Inside the Cave: Hound Q&A

In the purview of war, there is no line between man and beast. After all, violence always claims the lives of two, and war claims the lives of more.

Coming in February 2024 is an all-new original horror graphic novel from Mad Cave Studios, Hound, written by Sam Romesburg and Sam Freeman, with illustrations by Rodrigo Vázquez and letters by Justin Birch.

A surreal tale exploring the horrors of war, Hound follows the journey of the sensitive Private Barrow as he faces the front lines during World War I as documented in his journal. But when Barrow is sent to the “Gas Quarter” with a select unit known as “The Hounds”, he finds himself thrust into horrors beyond his imagination.

Mad Cave Studios’ marketing manager, Maya Lopez, sat down with Hound authors Sam Freeman and Sam Romesburg to chat about their inspirations, their creative process, the making of Hound, and more! Read on for the full interview!

Q: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions today, Sam and Sam! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Sam F: I’m Sam Freeman, I live in Baltimore, MD with my dog, cats, and fiancée Emma. I love film and music. Sam and I initially met over 10 years ago while both playing in different hardcore bands.

Sam R: I’m Sam Romesburg! I also live in Maryland with my cats, a dog, my wife Louisa and my 3 year old son Jesse. I love to rock and I love to party.

Q: What initially got you into creating comics?

Sam F: Writing in general has always been something I’ve been interested in. I don’t really remember a time when comics weren’t in my life and I wasn’t coming up with characters.

Sam R: I’ve been a fan of the medium for the majority of my life and have always wanted to try my hand. I began writing comics specifically in 2014 and I am so happy to be at the stage we’re at now and working with Mad Cave!

Q: In Hound, we follow the journey of Private Barrow as he witnesses horrors beyond his imagination during WWI, as recounted in his journal. What was your biggest inspiration in writing this story?

Sam F: I think Hound comes from a lot of different places. For me personally, it’s from the idea of what a war asks its soldiers to become and what you’re left with on the other side – if you have anything left at all. In terms of horror, what frightens me the most is someone who believes they are supernatural and acts accordingly. If a person drinks blood, only comes out at night, and can be killed with a stake to the heart, does it really matter if they are actually a vampire or not?

Sam R: I love war stories. I’m an enormous Garth Ennis fan – his work I think overall has shaped a lot of my taste in storytelling and world building, so I’ve always been drawn to the genre. For this story in particular, I really wanted to tell a story where the politics surrounding the war are never mentioned, because to those fighting the fight, they hardly exist. The only focus is survival, and a threat to that survival could be anywhere – even with your allies.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your personal connection to Hound?

Sam F: on a personal level, I think Hound connects with me in terms of the person I’d like to be. I think all people speak to their child self in times of pain and love and rage. Barrow for me represents a connection to my younger self and maintaining humanity in places when it is hard to keep it.

Sam R: I served in the Army for 4 years and I think a lot of this story is influenced by my relationship with that as well. I think my mentality with the role I played shifted drastically from when I joined to when I left, and I think Barrow has the same shift within this story.

Q: Which character in Hound do you personally connect with the most?

Sam F: It would have to be Barrow. Pretty much at all points of my life I feel like a scared kid.

Sam R: Barrow as well. I think Sam and I both put a lot of ourselves into his character. Also, there’s a scene where someone finds a woman laying face down in a puddle of wine – I kind of vibe with her too.

Q: What do you hope for readers to take away from reading Hound?

Sam F: That Rodrigo Vázquez is the best artist in the world.

Sam R: I’ll echo Sam F on this one.

Q: Can you please tell us about your creative process?

Sam F: When working in tandem with Sam, I think a lot of the writing feels like doing a lap then handing the other the baton. We’ll work on a pitch, then an outline, then jump into the script once everything feels concrete. Sometimes I feel like Velcro for a lot of different types of art and when I’m writing different things bubble up that I try and pick from as inspiration. Whether it’s a scene in a movie that resonates, a song, even a painting.

Sam R: I think Sam said it perfectly here. For Hound in particular, this was one of those situations where once we had the idea, a lot of the story just wrote itself. For me in particular, one noteworthy aspect of creating this story was trying to make it work as a graphic novel. Until now, I’ve only written single issue comics and have gotten so used to the “something big at 11, cliffhanger at 22” format that the idea of starting a story and taking it all the way to the end in one book was a little daunting at first. It was extremely fun to figure out and I’m extremely proud of what we did here.

Q: Who/what are your biggest influences as a creator?

Sam F: The Coen Brothers, Alexander Payne, Alan Moore, Paul Simon, Dionne Warwick, the band Blacklisted. Whatever Paul Schrader is on.

Sam R: Garth Ennis, anything Daniel Warren Johnson works on, Derek Cianfrance, Hardcore music, the majority of the Vertigo imprint, and my son.

Q: What are your favorite stories/artists/genres?

Sam F: I think I gravitate towards things that would be considered seedy or grimy. I love noir and horror. I think All That Jazz is the greatest movie ever made. I think Karen Berger is the most important person to ever happen to comics.

Sam R: Everyone in the world should read Preacher at least once in their lifetime. I named my kid after it.

Q: Any upcoming projects we should know about?

Sam F: Basic Instinct through Sumerian Comics with the incredible Vanesa Del Rey and Keyla Valerio. Working with those two has been incredible and I feel so lucky to have anything I’ve written drawn by them.

Sam R: HOUND is literally the only thing I care about in my entire life right now.

Q: Any cons you’ll be attending in the near future?

Sam F: Baltimore Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, Heroes Con, I’ll literally go to any convention anyone wants me at.

Sam R: Baltimore and Heroes are the big ones. We’re still planning out the year, but hopefully a few others as well.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

Sam F: Working with James Emmett and the team at Mad Cave has been such an incredible experience and I feel honored to even have my name listed among some of those creators. Thank you so much to Mad Cave for believing in this book and I hope you enjoy it.

Sam R: Completely agreed. James rules. Mad Cave forever. I hope if you’ve read this thus far you feel more inclined to read the book we wrote rather than block us on your social media apps. HOUND hitting shelves in February babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!


Writer, Sam Romesburg (He/Him)
Residing in Frederick, Maryland, Sam is a relatively new writer excited to make his Mad Cave debut with Hound, co-written with writing partner Sam Freeman. Previously, Sam was the co-creator of the Scout Comics series Children of the Grave, the Sumerian Comics series One of Us is the Killer and one-shot Rock & Roll Hell with co-creator Ben Roberts. Outside of comics, Sam enjoys aggressive music, football, and spending time with his wife Louisa and 3 year old son Jesse.

Writer, Sam Freeman (He/Him)
Sam Freeman is a Baltimore-based writer whose work can be found in Basic Instinct through Sumerian Comics. Sam can be overheard talking about Columbo, the Coen Brothers, Dionne Warwick, his fiancée Emma, or his dog Tommy


We’ve got a sneak peek into the harrowing events at the Gas Quarter. Join Private Barrow as he faces the true horrors of war in our official trailer for Hound, below.

Hound is now available for pre-order on the official Mad Cave Studios website, and will be available at your favorite bookstore, local comic shop, and digital comic reader on February 27th, 2024! Be sure to keep up with Mad Cave Studios on social media for updates, sneak peeks, and so much more!


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Keep Reading