Jeff got to sit down with long with comic creator John Allison about his new series Wicked Things out now from Oni Press!
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Theme music by Good Co Music:
John Allison – Interivew
[00:00:00] Jeff Haas: Hello listeners will spoil our country today on the show. We had the fantastic mr. John, Alison, how are you doing mr. Alison?
John Allison: I’m very well, thank you, Jeff. How are you?
Jeff Haas: I’m doing quite well. Just experiencing the weird world that we live in right now.
John Allison: Exactly. Well, you know, we just got to deliver it now.
It’s become boring. It’s weird. Hasn’t it? Normality would now become. The key, Leah, we wouldn’t know what to do with us though.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I imagine once everything opens up and having everyone without their mask on will suddenly be shocking. It will be a weird experience for everybody.
John Allison: I think it will. I think obvious as strange sense of, you know, like a lack of rules, more than anything.
I don’t know what I’m going to do with no rules.
Jeff Haas: I get the feeling that some of this will carry over and some of us will still probably be wearing our mask and carrying hand sanitizer for some weeks to come after. I think
John Allison: it’s yeah. It’s paradise for the germaphobe who all of a sudden all their behaviors are sanctioned.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I must say it’s definitely one of those germaphobes. The fact I don’t have to shake hands [00:01:00] anymore is actually kind of comforting,
John Allison: loving, not having to hug people. It’s great. Yeah. Just leave me alone.
Jeff Haas: See that there are benefits to, the plagues. So you’re living in England. Is that correct?
John Allison: That’s right.
Jeff Haas: Yes. Now from my understanding, things have been handled better over there than they have in the good old us. I imagine wearing them
John Allison: we’re mid table, in sporting terms, you know, in terms of looking after it, some, sometimes things seem to be done well, sometimes they seem to be done very incompetent.
And then we have to, you know, we look at New Zealand and we think we’re doing terribly. And then we can look at other countries. I couldn’t name them, obviously that would be in politic and say, we know, actually we’re not doing too badly.
Jeff Haas: Well, it is nice to know that as a nation and our prior, country, that connected to our country, that we’re both on some level equally and competent in some ways
John Allison: it’s in the DNA, you know, there’s generations of incompetency going right back to kind of like stone [00:02:00] age times, you know?
Jeff Haas: And it’s kind of comforting to see that and go, Hey, we may be bad here, but that’s where we get it from our parents right over there.
So how has this been Debbie been doing for you creatively? Do you find yourself more or less, able to write as he normally did? Do you find this being home Alok constraining? Well,
John Allison: I mean, I worked from home. I have worked from home for 17 years, so actually just being in the house a lot, wasn’t weird for me.
One thing that was hard, it was a little bit hard to be inspired. Like I could still like churn like the artwork out on the projects that I drew on myself. But in terms of coming up with new ideas, you know, some of the things seem a bit in congruous, in the weird new world. And some things seem to downbeat, you know, you feel like you ought to be presenting some kind of positivity to people who are feeling a bit.
You know, Dan in the mouth, you know, if things aren’t going so well where they are. So, I’ve kind of gone back through my file of old ideas. I’d have finished and kind of dug [00:03:00] those out and Polish them up rather than coming up with new brand new stuff.
Jeff Haas: Well, that seems to be a hallmark of a lot of your work, that it does seem fun and upbeat, especially at a time when a lot of comic books are in the realm of grim you’re, your comic books are, do seem to be far more upbeat and friendly.
John Allison: I think myself as an entertainer, you know, and I worry that if I’m not and same people or if I send them away in a bad mood at the end of something that I’ve failed them in some way.
Jeff Haas: Well, I think comic books like yours and we’ll go over several of them in a little bit, do serve an important purpose. I think people feel a need to have that cathartic release that they find in reading.
Better, more upbeat stories.
John Allison: Oh, sure. Like I know I always have things like there’s loads of movies that I will go and see and I’ll come out of it. And you know, you’re really low at the end of it. Especially if you go to the like art house movies, you’re not going to get a traditional kind of kiss off friendly ending.
You might come out feeling really loved. And I always feel like with a comic book, you really should send somebody [00:04:00] away kind of. High on the hog rather than feeling low, but that’s just a sort of personal, private
Jeff Haas: yeah, completely agree. there was a movie that came out a couple months ago and for most people know of it, the bill and Ted a third, the third movement, but bill and Ted franchise.
And I almost think that pre pandemic I’m one of them enjoyed it as much as I did watching it in August where I just felt a need to have a movie like that. And I felt the same way. Reading your wicked things. Comic book
John Allison: will. Thank you.
Jeff Haas: Now your career started writing, a web comic called bobbins. what got you into writing comics to begin with?
