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WAITING FOR TOMMY: MIKE CAREY
By Richard Johnston

Mike Carey crept up on me unawares. Like some kind of banana in pyjamas. I'd read a fair few bits of his work before I knew who he was, and from the moment he started working on Lucifer, I was able to follow his career forward and backwards through my back issue collection simultaneously.

Even during this interview, there were a few pieces that I had to go rummaging through the boxes to find, that I had no idea he worked on. Including my block of Toxic!, the outrageous weekly comic that burnt like Icarus. An incontinent Icarus.

Mike Carey currently writes Hellblazer and Lucifer. He's a greedy sod though, and he wants a lot more. Let's go hear him talk.

 

LUCIFER VOL. 1 TPB: DEVIL IN THE GATEWAY TPB

RICHARD JOHNSTON: You followed the path into American comics that used to be quite common but now seems to have fallen by the wayside. Get published by 2000AD, get published by American indie publishing, get picked up by one of the Big Two. I think next you're meant to become a magician, a recluse or a friend of the media glitterati. Sometimes all three. You seem to walk the tightrope between "old hat" to some folks and "new, untested guy" to others. The worst of both worlds, or a combination of reliability and freshness of voice?
MIKE CAREY: I guess I did do that, only I didn't do it through 2000AD - my initial UK work was for the short-lived Toxic! anthology title from Trident Publishing. After that I did do U.S. indie work, and used that as a calling card at DC. But I wrote the Lucifer and Petrefax minis before getting anything published in 2000AD - and then I separately sent Andy Diggle a Future Shock (or Pulp Sci-Fi, as it briefly was) pitch, which was accepted.

RICHARD: Damn my vicious memory. Okay, back to the issue bins.

MIKE: Hmm. Am I old hat? I'm certainly old school, as far as Vertigo is concerned, in that I do horror fantasy rather than neo-noir or action thriller. But that's as much an accident of history as anything else. The stuff I was submitting to Vertigo was Sandman-esque because Neil was my strongest influence at the time - and once you've got your niche, you find that initially the work that people offer you relates very closely to the work you've already done. I think I'm getting a chance now to prove that I can work in different registers and different genres, and maybe I'll be less likely to be typecast in future. Maybe.

But I know there's another level to that question. Yeah, I've been writing for about five years now in the mainstream, and that's long enough so that a lot of people will know my name without necessarily having read my stuff: the combination of familiar name without stupendously-successful-project attached leads to exactly that ambiguous status. "Oh, he's been around for ever. Who the hell is he...?"

RICHARD: Well, just who the hell are you, Mike Carey? And what qualifies you to write about the devil?
MIKE: I grew up in Liverpool. My Dad was Catholic. My Mum was Anglican. I think that qualifies me well enough - not just in terms of having been given a lot of religious education as I grew up, but also through living in an environment in which religion was important. Like, day-to-day important. A determining factor in your life. I remember trying to describe this to a good friend after I'd gone to University down South. But he didn't get it until we went back to Liverpool together and went for a drink at my local. I introduced him to a cousin of mine, Terry Jones, and the first question Terry asked this guy, just so the conversation wouldn't proceed on any false footing, was "Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?"

I have strong opinions about religion, and about the way religions work both on a psychological and on a social level. I'm not saying that I comment on these things from a position of great subtlety or great learning, but what I say and what comes out in my work is pretty much what I believe.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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