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Mon, November 1st, 1999 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Gail Simone, Guest Contributor

A Wizard Magazine Interview with Alex Ross

Alex Ross is a renaissance man, as long as that means

"Paints real good". He invited us up to his big,

very clean house to discuss his current and present

projects, as well as the ones he's working on right

now. We expected Alex to look exactly like Superman

from Kingdom Come, and were a bit surprised when he

turned out to look more like Shelly Duvall in the

Shining. He greeted us with a hearty handshake and

then hid our car keys for some reason...

WIZARD: First, Alex, Mr. Ross, I mean, Alex Ross...Is

Mr. Ross better? Is Alex okay? Can I call you Alex? Okay?

Alex, let me just say that we want to thank you for

granting this exclusive interview to Wizard, and we

ESPECIALLY appreciate this beautiful photo-realistic

cover painting you've done for us...

ROSS: (Leaning in and grinning) Do you know

who it is?

WIZARD: Well, it SEEMS to be a sort of--it's some kind

of oddly shaped...

ROSS: (Interrupts gleefully,) It's Mr. Peanut!

(claps hands, stomps feet)

WIZARD: OH! The Planter's mascot? Well, yes...I can

sort of make out the top hat and monoc...

ROSS: (Cackling) It's my interpretation of

what Mr. Peanut would be like after society breaks

down! Look, his cane has Bjork's HEAD on it!

WIZARD: I got the Bjork head thing right away! I know

Bjork's head from Marvels. Her head was also in

Marvels, I mean.

ROSS: (Ignoring interviewer...) Marvels was my

idea. PLUS, I used my OWN FACE as a model for Mr.

Peanut! Right here (points to bottom left

corner) are the Banana Splits reflected in a

mirror. If they were part insect, anyway!

WIZARD: That's awesome, Alex!

ROSS: I have this whole thing in my head about Mr.

Peanut and what would happen to him after everything

he believes in, namely peanuts, is destroyed. I

started thinking about what that would DO to Mr.

Peanut-how it would change him, INSIDE. So I did this

photo-realistic painting. He's just sort of lonely

looking here, see? Maybe that's cause I used my own

face as a model. Anyway. I like peanuts. I don't like

most vegetables, but I like peanuts.

WIZARD: Righteous, Alex! But I think peanuts are

legumes or something. I don't think they're

vegetables.

ROSS: (Blank stare...)

WIZARD: Um. I mean, peanuts are vegetables.

ROSS: (Brightens visibly) I suppose I should

eat more vegetables. My father, who is my guiding

light, says I need to get out more and meet some

girls. Priority one, he calls it.

WIZARD: Girls? EWWW!

ROSS: Anyway, after I decided on Mr. Peanut, the whole

concept sort of just fell together. Then I added more

robots. I'm shopping this idea around, but I want to

maintain creative control of PEANUTAGEDDON.

WIZARD: Wow! So, in a way, it's like Kingdom Come?

ROSS: (Scowling) I won't talk about Kingdom

Come. But it was my idea.

WIZARD: Oka...

ROSS: (Spitting...hair standing straight out from

head in cartoon fashion) Listen, Kingdom Come

was my photo-realistic series idea using characters I

came up with that other people created before I did.

But it was very clearly MY IDEA to put them in

costumes from movies and stuff that I've seen and

enjoyed and to give a bunch of them Elvis clothes.

When SOMEONE ELSE used those same characters with the

Elvis clothes, they were stealing MY idea. It's theft,

pure and simple. (starts weeping openly...)

It's like they took my babies and boiled them in some

sort of horrible soup...

WIZARD: Let's talk about something else...

ROSS: Some sort of horrible superhero soup--hey,

that's not a bad idea for an apocalyptic series! SOUP

X!

WIZARD: (Mind is blown by the genius of the

visionary Alex Ross...)

ROSS: (Makes rapid change back to manic...)

Plus, no one ELSE should be allowed to use those

characters! When I see a Superman comic now, I usually

like to paint a photo-realistic copyright@Alex Ross

notice on it. I have a brush I carry around with me. I

named it "EISNER".

WIZARD: EXTREME, Alex! Now, I'm not one given to

hyperbole, but in my estimation, your painting is the

best I've ever seen. I can honestly say that you're

the greatest artist in the history of artists. I've

never seen better designs on people, I've never seen a

better balance between the mystical aspect and the

human aspect and the mechanical aspects. And other

aspects that I like. How did you get to be so great?

ROSS: Wow .... you're tough, but fair! I had no idea

I'd be put on the hotseat like this, but I'll try to

answer your hardball question honestly.

WIZARD: (Confused by the sports reference...)

ROSS: Um...

WIZARD: (Thinking up funny captions about farts

for the accompanying photos...)

ROSS: It was my idea to have the "S" symbol be black

instead of yellow.

WIZARD: Wow, you ARE great! Now, about your future

work...any chance we'll again see your photo-realistic

art on some more superhero projects someday, I hope I

hope?

ROSS: WOAH! Twist my arm! You really don't pull any

punches, do you? Yes, yes, I might as well let the cat

out of the bag and admit that I'm doing

photo-realistic covers for Green Lantern, Pokemon,

Shi,

Spider-Man, Bitchy Bitch, Scary Godmother, Team

America, Batman Vs. Everybody, Groo, Authority, Thor,

Star Wars, Appleseed, Tom Strong, Promethea, Top Ten,

Swamp Thing, Night Nurse, Top Dog, Strange

Adventures, and Nightwing. Painting

Pokemon is like a dream come true for me. Pikachu is

one of the archetypes-a big fluffy ball, at least I

think that's what he is. I'm not sure. Plus I

doodled a picture of a kitty on a scrap of a napkin at

the bar where I sometimes go to drink and cry.

Wildstorm just optioned it.

WIZARD: That is SO AWESOME!

ROSS: Plus, I'm doing the photo-realistic covers for

the following upcoming EXTREME comics, all brand-new

concepts I helped tweak: THE BAT, QUICK, EMERALD

RING, PRINCESS WONDER, THE HAWK, and STUPENDOR, who

frankly, is a bit of a rip-off of Supreme. Which was

my idea.

WIZARD: Well, I should be going.

ROSS: (Quietly...) ... You can stay here, if

you want.

WIZARD: Excuse me?

ROSS: Nothing.

WIZARD: I thought you said something.

ROSS: No.

WIZARD: It sounded like you said I could stay here?

ROSS: ...I have eight bedrooms.

WIZARD: Pardon me?

ROSS: Nothing.

WIZARD: No, I definitely heard it this time...

ROSS: I have cable and a Playstation.

WIZARD: I'm sorry, I have to get back home. To my

mother.

ROSS: Go get her. I'll buy you guys a car if you'll

be my friends.

WIZARD: Are you serious?

ROSS: I'm so alone. (Begins weeping...)

WIZARD: AWESOME!!!

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