And why did you start with web comics? Well,
John Allison: I wanted to be a comic that’s right. But in the UK, in the kind of the early nineties, when I was a teenager, you were so far away from the American comics industry and the UK industry was so small that what opportunities you might have had. You know, it was almost like a pipe dream to even think you could work in the industry doing like small press stuff at that point.
So web comics, I was an early kind of, I was able to design [00:05:00] webpages. I’d worked on the, my university’s kind of online presence, so I could. Do like code webpages. So I got to making some strips just when I finished university and I was kind of trying to get a job, nothing much to do. And I made those, I put them online and I just kept putting them online once I’d started working.
And that was it. There wasn’t really a web comic scene. There were maybe sort of regularly updated web comics at that time, but it was lots of other people were having the same idea at the same time as you, you became part of a burgeoning thing.
Jeff Haas: Now the combo that you seem like you transitioned from web comic to print was giant days, which was also published from boom, correct?
John Allison: That’s right. Yeah. I think, bad machinery might be my first kind of direct market book. Maybe that was one, one or two volumes of that out from only before giant days came out. But certainly my first monthly book, my first kind of, you know, us format comic that comes out every month was John days. Yeah.
[00:06:00] Jeff Haas: So. W, why did you, why was Boone public the best publisher for giant days?
John Allison: It just fit with what they were doing perfectly. It was very lucky really because. I might’ve taken it to somebody else at an earlier stage if it had been ready, but it just happened that when I was ready to kind of stop drawing it work with another artist, boom had started doing kind of create their own books through boombox.
Ryan North had done a book called the Midas flesh, and obviously there was Lumberjanes, but it was quite different lineup in that section of the company at the time. And I just thought, well, they’re doing creator and stuff. I knew Shannon. What is a little bit from doing covers for my saline and the screen Queens, the adventure time spinoff books.
So I went to them and I went to Shannon and she kind of bit my hand off. Really. It was very, kind of very kind of have to bite my hand up on that occasion, but it was just a good fit and it was somebody who understood what I was trying to do perfectly. So that worked out really well.
Jeff Haas: and most of us cause drank days, one an Eisner award and [00:07:00] Harvey awards.
If my memories on this, correct? Yes. Now how did that affect you as a writer? I mean, not a lot of writers. Get that level of success and recognition that quickly or that early, did it change either? What’s the level of confidence that you had and going forward and it change maybe how you approach your calm book.
What is it like to get that level of recognition?
John Allison: Well, I would. Take issue with the fact that it was early, because I think I was 15 years into my career kind of as a successful cartoonist, I think when I actually won the Eisner. So it wasn’t really, I felt like it was a slap on the back for a lifetime kind of a lifetime achievement award, really more than a kind of being a and upstart is winning awards is, it’s nice.
But at the same time, it’s confusing because once you’ve won the award, if you don’t win it the following year, which you probably weren’t, you have effectively fallen from your plinth. So, I mean, that’s a silly, it makes you kind of, I second, guess yourself a little bit. It’s [00:08:00] lovely to be recognized, but at the same time, when you are, when you do win and I won two Eisners in one year, or I am the rest of the giant days team, I have to say, I’ve yet to snare one just on my own.
so which might say something, But seriously, you know, you question everything. I was delighted and I also thought, how on earth do I follow that up? So,
Jeff Haas: is there a concern of peaking then that you felt that this moment, this was like, this is the height. And where do I go from here?
John Allison: it’s more subtle personal kind of second guessing of yourself. It’s like, well, that was the thing that people liked the most. And when I came, when I started, I was just kind of making up really with no frame of reference, you know, it just happened. That was the thing I made of all my series that people really liked.
So then you think, well, can I do another one that people will like that much? And the answer is probably no. but why sh but again, it’s somebody else’s turn at that point. You know, like you, you have to accept that you have had your turn in the spotlight. You’ve had your little moment in the sun [00:09:00] and you should retreat back a little bit and let somebody else take a solo, you know, in the middle of the stage,
Jeff Haas: that’s actually a great way to look at it.
But what beliefs you did, the important thing, which was once again, You’re continuing writing. You wrote, you’re now writing Wiki things for boom. What inspired the creation of wicked things?
John Allison: I wanted having 10 giant days, which was kind of like with me doing a comic sit-com. I tried to make it like a sit-com you’d watch on TV, you know, every, although there were overarching plots for multiple issues, really, there was also an, a plot for every single issue where it was kind of a done in one.
And there were lots of other TV formats. They wanted to attempt to turn into a comic book. And one of them that I’d been looking at for maybe sort of 12 years and never really much to do. Procedural crime. and so I had characters from other series that I could use for things which I find useful.
