“Here’s the painful dichotomy: The principle art of comics is easily comparable to any other artform created as entertainment; novels, film, dance -- you name it. But because commercial comics is grandfathered-in entertainment for kids, subsequent generations [of creators and readers alike are largely mired in that 1940s through to now mindset. Commercial comics have been stuck on rewind since before the original creators of those books died or retired. It seems to me that nobody,] not the editors or the writers or the bloody pencillers, want change even though the whole world is changed utterly. The concept of true growth brings out irrational fears; [it creates a] separatism where the creators or the die-hard fans of comics grow older and get married and raise a family while the readers or the makers of comics [fail to mature along with everything else.] [There is a distinct] determination to maintain a status quo where [radical growth is required to continually vivify the art form.] The status quo is imitation, repetition, do it again and again and again. They’re play acting with a dead horse and they utterly refuse to smell the decay; sheer denial at its most compulsive and immature level.

“Comics should have become a commercial artform, like film, but the suits and all the fanboys turned pro just had no vision whatsoever. There’s only been a thimbleful of visionaries in this field and now they’re either dead or just getting older and what’s left in their wake? Idiots trying to imitate them! Repetition is death. You cannot see past your nose when you’re dead.”

 

Windsor-Smith, it is fair to say, has always been something of a rebel, a loner among his peers. He is outspoken and blunt, and has developed a reputation for being difficult. Of course, there are always two sides to every story.

“Too many artists and writers in this industry are insulated from reality. There are relatively successful people on the business end who just haven’t got a clue about being a sophisticated human being let alone in a creative sense. I’m not as difficult as they say, and it’s often the case that they are! I work with a different set of principles, I see a whole medium of creativity dying because kids aren’t interested anymore and the former audience became adults. I was nineteen when I started in this field, now I’m fifty -- I grew up, and my work parallels my growth. Don’t you think that the comics publishers would learn something from that simple equation? No. Shit, no! They’ve got no audience left but they can’t figure why. Duh.”

That’s the kind of outspokenness I mean. But even though I toured the lovely yellow three-story studio, and I’ve seen Windsor-Smith’s equally lovely house by a creek, I do have to wonder how he pays the bills. Most comics people take a lot of shit so that they can make money. Without doing so much in comics how does he make a living?

“ You are paying for this lunch, aren’t you?” He inquires. We laugh.