In the Wasteland: Interview with Victor Gischler

This week Capeless Crusader’s Lindsey Bass caught up with writer Victor Gischler (Clown Fatale, Noir) and talked with him about his latest upcoming project Sally of the Wasteland from Titan Comics.

Lindsey Bass: You mention radiation zones pretty early in the book and it appears to be a post-apocalyptic society. Can you give us some background on what led up to this?

Victor GischlerVictor Gischler: You know, it’s funny, but a number of people have asked that. To me, it’s really not all that important. Civilization fell, and now our characters find themselves in a post-apocalyptic setting. But I should have known people would be curious. It’s enough to know this: 82 years ago, some political spark went off, some international incident went too far, and then the nukes fell. Also some chemical and biological weapons too, but mostly we’re talking Atom Bombs! (I like saying “atom bombs” better than saying “nuclear weapons” because it sounds more B-Movie.)  The result is that mutant monsters litter the landscape. As you can guess, we play science rather loose in a book like SALLY.

LB: I can imagine that aspect would get a lot of attention. Countries having access to weapons of mass destruction is a concern that many people have today. Sally comes off as a relatable character, aside from her situation. I’m a fan of strong female characters in comics and think we need more of them. When writing about her were you trying to appeal to a female audience?

VG: I am vaguely aware that it’s a good idea for a cast of characters to represent a variety of races and both genders—not for any political/social reason, but simply because it’s more interesting. That this book would have a female protagonist was more a gut notion that a calculated decision. It just didn’t strike me as all that exciting we’d follow some strapping, square-jawed male hero through the adventures of the mini. Also, Tazio is pretty darn good at drawing women, so that makes me want to give him more to draw.

LB: I will agree. He does draw women well. I’ve seen many artists draw women that aren’t proportioned correctly.

VG: Tazio has the ability to draw quite a range—from very realistic to very fanciful. Anything can work in the proper context. I’ll be interested in hearing your opinion on some of the art in the next issue, which I personally think is outstanding.

LB: I’m excited to read the next issue. I plan on adding it to my pull when I go into work tomorrow. I have to know what happens to Sally and the others.

VG: Haha. Thanks. I’m hoping all readers feel the same way.

LB: The post-apocalyptic theme appeals to a lot of people, so I’m sure others will enjoy it. You left us with a great cliffhanger in the first issue too.

VG: Yeah, I guess that’s comic book writing 101, eh? Hook the reader into coming back for the next issue. Haha.

My intention was that SALLY would always have a real out of the frying pan, into the fire feel about it. So yeah, most issues will have a similar ending.

LB: Jai Nitz said I should ask you about grilling, beer, and Disney World. When we meet Sally she’s working in a bar. Do they grill up and serve the mutated animals? Also, where are they getting the beer that they serve? I can’t imagine any large breweries running at this point.

VG: Jai Nitz is a scallywag! He said it was the mess boys who ate the strawberries, but I know it was HIM!

Yeah, in a post-apocalyptic world grilled mutated river catfish and rat jerky are gourmet meals. You can’t turn up your nose at anything. Most of the brew is made out back. No Coors Light at the end of civilization.

LB: I’ll have to ask Jai for that story. Haha. I think it’s safe to say a lot of people wouldn’t survive in the world you’ve created; it’s definitely survival of the fittest.

VG: Well, there’s no story really. Jai is a good egg.

Yeah, it’s a tough world Sally lives in. The village of Red Stick is relatively peaceful, so for Sally to decide she wants to join the expedition to the lost city of New Orleans really says things about her motivation.

LB: Absolutely. You have Sally venturing out into dangerous territory. That speaks volumes about her character.

VG: And it’s not for greed like some other characters but for love—even if it is Sally’s sort of crazy version of love—which actually might be more pure than what a lot of other people experience.

LB: In that society greed would be a driving force. Sally is unique in that love is her motivation. Do you think that makes her fearless or is she simply terrified of losing someone important?

VG: There are times that Sally doesn’t seem to understand the danger she’s in; it’s a kind of bravery but also sort of having a screw loose.

I wanted our protagonist to be sympathetic but also … “off.” We empathize because we can feel here feelings, but she’s not really like us, not totally, so we can’t always predict what she’s going to do.

Also, a protagonist who is a bit loony is just more fun.

LB: Without being a little bit crazy she’d be boring and predictable. She would have stayed home and there would be no story to tell.

VG: I’m hoping this arc does well and I can turn crazy up half a notch and take Sally to new places. We’ll see. For now, I’m pretty proud of how this mini is turning out.

LB: Well, I wish you luck. I know I’ll be following the story and recommending it to others.

VG: Thanks!

LB: You’re welcome.

Big thanks to Victor Gischler for speaking with us, and be sure to check out Sally of the Wasteland, in stores now!

Lindsey Bass

It has been said that Fraction and Zdarsky's Sex Criminals: Just the Tips was based on my personal life. Harley Quinn is my spirit animal. I'm not sure what all of this actually says about me as a person.

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