And so I kind of worked out how I would do my procedure or [00:10:00] crime series. I wanted to do it, goes a little bit like the mentalist and shows like that, you know, the kind of quirky procedurals, not really your bulb on law and order kind of thing, but that’s really what we could things as it’s my attempt to do that kind of thing.
Jeff Haas: Now, have you ever seen the TV show monk?
John Allison: Oh yes. Every episode
Jeff Haas: I must say I love that series a lot. And it, once again, for a show about murder is really entertaining and fun.
John Allison: Exactly. Yeah, it is. And that, you know, that’s, I mean, it’s funny how murder is the universal currency of television. It’s a bit peculiar, really.
you know, what’s the one thing that everybody likes murder, but there’s a lot you can do within that kind of, That’s sort of sandbox and you can go all over the place really.
Jeff Haas: So, so you think there’s something about. I leave very elite Western culture that we think that we just need to watch shows on murder.
That’s something else to release, maybe some sort of aggravation or anger that we’re failing during the day.
John Allison: Well, it might be, I mean, I don’t know. It just seems to be [00:11:00] something, I think in the end, it’s a sort of, it’s an easy driver of narrative, you know, like it’s a shocking thing that needs setting, right?
It’s the ultimate crime is the crime that we. You know, perhaps, maybe there were one or two that are worse that you can’t really put on television because they aren’t escapist, but murder always seems to have been a, you know, a foundation stone of drama. And so, yeah, there are lots of things you can do on there, but yes, it probably is a response to our kind of civilized society, our inherent desires to hit someone over the head.
Jeff Haas: Well, I mean, you’re serious wicked things. Does it seem to also be 39 Nieto? Once again, there is definitely murder in it, but once again, you’re bouncing it off with a lot of fun and entertainment. Is it how hard is that needle to thread?
John Allison: It’s really hard. I’m not gonna, I’m not going to pretend. I just sit there with a big box of bombed bonds.
You know, it was awful. I had to tie myself in knots with every issue because I had to kind of create a character who was resilient. Enough that they weren’t bothered just by the kind of, the visceral horror of merging, you know, they have to be able to turn a blind eye to it in the same way, [00:12:00] but, you know, or whoever does, they’ve got to be a little bit unusual.
They’ve got to be a bit weird because most people wouldn’t be able to take that. You’ve got to kind of brush some realities under the carpet when you write about that sort of thing, because yeah. I know, speaking personally when my brother was a cop and he worked all kinds of horrible cases and it’s like, he had to kind of turn a part of himself off, I think a little bit.
And so, you know, I had to, I understood that was a part of the deal.
Jeff Haas: Well, the card that you created, I’m probably going butcher than the, how do you pronounce it? Is Charlotte. Lodhi Grote. Am I pronouncing? All right. Good. I usually bet like zero and how I pronounce names, but, so she first she’s a detective and she first debuted in giant days.
so as a reader, do they need to read giant days to get wicked things in your opinion?
John Allison: Well, it’s history goes back even further than John days. she’s a character from serious ethical, bad machinery. And then I did a couple of [00:13:00] cameos in giant days because John D is around for a lot of issues. I could just, by the end, I could just do whatever I wanted.
You know, there were. Options open up to you when you’ve got, you know, you know, 60 issues of something in total to fail. So, no, they don’t absolutely not. If I that’s sort of the foundation stone of my work is that if a titles of a series is different to another series, you shouldn’t have had to read the other series.
If you do, you make it some little treats of knowing the joins. But I think it’s very bad to demand that people. Kind of experience all different parts of your work because people have limited time, limited money and limited energy.
Jeff Haas: I totally agree with you. I mean, I know basic rule of thumb and as someone who has done some running myself, the idea is always, you’ve got to assume that whatever issue you have out there is the only issue or the first issue a reader has ever read, picking up that comic book
John Allison: and.
Well, yeah, in comics, I don’t think we trust that people [00:14:00] like there’s a point when comic companies stopped trusting that people would pick up issues, you know, 74 or something and be able to say, yeah, fine. I’ll just kind of jump on here and see what’s happening and get used to it, you know, but I really liked that feeling in the eighties where you’d arrive in the middle of a run of something, you wouldn’t really know what was going on, but the comic would.
It didn’t challenge you to the extent that you were so out of your depth with those 22 pages of story, that you couldn’t work out roughly what was going on.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And also, I mean, to live in the internet time of the internet. Now, if you don’t know something, yeah. You can just look it up.
John Allison: Yes.
Jeff Haas: I mean, I have heard people complain about, you know, issue number 103 or Weber is a bad jumping on point.
