Meth Prepares a METHo.d.
Interviewing a decent human being with a
first met writer Cliff Meth when legendary comics artist
Dave Cockrum faced crushing medical bills and a terrible
financial situation. A long-time friend of Cockrum's, Meth
contacted every website, comics journalist and professional
he could think of to call attention to the artist's plight.
good people. But then, Harlan Ellison knew that, and told
our contributor Jason Sacks all
Dave Cockrum story had a relatively happy ending, with the
creator of Nightcrawler (among others) receiving a nice
settlement that helped restore his financial health. But
of course, the comics industry has tended to eat its old
professionals, and soon enough Meth sounded the horn again
when hard times hit William Messner-Loebs.
worked on both sides of fandom, as a fanzine writer then
a professional, Meth has garnered many friendships among
the giants that influenced our childhood imaginations, and
he has fierce loyalty toward them. Clearly, the affection
is returned, and a few nights ago Cliff Meth contacted me
about his new collection from Aardwolf
Publishing, METHo.d.., due out in March but available
for ordering in the January Previews.
by the publisher as a collection of "angry tales,"
the 110-page book features illustrations from top talents
like Steve Lieber, Messner-Loebs, Al Milgrom, with a cover
and design by the legendary Steranko. As if that wasn't
enough, Meth even got an introduction by Peter David.
spoke for a while about this new collection and spun a few
McCaw: What can we expect out of this book?
Meth: It was supposed to be called "Mean Little
Stories," but but Jim Steranko, who designed the cover,
really liked METHo.d. and it's hard to say no to Jim.
largely dark/SF/horror-type stuff, but not straight up...my
first all-new collection in 6 years. The last one, PERVERTS,
PEDOPHILES & OTHER THEOLOGIANS, was Barnes & Noble's
Horror Pick of the Week for two weeks and stayed in their
Top 10 for 6 weeks.
of the stories from the book was already optioned.
much for the hype.
McCaw: I see you've got Messner-Loebs onboard
doing art, which is something we haven't seen from him for
some time. How did you get him to do it?
Meth: Bill and I go back 30 years. We
worked on some fanzine stuff in the mid-70s and we've been
pals ever since. In fact, we're co-writing a graphic novel
together right now...
him some of the stories from this book and gave him the
pick of the litter. He liked one called "Back on The
Horse," called his art "Back on the Whores,"
which was fitting.
Derek McCaw: With all these excellent comic
book artists illustrating your stories, why aren't you writing,
for lack of a better phrase, comic book stories rather than
illustrated fiction? Or is that a euphemism?
Meth: I love the industry, love fandom, and collect
artist friends like others collect comics, but I've always
considered myself a real writer, if you'll excuse the expression.
McCaw: You consider yourself a real writer, yet
are eager for film optioning. Does that conflict in any
way? Or do you plan on adapting yourself to the screen?
Meth: I learned to write short stories by reading
the great SF masters, then letting Harlan Ellison kick the
shit out of my early manuscripts. Options give you the money
(and thus the time) to pursue serious projects.
course, I'd rather do the screenplays myself, and suspect
I might get the opportunity. I've spent the last 18 months
working on film projects, just finished a stint working
with Peter David (as his editor) on Gene Roddenberry's "Starpoint
Academy" for IDT Entertainment and I've adapted Dave
Cockrum's Futurians for the screen, also for IDT.
McCaw: I'm a big Futurians fan. That's cool to
Cliff Meth: Well, one can only hope it will actually
get made. But the screenplay is done.
I've updated it, somewhat -- the dialogue to closer to the
way I write than Dave's original graphic novel, but the
plot was his, with some twists. I added a romance.
McCaw: You've collected artist friends. You have
people like Steranko working on your projects. Is there
anyone you're dying to hook up with that you haven't yet?
Meth: Mark Texeira. We talk about it, but when
we get together, we end up getting drunk. His fault. Not
turned down by (Steve) Ditko. Everyone else has said yes.
McCaw: What did you want Ditko to do?
Meth: A story. A cover. Anything. And money was
no issue--Jim Reeber (Aardwolf's publisher) was delighted
to pay Ditko's price, but Steve didn't like my stories.
Said they were too negative. That was ten years
I've been very lucky. I've had covers by Joe Kubert, Gray
Morrow, Michael Kaluta, Mike Ploog, Dave Cockrum, Joe Linsner,
Gene Colan, illustrations by Alex Toth, Marie Severin.
that I never asked John Buscema. We had a nice friendship.
He was close with the Cockrums (who I'm very close with)
and Marie Severin (ditto) and he did some art for me that
hangs in my home, but I never asked him to illustrate a
it's luck as the gracious Meth would have it, or the Americanized
concept of karma, the energetic writer continues getting
the best in the business to collaborate with him on his
flights of dark fancy.
has a cover price of $14.95, and Aardwolf Publishing offers
all of Cliff's books (and possibly all their output -- but
don't quote us) with a money-back guarantee. As Meth himself
asked, "how's that for confidence?"