four books in one, in a big slipcase, with three other artists. They did MOUSEGUARD, as well. Small press, but getting big. Even WORMWOOD is in its seventh printing [from IDW]. It sucks, because it’s successful, but it’s always out of stock.
FM. I try to describe Wormwood to people, and I’m like “Oh! It’s about a worm-thing that inhabits corpses… and there are monster jokes…” BT. But hey, you like it, so, mission accomplished! Cause I wanted to write. I never wanted to just draw. It just happens that I got in by drawing.
FM. Actually, when you first started… because I’m a huge fan of your artwork. I think it’s amazing. BT. Aw, stop it.
FM. No, really. I knew so much of your work as an artist, that when you first ventured into the writing realm, I was kind of skeptical. Like, what can he really do with writing? BT. And it was doubly tough for me because I didn’t just… start as a writer.
FM. Well, any writer who thinks he can draw is usually wrong. BT. Well, Alan Moore has a strong visual sense. He does thumbnails for artists sometimes. And Warren Ellis has a good visual sense, too. He understands how a page works.
FM. Warren Ellis is one of those people I would LOVE to meet. BT. He’s nice. He’s actually one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He’s the only writer I’ve ever really cared about working with. Like, deep down. I did geek out a bit.
FM. I think everyone has that one person, or maybe two, that they geek out about. BT. It’s cause I grew up with TRANSMETROPOLITAN, and kind of modeled myself off of it a little bit.
FM. When I read the script at the end of FELL, I noticed that he was very specific about the panel pacing. And as a writer, you don’t have to do that. BT. Well, he let me do what I wanted in the panels themselves.
FM. Really? BT. He gave me, once, a five-page interrogation scene with nothing but two guys in a blank room and a table. And it was a heavy conversation. I mean, an interrogation. And I had to make that visually interesting. Five freakin’ pages, in a nine- panel-grid format. That’s a lot of panels. And now I forget why we were talking about writers.
FM. Because I said I was skeptical when you said you wanted to write. But then I read WORMWOOD, and I was like, this is awesome. BT. That’s not the first thing I ever wrote, actually. The first thing I wrote was a book called SINGULARITY 7. It was a learning experience. I tried to be way too serious about it. And then I got bored with it. It’s all right. But Wormwood is all me.
Wormwood is just me being myself, really. Cause I’m in the book, and it’s my sense of humor. I actually come up with the title of a book before I even write it.
FM. “It only hurts when I pee.” BT. Yeah, I was like, I want to do a book and call it, IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I PEE. So I need a story about something…
FM. [laughs] BT. And the next one is called BINGO NIGHT IN VALHALLA.
FM. Are there vikings? BT. There are now! Cause it’s Valhalla.
FM. Will there be tentacles? BT. There won’t be—it’ll be Nordic. There will be a gay raver methhead Thor. And it’s all about the mortgage crisis, cause Valhalla gets repossessed…
FM. Gay raver methhead Thor? Can I say that again? A gay raver methhead Thor. That’s amazing. BT. Though I don’t really do Thor. I never read Thor as a comic.
FM. See, Thor was the first thing I read when I was in the hospital when I was twelve. My dad brought me comics. BT. Why were you in the hospital?
FM. I had a blood disease. BT. Like a vampire!
FM. It wasn’t a vampiric blood disease. It was… BT. Ebola?
FM. [laughs] No. It was an autoimmune disorder. Basically, my spleen thought that my platelets were evil, so it killed them all. So I sort of started bleeding out of every orifice. BT. Like ebola!
FM. But they took my spleen out, and now I’m fine. I’m a creative person, so I give birth to creative things! Like spleens. BT. Babies are monsters! I made Wormwood pregnant once. You read that, right? He gestated a thing in his corpse…
FM. Yes! That was amazing. Amazingly disturbing. That was even the cover of Issue 3, wasn’t it? Pregnant Wormwood? BT. Yeah, I ripped off a Vogue cover of Demi Moore pregnant—the famous one—and just made it a corpse with an alien inside. And there’s a guy who has that tattooed completely down his side, now. A lot of people get tattoos of my comics. I had a girl email me the other day. She wants a tattoo of me…
FM. Of you? BT. Well, not of me. But this is the first time somebody’s emailed me and said, can I have a tattoo of your work? Could you do a design? She also said, ‘You can put it anywhere.’ I know what I would want to do, which is a chest piece with
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