artists including Rafael Albuquerque, Francesco Francavilla, Jamal Igle, Jock, Tula Lotay, Francis Manapul and Dan Panosian. The titles will begin rolling out in October, with some expected to be graphic novels and others with the potential to be ongoing comic series.
Snyder has been dreaming up these projects for years. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it expedited his desire to get them out there — and to do so in a creative way that would give readers more options while still getting titles to comic shops struggling to stay afloat during a seismic shift for the industry.
“I started to think about the affordability of it,” says Snyder, who acknowledges that during the pandemic, buying monthly comics might be a luxury that fans can’t afford. But for ComiXology’s $5.99 monthly subscription, readers could check out the books before deciding if they wanted the collectible version in print.
Snyder’s ComiXology deal comes at a time when conversations about creator compensation are spilling out into the public arena, particularly when it comes to film and TV adaptations. Snyder speaks positively about his DC relationships and says he’d like to do more there, while acknowledging the schedule of putting out a monthly title with a big publisher can be grueling.
“It’s a tumultuous time in comics,” says Snyder. “I think a lot of big companies are cutting rates and becoming more corporate. But because all these companies [networks and streaming services] are so desperate for content, there is more demand for good storytelling than ever before. You have more agency.”
Amazon retains no rights to the comics under Snyder’s deal, meaning he and his artists will be in control when it comes to film, TV and merchandise. Amazon does get a brief first look, but Snyder has no obligation to grant rights to the company.
“There is a period during which we are making the books that they can look at them before we go out with them,” says Snyder of Amazon, which has successfully turned comics The Boys and Invincible into hit shows. “But what I love is we could decide, ‘Hey, we are going to go a different way.'”
For Capullo, taking a swing on a creator-owned property has paid off before. A few years ago he was nearing the end of a DC contract when writer Mark Millar asked him to join the creator-owned book Reborn. The powers that be at DC urged Capullo to stay on, noting success was a long shot.
“Yeah, it’s a long shot but it does happen, and it has to happen to someone, so why not me?” Capullo recalls thinking at the time.
Now Reborn is in development as a movie at Netflix with Sandra Bullock attached.
“It worked out. You do this stuff with the hope that it can get to something bigger and more attention and a bigger audience,” says Capullo.
Snyder named his Best Jackett Press in honor of his first two children, Jack and Emmett (he now has a toddler whose name needs to be incorporated in there, the writer says with a laugh). He feels the titles under that imprint need to make his children proud.
Says the creator: “I wanted it to be something where I’m trying to push myself.”
Here’s the full roster of Snyder’s eight books, with descriptions courtesy ComiXology.
BARNSTORMERS: written by Scott Snyder with art by Tula Lotay and colors by Tula Lotay and Dee Cunniffe — A high flying adventure romance set just after the First World War.
THE BOOK OF EVIL: written by Scott Snyder with illustrations by Jock — A prose story about four young friends growing up in a strange, near future where over 90 percent of the population are born as psychopaths.
CANARY: written by Scott Snyder with art and colors by Dan Panosian — It’s 1891 and a mine collapses into itself. Find out what the dark substance found 666 feet underground is in this horror Western!
CLEAR: written by Scott Snyder with art and colors by Francis Manapul — A sci-fi mystery thrill ride into a strange dystopian future, where a neurological internet connection is transforming reality.
DUCK AND COVER written by Scott Snyder with art by Rafael Albuquerque — A manga-influenced teen adventure set in the strange postapocalyptic America … of 1955. In conjunction with Albuquerque’s Stout Club Entertainment.
DUDLEY DATSON AND THE FOREVER MACHINE: written by Scott Snyder with art by Jamal Igle and Juan Castro and colors by Chris Sotomayor — A rollicking adventure story about a boy, his dog and a machine that controls time and space! What could go wrong?
NIGHT OF THE GHOUL: written by Scott Snyder with art and colors by Francesco Francavilla — A dazzling work of horror, intercutting between the present-day narrative and the story of a lost horror film.
WE HAVE DEMONS: written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion and colors by Dave McCaig — The conflict between good and evil is about to come to a head when a teenage hero embarks on a journey that unveils a secret society, monsters and mayhem.
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