“Generally, if I can’t be true to the creator’s intention and spirit, I will probably shy away from working on a character.”
“There’s always a soundbite to take and put on Youtube and make my life a living hell for ten days.”
“The work that excites me is by Bryan O’Malley. I’m dying to see Chester Brown’s new book, it’s going to be outrageous. This is the stuff to get excited about. This is where the industry is growing and making in roads back into mass culture. But most of your traditional mainstream American comic readers aren’t looking for something new. They’re just looking for something comfortable.”
NASO: Why do you think deconstruction is so popular right now?
COOKE: Because its much easier to write, and it is servicing an aging, bored market that wants it.
NASO: Given your stance on superhero deconstruction, does this limit the types of books you’ll work on?
COOKE: It sure does.
“The comic book industry in America is a cottage industry aimed at a very exclusive audience. That’s why they don’t sell. For 20 years, Hollywood has been making millions off comic properties and the zombies chant about how it will translate in sales… and it never does. Because the comics are cryptic, inaccessible, overpriced and aimed at anything other than a mass market.”
“Both of the Big Two are terrified of the Mass Market for two reasons:
1. It would take a major investment and risk to regain the mass market.
2. Comic creators, editors and publishers would actually have to do their jobs — sell populist fare by the truckload that appealed to the mass market. They would have to give up this tight little circle where people care more about Bruce’s feelings than they do whether there’s a Batman story actually taking place. They’d have to work all ages with public light cast on the book’s actual content, they’d have to compete with better written and produced entertainment from other media. Books that didn’t sell would die. “Creators” who couldn’t meet a monthly schedule would be restricted to specials and one-shots. Public taste and trends would have to be embraced. The precious superhero would have to share the stage with other more relevant genres like Romance, Crime, Horror, Humour and the like. Dicks like Kevin Smith would have to save their juvenile, oral-sex innuendo for something other than a mainstream DC comic.”
“I want them to stop catering to the perverted needs of 45 year old men. […] I want to see new characters for a new time, and when the industry of superhero comics realigns its sights to the young people it was meant for, I’ll be there with both arms and feet.”
“I’m a strong advocate for making comics more accessible and driving the market open. But without the properly delivery system, there’s no way to do that. As long as comics are locked into comic book stores, they can’t really get themselves in front of new readerships. At this point [stores] are kind of irrelevant. When you look at American Born Chinese or Fun Home or Blankets or manga, it’s quite clear that there’s an audience out there for comics, that there’s an explosion going on right now in our industry. It’s just not happening with Iron Man. Iron Man is making it in the movies, not comics. That entire American comics superjock thing is kind of frozen in place.”
“Is it more accessible to a broader audience? Because to me, that’s what it’s all f*cking about, trying to reach more people. Fighting this whole contraction that’s going on. Every project that I do now, it’s about that, how you reach more people.”
“I don’t think you will ever see me launching my own superhero.”
“I tried to think about it as if it were me, if there was some young guy making, God forbid, New Frontier motion comics or something, and he was a total fanboy…that would drive me up the wall.”
“They have no way out of this box. The commitment it would take for them to reclaim mainstream ground, it’s insurmountable. We’ve basically got a cottage industry here now where the people who create the product are creating it for themselves or their friends. It’s created in a way so it’s inscrutable to anybody else. And it doesn’t reflect any social trends. There’s nothing of interest to bring a consumer in.”
“Well yeah, I mean, gosh, I work for a company who, god love them, but honestly when I look at most of the moves they’re making in their main line, it’s like they have a textbook about how to destroy your brand character. “How to destroy 60 years worth of in two to three years for a sales hit.” I question in that long term.”
“You’ve got so many different types of books out there that are succeeding, that I think it’s a great time to get out there and try to something that doesn’t involve capes for a change.”