""I've got this thing, Batman with battle axes and Joker dragons," and I think that's as far as he made it before I lit up and go, "I'm in! I'm all in!"" Greg Capullo, comic book artist and penciler
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ABOUT GREG CAPULLO:
Batman is going Death Metal. Yeah, you read that right. In this interview, legendary comic book artist and penciler Greg Capullo opens up about the upcoming adventure — Dark Knights: Death Metal. Listen to learn more.
Jeff: Greg, I kind of want to start where we're at in the present. It's already been announced so I know I'm not stepping on any toes. You are currently working on the sequel to the critically acclaimed Dark Nights: Metal, aptly titled Death Metal, which I love.
Greg Capullo: It's all anti-crisis, isn't that sweet? Anti-crisis, [crosstalk 00:00:23]. It has that ring.
Jeff: Got it. Got it. Yeah, that's awesome. And coming out of Metal, as a fan of that series, you and Scott basically set up a lot of, for lack of a better term, unanswered questions and things that were hanging out there. Did you know right from the start that you were going to try to do a sequel with it, that you guys had too much for just one six issue arc? Or basically did you start write this idea germinating in Metal or did it come after the fact?
Greg Capullo: I'm just the guy who draws it. Not just the guy who draws, but you know what I'm saying. I bring it to life honestly. But Scott, I've come to know after working with for close to 10 years I think it is now, he's got stuff that it's a long game for him. He's not here to answer that, but my answer is yeah. He starts things so far in the back that I don't even know. He starts planting the seeds. Now could come to a point where you go, I never have the opportunity to let them germinate and grow, but that's always his intention. I'm sure if he was here, he'd have you the answer, yeah, I had this all planned, even pre First Metal. He's like a maniac like that.
Jeff: He is a maniac.
Greg Capullo: He is a maniac.
Jeff: And it's good that two maniacs are working together.
Greg Capullo: That's why we work. Sometimes I would like to strangle him, but I go it's like Homer and Bart because yeah, but Homer loves Bart.
Jeff: It's true. It's true. It's true. Then that kind of begs the question, when you got the job, obviously you had been working with Scott for a while, but when you guys started up with Metal, where you privy for those original pitch meetings?
Greg Capullo: Well, he pitched to me before he pitched it to them.
Jeff: Before DC? He pitched it to you?
Greg Capullo: Yeah. I was at his house, me and the misses were over there visiting and we're outside hanging out having a couple of drinks, whatever and he goes, "I've got this thing, Batman with battle axes and Joker dragons," and I think that's as far as he made it before I lit up and go, "I'm in! I'm all in!"
Jeff: Right? Because an artist, you're just starting to like all your wheels are turning, you're like, oh, this is going to look great.
Greg Capullo: Yeah, that's the kind of shit you want to feed me. I was all in and so he's, "Great. Great." And he gave me the long and short of it and then pitched it to them and they went for it.
Jeff: That's amazing.
Greg Capullo: It's amazing.
Jeff: It's awesome. And DC themselves have said what a game changer it's been because it was. It's turned everything on its heels and now working into the sequel, it's so exciting.
Greg Capullo: Well, Scott and I always have to push them kicking and screaming, though, you know what I mean?
Jeff: I'm sure.
Greg Capullo: Even for the first cover, they hated the devil sign, the metal horns that I use the JLA to form that. And it's like, here's this, I got to give you this story because with the first number one cover or something like that, I know what they're looking for. They're looking for the Star Wars poster. The upshot camera angle, all the hero [inaudible 00:03:16] and I was started out doing my layouts for that and I was just hating it because I've seen it a million times. Three days I rack my brains going, what can I do different and original? And so I finally come up with that brainstorm and they go, "Hey, can we have the Star Wars movie shot?"
Greg Capullo: And that's exactly what I said. And I kind of threw a little Italian tantrum and I go, you know what I mean, "You guys hire me to try and do the best stuff. And I'm trying to think outside the box. Did you want me to go down the well traveled, beaten down road?" I go, "We've all seen that a million times and it works. That's why you've seen a million times, but I'm trying something fresh and different and the fans I think will appreciate it." And they did. It's one of the single most complimented covers. But Scott and I always have to fight and drag and kick and scream to get them to do it and we wouldn't be able to do that, though, if we didn't have all these fans who've been supporting us. Really, our support team of fans is unprecedented. They hung on for the ride for close to 10 years now. If we didn't have their loyalty, we couldn't do half the things that we're able to cohesive DC into letting us do.
