Q: What I like best about the first issue of FROM THE ASHES is that it presents an honest reaction(s) to the "being a survivor of The End of the World" scenario. I'm sure just about everyone reading this interview has fantasized about that one time or the other-- and that reaction is "cool" and "what a relief--all the a-holes are gone". Is this pretty much where you were coming from with this?
For a guy with a surprisingly large number of friends and social contacts, I'm not what you'd call a "people person." It's the whole "I love individuals, it's people I can't stand" thing, so the notion of the annihilation of most of us meat-bags is not without its charms. I just found out about a landmark called The Georgia Guidestones, this totally mysterioso American Stonehenge kind of thing that was commissioned and erected by a secret organization, that bears a list of ten guidelines not commandments, guidelines for humankind to follow. The first is "Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature." I'd say a billion, but it's not a bad suggestion. We're already at six billion, give or take, so some pruning wouldn't be bad. There are only so many resources to go around. The rest of the guidelines on it are good, too, but that one leapt out.
Q: Also, it takes a lot balls to present yourself as the main character, even if portions of it are fictional because what if the readers hate the character? Why did you decide to put yourself --and your wife--on the pages?
It was a reaction to the world around me and also to the boon in memoirs, both in prose and in comics. Everyone's got a memoir. I wanted to do something personal, I do think about the end of the world, and I love my wife. Then the phrase "speculative memoir" (which I'd like to think I coined) popped into my head. I've said my biggest beef with memoirs in general is there aren't enough mutants, cannibals and living dead in them for my liking. That's me being glib, but it's also true. If you're gonna do a memoir, have an interesting life, okay? And do more than just survive a bad childhood or life-threatening illness. Again, glib. But seriously.
As for it starring my wife and me, I didn't want to hide behind a paper-thin character. If people hate me, that's their privilege. I think I come off pretty well, but I'm biased. If you can get past me not being overly bummed out that most of humanity is dead, you'll love me. And Michele is lovable, both in real life and the comic, so anyone who doesn't cozy up to me can root for her. Though I think we make a great team.
Q: In the first issue they encounter The Cannibals, although it's only been a few days....are the mutants coming up next?
But of course. A post-apocalypse without mutants is like a day without sunshine and orange juice.
Q: You also draw the comic-- do you prefer to both write and illustrate your work?
Generally speaking, yes. But especially in this case. It was too personal to entrust with anyone else.
Q: You are also finishing up another novel...what is that about?
I don't want to speak about that too much at present, but it's a horror novel with zombies. I won't say it's a zombie novel, though. The zombies are an elemental force that our human protagonists have been pitted against. It's more Dennis Potter than Lucio Fulci, if you get what I mean. Like my other novel, Bottomfeeder, I think the horror element is more existential (which is not to say there isn't straight up horror and gore in it). It's called Pariah and it's to be published by Tor in late spring/early summer 2010.