spoke with Barry first at the restaurant La Canard Enchainé, where we enjoyed
Chardonnay and a delicious meal, broken only by the cheerful hellos of
the owner and several townspeople who all seemed to know [or know of]
my interview subject. I myself have known Windsor-Smith since 1991, when
I finally got him to answer my letters with the lure of [his creating]
Miracleman covers for Eclipse. I found him then to be a graceful, witty
and intelligent man, and he still is. All brain cells are intact, although
it is safe to say that he has a certain bitterness that wasn’t
“Yeah, you know, I am bitter on the occasion. But it doesn’t
eat at me, I don’t know why. Yes, it does eat at me. Yes, it does.” Windsor-Smith
takes a drag of his cigarette, wincing at his contradictions. “I’ll
give you an example. We’re now working with Gary Groth (publisher
at Fantagraphics) on Adastra in Africa; he’ll be publishing Adastra
now and he’ll also be publishing one of the other things that’s
going to be coming out this year (BWS: OPUS).There was a confusion
that was part Alex’s fault and part Gary’s. Just a mismanagement
of information, that’s all. But due to the big-time burn factors
of Dark Horse we were immediately suspicious of foul play.”
you jumped straight to paranoia?” I say.
went ballistic out of fear and paranoia, even though I trust Gary as
a straight-ahead guy -- but then again, I trusted Mike Richardson (Dark
Horse publisher). You’ve never heard such a litany of promises
from Richardson, and I fell for it all, even after surviving Valiant!
can’t help but feel burnt but I also had to try to shelve my
paranoia. This thing about Gary, for a few days I was convinced that
he was fucking me over, but then Gary called back and said hold on
a second this isn’t the case at all. And, y’know, of course
it wasn’t. It was just a regular misunderstanding.”
“It must be hard. You’re going to have those moments of suspicion
like you said with Gary.” I point out.
“And it was so unfair.
He just got caught up in a subsidiary victimization that grew from previous
you want to avoid what seems to become a difficult situation working
with publishers, why don’t you control your work completely? Why
not self publish?”
“Don’t have [the]
money. No capital.” It may come as a shock
to those who think comics is a business that can make [millionaires
of] Kevin Eastmans and Todd McFarlanes, but actually most of even the
artists don’t make a fortune, although they can make a healthy
living. I am surprised that Windsor-Smith hasn’t done better.
if you had money?” I ask.
just be having money to pay the printers or whatever, it would be the
whole process. I’m not a crafty businessman, I work
on intuition, but If I did have capital to do it, I would very much like
to be in control."