Jeff: Of course. And that's what's so awesome about a series like this because you go to bat for it, pun intended-
Greg Capullo: Ah, there you go.
Jeff: And something magical comes out of it. And one of the-
Greg Capullo: That's the hope.
Jeff: Speaking of the fans, one of the most, the biggest fan favorite I would think out of all the new stuff that you threw at us from Metal was definitely the Batman Who Laughs, which looks like so much fun to draw.
Greg Capullo: It is fun to draw.
Jeff: The amalgamation of Batman and Joker. And it has been kind of hinted that we're going to see more of Batman Who Laughs in Death Metal.
Greg Capullo: He's in the issues I've been drawing, yeah.
Jeff: But I have to ask you from the artistic perspective, I felt like Metal was just, for lack of a better term, a rollercoaster of a comic book. You just literally, I was going wee the whole time-
Greg Capullo: Yeah, that's fair.
Jeff: Because it was a ton of fun. Are we going to get even higher and bigger drops and bigger roller coaster loop de loops?
Greg Capullo: So much more fun than the first one.
Jeff: I'm so excited.
Greg Capullo: I have to tell you in this way, too, and this really aggravates Scott so severely when I say this that the most fun I've had in my career ever was my years working with Todd McFarlane. Those were by far head and shoulders above anything I've done as far as just having a ball. And Scott hates it when I say that. And he's like, "Oh, I'm going to change that." And I go, "I don't think that's possible," because Todd's an artist, we talk the same language and we're a lot of like personality wise.
Greg Capullo: Anyway, this is this first issue of Death Metal, I had so much fun. I actually texted him. I go, "Have to tell you, this is the most fun I've had working with you since I've worked with McFarlane."
Jeff: Oh, that's awesome. Feather in his cap then. That's awesome.
Greg Capullo: Yeah, it was really that much fun. It's just a off the wall, crazy fun ride, so much fun material for me to draw. For monster I've got zombies, Batman with a scythe and a bone motorcycle. It's crazy, crazy fun stuff.
Jeff: So much fun. And again, from an artistic perspective, one of the things that I love about a comic series like this, you and Scott handle the core issues, the six issue arc, and it's going to follow the same suit as Metal, Death Metal, the same thing. But then, DC does a lot of one-shots and tie-ins and that kind of thing. Is that a collaborative effort because you're getting so many other amazing creative comic book creators in the mix? Is it a collaborative kind of thing from you and Scott kind of helming it as like executive producers or is it more of a-
Greg Capullo: Well as far as the appearance of things, they go off of a lot of the drawings that obviously I've created things from scratch and they have to copy that. I think Scott does have a hand in, he's not a ghost writer, but he's definitely making sure that everything's cohesive and ties together and works well. And so in that way he's kind of an overseer. I don't think in a way that constrains the creative team that's on any particular book, but he makes sure that it's all tight and works together as a whole.
Jeff: It's incredible from a fan perspective because I've been a fan of comics my whole life and seeing giant epic issue-spanning stuff happen and it all worked together, from someone on the outside, it seems like it's got to be a maddening perspective as a creator to have all of these moving parts all work together with all the other moving parts, it's crazy.
Greg Capullo: Yeah. I'm glad I don't have to do that because if it falls on its face I just go it that guy's fault. My drawings were okay though.
Jeff: I turned in the drawings, they're okay. That's so great. Let's bring it all the way back, Batman is such an iconic character and you've said multiple times, you've been a fan of Batman your entire life. In fact, you've said in multiple interviews that you were drawing Batman at like four or five years old.
Greg Capullo: Four years old, my first drawing of him.
Jeff: Do you remember what drew you to the character as a young child? Was it just cause he was in a black suit and the cape?
