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WAITING FOR TOMMY: MIKE CAREY
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: Not all spaces have been opened up for you though. You were writing Firestorm. You're now not writing Firestorm. At Bristol, Chris Weston went to bat for you on the DC panel, despite the heat vision beams that Bob Wayne seemed to be sending into the back of his head. Are you able to reuse any of the material you developed for that series?
MIKE
: Boy, I'm sorry I missed that. Chris is a hugely decent bloke, and you can tell him I said so. But I don't know what the context for this was, or what could have been said that was controversial.

Basically, Firestorm was a casualty of the big editorial changes at DC last year - I was developing it with Dan Raspler, and then when Dan left it hung in the air for a while before being picked up again by a different editorial team. But for various reasons it no longer fitted well with the broader ideas that were being brainstormed for the DCU as a whole, so it died. Slowly. Coughing up blood.

Okay, not to be coy. My idea was to have a whole bunch of different minds, different beings, being sucked into the Firestorm matrix by a freak accident - including a young girl, a cat, an artificial intelligence and a guy who has a heart attack during the process and remains trapped in the matrix as a ghost. Any one of these beings can become Firestorm, and each of them has slightly different powers when they do.

But as Dan DiDio said, this means you have all the hassles of a team book without the actual benefit of a team. It would have been hard to render visually, and it would have played merry hell with Firestorm's involvement in the team books, JLA and Power Company, whose rosters he was then on. So the reasons for sh*t-canning the project were sound ones, and with the benefit of a year's distance I don't have any grudges or any reason for them.

 

LUCIFER VOL. 3 TPB: A DALLIANCE WITH THE DAMNED

RICHARD: I dunno, sounded to me more like the benefits of a team book without its hassles. Chris's response, I think was in response to someone asking about the future of Firestorm on the DC panel. He said something like "Here's an idea! Why not get someone like Mike Carey to write it! That would be *really* good. That would be a really good comic, I think." I'm sure Bob Wayne, also on the panel, was chanting mystical sequences, internally. You didn't suffer any voodoo-esque episodes around that time did you?
MIKE: Well the clock in my hotel room ran backwards and the shower ran with semi-congealed blood. But it was the Holiday Inn so I didn't think anything of it at the time.

RICHARD: Like Warren Ellis, like Andy Diggle, like Garth Ennis, you're a DC banker. Someone they can rely on, it seems, to produce the goods. How do you stop people taking your work for granted?
MIKE: I don't know if this *is* how I'm seen. I mean, Lucifer has sold really well in trade form, but the monthly only does so-so. You can certainly say I've never written anything that just hit the ground straight away and exploded. "Mike Carey - he's never given birth to a turkey" could be my epitaph. But only if I die right now, you know? Next year, everything could be different.

But what's certainly true is that at Vertigo I'm not taken for granted. Vertigo is a small outfit, after all - three or four editors, two or three assistants, and a body of books that have a definite - if diverse - collective identity. I like it there. I'm comfortable with the editors, they're receptive to my pitches, and everything in the garden is lovely. It's when I pitch *outside* Vertigo that I get into trouble...

RICHARD: Not too long ago, you were writing just a monthly book, Lucifer. Now your workload is pumping up. How do you manage the strain? Where does the balance between eternal quality vigilance and deadlines sit for you?
MIKE: Now that's a tough question. I'm always scared - really, sincerely sh*t scared - of getting into a rut. You know what I mean - just writing the same story over and over again with minor differences. It's fatally easy to do. And it doesn't help at all to know that when it happens I'll probably be the last to notice.

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

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