If you thought Scott Snyder was scaling back projects since wrapping up Dark Nights: Death Metal last year think again, announced just today, Snyder’s Best Jackett Press publishing company will launch eight titles through the ComiXology Originals line. All eight titles were revealed along with the co-creator artists and the news that each title will be released digitally exclusively on ComiXology with print release scheduled later via Dark Horse Books.
“The whole goal with this was to show the ways in which different aspects of comic making don’t need to be competitive, but can be synergistic,” Snyder said to me over Zoom on Friday. The best fit ended up being ComiXology after Snyder and his Best Jackett Press collaborator and ex-Vertigo Editor, Will Dennis met with ComiXology’s Head of Content Chip Mosher. “He’s really interested in showing the ways in which digital and print and other aspects of commerce work synergistically.” Snyder thinks these new titles can leverage the immersive and immediacy of digital, while also offering a unique print experience.
These aren’t simply digital-only experiences, as Snyder said the print-side of ComiXology’s offerings is important too. “Print is experiential, it’s collectible. It’s communal, you go to your shop, to talk to other people about the book.” A somewhat recent relationship, ComiXology and Dark Horse Comics revealed back in August 2020 a new partnership to print ComiXology Originals series.
“One of the benefits of working with ComiXology was their enthusiasm for trying new formats.” Fans should expect different formats for each title, from collected editions to single issues, to titles being released in two or three extra-sized books and even comic strip style.
The reader experience was a key element to make this partnership work, but it also spun out of the shutdown of comics releases caused by the pandemic last year. It was something that concerned Snyder then and for the foreseeable future; “How do I make sure that my partners are going to be able to work on these books consistently, and have some kind of decent page rate.”
Snyder has been working on these titles for some time, like Night of the Ghoul with Francesco Francavilla, and other indie projects which he referred to as far back as 2019 on the AIPT Comics podcast. These projects include some of the best artists in comics today including Rafael Albuquerque, Greg Capullo, Jamal Igle, Jock, Tula Lotay, Francis Manapul, and Dan Panosian, all of which are co-creators on these projects. Legendary comics editor Will Dennis is overseeing the titles.
Snyder said some titles have already been written with others to be created and all eight will be released in staggered waves. More specifically they’ll be released in two waves, three to four titles at a time. Check out a preview of each title to see the eclectic mix of stories.
One might liken this eight title reveal as a record release with each title a different track on an album. When asked what the hit might be, Snyder offered We Have Demons which features art by longtime collaborator Greg Capullo. “We Have Demons is the summer blockbuster hit, it’s like the top 10 kinds of pop radio thing. Even though it’s really personal. It’s like, something you believe in, but it’s also meant to invite everyone into this party.” The sleeper hit might include Canary, which features art by Dan Panosian. “That one is the western, that one is super dark.”
Meanwhile, Barnstormers is a title that has some haunting parallels to today and the ongoing pandemic. Set in the 1920s when people were still reeling from the Spanish flu and World War I, it’s a time when people take a moment to be happy. “It’s the moment before everything crashes all over again, in the Depression and World War II. I’ve always loved it for its kind of weird, ghostly, happiness and strange sort of essentially American quality that to be like, let’s celebrate even though you see the fire coming.”
Duck and Cover will feature a manga-influenced art style by Rafael Albuquerque. That story is about a group of kids in the 1950s who hide under their desks during a nuclear apocalypse and somehow survive. “It’s like an apocalyptic world of a nuclear wasteland, except for kids that were smart enough to do that ridiculous thing.”
Comixology’s enthusiasm to try new formats paired with Scott Snyder and the incredible artists has created something entirely different comics fans haven’t seen before. “Every one of these books has a different character, you know, different tone. And we’re going to release them in different ways. We’re going to market them in different ways, all of it to show you the expansiveness of both digital and print and how they can work together.” It’s an exciting time for comics.
Stay tuned to AIPT for news on release dates for all eight titles. Check out a rundown of the titles below.
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% 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 post-apocalyptic 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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