Greg Capullo: I would imagine the very first thing that attracts you is the visual because you don't understand very much more at that age. I don't know, man. Probably, my first exposure was the Batman '66 TV show. And so the music was cool and it opened with a cartoon, kids love cartoons, so I don't know. It's probably just all the visual appeal because obviously the Batman on the '66 TV show is not like the Christian Bale Batman or any of these other forms of Batman that we all have soaked in over the years. I would say it just all started with, wow, that's just so cool. You know? And he's cool.
Jeff: I always say the same thing about Batman and Darth Vader. It's the same kind of ethos. It's like you just put someone all in black who's just menacing with a cape and it's like any young boy is just going to be like, that's my hero right there.
Greg Capullo: Kids like monsters, kids like dark stuff. Most kids like the bad guy a lot of times. It's just that curb appeal.
Jeff: Totally, totally. Was it in your childhood or later in life where you went from maybe just doodling Batman as a kid to when did it change in your brain like, oh, maybe I want to try to be a comic book artist?
Greg Capullo: Eight years old.
Jeff: Eight years.
Greg Capullo: Eight years old.
Greg Capullo: Eight years old, yeah.
Jeff: What was that catalyst?
Greg Capullo: I collected comic books. I collected Mad magazine and there's also books like cartoons, which was hot rods, but in really gnarly cartoony way, which was fricken awesome. And so that's the stuff I was soaking my head in. And there was a character, Don Martin in Mad magazine, it was sort of a clownish character with big floppy feet-
Jeff: Oh, yup.
Greg Capullo: Crinkly hair and a hooked nose and stuff and I learned how to draw him real well. And in second grade in school, they were having me go and teach the fifth graders a step by step on how to draw that character on the blackboard. I was always just that. And so I had an older cousin who used to look at Mad magazine and I'd show him my goofy drawing, "Do you think I'll be good enough someday to work?" And he'd look at an eight year old's drawing, "Oh, I don't know." It was always I knew I wanted to draw either superheroes or work for Mad magazine. I knew I wanted to draw cool, fun stuff.
Greg Capullo: And then as I got a little older into junior high school and all that stuff, it was all the way superheroes, all the way. I got straight F's in algebra because algebra [inaudible 00:11:02] they're putting the alphabet in my math and I go, "No." And I would turn it over and I'd draw Captain America. So I got all F's, but the good news kids is because back in my day they actually sent you a report card home on paper and I was able to change all those F's to B's. And so I'd have all these shitty comments, underneath the grades how bad of a fuck off I was in class and my mother would read all these horrible comments and then see: B, B, B, B, and she'd go, "Now look at that. If you would only apply yourself, these could be A's."
Jeff: And what an artist's mentality to look at an F and go, that's a fucking B.
Greg Capullo: That's a B, that's an easy B.
Jeff: Yeah, it's an easy B. I love that. I love that. That's awesome. I love that you had this vision from a young age. It's not like you just were a fan of the medium. You were like, this is-
Greg Capullo: I wanted to do it.
Jeff: The path I want to go on and you worked hard to get there.
Greg Capullo: Yeah. I took a lot of rejection. I was unstoppable. I had a one pastor of a church go, "It doesn't look like it's Greg's will," because I met with a lot of rejection from Marvel in the beginning and he goes, "I don't think it's God's will." And I said, "Well, but it's my will." And that was it, man. No one was going to stop me.
Jeff: That's so great. And correct me if I'm wrong, one of your first public works was a local publication, right?
Greg Capullo: Right in Albany.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Greg Capullo: [crosstalk 00:12:26].
Jeff: That's so cool. That must've been like, oh my God, I made it.
Greg Capullo: Well, no. Marvel was, for me, my dream. That wasn't I made it at all. That was it's an opportunity. I got to go through that door because it's the first thing. It's like I told my young one about getting a job. You can't just wait for the job that you want, you have to get the job that you can. I go, it's certainly a step in the right direction. And so I went through it, but I was never a horror guy. Even though you look at my career, you go-
Jeff: Wait, really?
Greg Capullo: [inaudible 00:13:02]. Yeah, I was never, that guy. I just kind of got into, ended up being pretty good at it and type casted. But Gore Shriek, that was the title and that was the first door that opened and then I did a real obscure thing called Mars Attacks with this guy locally had bought the rights and he made these little pocket size comics.
Jeff: Oh, cool.
Greg Capullo: So that was my second comic thing before Marvel gave me my first gig.