I’m paying myself go online. I guarantee there’s a Wiki somewhere that give you a heads up in about five minutes. What happened? And very few combos are that complicated.
John Allison: Guess, I think when you meet somebody for the first time that you start working with them, you don’t know everything about their life do well.
The [00:15:00] second that you meet them, you have to meet them in the middle of their life. And you know, if you’re interested, you kind of go back and find out what happened in the past, or you just muddle along kind of with the current existence. I don’t, I think it’s quite human experience. I don’t see why it should seem so alien.
Jeff Haas: I completely agree with you a hundred percent on that one. I agree. A hundred percent and you know, Most things. I mean, sound like you’re jumping into on page like 800 of like Warren piece or something where it’s like, Oh my God, there’s so much complexity. You know, once again, it’s a story you can jump in and get the sense of it.
Batman is a pretty straightforward story usually and, you know, bad guys, superhero, you know, but, one thing that I do find, about wicked things is that it does seem like, your character of Charlotte has been allowed to grow. A bit as the stories, storylines have grown with her.
John Allison: Yeah. It’s really important.
I think if there’s no growth and no change, I get bored quite quickly. I find like I started really wanting to do like newspaper strips because I wasn’t sure I could [00:16:00] ever be a comic book writer, but I knew I could write jokes. And, but there’s something quite. Weird about the never changing world of strips or the incredibly glacially paced, changing worlds.
There’s like something like Luanne does change, but it takes, you know, like 20 years for somebody to kind of get out of high school.
Jeff Haas: Yep. Now with, with Lottie, is there ever a concern when you’re changing or developing your character and aging, your character? That you, that the character may change or be in a way that the readers may not connect to as well?
Or is that something that you just kind of trust in yourself and the reader to just follow along?
John Allison: No, I think that’s definitely a possibility. I think it’s really possible that it’s something that. I think about all the time and I can’t ever be sure that I haven’t done that because I’m so close to the material, but I don’t, I might be the last person who knows, but I’ve kind of turned the character into a monster or what was cute when they were like a child detective in bad machinery.
And, and a little parents is in [00:17:00] giant days might not be cute when they’re an adult. But to me that’s just interesting, you know, when you have to surround them with characters who kind of will make sure that they don’t just drift into kind of monster hood, really? Because I think any character is kind of a S a solo kind of force of nature.
If knew them in real life probably would be a month.
Jeff Haas: Now, when you’re making those determinations that simply a gut check, or is there someone that you have. Who you read, you have like a read at first and say, you know, this is working, this is not working. Maybe you’ve gone a little too far on this part
John Allison: person that I trust the most with my comics is my girlfriend of nine years.
To be honest with you, like, she has a sense, she’s not a massive comics reader. But she has a really good sense of what is when things are kind of varying into kind of darker waters, you know, she’ll say, well, this is getting kind of, you know, she sees it again before I do. She’ll see that she sees the darkness within me [00:18:00] before I see it.
So like, she’s, she’s got a really good eye for spotting things, but when you’re deep in the comics and just deeping comics as a medium, perhaps you don’t see any more. Cause you’re so used to kind of heel turns and you know, the grim and gritty kind of aspect of things. If you read too many Frank Miller comics, you’re not going to notice.
And he started to veer towards the dark side.
Jeff Haas: That’s very true. And I think what works well with your comic as well? Is that the humor you. You, you put in the comm book does allow you to handle the darker elements better in my opinion.
John Allison: thank you. Yeah, I try. Yeah.
Jeff Haas: The first issue had a great scene. near the beginning, you have Lottie’s mother and she doesn’t seem to believe the stories about Lottie’s crime solving.
And she says they used to print anything. They used to print anything though that like. The only one that I thought a funny scene, but also it’s got kinda like a fake news, like reference as well.
John Allison: Yeah. It’s a little bit of both. It’s like, you know yeah, exactly. [00:19:00] People just believe what’s most convenient for them to believe.
I think that’s as true of fake news as it is. Just if you had a daughter who was always out solving constant, she was never really home, even though she was only 14 or whatever those stories, but she was out late and whole and like mansions kind of like kind of trying to hunt down corrupt businessman and things.
Yeah. I think you either you would go crazy or you just go, that’s not really happening. I don’t believe that was happening at all.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. and I think those, I think you do to make a lot of you, I think, feel fully rounded out. Was that her reaction to not being or what she thought originally? She was, I could be in the national solver, magazine where she’s like, Oh, that’s stupid anyway.
But suddenly when she’s in it, it’s suddenly, it seems to be like everything to her. And none of that, I think that’s a very real response, but kind of made me think about Lottie a little bit and why she does what she does. And obviously, I mean, she’s a good person, but is it also like. You go quite a bit.
