Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Exorcists Never Die! What inspired you to bring this paranormal thriller to life?
Steve Orlando: It all started with Mad Cave! They’d read my work with Ricardo Lopez Ortiz on The Pull from TKO Studios, and were interested in a similarly propulsive action comic with their own unique twist. So, we got to talking about exorcists, based on my own love of exorcism films going all the way back to watching The Exorcist far too young, and up to the present day where I’ll watch anyone tell a demon to BE SILENT. This kernel of an idea, combat exorcisms, came from my initial talks with Mad Cave. From there, we built the world out together from the ground up, with Sebastian Piriz’s incredible visuals soon joining in to make our lore into life. What attracts me to this type of book is that in the end, they’re about the triumph of human will, ingenuity, and faith—not necessarily in a religious sense, but in a self-concept sense. Demons have power we don’t, but if we are unwavering enough, if we don’t falter in our belief in ourselves, we can overcome.
BD: The series deftly weaves together an action-heavy narrative with a thoughtful exploration of belief and biblical mythology. How would you describe your shared creative process in working with artist Sebastián Píriz and letterer Carlos M. Mangual to craft this incredible series?
SO: Much like walking on the streets of New York, the key is to get out of the way! Sebastian and Carlos are both masters of their craft. So, as the first person holding the baton in the story’s creation, my job is to keep them, my first audience, feeling energized, respected, and excited. From there, I step back to give them room to work—and the readership wins!
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Syd and Ellen’s story will connect with and impact readers?
SO: To be honest, as a creator, that’s very hard to predict. I have my hopes—that Syd and Ellen’s explosive personal and romantic baggage will grip readers, and they’ll be heartened to see them work out their issues in real time as they also fight to save thousands of souls. I hope readers identify with the wildly different backgrounds and pressures Syd and Ellen face, and root for them to reconnect in time to survive. But the truth is, while we as creators have intent, there’s no controlling an audience reaction once a story’s in the wild. Everyone’s got their own lens, everyone’s got their own baggage, and will read the same events in slightly different ways. But if I hope anything, it’s that despite that, folks feel there’s always common ground to be found…even if you have to work for it.
BD: What makes Made Cave Studios the perfect home for this story?
SO: Mad Cave are just incredibly supportive as publishers and creative partners. When they first reached out to me, I had only a passive knowledge of their line. But I took a risk, because when I was younger I certainly wanted publishers to take a risk on me. And that risk has been rewarded time and time again. Mad Cave are professional, they’re enthusiastic and endlessly empowering on the creative side. This is a story I could only have built in concert with them, Sebastian, and Carlos.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
SO: Of course! First up, watch this space for more Mad Cave releases—there’s more than one ahead, and they’re all vastly different and incredibly exciting! I wish I could say more, but for now I’ll say: young adult adventure and horror. And also, you can catch me every month in Scarlet Witch from Marvel, as well as X-Men Green and Spider-Man 2099 Dark Genesis. Bulls of Beacon Hill is also running RIGHT NOW form Aftershock for fans of Midnighter (DC Comics) and Virgil (Image Comics).
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Exorcists Never Die and your other work?
SO: For Exorcists Never Die, keep an eye on the Mad Cave website, as well as other social feeds. For me? I’ll be on twitter while it lasts, @thesteveorlando, and I’m on Instagram (@the.steve.orlando), as well. Easy to find!