By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
You are known as a filmmaker, but for the last 25 years you have been writing comics, not making films . . .
Everything I could not do in movies, I make in comics and writing. I do comics because I think it’s an art form as big as movies or painting or poetry. The graphic novel is a fantastic thing for me. For four or five years every Sunday I drew a comics page, a complete story. But it was very basic. When I saw Moebius making the drawings, I stopped. And I never make any more. Moebius, Boucq, Bess, Juan Gimenez, Beltran — they’re geniuses. How can they draw like that? It is a miracle. When you see a painting by Travis Charest? He’s incredible . . . some kind of a monster!
When you make films, you are present at every stage: scripting, designing, directing, editing and so on. But with comics, you write a script and give it to someone else.
No, it’s not like that. First, before I work with an artist on a series, I see his drawings. If I like his drawings, I can write for him. Because I admire this person! Then, I have a long conversation with him, to learn what he likes drawing, what he actually wants to do [in the series]. While he is speaking with me, I start to see him, his psychological profile . . . I make an invasion of his soul. An exploration. I go inside to find out who he is. What he is like. Then I discuss with him an idea for a story. He gives me a lot of ideas, and I say yes. Then I go up to the house and I write my story and then I convince him that I used everything he said to me. And he is happy because I am working with him. Not with his idea — I work with his feelings.
So there is a constant collaboration with the artist?
Yes. Constant. With Boucq, for example, on Bouncer, I call him by telephone at the end of every day. I say, “What have you been drawing today? How did you feel doing that?” Sometimes he says, “In this scene, I feel this character cannot do that,” and we discuss. If he doesn’t like that, or he cannot do it, I make another scene, similar, where he feels good. I am fascinatedwith these stories. For me it is not a work to earn money only. It’s a creative thing, you know?
Do you take risks in your work?
Yes . . . In The Metabarons, I always finish each book with an impossible crisis. They have a problem. The person has no testicle; he needs to make a son. How? Impossible. I wait . . . I wait . . . And then, slowly — thank you! — the solution came. It’s kind of a “mediumity,” a kind of inspiration. In one moment I have the idea. Then, when I start to write, everything comes! It’s like when you are a photographer, and you put the paper in the acid and slowly the photograph starts to develop. It’s exactly like that.
Can you know that it’s going to happen?
I don’t suffer to write it. But when I need to write a new series, a new album, for three days I do nothing. The only thing I can do is to see movies, see television, read . . . Because I am as if paralyzed! Suddenly, [with relief] the idea comes. I say thank you, because I am grateful. I am really grateful because I received the idea. But I don’t construct the idea. I am not a constructor. I receivethe idea.
Where do you think it comes from?
The unconscious. It comes directly from the unconscious. I think the unconscious is a very, very enormous universe, no? And when you open the doors to the unconscious, you start to receive. Sometimes you see a terrible vision of yourself: desires you don’t want to have, ideas you detest, feelings that hurt you. When you open the door, you can see yourself in a very weird way, like a bad trip on LSD. You can have that. You have all the hell, and paradise, no? You need to have the courage to open the doors.
And then you need to use what comes through the door, no matter how terrible or strange . . .
Yes! When I wrote Son of the Gun, I was writing very comfortable, then suddenly I said, “He has a tail like a cat. Impossible! That will change all my story, all my characters. What I can do!” And [my intuition says] “Trust me, he needs to be like that.” ‰
You are a tarot expert. Do you see a connection between comics and the tarot?
Sure, because the tarot is the language of the German, or of the American, or of the Spanish. It is an optical language. A person might not be a magician, but you can still read the tarot, and you can learn to develop your gaze. With the tarot, you have drawings and words together, and you can read it. You know, some people like to play chess; others play cards. I myself like to read the tarot. It’s fun for me to do. Every Wednesday I do the tarot for something like 20 to 30 people. I only answer to present problems. I don’t see the future. I don’t believe in the future! It’s an exercise for my mind, because it’s the furthest from rationality. It awakens the intuition.