John Allison: Yeah, she, yes. She’s tremendously vain. I think it’s really important. I think most people who kind of Excel in their [00:20:00] areas have both, you know, an enormous ego, but it’s vast and also incredibly fragile and they have to both preserve, but gigantic fragile thing and maintain it in order to continue to kind of.
Exist in a universe that they do. And that’s kind of what the whole series is about. Really what happens when your balloon gets popped to that extent.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. And, but also though, is there, so when she is going ahead and solving some of these in some of these crimes, D is she feeling compassionate as well for the victim?
Or is it more her own curiosity and be able to solve the crime?
John Allison: I think she does know she has a competitor. The person, she wouldn’t do it. If she wasn’t compassionate. you know, like she has a strong sense of justice. And, that’s like her signature move is just to point at someone with the biggest your cues.
You know, she believes in right and wrong and straightening things out. That’s her whole thing. She wants, ought to impose order upon things. I think as much then, I mean like she’s is she like lawful. [00:21:00] Good. I can never remember what the different categories are, but I have categorized it. She’s, you know, she just wants the world in order.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I’m trying to think that you mentioned like, this is lawful good. Chaotic. Good. I must admit I know the terms, but I, for the life of me, I don’t understand the difference. I don’t know what kind of good is
John Allison: actually. Yeah, exactly. Like I’ve been through all these things a few times recently to try and get out.
I didn’t play Dungeons and dragons really as a kid. So I don’t really know. No, I don’t, can’t immediately kind of flip to what these things are and just organize everything very quickly into boxes, but she is, she’s a really straight shooter. That’s what she is. You know, she’s like a lawman.
She’s like Batman. When I think of her in my head, I think of, like Batman. So she’s basically dealing with the same kind of issues of justice and right and wrong as Batman does.
Jeff Haas: So. If you never got any credit for it, would you still be doing it?
John Allison: I think that’s sort of what, wow. That’s an interesting question.
And I think she [00:22:00] can’t do anything, but do this. I think it’s in her. I think the desire to sort in this way is. Is inherent. So she’ll do it when she’s, you know, been forced to make endless cups of tea and coffee. She’ll still be trying to solve crimes at the same time, rather than just, you know, letting people walk all over and having an easy life, you know, she could have had an easy life and she probably wouldn’t have ended up in the situation.
She is that she’s obviously clever. She could just have written that all the way through school, but she didn’t. She went out and tried to fix the world instead now,
Jeff Haas: Every day. There’s a thought that every character has a bit of the writer of that writer in them. Is that the bit of, you that’s in a lot of the part that, you know, there’s nothing, she does this thing.
There’s nothing else beyond that she can do other than solve crime. Cause that same thing with you and me as well as a writer.
John Allison: That’s an interesting question. I can see the parts of myself and most of my characters. I don’t know what, which part of me is in Charlotte. I don’t know. She’s a [00:23:00] weird wild Christian.
I like some part of my. It the, I don’t really understand. I kind of, I, when I’m writing it makes perfect sense, but I don’t look at my life and I can’t see, and I can see from most of the other characters, I can see bits of myself in them and with her, it’s like, where’s this
Jeff Haas: to me. is there anything or another story or character or person that helps you find that voice for a lady?
John Allison: Again, like the story of Latino leadership in one of my web comics, I had a gap in one of the panels with Lottie sister, and I thought, you know, I could just, maybe she’s got a sister. I haven’t really thought about this before. I would do things very quickly. I would write, you know, very off the cuff. And so I just drew a little kind of little kid she’s nine in that story with the really heavy French heavy bangs and.
Does she count? There was a little snarky comment there and I was like, Oh wow. That’s something a little bit different. Isn’t it there’s room for development here. And so she was just born out of [00:24:00] nothing. She appeared out of nowhere and I don’t know where that voice comes from. And again, most of them, I do know where that comes from.
That one. I don’t know. I don’t know. I just thought here’s a little girl. I drew a little girl who was very aware of what was going on and sometimes you’ll walk past a kid. Yeah. Just when you’re out and about. In the supermarket or whatever, and you’ll hear a little voice pipe up and say something that sounds like something, you know, somebody 40 would say.
And I can remember that I had, I was out with someone. I think we’d come to visit a castle in Wales and a little kitchen just piped up with some really kind of old lady kind of phrasing. That’s sort of an only child often will come up with these things because they’ve been socialized with adults the whole time.
