Sometimes I wish I could run two interviews in a week, but that’s not always possible. Last week marked the release of The Complete Major Bummer Super Slacktacular, a Dark Horse published collection that features writer John Arcudi and artist Doug Mahnke’s co-creation Major Bummer (a 15-issue comedic series that ran from 1997-1998, originally published by DC Comics). This interview was lined up months ago, yet delayed on my end. Then I suddenly realized last week that the Major Bummer collection was due to be released. After a hastily compiled apology note to Arcudi, we quickly conducted this email interview (for which I am grateful to Arcudi). As described by Dark Horse: “Lou Martin’s just gained incredible superpowers! Too bad all he wants to do is stay firmly planted on the couch. But an alien got Lewis Martin, slacker extraordinaire, and Martin Lewis, promising young lawyer, confused and sent an Extreme Enhancement Module to the wrong guy, and now Lou’s got superheroes trying to get him to . . . ugh . . . contribute to society–and outlandish super villains, monsters, and aliens are out to take him down!” This series is a damn funny body of work that has both Arcudi and Mahnke firing on all cylinders. Don’t take my word for it, consider Comics Should Be Good’s Greg Burgas 2010 post from his Comics You Should Own series. I genuinely hope that this collection sells so well, that Arcudi and Mahnke get to explore the possibility of developing new Major Bummer stories. If you were a fan of the series, please do me a favor in the comments section and chime in with your thoughts on it.
Tim O’Shea: Back in 1997, what prompted you and artist/co-creator Doug Mahnke to pitch your creator-owned idea to DC–and how was it that you were able to negotiate a deal that allowed the rights of the series to eventually revert back to you?
John Arcudi: Captain Slackass (the original name) was an idea that I had come up with a few years earlier. When Peter Tomasi up at DC asked me to submit a few series ideas to him, I tossed that one in as a lark thinking “They’ll never go for this.” As to the rights, it was a standard element of the DC creator owned contract back then. They needed to continue to exploit the property in some way after publication had ceased, or compensate us, or return it. No special negotiation skills were required.