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THE FIRST DECADE

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LITERARY A DA P TAT I O N S T

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In the early days of IDW Publishing, it was Ted’s interest in the horror genre that influenced the projects the company published. In addition to original titles like 30 Days of Night, Ted was looking for other horror titles for the company. In the 1980s, Steve Niles wrote a comicbook adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, a series that was published by Eclipse Comics but had never been collected. Elman Brown, the artist of the series, still owned all the original art and Ted worked out a deal with all three parties (Richard, Steve, and Elman) that allowed IDW to publish a collected edition of the material.

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LITERARY A DA P TAT I O N S T

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In the early days of IDW Publishing, it was Ted’s interest in the horror genre that influenced the projects the company published. In addition to original titles like 30 Days of Night, Ted was looking for other horror titles for the company. In the 1980s, Steve Niles wrote a comicbook adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, a series that was published by Eclipse Comics but had never been collected. Elman Brown, the artist of the series, still owned all the original art and Ted worked out a deal with all three parties (Richard, Steve, and Elman) that allowed IDW to publish a collected edition of the material.

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_______________________________________________________________________________________________ Doomed covers (clockwise from top left) art by Ashley Wood, Jeremy Geddes, Ashley Wood, Jeremy Geddes.

When Jeff Mariotte was IDW’s Editor-in-Chief, he had a discussion with Clive Barker about adapting his classic novel, The Thief of Always, a series that was written by Kris Oprisko. That project then led to another Barker adaptation, The Great and Secret Show. Around the same time, Ted and Jeff put together a deal to do an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s Hell House. 204

___________________________________________ Previous Pages: I Am Legend art by Elman Brown.

Other literary adaptations included a variety of stories by Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, David J. Schow, and F. Paul Wilson that appeared in the fourissue magazine, Doomed. There was also an adaptation of F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep that was written by the author.

_________________________________________________________________________ Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now covers (clockwise from top left) art by Danny Parsons, Paul Pope, Ashley Wood, Scott Morse.

IDW’s non-horror adaptations have included original stories based on Golden Eagle’s Don Pendleton’s The Executioner and Rogue Angel and a series of adaptations of Cory Doctorow short stories that appeared in Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now.

• • • • CR: I started at IDW in July of 2004 and The Thief of Always series was already underway. Did Jeff Mariotte set up that project?

In this interview, Chris Ryall speaks with Clive Barker about the IDW adaptations of his work. 205


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_______________________________________________________________________________________________ Doomed covers (clockwise from top left) art by Ashley Wood, Jeremy Geddes, Ashley Wood, Jeremy Geddes.

When Jeff Mariotte was IDW’s Editor-in-Chief, he had a discussion with Clive Barker about adapting his classic novel, The Thief of Always, a series that was written by Kris Oprisko. That project then led to another Barker adaptation, The Great and Secret Show. Around the same time, Ted and Jeff put together a deal to do an adaptation of Richard Matheson’s Hell House. 204

___________________________________________ Previous Pages: I Am Legend art by Elman Brown.

Other literary adaptations included a variety of stories by Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, David J. Schow, and F. Paul Wilson that appeared in the fourissue magazine, Doomed. There was also an adaptation of F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep that was written by the author.

_________________________________________________________________________ Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now covers (clockwise from top left) art by Danny Parsons, Paul Pope, Ashley Wood, Scott Morse.

IDW’s non-horror adaptations have included original stories based on Golden Eagle’s Don Pendleton’s The Executioner and Rogue Angel and a series of adaptations of Cory Doctorow short stories that appeared in Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now.

• • • • CR: I started at IDW in July of 2004 and The Thief of Always series was already underway. Did Jeff Mariotte set up that project?

In this interview, Chris Ryall speaks with Clive Barker about the IDW adaptations of his work. 205


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____________________________ The Keep, art by Matthew Smith.

