Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Later this month, Dark Horse Comics will release the first issue of your continuing series, Fight Club 3, picking up after the events of the New York Times best-selling graphic novel, Fight Club 2. With each return to the world of Fight Club, where do you find your inspiration for the characters and their complicated journeys, and do you find that there has become a shorthand for you in creating these stories?
Chuck Palahniuk: In truth, the whole Fight Club-thing is a thinly veiled diary. I started writing the novel when I was roughly the narrator’s age. That book only encompassed a thin segment and period of the character’s life. When I consider all that was excluded from the book – family, the past, the future, the culture in general – there are endless avenues that haven’t been explored. Watching the narrator fail and being forced to enlist Tyler never gets old. When pushed to the brink, we all have a last-ditch Tyler Durden.
BD: The series includes your collaboration with Eisner Award-winning artist Cameron Stewart, letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot, colorist Dave McCaig, and cover artist David Mack. What can you tell us about your work with these creators, and how would you describe your shared creative process?
CP: When you and I talked a couple years ago about the coloring book, Bait, I described the process as a “mutual goading.” That’s still the case. I float an idea past my editor, Scott Allie, and he amps it a little. Then, Cameron amps it a lot. Nate and Dave increase the riskiness. It’s the same sense I get from the James Franco comedies: that male peers enable one another to meet bigger challenges than any individual would attempt alone.
BD: With this twelve-part monthly series, the characters will be forced to compromise and build alliances with the most unlikely of individuals. What do you hope that readers will take away from this concept?
CP: If you’re looking for role modeling or social engineering, forget it. It’s not my job to fix anybody. My goal is always to keep the reader engaged and surprised. May the reader see an atypical story that allows him some freedom around what a story can do, where it can go. Then ultimately to find more freedom in his own life.
BD: Issue #1 of the series will have variant covers by artists David Mack, your previous Bait collaborator Kirbi Fagan, and Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy: The Wild Hunt), while upcoming issues will have variant covers by the likes of Colleen Coover, Francesco Francavilla, Steve Morris, Cameron Stewart, and Eric Wilkerson. Do you find that the variant covers provide another opportunity to further share elements of the story, and do you have the opportunity to collaborate with the artists?
CP: It depends on the artist. David Mack will read the script and dream up a dozen perfect variations on the themes. Others need a list of possible ideas to choose from. This isn’t a lack of imagination so much as a desire to stay consistent with the book. Isn’t it a bitch when you buy a comic for the fabulous cover, then find that image has nothing to do with the story within? Irks me, it does. So, Scott Allie and I are always compiling a list of offbeat ideas that fit the series’ theme: Portals.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
CP: The last time you asked that I’d just returned from Prague and was saving my money to go back. These days, I’d like to visit the Ukraine, cradle of my ancestors. There and Poland. That, and I’d love to write something ick-inducing for television. Imagine a version of The Twilight Zone but with episodes like my story, “Guts.” People process extreme experiences by discussing them with others. So, I’d like to create community by creating television that sends viewers screaming from man cave isolation into each others’ arms.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Fight Club 3?
CP: Last week, I mailed cases of prizes to some fifty of my favorite independent comic stores. These included inscribed copies of my books, among them the $150 leather-bound gift editions, and the ubiquitous autographed severed arms. Each store will disperse those items as they see fit, but if readers ask nicely… Otherwise, I’ll keep people posted as I make more in-store appearances this year. At the end of January, I’m at Things From Another World in Portland. In mid-February, I’m in Denver (Thornton). Late February, at Golden Apple in Los Angeles. March at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. I’ll post more events on social media and on chuckpalahniuk.net as we make plans. As always, thanks for asking!