And I thought, yeah, that’s kind of a, that’s a thing. I think that’s what I tucked away. It was that sense of a child that could deal with an adult world sort of on its level, but with the, you know, the energy and enthusiasm of a [00:25:00] child. And so now, yeah, like you say, she’s an adult and it’s a kind of weird kind of curdled child actor kind of thing that changes her as a character altogether.
And that’s why I liked the kind of fish out of water furnace. And
Jeff Haas: I think it’s really kind of interesting because once again, a character like her who will have, you know, soft, you know, soft cases as a younger individual and definitely seemed like a prodigy as she gets older. I guess there’s a sense of there’s more people like you out there in the world as well.
If you find the other solutes in the store that are introduced, is that concerning for?
John Allison: I think so. Yeah. I think the whole idea was in wicked things that she sees all of a sudden that, She’s not that special when she’s out in the world, you know, like again, in the cases like the police cases that she solves and wicked things, she doesn’t really properly solve them.
Like, I think one of the cases, again, I don’t want to do too many spoilers, but really she’s not that effective. She can do some of her little tricks [00:26:00] work in an adult setting and some of them don’t work at all. She’s not quite there. The idea is of somebody who’s really got to find their feet again, having kind of leveled up.
You know, like, I liked the idea that she would eventually get there, but she’d have loads and loads of setbacks and setbacks will be what were interesting and would turn her from a child prodigy into a functioning adult.
Jeff Haas: Is it also a bit of a wake up call for her to find out that the other Sluis dude have a certain superiority complex or apathy to them?
Is that a wake-up call for her too, to be careful of going down those same
John Allison: pathways? Well, I think, well, I used them in the first issue for contrast or in that there, but the way they behave isn’t that different to the way she behaves. It’s just, she’s kind of charismatic and they’re kind of rich and aloof, but really she has the same, exact same sense of superiority.
And I don’t think she noticed it. I don’t think she realizes that those people aren’t all that different from her. That’s why little Claire is [00:27:00] there in the same story. And Claire is kind of your, every woman, she’s a, you know, she’s Latina. Able to help her, but, you know, she can look and think, well, my friend isn’t that different to these people really, but then she gets on with everybody.
So she, in the end, she gets on with the other kind of snooty Euro slew this anyway.
Jeff Haas: And I did also, when I was reading the, the story, I felt that Claire was very much the Watson of the series.
John Allison: Yes, she is. Yeah. She’s, you know, she admires Charlotte. She’s been friends with her for a long time. She kind of understands, she understands a little bit about Charlotte’s humanity.
And so that helps, you know, that makes her a good sidekick because, you know, she can, she wa isn’t going to be driven away at any point by the kind of Sherlock Holmes eccentricities, you know, she’s seen it all. She knows where all the bodies are buried, so to
Jeff Haas: speak. And also another good character, cause there’s a lot of good characters I found in wicked thing.
And I think once again, I think it was beautifully written. Another character I did like a lot was the character, a [00:28:00] bulldog who, you know, this big, tough guy. Who’s also this chess player with two daughters and it’s definitely one of those situations, making your initial assumptions and finding out what the character really is underneath all that I think bulldoze another great example of that in that series.
John Allison: Oh, thank you. Yeah. He’s yeah. I liked drawing him. I like him. I could sort of, again, he was another one where I could sort of see him straight away and I was pleased to explore him a little bit
Jeff Haas: and yeah. And I found that interesting. His relationship with Lottie who, I mean, he’s a nice, he’s an interesting.
Role model, even though he’s kind of also a criminal a little bit,
John Allison: he’s a sort of father figure. I mean, again, it’s never mentioned in wicked things, but Lottie’s father has been out of the picture for a really long time. And so any kind of father figure, and there were a couple of father figures in the series.
and so there’s Denison detective inspector Denison as well that both father figures and she’s a sort of plugging this gap. You know, in her kind of psyche [00:29:00] really psyche may be the wrong word here, but I want that to be a few fathers in there who, you know, and she’s Try to find something that she needs out of both of them.
Jeff Haas: And also is the character of Miyamoto’s, saw my pronouncing that wrong of me and Moto Sohn.
John Allison: That’s right.
Jeff Haas: Oh, Hey, points for me again, once again, is he, was he supposed to enlist in her mind to be, become that figure?
John Allison: Yes. Okay. Yeah, that’s it, he’s kind of an idealized father, you know, he’s like the ultimate detective.
He’s a kind of perfect father, if you like. And then when she meets him and he kind of reject her, there’s a little kind of grain of, you know, this, isn’t actually a very realistic way to, kind of fill this little gap in your life, but is there something that she has a real need for?
Jeff Haas: And I think it was also what happens to him without giving any too much away, provides a very interesting twist.
