What is this bleeding stuff? It doesn’t taste like anything . . .” Here the artist is referring to our salads.

“That’s radicchio.”

“No, I’m talking about this white goop.”

“Oh, the goop. Yeah, that’s goop.”

“What is this? Hair cream or something?”

Somehow goop leads back to Marvel, and we discuss the bankruptcy and all the accompanying difficulties, including word that Marvel is asking some artists and writers for their money back on various projects, which should further repel them from the creative community at this delicate time in their reemergence. I point out some of the cost-cutting policies I’ve heard about. “But we’re also talking about, you have to dial your social security number in to make a phone call.”

“You are talking about Marvel here?”

“They sent a memo around telling them . . . especially people who had window offices . . . to not use their lights because it was using unnecessary electricity.”

“This is mad. The management deserve every ugly, rotten thing that’s going to happen to them. If they have to turn off the lights to conserve money . . .”

“I think it’s turning into Terry Gilliam’s Brazil over there.”

 

“I’m glad we got that on tape. Prophetic.”

I point out that he is working for DC now, which is also a corporate behemoth, but which has at least created Vertigo, who will publish his graphic novel MONSTERS, and Paradox Press, which produces books that are not going to have potentially the largest appeal and might have a harder time getting started.

“As opposed to what?” he says, “I mean, superhero comics are a joke. Just because they’re still selling them to the comparatively miniature audience and just because it’s a given that the Batman fighting some other clod is going to sell to a limited fan base that, in toto, is only the head count of half of the upper west side, it doesn’t mean that’s an audience. That’s a dissolute group, not an audience.”

Here’s a favorite subject. I put down my fork and climb onto my soapbox.

“We’re at the same stage with something like Paradox that we’ve been with other companies in the past. Tundra had a chance with this, Eclipse had a chance at this, McFarlane Productions right now has a chance at it and is actively working towards something like that, where someone either has the money or the clout, or both, and the talented people to work with to actually get books to those people over there who don’t yet know they want them. There’s just a variety of reasons why they don’t get there and most of the blame ends up in house at the company.”