by Vince Brusio
The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on, he walked on down the hall with writer Jeff Lindsay and artist Dalibor Talajic and helped them create Dexter: Down Under (DEC130710), the latest release in Marvel’s Dexter comic books. Jeff Lindsay took time to speak to us in this exclusive interview about his new series, and how he sees no end to the killing spree if he has anything to say about it. This business of Dexter killing people who deserved to be killed is ... well, pretty good business. Why stop?
Dexter: Down Under #1 is in comic shops February 19th.
PREVIEWSworld: At the time of this interview (December 2013) you've released Dexter's Final Cut. It's the 7th novel in a line of fiction you've developed that now stars America's favorite sociopathic vigilante, Dexter Morgan. And it's safe to say that America loves Dexter, as not only have your books sold well, but the Showtime TV show based on your books did phenomenally well since its debut in 2006. So with the success of your novels and the TV show spinoff, why comics? Why bring Dexter back to comic shops with a second 5-issue mini-series from Marvel Comics? What's behind giving us Dexter: Down Under?
Jeff Lindsay: I grew up on Marvel Comics. I was still reading them through college, and I’d probably have kept it up until the present day, except my kids would take the good ones. I am truly thrilled to work with Marvel.
Aside from that, as we enter the post-literate period of our civilization, comics have become graphic novels, and graphic novels become more widely accepted as legitimate means of expression – which they actually are. Aside from the storylines, the really good ones have some great drawing in them, too.
The second series is just a result of the first one selling so well. I don’t know about Marvel, but I admit I was surprised by the success of the first one. I mean, I thought it was good – but I didn’t know there’d be such a strong market for it.
PREVIEWSworld: Since the second season, the Dexter seasonal TV episodes are not based on your novel storylines. So we've only seen adaptations of plot lines from Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Does this open the possibilities for more comic adaptations based on your books?
Jeff Lindsay: I think what I’m doing with Marvel is more exciting than adapting the books – at least, it is for me. We’re doing a brand new storyline with each series. This is all Bonus Dexter, stuff you can’t get anywhere else, in any other form.
PREVIEWSworld: Would you agree that comics give you an advantage in storytelling that isn't possible in novel fiction? Do you think that some stories — like Down Under — are better appreciated when they're told in sequential storytelling? Or is it just that the aesthetics of comics are something you hold so precious that they make you want to play doctor when an artist like Dalibor Talajic is willing to join you in surgery?
Jeff Lindsay: Playing doctor is fun, but I always liked it more when I was a kid, and I played it with the naughty girl down the street. The kind of books I write are natural serials, and a comic is the perfect medium for that. But aside from all that, I just LIKE comics. I don’t do a whole lot differently, except for writing the shots – which I did for years as a screenwriter.
PREVIEWSworld: You're obviously not the only one who finds serial killers fascinating, given the success of Dexter in both books and TV. But how did you come up with YOUR antihero: a serial killer that kills serial killers? And is it this cruel twist in justice that you think makes Dexter “fit in” with Marvel Comics, as The Punisher could be thought of as a long lost cousin? Maybe he and Dexter could go bowling some day?
Jeff Lindsay: I came up with the idea because I was worrying about the whole concept of capital punishment.
There are people who I think most of us believe deserve to be dead, and if we could get the right people every time then the death penalty would be a good thing. But we make too many mistakes, and saying “sorry” doesn’t seem like enough.
So I wanted people to think about the whole thing: who deserves to die? Why? Dexter kills people who deserve it, and they’re getting away with it. So he’s a good guy. Except he really LIKES it – so he’s a bad guy. Except he’s kind of lovable, so – anyway, I wanted to explore that issue and maybe provoke some thought on the subject. Still not sure I did that.
PREVIEWSworld: In earlier statements, you've said that "Marvel Comics has always been a place where I felt at home. It has been a very important part of my life." Could you elaborate more on that for us? Did you grow up reading books from Marvel Comics? What were your favorites? What writers inspired you? And what's going on at the House of Ideas today that excites you?
Jeff Lindsay: When I was growing up, I had a paper route, and I mowed lawns, and did a bunch of other chores for money. Saturday morning I would ride my bike over to a drug store in South Miami that had the best selection of comics, and I’d buy all the new ones.
Yes, it was important.
I was reading a lot of hardcover books, too, but I loved the comics, and Marvel clearly ran away from the pack. I think they still do. Spider-man was the best – and then I got hooked on Thor, Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, Avengers. I think the Kree-Skrull War series was one of the best ever, and the final, “Rick Jones Saves The Universe,” is deathless literature.
I still have a copy.