What prompted you to write a series about the Antichrist - and the premise of him not being such a bad guy?
First things first, I'm not a satanist. I used to believe in the personification of evil idea but not anymore. That said, I grew up being scared out of my wits by the Exorcist and the Omen. They were released in theatres when I was ages 9 and 12. This was in my formative years before I began thinking for myself and got out from my traditional Greek parents' beliefs. I wanted to go past those fears and began looking into whatever was known about the two characters therein: Satan and his darling son. The further I looked into it the more scared I became so I left it alone for a while. I didn't even consider it apart from giving myself the willies every couple of months when I gave both some thought. The idea as to how much fear they caused stayed with me. I didn't like it but I knew it was powerful.
So your childhood fears drove the story?
Yeah, I think most great horror stories are based on powerful, childhood fears. These happen to be mine. I'm not scared of most physical trauma, death, animals or zombies and the like.
As I grew older though I thought about those strong fears, especially the Antichrist. I re-watched the Omen and the sequels and thought: why would anyone want to be the reason for the destruction of the world? That made me fear the Antichrist less and made me think he was getting a bum wrap. Then in high school, girls, fantasy, comics and science fiction won my attention over those childhood fears.
How did you get to publishing Mad Gods? Why Mad Gods as a title?
It's an appropriation of the Joe Cocker album Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Never had it, never heard it, but I saw it in an old record store and thought it was a cool title. It stayed with me till I wanted a title for an earlier comic book version that I called Mad Gods and Buried Children. It was about a giant guy, a natural hulk who was also scarred badly in his youth. Due to his abnormal size he was thought of as a monster, a damned creature that had to be a creation of the devil.
The Antichrist hadn't come into my mind until way later in the Mad Gods and Buried Children timeline. So this huge hulking guy, Bear, comes along in my imagination with this terrible childhood…
I followed the ideas in my head till since he was considered a monster and was damned, creation of the devil, yadda, yadda, yadda. That's when I thought, why isn't he the Antichrist? I also didn't want him to be huge but wanted him to be beneath notice, an everyman, all the more insidious because he could be anybody, look like anybody. Medium height, medium build, brown hair, brown eyes, no discernible racial characteristics, nothing impressive or frightening until you find out he's the Antichrist.
So why does the Antichrist decide not to go along with the destruction of all that is? The End of Days?
He liked entertainment too much. He wanted to see the next great movie, another week's shows. With all that was happening in my life at the time in order for me to pay my bills I wanted to continue writing but I didn't because when I got home I only wanted to watch television, Or go see a movie. My procrastination and my lax attitude to my writing got me back into my writing. Funny huh?
So the Antichrist originally didn't want to destroy the world because he would miss his entertainment. Like most of everyone, there's always something we know we should be doing but we're sitting in-front of the idiot box and watch manufactured life happen. We all know it's manufactured and not real but we're mesmerized. There's more to it than that but I would give away the whole book and raison-d'être of the story if I kept going on.
Thanks for talking with us!