Hi everyone! I have something a bit different on the blog this week. How about an author/character interview? Athanasios (aka Tom), author of Mad Gods is here today with just that.
Athanasios: Man it is ugly outside. The kind of day that you wake up & want to go back to sleep. Wet, dreary & generally crappy. With that in mind here’s my interview of my biographer, Athanasios.
ADAM: What prompted you to write a book about, well ostensibly the Antichrist not being such a bad guy?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: First things first, I’m not a satanist. I used to believe in the whole personification of evil idea but not anymore. That said I grew up being scared out of my wits by the Exorcist & the Omen. They were released in theatres in 73 & 76 respectively, which made me 9 & 12. This was in my formative years before I began thinking for myself & got out from my traditional Greek parents beliefs. I wanted to go past those fears & began looking into whatever was known about the two characters therein: Satan & his darling son. The further I looked into it the more scared I became so I left it alone for a while. I didn’t even consider it apart from giving myself the willies every couple of months when I gave both some thought. The idea as to how much fear they caused stayed with me. I didn’t like it but I knew it was powerful.
ADAM: So your childhood fears, is that what you’re saying?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: Yeah, I think most great horror stories are based on powerful, childhood fears. These happen to be mine. I’m not scared of most physical trauma, death, animals or zombies & the like. It struck me though, that in the Omen, the Antichrist is just a kid, like you were, so why be scared of him?
ADAM: Good point, but I still was, because he was an evil kid.
ATHANASIOS/TOM: No, he wasn’t, he never did anything to those people on purpose, so what made you scared of him? I didn’t reason it out like you’re doing now, I was a kid myself so I was just scared. As I grew older though I thought about those strong fears, especially the Antichrist. I re-watched the Omen and the sequels and thought: why would anyone want to be the reason for the destruction of the world? That made me fear the Antichrist less and made me think he was getting a bum wrap. Then in high school, girls, fantasy, comics & science fiction won my attention over those childhood fears.
ADAM: That question aside & I believe answered: how did you get to publishing Mad Gods? Why Mad Gods as a title?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: It’s an appropriation of the Joe Cocker album Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Never had it, never heard it, but I saw it in an old record store & thought it was a cool title. It stayed with me till I wanted a title for an earlier comic book version that I called Mad Gods & Buried Children. It was about a giant guy, a natural hulk who was also scarred badly in his youth. Due to his abnormal size he was thought of as a monster, a damned creature that had to be a creation of the devil.
ADAM: Oh, and since you always had a thing for the Antichrist….
ATHANASIOS/TOM: No I didn’t have a thing for the Antichrist. I was afraid of him as a child. That’s not a thing.
ADAM: Ok, ok, not a thing but he was in the back of your mind. A predominant fear. I’ll go with that.
ATHANASIOS/TOM: No, though the Antichrist hadn’t come into my mind until way later in the Mad Gods & Buried Children timeline. So this huge hulking guy, Bear, comes along in my imagination with this terrible childhood…
ADAM: Buried Children? Oh I get it.
ATHANASIOS/TOM: Yeah that’s the buried children part. So I follow the ideas in my head till since he was considered a monster & was damned, creation of the devil, yadda, yadda, yadda, that’s when I thought, why isn’t he the Antichrist? I also didn’t want him to be huge but wanted him to be beneath notice, an everyman, all the more insidious because he could be anybody, look like anybody. Medium height, medium build, brown hair, brown eyes, no discernible racial characteristics, nothing impressive or frightening until you find out he’s the Antichrist.
ADAM: Ok so?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: What do you mean so?
ADAM: So why does he decide to not do the opposite of saving the world as Jesus did. Why does this guy decide to be the AntiJesus?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: Antichrist, not AntiJesus.
ADAM: Whatever, why does he decide not to follow his preordained destiny?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: The whole time that I had been writing the story I had also lived my life in low end jobs. Cook & then manager in family restaurant, comic book store clerk, sports card collectibles store clerk, busboy, waiter, illustrator, graphic artist, video/dvd graphic artist/editor. I went back to school twice. Once for illustration the other for 3d animation & dvd production. This little preamble aside I never forgot about Mad Gods & Buried Children. I still wanted to get it out to what I thought would be wide acclaim. Yeah you and millions of other pie in the sky auteurs. Ok that’s true but you’ve got to be in it to win it. You can’t be published or be seen anywhere unless you try. If everybody who was told they can’t do it quit, then you wouldn’t have Stephen King, JK Rowling or Dan Brown.
ADAM: Nice pep talk. Very inspiring.
ATHANASIOS/TOM: You’ve got a pretty sour attitude.
ADAM: I’m a writer.
ADAM: So? Why does the Antichrist decide not to go along with the destruction of all that is? The End of Days?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: He liked entertainment too much.
ADAM: Huh? He wanted to watch his shows?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: Yeah, he wanted to see the next great movie, another week’s shows. With all that was happening in my life at the time in order for me to pay my bills I wanted to continue writing but I didn’t because when I got home I only… Wanted to watch television… Or go see a movie. My procrastination & lax attitude to my writing got me back into my writing. Funny huh?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: You know you’re a real dick!
ADAM: No, I’m not being sarcastic. That’s pretty funny.
ATHANASIOS/TOM: Oh, ok fine then. So the Antichrist originally didn’t want to destroy the world because he would miss his entertainment. Like most of everyone, there’s always something we know we should be doing but we’re sitting in-front of the idiot box & watch manufactured life happen. We all know it’s manufactured & not real but we’re mesmerized. There’s more to it than that but I would give away the whole book & raison-d’être of the story if I kept going on. Plus I don’t think that this interview should run that long.
ADAM: That’s it, then?
ATHANASIOS/TOM: What else do you want to know?
ADAM: Well how does he…
ATHANASIOS/TOM: I’m gonna stop you right there. I’m not saying anything more because I don’t want to explain the book. I’ve done that in Mad Gods. That’s why I wrote it. I also want each person to get whatever they want out of Mad Gods without me telling them what it’s about. I don’t want to say what I thought because somebody reading it will probably see what I intended but they might have their own connection to what I’m saying that makes the reading of it a personal experience, that’s shared but can only be experienced individually & separately.
ADAM: Wow, you’re really deep.