Sci-fi warriors immersed in an inter-galactic world of sex, violence, and politics. No, this isn’t the next creator-owned title from an independent publisher, it's GWAR the theatric heavy metal band, whose sound originated from the heyday of the 1980s metal scene
The long-running band are now leaping from the music stage to the comic book page and asking for help via Kickstarter to do it (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattminer/gwar-orgasmageddon-the-scumdogs-conquer-comics).
GWAR: Orgasmageddon is overseen and co-written by Matt Miner - himself no stranger to rock star comic books, having worked on the successfully crowd-sourced Toe Tag Riot, which featured Fall Out Boy’s Andy Hurley and My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way. Joining Miner are artists Jonathan Brandon Sawyer and Marissa Louise.
With the Kickstarter for their five-issue mini-series underway, Newsarama sat down to talk with Miner, Sawyer, as well as members of the band, to discuss their goals for the project – and possible pitfalls should it fail to succeed!
Newsarama: Let’s jump right in: What brings GWAR to comic books - and how did you, Matt, get involved?
Matt Miner: Well, I've been a fan of GWAR since I was 16 years old, and I always loved their ability to make me smile and remind me not to take the world quite so seriously. There's a lot of heavy stuff going on in the country right now, and being able to escape into a world of alien dicks and blood spray and social satire is my happy place. Last year I took a trip to Richmond to meet with Matt Maguire, whose alter-ego is GWAR's Sawborg Destructo, and we took it from there.
Matt Maguire: Our friend Justin Laughter introduced us, Matt and I hit it off, and now we are going to make a kick ass comic. 'Nuff said.
Nrama: The mythos of the band does seem to lend itself to some of comic books’ more outlandish sci-fi action stories.
Maguire: Comics have been a big part of my life - when I learned how to draw the first things I did were comics. My interests ranged from 2000AD to most Marvel and DC titles, Japanese manga, and underground comics - but Jack Kirby finished off my sweet young mind. GWAR has always had part of its foundation in comics and most of us read comics . We started making comics to tell the stories that we couldn't tell on stage or in video. It was a good way to get the rest of the mythos across that the music alone could not.
Bob Gorman: I have always been a comic book geek. When I was little, it was Marvel. Later, when I discovered Swamp Thing, it led me to whole DC occult line. That, in turn, led me to underground comics. Swamp Thing and then Kirby's Pacific Comics line, got me looking for even weirder stuff. That's when I got into Zap, Weirdo, Slow Death and all sorts of super weird comix.
Nrama: But why take this to Kickstarter? With your name recognition and fanbase, wouldn’t a more established publisher be the expected route to go?
Maguire: If you want clean fun, go read the Teletubbies take Manhattan or something. GWAR is gritty and in your face, and we give you all the sick fun you can handle and more.
Gorman: GWAR is still too wild for most publishers. We have to do this comic our way, just like everything else. And it will be better because of that.
Miner: The simple answer is money for page rates and the creation of rewards like T-shirts and prints. Nobody in GWAR or on the comic side is wealthy, and while we do have a publisher lined up who's gonna let us do the book the way we want, we have to pay for the art costs ourselves. I wanted to be sure that everyone in the art team could afford to keep their lights on and feed their cats, so we budgeted modest but decent page rates for folks.
And hey, Teletubbies take Manhattan sounds rad! I thought I remembered reading once upon a time that Teletubbies started off as a silly, but ultra-violent, mockery of British government. But years later I can't find that original episode where the Noo Noo (that vacuum monster) goes into a sadistic rage and kills Po, the red Teletubby. Maybe I made that up in my head. Before I got sober, I used to do a lot of drugs in the late 90s and watch Teletubbies. True story.
Nrama: Jonathan, let's bring you in. What was it about working on GWAR: Orgasmageddon that you couldn’t resist?
