The following is an interview with writer Emmett Nahil regarding the release of the graphic novel, Let Me Out, through Oni Press. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Nahil about his shared creative process in working with artist George Williams to bring the story and characters to life, what he hopes may resonate with readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of Let Me Out! For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the story, how would you describe its premise?
Emmett Nahil: Thank you so much! Let Me Out follows Mitch, an Arab-American trans guy who, along with his friends, falls into a government conspiracy to summon the Devil. Together, he and his friends end up scapegoated as the culprits of a terrible murder in the process. To escape the prosecution coming to bear down on them in their small town, they decide to summon Satan…for real this time.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in collaborating with artist George Williams to bring this world and characters to life on the page, while also encapsulating the look and feel of the late ‘70s?
EN: Collaborating with George was awesome pretty much start to finish, because he’s both an incredibly talented artist and designer. I made a post on Twitter pitching the concept and looking for an artist, and, luckily for me, he responded! We both did a lot of research on the subcultures that existed in that transitory period between the ’70s and ’80s, which was fascinating from a cultural and political perspective. I had some leanings and ideas, but a lot of the design was George just coming up with really cool elements to work into the characters and their environment.
BD: Given your past work in writing for various mediums, do you feel that your storytelling approach varies or that there is a different narrative “toolkit” when working with prose versus the sequential art medium?
EN: There definitely is a narrative toolkit you can bring across different mediums, but I really don’t like to lean on it too much. The key to working effectively in different mediums is to take your experience as a student very seriously: I truly don’t write games in the same way I write comics, and I don’t write comics the same way I write books. Each medium has different constraints and different histories to take into account. You don’t wanna take anything for granted.
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 Mitch Sahadi’s and his friends’ story may connect with and impact readers?
EN: I hope that Let Me Out as a story will help embolden readers to seek out more queer horror, and to expect more from their queer horror in general. We still have a long way to go in terms of dismantling some of the pervasive whiteness in the horror genre, especially in comics. I really do hope that it will push queer creators to dig into their own niche interests and write messy characters.
BD: What makes Oni Press the perfect home for this story?
EN: Oni Press really let us have a lot of creative freedom. We were pretty much left alone to make the story what we wanted to, and the design team did a wonderful job with the physical book itself.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
EN: George and I are working on another collaboration this fall, which I can’t say too much about just yet. My debut prose novel, From The Belly, is a nautical horror book coming out from Tenebrous Press in Summer 2024, if you want to see more messy queer literature in your life.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Let Me Out?
EN: You can pre-order the comic via the Simon and Schuster website, which we’d much appreciate, of course. You can follow me pretty much everywhere under the username @_emnays, where I talk about comics and fun genre stuff all the time.