Today Jeff Haas gets to sit down and chat with superstar writer Peter Milligan about his career, his series with AWA Studios "American Ronin", and about the current COVID pandemic.
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[00:00:00] Peter Milligan Interview - Jeff - SKYPE: okay. Hi. Hi, today we're talking to
Jeff: Peter Milligan and you're listening to spoiler country. I talked to doing mr. Milligan.
Jeff: I'm doing a good
Peter Milligan: as good as one can be in this, strange and terrible. ,
Jeff: well, do we all
Peter Milligan: find ourselves in.
Jeff: how things hitting you in London
Peter Milligan: where I am in my house is fine.
no one, no, my family's, come down with COVID-19, which is a good, my wife's wants to job, but, she worked in the airline industry. So this did not come as a huge shock.
Jeff: so, you know, I mean,
Peter Milligan: look
Jeff: it's, I mean, it was
Peter Milligan: interesting. What I find interesting about this whole thing is that for the first time I
Jeff: know it's like everyone
Peter Milligan: in the world, Oh, having similar experiences.
Yeah. It's everyone is having a similar experience. Isn't
Jeff: It's this, or
Peter Milligan: the, kind of a, a kind of homogenous entity of this as a world of experience around the world, [00:01:00] whether you in a, I don't know what part of the world where you can be in Tundra, you could be in Highlander, you can be in forest, the central nurse of what's going on.
This bloody disease, this bloody thing is very similar. And I think it's a bit odd.
Jeff: It's like at the very point where we are most
Peter Milligan: together, because of that is the time when obstacle we have to be most altogether.
Jeff: Yeah. I must admit I'm having similar.
Jeff: Um, my wife
Jeff: is considered, I guess they now call her a central employee.
She works at Walmart, so she's basically forced to deal with people every single day. Which is awful because she has severe asthma and it's a weird situation where you're, I both am forced to let her go to work for financial reasons. But then on the other hand, desperate would like her not to be
Peter Milligan: asthma.
Is that, does that not count as an underlying health issue to acute, uh, from a working.
Jeff: you would think, but, this [00:02:00] is United States and the doctor said she won't excuse it. So she was basically forced to go to work.
Jeff: Right. I mean, what I would suggest
Peter Milligan: that your wife injects some bleach, you might find that you might find that very efficacious in dealing with
It's amazing how, um,
Jeff: glaring holes in our government have been even more obvious than before because of what's going on.
Peter Milligan: I think
Jeff: I think
Jeff: that that part is so it's, it's so sadly true. And it's
Jeff: such a, an amazing farce that
Jeff: I honestly do believe. cause one thing we're going to get you as well as talking about your story,
Jeff: uh, tomorrow, which deals with India, the virus.
Peter Milligan: talk about this. If I finish, let's talk
Jeff: about that yet. But my point was that I think if you had a leader and you presented him the way we, uh, Trump actually is, I'm not sure people would look at your story as anything more than a satire is in it's oddly enough, that it's actually [00:03:00] real, it's real that any writer would ever have deer making something because it
Jeff: was such,
Peter Milligan: it was some people.
Well, impossible to satire.
Jeff: I think boys' Johnson
Peter Milligan: quite comes quite close to that. Uh, but, but you could just about making more extreme than what is,
Jeff: but there are some people you just
Peter Milligan: can't
Jeff: cause they are almost like self.
Peter Milligan: Set.
Jeff: It is amazing that it is on some level. It's sad for both our country and your country that we deal with leaders like this, but it's, it's a weird bonding experience between countries.
You go, Hey, our leaders, an idiot too, and an incompetent something we can,
Jeff: have like this weird
Jeff: cultural, genetic connection now through incompetence.
Jeff: Yeah. But at least I only know some
Peter Milligan: lesson. So I think, um, I think, I think we should be quite a good, uh, feel good about that. That
Peter Milligan: our leader can occasionally sprout up.
Peter Milligan: It's a Latin phrase. I always think that's good in a leader.
Jeff: Yeah. He's sort of like the smart Trump, I guess on some level [00:04:00] or maybe ours is just a dumb Boris. It's hard to tell the difference
Peter Milligan: anyway.
Jeff: Yes. But yeah, I
Jeff: I will stand here and we'll point out that Trump is
Jeff: our national embarrassment. and unfortunately it's unfortunate that it is a crisis
Jeff: that feels
Jeff: we're rudderless and it does have a sense of, we don't have someone to kind of
Jeff: people's anxiety in a way that's more beneficial to us.
Jeff: I think a,
Peter Milligan: I think a lot of governments is suddenly out of their depth, cause
Peter Milligan: not,
Jeff: they're not built
Peter Milligan: for this kind of thing.
Jeff: you have people like
Peter Milligan: Angela Merkel in Germany who is completely able to handle it because she was a scientist. And when she gives you a talks, They're just like exercises in clarity and clear thinking and exactly what you should do. And they're just like, exactly how you should handle this stuff, but she's a scientist.
So she's kind of a
Jeff: got a head
Peter Milligan: start on lots of other people.
[00:05:00] Jeff: on our side of
Jeff: the ocean, we have a Trudeau in Canada who seems to be.
Jeff: Pretty much on
Jeff: the ball with what's going on and,
Jeff: you know, he's, very well
Jeff: spoken. He does seem to have an understanding of things.
Jeff: And it's interesting to have someone that
Jeff: close to us on the border, who seems to be able to handle it in a far more, maybe mature way or
Jeff: and then look in and go crap.
Peter Milligan: got, we should, we shall see. We shall see. Anyway, uh,
Jeff: I once wrote a
Peter Milligan: book about virus. In fact, that's what we were to talk about. Uh, it's cool to know.
Jeff: Yeah. So as far as tomorrow goes, what was
Jeff: your inspiration for the store? Cause obviously it came before the current pandemic, but those seems extremely timely.
Now, what was the inspiration for that sparked your interest in that?
Jeff: Well, it really was.
Peter Milligan: I mean,
Jeff: it's, it's
Peter Milligan: a story about,
Jeff: a virus,
Peter Milligan: that it's, it's still a slight computer flowers and it, it jumps the species barrier from computer into man.
Jeff: I mean,
Peter Milligan: in terms of the [00:06:00] virus, I mean, it's been clear to anyone who kind of, thinks about it and looks at stuff that sometimes, you know, they're different saws and Mars and different kinds of viruses that sometimes bring it up,
Jeff: that they would eventually
Peter Milligan: have been.
