It’s not often that I can start an anecdote with the line:
I was lying by a hotel swimming pool in L.A..
But I really was lying by the swimming pool of La Reve hotel in L.A. with Art Young, editor of the then soon to be written THE EXTREMIST--the book that Vertigo are re-releasing this month as part of its Vertigo Resurrected line.
I knew there was going to be a lot of sex in THE EXTREMIST. But we needed an artist who would bring out the power and strangeness of this book—without making it look like a porno comic.
Looking through THE EXTREMIST again, I see that the artist Art and I decided we wanted that day in L.A. turned out to be perfect. Ted McKeever captured the uncomfortable world that the reader – and the hero – is thrown into in the story--yet goes far beyond the ephemeral pleasures of mere titillation.
The idea of this comic – a secret society of thrill-seekers and the frightening figure who kept them in check - came about partly through seeing an increasingly morally relativistic society. How much freedom can we have? How extreme can we allow ourselves to be?
These were the early days of Vertigo Comics, and it was amazing to be writing for a organization that encouraged us to explore such dangerous waters.
Not that the waters of La Reve’s swimming pool were particularly dangerous. Though I did hear you could find a few sharks down in the bar.