First Comics News: Would you say “The Devil That Wears My Face” is a lot like the movie “The Exorcist”?

David Pepose: Definitely, I’d say that’s a big influence behind our book, along with the movie Face/Off. For those who aren’t familiar with The Devil That Wears My Face’s premise, it follows a Vatican priest who is called to perform an exorcism on the son of a Spanish nobleman. Unfortunately for our hero, the ritual backfires — and our priest is trapped in a stranger’s body, while the demon known as Legion hijacks the priest’s body to wreak havoc on the Vatican. If you’re into horror books, you’re in for a fun and scary time with this one!

1st: Who is Father Franco Vieri?

David: Father Franco Vieri is our protagonist in The Devil That Wears My Face. Raised as a ward of the Church, Vieri is a preternaturally skilled exorcist who is grappling with a profound crisis of faith. It’s that inner conflict that opens him up to the schemes of the demon Legion, who steals Vieri’s body after an exorcism gone wrong. Ultimately, Vieri’s going to have to put every ounce of supernatural knowledge to the test if he hopes to stop Rome from burning.

1st: When writing Legion’s part do you draw from yourself as to how Legion’s personality should be?

David: I think there’s a degree of wish fulfillment in writing any villain — while I’m not in favor of murder and sadism like Legion, there’s something seductive about a character who does whatever he wants, that has all the coolest moments and most badass one-liners. We live in a world of rules and responsibilities, but characters like Legion get to thumb their nose at them — it’s a sort of dark freedom, getting to explore a character like that.

1st: Would you like to “safely” encounter a demon from Hell?

David: I don’t think there’s any safe way to do that. Devils are known for lying and manipulating, so if you’re in a situation where a demon tells you you’re safe, you should probably head for the hills.

1st: Does “The Devil That Wears My Face” come across as a movie, could it become a real-life movie?

David: Anything is possible! I try to write my books as comics first and foremost, but I would of course be excited and flattered if The Devil That Wears My Face ever leaped to the big screen.

1st: How does Moon Knight compare to the Punisher?

David: Beyond Moon Knight being a superhero with a supernatural/mythological component to him, while the Punisher is a gun-toting, street-level vigilante, I think it ultimately comes down to motivation. I see Marc Spector as someone driven to make up for the sins of his mercenary days, which ultimately gives him a redemptive quality as he fights for innocent people; whereas someone like the Punisher is driven by revenge, which makes him an inherently tragic figure, and gives him a much harder edge against the criminals he’s facing.

1st: Who is Joe Garrison and why will people accept him as the new Punisher?

David: Joe Garrison was an elite network agent known as the Gravedigger of S.H.I.E.L.D. Years after his retirement, Joe’s house was blown up by unknown parties, killing his family and leaving Joe as the prime suspect. When we were carving out a lane for Joe as Marvel’s new Punisher, we talked about channeling the gun-fu choreography of John Wick while giving him exotic S.H.I.E.L.D. weaponry to let him stand toe-to-toe with Marvel’s criminal underworld. By the time our miniseries wrapped, I’d positioned him as someone who could be a Punisher for the people — that if the law can’t or won’t help you, Joe is the person you’d call to help you settle the score.

1st: You have worked on a lot of Marvel characters which one are you most like?

David: I’ve always felt a deep kinship with Spider-Man. The sense of humor, the never-ending sense of responsibility, the feeling of being pulled in a million different directions, the desire to do good. Getting to write Peter Parker was an absolute career highlight, for sure.

1st: Do you ever get writer’s block and if so how do you get over it?

David: You keep writing, even if you hate what you’re writing, and know you’re going to throw 95% of it out the next day. You gotta push through the bad words until you get back to the good ones.

1st: What has been your most enjoyable writing job to date?

David: It’s probably a toss-up between Savage Avengers and Space Ghost. Both of those books have given me a lot of freedom to play with some really fun characters and to put them in some truly exciting, over-the-top new settings. Those are the two books that allowed me to play around with the widest variety of tones and genres, which is great when you get restless like me.

1st: Besides writing comic books what are you involved with?

David: Wait — I’m supposed to have a life outside of comics? I may need to rethink some things…

1st: Is Ruby an important part of your life?

David: Yes, Ruby is a very sweet pup. She’s been spoiled by having a stay-at-home dad!

1st: Who has helped and supported you the most in your career?

David: I’d say my fiancee. She’s the reason I leaped writing in the first place, and she reads everything I write before I turn it in. If she doesn’t like the concept, then the book doesn’t get written. At the end of the day, ultimately every script I write is for her.

1st: Any final words for all your fans?

David: Preorders are the lifeblood of the comics industry, so tell your local comics shop that you’d like to order copies of Space Ghost, The Devil That Wears My Face, and the trade paperback collections of Punisher and Moon Knight: City of the Dead. After all, Ruby’s kibble isn’t ch

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