One that takes everyone by a surprise and it takes the world by storm. And I mean, that's kind of anyone who thought about it for half a minute. it was clear that that could happen,
Jeff: but tomorrow,
Peter Milligan: I mean,
Jeff: it wasn't
Peter Milligan: so much about the virus. it was just, I was more interested in the
Peter Milligan: that the virus presented us with.
I was more interested in, I mean, the virus without being, this is a spoiler country now with a spoiler alert,
Jeff: it's mainly
Peter Milligan: the adults or almost exclusively the adults who, who die. And, the ward is pretty quickly left, being run by the kids, In the, in the, in the, in the combo, we suggest that these go, these [00:07:00] kids' brains have been slightly changed by the time to the time they spent on computers.
And it's that slight change in their brain, which has, which has protected them. If you will form a, this virus and most of
Jeff: the adults
Peter Milligan: don't spend as long, In front of a computer screens and their brains, haven't had this
Jeff: of a newer
Peter Milligan: plasticity, and therefore they're dead. They're gone.
Jeff: I was gonna
Jeff: there's an interesting parallel with today with the
Jeff: idea that once he had COVID is affecting mostly adults, but there's some I've been going to children.
Did you realize how timely it was going to be when you started writing it?
Peter Milligan: Absolutely bloody. No, in
Jeff: fact it was, it was, it was, it was
Peter Milligan: insane because like the first. the first episode came out and then just like, it seemed like days before, with this stuff started to break, but there's one, there's one, there's one panel, that [00:08:00] some people put up online and it's just, I mean, character talking to 'em. Took me to nine one, one saying that this is a dead body and this person from 901 saying
Jeff: there are no ambulances, we're
Peter Milligan: too busy
Jeff: to a dead bodies
Peter Milligan: everywhere. Go home, lock the doors and wait until it's all over. And it's like, it's
Jeff: almost like it's too much
Peter Milligan: like the, um, the recommendation you're getting from governments everywhere.
Jeff: it was, it was really old and in some ways, in some ways,
Peter Milligan: I mean, sometimes you think how fantastic, you know, this, this coincidence has potentially kind of helped people be more interested in and really made this comic scene, like it's ripped from the headlines.
Jeff: But, I didn't really feel that
Peter Milligan: because what was happening was so, so terrible and it's so terrible that I didn't want the comic to be seen for one.
I didn't want the comment to be seen as somehow jumping piggybacking on the back of this, this terrible [00:09:00] disaster.
Jeff: and also I thought
Peter Milligan: that perhaps. It's people's lives,
Jeff: people's lives
Peter Milligan: are dealing with viruses. You really want to read about fucking virus when you pick up a comic. I mean,
Jeff: I lose, so, I mean, on a number
Peter Milligan: of levels, I thought it wasn't great for the comic.
Clearly that wasn't my main concern at
Jeff: the time.
Peter Milligan: Well, my concern, but little things like the end of humanity as we know.
Jeff: so, so,
Peter Milligan: but,
Peter Milligan: My, my interest, as I say, was not, primarily about, about the bios itself and about how it
Jeff: spreads. It was really about, okay,
Peter Milligan: Then most of the Arabs, the dead to kids who are in control now, what kind of water they make?
Who are they really?
Jeff: are they better? I mean, one of these situations,
Peter Milligan: for, for them, for this comic was there'd been a period of years. There'd been a number of, pretty, if you have to say inspirational young people,
Jeff: who, were really
Peter Milligan: amazing, [00:10:00] there was, my Hydrea who was shot by the Taliban and showing the face.
And she was just an incredible and brave and articulate and amazing. There was a woman Emma Gonzalez who gave that speech, and this really tend to age. Who'd seen this, Seeing this, this, this terrible thing happened. And then a talk in front of, I don't know, millions of people, which
Jeff: is so kind
Peter Milligan: of possessed.
And so, so, amazing and inspirational.
Jeff: And there were a number
Peter Milligan: 'em. There were a number of, young people, many women actually, but maybe, maybe young people and you
Jeff: kind of think part B
Peter Milligan: them thinks, wow, if
Jeff: they are the future. Maybe
Peter Milligan: the future is going to be okay. You know, maybe they'll make a better shot, but then, then I kind of cynical, British part side of me, came through.
I said, okay, they're great. They're fantastic. Can't take anything away from them. But I remember because I remember this playground as you say, the
Jeff: school yard, you know, but, and [00:11:00] I mean, it's
Peter Milligan: brutal. And
Jeff: for every
Peter Milligan: behavior, there's a lot of, kind of would be a 90 year old Taliban running around, uh, uh, you know, so
Jeff: you can't
Peter Milligan: do too.
It can be red in tooth and claw.
Jeff: And if
Peter Milligan: we weigh the, the other work on pay. So really that was what I wanted to explore. what's it what's, it really can be like,
Jeff: so it's kind of like Lord of the
Peter Milligan: flies meets of the apes.
Jeff: That's a great combination. And I mean, I
Peter Milligan: have to say, I have to say, it's sometimes it's quite useful just to try to focus up.
Jeff: they're all
Peter Milligan: line up,
Jeff: I wrote
Peter Milligan: just for myself was Lord of the flies, me as kind of the apes.
Jeff: That's a great tagline for any, for anything to hear that. And I think one thing that I really love reading, and your very first issue, you do a very well written and very, intelligently,
Jeff: well thought out
Jeff: introduction to the comic book where you cover some of the things you're talking about as far as.
The next generation. And I
Jeff: thought to
Jeff: myself, it's
Jeff: interesting that we look
[00:12:00] Jeff: at the individuals who are making a Mark right now in society and that the, our children. And what do you think of that in some
Jeff: way that we're handing off the role of
Jeff: morality and, and those who speak for justice to children instead of having that role, be the adults who should be holding up Baton, instead of giving it over to the kids already, who may not be ready for it.
Peter Milligan: Yeah. The child is the father of the man.
Jeff: Yeah, well, of course
Peter Milligan: will have. Well, we'll be handing down on a full law art, the children, not only a kind of a moral imperative, we're handing down to them
Jeff: to kind of make
Peter Milligan: their mobile choices in this world,
Jeff: but also handing them, Oh, by the way, kids.