CB: Yes, it was Jeff. I’d known Jeff because I’d been signing at his store [San Diego’s Mysterious Galaxy] for years and I’d been guests of Jeff and Maryelizabeth [Jeff ’s wife and fellow partner at Mysterious Galaxy] for a long time. Jeff had always been a very talented guy and also a very nice man, a really pleasant man. CR: So, when this happened had you been looking to get back into comics? CB: Oh, yeah. I have never lost my passion for comics. Wednesday is a big day in this house. CR: This one, too! CB: There you go. Robbie [Clive’s assistant] goes at 10:00 every Wednesday down to Meltdown and they pre-select everything for me because they know what I like and they know what I’m willing to have a punt on, take a risk on new titles. I’m really pretty broad from, all the way from, you know, Green Lantern, which would never have been something I would have read in my Fantastic Four days. Back in the day when I was actually buying the Inhumans-appearing issue fresh off the stands. I do go that far back. CR: So when Jeff reached out to you on our stuff I have to imagine you weren’t overly

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________________________________________ The Thief of Always art by Gabriel Hernandez.

_____________________________ Rogue Angel, art by Renae De Liz.

familiar with IDW–we were still pretty new at doing comics at that time. CB: You were new, yeah, but it’s always about people, isn’t it? In the end, if you hadn’t been there I wouldn’t be with IDW. It’s about you, Chris, it’s about our relationship, our friendship. You know I’m not blowing smoke. At this point in my career, it’s all about wanting to work with an individual or individuals and in this case it’s you. That’s why I’m going to come and pull on your sleeve and say, “Hey, Mr. Ryall, I know we’ve already said we’re doing this and this but how about this as well?” Because you are, and again not blowing smoke, you are the Man as far as comics are concerned and I’ve had a completely sweet relationship, sweet in the broadest possible sense in terms of the professionalism you bring to the gig, the speed with which you bring to the gig and fuck, the passion. And I love that. CR: I hope as long as I’m doing this you’re tugging at my sleeves here. Jumping back to Thief, did Jeff present to you many art samples beyond the artist who got the gig, Gabriel

Hernandez? Did you have an art style in mind that you envisioned for this book? CB: No, I didn’t, I really didn’t. I know I had my doubts when I saw the first samples. I thought the artist played less well as an individual panel then he did as a storyteller but once I started to see the story being told, I thought it was awesome.

Ray taking me aside and–I’d just published Weaveworld or something–and he said, “You just stick with books, kid, they’ll always be there.” And he’s right.

CR: Yeah, taken altogether it really works. CB: Oh yeah, and there are artists who work panel by panel gorgeously, like Brian Bolland, but don’t work so well in terms of storytelling. And there are people who have a storytelling energy and a sense of the rhythm of storytelling, which is simply wonderful when you get to taste it. The gifts are invisible, you don’t notice that you’re being told the story, it’s just there. CR: It seems to have really worked well for people, too. This book has consistently been one of our most acclaimed and solid-selling books. Now that it’s up as digital comics on iTunes, it’s nice to be able to reach a whole new audience with this thing, too. CB: I think the style with which the thing was done and the story itself, the story is a fable, it’s a kind of timeless story, there’s no reason why this should be out of print any time soon. I remember meeting one of my gods, Ray Bradbury, and _____________________________________________ Don Pendleton’s The Executioner, art by SL Gallant.

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____________________________ The Keep, art by Matthew Smith.

CB: Yes, it was Jeff. I’d known Jeff because I’d been signing at his store [San Diego’s Mysterious Galaxy] for years and I’d been guests of Jeff and Maryelizabeth [Jeff ’s wife and fellow partner at Mysterious Galaxy] for a long time. Jeff had always been a very talented guy and also a very nice man, a really pleasant man. CR: So, when this happened had you been looking to get back into comics? CB: Oh, yeah. I have never lost my passion for comics. Wednesday is a big day in this house. CR: This one, too! CB: There you go. Robbie [Clive’s assistant] goes at 10:00 every Wednesday down to Meltdown and they pre-select everything for me because they know what I like and they know what I’m willing to have a punt on, take a risk on new titles. I’m really pretty broad from, all the way from, you know, Green Lantern, which would never have been something I would have read in my Fantastic Four days. Back in the day when I was actually buying the Inhumans-appearing issue fresh off the stands. I do go that far back. CR: So when Jeff reached out to you on our stuff I have to imagine you weren’t overly

