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WAITING FOR TOMMY: JOE CASEY
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: I can't you know. Seriously. Flying by the skin of my teeth. What kind of research do you do for WildCATS? Ever been a suit yourself?

JOE: Well, I've worn a suit. And I looked damn good in it, lemme tell ya. Not as good as James Sime, but I try. As for research, WILDCATS VERSION 3.0 is the most research-intensive series I've ever undertaken. Of course, I had an interest in this kind of socio-economic/highly political material already, so writing this book just allows me to put that interest to good use.

RICHARD: WildCATS is just an illustrated economics textbook isn't it? Come on, own up.

JOE: I wouldn't advise anyone to glean their economic knowledge solely from an issue of WILDCATS, unless they want to go broke investing in a mythical utopian ideal based on my own personal wish fulfillment that will probably never occur in our lifetime. So, let's all be very clear about this: WILDCATS VERSION 3.0 is speculative heroic fiction that looks pretty. Nothing more, nothing less.

RICHARD: After his appearance in Codeflesh, do you now own the likeness and trademark of Larry Young? If so, how do you intend to use and abuse it?

JOE: I think you need to fire your research assistant, Rich. Larry didn't appear in CODEFLESH, he merely published the new collection. Larry Young, S.H.I.E.L.D. Air Cav Commander first appeared in CABLE and then I moved him over to play a near-pivotal role in the best-selling, now-classic DEATHLOK series. So, if anyone is going to use and abuse Larry's likeness, it'll be Marvel Comics.

RICHARD: Ah bugger. My mind plays tricks with me. Ah well, looks like I've got a series to pitch to Quesada then.

JOE: I can't imagine that Joe wouldn't approve anything with your name on it.

RICHARD: Ah. Um. Stories I could tell. okay, okay, Codeflesh had quite a tempestuous ride from publisher to publisher. In a week where books are being pulled from Epic, more companies take their books from Image and everyone leaves CrossGen, how fluid is the industry becoming?

JOE: "Tempestuous"? I guess it never felt that way to me. All that matters is that AiT/PlanetLar has just released the definitive version.

I spent too many years worrying about the state of the industry, to the point where I ended up taking some wrong assignments for the wrong reasons. For me now, it's much more of a priority to work with good editors, good artists, good people. And to try and do good work that I'm passionate about. Let the rest take care of itself. Quite honestly, if we're all passionate about what we're doing in this business, I think everything's going to turn out just fine. That may sound incredibly naÔve, considering the measured cynicism I've had a good laugh espousing in the past, but I suppose I've turned some sort of corner in my own life, and I'm much more interested in being a Twenty-First Century Optimist. After a period of "faux relevance" in mainstream comics (harkening back to the late-60's/early-70's when Neal Adams was God and superheroes got "real"), a phase that lasted from mid-1999 until about, oh, July 20th of this year, I think it's high time that we all got back to just having fun with this stuff.

RICHARD: Fun? Fun? In comics? What are you, some sort of blasphemer? Didn't you know everyone who reads comics is a morbid goth-wannabe obsessed with death, despair and other members of the Endless? Don't you realize that's why so many comics T-shirts come in black? Get with the programme!

Okay, tell me more about this bizarre glass-half-full world. Was Alan Moore right with 1963, Supreme and ABC? Again? Isn't that annoying?

JOE: Well, I thought KAFKA was a fun book in a lot of ways, so my definition may be slightly skewed. And since the old bird's retiring, I agree with you that going backwards into Alan Moore-style "pastiche comics" would be annoying. At least, it would annoy me. I want more than anything to return to that pioneer spirit of the medium, where the field seemed to be wide open to new ideas and new approaches. Certain properties in mainstream comics come hand-in-hand with infinite second-guessing on the part of the Powers That Be, which have made them completely uninteresting to work on. Basically, my philosophy is. if there's gonna' be a movie about it, I'm happy to stay far away from it.

But that's not what I'm talking about.

RICHARD: Clearly. Well, it's become a tradition (i.e. two weeks worth) that any Waiting For Tommy interviewee must drop some bombshell that'll get picked up by the likes of Newsarama, CBR or Comicon Pulse thus generating extra hits for Dynamic Forces. Anything you'd care to share?

JOE: Hasn't the hype gotten out of hand? If I hear another loudmouthed creator jump online or taint the sacred, solemn pages of WIZARD Magazine with their bullsh*t blustering about how their version of (--insert character here--) or how their relaunch of (--insert superhero team here--) is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread and how it'll change the face of comics as we know it. I'm going to burn my treasured copy of AVENGERS #161 ("Beware the Ant-Man", by Shooter/Perez) in supreme frustration. In fact, it's gotten to the point where if the hype is that something is going to "change the face of comics", you can pretty much guarantee that it won't. So, the idea of dropping "bombshells" in interviews has completely lost its appeal for me, and I can only hope that my fellow creators follow suit. Besides, my real interview comes out in the next issue of THE COMICS JOURNAL, #257. That's the one where all the bodies are buried.

On the other hand, didja' hear Dustin Nguyen's drawing five issues of BATMAN.?

RICHARD: Yeah, yeah, yeah. now a bombshell would be that you were penciling for him when he's gone. so who've you got coming up for WildCATS?

JOE: Francisco Ruiz Velasco illustrates issues #18-24, with the mighty Dustin returning home starting with issue #25.

RICHARD: Hurrah! News!

Joe Casey's work can be found at www.manofaction.tv. Rich Johnston writes Lying In The Gutters.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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