Mr Flibble Talks To... Penguin P-P-P-Pick-Ups
Mr Flibble doesn't restrict himself to one-on-one interviews, oh no. At an international celebrity gathering, the Flibster grabbed as many passing names as he could lay his flippers on for a quick chat...
1 November, 2000
Mr Flibble's Celebrity Pickups
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

The creator of a new kind of hero steps under the hex-vision...

Tell me about Dr Mid-Nite...

We're daring to do, basically, a politically correct vigilante. Whenever we tell people that we're doing a superhero concept that's a doctor the first response is, "So he walks around with scalpels, right?" And that's [not] what we're trying to show here. This character's a very healing, very socially conscious sort of character; very self-righteous and very over the top sometimes - as a lot of the politically correct crowd can be.

Is this a reaction to the times we live in?

Absolutely. In the first issue he went around handing condoms to hookers, bleached needles to junkies. In fact we're utilising three really obscure old Batman villains from the 50's called the Terrible Trio. Three guys in pin-stripe suits that wear these big animal masks called The Shark, The Fox and The Vulture. And we're portraying them as these scheming, opportunistic industrialists who use the masks for pseudo-Masonic rituals to advance their business practices. Even though they tend to look like their totemistic animal underneath the mask - you don't see them in the masks that much.

Do you think comics reflect the time they're in?

The best ones do. And I suppose the worst ones do. It's only the bland, medium ones that don't. Comics are the epitome of pop culture in its best form.

How much do you think you bring to an existing serial comic like Batman?

I try to bring a little something new into every story I do. The structure of how the story is told depends on what I want to say and how I want to say it. The Dr Mid-Nite situation is a very, very dense story and so it's a very packed book; there's a lot of characters introduced, there's a lot of things that follow through later. Because if we're talking about social ills it's a very grand and dense problem, its not something fleeting. When I worked on the Batman situation I was trying to do a lot of crime-noir but that needs much bigger, bolder strokes, this needs a lot more intricacy.

It's going to be very uplifting, it's not going to be grim as hell. It's possible to address dark subject matter, but just try not to be so angst-ridden about it; teeth-gnashing and isolated. Both of us feel very much a part of our society and we identify with it and empathise with it, and we don't feel isolated.

The popular artist image is the isolated loner, and I would tend to define the successful artist not as an isolated loner but as an individual voice in the mob. But the key is there - "in the mob," a part of the mob, you're a part of the mob no matter what. You're a part of the human race.

How have other comic artists influenced you?

Well [Spirit creator Will] Eisner more than Bob Kane, in my immediate technical sense, because Eisner did a lot with the methods of telling a story. I think Kane kind of accidentally stumbled upon an iconographic image that struck deep into the souls of the public psyche. Both those are viable ways of achieving your art - one's just more deliberate and one's accidental.