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WAITING FOR TOMMY: BOB MORALES
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: So, despite the hell that comics puts you through, you're happy with the finished project from the other side?

BOB: Let's say I'm pretty satisfied that readers were greatly touched by the end of Truth, that some found it funny in places it was meant to be funny, and that others caught some of the more obscure references - like the mention of Philip Wylie, a highly versatile, popular American writer whose novel Gladiator was a major influence on Seigel and Schuster's creation of Superman. Truth's real life, however, will start once it comes out as a graphic novel next February. That's the format for which it was ultimately intended.

RICHARD: I heard your take on Captain America described in terms of Peter Sellers' character in Being There. Can you elaborate at all on that?

 

EARTH X: CAP STATUE

BOB: Well, it's in the sense that everybody in Being There projects their own issues onto the Peter Sellers character; their projections are the character. There should be a glamour to someone who's a superhero, and if you'd interviewed as many celebrities as I have, you'd see that they consciously use the projections of others as a tool. Cap's no different. He knows he has this larger than life quality that he wields as skillfully as his shield; in many ways, that glamour is Steve Roger's shield. A great example is what Greg Rucka's currently doing with Wonder Woman.

RICHARD: So would you argue that Captain America, and indeed America itself, are only the project of perceptions? Are there no innate overriding qualities?

BOB: Certainly Cap, as an entity, is more self-aware of what people project onto him than America is as a whole. America really doesn't put too much thought into how it comes across to the rest of the world, egregious only in so far as it declares itself a benign superpower. The Russians and the Chinese are far less conflicted about not giving a damn what others think.

There's a free spirit that's identified as culturally American, but we're economically and industrially demonized. Cap has much more to do with the former.

RICHARD: Captain America stands for Governor of California. What ticket would he stand under, would you vote for him, and would he have a chance against Arnie?

BOB: Both major parties in California are so hopeless, Cap would have to run as an independent. I'd vote for him as a fellow New Yorker, but-as is obvious by now-Arnold would have the lock, and good luck to him.

RICHARD: You're a freelance creator in a niche environment that still seems to be shrinking. Are you mad to want to work in it?

BOB: Well, only the superhero part of it seems to continue shrinking from the sales it enjoyed a decade ago - "independent," non-superhero comics finally have a promising future in bookstores. That doesn't mean you should completely abandon superheroes, only the marketing gimmicks that created the demented speculator's market, where a mint copy of some title that's sold in the hundreds of thousands is as collectible as used black vinyl chaps. I don't see superheroes disappearing from the pop consciousness, but they need good, accessible stories that are fun and exciting without wallowing in their fetish value.

I intend to do some non-superhero stuff. But it's an interesting challenge to write Captain America in a way that has human meaning without resorting to political dogmatism, all the while employing real world political content. As one of the classic superheroes, Cap has a pop vitality I think translates easily to, say, a Terry Moore- or Hernandez Bros.-approach, where the fantastic elements are judiciously used to amplify human drama. I mean, one of the early Superman stories has him going after a wife-beater! Or you have Batman going after hoods, etc. Most people outside the comics mainstream can handle stories where the villains or situations are easily comprehensible. That is, continuity lite.

Unfortunately, if it's to attract any new readers, I see the future of superhero comics as one where most of its dense continuity will have to be discarded or retooled, which will greatly upset this diminishing generation of hardcore fans. Lots of secondary characters consigned to oblivion; there's no way to avoid it.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 Continued Here...

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