Inside 'The Devil Inside' Webcomic
Who doesn't love free comics? I know I do! Especially when the creators are well established dudes with really cool hair like Marvel artist Dennis Calero, right? Dennis and actor Todd Stashwick have joined forces to create a brand new comic book which will be published on Dennis' website! We caught up with Todd and Dennis to discuss their new project and get the lowdown on what it is all about, check it out below. Dennis also sent over some really phenomenal art which you do not want to miss. What do you think? Is The Devil Inside a comic you'll want to read?
Comic Vine: You have decided to launch your own project which will be published on your website called the Devil Inside. Can you tell us a little bit about it? What is the concept? Who is the main character?
Dennis Calero: The Devil Inside is the story of Jack Springheel, known to many as the Devil or Satan, known to others throughout time as different aspects of evil incarnate.
Todd Stashwick: He finds himself blasted out of hell and questions his future. Does he want to return? How can he alter his own path? There are forces that want him back in hell. He's a man with a bounty on his head, seeking a new truth.
== TEASER ==
CV: What inspired you to create your own webcomic rather than going to a publishing house? How did you and actor Todd Stashwick get together for the Devil Inside? How did you come up with the idea?
DC: Todd and I met after I did some work on the Heroes web comic, and it turned out that not only is Todd a talented actor who's been in shows I've enjoyed like the Riches (who's cancellation I still lament) but he's also a bona-fide uber geek, both for sci-fi and comics. His cred is solid.
TS: It was the unstoppable power of Twitter. Dennis had drawn me into the Heroes comic and so he had me at hello. He was like my geek genie granting one of my fondest wishes. I'm in a comic book dammit! I introduced myself to him online and gushed my praise at his work. He tweeted that he was going to be in LA and did I want to get coffee so that was a rhetorical question. Of course I did.
I have played a lot of bad guys on TV, the trouble is they often end up with a bullet in the head. I was toying with the idea of making the Villain the hero. Job security. So I thought the Devil was the Ultimate bad guy and what happens when he has a crisis of conscience. We felt it was a natural fit for the comic medium.
DC: So primarily, Devil Inside came up from a discussion of some of our favorite kinds of stories, shows and movies and a feeling that we could put a new spin on the subject matter.
We also decided early on that the best way to explore this creatively was unfettered by the necessity to turn this into a business . It's not that we don't hope that DI catches on and that eventually we find a way to make some profit from our efforts, but I think the best way towards that is to provide a good story, well told, on a regular basis for free and let what happens happen.
CV: When will you be releasing the comic? What kind of format will you be releasing it in? Will it be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly? How long are you planning to run the series?
DC: To answer your last question first: forever. As long as we're breathing, we intend to tell the story, on a weekly basis, of Jack Springheel. We have done so much work on this story and it's like an onion with ever deeper layers. Also, for me as an artist, it's a chance to explore a comic-strip format, which has its own demands both graphically and from a story point of view.
CV: Did you work as both the writer and the artist?
DC: We're sharing the writing duties and by that I should say we've conceieved the story and we're kind of building it together in pieces. One interesting aspect of working on what is primarily a character drama is that we can sort of build our conception of these extremely interesting and damaged individuals and then fit them into the larger puzzle of the story. We're also sharing the duties in the layout stage, so it's a very back and forth process which, when you're working with someone with whom you're in sync, is a pleasure.
TS: Lots of e-mails, texts and phone calls. Building off the initial concept we sat one night at my home till the wee hours, killed a bottle of wine and mapped out a bible for it. Then we dash off to our respective caves and do our thing. Meet in the middle again and hone. We build off each others stuff. Constantly texting each other with "What if Jack..." It's a pretty liquid process. We are wonderfully sympatico with what turns us on thematically and aesthetically. We also challenge each other to not settle, keep each other in check.
CV: What do you want to achieve with the release of this comic?
DC: With working books like Weapon X Noir, it's no secret that I want to start moving from being (I hope!) a well-considered artist to being perceived as what I feel I am, which is a story teller.
TS: I want a Jack Springheel action figure.
I think it sounds like an interesting concept, but the devil is always a tricky character to handle - especially if you're planning to make him sympathetic, as the main character of your story. I question whether people can read it without bringing their theological issues along with them. Because it deals with a theological figure, no matter how well the story is done, there's always going to be a group of people out there that don't agree with the character's portrayal, because it doesn't fit their view or understanding of the theological figure.
I got to hear Steven Grant at a public library, in Las Vegas, Nevada, a few years ago. He wrote the Marvel one-shot, The Life of Pope John Paul II. He said that he had no problem writing about the Pope, because there was verifiable fact out there that he could base his writing on. When Marvel asked him to write a one-shot about Jesus, he said he wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, because he'd be fighting an uphill battle against people's expectations from the first panel of the book. (Those weren't his exact words - I'm pulling it from memory and putting the gist here).
It'll be interesting to see what they can do with a story about the devil, on a weekly basis.
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