…How much of an influence did The Crypt-Keeper from Tales of the Crypt have on Babalon's narrator Ed Van Satan? Well, having grown up on a pretty heavy diet of EC Comics reprints, not to mention Creepshow and so forth, the Crypt Keeper as narrator trope is definitely a touchstone. With that in mind, though, Ed is definitely intended to be an undead gene-splicing of Bon Scott and Lemmy Kilmister (who’s hanging on for the time being, touch wood). I won’t give away his back story, but will say the vintage ads presented in the middle of the first instalment are significant… Christian and I will be returning to Babalön in THREE with secret origins, cosmic shenanigans and rug pulls ahoy!
HBVB #1 has a strong thematic POV throughout. Was that dictated more by the editors or the writers/ artists?
My initial pitch to the team was to embrace the attitude and spirit of Ozploitaiton cinema and the wry, shit-stirring aspect of our national identity. Outside of that, I very much left the crew to their devices to explore their ideas as they saw fit. We share a pretty common sensibility and sense of humour, especially in terms of pushing our rabble rousing, agents provocateur agenda. TWO definitely takes the initial brief and twists it a bit more: we’re embracing a more equitable combination of straight up journalism, commentary, prose and satire in amongst the breakneck (not to mention hyper-visceral and none-more-ribald) sequential material.
Formative comedy hero Tony Martin has also very generously provided us an intro in-character as Warren Perso, his ‘Last Aussie Auteur’ character from The Late Show, which really helps set the tone in terms of what we’re looking to achieve in this and future issues.
What stories (apart from your own) are you particularly fond of?
Oh ho HO.
This isn’t even hedging my bets in the slightest: absolutely everyone has brought their platinum triple A-games.
These are precisely the sorts of tales I’m into, running the gamut of genres, styles and approaches.
From the lysergic battering ram of Dr Radium’s gonzo head trips to the evocative brushwork of Matty Huynh and all points in between, I’m one hundred per cent into the crew’s stories (otherwise they’d be in some other anthology…).
TWO’s going to be booting that door even wider open- I’m not going to spoil anything, but prepare to have your eyeballs fisted and delicate sensibilities contorted from the very first page.
What are your aspirations for HBVB?
The primary goal for Home Brew Vampire Bullets is, at present, to continue to raise the anthology’s profile as a home to the cream of Aussie talent across the gamut of creative disciplines, and also as a provocative voice in this grim, arid political and mainstream media environment.
We’re definitely into the collective notion of holding some feet to the fire and upturning sacred cows wherever we encounter them- it’s definitely a satisfying thing to be able to provide a forum to give voice to considered, comprehensive discussions of the issues that bubble up out of the zeitgeist and inform the culture.
I’ve got a wish list that stretches out ’til December’s FOUR, at this stage, hopefully incorporating some pretty left (and right) field additions to our list of contributors. Further defining the project as a nexus between our diverse interests and concerns, somewhere between Oz Magazine and National Lampoon with a healthy injection of Epic Illustrated and the like is also at the forefront of the ongoing agenda.
With the momentum we’ve built thus far, THREE is filling up very quickly indeed, and we’re eyeing some ideas for events and parallel publications in the second half of the year.
And then there’s the anthology telly show we half-jokingly mooted at the pub one night, and the notion of a music festival/ exhibition incident down the line…
How do you see the current state of independent comics/ Australian independent comics? What are you enjoying?
It’s certainly true that the scene is in pretty rude health. Having been involved, mostly tangentially, for the last decade or so, it’s definitely clear that digital distribution and the ever increasing ability to pimp one’s wares mercilessly online has democratised production and output in a major way.
As I mentioned, I’ve only been operating on the fringe of ‘the scene’, but as Home Brew Vampire Bullets has taken shape I’ve been gratified to be exposed to the sublime work of people like Louie Joyce, Sam Jacobin, Spae, Andrew Isaac, Lashna Tuschewski, Kate Moon, the Gestalt gang (more Eldritch Kid would be good, thanks), Tim Molloy, Erin Hunting, Andrew Fulton, Tristan Jones (and the list goes on).
Then, of course, there’re old friends and collaborators like Matt Huynh, Tsunami Hee Ja, Dean Rankine, Brett Burns, Dillon Naylor, Jase Harper and so on (and on)- could it be any coincidence at all that pretty much everyone whose work I’ve been digging is on the HBVB wish list…?
Stay tuned for Part three of our chat with Garth – coming soon!