John Bivens On His Ideal Spread Adaptation

by Tito W. James

Tito W. James: I think Spread might make a good animated TV series. What is your opinion?

John Bivens: I think it would be interesting animated. I would like a quirky mix. I would like there to be some live action in there. My insane dream would be costume-muppets-sentai Spread. I think that would be awesome. I’m sure Justin [Jordan] would not want that at all. But that’s what I would like to see.

TWJ: I think it could work in mixed media. Like having the Spread itself be stop-motion and crawling around could be really interesting.

JB: Like clay-mation? I could see it like very Dead Alive. That’s how I’d like to see it. But that’s because I like old 80s horror movies.

TWJ: Spread was heavily inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing and Lone Wolf and Cub, so it could work in a retro-style.

JB: Oh yeah, definitely practical effects.

TWJ: How did your love of 80s horror affect how you drew the book. You jumped in on the third arc, correct?

JB: Yeah, I came in on the third volume. I’d actually worked with Justin before at DC. As far as influences… Justin just knew that I liked to draw weird amorphous monster things and he let me go nuts. Old horror movies did inform the way I draw but just through osmosis.

TWJ: Almost like the Spread itself.

JB: Yeah, I let it spread through my head.

TWJ: How do you balance the horror and the dark humor?

JB: There can be some dark humor in there but I leave that to Justin if he wants to put a joke in. I just go all out–making the art as eye-popping, cheesy, and gory as I can.

TWJ: Do you have any thoughts about the direction modern horror comics are taking?

JB: I like the direction because it feels like a lot of horror comics are trying to tap the nostalgia of the VHS horror movies that I love. I don’t know if it’s easy to scare people with a comic but I do see books trying to have fun and a sense of humor about it. That’s the direction I like and the direction I think a lot of comics are going.

I’d like to thank John Bivens for taking the time to do this interview. Spread volumes 1-5 are available now from Image Comics.

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