We begin with The Art of Reading, and my picture books, then learning to read with Asterix (and why I'm a better parent than my parents).
Then onto the Dark Knight: the death of Robin, which introduced me to an adult world of mortality (or so I thought), and Batman's Nietzschean beauty.
We chat about the Punishers: from the 'eighties hero of gadgets and quips, to the numb, 'naughties Punisher of Ennis. What might become of a killer like Frank Castle, this 'experiment in the psychology of hate'? And why is the less gory Punisher more 'sick'?
Then I hold forth on current Marvel and DC superhero television, and give my curmudgeonly judgement on the latter ('if the only way you can try to create some kind of dramatic tension is to have people pointlessly lie to each other...give up writing').
"My weakness is the Flash's superpower..."
Green Arrow gets a guernsey, then we're onto what I'd write if I were invited: the 'vengeful three' (Ghostrider, Punisher, Batman)--hello DC and Marvel, hit me up. And a quick discussion about my novel in progress.
I discuss Conan the Cimmerian, and how these ferocious heroes have 'something in them that's not quite them'--a sword thrust into the belly of pure, transparent rationality.
We also devote some time to comics art: something I'm increasingly fascinated by. I often praise characters and plotting, but the illustrations are vital and often exhilarating. (Lone Wolf and Cub is sublime, but has terribly written women.)
Should we introduce children to comics? A huge yes there, from me.
Jeremy asks about my great dramatic weakness: haste. "My weakness is the Flash's superpower..."
We cover much more than this--from Transformers, to Squirrel Girl, to Paul Dini's Dark Night, to the superpowers I'd like--and it's an absolute pleasure to hold forth on these figures and mythologies.