206

________________________________________ The Thief of Always art by Gabriel Hernandez.

_____________________________ Rogue Angel, art by Renae De Liz.

familiar with IDW–we were still pretty new at doing comics at that time. CB: You were new, yeah, but it’s always about people, isn’t it? In the end, if you hadn’t been there I wouldn’t be with IDW. It’s about you, Chris, it’s about our relationship, our friendship. You know I’m not blowing smoke. At this point in my career, it’s all about wanting to work with an individual or individuals and in this case it’s you. That’s why I’m going to come and pull on your sleeve and say, “Hey, Mr. Ryall, I know we’ve already said we’re doing this and this but how about this as well?” Because you are, and again not blowing smoke, you are the Man as far as comics are concerned and I’ve had a completely sweet relationship, sweet in the broadest possible sense in terms of the professionalism you bring to the gig, the speed with which you bring to the gig and fuck, the passion. And I love that. CR: I hope as long as I’m doing this you’re tugging at my sleeves here. Jumping back to Thief, did Jeff present to you many art samples beyond the artist who got the gig, Gabriel

Hernandez? Did you have an art style in mind that you envisioned for this book? CB: No, I didn’t, I really didn’t. I know I had my doubts when I saw the first samples. I thought the artist played less well as an individual panel then he did as a storyteller but once I started to see the story being told, I thought it was awesome.

Ray taking me aside and–I’d just published Weaveworld or something–and he said, “You just stick with books, kid, they’ll always be there.” And he’s right.

CR: Yeah, taken altogether it really works. CB: Oh yeah, and there are artists who work panel by panel gorgeously, like Brian Bolland, but don’t work so well in terms of storytelling. And there are people who have a storytelling energy and a sense of the rhythm of storytelling, which is simply wonderful when you get to taste it. The gifts are invisible, you don’t notice that you’re being told the story, it’s just there. CR: It seems to have really worked well for people, too. This book has consistently been one of our most acclaimed and solid-selling books. Now that it’s up as digital comics on iTunes, it’s nice to be able to reach a whole new audience with this thing, too. CB: I think the style with which the thing was done and the story itself, the story is a fable, it’s a kind of timeless story, there’s no reason why this should be out of print any time soon. I remember meeting one of my gods, Ray Bradbury, and _____________________________________________ Don Pendleton’s The Executioner, art by SL Gallant.

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____________________________________________________________________ Above and Next Spread: The Great and Secret Show art by Gabriel Rodriguez.

_______________________________________ The Thief of Always art by Gabriel Hernandez.

When you work in the fantastic, whether it’s horror or fantasy, I’d imagine literature of any kind really, if the tone isn’t too knowing or winky or coy or whimsical, in other words if you’re simply a truthful artist and tell the emotion, then there’s really no reason why these things should go out of style or lose their audience. I think I’m right in saying that Ray published his first stuff in 1950 and I’m pretty sure that nothing’s been out of print since in America.

year even still, and have since I was 10 or 12 years old. CB: And I do the same with Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Halloween Tree. CR: I know some people, watch this segue here, I know some people do the same with The Great and Secret Show. CB: Was that smooth or was that smooth?

CR: I probably read The Martian Chronicles once a 208

CR: How did we go from The Thief of Always, which is a good all-ages book to this tome of a book, one of your most popular novels? Was The Great and Secret Show what you wanted to do next? CB: Yes, it was. Marvel had done Weaveworld horribly. I hated it and it was not Dan Chichester’s fault. Dan was the one who brought it to Marvel and he was a man I liked a huge amount and that was one that got caught in the whole Marvel machine. All the promises that were made to me and to Dan were not delivered on. I was embarrassed and I just hated the

fucking adaptation. It was one of my favorite books and people loved the book and I thought the comic adaptation was horrible. I did believe that comics were a place where these large–as you say, tomes– can be done. These sort of Moby Dick-sized books, and I don’t use that analogy lightly. It actually is Moby Dick that I constantly go back to when I’m looking for inspiration, when I’m looking for that little push of a voice of true genius speaking in layers saying, “Barker, you’re not a genius but you’re good enough to have a try.” It’s Melville I always go to, it’s Moby Dick, in his own words, his “homemade quilt of 209


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____________________________________________________________________ Above and Next Spread: The Great and Secret Show art by Gabriel Rodriguez.

