“I have had options in the past to make large sums of green at the expense of my soul, like at Valiant Comics, but I bailed in terror on that one. Currently I am without money. I’ve had money but I’ve squandered it all on wasteful froofroos like a centralized base of operations and a competent and clever group of assistants.

“ My studio is a very expensive building to run and I’ve got people to pay. There are others at different times that I hire for all sorts of creative requirements so, well, the upshot is that things could be a whole lot more solvent.”

But I suspect that this is part of what makes Barry Windsor-Smith intrinsically who he is. He would rather not have the money unless it is clean and fair. He wants a lot for his work because he is good, and he doesn’t crawl. And this brings us back around to STORYTELLER. Windsor-Smith felt that STORYTELLER was a project that could attract a different audience, one that was more sophisticated and mainstream than a Batman comic could reach. He wanted the project to be sold to this audience and promoted unlike a normal comic. I point out that one of the things I liked about STORYTELLER was its irreverence. It was beautifully drawn, with his trademark romantic lines, but the dialogue and stories were, at least in two storylines, bawdy and even goofy. In the Comics Journal interview [The Comics Journal #190, Sept. 1996], he mentioned wanting to be more of an entertainer. STORYTELLER seems such; much more like a Frasier than like a Witchblade. Windsor-Smith likes the comparison but notes, “I certainly didn’t create STORYTELLER as an antidote to all this pseudo serious anti-hero bull that pervades comics nowadays.

A panel from The Freebooters, STORYTELLER #4 1997

"It was just a coincidental tonic, if anything. I came up with the Axus and Aran characters a long time ago, back in the early 80s. It was both serious and silly, but from a different frame of reference than American comics. All of the characters in STORYTELLER took on lives and personalities of their own. If the book was anything important at all it was because the characters existed as continuous inspirations rather than the manipulated, insincere icons of the major companies. I hate all of that shit.”