Immortality can take a toll on a person. Sometimes, you just need the simple life.

That’s what Amarantha—also known as Amara—has learned over the centuries. That’s what we uncover in Mad Cave Studios’ Soul Taker, from writers Jeannine Acheson and Tom Sniegoski, artist Valeria Burzo, colorist Emilio Lecce, and letterer Jim Campbell, debuting this July. The last of a race of species that must feed on human energies to live, Amara has settled down in a retirement community in Florida, resigned to take only what energies she needs to sustain her and nothing more. However, when an ancient organization threatens to uproot her life and that of her human friend, Amara is pulled into a conflict she’d hoped to leave behind but is set on ending.

I spoke with Ms. Acheson and Mr. Sniegoski recently about the idea behind Soul Taker, how they address immortality from a more humanistic angle in the comic, their collaboration with the rest of the creative team, and how their mothers impacted how they approached their story.

The first issue of Soul Taker is a wild ride, one that peppers in just enough of the plot to keep you intrigued in the midst of the breakneck action that permeates the book. For fans of yarns about immortals and how they cope in the real world, this is definitely worthy of a look!


SOUL TAKER #1 Cover A by Michael Sta. Maria


FreakSugar: For folks considering picking up the book, what is the conceit of Soul Taker?

Jeannine Acheson: Soul Taker is the story of Amara, who is the last of her race, a species that must feed on the life energies of humanity to live. For millennia she has lived upon this world, feeding, taking just enough in order to survive. She currently resides in a retirement community in Miami, Florida, living a simple, quiet life.

Tom Sniegoski: But now an ancient threat, the Venatori, a secret order within the Catholic Church sworn to eliminate the threat of the supernatural, has reared its head yet again. This organization, long believed dead and forgotten, has found her, and is hell-bent on finishing what it had started, by making her kind extinct.

FS: What can you tell us about Amarantha/Amara, the protagonist of the book?

JA: Amarantha is from an ancient race known as the Nehmer, who feed on the life forces of humans, the slightest touch giving them what they need to survive. For millennia Amara, even though she lives among humans, has kept an emotional distance from those she meets. Until now. Amara has met someone who she has really connected with, and that means that Amara might let her guard down, opening her up to potential danger.


SOUL TAKER #1 Cover B by Meghan Hetrick


FS: This is a very different take than I’ve seen of immortal people and how they deal with their long-lived lives. How did you approach what you want your story to be?

TS: In regard to that, we wanted to approach our story about an immortal from a more humanistic angle, so that she is more human, more relatable. While Amara is thousands of years old, she still deals with the same types of issues that we as humans do — loneliness, fatigue, finding peace (and sometimes finding one’s keys!).

FS: Following up on that, do you have any influences that you feel have impacted your work on Soul Taker?

JA: Honestly, one of the biggest influences that impacted our work on Soul Taker has been Tom’s and my elderly mothers! The inspiration for Amara came from a typical weekend afternoon conversation between Tom and me, if you can believe it. We were chatting one Saturday, about four years ago, and Tom had just come home from visiting his mom. I asked how she was, and his response, as always, was “Old.” I said, “Wow, what if you went to visit her, she was like ten years younger, and then kept getting younger every time you saw her?” And the germ of Soul Taker was planted.

TS: Jeannine’s off-the-cuff statement really was an interesting one, and I told her as much. She was thinking of maybe doing something with it–maybe a short story–but I saw something much bigger in the idea and before we knew it, we’d developed the basic idea of what would eventually be known as Soul Taker.



FS: The art is alternately kinetic and quiet as needed, fitting the needs of the story so well. What is the collaboration like with the creative team?

JA: We’ve had a great experience with the creative team at Mad Cave Studios! We have an extraordinary editor, James B. Emmett, who keeps us all in line. With James at the helm, we review Valeria Burzo’s artwork, one step at a time–from layouts to pencils to inks–and we all collaborate to make sure the script and the artwork work in unison. Valeria is amazing to work with, as are Emilio Lecce (colorist) and Jim Campbell (letterer).

FS: What are you reading right now?

TS: I’m amazed at how much good stuff is being produced out there. I’m loving all sorts of stuff from Image–The Deviant, Geiger, Red Coat, Petrol Head. From Dark Horse, all the Hellboy/Mignola related material, The Goon, Mortal Terror . . . I’m also enjoying stuff from the big two . . . The Bat titles, Wonder Woman, Hellblazer, The Hulk, Gods, Moon Knight, the new Ultimate titles.  As you can see, I read way too many comics!

