Onion Interviews Steve Bissette | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Onion Interviews Steve Bissette


Published July 23, 2009 at 3:53 p.m.

My favorite site for film reviews, smart-ass commenters and general pop-culture silliness is the Onion's AV Club. So how excited was I this afternoon to click on my bookmark and find on their front page an interview with Vermont's own Steve Bissette, who teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction?

I know very little about comics, but I do know that Bissette collaborated with the famous, irascible Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) on DC Comics' Saga of the Swamp Thing and other stuff: Moore did the text, he did the pictures. In this in-depth interview, he talks about that process, saying: "Alan’s scripts were dense. They were like long, narrative letters to the cartoonist."

Bissette also airs his thoughts on caped crusaders: "I hate superheroes. I always hated superheroes." Seems he's more of a monster man. In fact, his next book is The Vermont Monster Guide, coming in August from University Press of New England; veteran Green Mountain legend hunter Joe Citro wrote the text.

And Bissette talks candidly about how he broke off work on his labor of love, a series called Tyrant — tracing the life cycle of a T. Rex in painstaking detail — to go work behind the counter of Brattleboro's First Run Video. (That was the late '90s, a time when lots of comic artists found themselves jobless, much like journalists today.) One young customer was shocked to see the Swamp Thing author wearing a name tag, but Bissette laughs at that reaction: "And to me it was like, 'Welcome to the world,'” he says.

Nice to be reminded that behind those properties they transform into big-budget Hollywood movies (Bissette also co-created the Constantine character) are some scruffy writers and artists who just love monsters and weird, thought-provoking stuff. Read the interview here...