FAQ: How I Came Up With Spider Jerusalem

How did you come up with Spider Jerusalem? An old question, I know, but I recently started trying to dissect why he’s such a great character, and…once I cut into that bastard there was a lot more guts than I expected. A list of features as long as I am, interlocking like an organism. The phrase that I said in whispered reverence was "equation for STORY".


I had been asked to write a science fiction comics series.  Since it was an American publisher who had asked, I first decided to set the series in America.  Given that sf was not a popular genre in American comics at the time, I elected to look at ways a reader might enter an episodic science fiction series — ways in which the reader could be invited into the world.  Which, in sf, often means explaining the world in some way.  I went back to the roots of American sf: to Hugo Gernsback, whose early RALPH 124C 41+ was pretty much narrated, quite archly, by the rockstar-scientist of the title.  Ralph: One To Foresee For One.

Someone who could explain the world of the future to us.

What sort of person explains the world to us?  A journalist.

And so off I went.