_______________________________________ The Thief of Always art by Gabriel Hernandez.

When you work in the fantastic, whether it’s horror or fantasy, I’d imagine literature of any kind really, if the tone isn’t too knowing or winky or coy or whimsical, in other words if you’re simply a truthful artist and tell the emotion, then there’s really no reason why these things should go out of style or lose their audience. I think I’m right in saying that Ray published his first stuff in 1950 and I’m pretty sure that nothing’s been out of print since in America.

year even still, and have since I was 10 or 12 years old. CB: And I do the same with Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Halloween Tree. CR: I know some people, watch this segue here, I know some people do the same with The Great and Secret Show. CB: Was that smooth or was that smooth?

CR: I probably read The Martian Chronicles once a 208

CR: How did we go from The Thief of Always, which is a good all-ages book to this tome of a book, one of your most popular novels? Was The Great and Secret Show what you wanted to do next? CB: Yes, it was. Marvel had done Weaveworld horribly. I hated it and it was not Dan Chichester’s fault. Dan was the one who brought it to Marvel and he was a man I liked a huge amount and that was one that got caught in the whole Marvel machine. All the promises that were made to me and to Dan were not delivered on. I was embarrassed and I just hated the

fucking adaptation. It was one of my favorite books and people loved the book and I thought the comic adaptation was horrible. I did believe that comics were a place where these large–as you say, tomes– can be done. These sort of Moby Dick-sized books, and I don’t use that analogy lightly. It actually is Moby Dick that I constantly go back to when I’m looking for inspiration, when I’m looking for that little push of a voice of true genius speaking in layers saying, “Barker, you’re not a genius but you’re good enough to have a try.” It’s Melville I always go to, it’s Moby Dick, in his own words, his “homemade quilt of 209


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a book.” This is a guy who invented the novel as he went along, chapter by chapter. And I’ve always tried to do that, I’ve always tried to invent it the way the story wants it to be. I thought there’s so much visual stuff in The Great and Secret Show and Everville and in Weaveworld, which I hope one day “we,” that is you and I and IDW, will one day have a crack at again. I do believe there is a volume the size of the collected The Great and Secret Show which can be on people’s shelves for the next 50 years if we do Weaveworld right. And I believe that’s true of The Great and Secret Show. I’m sure it doesn’t sell as many copies as The Thief of Always but I hope it’s ticked over nicely, has it? CR: Yeah, and it’s certainly one that people cite. I mean I gotta admit when I first took this thing on, my biggest fear was just disappointing your fans. I mean, the fans that cite this book think of it like, it’s like your version of Stephen King’s The Stand as far as fan affection goes. They have this book so ingrained in their heads that if I fucked it up, I was really going to hear about it and it was really going

to affect some of these people. So I felt pressure on two fronts, since I also didn’t want to let you down. CB: You didn’t. The point is, you didn’t. I mean, that thing is a fucking beautiful object. That collected The Great and Secret Show is one that I was able to read cover to cover as somebody who was seeing the story with new eyes. CR: Well, I’ll say that taking it on, I mean, the couple of things that helped me on it was not only you being as encouraging and just as open to us interpreting the book in our way as you were, but, I mean, having Gabriel Rodriguez on art was just, he carries this thing. CB: He is amazing. And you had said to me, look for the Easter eggs and it was only two months ago that I found myself as the superhero [in one of the fantasy sequences in the graphic novel]. It was like, “Oh, wait a second, that’s me, fuck!” And that tells you I have it here on my shelf and I take it down and I love it, I love it as a comics reader, I love it as the author of the original material but, and this is

_____________________________________________________________________ Previous Page and Above: The Great and Secret Show, art by Gabriel Rodriguez.