Peter Milligan: The words are the, environment's also Foxy.
You've got to have that out.
Jeff: And when you've done that,
Peter Milligan: there's
Jeff: a world recession
Peter Milligan: because of this, because we couldn't work out how to deal with this pandemic
Jeff: because basically
Peter Milligan: most countries have perfectly willing to spend billions of dollars on
Jeff: weapons. [00:13:00] It's a minute
Peter Milligan: chance that we're going to use weapons of mass described from this like that, the chances of us ever needing them really, really remote,
Jeff: but we
Peter Milligan: happy.
See, that's happily seen as a, as a necessary expenditure. If someone has spent as a function of that on preparedness for a pandemic,
Jeff: it would have been seen
Peter Milligan: as kind of a liberal tax and spend madness and, and, and it wouldn't have, it wouldn't have worked. So I think that. We, we had ourselves to blame for what's happened.
Uh, and I think, uh, the way we too, with the way we deal with the natural world and the way we have it prepared, prepared for
Jeff: the very
Peter Milligan: obvious pandemic, there was clear, obviously you're going to come. Uh, so
Jeff: I think that even though it's
Peter Milligan: terrible, I don't think you can kind of fill to story. You
Jeff: pull so
Peter Milligan: individually for the human race, but as a, I kind of think, well, you know, I mean, [00:14:00] There you go, you've done this
One thing as you mentioned
Jeff: is that
Jeff: your story is kind of looking into what the future could be. The,
Jeff: as you said with
Jeff: the next generation now, is this something you already in your head having to answer to, or is your
Jeff: story a way of
Jeff: working out for yourself? Whether or not we're in better hands or worse hands with the next generation?
Peter Milligan: A bit of both. I mean, I think that I might look, I have my ideas that wasn't going to be some kind of garden of Eden, just because, just because the kids were in control. I
Jeff: mean, I mean the kids
Peter Milligan: aren't all white as to who would say powerful. I mean, a lot of them aren't a lot of them just, you know, I mean, a lot of them are just as messed up.
I mean, sometimes messed up because of the kids they
Peter Milligan: the arrows, the,
Jeff: they heavens they had.
Peter Milligan: Um,
Jeff: so look,
Peter Milligan: I think
Peter Milligan: maybe it's something which is embedded in humans. What I was interested in, in the,
Jeff: I know there's
Peter Milligan: been quite a lot, there's a kind of, there's been quite a lot of, fire spreads around the world and decimates [00:15:00] the human population story.
So I want it to not really get too hung up on the virus itself. It's kind of there and there's a reason for it happening. Dah, dah, dah. I was really much more interested in when you dealing with a story that potentially, with a cost of billions, because the whole planet is, is dying off you kind of
Jeff: for me,
Peter Milligan: I need to make
Jeff: personal. So what
Peter Milligan: I was interested in is how individual people, individual characters handle this. In Sydney, unusual, situation. so, so I very quickly try to focus on a couple of key characters. and
Jeff: I'm only
Peter Milligan: in there. We actually. To, this, pandemic is wiped out somebody people,
Peter Milligan: than
Jeff: the macro
Peter Milligan: politics of, of where the Bible is, is growing.
Jeff: It's really
Peter Milligan: how these people as individuals, respond to it and react to and, and, and are affected by it.
Jeff: I think when your most fascinating characters in the, in the combo obviously is your protagonist, , Oscar,
Jeff: my day job
Jeff: is to be, [00:16:00] I'm an English teacher at a school for special needs students, many of them who are, autistic
Jeff: and I found,
Jeff: Oscar very interesting character.
Cause, once he does describe stuff as being neuro atypical, And I thought to myself,
Jeff: led you to making your protagonists neuro-typical? And I don't know if you meet
Jeff: him or thought of him
Jeff: as necessarily autistic, but he definitely has those tendencies. Um, and was there any
Jeff: concern of writing
Jeff: a character who would be, who is a neuro atypical in the story?
Jeff: Uh, I mean it's hell
Peter Milligan: I mean,
Peter Milligan: I mean, you,
Jeff: you end up
Peter Milligan: choosing a character or creating a character that can best allow you to talk about what you want to talk about. And what I wanted to talk about was, the Southern strangeness of this world and how
Jeff: we cope
Peter Milligan: with Southern strangeness. And I think as, as he would say, a newer atypical person that's as, People with this condition or they have is on the spectrum.
that I feel like I'd be like, perhaps Asperger's,
Jeff: I think [00:17:00] the
Peter Milligan: change is a bit difficult for them thing for them to, or you
Jeff: will notice
Peter Milligan: often change is a very difficult thing for them to handle. and I think that.
Jeff: In my research
Peter Milligan: in a much
Jeff: and I'm very good friends, but director
Peter Milligan: who directed a drama about a kid's a kid with Asperger's and I was on set of that and I looked at it and I
Jeff: saw a lot
Peter Milligan: what went on and that's really interested me and I've with extensively on the subject.
Jeff: and it seems to be that one
Peter Milligan: of the, one of the key, the key markers of where this condition is that.
Jeff: If they, they don't like
Peter Milligan: change, they want things to be the same way. They want things to be ordered so that they can,
Jeff: get ahead around
Peter Milligan: it. I mean, you must see this in the right.
Jeff: So what an
Peter Milligan: interesting character
Jeff: try to deal with
Peter Milligan: this massive.
Jeff: World world
Peter Milligan: worldwide change.
Jeff: though, then
Peter Milligan: wanted them. We've being Asperger's to someone who has a problem with change. Does that make him less likely or less able to cope [00:18:00] with, uh, this world wherever these changed
Peter Milligan: does it conversely make him more able
Jeff: because you do he's already
Peter Milligan: every day he deals with the problem of change, small things that other people don't notice.
He will notice this change. Uh,
Jeff: so he's already,
Peter Milligan: if you like. In training for a world is, for the feeling of dislocation you feel when the world changes. Cause
Jeff: he's the pills like that a lot.
Peter Milligan: So I thought it was an interesting question, which is not about solving the question to find out what the answer is.
It's more about the journey and about a character who seems to be, interesting
Jeff: point. If you
Peter Milligan: Character for world has changed. That's changed radically.
Jeff: well, I thought it was, I said, cause I deal with these
Jeff: students all the time.
