Get ‘Tricked’ by graphic artist Alex Robinson

By Brayton Cameron

Weekender got in touch with award-winning comic writer Alex Robinson to talk about his latest work, super hero comics and pro-wrestling.

Weekender: Give us a brief run down of your most recent book “Tricked.”

Alex Robinson: “Tricked” is about six people – a pop star with writer’s block, a counterfeiter, a high school girl trying to find the father she never knew, an obsessed music fan, a heartbroken waitress and an office temp. Their lives are unconnected, until gradually, they are all drawn together and one single event has a big effect on all of them. As an extra bonus, I even threw in some high-brow stuff like foreshadowing and themes and stuff. For instance, as the title says, every character in the book is either lying to someone or is being lied to, as are we all.

WE: Would you say there is a character in your last book, “Box Office Poison” that was more like you than any other?

AR: It’s a cliche thing to say, but I think they’re all like me, or if you put them all together they’d be me. I mean, I worked in a bookstore, so a lot of people assume I’m the most like Sherman, but I think that’s a superficial association. Someone reminded me that I guess at one point I had said I thought of Stephen and Jane as the ideal and I would be very happy to turn out like Stephen when I got to be his age. It’s something to shoot for anyway: the love of a good woman, doing a job you’re passionate about and some fun hobbies.

WE: Where did you get the idea for the question and answer transitions in BOP?

AR: A fellow named Dan Greenberger used to publish a [maga]zine called “Duplex Planet” where he would interview people from a nursing home. Most of the time the questions were pretty simple (“What is love?”), but it was the answers that were interesting, since they ranged from funny to deranged to profoundly touching. Dan Clowes adapted some of these to run in the early issues of “Eightball,” and seeing them in that format gave me the idea of swiping it and using it as a way of getting to know my characters – for the readers and myself.

WE: OK. Why comic books?

AR: Well, for one thing, I like to tell stories and I like to draw, so it seems like a natural fit. More importantly, I think comics are one of the few media in which one person can control every aspect of a story’s creation. One person can write, draw, letter, print up and distribute a comic with no interference from anyone. You’ll hear stories about Hollywood, about all these awful compromises people have to make, how you have to create a part for this actress because she’s hot right now, how you can’t do the scene in the bowling alley because tests show teenagers don’t like bowling – can you make it a skate park instead? Comics are about as opposite from that as you can get, for better or for worse. Ideally, they can be an expression of anything the cartoonist wants to say, without having to rely on backers, editors or whoever.

WE: Do you have an aversion to superhero books?

AR: No. I have an aversion to uninteresting comics and, for me, most superhero comics fall in that category (as do most comics in general). I’ve read a bunch of stuff that I’ve liked, though, like “Kingdom Come,” some of the “Ultimates.” I really enjoyed “Top-Ten.” I will say I think there’s a sort of inherent silliness to superheroes which might make me more skeptical. Just the idea that people would put on spandex costumes to fight crime, with capes, no less. It just requires an enormous suspension of disbelief.

WE: Finally, if you were a pro-wrestler, what would your shtick be?

AR: I’d probably be best going for a savage, brute kind of thing. Maybe a George “The Animal” Steele for the 21st century.