Jun 1, 2011

my JOHN LAYMAN interview! hellz yeah!

1:50 PM

My fellow geeks, if you don't know who JOHN LAYMAN is, you are not the geeks i hoped you would be. His current work is CHEW, a series published by Image. CHEW follows the anti-hero, Tony Chu, a philly cop who is cibopathic. A cibopath gets pyschic impressions from anything he eats. Cool, no? CHEW is one of my favorite reads due to Layman's quirky and witty writing. CHEW reveals the dark world of government, poultry, vampires, and more all with smart, likeable characters and good storytelling.

With all that said, I pretty much forced John Layman to be my twitter best friend and he was kind of enough not to block me. :) Anyhow, he is a gracious and funny dude and below are his answers to my 10 questions. So open a can of beets and read on. xo, pearly

You have very strong opinions on government and the republicans. Do you feel when you write your stories that there is an inner struggle with your anti-government view and writing and creating a character, such as Tony Chu who is a government agent and plays by the rules?

I don't really think of myself as anti-goverment. I'm very pro-goverment. I am anti oligarchy. Anti plutocracy. Anti republican, because they stand of those things, and America is not really a democracy, as much as it likes to pretend it is. My version of the government is not real, though aspects of it are. But it has a lot of fantastically elements to it, and is every bit as fictional as the idea that we are a true democracy.

Do you have a particular childhood memory which influenced the interesting family dynamic depicted in CHEW?

Nope. I was an only child. My wife comes from a big family, and they are very into food. So it's been interesting and enlightening to be a fly-on-the-wall for those things. My wife is Vietnamese, too. Do you know any Vietnamese people, Pearly?

I have enjoyed your books, Puffed, now CHEW, Do you pick the artists for your stories or are they assigned? I think you and Rob Guillory are a pretty dynamic duo.

Yeah, Rob is the perfect collaborator. One of the benefits of creator-owned books is you do find your own artist. As opposed to company-owned book, where you don't necessarily have a say in who you work with. You just cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Tony Chu is a cibopath. Amelia is a saboscrivner. Do you have some gastrological fetish or a fear and love of food or some bad dining experience at a local chinese place that resulted in the creation of Tony Chu and Amelia Mintz? (should us readers be afraid of your cooking skills?!)

I have no cooking skills. My wife does, and I think part of the genesis of CHEW was watching her get together with her foodie friends and be every bit as geeky and enthusiastic as comic book fans are when they get together. It's an entirely different nerd world, and it fascinates me.

Your writing is very, very funny. I often am sitting on the bus with headphones on, reading and snorting outloud and getting nasty glares from other passengers. Do you ever read your writing and laugh and think, wow, I am one funny guy?

Not often. Most of the time I may be amused, or recognize something is funny, but not really laugh at it. Then again, occasionally I DO write a scene which cracks me up, and that often surprises me. I have a big one of these in my upcoming Deadpool annual. And another in CHEW either 23 or 24 (I have not decided which issue yet.)

Often when I read comic books, I have music in my head playing. Theme songs if you will. If CHEW had a soundtrack, what bands would you want to be on it and let’s say mike patton is retired, so you can’t ask him!

Well, I listen to The Cramps and Alice Donut primarily, so it would probably be one of those. I find lyrics distracting, though, when I write, so I usually listen to Secret Agent Radio on SOMA FM (internet radio) when I write. Groovy spy-themed lounge music that is all instrumental. It's my perfect writing music, so perhaps I would serve equally well as a soundtrack.

I hear from the grapevine that CHEW is being made into a tv series? Do you have any dream actors you wish to be cast and a director who you are smitten with who you would love to see develop CHEW into the television series?

Well, we've long said the Ken Leung would be perfect, and we have others. Now that the TV show is actually moving, though (pilot script bought by SHOWTIME and director and writers attached) I don't know how realistic that is. Right now it's just wait and see. I don't know precisely what my involvement in the show will be, though obviously I'd like to be as involved as possible.

As a writer, do you find it more of challenge to create a character from scratch or to continue the story development on an already established iconic character?

Depends on the character, but there are pluses and minuses to each. Nobody can tell me "Tony Chu would not do that," in the same way they could say "Spider-Man would not say or do that." You get to play god with your own characters, and are ultimate arbitrator of what they say and can do. You sorta have to work within boundaries when it comes to characters who are more established, or not your own.

Do fans at comic con bring you cans of beets? Or mylanta? Wait, you do have fans right? ;)

Somebody brought me a jar of eggs pickled in beet juice to a signing in San Francisco. I was pretty drunk, but still sober enough to recognize it's possibly a bad idea to accept purple eggs from total strangers.

There are a lot of legendary forces in the comic industry. When I met jim steranko at comic con, I was in awe. I wanted to say all these witty things, but instead, I blurted, “I’m pearl!” and did some lame high five thing. (hangs head) have you met one of your faves and came off as a dreamy eyed school girl?

Yeah, I have met many super-stars. Talked to Alan Moore on the phone. Communicated regularly with Alex Ross. Talked on multiple occasions to Neil Gaiman. But I went to dinner once with Dave Gibbons and I just couldn't even talk the entire meal I was so star struck.

Thank you so much for taking time and answering these questions. Now I can write in my diary that today I got to interview john layman!

Your poor diary!

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