Jeff: So I found your, your, um, character,
Jeff: very real feeling to me. Like I could see the type of aspects of your character that I see in my students all the time.
And I think when the most and the things, I think
Jeff: I, that
Jeff: seem very [00:19:00] ingenious of you to add to your character.
Jeff: Excuse me, repeat that
Peter Milligan: again.
Jeff: It's amazing what you did with the character. And it was an ingenious of you. It's what you did with the addition of music as a way of calming him, that Rudy comes out or he tries to focus.
He focuses on his music and, and his playing. I w I believe it's, was it cello? I believe it
Jeff: and cause I see a lot of my students, one of the ways they try to, we give them for coping mechanisms is listening to music as a way to calm them down. I was wondering where that came,
Jeff: with the idea of giving Oscar, music as a way of expressing himself and also calming.
Jeff: a lot
Peter Milligan: of, people are on the, on the spectrum, Nike music. And I think there is something which is very ordered about music, mathematicians, Often, very interested in music. And in fact, lots of the mathematicians do compose music.
And there was a kind of correlation between older maths and
Jeff: music is a world
Peter Milligan: that makes sense,
Jeff: And the world
[00:20:00] Peter Milligan: outside of this symphony, or this piece may make no sense whatsoever,
Jeff: but there is a, there is
Peter Milligan: a sense and a sense of order and a sense of completeness and a piece of music, which I thought would appeal to this character.
Jeff: And yeah, I mean, I was routinely amazed by how
Jeff: on point you are.
Jeff: the other one,
Jeff: as well as, initially
Jeff: to Oscar, a mistake, mistakes Adam's
Jeff: expressions, w for he thought he was being aggressive when he's smiling, smiling at him. And I thought
Jeff: that was so insightful as well.
Jeff: And also an interesting challenge to give to your protagonist.
And I was wondering what's to go into how you. View that, you know, from a story perspective and also how much is it on your artist as well to portray a look that is both potentially confused
Jeff: as hostile, but also,
Jeff: um, meant to be, you know, smiling to a reader who would me recognize
Peter Milligan: I think that scene was probably easier for me to write it was for, um, uh, Hey us to a tool.
I [00:21:00] mean, how can you draw that? It's a bugger to
So I think there was, there was some,
Peter Milligan: there was some panels that can be word led and some can be image led and that's fantastic. But some,
Jeff: you know, I mean, because it's hard because we as
Peter Milligan: all
Jeff: or the majority
Peter Milligan: of people who are not atypical
Jeff: will read
Peter Milligan: that as. As an, a smart, as a normal small cause we read those human gestures again. So, but it still comes back to, I was interested in this, this kid who, who struggled with making sense of the world anyway. I mean, if you like the entire population or who's left of this world, this denuded of population, they're trying to make sense of the world.
They're trying to. Find older in disorder, but I mean, does Oscar's life? I mean, I think, I think that one key thing I was wanting to do with, Oscar
Jeff: is, I mean, I am, if you like new
Peter Milligan: atypical of a survivor epilepsy. So, and I go to a, I go [00:22:00] to, I belong to this epilepsy club. I've kind of compared to lots of the people say this is club.
I belong to. I mean, I'm great. I mean, I have a relationship. I, a normal life have a job,
Jeff: you know, I mean, I'd say I have a life.
Peter Milligan: do kind of see lots of people who are, is very, it's a very rare condition, but I thought,
Jeff: but what I wanted,
Peter Milligan: what comes through in talking to people is
Jeff: I know it's a cliche that
Peter Milligan: they are not completely defined by their condition.
Jeff: And there were a person
Peter Milligan: with this condition that said, I mean,
Jeff: I know that that's what
Peter Milligan: that's, that's the slogan we should have. I am not going to be defined by my condition. And that's fantastic, but, but, but you must see some kids that you work with. I know that I see some people
Jeff: and it's really hard
Peter Milligan: to think that their life has not been. Two large part, if not completely defined by epilepsy, because it controls everything they do and everything
Jeff: they [00:23:00] can do.
Peter Milligan: and, uh, but as a person they're still a person.
Jeff: So I want it
Peter Milligan: also could be this small kid, first of all, and a pretty pretty has this. He has this condition. I mean, uh, other, other people in the book have other, uh, if you like.
Atypical qualities to them. There's one there's one. Can you find who was
Jeff: abused now?
Peter Milligan: a very different, but it's still something which has altered him. It's still something that, which might even define the rest of his life. Uh, uh, if, if it has a, if it was traumatized him to such a
Jeff: degree, so. None of us are
Peter Milligan: normal. I don't think, I don't think it's, I think there's a spectrum of a normality and I think that some people existing on one edge of the spectrum and others on the other. And I think that in, in this world, in the world of tomorrow and to a much, much lesser degree in
Jeff: our world right now, what [00:24:00] normally is,
Peter Milligan: is very difficult to say because
Jeff: we all try
Peter Milligan: to work out what.
Is it, I know it's a cliche of the new
Jeff: normal, but we'll
Peter Milligan: try to work this new fucking
Jeff: normal is it's easy to say, but
Peter Milligan: to actually experience this.
Jeff: So, I mean, it's,
Peter Milligan: it's horribly timely. but,
Jeff: so I wanted
Peter Milligan: to make Oscar, a kid, first of all, a person, first of all, and not every single aspect of his. was, is, Asperger's
Jeff: my, I was reading
Jeff: character of Oscar.
Jeff: Also, you seem to, you, you gave, telepathy to, is that something that between twins or is that something that's going to be, she has been a greater aspect of this character.
Peter Milligan: Well, I mean, look it's own. I wanted, I wanted to highlight just how close these two people were,
Jeff: That not only are they twins
Peter Milligan: and they have all the, um, they have all the, uh,
Peter Milligan: this have twins.
I was in Brazil, last year and I was talking to some twins and,
Jeff: they're just really
Peter Milligan: amazing talking to them. [00:25:00] And they were not, it looks very similar. They are quite identical. There
Jeff: were just, it was really interesting talking
Peter Milligan: to them. And, and I wanted, I knew I wanted to use something with twins, also worked on the screenplay once a.
The surprise spots didn't get made, but, um, it
Jeff: can with twin
Peter Milligan: social. We were interested
Jeff: I wanted, I wanted
Peter Milligan: Oscar to have this person who, who, uh, he was incredibly close to and who'd been apart from, was a new thing to him.
