STEVE NILES WEEK, Day 4: Steve talks with Rob Zombie

From Jonah Weiland, CBR - We finish off Steve Niles Week with Steve taking over my job for a day as he interviews director/musician/comics creator Rob Zombie. This past Monday on CBR Steve talked about their upcoming collaboration on "The Nail" for Dark Horse. Today, Niles sits down with Zombie to learn more about "The Nail" and to talk about his fascination with comics. CBR would like to thank Niles and Zombie for their participation. Without any further delay, onto the interview.

[Rob Zombie]NILES: Okay, let's start off slow...how are you? Are you excited about Halloween?

ZOMBIE: I'm feeling great. I'm eating right, keeping my cholesterol down and benching about 350lbs.

NILES: Do you have any big Halloween plans?

ZOMBIE: Yes. I plan on dressing up like Mr. T and walking around Hollywood Blvd. shouting "I pity the fool" at total strangers.

NILES: What if you run into the real Mr. T doing the same thing? Rather awkward, don't you think?

ZOMBIE: Naw, he'll understand its all for the love of the kids. Stay in school don't be a fool.

NILES: Why don't the children trick or treat anymore. Do you even care?

ZOMBIE: Well, in my neighborhood they Trick or Treat like motherfuckers. I usually run out of candy in the first ten minutes, then I have to resort to handing out back issues of "Richie Rich" and "30 Days of Night." Needless to say this doesn't go over very well with the punters.

NILES: Do you remember the first horror comic you read? What was it?

ZOMBIE: It was issue #4 of Marvel Comics's "The Monsters are Coming BEWARE!" On the cover was a hot blonde chick being menaced by a living tree. Fascinating.

NILES: You're an artist too, right?

ZOMBIE: I like to think of myself as a guy who draws hideous creatures.

NILES: Do you ever plan on doing a comic entirely drawn by yourself?

ZOMBIE: I always plan on doing this, but the reality of it is I'm too slow. I think I could transcribe the bible into Chinese faster than I could finish 22 pages of comic art. It never ceases to amaze me at how fast the pros can bust out them funny book pages.

NILES: More importantly, who's gonna write it?

ZOMBIE: I'm still looking for a talented guy who's capable at weaving a compelling monster yarn at a reasonable price. Got any ideas?

NILES: No, but if I think of anybody, I'll let you know. But there's a question. Are there any horror writers in comics, film or fiction that have had an effect on you?

ZOMBIE: I really don't read as much as I should, but I always dig Clive Barker.

NILES: What comic artists have inspired you?

ZOMBIE: I got hooked on comics in the seventies so the guys who really grabbed me first were Jack Kirby, Gene Colan, Bernie Wrightson and Neal Adams.

NILES: Did you read the superhero stuff, too, or mostly the horror?

ZOMBIE: Yeah, I loved the superhero stuff also, but I only dealt with Marvel books. "Fantastic Four," "Hulk," "X-Men," "Thor" and especially "Howard the Duck."

NILES: I know you're a big Basil Gogos fan because he's illustrated on what, two Rob Zombie CD covers?

ZOMBIE: Yeah, Basil did the cover for "Hellbilly Deluxe" and most recently "Past, Present And Future." He is the shit.

NILES: What about the "Frankenstein" CD you released? Wasn't that Gogos?

ZOMBIE: Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. The cover of the "Frankenstein" CD is definitely one of my favorite Gogos paintings. It perfectly illustrates what I love about his use of color.

NILES: What is it about Gogos that makes his art so special to you?

ZOMBIE: Gogos is the man. He has the uncanny ability to capture the true essence of a monster. His style is so loose and free, yet totally photo realistic. He is the only guy on the face of the earth who can represent classic monsters in a color medium and retain the power of the B&W original. He is a true original like Frazetta. So many imitators, but no even comes close, same as Frazetta. Plus Basil is a super nice guy.

NILES: For those who aren't familiar with his work, where did most of it appear?

ZOMBIE: I became aware of Gogos through his "Famous Monsters" covers. That is what he is really known for.

NILES: Can you believe they let that Kieron Dwyer psycho draw comics let alone walk the streets free as bird?

ZOMBIE: I think that Kieron Dwyer is the Michelangelo of porn comics. He can take a comic of a redneck letting his dog lick peanut butter off his dick and turn it into high art. But more importantly he is kicking ass illustrating the next big thing in comics, a little thing I like to call "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto."

NILES: Well, for the love of God man, tell us about El Superbeasto?

