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Comic Book Superstars: Judd Winick

The award-winning writer on creating a lesbian Spider-Girl, and Submariner’s “banana hammock”

Judd Winick made his auspicious debut on The Real World San Francisco, where his endearing friendship with HIV-positive cast mate Pedro Zamora touched the lives of folks everywhere and became the basis of his graphic novel, Pedro and Me. Highly regarded by peers as divergent as Frank Miller and Armistead Maupin, Judd’s deft gift with dialogue will be on full display in DC’s re-launch of Catwoman, as well as Africa’s very own Batman, “Batwing,” this fall.

What’s the one thing you’d tell someone who think comics aren’t cool?
I have two things:

1) You're a dork. What's not cool about comics? You go to the movies? You watch TV? Comics have everything in there and more. Characters with so much character that they've been around for 75 years. Stories that can go anywhere, and do go anywhere. And they're in every genre: Horror; Westerns; Sci-fi; Fantasy; Autobiography; Humor; Porn.

2) I'd buy them one comic. I guarantee I could make a comic reader out of them.

Growing up, Marvel or DC?
I went both ways. A switch hitter. AC/DC. We are still talking about comics, right? My formative years were spent on Teen Titans and The X-Men.

Which superhero is the biggest douchebag?
Well, douchebag carries special meaning for me. It's not “dick” or “asshole”, it’s someone who, when the obvious move is to put aside all differences because someone is so far down that you'd have to be devoid of any humanity not to just let this ball pass over the plate, you decide to kick a dude in the junk. Literally, or figuratively. We've got asshole heroes, we've got dick heroes. Douchebags are hard to find.

That said… Prince Namor, the Submariner. He's a royal, he parades around in this green banana hammock, tried to fuck Mr. Fantastic's wife (The Invisible Woman), and he's constantly whining about how the surface world has fucked up "my" oceans. MY oceans. Kinda douchey.

In an all-companies crossover, can you assemble your ultimate five-hero team?
The three Hulks, Green, Red and Gray, Superman and Wonder Woman. They'll be called the "We Will Fuck-You-Up Five." Is anybody gonna take this group? They wouldn't have fights so much as they would have "pre-funerals."

Who’s got the stupidest costume of any hero or villain?
The list is far too long. But in the 1970's they put Wonder Woman in a pants suit. No analogy needed: "That's so idiotic. It's like putting Wonder Woman in a pants suit."

Have you ever had a story rejected by an editor?
An even longer list to go through, but here are some highlights:

1) I lobbied to kill off Dick Grayson.

2) In an alternate-reality X-Men book, EXILES, I created an alternate-reality Spider-Man who was Spider-Girl, who was also Mary Jane Watson, and a lesbian. I had to make her less lesbian and less Mary Jane. But, in the end, she was a lesbian Spider-Girl. I still got to land that plane.

Which are the best and worst comic book movie adaptations?
Sticking just to superhero movies (thereby eliminating some of the best - American Splendor, Road To Perdition, A History Of Violence): the best is The Dark Knight. It was the best movie of that year and 50 years from now, they'll still be watching it. When the Joker says, "I'm just a dog chasing cars”… I love it. It kills me.

The worst: a two-way tie, the zero-budgeted Fantastic Four from 1994 (the Human Torch only lit on fire once. See the aforementioned zero budget), and the also zero-budgeted Captain America from 1990. For some reason, when Cap had his mask on, they gave him rubber prosthetic ears, instead of his own ears. That's just for openers.

What's the project you're most excited about right now?
The two books I'm working on right now. No bullshit. One is Catwoman, and it's my first time ever writing the character. It's all sex and death: Dark fun. And the other is Batwing, a new Batman who lives and battles in Africa. A black Batman who is defending the incredibly volatile, beautiful, corrupt birthplace of the human race. I get to create a new Batman. It rocks.

What’s been your strangest Comic Con experience?
A reader who, as I was signing about 40 comics for him, kept looking around the convention floor, and mentioned three times, "Wouldn't it be crazy if somebody brought a gun in here?" My wife was sitting behind me, she said, "Sign every one of his books. Keep him happy.”

If you were going to do Cosplay, who would you dress up as?
Oh, that's easy. Silver Surfer. I've got the abs and, as of recently, a shaved head. All I need is a metallic Speedo and a gallon of silver body paint. But the body paint is always tough to get off the sheets. So I hear. But I digress...

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