FOR TOMMY: MIKE CAREY
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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...
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.
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