Jeff: So I wanted
Peter Milligan: him to be, you
Jeff: know, to be a writer
Peter Milligan: is to be called your characters.
Cause you want your characters to be.
Jeff: On a knife edge. You want your
Peter Milligan: account innovative? You know,
Jeff: it's in those
Peter Milligan: situations of extremists of, of, on a knife edge, teach
Jeff: on the edge, I think that's when
Peter Milligan: you find out stuff about them, on stuff about people. so I wanted him to be really close to his twin sister, who he was because of this pandemic separated from,
Jeff: and I wanted one white.
Peter Milligan: So one way to, One way to [00:26:00] highlight, highlight their closeness is to have a kind of telepathic bond. I know that's a bit of a cliche between twins, but I think it can exist. And I think it's possible that it could exist in some form. It's also a really good, a really good PR drag device to be able to have these two people in different
Jeff: parts of the world, different parts
Peter Milligan: of the country talking.
Jeff: so, so I wanted
Peter Milligan: just to.
Jeff: The driver
Peter Milligan: the story is that, article is trying to be reunited with his twin. And
Jeff: there's some way
Peter Milligan: to be reunited with his team. Twin is to be reunited
Jeff: with a world that is no more award
Peter Milligan: that you understand and. And everything will be okay again, of course.
Jeff: Yeah. And I think you're your
Jeff: strongest gift in this series. I mean, don't get me wrong. The arts to test the
Jeff: stories, but it has is that your characters are so real feeling, genuine, feeling like, um, one other like another character.
Peter Milligan: What do you send in some ways? This is one of the genius things about it.
Jeff: I think it's extremely [00:27:00] genius. I mean, it is. I
Jeff: remember I was looking up information about you and the amount of times the words legend icon popped up.
It definitely demonstrates it in
Jeff: I mean, I knew you from hell blaze and I knew you from red lanterns, but I also like, and it was interesting that you keep the word icon, you know, the, I conic Peter Milligan so forth and so on. Then you read the story. You're like, damn, it's
Jeff: right there as well. He's another
Jeff: series and you can see the richness of the characters. The, tangibleness of the world that he created and it works, it works fantastically. So yeah, those will learn comments.
Peter Milligan: Oh, I was really happy with the story and I think obviously the pandemic coming as it did as if you don't have bifurcated.
the publication of, of the comment in the first few came out, I think now has been a gap. So,
Jeff: so, so
Peter Milligan: I'm not quite sure when it's going to finish, but
Jeff: it's good stuff. I think
Peter Milligan: I was really happy with it. I was really happy
Jeff: with the artwork,
Peter Milligan: and you know, I mean, having, having, having a comic series delayed because of the pandemic [00:28:00] in the great scheme of things, it's not a huge a Hill of beans, but it's obviously it breaks it up
Jeff: and it is, it was
Peter Milligan: an uncanny, when this came out, but it wasn't,
farsightedness on my part. I was, I mean, most of these stories set in the future, much more about today. And the story was about, today was about, these people and it was about.
Peter Milligan: or not, this stuff that humankind does to each other and dust to the planet is kind of like messed up by alum, screwed up a quality that we have, whether or not it exists in kids.
And if the kids weren't there, it was still happening. And this was one of the little driver's door themes.
Jeff: Yeah, I do realize the 30 minutes is up my pastor. Just a few more questions
Jeff: or there was a rough ballpark. All right.
Jeff: Cool. Cool. Because one of the things I did want to hit it, [00:29:00] once again, I've been so fascinated with your series
Jeff: is I like
Jeff: the contrast with the character of Nate and Nate, someone who at least, um, On when you first seen Nandy first understand Nate, he seems
Jeff: be a character who has
Jeff: all the benefits.
I mean, you look at Oscar who is dealing with autism and, and all the difficulty that comes with that. Then you look at Nate who on paper should have all the benefits of life. He's wealthy. He's, doesn't seem to have any major issues unless you're looking at hostility as being an atypical behavior
Jeff: and what he is
Jeff: what he
Jeff: becomes, and amount of violence
Jeff: comes out of him.
Seems like an interesting
Jeff: commentary about.
Jeff: The idea of, maybe nurture versus maybe, nature. Maybe the idea of having everything from can achieve is a process of creating these kinds of negative behaviors, you know? and I just get idea of what your sense of that was.
Peter Milligan: Yeah. And I think it's
Jeff: also, it also shows the, uh, The foolhardiness
Peter Milligan: of, of quickly, uh, teaming someone [00:30:00] or laboring someone who's normal or not normal
You just never know. I mean, um, I, I know, um,
Peter Milligan: uh, a psychologist, he works with the prisoners in, uh, in prisons and,
Jeff: up P
Peter Milligan: he was originally from and he's, he's a black guy, uh, Uh, and, uh, obviously really smart guy psychologist. And, uh,
Jeff: he, he, um,
Peter Milligan: he wants to,
Jeff: delve before,
Peter Milligan: before he came to this country, he was dealing, he was working in developer and he dealt with this patient and this patient was a white Zimbabwe.
And you would look on the outside black Zimbabwean, you know, it just, was involved in your instant. Your instinct would be that, that. The black Vincent Barbara and his cell phone. And because of what's happened, what's happened to
Jeff: the, uh, the, uh,
Peter Milligan: blacks in, uh, in a, in a symbolic way.
Jeff: And the white
Peter Milligan: guy is the guy who has
Jeff: all the privileges
Peter Milligan: and he's been lucky in life.
Well, actually, my, my friend, he came from a [00:31:00] really strong family. It was really kind of like family that, encouraged him to be educated and a really strong family bond and a really happy childhood in this, this white guy. he had a. I kind of like a disaster of a childhood abuse, sexual and violence, and it was just, it messed him up for his entire life.
Jeff: I always thought that
Peter Milligan: was quite interesting, you know, taking things up how you can take things at face value and you dig a little bit deeper. And that was in the sense that the idea with Nate that on the surface, he's this, he goes to this, uh, expensive, uh, Privates, uh, when this country was, I guess you'd say a private
Jeff: school is expensive private school, his dad
Peter Milligan: really rich and, ,
Jeff: of a ball breaking
Peter Milligan: CEO.
