Alex Wilson is a writer and actor in Carrboro, NC. His work has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Writers of the Future, Outlaw Territory II (Image Comics) and Shimmer #10. He won the Eagle Award in comics in 2012. He can be found at www.alexwilson.com or on Twitter @alexotica. His latest story, Romeo and Meatbox, appears in Issue #17.
Tell us how “Romeo & Meatbox” came about.
I wrote a few lines of one of the soliloquies as an exercise in iambic pentameter. I remembered it fondly enough that–when I needed to do a reading a few months later at a Wiscon–I expanded it into a complete performance piece. I did both parts. Making it work on the page took a bit longer.
You write, you act, you even produce comics! How do these diverse talents influence each other?
It’s all story. I can spend more hours than is probably healthy locked in a dark room with just a blank piece of paper, but I also have a theatre background, so a community coming together for the purpose of sharing a common story is a great way to tempt me to unlock my door. I’ve enjoyed hanging lights and sewing costumes for shows with which I wasn’t otherwise involved, and in film I was surprisingly satisfied when I spent a month playing an extra on projects like NBC’s Revolution and Iron Man 3, where they simply handed me a rubber gun and told me to run around in the background, while key players or stunt-people did more significant things in the foreground.
Even if I never get another lead role in anything large or small, it’s refreshing to be responsible for only such tiny parts–little more than set dressings, sometimes–of larger works. Sometimes with prose I feel like I don’t need or want all this control over the world in which I’m playing. Scripting comics is a good balance for me… where I’m chiefly collaborating with only one or two others: the illustrator and often an editor, and my script can be as detailed or as broad as I’d like.
Zombies are a spec fic staple. Do you have a favorite zombie story, novel, or movie?
I’m not that excited about zombies except when creators I like are playing with them. Comics like Zombies Calling (Faith Erin Hicks), Champion of Worms (Mike Mignola and Pat McEown), Zeke Deadwood (Thomas Boatright and Ryan Rubio), and I, Zombie (Mike Allred and Chris Roberson). The film Shaun of the Dead. Michael Swanwick’s story “The Dead.” Christopher Moore’s novel The Stupidest Angel. I’ll think of other favorites within minutes after this interview is printed.
For what it’s worth, the same is true for me of other tropes like superheroes. When Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin did a Doctor Strange miniseries for Marvel Comics, I quickly became the biggest temporary fan of Doctor Strange. After that, no particular love or dislike for the guy.
I’ve only explored the undead twice in my own work, and now Shimmer has published both of my zombie stories! Mostly I still think about zombies as one-hit-die creatures in Dungeons and Dragons.
What is currently in your cd player/iTunes/Spotify/8 Track?
I just finished Alethea Kontis’s audiobook Enchanted. As I type this I’m listening to Pandora, with a song by 2cellos. (Later added: and of course I I didn’t think to catch the song’s title before the next one popped up.)
What is your favorite Bradbury story/novel?
Honestly, my favorite is probably the next one I’ll read. But let’s just say “In a Season of Calm Weather” because it’s stuck with me since I was a kid. The short stories of Bradbury, Vonnegut, and Clarke were what got me interested in genre fiction in the first place. I was very sorry to lose the last of “my big three.”