Jeff: And Marvel was your first big gig. Personally speaking, the first time I ever saw your name in print was on one of my favorite runs was X-Force. I loved your work on that.
Greg Capullo: Thank you.
Jeff: And I'm one of those guys who movies, comic books, that kind of stuff, if I like it, I'm going to memorize everybody who's a part of it because I'm like how do they doing this kind of thing. I totally started filing your name and seeing that kind of stuff. But that was in the '90s working for Marvel. Was it a lot different working for the industry then as opposed to working in the comic industry now or is it pretty much like business as usual?
Greg Capullo: Well, you don't have a lot to compare it to because I was at Marvel for a full a year of Quasar, then a full year of X-Force, and then I went to work with Todd at Image. I don't know if I had a realistic view at all of what comics was like because it was like you could do anything you want and then Todd would never tell me no about anything. I could change my style a dozen times, which I did in my long run with him. And so there was never a no, you can't do that and you have to do this and we have to have a cover that ties with the story. Todd was just always like, just give me a cool image of the character, man. It doesn't have to be anything to do with the story.
Greg Capullo: So I don't know if I had a real grounded view of what the industry was even like in that period because I worked for that guy owned a company. DC, it's just like working with Marvel, a little bit different, a little more constraints than working with Todd for Image because you have to do certain things that they want, but I don't feel like it's ever a drag, you know what I mean?
Jeff: That's awesome.
Greg Capullo: I've had fun the whole ride through, man. I really don't have any complaints. I've been nothing but lucky. I've gone from one great gig to another great gig, working with a lot of great people and DC has treated me phenomenally. And I got to give a shout out to Jim Lee because it's Jim Lee who gave me the call to try and get me to come to DC for the relaunch. Dan Didio had no idea who I was, never heard of me.
Greg Capullo: And Jim was like, "Greg's a beast," and Jim must've talked to Todd and know how to talk to me because Jim gave me some line, which is so now that I know Jim a little better is so not his way of speaking, he's like, "I need somebody to jump into the breach with me and go to war."
Jeff: Oh wow.
Greg Capullo: And I'm going, "Yes!" He must've been like, "How do I get to Greg?" "Talk about war, bloodshed and eating somebody's heart and he'll dive right in."
Jeff: Todd schooled him, that's great. And you mentioned it a little bit like you jumped into Image at the time that Image was taking off, Spawn was taking off. Again, correct me if I'm wrong, your first issue with Spawn was 16? 15?
Greg Capullo: 16 yeah, very good.
Jeff: Super, super early on in the run, but that character was gaining ground, Image was gaining ground and it was this upstart. I remember, again as a collector, seeing Image on my local comic book shelves and being like, what the hell? What is this? It looks crazy. But what a cool time in comics because you've got the Pepsi and Coke, the Marvel and DC of comics and then this little upstart Image with Todd McFarlane at the helm just running through and you guys became a great team through all of that, which is awesome.
Greg Capullo: You know the story how Todd tried to get me at first, right?
Greg Capullo: You probably heard it. No? Okay. At the moment I'm living at home with my mom, probably between girls or something, I don't know. And Todd calls me up and he goes, "Todd McFarlane." And I go, "Yeah, okay, come on, cut it out Kevin." And he's like, "This is Todd McFarlane." And I'm going, "Yeah, cut it out." I'm thinking it's somebody messing with me. And so then after like 10 minutes, I'm like, "Oh my God, Mom, it's Todd McFarlane." And she goes, "Who's that?" And I go, "Oh, nevermind." And so Todd goes, "I want to know if you want to come and do some work for me." And I said to him, because you keep saying an upstart company, and I go, "Are you crazy? Marvel just handed me a plum," you know X-Force, and I go, "And you'd think I'm going to come to work for your little upstart company with full tent and pull up stakes overnight? You're crazy." And he goes, "Pussy." And he hangs up.
Greg Capullo: And so what happened though, why I ended up going to work for Todd was, Marvel had now done away with its policy of promoting creators because they created superstars that went and abandoned ship. I was trying to get a little promotion and they weren't having it. And I kept pressing them on it. I go, "I'm a loyal guy as my career demonstrates, I stay in one spot a long time." And they would not do it. I called up Todd out of frustration and I said, "You still have a gig?" And that gig that he wanted me for was the Violator miniseries that he started with Bart Sears and Bart Sears was dragging his feet. And so he fired Bart off the third issue. Sorry Bart, love you. And put me in that spot. And then I finished that. He said, "Do you want to keep working with me?" And boom, 16 was it and we just kept riding.