And he's kind of like, he's a kind of, um, he's a little master of the universe in the making and, um, and, and he plays soccer, uh, Monte that's. Okay.
and so he,
Jeff: he looks
Peter Milligan: like one of the people who would inherit the world cause he's going to be in control.
Jeff: also these
Peter Milligan: kinds of like, but he's messed [00:32:00] up and he's, uh, and he hasn't got the condition that
Peter Milligan: has, but he has another thing that makes him, uh, if you like, no, no, no, uh, atypical, he's got something which, which brings into a pretty dark, dark place.
Jeff: No, he is,
Peter Milligan: uh, he's a messed up kid and he is abandoned kid and they,
they conduct some really brutal, uh, almost ritualistic soccer, themed, uh, elements
Jeff: of, uh, violence, which I suppose is, uh, has elements of Lord
Peter Milligan: of the flies and elements of a proper orange, uh, in, uh,
Jeff: but, um,
Peter Milligan: But we find out what caused some of his darkness and, and, and Oscar has, uh, has this condition by that
Jeff: the book,
Peter Milligan: but he's got this sister who he loves and we
Jeff: get the feeling
Peter Milligan: that we never meet them, uh, that his family was already loving a strong family,
Jeff: but we meet
Peter Milligan: his mother who was, uh, who was obviously really loving [00:33:00] woman.
Jeff: It's complicated
Peter Milligan: this stuff. And I guess I wanted to dig into the complication.
Jeff: I mean, yeah, I mean, that's great because like I said, all of our, everyone has
Jeff: those complex complications. We talked about being like normal, atypical and typical whatnot. And we all do have those aspects of ourselves
Jeff: does complicate who we are.
And many ways I would say we all have. I'm a complicated psychology. And as you see through Nate or I was, or anyone
Jeff: else, it doesn't necessarily
Jeff: come maybe with a genetic aspect, but it comes with an experience. And I think one interesting thing as well is when you talk about the tyranny of the playground, um, and
Jeff: someone who like myself,
Jeff: who used to be picked on all the
Jeff: time on the
Jeff: playground, I must admit, I probably met him, met my share, my fair share of Nate's.
And I will say that those experiences on the playground do last with you and have their own damaging effects. 10, 20, 30 years down the road, you do notice it. And I was wondering, you know, that was part of it as well. Um, so your experience, you know, were you on that side of the playground as [00:34:00] well, where you dealt with Nate's?
Jeff: I wasn't,
Peter Milligan: uh, Nate,
Jeff: uh, I
Peter Milligan: I think I was quite, uh, a Naty either. Um,
Jeff: uh, no, I think I was,
Peter Milligan: I think I, uh, I was kind of not an obvious, pretty target,
Jeff: But nor was I a bully?
Peter Milligan: I mean, I think I kind of quite had a sympathy for people being a pixel owner. I think I was quite sensitive kid. And
Jeff: then when I was, when I was young kid,
Peter Milligan: uh, I
Jeff: had a apostle,
Peter Milligan: I could I'd have the operation straight in my eyes.
And so before the operation came in, of course you'll pick down, uh, So I kind of, you know, I was, I was raised on, on a, on a,
Jeff: on board,
Peter Milligan: you call
Jeff: a project.
Peter Milligan: So you kind of, uh, you know, big family. So you kind of see kind of get big, rough and tumble. So you kind of, uh, You kind of get used to looking after yourself a bit.
And I remember coming home from school and, uh, these three kids kind of came up me. [00:35:00] They were from a different block and they came up to me to kind of back me up a bit.
Jeff: And I looked up
Peter Milligan: to
Jeff: the window. I
Peter Milligan: could see window, my flat, my apartment. I could see my mom and my, um,
Jeff: two of my brothers looking
Peter Milligan: and they weren't doing anything.
They were just water soon. I think they were kind of a, I was, I did. Okay. As he normally was this kid stuff, you know, you can have like, so, uh, I think when you grow up in that situation,
Jeff: kind of
Peter Milligan: learned to
Jeff: scrap a bit,
Peter Milligan: but because I had this, uh, foresight push, they substrate and up as an operation, but before they did, you kind of, it kind of gives you a sympathy on empathy with people who are being picked on.
Jeff: particularly people kept with,
Peter Milligan: physical disabilities or whatever, you
Jeff: know, would you say someone like Nate is an issue is a lack of empathy, or do you think it's, are you going to go with something deeper
Peter Milligan: deeper? I think, well, I think he has a lack of empathy. I think that, I think that empathy is [00:36:00] a place you can't.
Afford to go to. Cause I think he's so damaged. I think he doesn't have to prove himself. He can't bring himself to, uh, go to go there.
Jeff: I said,
Jeff: I think that's fantastic. I do like the idea that you're making him more of a, um,
Jeff: dynamic character. Then maybe often somebody would go probably the easier route and make him, you know, a straight villain type character.
But the fact that you're
Jeff: making him seem.
Jeff: um, more sympathetic or you're going to make him seem more sympathetic. I think it's a fantastic direction to go in.
Jeff: Yeah. I mean, look
Peter Milligan: sympathetic. I think that, but he's a product of his father. It's a product of what's happened to him.
Jeff: So I think that
Peter Milligan: that's not to say that he won't do and say
Peter Milligan: despicable things, but I think that, um,
Peter Milligan: not this block of wood that was necessarily create a evil.
I don't know if I believe in evil. I think that people do evil things. Uh, I'm not quite sure whether there,
Peter Milligan: exists, uh, [00:37:00] force called evil that wants around and pick some people. Uh,
Jeff: so I think
Peter Milligan: that. Stuff is done to people. I mean, if you look a lot of, a lot of, uh, kids and young people
Jeff: who are, I think, I think there's a
Peter Milligan: statistic about people who
Jeff: were in prison are
Peter Milligan: inclusion for violent crime, the percentage of them who have been, uh, abused sexually or physically abused when they were kids.
It's extraordinary. It's just so high. And it's like,
Jeff: you mess up
Peter Milligan: these kids and they're kind of like the WT people don't really need the society. It doesn't really. Look out for them, they get completely screwed up. And then since I
Peter Milligan: shocked and horrified, when that kid turns around to be a little bit of a monster,
Jeff: and Nate
Peter Milligan: is a bit of a monster.