Jonathan Brandon Sawyer: Well, when GWAR wants you to draw a GWAR comic, you just can’t turn that down. Really, you can’t. I mean, they brutally murder their own fans, people who pay to see them, so I don’t want to find out what they’d do to me if I said I wouldn’t draw their comic.
Fortunately, drawing GWAR is something I’m excited about, so aside from self-preservation, there are a lot of other factors that drew me to the project. Music and comics have been equally influential in my life, so something like this is a natural fit for me. I knew it would be fun to draw because GWAR’s mythos is filled with a variety of interesting characters with designs inspired by everything from Dungeons & Dragons to Jack Kirby. Plus, Matt Miner is one of my favorite guys to work with, and he’s the biggest GWAR fan I know. There’s not a writer in comics that’s better suited to write a GWAR comic than Matt.
Nrama: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact you have Brendan Wright on board as well, serving as the editor for the project. Brendan, can you tell us why this was a “can’t miss” project for you?
Brendan Wright: Part of it was simply that Matt and I have been trying to find a project to work on together for some time now, and we decided to stop asking for permission. I’ve also been blown away by Jonathan’s work on Critical Hit, We(l)come Back, and elsewhere. And, really, as soon as Matt pitched me on the level of depravity we’d get to unleash on comics readers, I was in. Part of what I love about comics is what you can get away with when no one’s looking, which is the sensibility that I brought to editing Grindhouse and others at Dark Horse and Mayday at Image, and now to GWAR: Orgasmaggedon. GWAR’s aesthetic is a perfect fit for my taste in underground art and extreme genre work, so I’m having the time of my life with the material.
Nrama: In watching the video for the Kickstarter, however, I was a little worried about you guys! Most of the time, creators just tell possible backers about the project, rewards, and maybe some backstory. Matt and Jonathan, I notice... you were a little less talkative and a little more… tied up?
Miner: Yeah, it's pretty messed up, I agree You'd have to talk to Sawborg Destructo, one of GWAR's longtime nemeses, about all that. He's doing everything he can to stop the comic from being made because he looks like a jerk in it, but if we raise the dough on Kickstarter, GWAR will come save us. Our Kickstarter video destroys all others and should be viewed on repeat with your eyes propped open like Alex in A Clockwork Orange.
Sawborg Destructo: These two meatbags are trying the spread the word of GWAR - Unforgivable! These Scumdogs should be at the Masters side, not taking part in some funny book! I will use my brain meat to come up with a clever way to deal with the monkey boys, Matt and Jonathan.
Sawyer: Yeah, it sucked pretty bad for a few days there, but he’s been a little preoccupied with battling GWAR lately. The security he’s got watching us now has been nice enough to give us occasional internet access for interviews. Shout out to Big D and Frank!
Miner: You and big D. Always with the big D. [laughs]
Nrama: Assuming you guys make it out okay, what rewards are you most excited to get out to backers – especially since it means you’ll have made it out what appeared to be a rather compromising situation?
Miner: I'm stoked the band donated so many cool signed props and gig posters and original art, but what I'm most excited about getting out the door to backers and to comic shops is the comic itself. This is a dream project for me and I can't wait until it's a real thing I'm holding in my hands.
Sawyer: Well, of course, the comic itself, like Matt said. Aside from that, I’m also stoked about the exclusive GWAR shirts. Band shirts are such a big part of metal and punk music and having the opportunity to design not just one but two GWAR shirts is such an honor.
Nrama: As we wrap things up here, what do you suppose the likelihood would be our seeing GWAR back in the pages of a comic book down the road? Will the band reunite and go back on tour for a second mini-series?
Sawborg Destructo: I will make sure we will be far away from Earth before these puny humans can make this comic, heaping praise on these Scumdogs and making their big fat egos bigger than they already are. And besides, after I take them back to space you will all be destroyed … so no comic for you!!
Bonesnapper The Cave Troll: Bonesnapper will never unite with Sawborg! He suuuuucks! More funnybooks, yes.