Jeff: That's amazing. And again, what a great ride it was. And it created a partnership that made some incredible creations throughout the years.
Greg Capullo: And a great friendship.
Jeff: Yeah and a great friendship. And that kind of leads me into, and you had brought it up, coming to DC and being tasked to be a part of the New 52 along with Scott Snyder. Now that was the first time that you guys had worked together or was that Batman?
Greg Capullo: I'd never known Scott Snyder, yeah. And I'd never ever tried to get into DC because I was always a Marvel fan. And so I cast my line into the water when I knew I wanted to go mainstream, which really was because I married a woman with kids and I go, I got to make a little more money and all that. So I cast my line in the water and to DC for the first time ever. And Marvel is telling me some ideas what they had for me. And DC would only say it was Batman related. And so then I had to sign a nondisclosure and they told me it was the relaunch Batman.
Greg Capullo: And they go, "We got this writer who getting some heat around him, Scott Snyder, we think you guys would be good together." And it started off just terrible. Scott threatened to quit if they kept me. And it's actually, Bob Harris was my editor on X-Force and he's the editor in chief at DC and he's the one who thought to put Scott and I together.
Jeff: Wow. I didn't know that. That's really cool.
Greg Capullo: Yeah. How small this whole little circle is?
Greg Capullo: And so I don't know what he saw that thought we would work together because it certainly started out as oil and water, but here it is 10 years later almost.
Jeff: As a fan of Batman, obviously your interest is peaked, even before the NDA, DC's like we want you to work on Batman. I'm sure you're like, Ooh.
Greg Capullo: Yeah, exactly. That's true.
Jeff: I like superheroes. He's one of my favorites. And then you get basically the keys to the castle. Not only do they want you to work on a character that's near and dear to your heart, they want you to reinvent him-
Greg Capullo: That's scary.
Jeff: That's kind of was my question was what was that initial feeling? You were scared?
Greg Capullo: I shit my pants.
Jeff: Holy crap.
Greg Capullo: I told him, it's the first time I've ever been scared in my life, probably outside of my very first Marvel gig where the pressure's on. And I remember telling my wife, "I wonder if I made a mistake." Because the pressure I was feeling was intense, man. I was so scared and I could see it in my work in issue one, I really don't like the work in issue one. I thought I knew what I wanted to do and then, I started to second guess and then the characters try and tell you how to do the book. And so it wasn't until like the second issue where I just calm down, do what you've been doing for decades. And so by issue three, I had settled down completely and it's okay.
Greg Capullo: But when it finally dawned on me issue one, I was petrified. And Batman fans are intense about it, man. It's like they'll hunt you down, if you mess up their character. They ain't going to let that slide. You're never going to live it down. There was a pressure and there was also the pressure because I had done Spawn. I had made the mistake early on in visiting message boards, which I never do now.
Greg Capullo: Good. They're crazy. People were grieving because a nineties artist was going to be taken over Batman. They were grieving cause a Spawn artist was taken over Batman, Batman's cape's now going to be 40 feet long, which nobody groaned when Kelley Jones did it, but whatever or anybody else who gave him a long cape, but I was going, okay, I can't give him a Spawn cape. I had all this stuff in my head, clogging me up, too, that I have to perform a certain way because there's expectations and I have to break those expectations and give a good performance on Batman. And thank goodness for me, the fans kind of gave me the nod of approval and I'm still here, living and talking about it.
Jeff: Well, what a daunting thing the New 52 was to begin with DC-
Greg Capullo: Terrifying.
Jeff: DC basically just being like, we're going to take everything to the drawing board and just build it all up again. And then-
Greg Capullo: Bold.
Jeff: Bold is the easiest way you can put it because it could have all failed.
