Interview with Sean Chris Lewis and sneak peek at ABOVE SNAKES

by Wes Greer on May 10, 2022

Image Comics has released a preview of their new upcoming Western/Fantasy title, Above Snakes by Sean Chris Lewis (King Spawn, The Scorched, The Few, Thumbs) Hayden Sherman ( Thumbs, The Few) and letterer, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and I had the pleasure of speaking with writer, Sean Lewis about the new title and what readers can expect in what Image calls, a "Wild as hell miniseries". 

Image Press release - 



The hit team behind THE FEW and THUMBS returns with an all-new WILD AS HELL miniseries! Writer SEAN LEWIS (KING SPAWN), artist HAYDEN SHERMAN (Wasted Space), and rock-star letterer HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU introduce a world where Deadwood-style Westerns collide with the fantasia of NEIL GAIMAN in the story of Dirt, a man seeking vengeance for his murdered wife with nothing but a talking vulture to prod him on. ABOVE SNAKES is a fast and furious explosion of Western tropes and American vengeance that explores where our rage can take us.

Wes Greer - Hey, Sean, thanks for talking with me today and we here at CTG are so excited about this new project! So to start things off, what is Above Snakes?
Sean Lewis - ABOVE SNAKES is madness! It's fun! It's sad! It has guns!

No, but seriously, it's my third book with Hayden Sherman and it is the story of DIRT, a man in a fantastical West whose family has been killed. He wakes up to find  a blood thirsty vulture prodding him toward revenge. It's a Western but looks at the tropes of the genre and how they relate to today. What is it to be part of a bloodthirsty society? What is a world where revenge and punishment are the highest forms of currency? And how much blood is enough? 

Dirt lost his wife. And he wants the people who did it. But unlike Frank Castle, he blames himself, too. Which makes him angrier and more driven. The world expects him to get payback. BUT... is the world right?

WG - What inspired you to tell this story?
SCL - Hayden, honestly. We finished THUMBS and I asked them what they wanted to work on next. And Hayden said "a Western would be cool." We had done these huge sci fi books with THE FEW and THUMBS. I mean that in the size of their worlds and LITERAL size, each of those issues was like 56 pages. So we started thinking what if we did a shorter, more contained book. Each issue being its own fully realized story that added up to a whole. 

I was missing old school comics at the time. and I think people hear "old school" and think "old fashioned" or rudimentry. But some of the best, weirdest and most sophisticated runs of books I loved were in the 80's. BLACK ORCHID. SCOUT. ELEMENTALS. DOOM PATROL. All the indie books of that time period... there's a freedom in a lot of those stories. Pre-movie appropriation. I wanted it to be wild and big and genre defying. 

And I wanted it to showcase Hayden. Hayden is one of those artists that isn't getting the appreciation yet, but will. In a decade it'll be cool to see how many people have been influenced by their stuff. 

WG - Why did you decide to do this series with your fellow Thumbs and The Few Creator, Hayden Sherman?
SCL - If I ever get the chance to work with Hayden or Caitlin Yarsky, the first two people I came up with, I'd leap at it. They are both next level talents. I feel lucky to get to tell stories with them. 

AND, there's something about creating a body of work with someone. I don't know how many books either of them will want to make with me but there is something amazing at seeing the work people did together over years like Brubaker and Phillips. It's special.

WG - What makes Above Snakes different from other Western-style comics out there right now?
SCL - I won't lie, I might not be super up to date on the other Westerns. I think it's in line with the work that Hayden and I did on THE FEW and THUMBS. It will be thoughtful. It will be funny. It might be heartbreaking. It will be an indie movie wrapped in a holster and cowboy hat. Because what I am interested in is how we live. Us. People right now. 

The FEW was very much about belief to me. Why do we believe things? THUMBS was about a tech life. What do we give up for information and access? How much humanity is traded to be plugged in- not in the obvious ways but in the things that creep up on us. 

ABOVE SNAKES is king of a companion to BLISS. BLISS was about forgiveness in an unforgiving society. ABOVE SNAKES is about VENGEANCE in a world that doesn't understand anything else. If the world wants blood, how much blood is enough? 

WG - How has the creative process been for you working on books like King Spawn and The Scorched, and then jumping into a book on the opposite end of the spectrum like Above Snakes? 

SCL - Ha. They are very different. KING SPAWN and SCORCHED have been intensely fun. I knew when I got those jobs my main goal was to give an excitement to readers like I had in 1992 when I picked up my first Image Comic. I was excited! I remember working all day with my dad, just for him to bring me to the store. Waiting in line, with the first issues of SPAWN in my hand, and the glee driving home. I want to create that for the people who first read Spawn and anyone new. I also wanted to do a great run. I am obsessed with Miller's DAREDEVIL. And I adore Ennis' PUNISHER MAX. If I were lucky enought o get a long running book I wanted to make it matter. KING SPAWN I wanted to feel personal and mythical. Digging deep in the lore. SCORCHED I wanted to start as a full on 90's esque action book and then slowly start to gear into spotlights on each character deepening everyone. SNAKES. Is a longer process and more personal to me. It's a harder sell. And I explore different themes. But I love the creative owned work because it gets me to work out who I am as a person. How I am growing. Where I am confused. While also trying to make a bad ass comic. WG - What can readers expect from Above Snakes? SCL - Hayden's art will be undeniable. It's incredible. Hassan's letters will elevate the book incredibly. And the story will keep turning on you. One thing I've seemed to be good at is making a story be something you didn't expect it would be. It will take risks. Every book I write starts as an exercise that could fail. That would take chances. And... maybe fall on its face. Or... be something special

WG - On Twitter, you mentioned wanting to do things different with this series and get readers more involved with the series. What kind of things can readers do to get involved?

SCL - WELL. I love the fans. And I hate marketing. So, I am caught in a quagmire. One thing i want to do is- if you get a pre-order and share the proof of it on twitter- I want to find a page in the book where we put your cowboy name. Like a saloon wall where COWBOY WES GREER is carved in the wood. I think that;d be fun. All these early supporters getting a thank you in the book that'll live forever. I'm still figuring out ways to encourage word of mouth sales. The biggest compliment is when someone likes your book enough they demand their friends get it. WG - Well, that all sounds super exciting and I know I can’t wait to check it out myself! Is there anything else you want to add that we didn’t go over? SCL - I talked so much. Follow anything Hayden Sherman does. Ditto for Caitlin Yarsky. Same for Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

You can preorder your copies of ABOVE SNAKES #1 right now by heading to your local comic shop and giving them Diamond Code -MAY220027 Issue #1 is scheduled to release July 13th, 2022!