It is a goal of mine to spark a dialog with creative individuals in various fields and ask them what is entertaining to them. And I hope these answers are an indication of what gives us meaning in our downtime, and what inspires us to dream in story, in music, and in the arts. No medium has allowed us to dream that more than fiction. And perhaps everyone’s favorite in many cases is generically referred to as “speculative fiction.” But this umbrella term treads many genres: horror, thriller, supernatural, noir, science fiction and countless shades of fantasy. With that I aim to ask someone who works close to the medium or works in the field. I ask them various questions — some silly, some serious. Some of the answers may surprise you.
My first participant is Mather Zickel, starring in the new horror flick Southbound, which sounds very promising to me.
So I welcome Mather Zickel in my first Q&A exchange.
CC: What novel changed your life? and who is your favorite author?
MZ: My favorite author? Hmm. Tough. I don’t generally get fixated on one particular author. Books just come into my life for some reason or other, and I like to think that there’s a reason for why they do when they do. I find I keep returning to Robertson Davies’ novels. I really enjoy his quirky Canadian world of academics, artists, priests, and eccentrics. I like his odd humor. I think he really tries to reconcile the life of the mind with the life of the spirit. And he seems to actually love humanity.
On the darker side, I also like Robert Cormier’s young adult books. Several of his novels were lauded and won awards, while simultaneously being challenged in many school libraries around the country. I went to boarding school at 14 and the first book I happened to grab out of the library was called I Am the Cheese. It really gave me the creeps. Then I read The Chocolate War and I felt completely justified in my paranoia regarding institutional structure, indoctrination, or any kind of groupthink in general. I distrust crowds.
CC: Is Wonder woman Sexy to you — specifically Lynda Carter — and why?
MZ: Yes, I find Lynda Carter/Wonder Woman sexy. The reason being, I’m not blind.
CC: You are a superhero. What is your name, power, and costume, and who is your arch-enemy?
MZ: My super hero is called Osrick of Mantos. He wears a white cloak over studded leather armor, has a pronounced limp, an eyepatch, and three ragged scars across his face, a shock of white hair by his right temple, and carries a quarterstaff. He is a sorcerer of the mind (can read minds, control minds, knock people unconscious with his mind, move things with his mind, cause horrible bodily wounds with his mind, etc.). His arch-enemy is his doppelgänger, known as Osric (spelled without a k), who appears in a black cloak and looks about 10 years older than himself.
CC: What is your preference — cosplay or LARPing?
MZ: I don’t cosplay or LARP myself, but the LARPers truly seem to go for the gusto. I think the cosplay folks are looking for a date, but the LARPers really don’t want to come home from the Faire.
CC: Can you name a trendy drink named after a superhero?
MZ: The Human Torch. 2 oz Bacardi 151, ½ oz Goldschlager, ½ oz Campari. Pour contents into shaker over a cube of sugar, shake well, pour onto bare chest, light on fire, have friend slurp contents off, Uber home.
CC: Who is your favorite villain?
MZ: My favorite villain is Julie Newmar.
CC: Good answer. Are vampires ruined? Not scary? Played out?
MZ: I think we’ve heard enough from the vampires for a while, particularly the attractive and tortured ones. I exclude the vampires from What We Do in the Shadows. Those guys are funny.
CC: Could we coexist with vampires in a True Blood scenario?
MZ: If Donald Trump becomes president I don’t think there will be much hope for peaceful human/vampire coexistence. I believe he would try to deport all the vampires to China. If Bernie Sanders wins, I think he will try to break up the banks.
CC: Are you high on V right now?
MZ: V? Never touch the stuff. Reminds me of Winston Churchill’s fingers.
CC: Stephen Hawking warned everyone not to interact with aliens if you meet one. But if you did, would you talk to him? And what would you talk to him about?
MZ: I’m not a very social person so I don’t think I would approach an alien — or Stephen Hawking. Obviously, I would help either one if they needed directions. I’m from New York. I like to give directions.
CC: Do you believe in life on other worlds?
MZ: I’m no statistician, but life on other worlds sounds entirely probable. I’m guessing most of that life resembles bacteria more than Leonard Nimoy, but you never know.
CC: Did you cry when E.T. died?
MZ: At the time I saw E.T., I was reading Orwell’s 1984 and was terrified about the dominance of a Soviet-style totalitarian superstate. And, yes, I cried when that little puppet died.
CC: Roger Moore or Sean Connery?
MZ: Sean Connery.
CC: Does working for Roto-Rooter qualify anyone to be an expert on the paranormal?
MZ: I don’t know if working for Roto-Rooter qualifies you per se, but it would help to have some expertise in plumbing. I think we all know that when you flush the toilet the contents are sucked down straight to Hell.
CC: Do you fear a Zombie reality?
MZ: Yes. Every time I go to a mall or amusement park.
CC: If your significant other was a zombie would you let them eat you?
MZ: Why does my significant other have to be a zombie to do that?
CC: If someone you knew was made out of chocolate would you eat them?
MZ: Are they solid chocolate or hollow like an Easter bunny? I’m just asking because too much chocolate makes me break out.
CC: If there is an election between Emperor Kang vs. Emperor Kodos who would you vote for?
MZ: I’m not familiar with either of those candidates, but I definitely don’t believe in voting for Emperor.
CC: Who would win in a fight — Sawyer from Lost or Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead?
MZ: Once again, not familiar with those two characters, but Daryl Dixon kicked some ass in The Boondock Saints so I’m going to go with him.
CC: Same question — the original Ricardo Montalbán, Wrath of Khan vs. Benedict Cumberbatch in the Star Trek reboot?
MZ: Ricardo Montalbán.
CC: OK. True or False? There is only one Batman, Adam West.
CC: OK. Bigfoot has been discovered and he’s booked on your talk show. But everything he says is outdated — racist, sexist, homophobic — but he’s Bigfoot. How would you handle this situation?
MZ: I would expect that from Bigfoot. He’s a 70’s celebrity. I would let him smoke and drink Chivas on my program and ask him about his time in Alaska.
CC: What superhero would like to portray?
MZ: I would very much like to portray Harry Greb, The Pittsburgh Windmill.
CC: Final question. You can refuse to answer for noble reasons. God gives you permission to kill one person.
MZ: I never let my enemies know when I’m coming for them.
Yes Mather, you won this round of Speculative Yahtzee. But you may not be so lucky next time. When I see Hail Caesar… Bwa ha haaa!
Craig Caudill is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @craigcaudill