Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by Mike Johnson, a comics author who has worked on DC’s Supergirl and the current run of IDW’s Star Trek. He also works with co-creator and illustrator Rafael Albuquerque on the original series EI8HT, published by Dark Horse. Issues 1-3 are available now, with a collected edition forthcoming in October 2015.
Join us as we uncover the strange, alchemical secret to Mike’s writing, and he reveals his thoughts on who’s really the most Force-sensitive character in a galaxy far, far away. Plus, check out some preview pages below from the upcoming issue of EI8HT!
What is your favorite short story?
“The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury. I first read it for school, and it blew my young mind and made me a Bradbury fan for life. To this day I love the way the story takes a huge sci-fi idea and explores it through the everyday domesticity of family life. And the final twist is unparalleled.
Describe your favorite place to read/write?
I dearly wish I had the ability to write anywhere at anytime, but unfortunately crowded over-priced coffee shops seem to work best. I think it’s some mysterious alchemy of caffeine and people sharing intensely personal details in public that allows me to focus on the page.
If you could name a planet after anyone (other than yourself), who would you choose and why?
I would name it after the late Iain M. Banks, one of my favorite authors in any genre and a huge inspiration for my own writing. I aspire to the richness of imagination and invention he possessed.
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
The original Alien in Ridley Scott’s masterpiece. Somehow my parents let me watch the film as a kid, and I was captivated by the idea of a monster that could adapt to any environment and was essentially un-killable. Acid for blood? C’mon. That’s just unfair. I like to think the xenomorph is still floating out there somewhere waiting to be picked up by an unsuspecting deep salvage crew…
What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
Sometime in the early 1980s I went as a human-sized Rubik’s Cube. This was at the time that the craze was so big you could actually buy manufactured masks of a smiling Cube. I painted a big box, cut armholes, put on the mask, and became the living embodiment of the greatest decade in human history.
What’s your favorite sandwich?
It’s not a sandwich exactly, but my favorite food is a genuine Australian sausage roll with just the right greasy flaky crust and tomato sauce (not “ketchup”) on the side. It takes me back to childhood trips to Sydney to see my family there. I like to get one down at the main ferry terminal on the harbour if I can.
What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?
I’ll take faster-than-light travel. It’s the key to everything. But only if it comes with really excellent inertial dampeners.
Having finally established communication with a distant alien species, what’s the first thing that we should tell them about Earth/humans?
That we taste terrible.
If you, as a ghost, could regularly haunt one celebrity, author, or literary figure, who would it be?
I would love to be a ghost-fly on the wall when Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and company spent the summer of 1816 in Geneva trying to freak each other out with scary stories, and Mary came up with Frankenstein.
What is your ideal pet (real or fictional)?
He wouldn’t like being called a pet, but I wish R2-D2 was my personal astromech. I’d tell him my theory about how the Force is actually strongest with him out of all the characters in Star Wars, and we’d share a laugh remembering all those times things worked out perfectly when he was around…