Joe Casey (Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers) has been doing peer-to-peer interviews lately with his fellow writers and getting at the heart of what makes these stories tick. Today we have him talking to Peter Milligan (Terminal Hero) about his longevity in the comic industry.
JOE CASEY Let me get an obvious question out of the way: Would you consider Terminal Hero a Vertigo comic that Vertigo's not publishing (btw, that's my ham-fisted way of asking, "Why Dynamite?")…?
PM: It's true, Terminal Hero is a VERTIGO kind of book. But I'm already writing one thing for Vertigo at the moment (The Names) and wanted to write something for Dynamite. Besides, Dynamite give me just as much freedom to push the envelope as Vertigo.
JC: How's it been working with Piotr Kowalski? I ask because I'm working with him too, on the SEX ongoing for Image Comics (he said, plugging his own book)…
PM: Yeah, it's been, and continues to be great. We have a good working relationship, there's a lot of communication, and the work is really good. Piotr really understands this story.
JC: You've been around long enough that one could look back and carve out certain "periods" in your career… times when you were doing certain types of work that seemed to come in phases. Do you look at your own career like that? Is it something your even conscious of?
PM: Nah, I don't approach it that way. It all depends on what stories I want to write. I might go through periods when certain issues or themes are interesting me and these might be portrayed in my work, but that's as conscious as it gets.
JC: You broke into professional comic writing way before it was fashionable, way before what was considered the true "British Invasion" of the American comics industry. Do you recall your feelings about the medium when you first started working in it? Did you think then that comics could be a method of more personal or idiosyncratic artistic expression? And has your opinion changed over the years…?
PM: I'm not sure if I broke into it way before the British Invasion, that all seemed to build at the same kind of time. And I like to think that comic writing became fashionable when I started. And yes, I suppose I did think pretty early on that it could be a method of pretty idiosyncratic or personal expression.
JC: Grant's a friend of mine, so I've probably heard this from his side… but whatever happened to Bizarre Boys? Did it ever get out the drunken discussion phase? It's one of those "lost comics" that seems to fascinate your fans (of which I'm one, btw)…
PM: It was never a drunken discussion, actually. We were always quite sober when we discussed it. Or at least, sobered up when we began discussing it. We met, we did some writing, some opening scenes. I remember there was some nice openbing stuff, and every time we discussed it it seemed good and amusing. At the moment it exists in some kind of Platonic ideal. One day Grant and I might just drag the comic into grubby reality.
JC: Is it weird that I have an odd fascination with the Elektra series you wrote for Marvel in the mid-90's? I mean, that's not weird, is it? You've taken on more established superhero gigs in the past (X-Men comes to mind), but what's your personal motivation for taking those kinds of jobs when they're offered? Are you being purely career-minded or is there a genuine interest in that material at those times…?
PM: Regarding Elektra, I think it's very weird, and you should probably receive some kind of treatment. I always try to find a genuine interest in everything I write. It doesn't always work out that way but that's the aim.