AVC: A lot of your writing deals with bizarre, speculative concepts. Is that informed by your reading of nonfiction? Do you read a lot about cutting-edge science?
GM: I read loads of science stuff. Science, anthropology, occult stuff… just weird fringe ideas. Those are always helpful to people who do superheroes. So yeah, that stuff goes in. But to me, it’s mostly about experience. The books are helpful to maybe provide metaphor, but for me, it’s about real life. If my dad dies and I’m writing about something like that in All-Star Superman, suddenly I’ve got a story which I may never have had if my dad hadn’t died. So what is the Faustian pact in that one? [Laughs.] But it’s mostly that. It’s things that happen in real life, and feelings that you have that you’ve got to get out, and I think that superhero comics in particular are really useful for talking about big emotions and feelings, and personifying and concretizing symbols.
AVC: Back when you were writing Animal Man, you mentioned that a lot of what you were writing in the book ended up happening in your life shortly afterward, as though you were conjuring events.
GM: Yeah, because I think the only way you can get something out is to invest some real emotion into it, which means you’re already writing about what’s going to happen to you, whether you know it or not. That’s why I’m always surprised when people talk about writer’s block. Because to me, it can’t be stopped. Every news item you see, every thought you have, every strange soap-opera event that happens in my life can be translated into a story and make that story mine. So for me, all that stuff… that’s me, that’s my life. That’s where the engine comes from to write it. I don’t only get it from books.