I recently had a chance to talk to Douglas Paszkiewicz about his upcoming book ARSENIC LULLABY: THE DEVILS ONLY FRIEND. Check it out:
Decapitated Dan: Douglas thanks for taking time to talk with me about ARSENIC LULLABY: THE DEVILS ONLY FRIEND. First of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?
Douglas Paszkiewicz: I am a brilliant lowlife jerk, who just happens to make one of the funniest you’ll ever run across. I don’t like what I do, I didn’t ask for the talent and skill…but I have it so I might as well make some money with it.
DD: How did you find yourself getting into making comics?
DP: I started out in stand up comedy…which entails telling the same joke night after night to drunks and people on awkward first dates. It dawned on me I could just draw the joke ONCE, print it and never have to deal with night clubs.
DD: So what can you tell me about ARSENIC LULLABY: THE DEVILS ONLY FRIEND?
DP: It has some really good storytelling. I specialize in strange premises and do a lot of single page jokes. In and out , quick stuff…mostly because I have to draw the damn thing and I get sick of drawing a character after a page or two. This book has some really well written longer stories. For example, Cthulhu rises up to destroy mankind only to find out we already destroyed ourselves and he missed the whole thing. Everybody’s dead except for one guy in a cybernetic safety suit. And the guy is a total creep. Like super lonely, obviously, but you can tell he was a pain in the ass to begin with. Cthulhu realizes that he can still salvage something because if he kills the guy, then technically HE ended mankind…technically. Satan shows up to beg him off because he doesn’t want him to go to hell and tries to convert him to Christianity while Cthulhu looks for an abandoned car with a decent stereo. It’s really well woven together and the character interactions are a scream.
DP: Well aside from Cthulhu , there is Voodoo joe who is a witch doctor who lives in the suburbs and has zombie fetuses aid him in sort of a revenge for hire business. The Great Duranti is a stage magician who travels around with a talking yeti and a midget, he ends up volunteering to exorcise some rich guys kid so he can loot the house. There’s a lot of stuff that when you explain it just sounds wacky for the sake of being wacky but everything is really rooted in more depth and sinisterness then I can explain without ruining it.
DD: What are you hoping readers take away from this book?
DP: That the New Orleans Saints are a terrible football team.
DD: After all the years of working on ARSENIC LULLABY, why keep coming back to this cast?
DP: Readers like them. I have about 15 other characters I could be developing but when it comes right down to it, you give the audience what they want. When you go see…Tom Petty for example, you really don’t give a rats ass about hearing him play a bunch of new shit you never heard before, you want to hear last dance with mary jane and stuff like that. I insert new characters little by little but when someone orders a copy of Arsenic Lullaby…the want to see Voodoo Joe doing something horrible to someone.
DP: First off, I don’t think they are funny. They are disgusting and creepy. The funny comes from Joe treating them like they aren’t any different than having an intern. Good writing often times isn’t just “hey isn’t this premise wacky?!” It making the wacky premise and forcing the reader to accept it as a reality. If the fetus shows up and all the characters react rationally i.e “holy mother of F*CK! What is that?!” There is no legs to the premise. But if one shows up and hands Joe a lighter and Joe complains that the lighter is empty…then there is really funny creepy element just hanging around that you can get a much bigger laugh out of later.
DD: Along those same lines, why do you choose to make fun of my lord Cthulhu?
DP: Laziness. I had some stories that required some obscure demon…and if I actually research one…then I have to write and draw several pages explaining who the hell the demon is. Cthulhu is obscure but well known enough so that people have the basic idea of what he is about right from the start.
DD: You seem to be a creator who is not afraid to touch touchy subject matter, how come?
DP: Sex, Religion and science fiction if I can help it. Those are three subject that kinda overshadow whatever joke you are trying to tell. People see the subject introduced and already have a certain mindset…they are thinking politics or thinking with their dick or in the case of science fiction instantly relating it to some other sci fi world from some other movie or book…I have to then fight them out of that mindset in order to properly set them up for a punchline. It’s a pain in the ass.
DD: Is there any subject matter that even you consider off limits?
DP: Well, I told you what I don’t deal with…but in general I’d say no. Nothing is off limits and it is never “too soon”. Otherwise what is the point? Everybody has one or two subjects that they don’t want made fun of and are cool with everything else. Well…if you are mass communicating and add together everybodies one or two subjects, you have nothing left to work with. The power of comedy is that it robs power from everything else. You take some horrible incident and get people to laugh at it …you have robbed it of any horror.
DD: What on earth were you into as a child that would lead to you creating a comic like this?
DD: As a Comic Industry Veteran, what knowledge can you part of the young about this business?
DP: Stay out of my way.
DD: Are there any other projects you are currently working on?
DP: There are too many to mention. I’ll be doing more animated work, and should have a short film about X-mas done in a few weeks.
DD: So where can readers find out more about this book?
DD: So in summary give me a quick recap on ARSENIC LULLABY: THE DEVILS ONLY FRIEND and why fans should give it a try.
DP: No…I already told you enough. Go order it.
DD: Thanks so much for your time Douglas.