For Lottie. How seriously does Lottie take the situation she’s now in, after what [00:30:00] happens with Mia Moton
John Allison: she’s Oh, incredibly, seriously, incredibly seriously, because she’s in a situation she can’t get out of. It’s like a, it’s like a trap. I wrote the series really to be like a manga and so. You know, like the, you would roll this problem over and over, and that’s the problem that kind of doesn’t really get solved while you’re solving all the CRA all the cases at the same time.
yeah. Sorry. I’ve lost my thread a little bit here, but sorry, you might have to repeat the question. Sorry. I was saying
Jeff Haas: no worries. So. Well, but what happens with me, a motorcycle motorcycles? Again, I don’t I’m spoiling anything. and where Lodhi is involved with that, or at least assumed to be involved with that.
How does she, how does that impact her and how seriously does she realize the situation that she’s not win because of that or what she could be accused of now, because of that?
John Allison: Oh, she takes it incredibly seriously. yes, she does. She realizes she’s in trouble. Again. She stepped into the adult world and the second she [00:31:00] does, she’s in trouble.
that’s like the curtain coming down on her old life, you know, she’s crossed over. She wants to be seen as the best teen detective and she’s made it to the Wars and all of a sudden now you’re. You’re playing the real game against the real players. You know, you’re not just in your town, running around kind of chasing ghosts and vampires and stuff, you know, like she’s on the main stage.
So she takes it incredibly seriously.
Jeff Haas: And because she was on that stage, she now has true repercussions of what can happen, depending on if she has to solve this. Correct.
John Allison: That’s right. Yeah, exactly. That’s it. That’s fine. Yeah. There’s there are actual repercussions know, like she’s not in the child detective world anymore.
Jeff Haas: So once again, with all the detective stories, the classic ones such as yours, there’s multiple different threads that are being, handed out to your readers. I imagine as the story goes on, all these will start getting titled, all tied into each other.
John Allison: They do, and they don’t know wicked things only runs for six issues.
And [00:32:00] Crawford is partly to blame for that, unfortunately. And so I wasn’t able to wrap up. The actual nerdy plot, the Miyamoto murder plot. I will wrap it up one way or another, but it will probably be a, there’ll be a break before I do. So all the police station business is taken care of by the end of the sixth issue, but then me and Moto plot, though, there are clues and readers should be able to start to put it together from what is in those issues.
And the themes of those issues are a strong indicator of what has happened. the, by the end of the last page, while what has happened while Lottie situation is resolved, in one sense, the Miyamoto situation is not resolved perhaps to everybody’s liking kind of put it that way.
Jeff Haas: no, that’s a perfect way to put it.
And, but you did with the character of Mia motor sun, and that plot line, you did have one of my favorite scenes in the entire series where [00:33:00] I’m clear and miss. Mark McKee. Okay. Miss McKesson
John Allison: three for three.
Jeff Haas: I know. Oh wow. I’m having a good day today. Huh? miss Mica gets a description of lady as she believes she saw it.
And obviously her depiction of it is wildly exaggerated. And I felt that was kind of an interesting scene because it kind of gives the reader the idea of, W how unreliable witness can be and how much our own biases or witnessed bias can play into that. And I thought it was that why you put that in to show the readers, the dangers of witness testimony.
John Allison: Yes, it is both that, but also it betrays something else. There’s like, there’s a piece of the puzzle missing that. Lottie isn’t aware of, and that it’s difficult to know exactly how to put this again, without doing like a big spoiler. The fact that Mackie sees Lottie that way is a [00:34:00] clue as all I can say.
Jeff Haas: Okay. No, that’s fair. I don’t want, I don’t wanna, I don’t want you to ruin anything, but I think it also leads to the other big thing, which is with Claire. And it kind of without giving away anything, it kind of tells me a little bit the difficulty of being an individual who lives their entire life or a lot of their life around criminality, because the suspicion that Claire has like, can be anything too much away does seem to be a suspicious of someone who’s used to being around those who are not honest.
So I correct.
John Allison: yes. Yeah. Like Claire has, she’s got all the experience of having kind of been around Charlotte for like various mysteries. And so yeah. She, you know, even though she is like the, every woman yeah, exactly. you put it exactly right.
Jeff Haas: is there going to be a problem with the friendship because of these issues?
John Allison: I think so. I don’t think it’s easy to be friends with someone like Lottie. I think they’re [00:35:00] kind of the constant drive forward is both attractive and alienating. If that makes sense. you know, you’re around someone who is brilliant and it is great to watch them work and to help them as rewarding, but also their life.
Isn’t like a normal person’s life. And if you want to live your life, you have to remove yourself from them a little bit. And I think that’s definitely an issue.
