Mike Baron wrote the very first comic I ever read: Star Wars: The Last Command. More significantly, he was also a member of what I consider the generation of writers that made comic books better—and much weirder. I would name Baron’s Nexus and Badger alongside Wagner’s Grendel and Chadwick’s Concrete as some of the most significant original series of the mid-Eighties.
I was delighted to learn that the man is just as weird as his comics. We began by discussing Mister Baron’s upcoming horror novel Banshees, which is about a Satanic metal band returned from the dead.
SRM: A basic question about Banshees: how and why do these guys rise from the dead?
MB: Holy—! Am I giving away the farm? They rise courtesy of a pre-Christian deity who never did like humanity. This should be out sometime next year from Garcia Publishing.
SRM: Dumb question, but…have you written the lyrics for the Banshees’ songs, and if so, can you share a few lines that might impart the flavor of the novel?
MB: Arggggh. Hang on. No…I’m not wired right now to go back into the novel and find those lyrics. However, Frank Zappa wrote a song called “Suicide Chump” which would fit right in.
SRM: We’ll just have to remain in suspense, I suppose!
In preparation for Banshees, did you have to research the metal scene, or were you already well-versed in that material? Your Big Hollywood and Pop Geek Heaven columns would seem to indicate that you’re very aware of the music industry.
SRM: Even before I was aware of your interest in music, I thought there was something basically rhythmic and musical about your page breakdowns. Am I stretching, or are the two media at all comparable?
MB: You’re right. I have always said that comics have a rhythm—peaks and valleys just like a good song. You vary that rhythm with images and words but you’ve got to keep it going.