Greg Capullo: And then a lot of it did, but you still, people like to point that it failed, but not initially it didn't and it made all the boats rise. Marvel did well as a result of that relaunch, too. I consider it a success, even though a lot of the books didn't make it. Batman, we were lucky. We made it and it kept going. But I think it was a success. I don't care how people want to now spin it after the fact. I think it was a positive thing for the industry. And I'll tell you why.
Greg Capullo: Forget all the other people talk in your ear, I do shows, I meet a lot of fans and I met fans from all age groups go, "Because of this, I came back into comics," or "I got into comics the first time." How do you call that a failure when got a guy in his sixties telling me I got back into comics because of this because he felt it was accessible because I'm not jumping at issue 733 I don't know what happens. I'm issuing one. I'm at issue one, ground zero. And the kids for the same thing. It's a perfect time to start, it's the beginning. If you have all these people saying, "I bought comics for the first time," or "I've got back into comic because of this," that's success.
Jeff: Exactly. And I truly believe that not only just with the New 52, but across all comics, personally speaking, again, I can tell you I came back to Batman because of your run.
Greg Capullo: There you go.
Jeff: In the New 52 because to me, I've always been a Marvel guy, too, so Batman had just kind of fallen away to the wayside. The last thing I think I had collected was Nightfall in the 90s and I'd just fallen away from it. But New 52 brought me back to it. And I can say the same thing with Marvel and their Civil War line. When McNiven was drawn, it was doing-
Greg Capullo: It was great, by the way.
Jeff: When he was doing Captain America, I hadn't collected a Captain America book since I was a kid. And then I was like, holy crap, this character's cool again and it brought me back into the fold. And I think comics are a living, breathing thing. As a fan, I always hate the fan hatred because it's okay if you don't like some things. If you don't like this story arc or this run of this character, that's fine. Like the things you like and find new characters, that's what's cool about comics.
Greg Capullo: And listen, I'm stealing this from a fortune cookie, there's nothing so permanent in life as change, and fans don't like change. And you got to have to understand, too, is like they're looking at it from a perspective of they've been filing this thing for a certain amount of time, but there's also new readers and you have to stay contemporary. And some things might fall flat on their face, but some things might take off and you just can't keep writing the same song over and over and over and over again, unless you're ACDC, then it works.
Jeff: It works.
Greg Capullo: But you know what I'm saying? It's like you have to try stuff. You have to throw shit at the wall. I don't agree with everything that gets done with certain characters and things, but as you said, just move on and wait until it interests you again. There's so much stuff out there and there's so many great teams of creators out there, you will find something that speaks to you. And even if this thing now suddenly doesn't taste good, I'm sure you don't like every meal that's been served to you or every album's been perfect the way you wanted it to be from an artist or anything. Nothing's like that in life. So yeah, man, you got to roll with the punches and there's enough out there to keep everybody happy, man. But you got to try stuff. You've got to keep reaching and trying and exploring.
Jeff: It's the truth. And I tell people all the time, frequent your local comic shops, because we live in such an amazing age of comic books now. When you were breaking into the business even, again, it was the big two always, Marvel and DC and it still is to a big degree, but creator owned stuff, the small press stuff, there's so much more at everyone's fingertips. You don't have to go to the dingy basement of the convention to try and find this stuff. It's so much more accessible that if you don't like your favorite Spider-Man comic, your favorite Superman comic anymore, it's okay. Go try some of this other stuff over here.
Greg Capullo: And there's so many great creators out there. The talent pool is deep.
Jeff: It's awesome.
Greg Capullo: It is awesome. It's stiff competition, which is why I always draw like I'm trying to get a job, man, because there's just too much talent out there. If you get lazy, you're done for, man. Somebody's going to take your spot because there's just too much talent, man, strong talent.
Jeff: It's true.
Greg Capullo: I don't look at it too much because I'll get intimidated. Two things will happen. Either I'll get intimidated and it'll freeze me up or I know what I'll do, I'll borrow stuff from and I'll steal from it and I don't want to do that. You know what I mean? I want to keep my own thing and if I look at that, I'll admire it and I'll want to borrow it. And before I know I'm, I'm no longer my own voice anymore. I've worked hard to get my own voice. But there's so much talent there. I don't want to look at it because I don't want to have to, "Oh my God, look at what they're doing. I'm not that good. I've got people fooled to think I'm good."
