Smash Pages Q&A: Francis Manapul on ‘Clear’

The artist of ‘Flash,’ ‘Justice League’ and more discusses his new creator-owned title with writer Scott Snyder.

Francis Manapul has been drawing comics for more than 20 years now. He became an artist to watch while working on Top Cow comics like Witchblade before moving on to DC Comics. While there, he drew Legion of Super-Heroes, Detective Comics and Justice League, among other titles, but he might be best known for his work on The Flash, which he eventually wrote in addition to drawing it.

After years at DC, Manapul is collaborating with his former Justice League partner-in-crime, Scott Snyder, for a new creator-owned comic called Clear. It’s one of several titles written by Snyder as part of his deal with comiXology Originals, and the second issue became available on the digital comics platform yesterday. Snyder and Manapul are clearly having fun with the neo-noir science fiction environment they’ve created that’s a departure from the bright world of superheroes, as Snyder said in our interview with him that was posted yesterday.

“People think of [Manapul] as doing this bright vibrant exuberant superhero work with a lot of emotionality that has a light, painterly feel,” Snyder said. “With this he’s showing that he has this whole range that hasn’t been explored with darkness and nightmarish kinds of abilities that he didn’t get to do much in superheroes.”

I spoke with Manapul at length about the origins of Clear, the opportunities that working on a digital comic have given him and drawing on the styles of other artists to create the “skins” featured in the first issue.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Scott Snyder on ‘Clear’ and more

The writer and teacher discusses the first three comics released through his exclusive deal with comiXology Originals.

Scott Snyder made a splash earlier this year by announcing eight new comics coming out digitally through comiXology and then in print from Dark Horse Comics.

Three very different first issues have already come out from the line:

  • We Have Demons, which re-teams Snyder with Greg Capullo after the duo’s long run on Batman and other DC projects.
  • Clear, a cyberpunk tale featuring art and colors by Francis Manapul.
  • And Night of the Ghoul, a monster horror tale drawn by Francesco Francavilla.

With these three books out, I checked in with Snyder about the books and how they represent what he’s thinking about right now.

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Are you ready for ‘Scottober’?

Your Best Jackett’s required for a month of new comics from Scott Snyder, comiXology Originals and more.

This October, prepare yourself for a lot of Scott Snyder.

The writer of American Vampire, Death Metal, Batman, Nocterra and more — as well as comic book instructor on Substack — will kick off his new line of comiXology Originals titles with We Have Demons, his collaboration with Greg Capullo, who he worked with on Batman and more. The first issue arrives next Tuesday, Oct. 5, followed by two more titles later in the month.

“October has been deemed ‘Scottober’ at comiXology Originals,” said Chip Mosher, comiXology’s Head of Content, in a press statement. “With the arrival of We Have Demons featuring widescreen action and the kind of jaw-dropping storytelling twists that have made Snyder and Capullo the bestselling creator duo of the last 25 years, followed by Clear, Snyder’s first noir thriller and Manapul’s first ever creator-owned book, which is a dazzling, sci-fi thrill ride into a strange dystopian future, and in the lead up to the most terrifying night of the year, Snyder and Francavilla—two modern masters of horror—collaborate for the first time with Night of The Ghoul, a bold and bloody re-imagining of monsters that celebrates classic creature features.”

Here’s a trailer for the three October — sorry, Scottober — titles:

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Nocterra’s Blacktop Bill gets an origin special in December

Just in time for Christmas, Scott Snyder, Denys Cowan and Chris Sotomayor team up for ‘Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill.’

Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel’s Nocterra will get a spinoff special just in time for Christmas, as Snyder teams with Denys Cowan and Chris Sotomayor for Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill.

The one-shot will tell the origin story of the series’ villain, Blacktop Bill.

“We’re so excited to give you this special about Nocterra’s twisted breakout star and big bad, Blacktop Bill,” Snyder said in the press release. “This issue will tell Bill’s secret origin, and we couldn’t have better partners than legend Denys Cowan and Chris Sotomayor! Get ready for some of the most twisted fun yet…” 

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Smash Pages Q&A: Scott Snyder on ‘Nocterra’

The writer of ‘American Vampire,’ ‘Death Metal,’ ‘Batman’ and more discusses his newest creator-owned title, his Best Jackett Press imprint and more.

Scott Snyder has been in the driver’s seat for many of DC’s biggest projects over the last decade or so, including crossover titles like Metal and Death Metal, and of course his runs on Batman and Justice League. At the same time, he’s also kept a foot in the creator-owned world, writing titles like American Vampire, Wytches and Undiscovered Country, among others.

Last summer, he hit the gas on his creator-owned work, launching a Kickstarter for Nocterra, a new creator-owned series with Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey that’s coming out from Snyder’s Best Jackett Press imprint. The crowdfunding effort brought in more than $200,000 and set the stage for the launch of the Nocterra ongoing title, which debuted last month from Image Comics. The explosive first issue introduced readers to truck driver Val Riggs, a woman who lives in a world where the sun stopped rising 10 years ago, plunging humanity “into an everlasting night that turns all living creatures into monstrous shades.” The only defense is artificial light; luckily Riggs’ 18-wheeler is heavily illuminated.

I spoke with Snyder about the comic, its villain, the differences between launching a creator-owned comic vs. a DC title, his plans for Best Jackett Press and more.

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Fund Me Monday | ‘Impeachable Trump,’ ‘Nocternal’ and more

Check out projects by Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, Blue Delliquanti and more.

Crowdfunding continues to serve as a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors, as comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. The internet also allows creators to sell their creations direct to fans, through sites like Gumroad, Big Cartel and of course their own websites. If you’re looking to buy something from or support a creator directly, you’ve come to the right place. And that’s a good thing to do, now more than ever.

Send any suggestions of your own to jkparkin@yahoo.com.

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