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Interview with Ed Evans
1963 Interview by Tom Field
Tom Field: I've gone to some great pains to track you down.
Ed "The Emperor" Evans: Hey, I'm here every day. You want me, I'm here for you.
TF: Where you been all these years?
EE: Right here. Here I am. This is where I live. See? There's muh frigadare box, there's muh dumpster over here. They come and they dump it out every couple of days, but you know...this is my place. Everybody around here knows Ed the Emperor. You want to come talk to Ed, bring a couple bottles. Which reminds me...why don't you open that Ripple there and give me a little slug and we'll have a little talk.
TF: I'd like to hear about your days in comics.
EE: Comics? comics?
TF: Comic books?
EE: Oh--yup. What about 'em?
TF: Tell me how you created USA?
EE: Which one was he?
TF: The character, the red, white and blue.
EE: Oh yeah. The flag guy, yeah. Ahh, how'd I do it? I don't know. He was some crimebuster in the Pulps...Ulysses Armstrong, Gangbuster...needed a new character so we reworked him into USA. That would do it.
TF: You did comics for years. Why'd you retire?
EE: Yeah. I don't know. I'll tell you...Affable Al that slimy little punk.
TF: I'm sorry. You're talking about Affable Al?
EE: Yeah, yeah. Uncle Moorie I love. Uncle Moorie used to say, "Ed, I'm going to take care of you Ed." Worked my heart out for the guy. Worked my goddamn heart out for the guy. What does he do? Gives the whole goddamn place to his fucking shit-ass, snot-nosed nephew.
TF: Which would be Affable Al.
EE: Affable Shithole Al. The kid's got no respect. Understand what I'm saying? No respect.
TF: You didn't work for him for very long.
EE: You'd go in the morning...listen let me tell you, you'd go in in the morning just wantin' to do your job...fucking shithole of a kid...I swear, sitting on the filing cabinet thinking he's the Pharaoh. To go through the door, you got to bow. I swear to fucking god. You got to put up with this kind of horseshit, no respect. No respect. Give me another swig of that. [slurp]
TF: Would you like open another bottle? That one's getting kind of low.
EE: Aaahhh, yeah, yeah.
TF: So you didn't work for Affable Al for very long.
EE: Well, see I was having health problems.
TF: Had nothing to do with the drinking? It was all the work?
EE: Yeah. Well, you know I like a little snort now and then. But you know insurance, health insurance you know? You got to go to the doctor sometimes. You work for somebody you get health insurance. So I go in and I say, "I've been working for this fucking shithole for 35 years. Take care of me. Moorie always said he'd take care of me. I got a problem. I need some health insurance." Affable Al, the weasely son-of-a-bitch, he's got these tiny little eyes set together, you know he'll look at you Jes' like a little weasel. His tongue sort of darts out like tsh,tsh, and to smell the guy, Jesus. Anyway, he says, "Ed, anything you want Ed. Moorie told me to take care of you. Anything you want." I come in the next morning, my drawing table's gone. My tabouret cleaned out. They gave all my books to this young snot-nosed kid Roarin' Rick Veitch--ha! The only reason they keep him around is he does a 64-page story overnight. Sturdy Steve Bissette-ha! Eat those guys for breakfast! Telling you.
TF: You're working your way through that bottle. Would you like another? It's the last one I have though.
EE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, crack that sucker.
TF: Was that when...did you get out of comics then entirely?
EE: Well I got out of comics and I got out of my apartment, marriage...
TF: You kind of got out of everything then.
EE: I'm not complainin'! Hey, I got my refrigerator box here.
TF: That looks fairly new. You've moved in recently?
EE: Well, you know every time it rains I go around back to the appliance store and they guy takes pity on me and gives me a new box.
TF: So you've totally eliminated the stress from your life?
EE: Yeah. Need some money, go out on the street. People give you nickels and dimes. Once in awhile I'll say, "Hey, I'm Ed the Emperor. I created USA. I created the Hypernaut." I did this. I did that. They don't believe you. They think all that horseshit Affable Al puts in there is how it really happened, I swear...
TF: What kind of advice do you have for somebody who wants to get into comics?
EE: Don't do it. Get a real job. Honest job. They're vipers. They're snakes, the guys who run this business. Don't do it. You'll end up like me living in a dumpster out back. Give me another hit on that wine.
TF: This is the last one I have.
EE: [Slurp. Aaahhh.]
TF: Go slow, it's got to last. Ed it's wonderful catching up with you. I'm going to go back to the Sweatshop, anyone you'd like me to say hello to?
EE: Yeah, give a fist full of knuckles to Affable Al for me!
TF: I'm sure he'll appreciate that.
EE: And give old Kandi Devine a little pinch too, but watch out for that Shreck guy.
TF: Klaus Shreck?
EE: Fucking Nazi I'll tell you. Kicked his ass in the big war. What we come home to, huh? Tell me that, huh? Come back, fought my way all the way from Anzio to Berlin. I come back and what happens? They give my series to Roarin' Rick. Ha! Fucking wimp, pansy son-of-a-bitch.
TF: I think I'd better be going.
EE: No, no, sit down. Hey, we didn't finish this bottle. You and me, we're going to be pals here. Come here, let me get my arm around you.
TF: Who's this guy next to you? He hasn't said a word since we sat down.
EE: You don't know him?
TF: Do you know him?
EE: Jazzy John Workman.
TF: John Workman! the letterer.
EE: Yeah. He brings down the comics. They still send the bondles around. I got to say that for Affable Al. I mean it'd be pretty cold out here without something to put in the old trash can and set fire to. Jazzy John here he takes care of me. Right Jazzy?
John Workman: Right.
TF: Is there anything else you can add to this?
EE: You got another bottle there?
TF: You cleaned me out. I have to go back for more.
EE: You got any money?
EE: Come on. You're not going to leave a guy high and dry now are you?
TF: [laughing] Not the guy who created USA.
EE: That's right. Think about what I did for you. You read those things, now come on.
TF: Let me talk to Affable Al. Maybe he'll send something down to you.
EE: Hey, I got to have this stuff. My back hurts. Come on, come on, come on. You got something on you. Give me a buck. Come on, come on. Let's see what you got. Empty your pockets.
TF: Ed it was a pleasure to talk with you.
EE: Come on, you're not going to leave me...sob... Please! TF: You've always been a hero of mine. I've got to tell you that. It's great to finally get a chance to talk to you. EE: Hey, come back, come back. TF: Best of luck Ed in your retirement.
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