By far the highlight of our Journey to the Center of Atlanta for DragonCon
2002 was our interview with Judd Winick. A former cast member of MTV's "The
Real World" (but don't hold that against him, he's really a nice guy), Judd
has managed to break his way onto both the indie comics scene, with his "South
Park" meets "Dexter's Laboratory" series "Barry Ween: Boy Genius", and into
mainstream superhero comics, with an acclaimed run on DC's "Green Lantern."
We managed to con Judd into granting us an interview at the con, and he turned
out to be one of the coolest, friendliest people we've ever met. He's unpretentious,
witty, articulate, geeky, and yet unafraid to say what he really feels, either
in his comics work or in this interview. At the end of it all, what was intended
to be just a few interesting questions put to a comics celeb became nearly an
hour of chatting about everything from the SuperFriends to what it's like to
be an ageless child genius.
Oh, yeah . . . and we also got some juicy tidbits about what he's got planned for
Kyle and Friends. Read on and enjoy.
The Important Question
JOE CROWE: Let's start out with a hardball question.
JUDD WINICK: Yeah, okay.
KEVIN PEZZANO: We know you've probably been asked this many, many, many times
before, but . . . what's your favorite flavor of pudding?
JUDD: *laughs* Well, okay. Um . . . one could answer it easy and just say Swiss
Miss chocolate. I'm remembering when I was a kid -- I forget what brand it was,
the ones you actually open the can. The pulltab chocolate in cans. You have
talked to [Powers and Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael] Bendis about
JOE: I don't think we have.
KEVIN: I've read his pudding story.
JUDD: That's all you need to know. Bendis ate so much chocolate pudding that
he began to sh*t blue. It freaked him out.
JOE: I'd think, yeah.
JUDD: *laughs* That's an incredibly long answer to an incredibly simple question.
JOE: That's good, that's what we're looking for. We've found, when talking
to lots of people, that everyone has a pudding preference or story. We're gonna
make a big cross-index list; just find the celebrity, then find their favorite
flavor of pudding. It's gonna be great.
KEVIN: If I ever go back to school, I'm going to write a psych paper on celebrities
and pudding and what it says about them.
JUDD: I'm guessing most people around our age had pudding, before the parents
got smart and stopped dropping pudding in the lunch pails when we were kids.
Processed pudding, god bless it.
Controversy, Diversity, and What the Future Holds
JOE: You've been doing the press about the upcoming Green Lantern issue a lot,
like you were on Donahue a few weeks ago.
JOE: So, in general, what has the reaction been? Obviously, no one's really
read it yet, but how did your editors react to it?
JUDD: A few years ago, when I was picking up the book, Bob Schreck offered
me the job, he and Ron Marz were already kicking around introducing a gay teenager
into the comic. At that point, it had already been talked about from up top.
DC was behind it 110%; it easily predated everything I wanted to do. And after
that it was sort of up to me to create the character and how we were going to
do it. Y'know, I think DC, like a lot of creators of our generation, we would
want to see more of a diverse landscape in comics. For the most part, it had
been basically white male straight guys, which is what we gew up on, pretty
much. With the exception of maybe the X-Men, which tried to make things more
diverse. But, we'd like to have something that better reflects our readership
and better reflects, literally, the world we live in. If we're drawing and writing
stuff that involves people with superpowers, and aliens, and folks from different
worlds and whatnot, I don't think it's that much of a deal to have, y'know,
African-Americans, people of color, Asians, gays and lesbians, in our comics.
It's just not that big a leap. And if there is a controversy, I think it's more
created by the press. For the most part, we've had very positive feedback almost
on the whole, with the typical dissenting opinions. So, in general, y'know,
it's been good. I'm glad there's been a little controversy, glad people have
been talking about it. It gets the issue [out there], and by that I mean the
social issue, not issue 154!
JOE: *laughs* Certainly
JUDD: I'm glad it's out there. Y'know, at the very least, it's a little we
JOE: Is there more stuff you want to do for DC, besides just Green Lantern?
JUDD: Um . . . yeah, there's like three projects and I can't talk about any of
JUDD: But there's actually three distinct projects that are lined up. That's
gonna be the bulk of the work for the upcoming year. Yeah, but can't talk about
them at all. And that's it.
JUDD: Marvel, gonna keep doing Exiles. Which I'm happy as hell about. On paper
it's such a turkey of a concept, that's why I'm so pleased that people have
been this interested in it. We're kind of ripping off Sliders. Throw the "What
If" concept in there, and we've got ourselves a comic.
JOE: There ya go.
JUDD: We're very happy with it.