JA: I’m loving anything by Tom King (Love Everlasting, Wonder Woman) and James Tynion IV (Blue Book, Nice House on the Lake); I also loved Brzrkr by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt. And of course, lots of Mad Cave titles like Deer Editor by Robert Carey; The Devil That Wears My Face by David Pepose; and Hunt. Kill. Repeat. by Mark London. I’m a sucker for the gods.



FS: Are there any other projects coming down the pike that you’d like to talk about?

TS: We actually have a new Vampirella mini-series coming out in June from Dynamite Entertainment, just before Soul Taker, and it’s called Vampirella: Dark Reflections.

JA: Tom and I also have a new project we’re working on, a novel titled Nira: A Constance Evermore Story, coming out early in 2025 from Bad Hand Books. We’re excited to be expanding our repertoire with some prose!

TS: We also have a couple of other projects that we’ve just started, but can’t talk about yet. Hopefully they’ll be announced soon!

FS: Is there anything you can tease about what we can expect to see later in the series?

JA: There’s lots to see here! Amara may not only be dealing with an ancient foe, but she may also have to contend with yet another threat who has emerged from her more recent past.

FS: If you had one last pitch for Soul Taker, what would it be?

TA: What if the sweet little old lady living next door to your mother is actually a millennia-old creature that feeds off the life forces of humanity? If that doesn’t grab you, nothing will!

Soul Taker #1 debuts Wednesday, July 3, 2024, from Mad Cave Studios.

From the official press release:

What is “old” anyway? But living forever isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be…

Mad Cave Studios is excited to announce its latest supernatural horror series, SOUL TAKER, co-written by New York Times best-selling author Tom Sniegoski (Batman, The Punisher, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jeannine Acheson (Vampirella, Pantha), with art by Italian cartoonist and illustrator, Valeria Burzo (Caste Full of Blackbirds). Colors by Emilio Lecce, letters by Jim Campbell, and Cover A by Michael Sta. Maria.

Soul Taker: It’s life, death, and the hunger in between.Amarantha is the last of her race, an ancient species that has lived among us for millennia, feeding on the life energies of humanity. Now enjoying a peaceful existence in a retirement community, she continues to consume just enough to survive. But Amarantha has made enemies throughout her long life and an ancient foe thought long defeated has returned and is out for blood, while a newer threat seeks to capture her for their own nefarious purposes! Now Amarantha must do everything in her power to vanquish her enemies and protect the life she has made for herself.

Soul Taker launches with a variant cover program for its first issue that includes Cover B by Meghan Hetrick, and a Cover C Pride Variant by Rosi Kampe.

“When Jeannine brought me the germ of an idea—an old lady aging backwards while living in elderly housing—I knew that the project that would eventually come from it would be something special, and that it would need a special home,” said Tom Sniegoski. “We continued to work on the idea which would eventually become Soul Taker, hoping that we would find a publisher that understood the kind of story we were trying to tell, and luckily we did with Mad Cave Studios. Jeannine and I are incredibly excited for everybody to experience the unique characters we have created, and the world in which they live.”

“I’m crazy excited to be working with Mad Cave Studios on Soul Taker, my first creator-owned comic series!” said Jeannine Acheson. “It seems like forever ago that the character of Amara was born from an innocent conversation between Tom and me about our elderly moms. And now, four years later, Amara’s story is here, about to be unleashed on the world. I’m so grateful that Mad Cave decided to take a chance on us, and I can’t wait for everyone to meet Amara and the other colorful characters who inhabit her world. A huge thank you is due to the folks at Mad Cave for assembling such a terrific team of professionals to work with us — they all helped bring our story to life, just the way we imagined it.”

“When I first read the plot for Soul Taker, I was thrilled!” said Valeria Burzo. “It is a horror story with a romantic and gothic aspect, it has a nostalgic flavor coming from most of its characters. The story is divided between flashbacks dating back between the Renaissance and 1700, the Age of Enlightenment, up to the present day. Amara, the protagonist, has an incredible charm both for her aesthetics and for her story. I am really happy that Mad Cave presented me the task of bringing this special story to images because for me, every chapter is a real journey into a fantastic world.”

For fans of Something Is Killing the Children, Hellblazer, and American Vampire, the series begins with Soul Taker #1 (of 6) on July 3rd.

Get the latest news on Mad Cave Studios, give a follow on social media, or visit to check out the full lineup of new releases!