Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience with Wild Cards.
A. I started off as a Wild Cards fan when the first book came out. I remember being especially blown away by Walter’s story “Witness”. The series got pretty dark for a while there, and when George invited me to come play, I had the idea that I wanted to champion the light comic Wild Cards story, which in practice meant my first story had a gang war, an abused hooker fleeing for her life from professional killers, and a recovering alcoholic priest. But, y’know, funny.
Q. Tell us about the inspiration for your story for Inside Straight.
A. When we were all talking about re-launching the series, I told George that I thought the first words of the new book had to be “Who the fuck was Jetboy?” The idea being that the new books were new. Anyone could come in and read them without having touched the earlier volumes.
Well, he took me at my word, and so I pretty much had the start before I had anything else.
I got the interstitial story, with means I was blessedly free of having to worry about things like a character arc or a plot. My job was to be the mortar between the bricks. I had an idea for a character that was essentially plucky comic relief and the impulse to make him as contemporary and recognizable as possible. Then as the book took shape, I got to do the connecting vignettes. It was a lot of fun.
Q. What do you think gives theWild Cards universe the kind of longevity that it’s had?
A. Wild Cardshas a lot going for it. As a culture, superheroes are our mythic figures. Comic books are where our shared imagination gets to run riot without the kind of smug post-modern irony we use to apologize for being excited. Wild Cards gets to dig into that, but it also answers the ways that comic book heroes ring hollow. It’s a world where people can walk through walls and fly and deflect bullets, and it’s also a place with a lot of deeply injured, deeply flawed, recognizable human beings. At its best, Wild Cards speaks to both those things at once.