COMICS, CREATIVES, AND AN INTERVIEW THAT HAPPENED WELL BEFORE CORONA-VIRUS…OH MY.


photo by Mike Meehan

Writer and all-around grand queer creative, Anthony Oliveira chatted with us a while back about mainstream queer culture, the X-Men, and more. (Of note, we interviewed him when it was still 2019 and we thought 2020 was gonna be great.) Make sure to follow him on Twitter for his latest, and track all of his goings on on his website.

IF YOU WERE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN ORDER FROM A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

I want to be the 2 am when you’re drunk cheeseburger smothered in pickles with fries with a strawberry milkshake and an order of nuggets that you share with your friend. I think a good meal, like a good life, should have a balance of sweetness, salt, guilt, and communion.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE X-MEN HERO?

My favourite X-Men hero is Magneto, because he taught me that advocacy will always be perceived as monstrosity (even sometimes by the people telling your story).

WHAT MEDIA HAVE YOU REALLY BEEN INTO RECENTLY?

BOOKS

I just finished reading Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House in anticipation of interviewing her for her launch, which is a breathtaking book. Before that, Kai Cheng Thom’s I Hope we Choose Love is an urgent intervention.

COMICS

Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men run has changed the terrain of superhero comics entirely; Chip Zdarsky’s Daredevil and Doom is what comics are for; I’ve been digging through old back issues of The Vision and Scarlet Witch which was such a bonkers soap opera sitcom of a series. Magneto coming to Thanksgiving dinner! It doesn’t get better.

VIDEO GAMES

I remain, as always, a http://D.va main, though my Symmetra and Sigma games are on a steep upward curve.

FILM

I’m still rifling through the trash with my Dumpster Raccoon series – this month we’re showing Gremlins for Christmas, then we’re kicking off a series on maligned sequels! TMNT 2: Secret of the Ooze what whattt

MUSIC

I am a Sad Gay ™, so it’s all Sufjan and Bright Bright Bright Bright and Gallant; when I’m writing it needs to have no lyrics or at least lyrics I can’t understand, which lately means Jim Steinmsan’s semi-lost German rock opera classic, Tanz Der Vampire

TV

It’s wall-to-wall Star Trek Voyager at my house right now!!

BEYOND

dissociating under a black sky until i can hear the coming reaping

WHY DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ONLY A HANDFUL OF QUEER CREATORS THAT SEEM TO BE ALLOWED TO CREATE MAINSTREAM CONTENT?

Our stories do not get told because the horizon of straight culture’s imagination is a stunted one – it is so used to seeing itself it has trouble seeing things it is unfamiliar with. This is also, incidentally, why queer people are BETTER storytellers than our cis-heterosexual peers – because we have spent a lifetime learning how to see ourselves in stories that aren’t about us.

IF THERE’S ONE ISSUE YOU WISH HAD A BIGGER SPOTLIGHT ON IT, WHAT IS IT AND WHY?

Today? Hmm. I think it is that everyday I see the arguments that were once used against gay people (that they are a threat to children, a threat in bathrooms/locker rooms etc) are being used identically now against trans people, for the same reasons: simple, ugly hatred.

THE DIVIDE BETWEEN PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO BINGE WATCH NEW TV AND PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO WATCH IT WEEKLY IS REMINISCENT OF PEOPLE WHO WAIT FOR TRADES IN COMICS. DO YOU THINK ONE OR THE OTHER METHOD OF CONSUMING CONTENT IS BETTER? OR IS IT ALL ABOUT THE INTENTION OF THE CREATOR?

Well I think the first thing we should always throw out and disregard entirely is the intention of the creator!! Creators have no idea what they’re doing; they’re too close to the problem.

I think episodic TV and bingeing both have their virtues. I literally GREW UP watching Buffy, for example; it took seven years to watch, and I grew WITH those characters. For a lonely kid, they truly felt like my friends sometimes.

But bingeing allows connectivities to reveal themselves and makes immersion in a story’s contours more possible. I do both!!

WHEN YOU’RE LACKING INSPIRATION, WHERE, WHAT, OR WHO DO YOU TURN TO?

When in doubt, I eat more stories. If I’m stuck, sometimes spending time with other media (even if it’s unconnected) helps – I might think “oh, if this were my script, i’d have done it this way” or “oh, look how this scene makes the next work better” and it helps me see laterally around my own problem.

Actually one of the most important things when i’m writing is what I think of as “the hopper” – the network of texts (music, TV, books, etc) that I want to inform the texture of the piece I am working on by being the media I consume as the “break” around my writing.

WHAT’S THE MOST EXCITING THING YOU’VE DONE OVER THE LAST YEAR?

So many things about this year were wonderful, personally and professionally. I think as far as my writing goes, winning the National Magazine Award was a great honour, as was seeing so much of my own fiction appear in print.

After so many years siloed away in academia, to suddenly have short stories and comics – “Dayspring” for Hazlitt, “Sunlight” for Shout Out, my Steven Universe Pride Parade story, and “My Drag Brunch for Loki” for Marvel comics were all such joys. And the end of this year has also just brought a whole bunch of new excitements, including the Seen: Marginalized Heroes series! 2020 is going to be a blast.

WHAT’S ONE ESTABLISHED CHARACTER YOU HAVEN’T HAD THE CHANCE TO WRITE THAT YOU WOULD JUST LOVE TO?

I am getting to write so many of them right now but I can’t spoil who they are!!!!

IF THERE WERE A REALITY SHOW ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE AND WHAT WOULD YOUR REAL HOUSEWIVES-ESQUE CATCHPHRASE BE?

A lot of wrangling drag queens, gay shenanigans, and crying. My catchphrase would either be “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here, sluts!” or “Catchphrase!” or just the Deplorable Word that thereby ends the show and all creation.

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