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Greg Capullo Says He Never Wanted to Be a Horror Artist

Despite his horror-tinged work on characters like Spawn and Batman, Greg Capullo says he originally “never wanted to draw scary stuff.”

Greg Capullo might be renowned for his frightful illustrations on books like Spawn and Batman, but ironically he never intended to become a horror artist in the comic book industry.

“No, I never wanted to draw scary stuff,” Capullo said during a New York Comic Con 2021 panel after moderator Heidi MacDonald asked him if he liked drawing demons. “I was always the, you know, superhero guy, right? And then Todd McFarlane dragged me onto Spawn, and my first break happened to be Gore Shriek. So, it’s like I somehow got roped into it.”

Gore Shriek was a horror anthology that debuted in 1986. Edited by The Saga of the Swamp Thing artist Stephen R. Bissette, the series ran until 1989 and featured extremely violent stories. Greg Capullo’s artwork first appeared in Issue #1, in an untitled story about a vicious monster stalking a little girl in a barn, and his work on the anthology eventually landed him a job at Marvel, where he illustrated more standard superhero fare like Quasar and X-Force. Eventually, Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane enlisted him to pencil Spawn. Starting with Issue #16, Capullo ended up drawing 80 issues of the series.

“When I got away from Spawn, I was like, ‘Finally, I could do the mainstream comic book stuff,'” Capullo said. “And who do I get saddled with? A horror writer [Scott Snyder]. So, now it’s just I’ve been typecast, so I’m just going with it, you know?”

In a much-promoted pairing, Capullo was assigned with Snyder to head the main Batman book at the onset of DC’s New 52 reboot initiative in 2011. The pair’s 51-issue run was a major success, pioneering a number of concepts and characters that have now become mainstays of Gotham City, including the eerie Court of Owls, as well as young superhero Duke Thomas. Capullo and Snyder would later work on the Dark Nights: Metal and Dark Nights: Death Metal events, co-creating the fan-favorite Batman Who Laughs — a twisted amalgamation of Batman and the Joker. They capped off their take on the Dark Knight with Batman: Last Knight on Earth, a post-apocalyptic story featuring Batman wandering a dirty wasteland with a decapitated Joker’s head by his side.

Capullo and Snyder’s latest effort, We Have Demons, is a ComiXology original series about a young woman named Lam who becomes humanity’s final hope against a legion of demons. It is also the first creator-owned book that the pair have worked on. Issue #1 is now available on ComiXology.

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