Alex Ross is a renaissance man, as long as that means
"Paints real good". He invited us up to his big,
very clean house to discuss his current and present
projects, as well as the ones he's working on right
now. We expected Alex to look exactly like Superman
from Kingdom Come, and were a bit surprised when he
turned out to look more like Shelly Duvall in the
Shining. He greeted us with a hearty handshake and
then hid our car keys for some reason...
WIZARD: First, Alex, Mr. Ross, I mean, Alex Ross...Is
Mr. Ross better? Is Alex okay? Can I call you Alex? Okay?
Alex, let me just say that we want to thank you for
granting this exclusive interview to Wizard, and we
ESPECIALLY appreciate this beautiful photo-realistic
cover painting you've done for us...
ROSS: (Leaning in and grinning) Do you know
who it is?
WIZARD: Well, it SEEMS to be a sort of--it's some kind
of oddly shaped...
ROSS: (Interrupts gleefully,) It's Mr. Peanut!
(claps hands, stomps feet)
WIZARD: OH! The Planter's mascot? Well, yes...I can
sort of make out the top hat and monoc...
ROSS: (Cackling) It's my interpretation of
what Mr. Peanut would be like after society breaksdown! Look, his cane has Bjork's HEAD on it!
WIZARD: I got the Bjork head thing right away! I know
Bjork's head from Marvels. Her head was also inMarvels, I mean.
ROSS: (Ignoring interviewer...) Marvels was my
idea. PLUS, I used my OWN FACE as a model for Mr.
Peanut! Right here (points to bottom left
corner) are the Banana Splits reflected in amirror. If they were part insect, anyway!
WIZARD: That's awesome, Alex!
ROSS: I have this whole thing in my head about Mr.
Peanut and what would happen to him after everything
he believes in, namely peanuts, is destroyed. I
started thinking about what that would DO to Mr.
Peanut-how it would change him, INSIDE. So I did this
photo-realistic painting. He's just sort of lonely
looking here, see? Maybe that's cause I used my own
face as a model. Anyway. I like peanuts. I don't likemost vegetables, but I like peanuts.
WIZARD: Righteous, Alex! But I think peanuts are
legumes or something. I don't think they'revegetables.
ROSS: (Blank stare...)
WIZARD: Um. I mean, peanuts are vegetables.
ROSS: (Brightens visibly) I suppose I should
eat more vegetables. My father, who is my guiding
light, says I need to get out more and meet somegirls. Priority one, he calls it.
WIZARD: Girls? EWWW!
ROSS: Anyway, after I decided on Mr. Peanut, the whole
concept sort of just fell together. Then I added more
robots. I'm shopping this idea around, but I want tomaintain creative control of PEANUTAGEDDON.
WIZARD: Wow! So, in a way, it's like Kingdom Come?
ROSS: (Scowling) I won't talk about Kingdom Come. But it was my idea.
ROSS: (Spitting...hair standing straight out from
head in cartoon fashion) Listen, Kingdom Come
was my photo-realistic series idea using characters I
came up with that other people created before I did.
But it was very clearly MY IDEA to put them in
costumes from movies and stuff that I've seen and
enjoyed and to give a bunch of them Elvis clothes.
When SOMEONE ELSE used those same characters with the
Elvis clothes, they were stealing MY idea. It's theft,
pure and simple. (starts weeping openly...)
It's like they took my babies and boiled them in somesort of horrible soup...
WIZARD: Let's talk about something else...
ROSS: Some sort of horrible superhero soup--hey,
that's not a bad idea for an apocalyptic series! SOUPX!
WIZARD: (Mind is blown by the genius of the visionary Alex Ross...)
ROSS: (Makes rapid change back to manic...)
Plus, no one ELSE should be allowed to use those
characters! When I see a Superman comic now, I usually
like to paint a photo-realistic copyright@Alex Ross
notice on it. I have a brush I carry around with me. Inamed it "EISNER".
WIZARD: EXTREME, Alex! Now, I'm not one given to
hyperbole, but in my estimation, your painting is the
best I've ever seen. I can honestly say that you're
the greatest artist in the history of artists. I've
never seen better designs on people, I've never seen a
better balance between the mystical aspect and the
human aspect and the mechanical aspects. And otheraspects that I like. How did you get to be so great?
ROSS: Wow .... you're tough, but fair! I had no idea
I'd be put on the hotseat like this, but I'll try toanswer your hardball question honestly.
WIZARD: (Confused by the sports reference...)
WIZARD: (Thinking up funny captions about farts for the accompanying photos...)
ROSS: It was my idea to have the "S" symbol be black instead of yellow.
WIZARD: Wow, you ARE great! Now, about your future
work...any chance we'll again see your photo-realistic
art on some more superhero projects someday, I hope Ihope?
ROSS: WOAH! Twist my arm! You really don't pull any
punches, do you? Yes, yes, I might as well let the cat
out of the bag and admit that I'm doing
photo-realistic covers for Green Lantern, Pokemon,
Spider-Man, Bitchy Bitch, Scary Godmother, Team
America, Batman Vs. Everybody, Groo, Authority, Thor,
Star Wars, Appleseed, Tom Strong, Promethea, Top Ten,
Swamp Thing, Night Nurse, Top Dog, Strange
Adventures, and Nightwing. Painting
Pokemon is like a dream come true for me. Pikachu is
one of the archetypes-a big fluffy ball, at least I
think that's what he is. I'm not sure. Plus I
doodled a picture of a kitty on a scrap of a napkin at
the bar where I sometimes go to drink and cry.Wildstorm just optioned it.
WIZARD: That is SO AWESOME!
ROSS: Plus, I'm doing the photo-realistic covers for
the following upcoming EXTREME comics, all brand-new
concepts I helped tweak: THE BAT, QUICK, EMERALD
RING, PRINCESS WONDER, THE HAWK, and STUPENDOR, who
frankly, is a bit of a rip-off of Supreme. Which wasmy idea.
WIZARD: Well, I should be going.
ROSS: (Quietly...) ... You can stay here, if you want.
WIZARD: Excuse me?
WIZARD: I thought you said something.
WIZARD: It sounded like you said I could stay here?
ROSS: ...I have eight bedrooms.
WIZARD: Pardon me?
WIZARD: No, I definitely heard it this time...
ROSS: I have cable and a Playstation.
WIZARD: I'm sorry, I have to get back home. To my mother.
ROSS: Go get her. I'll buy you guys a car if you'll be my friends.
WIZARD: Are you serious?
ROSS: I'm so alone. (Begins weeping...)