This was commissioned by a very patient fellow. He gave me a lot of freedom with this piece, so I did my best to do the comic justice. I believe this is the first time I’ve had a painted background for a piece, and on it, I tried to incorporate some of John Totleben’s imagery from the issue.
‘I can sure recall any number of individual moments in these comics. There’s a birth. There’s the way the character initially puts together his “magic word.” There’s a scene where they’re reading comics for clues. There’s a man with scary teeth. There’s one where they talk about sex education as something that should involve having sex as part of that education. There’s a bunch of stuff with the creepy Kid Miracleman character, a wonderful bad guy. There’s the arch-villain that looks like the late Joe Paterno. And then there’s the single issue with all the killing, which I remember mostly in terms of its visual texture, one giant smear of pain. That was one of the actually rare comic books of its day, incidentally; I had two or three interns at TCJ that asked to read the office copy the day they arrived.’
Kevin O’Neill: …It’s a pity we couldn’t have used Marvelman, ‘cause I always liked him when I was a kid, I thought he was a fantastic character, but it’s… it’s one of those characters that is now almost toxic, anyone who touches Marvelman, it’s like a curse, you know, you just want to pass it straight on, which is a terrible state of affairs for the character to end up in.
Pádraig: As I said, I’ve researched the thing in enormous detail for the past several years. The book was going to be called Poisoned Chalice, because both Alan and Neil refer to it as a poisoned chalice in different interviews I saw, and now I find that my own curse of Marvelman…
[Earlier I had mentioned to Kevin that the book I’ve written on Marvelman is now without a publisher, as MonkeyBrain Books, who had contracted to publish it, were taking a break from publishing, at least for the time being, leaving it without a home for the moment.]