[Each Wednesday, Complex columnist Percy Carey a.k.a. MF Grimm dives into the world of comic books with industry interviews, reviews and more. This week, Percy talked to Jeremiah Griffey, the Senior Editor at Geek Monthly magazine.]
Percy Carey: How long have you been writing for Geek Monthly?
Jeremiah Griffey: I first picked up the magazine in February of 2007. They had Kristen Bell on the cover and I have a massive crush on her, so I bought the magazine with no reservations. I flipped through and noticed they only had one CD review in the whole magazine before realizing it was only their second issue ever. I emailed somebody and [Editor-in-Chief] Jeff Bond emailed me back. I did the CD reviews for issue four and have been handling the majority of music interviews and reviews ever since.
After the magazine was purchased by Fusion, I was pretty concerned that I might lose my position as Music Editor, and for about two issues I did to some guy who wrote for Play, but I snuck back in there and have since interviewed the likes of Liars, Method Man, Les Savy Fav, Animal Collective, TV on the Radio, Islands, The Melvins, Mike Patton, and Moby.
Percy Carey: In your own opinion, who does Geek appeal to and why?
Jeremiah Griffey: The magazine appeals to anyone with passion for anything, whether that passion be for music'my geekdom of choice'movies, anime, video games, strange new candy or comic books or television.
Percy Carey: Ã¢â‚¬Â¨You seem to have the perfect balance of multiple mediums'comic books, Ã¢â‚¬Â¨film, television, music. What is your formula for success?
Jeremiah Griffey: I think we've sought out the correct kinds of geeks to write for the magazine. Jeff Bond has been around the film industry for years. Jeff Renaud has connections I can only dream of. I've got an insatiable hunger for new sounds. That's just a small sampling of the people directly involved, but Jeff really keeps the magazine afloat by trusting his writers. For instance, he hasn't heard of any of the smaller bands I cover, but he believes in me.Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Ã¢â‚¬Â¨
Percy Carey: What qualities does Geek look for when considering a cover story?
Jeremiah Griffey: Anyone with whom we can get a photo shoot! In all seriousness, the cover stories tend to be actors or directors involved in projects with some form of geek appeal. Primarily we aim for film actors, but also dip into the likes of Heroes and Lost, occasionally.
Percy Carey: Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Name one of your all time favorite interviews in Geek Monthly.
Jeremiah Griffey: If you're asking for an interview I've conducted, I've got to say Maynard James Keenan from Tool. I've been a Tool fan since I was about 16, so actually speaking with him was probably as intimidating as it gets. I don't get star struck, but I do have mental blocks about speaking with people I know are more intelligent than I am. For this reason, I'd have a lot of difficulty interviewing Thomas Pynchon, David Lynch or Salman Rushdie. Maynard ended up being a pretty nice guy. If I asked a question he didn't care for, he gave a four-word answer. If I asked a question he was into, he talked for minutes. It all worked out.
If you're asking for an interview I've read in the magazine, there are almost too many to count. I'm jealous that I didn't get to interview John Goodman, that's for sure.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Percy Carey: Who is your favorite comic book writer and why?
Jeremiah Griffey: Interestingly, I only recently got into comic books. I grew up in a part of rural Upstate New York where comic books weren't popular at all, and even though I knew I'd like comic books, there was no one to share the experience with. I'm still plugging my way through the classics'The Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, etc. I do however know that Ben Templesmith, who I learned about in Geek, is my favorite artist, bar none.
Percy Carey: Ã¢â‚¬Â¨What comic book would you like to see made into a movie?Ã¢â‚¬Â¨
Jeremiah Griffey: I think Y: The Last Man would make an excellent HBO or Showtime show.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Percy Carey: What are your thoughts regarding the current state of the industry (comic books/film television/music)? Do you see room for growth?
Jeremiah Griffey: I'm going to serialize this answer:
Comic Books: I think their ability to tell divisive and unique stories is endless.
Film: I think film's golden age ended long ago, for the reason below:
Television: This is the best era of television ever. TV shows have the ability to tell more expansive stories than movies ever will be able to tell. When I was reading the first four books of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, I couldn't help but think, "This is amazing, and it could never be a movie." Then HBO bought the rights, and I got giddy. Dexter, Lost and The Shield are just a couple of the great active TV shows available for human consumption.
Back to Film: Big budget action flicks like Iron Man will always be there, but film cannot compete with raw, well-crafted television.
Music: Music's always exciting. It seems to have gone back to the regionality that ruled during the '80s, when bands like Mission of Burma, Dinosaur Jr., The Melvins, Fugazi, Sonic Youth and others decided to buck pop formulas. There are a ton of great scenes, from Portland to Montreal and Rhode Island to Los Angeles. Each scene has something very different and very aesthetically pleasing to offer. Music fans just have to seek them out, rather than wait for the radio to tell them what to listen to, because they won't get satisfied. It's like drinking an energy drink, rather than exercising. I'm also loving the return to vinyl...
Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Percy Carey: What advice would you give to other aspiring journalists and bloggers who are devoted to spreading the gospel of comic books and graphic novels?Ã¢â‚¬Â¨
Jeremiah Griffey: Don't expect to make any money and only cover what you want. If you're writing for a publication that wants you to cover things you don't believe in, quit, unless you want to make a living writing about The Hills and Kim Kardashian. I'm so fortunate that Geek allows me the freedom to cover music I believe people should be exposed to, rather than making me cover drivel that sells albums.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Percy Carey: What can we expect from Geek in the future?
Jeremiah Griffey: In the music section, you can expect me to continue to try to write about a nice mix of established and up-and-coming, slightly left-of-center music. As for the magazine as a whole, it's tougher for me to say. I hope we get some more ladies on the cover (Rosario Dawson...Where you at??). I also hope Conan O'Brien gets his wish and makes it onto the cover.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Percy Carey: What impact do you think musicians/artists like Method Man, GZA, and myself bring to comics?Ã¢â‚¬Â¨
Jeremiah Griffey: Hip-hop culture has been directly influenced by Geekdom for years. I should amend that'good hip-hop culture has been directly influenced by Geekdom for years. However, the obscure references by artists such as the Wu-Tang Clan, Subtitle, Busdriver, Cadence Weapon, Mr. Lif, Aesop Rock and others get overlooked by the contrived T&A, bling, drugs and violence of contemporary mainstream hip-hop. Perhaps, with real rappers making real comic books, some kids will notice and embrace the connection.
Percy Carey: In the movie John Solo: Secret Agent, who would you like to see play the roll of John Solo? George Clooney or Brad Pitt?
Jeremiah Griffey: Is it bad that I had to Google John Solo to know what this question means?
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