So you go and research and then hand over some giant binder of art and ideas and characters. How does that then become a story?
Well that’s the hard work. That’s the real work. I just pass the torch. Not only did Mark do a great job [crafting the story], he threw in these tiny little nuggets of truly brilliant insight into the human condition. Just the little throwaway line of the difference between a skeptic and a cynic. That the cynic is looking to disprove the theory; the skeptic is looking for the evidence to back it up. I thought, “Wow, what a great psychological distinction.”
I was also blown away by, for lack of a better word, the sheer cojones of the project. Because I put stuff in there when I was building character bios that I would’ve bet you anything never was going to make it in. There’s a scene where a good ol’ boy — you know, “Rebel by birth, Yankee by choice” — urinates on a Confederate flag. Because he’s smart enough to know that the Confederacy wasn’t him. It was a bunch of freakin’ slave owners. His people were poor country boys. So he hated the Confederacy. I wasn’t putting that in there to slam the South, and that character, Judge, he loves the South. He loves it with all his heart and soul, and that’s exactly why he hates the Confederacy. And I thought, you know what, that’s something I feel strongly about, but ain’t no way that’s making it into the [comic-book]. So literally, I open the book [for the first time] and a Confederate flag is being urinated on. What guts! And the credit for that goes to Thomas, because every other medium I’ve worked in, you always come up against the Department of Fear. The Department of Fear is always, “Oh we don’t want to get letters,” and they always cut you off at the knees. It’s like “Wow, Thomas!” What a freakin’ way to lead from the front. Because you know we’re going to get letters from that. You know people are going to get mad at that. Pissing on a Confederate flag!? A Southerner pissing on a Confederate flag!? Oh yeah.