Byron Brewer caught up with Joshua Hale Fialkov to talk about his new series The Devilers. This is the first title in Dynamite's new Creator Unleashed line and will be hitting shelves in July, which means your retailers are ordering it now.
BYRON BREWER: Josh, Devilers is part of a new line of creator-owned properties being presented by Dynamite Entertainment. There has always been an undercurrent regarding this, dating back to the '70s. Can you address from a writer's POV doing creator-owned vs. work-for-hire?
JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV: I'd actually say that what unites these projects is that they're all original. These are projects that don't exist off old franchises or established expectations. It's a chance to tell a new story. That's what I got into this to do, and getting to do it at Dynamite has been an absolute pleasure.
BB: A priest in flames! That is how this 7-issue mini-series kicks off. Where do you go from there? (laughs)
JHF: Far, far more upsetting places, one hopes. The book is sort of a pop-version of a heavy religious epic. We're going for fun and digging into the religious history of so much of popular culture. It's such a blast to write.
JHF: Terrific. They know what they want, and they know who they want to do it. Once you get the gig, it's your gig to do with what you want, and that's a great way to get some very, very unique and cool comics.
BB: So we have what is being billed as the Magnificent Seven of horror stories. Tell us about this tale and how you came to create it?
JHF: The idea started out as something Nicky and a few other creators were kicking around, and when they brought the skeleton to me, I immediately saw it as a big opportunity to do something that I do well. It's dark, and epic, but, it's very, very human. So, in a sense, I get to follow the path I started back on I, Vampire, but in a much freeer, broader sense, because I'm not stuck in a corner of another universe.
BB: How do you as a writer get in such a mental mood as to imagine the "pits of hell" while fighting cliché? Are there any great themes from your other works, particularly DC's I, Vampire, to be found in Devilers?
JHF: Absolutely. The idea of Good and Evil not being quite so easily defined is in here, and, as we get deeper into the story, we get to see some of the POV questions of who these people are and why they're doing all this, which I think was a hallmark of I, Vampire.
BB: Good vs. evil goes back to the Bible itself in literature. Can you tell us about your protagonists and how they are set up?
JHF: Well, it predates even the bible. If you look even at the Mahabarata, which predates the bible, a lot of the same themes are in there. And all religious literature deals to some degree with the thin line between good and evil. That's what we're playing with. Each of our character represents a major world religion, and each of them is gifted with a skill that allows them to fight their religion's specific set of demons. You put them all together, and they're a force to be reckoned with. Assuming they can actually all get along.
BB: How big a part of the book will Satan himself be? Is there any particular inspiration (other than the norm, of course) for your portrayal of the Fallen One as a character?
JHF: Ah, well, that's going to be one of our big mysteries, so I don't quite want to spoil it yet. But, you'll get to see a glimpse of what the 'Big Two' look like by the end of issue 3.
BB: Not many comics writers out there that have been nominated for an Eisner, a Harvey AND an Emmy. Which nomination meant the most to you, what property was it for, and what does that milestone represent to you as a writer?
JHF: It's weird, mostly. I appreciate it, and it's great to have done work that some people reverberated with, but, at the same time, the real brass ring is making yourself happy, and making work that reverberates with yourself. That Eisner nom for Tumor was pretty sweet, too, though.
BB: The incredible Matt Triano will be doing interiors, we understand. How has working with Matt been? How do you feel about his visualization of your concepts?
JHF: Matt is trememndously talented. I've been lucky to work with some amazing artists the past few years, and, between Matt on Devilers, Joe Infurnari on THE BUNKER, and Gabo on THE LIFE AFTER, I'm just enjoying a treasure of very different and very wonderful collaborators.
BB: Josh, are there any other projects current or future you'd like to discuss?
JHF: Sure, the first collection of THE BUNKER is in stores in August, and my new creator owned series THE LIFE AFTER from Oni Press is out in July. That one is about a guy who finds out he's living in the afterlife for suicides. It's very, very different from my other books right now, but, is so much fun to work on. I really hope you check them all out!
Check out our review of the Devilers #1 here.