Jeff: Well, you definitely have really created your own voice. Just like a guitarist creates his own sound. You've really created that with your art. And that brings me to the theme of this show, we all want to leave our mark on this world before we inevitably leave it for good. Spoiler alert. We're all going to fucking die, sorry.
Greg Capullo: I'm aware, yeah. Sucks. I'm working on it, though.
Jeff: But we do want to leave our mark on this world and you've been gifting us with a lot of your creativity throughout the years and I just got to ask, what fuels you to keep going? What fuels you to keep drawing and doing what you do?
Greg Capullo: Well, the joke is bills, but that's not really true. I don't have many bills. I'm really lucky. I don't know, man. I still I love illustrating a story, it boils down to that. The only thing that has changed for me because as I've gotten older, things do change, spoiler alert, you don't have quite as much battery power. And so working as many hours a day is not as appealing anymore. Especially when you see the road ahead of you is shorter than the road behind you. Then you go, do you really want to spend every waking moment at a drafting table when life has going by you? That's the only change that has happened is my perspective of maybe I want to slow down a little bit in how much I produce and how dedicated I am to staying in that chair so many hours a day. That's the only thing that changed. I love it just as much.
Greg Capullo: I can't imagine doing anything else for a living. I love drawing and getting a script is so much fun because it's like I see a movie roll in my head. And so when I read it and I read it over and over again and I watch the film over and over again so I can choose my edits. That's a good scene. How can I tell that on paper? Okay, I can't do it all that way because I only have this many panels, so I got to leave some stuff on the floor, cut the film up and there's just a pleasure in how to bring that script to life in the best possible way. How to make those characters alive? What emotions am I going to give? What body language I'm going to do? What's setting? I don't know if you can tell, I'm getting excited talking about it. It really, really is a fulfilling thing to me and that just hasn't changed at all. Not at all.
Jeff: Well, it's evident in everything you do. It really is.
Greg Capullo: Thanks, man.
Jeff: Because if for anybody who's never picked up a book with your name on the cover, literally it looks like fun, everything that you draw-
Greg Capullo: Thanks, man.
Jeff: And you're having fun doing it and you love it.
Greg Capullo: Yeah, I love it, man. I love it.
Jeff: And that's awesome. That's awesome. At the end here, I want to talk a little bit about what brings us together, not just coffee and our love of coffee, but music as well. It's not a secret that you are a very big fan of Black Label Society and also a mutual friend of ours, Zakk Wylde. When did that all come to be? When did you first discover Zakk and Black Label?
Greg Capullo: Well, when he was with Ozzy, but then, I was one of the few people, not few people, well yeah, I was one of the few people who didn't criticize Pride and Glory. I loved it. A lot of people didn't expect him to come out with a bit of a country twang to it. And they were like, what is this? And my answer is it's awesome, Toe'n the Line and all those great tunes he's got and it's a great, great collection of music. I've always been a fan of his playing and it's funny going back listening... My wife's not a metal head, but she's liked Ozzy music and I'm going that's Zakk on that. "That's Zakk Wylde?" "Yeah, that's Zakk playing on those songs that you like so much." And I just always followed Zakk. So when Black Label came around, it was just a natural progression. I love him as a guitar player. He's got a very aggressive style with a lot of heart attack and gives you a heart attack. But I meant H-A-R-D, but I love his style of playing.
Greg Capullo: But it was also his strength, determination merciless forever. That mindset is sort of what's gotten me through my life, which started out very hard with a lot of abuse and no dad and all this stuff like that. And people told me I can't do this, can't do that and I got a warrior's mentality. And so that kind of a mentality of get it fucking done and all that, speaks to me, too. And so when I went through a divorce, which was like the hardest moment in my life, Black Label was a sort of like a support structure for me. Some of the music was depressing. I don't know. It's making you feel [inaudible 00:31:39], but it always had that strength and power behind it, which kind of just kept me going and kept me fighting because that kind of mentality, can get you through a lot of battles in life. You know what I mean? Stay hard, sometimes stay angry, get that rage going can give you strength. It's given me strength. And so anyway, that's sort of the thing. And then Barbaranne was nice enough to arrange a meeting with Zakk and so my wife and I got to meet him one time.