ZOMBIE: "El Superbeasto" is the hottest thing to hit comics since Jimmy Olsen got his own book. "El Superbeasto" is a masked wrestler who lives in a world populated by basically Monsters and Strippers. He is a crime-fighting hero, well sort of. He'll fight crime if he doesn't have anything better to do like watch TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes or go bird dogging.

NILES: Name a couple other comic artists who do horror that you like. Any of those E.C. guys do it for you?

ZOMBIE: The E.C. Comics guys were the shit. Jack Davis was my favorite of the group, but all those guys were totally amazing.

NILES: Am I the only one who thinks Reed Crandall was the best? But Jack Davis was hot. Did you ever have one of those life-size Frankenstein posters?

ZOMBIE: Yes, you are the only one. As far as the Frankenstein poster goes, I was too lazy to save up the .99 cents to order it.

NILES: Did you read the Marvel horror stuff like "Dracula," "Tales of the Zombie" and "Ghost Rider?" Any favs?

ZOMBIE: Yes, I loved them all but my favorites were "Tomb of Dracula" and "Frankenstein's Monster." Those books always had the best art.

NILES: He did some great stuff and I always liked it when Gil Kane did "Werewolf by Night." How about Mike Ploog?

ZOMBIE: Ploog kicked ass! Especially on "Frankenstein."

NILES: So you got your music, and you got yer little spooky movie "House of a 1000 Corpses," now comics. What can you achieve in comics that you couldn't with those other mediums?

ZOMBIE: The great thing about comics is that there is no budget. You can do any crazy thing that you can think of. For example: I need a giant swamp monster to shoot out of a mechanical donkey's ass and attack a female space alien with DD breasts on top of an exploding volcano, that's a tough call in a film, but in comics it's NO PROBLEMO.

NILES: Tell us, well them, about "The Nail," and how you got mixed up with me. I said tell them!

ZOMBIE: Simmer down, hotshot. Well, it's a simple story, really. One day I got a phone call from Diamond Dallas Page (yes, the wrestler) and he said, "Hey, I met this guy Barry over at Dark Horse, you and him should talk." Well, who am I to argue with DDP. So I called Barry and he said, "Hey, I gotta hook you up with this guy Steve Niles" and I said, "Steve Niles the guy who was recently arrested for stalking Mary-Kate and Ashley?" And he said,"Yeah, that's the guy". And I said, "Whatever."

So me and this Niles kid hooked up and put together a new book unlike anything anyone has ever seen. I predict that this thing we call "The Nail" will reinvent the funny book as we now know it. Plus I predict that one day it will be a 100 million dollar blockbuster movie staring an overpaid Hollywood hotshot playing at a multi-plex near you!

NILES: Plus you're doing another scary funny book with someone else, right?

ZOMBIE: Correct. I am doing a horror anthology book entitled "Spookshow International" for MV Creations. This is where you can find the adventures of El Superbeasto!

NILES: Are you finding film and comics a better outlet these days?

ZOMBIE: Not necessarily better, but different. Between film, comics and music I'm able to hit all fronts.

NILES: Do you still read comics? If so, what titles? (Be very careful here.)

ZOMBIE: I only read comics written by the genius known as (turn echo effects on here) Steve Niles!

NILES: Let me throw a few multiple choice questions at you.

ZOMBIE: Who the fuck do you think you are?

NILES: DC or Marvel?

ZOMBIE: Marvel. Back in the day we use'ta bust a cap in the ass of the DC kids in my hood. Word.

NILES: Original "The Thing" or the remake?

ZOMBIE: Ah, the dreaded remake question. Well, the original "Thing" is a classic, but I also loved the version that Carpenter made. So there ya have it, "a pound full of thistle is worth more than a monkey's ass in hen's bush."

NILES: Uh....?


NILES: Okay, that sucked... I know you collect a lot of horror memorabilia. Do you collect comics as well or just when they intersect with something you're already into like the Munsters?

ZOMBIE: I've collected comics for about thirty years at varying levels. Never with the same obsession I had as a youngster, but when I see something cool I'll pick it up. As far as horror memorabilia, I pretty much stick to vintage posters at this point.

NILES: Horror seems to be making a comeback in the mainstream. Why is this you think?

ZOMBIE: Because someone in Hollywood smells money.

NILES: Have you had enough? Shall we end this interview?

ZOMBIE: You mean this was an interview? I thought you were just being nosey.

NILES: I think it's good we had this little chat. Thanks for taking the time, Rob. And everybody have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

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