IMAGE EXPO EXCLUSIVE: Buccellato & Infante Introduce "Sons of the Devil"

Image Comics adds another comic with a Kickstarter origin to its lineup with Brian Buccellato and Toni Infante's twisted tale, "Sons of the Devil." Premiering this spring, and announced today during Image Expo 2015, the series was created as a companion piece to a short film that Buccellato crowd funded early in 2014.

Dark, suspenseful and sharp, "Sons of the Devil" follows Travis Crowe, the estranged son of a cult leader. Although Travis has no idea about his origins, his father is very aware, and plans to use Travis to fulfill a bargain he made 25 years ago, no matter the cost.

CBR News spoke with Buccellato, who opened up on why Image was the best home for his work, the power of chosen family and how his home in Los Angeles played a role in the creation of the story.

CBR News: Brian, tell me about "Sons of the Devil" -- what brought it to Image?

Brian Buccellato: Honestly, Image is clearly the home for creator-owned projects, so it was always my first choice. As far as how it happened, my buddy Kyle Higgins slipped some pages of "Sons of the Devil" to Eric, which led to the meeting that made Image a reality. 

I have to give a huge thanks to my backers on Kickstarter. Their support made the short possible and afforded me the ability to pay Toni so that we could work in the comic. They've also been super patient with me about the delivery of the book and short. My goal going forward is to continue with SOTD as an ongoing comic series and as a digital series. My hope is for it to have a life in both formats. 

Tell me about the progression of the story -- will anything change from what you and Toni had planned now that the series is with Image? 

The story hasn't changed, but the opportunity for it to have a life as an ongoing comic allows me to broaden the scope and focus on more of the characters. It's sort of like the difference between a 2-hour feature film and a television series. 

"Sons of the Devil" follows one of the main characters, Travis, as he explores his connection to a cult. Tell me a bit more about Travis. What kind of man is he? 

He was a troubled kid who had a hard time growing up in the foster care system. He has a good heart, but struggles with feelings of abandonment and is prone to solving problems with his fists. But he's not a bully -- he's the guy that knocks the bully on his ass. At the end of the day he is looking for that sense of belonging and family. He thinks he may find it by uncovering his past. 

Who are some of the other characters we'll meet?

David Daly, the cult leader and father to Travis, is a major part of the story. We will follow his journey in the past and in the present as he hunts for his nine children, who are now all grown up. We will meet those children one by one and learn about their journeys from the time they were plucked from the cult. 

It seems like the connection between father and children is very important to this series. Are your own experiences with parenthood inspiring you to explore that bond in your work?

Without a doubt. All the most meaningful writing I do comes from a place of personal experience. I'm a father, so the concept of family and parenting and nurturing are definitely a part of the story I am telling. There are a number of themes at play, but at its core, SOTD is a story about Travis learning that the family you choose is more important than biological ties. 

What was interesting to you about exploring the world of this cult? And what was your research process like?

I've been fascinated with cults since I was a teen. I read "Helter Skelter" in high school, and that book scared the crap out of me. I also have vague memories of Jonestown and remember Waco. I think cults are intriguing because they are mysterious and can be dangerous. On an emotional level, they are made up of people who are just looking for something to believe in. Cults tap into that basic human need to feel like you belong, and it's interesting to me to explore the what kind of person says, "Yeah -- I'll join your family, mister Manson."  I think guys like Charlie and Jim Jones and their cult of personality is a way to explore the different sides of human nature. 

The art is incredibly cool. Tell me about how you and Toni designed the characters. 

My producing partner/editor Jennifer Young and I talked about how we saw the characters, and then we gave Toni a lot of specific reference that we pulled from the Internet. Then, Toni took the reference and added his own flair. Jenn also contributed a lot of reference for the characters' style and wardrobe. 

What was important to you about the look of the book? It definitely has this warm, Los Angeles sort of vibe to it that enhances the story.

I live in LA and have been wanting to set a story in the sort of gritty, sunbaked Venice neighborhood I lived in when I first moved here in the '90s. For me, it just adds a level of authenticity to the story. It grounds SOTD in a real time and place. 

What are you most looking forward to, with the series now having a home at Image? 

I'm hoping the story resonates with people and finds an audience. There are a lot of great books out there, and I am hopeful that SOTD will be able to thrive among them and continue as an ongoing title. Having the cachet of being a part of the Image family gives us a great opportunity to do just that. 

"Sons of the Devil" indoctrinates new members in Spring of 2015.

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