Scumdogs Of The Comicverse: GWAR's Matt Maguire And Comic Co-Writer Matt Miner

Olly MacNamee writes

If you've ever witnessed the Hellish glory that is GWAR, you will understand the pull of these punk-rock pussheads. If not, then sit back and enjoy the ride, as we catch up with Matt Miner and GWAR members, Matt Maguire (Sawborg Destructo) and discuss GWAR's new comic, GWAR: Orgasmageddon and Matt's own relationship with the band, the influences behind the comic and a brief history of the band – dating back millions of years into the ancient past! All this and an exclusive reveal of issue no.2's cover as designed by Taylor Esposito and described by Matt Miner to me as, "The favourite thing ever!"

Olly MacNamee: Just like the shooting of Kennedy, everyone remembers their first GWAR gig. So, how was it for you, Matt?

Matt Miner: Well I wasn't around for the Kennedy shooting, but my personal theory involves time travel and GWAR's Sleazy P. Martini on that grassy knoll – Monroe probably owed a drug debt because those pills are expensive, y'all.

As for the first time seeing GWAR, I think I was 18 or 19 and living the life of a carefree young punk kid in Portland, Oregon. I already loved their music, but with that first time shot in the face with lukewarm blood spew I knew there was no turning back and I was a fan for life. Soon after, I got to see X-Cops, who, in the 90s, was known as "GWAR's alter-ego" or "GWAR's other band", and I still consider that to be my absolute favorite concert of all time – spattered with fake and real blood, smears of white "cocaine" straight from the on-stage cavity search and on to my daily-wear black "F**k Society" shirt from a co-worker's Harley shop. At that show I met Dave Brockie (aka the late Oderus Urungus) the first time and he signed my ticket stub "Sickness Rules – Oderus." After his overdose, I got "Sickness Rules" tattooed on my arm as a nod to that great show, the band, the man, and a reminder to keep fighting my own addictions.

There are people who like GWAR for the spectacle and those who like GWAR for the music and the crazy movies. I love it all. I'm in deep, and have been more than half my life. They remind me not to take life, or myself, too seriously.

OM: And, how did you get the guys involved with this rather interesting project in the first place? Was it a question of stalking them, offering up a blood sacrifice, what did it take? Or, did Sawborg Destructo and the Gods of Gore simply hunt you down?

Miner: I wish it was that exciting. I did an interview on a great podcast called Life Leave Me Alone with a dude named Matt Fisher, who I ended up becoming friends with. We were chatting at Heroes Con a couple years back and I mentioned always wanting to do GWAR comics like how most comic writers want to do Superdude books and he said something like "Well, let me know when you're ready to pitch them because I know their lawyer."

So I jumped on that quickly, went down to Richmond a few months later, and met with GWAR's lawyer and Matt Maguire, otherwise known as GWAR's Sawborg Destructo and the GWAR slave with the metal helmet mask thing that I was just informed today is not a knight's helmet, dammit! – Matt and I hit it off right away and in virtually no time we were making a battle plan for the comic.


OM: From just the few pages, by Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, still up on the initial Kickstarter campaign page, it looks like a blast. This isn't going to be your average funny book now is it? And, moreso, it ain't going to be like a KISS comic either, right?

Miner: Are they still putting real blood in KISS comics? The guys in GWAR offered to do that too – not with their own blood, of course, but with KISS' blood. Gene, waiting for your call.

OM: Again, sticking with the few pages available to drool over; it would seem that you don't need to be a GWAR fan to enjoy this particular book. It has a feeling of Rick and Morty about it, but with more blood, blasphemy and sweat. So, who would enjoy this 5 issue series do you think?

Maguire: First of all, love the Hell out of Rick and Morty! And yes, this book, which is 4-issues of jam-packed ACTION and FUN, will appeal to a lot of people. With GWAR traveling through time we can address the hundreds of thousands of years they were frozen in the GWAR temple deep in Antactica.

Messing with humanity, for better or worse – there are babes, blood, dinosaurs and killer cyborgs – what more could you want?