Jeff: That's awesome. Both Zakk and Barbaranne, they're such great people and it's amazing that a musician like that can bring so many people together through what he creates and it's just awesome.
Greg Capullo: Yeah, definitely.
Jeff: It's awesome. And again, it's no secret because you're always sporting Black Label stuff and it's just it's awesome.
Greg Capullo: It's like with anything, whether he knows I'm alive or dead, doesn't matter. It's because just like the fans keep me supported, I can have my career, which helps me and it helps them. They love me so they want me to keep doing it so they support me so I keep doing it. And it's no different from him. I love Zakk's work and so I'm going to do everything I can to support him in his career because the more I can support him, the longer his career goes and the more joy I get from what he produces in his career. It's like I help you and you're helping me because I'm helping you, I'm giving you money and you're helping me by giving me more of this stuff that I love. That's sort of how it works. That's how I look at it. So I'm happy to do that.
Jeff: That's awesome. And so finally, kind of bringing it full circle, speaking of music, one of the coolest things I think that came out of Dark Nights: Metal was you guys did a soundtrack for it, too.
Greg Capullo: Oh yeah. That was crazy.
Jeff: Because obviously, it seems, when I say it out loud, like a no brainer. You're going to name a comic series Metal, why not make a soundtrack for it? But was that always the case or was that kind of an afterthought?
Greg Capullo: They came to us, DC came to us and said they had this idea and whatever and they go, are there any artists that you would request and of course I requested Zakk. I didn't get any of the artists I requested, though I'm happy with the end product. But there was like two or three guitar players I was hoping that I could get in. Of course, Zach was one. I thought John 5 would've been interesting.
Jeff: Oh yeah.
Greg Capullo: But I didn't get him either.
Jeff: So that begs the question, are we going to get a Death Metal soundtrack?
Greg Capullo: I don't really, I don't know. I think they'd be foolish not to follow it up being they already set precedent with the first one.
Jeff: Ah, yeah.
Greg Capullo: I think they'd be dropping the ball.
Jeff: Exactly. And go harder because I mean Death Metal, like why not?
Greg Capullo: Maybe I'll catch Zakk or John 5 between schedules and they'll be able to add a tune or a guitar solo or something like that. That'd be amazing.
Jeff: That would be amazing. We got to make that happen for sure. For everybody listening, what is the best way to follow your journey? Is there a social media that you love to tout or a website?
Greg Capullo: Yeah, I'm on Twitter and I'm on Instagram. They're kind of really different platforms, I've discovered. I was pushed, kicking and screaming, to get on Twitter from Scott Snyder and I'm still on the fence of how I feel about it. Twitter can get really wicked, stupid shitty a lot.
Jeff: I'm with you.
Greg Capullo: Instagram is hardly ever shitty. It's very once in a great while that some shit head appears on your thing and you got to just go boink and get them gone. But the Instagram I would say is a lot more artwork. There's guitar solos, bits of my personal life. I treat both a little bit differently and I try and interact with fans. I've calmed it down a bit because there's fucking weirdos who just they ruin it and makes me just go, fuck all of you. But I know that there's so many great fans so I go, I don't want to punish everybody for a few dickheads. I still try and be really involved with Twitter and talk to my friends.
Greg Capullo: Yeah, you can find me on Twitter. And I can't answer everybody. You know what I mean because I get a lot of people tweeting at me, but I try and like as much stuff as I happen to spot and talk back to people if they're talking to me because I just know that if I had access to the people who's I'm a fan of, like [inaudible 00:36:00] or Frank Frazetta, I'd lose my mind if I ever saw him like something that I said to them or respond to me, oh my God. Or show me previews of what they're working on. All that shit would be like, oh my God. So I try and give that to fans because I know that I would like it and I do like. I follow like Joe Bonamassa and I follow Zakk and anytime they show themselves playing guitar and improvising backstage, I love it. I try and give that kind of stuff. I think fans appreciate it. You can't let the dickheads ruin it for the ocean of great people who are out there following you.
Jeff: It's true. And we 100% appreciate it. Again, as a fan, I love it when you pull the curtain back and show us what you're working on and it's just so great. And at the end here, I'm just going to say, everybody get out there and support your local comic shop and get out there in May because Death Metal starts. I can't wait.