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WAITING FOR TOMMY: MIKE CAREY
By Richard Johnston

That makes me sort of self-consciously experimental. With the monthlies, I approach each story looking for an unexpected angle to tell it from - which is why the two interlocking arcs in Lucifer #46-49 have such a bizarre structure, and why Children and Monsters was narrated from the POV of a guy who dies in the course of the story, and so on.

 

LUCIFER VOL. 4 TPB: THE DIVINE COMEDY

I'm not feeling any strain in terms of getting the work in. I'm very fast. I've worked out this two-stage writing process, which I think other guys use too, where I block out all the pages in very crude cartoon strip form, making decisions about page breaks and dialoguing as I go. Then I write the script, using these little rough and ready cartoons as a guide. I can comfortably get an entire issue scripted in a week if I do it this way, and it allows time to do a page breakdown or some kind of planning work on the side. So each week I'm finishing a script and setting something else up. It seems to work.

But I *do* think you have to be looking over your shoulder all the time if you want to avoid falling into self-pastiche. You have to make yourself do new stuff - extend your range. Otherwise you become a sort of creative sausage machine, which pumps out the same kind of stories no matter what the input is.

RICHARD: Well, that seems to be evident in your upcoming work. My Faith In Frankie -- out now -- is the tale of a woman with a dead boy and a god on each shoulder, both in love with her. Wacky screwball Hollywood comedy? Who sits on your shoulder? And are there some great themes involved about personal choice, in life, in creativity, in direction, or is this like one of Steven Niles' movie-in-a-comic-get-me-optioned-please-in-out-leave-them-wanting-more deals?
MIKE: My Faith in Frankie is a self-contained story, with no real possibility of a sequel - and it's very much a romantic comedy first and foremost, with Vertigo-ish themes about belief and the relationship between imagination and reality running along underneath. It's not profound, but it is a lot of fun. Shelly [Bond - editor on the book] says that it "skews young" in terms of the audience: Frankie is seventeen when we first meet her, and the concerns of the book are very much the ones that are at the centre of a teenager's life. Leaving out the fact that Frankie's got her own god, it's basically the age-old clash between the demands that your friends make on you and the demands that your lover makes.

I'm very, very happy about how the book came out. Sonny's pencils are stupendous, and Marc Hempel's inks bring out and enhance every gorgeous detail: it really is a perfect partnership. I think Marc's covers are little masterpieces, too - and the lovely, vibrant coloring and lettering-on-the-block are the icing on the cake. The whole thing was a very positive experience, and it's made me want to write more for a younger age group.

Who sits on my shoulder? Certainly not any kind of a god. Probably a twisted little gremlin who looks something like Gaudium, and contributes all the punchlines in the dialogue in exchange for my soul and my left kidney.

RICHARD: I think you got the better part of the deal. And let's leave with an oldie, but goody. Do you believe in magic?
MIKE: I believe that every time I miss a deadline, a fairy dies.

Apart from that, I keep an open mind. I'm damn sure there are more things in heaven and earth than ever make it into the stuff I write.

Mike Carey writes Hellblazer, Lucifer, My Faith In Frankie, Wetworks and soon, everything else. Rich Johnston writes Lying In the Gutters and he's already knackered.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

The Waiting For Tommy Archive

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