Miner: Everyone who likes fun and hates bad comics is gonna love this book. Seriously, you don't need to be a GWAR fan or a metalhead or wanting to be shot in the face with alien 'juices' at a concert – GWAR's humor and social conscience and satire make this a fun book for anyone who can see the value in beautiful art depicting beautiful little monsters trampling through Earth's timeline and laying waste to some really awful people.

I mean, we all know the facts, right? GWAR's been on Earth for millions of years, though most of that time they were napping, frozen in Antarctica, until their manager Sleazy P. Martini unfroze them in the late 80s and turned them into the greatest rock stars to ever terrorize an audience. When they first got stranded on this mudball called Earth, they had sex with apes, creating humans, then they killed off the dinosaurs and started the ice age, hence the "being frozen in Antarctica for millions of years" fun. However, we're gonna find out in this comic series that they had even more to do with our human history – and we're gonna see how GWAR's influence as they bounce and trample through time actually created what we accept as reality today.

OM: What influences are you guys drawing upon – other than the obvious – in creating this comic?

Maguire: GWAR has its roots in comics – Jack Kirby, 2000AD, Zapped; the list goes on. Oh, and throw in some Road Warrior and Land of the Lost. I love science fiction in general and that's why I love GWAR – it's full of alternative explanations of history.

Miner: Me, I'm a huge fan of old 70s and 80s grindhouse horror as well as some of the newer bonkers Japanese cinema and so I'm just digging deep into that well. Everything with a sense of humor, from Evil Dead and Army of Darkness to Return of the Living Dead, to Machine Girl, and even more charming musical stuff like Phantom of the Paradise and Breakin'. I'm also having a lot of fun going through old kaiju stuff for inspiration – Ultraman, Denjin Zaborgar, Lion-Maru – I do enjoy a silly rubber monster or karate robot from time to time. GWAR has always been satirical with a sense of humor – they're a fun-house mirror held up to the worst aspects of humanity with a wink and a nod – and that doesn't change here.


OM: And each issue will have contributions from members of GWAR. What can we expect?

Miner: I talk to Matt (Maguire) regularly, almost daily, and we bounce ideas off each other and we've got a really fun collaborative energy going on. Sometimes I'll give him a call with a simple question about a character point and before I know it we're brainstorming ideas in a creative maelstrom and it's been an hour and a half and my dogs need to pee. So, GWAR's very involved in the story we're telling and that's the only way I'd even want to do the book, if what's being created is something we're creating together.

Aside from them co-writing, GWAR artists are contributing art to every issue. In addition to the main storyline, there are backups from both GWAR artists and comic artists who have been dying to tackle working on/with GWAR their whole lives. That's another thing – not only am I a fan, but only fans are working on this book. From me and artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer and colorist Marissa Louise all the way down to every single variant cover artist and variant cover colorist – every single creator on this book is a fan and into the project on a personal level.

OM: What do you think is GWAR's secret to longevity? I mean, they've been around for years and seem to be as popular as ever! They still tour, put on barbecues, and now comics too. Scumdogs of the Universe they may very well be, but is there no end to their plans for world domination?

Maguire: GWAR's secret is an apple a day. Gotta get that fiber! No really, I think people look to GWAR to get rid of those primal urges. GWAR points out the dark side of humanity and sheds light on it and destroys it. In a funny way. …most of the time.

Miner: GWAR have been around for millions of years and I expect they'll be around for millions more.

OM: So, with the promise of a new comic book is there any new GWAR goodness on the horizon, guys? Spill the beans, or guts, whichever!

Maguire: Oh yeah! This is a big year for GWAR. A new record coming out in October with a big fall tour to support it and over the summer we'll be on Warped Tour! The comic will be out as well so get read to have your minds blown out the backs of your heads!!
Miner: Hey, before we wrap this up, I want to ask folks to please go pre-order this book. It's a Diamond Featured Item and in the April catalog right now for June release. Ask stores to order it for you, and ask stores to stock it on their shelves. The book has a massive amount of buzz both in and outside the comic world and could bring in a ton of new comic readers as long as when these punks and metalheads wander in to the shop there are GWAR comics sitting there for them to pick up.

GWAR: Orgasmageddon is available in this month's PREVIEWS here in all it's bloody and guts' glory!

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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