Andy Khouri gives me the Channel Zero interview I’d been waiting for, and also gets more out of me re: my “bleeding” essay from last week. I enjoyed the hell out of this.
CA: One of the things that people took notice of when Channel Zero was originally released (and rereleased) was its strong zine vibe. Here was this professionally published comic with a sophisticated narrative that was seemingly created in a method us kids could comprehend. I think it’s safe to say CZ inspired a lot of people in that way, making “making comics” seem like something demystified and attainable. I recall a distinct sense of community around this book in the comics scene, don’t you?
BW: One mistake that is often made is for this book, and for me, to be labeled as a product of the [Warren Ellis Forum, a heavily trafficked comics advocacy/criticism/meme discussion board that ran from 1998 to late 2002] when the reality is that Warren and I connected, I believe, before the WEF started. I forget exactly when, but it was early enough that I was able to get a pull-quote from him to run on the cover of Channel Zero #2, which was released around April of 1998 [by Image Comics]. I started my own Delphi forum right around the time the WEF was born. But I was very active on the WEF, and most people who read CZ were, like you, reading the 2000 [trade paperback] edition from AIT.
And CZ had that strong zine vibe because that’s exactly how I created it. I didn’t own a computer. I used ink, paper, glue sticks, and a lot of blackmarket Kinko’s copy cards (I had friends on the inside). I eventually bought my own desktop photocopier, which changed my world. But by that point I had a lot of experience in making photocopied minicomics… we all did, that was what you did… and there was no other way I could have approached the making of Channel Zero at the time. Looking back, I’m struck at how easy it was: you make your marks on paper, paste it up, run off copies, and staple it. The end product is rough, sure, but there is no way that is harder than doing it all digitally. You just need the tools, and space. I guess you need a lot of space for that. It’s messy.
Not to sound old and overly nostalgic, but that was just a magical time for me, where I felt more creativity and freedom in a single day than I do in a week or a month now.