The following is an interview with Mark Russell (God Is Disappointed in You, Apocrypha Now, The Flintstones) regarding the upcoming release of the comic book collection, Cereal, through AHOY Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Russell about the three all-new monster stories that he has created with artist Peter Snejbjerg, why monsters continue to capture the imagination and fascination of readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: What most excited you about the opportunity to delve into the lore of monsters, and were there any particular genres of storytelling within which you hoped to tackle these tales?
Mark Russell: Originally, I was just planning to write the first chapter and be done with it. But when AHOY asked me for more monster stories, it got me thinking about a broader story that explains how they came to be the way they are and what kind of world they’d be living in if they were real. And that inspired this whole saga that I couldn’t possibly fit in a few short stories. So, for me, the real opportunity was to show people the rest of the world that I had constructed for these monsters while working on the stories they were reading.
BD: Monster stories have long captivated the attention of audiences in all mediums. What do you feel so strongly connects us to these stories, and what do you hope that readers will take away from your new chapters?
MR: We have, from our earliest days as human beings, looked out into the darkness and wondered what was looking back at us. And, in a more modern sense, I think we all feel like maybe we’re one or two steps away from becoming the monsters ourselves. So, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to monsters. And I hope that’s the take away from these stories. That monsters are no longer out there, lurking in the dark. That they are lurking within us waiting for the right moment to come out.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with artist Peter Snejbjerg to bring these satirical stories to life?
MR: I feel like a bit of a fraud answering this question, because our collaboration was mostly me sending him scripts and him coming up with artwork that was way better than anything I’d imagined. I think he really got the tonality of this work from the beginning, though, and that helped a lot, because it seems like the sort of thing that’d be very easy to get wrong.
BD: Your stories will be paired with all previous chapters from AHOY’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of… anthologies. Do you feel that your stories more complement or serve as a fitting conclusion to the anthology tales?
MR: The three new chapters in this anthology are not some ending I tacked on because I needed an ending. This is how I imagined the story playing out from the moment I imagined this as an ongoing story, so I’m really pleased that that’s how people get to read it now. As a complete story.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
MR: Yeah, absolutely. Really excited for Rumpus Room Issue #1 having just hit the shelves. And Traveling to Mars, which may be the best thing I’ve ever written. There’s also more Second Coming and My Bad on the way, so, needless to say, I’ve been busy.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Cereal and your other work?
MR: They can check out my website at markrussellbooks.com.