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a book.” This is a guy who invented the novel as he went along, chapter by chapter. And I’ve always tried to do that, I’ve always tried to invent it the way the story wants it to be. I thought there’s so much visual stuff in The Great and Secret Show and Everville and in Weaveworld, which I hope one day “we,” that is you and I and IDW, will one day have a crack at again. I do believe there is a volume the size of the collected The Great and Secret Show which can be on people’s shelves for the next 50 years if we do Weaveworld right. And I believe that’s true of The Great and Secret Show. I’m sure it doesn’t sell as many copies as The Thief of Always but I hope it’s ticked over nicely, has it? CR: Yeah, and it’s certainly one that people cite. I mean I gotta admit when I first took this thing on, my biggest fear was just disappointing your fans. I mean, the fans that cite this book think of it like, it’s like your version of Stephen King’s The Stand as far as fan affection goes. They have this book so ingrained in their heads that if I fucked it up, I was really going to hear about it and it was really going

to affect some of these people. So I felt pressure on two fronts, since I also didn’t want to let you down. CB: You didn’t. The point is, you didn’t. I mean, that thing is a fucking beautiful object. That collected The Great and Secret Show is one that I was able to read cover to cover as somebody who was seeing the story with new eyes. CR: Well, I’ll say that taking it on, I mean, the couple of things that helped me on it was not only you being as encouraging and just as open to us interpreting the book in our way as you were, but, I mean, having Gabriel Rodriguez on art was just, he carries this thing. CB: He is amazing. And you had said to me, look for the Easter eggs and it was only two months ago that I found myself as the superhero [in one of the fantasy sequences in the graphic novel]. It was like, “Oh, wait a second, that’s me, fuck!” And that tells you I have it here on my shelf and I take it down and I love it, I love it as a comics reader, I love it as the author of the original material but, and this is

_____________________________________________________________________ Previous Page and Above: The Great and Secret Show, art by Gabriel Rodriguez.

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important, I’m not one of those people who thinks that a thing is best interpreted word for word in rhythm with a novel any more than I think a movie should look like a novel. It shouldn’t. A novel is a novel, a movie is a movie. And I know there are people who are offended by the fact that Tolkien’s words have not been followed with religious care in Peter Jackson’s version, especially the third movie. But to me it was just him being a good maker of cinema. CR: That was the thing I struggled with, too. Realizing that some things need to either change or come out or move around just to tell this thing properly. It was hard to get past that initial feeling of presumptuousness, like “Who the hell am I to be taking this beloved novel and changing it and tweaking it and moving things as I see fit?” You know, once you stop thinking about it like that and you just think “Well, I’m trying to tell the best story in this format as I can,” then it no longer feels like I’m being presumptuous as much as I’m trying to be true to your material in this different format. 214

______________________________________________ The Great and Secret Show, art by Gabriel Rodriguez.

CB: And you had, and always will have my support and love and faith. Pretty much from the word one, when we met one another, I think we were in sync. You’re a cool man and your intelligence is luminous and your vision is luminous and I’ve never, ever been in a room with you and thrown a reference out and not found you catching it and throwing it back at me. And that’s way cool because, particularly dealing in movies, frankly, very often you’re dealing with people who don’t even know fucking movies. There’s this wonderful story of David Lean going in to one of the studios and the young tyke behind the big desk saying, “So, Mr. Lean, what have you done?” And David Lean saying, “No, son, you first.” What I’ve loved in our exchanges is how broad your passions are and how willing you are to enter into a debate about just about anything. You come to The Great and Secret Show, we’re talking about all the influences on me personally, the individuals that I’ve known in my life. Tim Leary and Bradbury, the big names who I’ve had the great good fortune to have known. Bill Burroughs, and those people are all somewhere in that mix.

