The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Will Staehle

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Will Staehle, a Seattle-based artist and designer. A former art director for HarperCollins, he has designed and illustrated numerous jackets for Michael Chabon, Michael Crichton, and a host of best-selling authors. He has also designed several covers for Tor Books, including V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and Robert Brockway’s The Unnoticables.

Under the pseudonym Wilhelm Staehle, Will is the creative force behind Silhouette Masterpiece Theater, painstakingly detailed etchings carved from a beautiful paintings; the results are gorgeous and very funny. Two postcard books—both available now from Quirk Books—collect some of Staehe’s silhouettes. Hugs and Misses features lovelorn ladies, roguish gentlemen, renegade Cupids, and indecent proposals, while Stars and Swipes offers farcical frontiersmen, prattling presidents, and other all-American oddities.

Join us!

If you regenerated as a new Doctor, what would your signature outfit/accessory be?

Red socks. I actually wear red socks everyday. Most people think it’s a baseball-related thing, but it’s purely about convenience. I got tired of putting on what I thought were two black socks only to walk outside and realize that one was black and one was blue. So one day I threw away all of my socks, and bought a truckload of the exact same red socks. It’s a huge time-saver. So who’s the time-lord now?

Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.

I quite loved the subterranean “creatures” from The Descent. Simple, terrifying, and classic.

What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

One year a good friend of mine decided to go as George Bush (a la Point Break style, with a rubber mask and suit) and my mother convinced me that it would be hilarious if I surprised him by going as Barbara Bush. Let’s just say that he was quite surprised when he showed up to go trick-or-treating with me. It was all good, clean fun until one of my “chest balloons” popped while trick-or-treating, and I quickly became a rather lopsided Barbara Bush.

Will Staehle Hugs and Misses Stars and Swipes If you could open a new shop in Diagon Alley, what would you sell?

I know the world of Harry Potter already has those living / moving paintings, so I’d probably do a variation on that with various animated silhouette portraits.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

I can’t pick just one. I have two favorites, and they’re actually both LA sandwiches (sorry, New York!) My favorites are a double-dipped french-dip sandwich from Phillipe’s (or Cole’s in a pinch) and the meatball sandwich at Bay Cities Deli. I’m actually getting hungry right now just thinking about them.

What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?

I’ve been very patiently waiting for one of those flying police cars from Bladerunner for what seems like decades now…

If you were secretly going to write fanfic about any two characters, who would they be?

Too many options! I’d probably do some crossover fanfic, perhaps something along the lines of the Wet Bandits from Home Alone get stuck in the world of Saw? Hilarity ensues.

Describe your favorite place to read.

We have a nice little backyard, and I quite love to stretch out and read back there while the occasional sea-plane flies over. It’s quite relaxing.

If you, as a ghost, could regularly haunt one celebrity, author, or literary figure, who would it be?

I’d probably haunt Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket). He seems like an interesting fellow, and the kind of guy who might appreciate having an undead buddy to keep him company from time to time.

Do you have a favorite word or phrase?

I tend to use a lot of ellipses…like A LOT… I guess I don’t really like things to end… so… now you know…

Will Staehle


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