2007 Snapshot Archive: Grant Watson

Interviewed by Tansy Rayner Roberts

First published at ASiF!

Grant Watson is the Perth-based creator of comic The Angriest Video Store Clerk in the World, webcomic The Executive Bunnies, and several plays. Grant blogs athttp://angriest.livejournal.com and writes the regular series “Bad Film Diaries” for Borderlands.

Q1 – A little while ago, you announced your intention to publish spec fic novellas. Is that plan still on track? What is it about novellas that makes you think the project has legs? What kind of work are you hoping to publish?

The plan is progressing, but very slowly. There’s no point rushing into something and doing a substandard job. One of my creative idols is a Japanese games designer/producer named Shigeru Miyamoto – he’s most famous for creating Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda. Anyway, a famous thing Miyamoto once said, when he was being interviewed about why his game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had been delayed by two years, was this (I’m paraphrasing from memory): “A game that’s late can eventually be good. A bad game that’s on time will always be bad.” That sentiment stuck with me, so while there will almost certainly be novellas from me at some point, they may not necessarily be by the end of 2007.

As to what I’m hoping to publish, the annoying but true answer is “stuff that’s good”. More specifically, I’m intrigued by the concept of “the new pulp”. I want to take the sort of stuff that was inventive and clever and attention-grabbing in the 1930s and find out what the equivalent of that is today. I want to publish short works (30-50,000 words) that you can shove in your pocket and read on the train. The sort of stuff you’ll finish and loan to your friends saying “hey, it’s short, but it’s really cool”.

Q2 – The medium you’re most known for as an artist/writer are comics, particularly The Angriest Video Store Clerk in the World. What comics are you working on right now, and what are your plans for the future?

I promise that proper trade paperbacks of the Clerk will get printed some time soon, possibly some new issues as well. I had a very tortured experience developing the property for television for about two years, and that pretty much devastated my creative muscles for another two years after that.

I’m currently writing and drawing an autobiographical comic called Abroad, based on six and a half weeks in Europe. No idea of the final format yet – I’m seeing how it shapes up as I grow.

I’ve also written a new comic titled Henry & Gil vs the Infinity Engine, which is currently being illustrated by the wonderful (and wonderfully talented) Edward J. Grug III. He’s publishing it online page by page as he goes, and once he’s finished we’ll be doing a nice print edition for luddites like myself.

Q3 – What’s your take on the Australian spec fic scene as a whole? Is it a fun place to be? What do you get out of the blogging experience vs. attending conventions?

Of course it’s a fun place to be! Where else could you find someplace so creative and supportive? The community argues a lot, sure, and often about ridiculous things – but it argues because it cares.

The current spec fic scene? It’s kind of hard to assess at the moment. My impression is that it’s become fairly messy. The regular journals and magazines have all become fairly irregular and unreliable, with the exception of Andromeda Spaceways – which kind of rolls around every two months like a number 34 bus. The quality has become fairly varied as well. While there’s still a lot of amazing material being produced, there’s also an increased amount of fairly poor or inexperienced work as well. Blame print-on-demand and the Internet for democratising the process so much.

Blogging and convention complement each other nicely, I think, because one is all year round and the other only happens once or twice a year. I certainly enjoy both, although I never make it out of W.A. to attend conventions other than Swancon.

Q4 – Do you read much in the Aus spec fic scene? What’s the best thing you’ve read this year?

I read what I can, but I’m always behind. Ben Peek’s stuff continues to impress me a lot, because he’s one of the few writers who consistently seems to push the envelope in how you can present or tell a story. His 26 Lies/One Truth book, which isn’t really spec fic at all, is certainly worth a closer look.

Q5 – And finally, if you had the chance to get it on with the fictional character you fancy most, who would it be?

Ah, you just want me to get in trouble with my wife. The problem with finding fictional characters attractive is that they’re *fictional,* so what would be the point?

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