CR: That’s pretty nice company for me to be in, I have to say. CB: Pretty nice company for me to be in. CR: I think that about covers it. I just wanted to rap about the things we’ve done together and I hope in years to come we’re talking about other things we’re doing together. CB: Oh, I depend upon it. You know, it’s in a way, and I suppose for me the wrap-up is that we started off with things which were adaptations and now we’re originating. To me that’s much more exciting because now it’s Chris and Clive. CR: Yeah, doing The Great and Secret Show was an honor, and the idea of doing new things together just takes it to a whole different level. CB: And you know, as a collaborator I’m much more interested in being equal partners with you than I am having some secret text which is being sanctified by

others than myself, just simply by the fact that it’s been around a while. I don’t ever sanctify my own text because I never think they’re good enough but it’s nice when people love a text over a long period of time. With The Thief of Always, now it’s two generations. Now it’s fathers and mothers coming with their own kids and saying, “I read it when I was a kid and now I’m giving it to my kids, will you sign a copy please?” CR: It brought with it such expectations and now we’re freed up with something that has no expectations behind it, so people won’t know what to expect. CB: No, and what we’re going to do is, hopefully somewhere along the line, is add something to a medium that we adore, both of us adore. I am still looking forward to every Wednesday with a passion. CR: As am I, sir.

IDW

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important, I’m not one of those people who thinks that a thing is best interpreted word for word in rhythm with a novel any more than I think a movie should look like a novel. It shouldn’t. A novel is a novel, a movie is a movie. And I know there are people who are offended by the fact that Tolkien’s words have not been followed with religious care in Peter Jackson’s version, especially the third movie. But to me it was just him being a good maker of cinema. CR: That was the thing I struggled with, too. Realizing that some things need to either change or come out or move around just to tell this thing properly. It was hard to get past that initial feeling of presumptuousness, like “Who the hell am I to be taking this beloved novel and changing it and tweaking it and moving things as I see fit?” You know, once you stop thinking about it like that and you just think “Well, I’m trying to tell the best story in this format as I can,” then it no longer feels like I’m being presumptuous as much as I’m trying to be true to your material in this different format. 214

______________________________________________ The Great and Secret Show, art by Gabriel Rodriguez.

CB: And you had, and always will have my support and love and faith. Pretty much from the word one, when we met one another, I think we were in sync. You’re a cool man and your intelligence is luminous and your vision is luminous and I’ve never, ever been in a room with you and thrown a reference out and not found you catching it and throwing it back at me. And that’s way cool because, particularly dealing in movies, frankly, very often you’re dealing with people who don’t even know fucking movies. There’s this wonderful story of David Lean going in to one of the studios and the young tyke behind the big desk saying, “So, Mr. Lean, what have you done?” And David Lean saying, “No, son, you first.” What I’ve loved in our exchanges is how broad your passions are and how willing you are to enter into a debate about just about anything. You come to The Great and Secret Show, we’re talking about all the influences on me personally, the individuals that I’ve known in my life. Tim Leary and Bradbury, the big names who I’ve had the great good fortune to have known. Bill Burroughs, and those people are all somewhere in that mix.

CR: That’s pretty nice company for me to be in, I have to say. CB: Pretty nice company for me to be in. CR: I think that about covers it. I just wanted to rap about the things we’ve done together and I hope in years to come we’re talking about other things we’re doing together. CB: Oh, I depend upon it. You know, it’s in a way, and I suppose for me the wrap-up is that we started off with things which were adaptations and now we’re originating. To me that’s much more exciting because now it’s Chris and Clive. CR: Yeah, doing The Great and Secret Show was an honor, and the idea of doing new things together just takes it to a whole different level. CB: And you know, as a collaborator I’m much more interested in being equal partners with you than I am having some secret text which is being sanctified by

others than myself, just simply by the fact that it’s been around a while. I don’t ever sanctify my own text because I never think they’re good enough but it’s nice when people love a text over a long period of time. With The Thief of Always, now it’s two generations. Now it’s fathers and mothers coming with their own kids and saying, “I read it when I was a kid and now I’m giving it to my kids, will you sign a copy please?” CR: It brought with it such expectations and now we’re freed up with something that has no expectations behind it, so people won’t know what to expect. CB: No, and what we’re going to do is, hopefully somewhere along the line, is add something to a medium that we adore, both of us adore. I am still looking forward to every Wednesday with a passion. CR: As am I, sir.

IDW

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IDW: The First Decade Chapter 15