Jeff: I mean, it's interesting when you look at, um, we talked about
Jeff: like the future of the next generation in many ways, like, you know, we're, we honestly have our faith in the next generation and our prospects are in the next generation. But as the
Jeff: we go ever way to screw those kids up with budgets, gonna be possible [00:38:00] for they get there.
Peter Milligan: They fuck you up your mum and dad as,
Jeff: this, but
Peter Milligan: but the Philip Larkin poem, I don't know how known it is in, uh, in America, but in Britain, it's almost a cliche
of childhood, uh, repel in, they fuck you up because it's a problem that people know because it's got such a. Abboud first line, you know?
Jeff: Yeah. And,
well, I do wanna talk about American Roy in a moment, but what I do want to stop and just ask if we're talking about ideas of empathy and what we talked about earlier with Trump and some of this other stuff, it does seem like there is.
Jeff: empathy gaps that some people do have, do you think it truly is empathy gaps or do you think
Jeff: even when you look at some, like
Jeff: what's going on with say Trump and some of that other issues, it's something more deep seated with them as well that we're in that's too easy to just
Jeff: say, well, the lack, these
Peter Milligan: that's, you know,
Jeff: that's almost a bit
Peter Milligan: beyond my pay grade.
I mean, it's like what I'm trying to do in this story and get the story is, um, [00:39:00] is to try to create real characters that will. Things happen to them in the past. And, and how do they, and how do they operate
Jeff: in, uh,
Peter Milligan: in this situation, which have given them, uh,
Jeff: empathy gaps will clearly people,
Peter Milligan: there are people who have absolutely no empathy.
How did this come about?
Peter Milligan: you know, whether it's genetic,
Jeff: whether it's, uh,
Peter Milligan: caused by abuse,
Jeff: or on, I, we had
Peter Milligan: a, an article once, well, of kids growing up into the bad, the bad and destructive one might say un-empathetic behavior. There are
Jeff: kids who are
Peter Milligan: beaten when they were babies, ended up being less screwed up in kids that were just ignored, remarkable that somehow there's a lack of love or a lack of attention or this stuff.
Oh, what the fuck next about up somehow is more damaging to us [00:40:00] then
Peter Milligan: what we would say, abused, um, you know, wow. Yeah, but as I say, that's,
Peter Milligan: that's a, that's a world of our research was shut them. Stay up is not my job, but what we can do as a great people is to create characters that seem recognizable and
Jeff: explore how and why they are the way they are and how they
Peter Milligan: act in these situations.
Jeff: That's a great, great answer. How long is the series expected to be tomorrow?
Peter Milligan: I think it's six episodes, but relied. And then under normal circumstance.
Peter Milligan: What we're hoping for is do the first six episodes,
Peter Milligan: uh, episode was first storyline and
Peter Milligan: gets Oscar. To us. This is a spoiler, the spoiler countries. I think
Jeff: We get to a
Peter Milligan: certain place
Jeff: Uh, it's certainly
Peter Milligan: the end of his [00:41:00] journey, but it's a certain place in his journey with, so
Jeff: feel as though there's been
Peter Milligan: a completeness in, um, in the first storyline, but I've got other storylines that I want to go out and hopefully with a fair wind
Peter Milligan: the grace of God, uh, behind us, uh, we, um, we'll get to do another silver liner.
Jeff: Well, I definitely hope so.
Jeff: I mean, like I said, I love the story and the thing I was wondering about is American Ronan. Now, how far along are you in this issue being produced from AWA?
Peter Milligan: looks amazing and I think I'm really happy with it. Uh, uh,
Jeff: yeah, so it's,
Peter Milligan: it's been done. Uh, and, uh, the artist I think is on episode four or five,
Jeff: I mean, uh, when he's coming out.
Peter Milligan: Who fucking knows.
Jeff: have to ask the guys AWA, he looks amazing. I'm really happy
Peter Milligan: with it. And they say really strong, interesting, um, [00:42:00] uh, storied,
Jeff: very different.
Peter Milligan: If I may say it's really interesting. What's interesting is we were talking about empathy.
Empathy is, is at the heart of American moaning because
Jeff: for reasons which
Peter Milligan: will come become a power when you read the story, which of course you will, this guy has, um, increased oil, exaggerated ability to empathize with
Jeff: the people we did that.
Peter Milligan: After wanting to kill one form or challenge in some way, uh, Leah's some has been done to his brain.
You can see I'm quite interested in stuff being done to brains,
Jeff: uh, which allows him
Peter Milligan: to have deep, deep empathy with his character so that he
Peter Milligan: what his Countess thinking, uh, feeling might do in the future. Uh, but to. But to get this level of empathy, he has to get
Jeff: if you like a,
Peter Milligan: a sample [00:43:00] from us from the person is his target.
Jeff: For example,
Peter Milligan: some DNA. Then he has to kind of do a mixed up and inject it and then he can.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Peter Milligan: It's dark stuff. So
Jeff: like, for example, if you're, if you're
Peter Milligan: following somebody you're trying to, you know, and you're trying to find out more about this person,
Jeff: who is
Peter Milligan: this person a really, where, what is this, what is this weak spot?
What is this clinker? It is. If the Dharma, he might kind of like go into a restaurant, going to the restaurant where this guy has been eating and. To
Jeff: pick up the
Peter Milligan: utensils that he's been using or the chopsticks he he's been using, take them home and swap them. And then you've got, you've got DNS book.
Jeff: It seems like an incredible burden though, to take that much empathy from other, you know, to absorb that much
Jeff: feelings from other people.
That's an incredible burden to take onto yourself. I mean, turn off, take your own feelings.
Peter Milligan: Yeah, I think he, I think there's that, I think there's a line you have to walk. The, um, two marks and I think you have a empathy overload and, and yeah, and you become almost, you become almost
Jeff: you almost become
Peter Milligan: almost [00:44:00] subsumed beneath the personality and the feelings and the
Jeff: fears and the likes and.
Peter Milligan: of our office target.
But that's part of, part of, part of the story is about trying to get that balance. But anyways,
Jeff: they're really great stories. It has a James
Peter Milligan: Bond element to it in
Peter Milligan: It's lots of interesting, kind of like, uh, exotic locations though. There's fighting and car chases, but our heart is this guy who
Peter Milligan: has his ability to empathize with other people
Jeff: to a really
Peter Milligan: deep level.