Jeff Haas: Can
John Allison: someone who
Jeff Haas: is used to being suspicious, ever be truly trusting in your opinion? Well, I
John Allison: liked the idea that there’s room for stories, where they learn to trust, and then sometimes that trust is betrayed.
I think that’s really interesting. I think one of the things about Charlotte is Charlotte has never really had in any of the stories. I’ve just never had like a romantic partner. And I think it’s because she doesn’t trust people. so I think that’s absolutely at the heart of the character.
Jeff Haas: Well, I th I think it was, it’s a fantastic story. And it does sound like there’s a chance that after those six issues are complete, that you’re going to create further issues. Is that correct? Is there a timeline where do you have that in mind?
John Allison: We [00:36:00] don’t at max who draws the series. It is on a hiatus from comics at the moment.
So until they return to active duty, there won’t be any more wicked things. So I don’t know exactly. I really want to do more issues. I have loads more stories, those more cases. I know where the whole Miyamoto, attempted murder plot. Goes. So I want to do more. It may be that I do more Charlotte stories.
I can do them on the website if I want, but I wouldn’t continue the wicked things. I don’t think that would be fair to the readers or max to kind of go my own way with it. So there may be more Charlotte in the meantime, but until the team is reunited, I don’t think there’ll be any more stories.
Jeff Haas: What else are you working on then?
In the meantime,
John Allison: I’m like, hang on steeple, which is a serious I’ve dumped the dark horse. that’s it really at the moment? I’ve worked so hard over the last sort of three or four years I’m taking. Yeah. I’m just trying to try and limit my output a little bit because I’ve really, I’m really [00:37:00] rung myself out, just coming up with ideas.
You know, I did by night for boom. That was a 12 issue series. I did the staple series for dark horse. I did wicked things, which is very hard to write. I did. 60 issues of giant days. I kind of neatly, I need to recharge my batteries maybe a little bit for a little while. So I’m just working on some staple web comics.
Hopefully those will be collected up, next year. and apart from that is waiting for inspiration to strike again.
Jeff Haas: Well, I definitely hope to see more issues from Wiki things. So like I said, I think it was a fantastically well-written story. And going back to what we mentioned earlier, I think it’s the type of story that is needed more now with the mound, you know, with the amount of stress everyone’s feeling.
I think it’s a nice calm book to relax and just enjoy.
John Allison: Oh, thank you. Well, I say that’s all I can do. I just want people to have a good time reading my comics. So if you had a good time reading it, I really appreciate the questions as well. You obviously read it very carefully. That’s a good thing.
Jeff Haas: Well, [00:38:00] like I said, I did find them to be, a great pleasure and I do think it works for a wider audience than maybe you would consider if you just heard the storyline. I think it’s the audience is actually read that it can reach is a lot grander than that.
John Allison: Well, I’m looking forward to coming out as a trade next year, because I think when the six issues are assembled together, the kind of Tupac stories that I did for each of the, you know, the sets of two issues will make a lot more sense.
And I think as a kind of six issue trade, I think it reads really well. So I’m excited for people to pick it up through bookstores.
Jeff Haas: Well, that’s fantastic. when that does happen, please let me know. We’ll make sure we post, the release dates on our website and, you know, social media and spread as far as we possibly can.
John Allison: We’ll see. Well, thank
Jeff Haas: you very much, mr. Alison, that was great talking to you. And I really enjoyed reading your series of wicked things.
John Allison: Thank you very much, Jeff. Appreciate it.
Jeff Haas: Thank you so much. And if you don’t mind, can you give us that bumper?
John Allison: Oh, sure. So, hang on, let me just get this [00:39:00] right. No worries.
This is John Ellison and you’re listening to spoiler country. Is that what I meant to say?
Jeff Haas: you can say that can also, if you want, give yourself a plug, you know, hi, this is John Allison writer of wicked things, and you’re listening to, or look at things from boom and you’re listening to support our country.
John Allison: Oh, sure. I’m Charleston. The writer of wicked things from boom studios and you’re listening to spoiler country. All right. Thank
Jeff Haas: you so much, sir. You’re fantastic.
John Allison: I’ll thank you, Jeffrey or your questions are great. You’d read it so carefully. It’s very flattering to hear someone that pays such close attention to it.
Jeff Haas: Well, it’s definitely my pleasure. And thank you for running a story that was worth the time to read that closely. Sometimes you read a store and you think, Oh my God make this over, but it was very nice that one was worth reading. And I do appreciate it.
John Allison: No, thank you. what makes it worth doing when someone’s got that much out of it?
Jeff Haas: Thank you so much. Have a very good Dana.
John Allison: All right. Brilliant. Thank you so much.