“My style has become all fiddly and my mind’s all over the place with the MONSTERS book. I’m so aware that it’s now black and white and well over half of it was designed for my color to separate and pace the word balloons. Without color the black and white balloons go astray from their reading order, so I’m crosshatching the hell out of the drawings to help redefine the sequencing of the dialogue. Some of this stuff looks like bleedin’ etchings, now. Christ almighty! But I can also do extremely simple things.”

He points out an Adastra portrait that is simple and yet stunning. “You could break it down to cartoonists who could literally do a stick figure almost and give that little drawing character. Bill Watterson can do very flash stuff when he wants to, but at the same time he can just do a simple cartoon and there’s character there and he’s tuned enough to that character that he is a living thing created out of nothing on paper. That’s what comics can do. Comic books can be anything. It’s the intent, it’s the capability to transfer your intent onto paper, unconsciously channeling the sense of personality for your character.”

I offer a few observations about Princess Adastra: she’s tough but she doesn’t show off, she’s confused or apologetic at times and vulnerable, despite her bawdiness. This is what makes her real, despite the appearance of her character and the fantasy of her world. “I’m very pleased you said that, thanks. It means a lot to me when people really see the content of the characters.”

  Windsor-Smith smiles. “Again, I didn’t know that would happen. I had an inkling about her personality as she was emerging, but when she fully manifested and said ‘Here I am, deal with it,’ I had no choice but to go along with her. The guys were intended to be the stars of the story but as Heros pointed out “We wouldn’t have a play if it wasn’t for Adastra standing on center stage” or whatever he said. So they took rear stage as the shadows of Adastra’s bright star. But in the long run I don’t think they really minded. There’re several scenes where Strangehands is trying to emulate her twentieth century Earth slang, which, quite honestly, really tickled me. That a self-possessed egocentric god like Strangehands could be so intimidated by Addy that he has to ingratiate himself that way totally defined Strangehands for the rest of the series. When I was writing Young GODS, Addy was almost as much a surprise to me as she was to the readers. That’s where creativity really shimmers, y’know. Comics are usually made as a product first and foremost, but why not think of packaging the product after the creativity has been unleashed? I went through that whole thing about product. Even in the case of Conan we had a processed beginning, then a middle, and an end. There wasn’t that much room to allow inspiration to fly. It was a Marvel comic in the 1970s and I did all those stringently-paced comic books where Roy Thomas’ version of Conan was obliged to soliloquize. That’s embarrassing. It’s okay for a period, you can do that shit for a while, but then you’ve just got to grow up or get the hell out of the arena.”