I ask, “Was there ever a point where you felt that your work was too separate, reverential, or where you were getting too serious about what you were doing?”

“Um, no, I don’t think so. Maybe, when I was younger perhaps, but I’ve always been a humorist at heart, and that has always kept me from taking myself or my work too seriously. If there was anything nominally amusing in any of those old Conan books, you can be sure that I wrote it in, not Roy Thomas. Look, there were two real purposes behind STORYTELLER: One: have some fun, and two: let’s jettison all of the hand-me-down comics clichés that have killed the artform. I wanted to appeal to a more sophisticated audience than you’re going to get from kids reading Youngblood or some rubbish like that. And to a limited extent it worked, all STORYTELLER needed was some promotion equal to its content.”

Despite the problems with promotion and sales, Windsor-Smith is planning to return to STORYTELLER one day.

“It won’t be out for another couple of years. The whole emotional crash I suffered still lingers, and I have to eradicate that from my psyche before I can do justice to the characters again. In the meantime I’ve started different projects which I’ll show you when we go back to the studio. I’ve got three books sitting around in various stages of completion right now. One is just a behemoth of a black and white graphic novel. There’s the Adastra in Africa book, with Princess Adastra of the Young GODS, which actually was once upon a time, um; did you ever see my LifeDeath books for Uncanny X-Men?”

 

Of course. These were two of my favorite Windsor-Smith books, done in the late 80s. He worked with [writer] Chris Claremont on the first two. The third, which he wrote and drew himself, was criticized by editors for what they saw as promotion of suicide, which Windsor-Smith denies with a disdainful roll of his eyes. He refused to change his work.

“It was rejected because Marvel editors couldn’t comprehend the depth of the story. Also, perhaps it was because nobody punched anybody else as a solution to conflict. There was probably some political motivation going on, too. So it’s been sitting around for ten years or more.”

 
A detail from Adastra in Africa, colored by BWS for OPUS 2