"Gotham's" Cory Michael Smith Savors the Arrival of the Riddler
Brian Clevinger first came to my attention with Atomic Robo and I’ve been a big fan ever since. Anyone who writes dialogue like “I beat them with my violence” is aces with me.
Of course, by the time Atomic Robo came to town, Clevinger was already a familiar name to fans of his award-winning webcomic 8-Bit Theater. And he’s becoming known to even more folks with his Marvel work. He wrote the back-up stories for World War Hulks: Wolverine vs. Captain America as well as the mini-series that features a space trucker and the line, “Doom does not mop”: Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet. And starting next month, he’ll be writing the WWII adventures of Captain America in Captain America: The Fighting Avenger.
Let’s get to know him:
Q: Who’s your personal hero?
A: My grandfather is an obvious choice. My parents too. They’re good people.
Q: What’s your morning routine?
A: First Charlie wakes me up 10 seconds before my alarm goes off. It looks like this. Then my alarm goes off. Then I feed the damn cats, start some coffee, check my email, skim Twitter, poke at a couple websites, and get to work.
Q: What’s your favorite item of clothing?
A: Right now I’m loving this new hoodie I got. There’s nothing special about it. No design, not even an interesting color. But it’s WARM. I’m a Florida boy what moved to Virginia in the middle of the coldest winter they’ve had in thirty years. And with Winter looming in the near future, me and that hoodie are gonna be good friends.
Q: What do you always have with you?
A: My fancy phone!
Q: What’s always in your refrigerator?
A: The basic ingredients for a great sandwich: smoked turkey, smoked ham, roast beef, some kinda cheese, locally grown hydroponic lettuce, and spicy mustard. Also Dr. Pepper. That doesn’t go on the sandwich though. Not on purpose anyway.
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: Whatever’s on my plate. I never get tired of Chinese food though. Or tacos. Not together though. Not on purpose anyway.
Q: What’s your fitness routine?
A: I sit down writing comics all day.
Q: What superstitions do you have?
A: I wear Spider-Man boxers every time I travel.
Q: What do you do to procrastinate?
A: I kind of don’t. It’s weird. Y’know how in school you’d stay up all night to finish a big project or paper or whatever? Yeah, I don’t. ‘Cause I never did. I have this deadline paranoia that drives me to getting things done ahead of schedule. Usually WAAAAY ahead of schedule.
Q: What’s your biggest self-indulgence or guilty pleasure?
A: I play video games and faff around on the internet. If I’m feeling particularly saucy I’ll get a Twix bar.
Q: What gadget can’t you live without?
A: My fancy phone. WHAT IF SOMEONE EMAILED ME WHILE I WAS OUT AND IT TOOK LIKE AN HOUR TO GET IT AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH
Q: What’s your most prized possession?
A: My laptop. I do all my work on it, so this sees a lot of action. I loves it.
Q: What kind of vehicle do you drive?
A: 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Just paid it off earlier today!
Q: What’s your next big purchase going to be?
A: Kinda thinking about trading in the Eclipse for a Mini now that we live in a city with tiny roads and cramped parking.
Q: What’s your favorite place in your home?
A: The bed. But that’s entirely the fault of these new covers. They’re so comfortable I think there’s a solid case to be made they’re the work of the devil.
Q: What’s your greatest artistic strength?
A: I’m not too terrible with fun dialog.
Q: What’s your greatest artistic weakness?
A: I’m pretty terrible at everything else.
Q: Do you play a musical instrument?
A: Only insofar as Rock Band counts.
Q: What talent do you covet?
A: I secretly hate everyone who can draw. That’s xxxtreme coveting.
Q: What’s your best memento from your work?
A: The original art from Atomic Robo that Scott was kind enough to give me.
Q: What household chore do you absolutely hate to do?
A: Unloading the dishwasher. Which is very odd because I don’t mind doing the dishes themselves. But unloading that thing? BAH!
Q: What obsolete item can you not part with?
A: Does my NeoGeo emulator count? It’s not even a recent version. Damn thing must be at least five years old by now, so it’s Obsolete x2.
Q: What’s the best recent gift you’ve received?
A: Got some swank pants for Christmas. There’s no story here. I just likes ‘em!
Q: What’s your retreat?
A: Soon as I take a day off I’ll let you know.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Historical esoterica. Which sounds a little like “historical erotica” but only occasionally is.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: It’s strange, but I don’t know. I have a habit of turning my hobbies into my job. Like, I spent the other day going over Project: Orion. Again. Because I love Big Science stuff and Weird History, especially in the 20th century. But it’s also for Atomic Robo. Was that hobby time or was that work time?
Q: What movie have you seen more than any other?
A: The original Star Wars trilogy and Ghostbusters.
Q: What book have you read more than any other?
A: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Q: What are you always asked at parties?
A: After they ask me what I do, and after I tell them, “I write comics,” the very next thing they ask is if I do the art too. And then when I say “No” the very next thing they ask is if I write what happens in the panels and stuff. I’m assured by my artist friends that they go through a similar routine, but with “art” and “write” reversed.
Q: What’s your evening routine?
A: At some point I put the damn laptop away and then goof around in a video game or watch a movie with my special lady friend.
Q: What do you always have at your bedside?
A: My fancy phone so it can wake me up ten seconds after the cat does.
Q: What do you obsess over?
A: You may have noticed that “my work” features heavily in these answers.
Q: What’s your travel routine?
A: I try to pack up the night before so I can hit the road as early as possible. Also the Spider-Man boxers.
Q: What’s the worst thing about traveling?
A: The time it takes. Can someone explain to me how a three hour flight eats up about twenty hours of work time?
Q: Which historical figure would you most like to meet?
A: ANSWER OVERLOAD.
Q: What’s the greatest misconception about your life?
A: Most people I know with “real” jobs have no idea what working at home is like. I guess because they associate “home” with “relaxing” or with “getting away from it all” they think it’s getting paid to sit around in pajamas eating ice cream all day.
Which is just stupid. You’ve got to supplement that with cookies.
Q: What are you going to work on tomorrow?
A: Wrapped up my latest Captain America issue this evening, so tomorrow I’m moving on to outlining an unrelated Marvel one-shot I’ve got to write up next week.