And how you just that, uh, how he uses that to. Do we ask to do
Jeff: it, that must make it hard for him to do what he has to do when he has to feel for these people. I mean,
Jeff: could they become real for
Jeff: him? They're not just targets anymore.
Peter Milligan: That is the balance he has to do it, which I think yes, of
Jeff: course take too
Peter Milligan: much of it.
And. Yeah, you go, you become them. And in some very real
Jeff: Um, th th when is this going to be part of the connected universe started in resistance on AWS, or is this gonna be a [00:45:00] separate series connected to it?
Peter Milligan: Actually, I'm, uh, I'm doing something else for the connected universe, because I can't talk about yet, but it's going to be great.
And, uh, I'm really excited about that,
Jeff: It's been,
Peter Milligan: it's been slightly paused by, uh, academic. Uh, but I'm doing something else for them, which is going to be connected to that, uh, resistance universe.
Jeff: please take a look at
Peter Milligan: it from a completely different point of view. And so it's going to be quite a different take on that are on the, uh, world and tone, certainly, uh, slightly more me and certainly anymore.
Peter Milligan: So anyway, I can't talk about that yet. I've been told not to talk about that yet because I've written the first episode, but it's still in its early stages. And, uh, And I know it's going to be important for a bit,
Jeff: but American running,
Peter Milligan: I think it's amazing. I think it's a,
Jeff: I'm really happy with it. The artwork
Peter Milligan: is a C O Oh, I think that the Garmin is still about.
[00:46:00] He uses the uses is strange. He used the strings of, uh, non
Peter Milligan: which was always forget
Jeff: is AOC or ACO. Well, yeah, when, when we do,
Jeff: we, we do an intro before the interview. We always can do a shout out to him.
Jeff: we'll look it up,
Jeff: but we'll try
Peter Milligan: that's not his real name.
Jeff: But yeah,
Peter Milligan: but anyway, he's amazing and it is just amazingly, amazingly modern and, uh, and it's fantastic.
somebody's happy about that, but look, it's been really great talking to you. How about when, you know, when, when, it comes out. I'd love to talk to, again about, your reactions to it.
Jeff: And whether you think
Peter Milligan: elements of genius to that, as you thought there was in a store,
Jeff: I'm sure. I'm sure there most
Jeff: will be when I
Jeff: read will be like, there's, there's the
Jeff: right there.
I found it on page five.
Peter Milligan: Yeah.
Jeff: Yeah. I mean, like I said, you've been absolutely fantastic to talk to. I do, like, I do hope we do talk some more when the issues come out, hopefully they do come. I know I'm with. [00:47:00] Um, release days and diamond, everything else, everything is in panic mode.
Peter Milligan: that on that point, I do think that this stuff
Peter Milligan: come out again. I think the winner
Jeff: when, um, we are open
Peter Milligan: there,
Jeff: and I think we will get over it, whoever changed we are.
Peter Milligan: And I think that we'll be living with it rather than being over completely. But, but I think that when we're kind of up and up it again, and the world text on something like a more normal, um,
Jeff: Uh, shape.
I mean, I think people are going to be very hungry for stories
Peter Milligan: and cause
Peter Milligan: I mean, it's the way that we do talk about ourselves. It's the way we try to understand ourselves. So I think that there's going
Jeff: be a real
Peter Milligan: hunger for, um, for stories for comics,
Jeff: TV shows
Peter Milligan: for
Peter Milligan: that good stuff, poems, all that good stuff.
The up is what makes us human. So I am very confident that when this is over the, um,
Jeff: Or these
Peter Milligan: comics that will be [00:48:00] missing, uh, will be, uh, Winging that way to the comic stores.
Jeff: It's just so unfortunate
Jeff: that AOL AWA launched
Jeff: like a month before diamond shut down. It was
Jeff: just a bad
Jeff: timing. It's
Peter Milligan: a terrible timing for them because all the expensive launches and then nothing
Jeff: It's a really
Peter Milligan: bad time for them,
Jeff: because you would like to think
Jeff: that while there are
Jeff: hot and popular, because when does it, as soon as something launches, that's where the most, that's the peak of attention.
Usually something has, and to have it. Maybe shut down by diamond. It's just, hopefully they figured out how to move around that
Jeff: it's really
Peter Milligan: itself, but it's like seeing a really pretty girl in a, in a party that you've liked for a long time. And you finally, and you finally
Jeff: pulled up the
Peter Milligan: boot up the nerve to go and say to her, you have this opening line that you wanted to
Jeff: use and he Polish it and it gives this opening line.
Peter Milligan: And then the light bulbs blow up and
Jeff: we'll go back to it. And she says, okay, so what [00:49:00] should you
Peter Milligan: say again?
Jeff: It kills the momentum. 100% kills that momentum, but I hope we talked to 'em. We were looking have to talk to Jay , how you pronounce the guy's name
Jeff: And it was,
Jeff: his. I hope it
Jeff: And I hope AWS has already figured out how to adapt into this gap of attention to comic books.
Peter Milligan: So I think, I think they're gonna be okay. I think, I think that, to be honest, I think one or two of the smaller independents might fall by the wayside. Uh, I think
Jeff: there's inevitable.
Peter Milligan: when we, as, as businesses in every sector are gonna fall by the wayside.
Jeff: but I think
Peter Milligan: that the ones that do survive will find that there's a real hunger for, uh, his stuff.
Jeff: Well, like I said, when I saw ADW looks fantastic and I can't wait to see what you've got, I want to see American Ronan come out soon. I hope to see, um, so, um,
Jeff: just not distribution, but a release date
Jeff: I hope so. It's I can start looking at
Jeff: it. Well, [00:50:00] there's talk that it does
Peter Milligan: cause the, I have other stuff which.
Because of our, uh, uh, the parents I can't talk about, but, um, hopefully we'll be
Jeff: seeing that of day when, uh, when, uh, when this crazy war is over.
Jeff: Yeah. Most certainly. And like I said, I thank you so much for sitting with me for as long as you have. It was
Jeff: great talking to you and
Jeff: I just wish I could talk
Jeff: we had time to talk about them, the old stuff that you, red lanterns and the Hellblade, which I have loved for so many years.
Peter Milligan: Yeah. Let's, let's, let's get a date to talk about all that stuff. another time. Oh, I've got to do that. I took about some of your stuff
Jeff: in India, and I said, thank you so much for sharing your genius with me.
you so much, sir, for being awesome.