Windsor-Smith agrees completely, and adds, “Well, that’s been the problem with comics since the day dot, it’s the status quo thing again. But you can’t even think of reaching a fresh audience if your thought process is past its sell-by date. That’d be throwing good money after bad, so tell Todd that without a quantum leap in the content of commercial comics there is nothing to offer anyone other than what already exists: vapid imitations of a none-too-bright-in-the-first-place cheap shit medium that now caters to those inflicted with the Peter Pan syndrome.”

“You know who’s the perfect comics creator right now? John Byrne. In fact he’s been the role model for years. Superhero comics of the eighties and nineties can be codified by the formula of repetition, same old, same old, all the time, do it once then do it again. Byrne not only constantly repeats himself but has actually convinced the big companies to pay him well for repeating everybody else, too! Now that’s sharp! Way t’go, John. Technically it’s a pathological state called Palilalia, or something. In a dictionary it probably says “See 1: Marvel Entertainment. 2: Comics.” I got a call from Marvel just recently, they said they were “re-vamping” or “doing a make-over” of the bloody X-Men. They said that I was on their “wish list” of creators, they suggested maybe I’d like to do something with Wolverine. Luckily, Alex fielded the call and he’s so diplomatic.”

This, folks, is irony. It’s clear from his gunfighter’s stance and narrowed eyes that Windsor-Smith is more likely to call Marvel out at high noon than work for them again. Windsor-Smith issues a challenge to the comics world:


“Here, take a real step forward and break the chains of doom: DC, Marvel, Dead Horse, whatever’s left of Image, let’s challenge them all to change everything overnight or just admit once and for all that they are utterly incapable of preventing the demise of American comics publishing. Wipe clean their super hero schedules for just four weeks, and during that one month period publish comic books that are . . . let’s see . . . personal, that are sincere and honest portrayals of themselves. Or perhaps some person or persons that they know, or know of. Or the topic could be a whole nation, or perhaps their parents, or children, or themselves as a child, or what happened last week in a restaurant, or how they feel about a lost love, or a great writer, or anything at all that each individual creator or editor feels might be of interest to other people if your personal story or perspective was made available to them through the comics medium. If you can draw and write you can be the sole author; if you are just a writer or just a penciller seek collaborators like you always do. The golden words here are sincerity, honesty and openness and, given these gentle parameters, it will not matter one wit whether you cartoon as wonderfully as Travis Charest or string pearls [of prose] like Neil Gaiman. All you’ll need is an friendly editor to help you along, give advice and a bit of polish if needed. Imagine this: for just one month all of you laborers in the fields will step out of the pre-fabricated not-so-gilded cage of the comics corps of engineers to face the reality of . . . yourselves. It’s a dizzying thought, isn’t it? Scary! Could you do it and remain sincere at all times or do you envision a boy’s club joke fest like Not Brand Echh!, or those immature egocentricities largely initiated by Neal Adams in the early seventies?