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Interview

Abhay Khosla

Abhay Khosla is a regular contributor to The Savage Critics, a review of comic books. He’s made a foray into writing comics, and his absurdist, scatalogical adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula has garnered internet notoriety. Khosla also self-publishes Twist Street, an anthology of comics and other writing.

TMN: What inspired you to adapt Dracula?

Abhay Khosla: I don’t know where any of the Dracula stuff specifically came from. I don’t really remember. That was never the point for me. My motivation was that I wanted to experiment with clip-art solutions. Between South Park and Adult Swim, there’s no shortage of evidence that combining limited animation and absurdist comedy can yield interesting results.

I wish I had a funny answer for this. Basically, I’m kind of a nerdy Poindexter when it comes to things like web comics and clip-art solutions and the transition of comics from print to online media.

Abhay Khosla


TMN: Why are vampire stories always so popular?

AK: I don’t know, really. Bram Stoker’s vampire is very different from the modern spin, I think. One might imagine Bram Stoker’s Dracula spoke to Victorian women’s repressed and unspoken sexual desires. “Dracula’s a dude what’ll have sex with you, ladies.” It’s kind of a gross rape fantasy, really. Is that true of modern vampires? The modern vampire is basically an abstinent heterosexual pretty-boy. It’s Angel who won’t have sex because he’s afraid of “losing his soul,” or that Twilight guy who won’t because he’s Mormon, or whatever. Dracula’s gone from “dude what’ll turn you out” to “dude that’ll hold your purse.”

But I see it other places, too. I tend to prefer to read blogs written by women, Tumblr-style blogs, especially. Tumblr seems to be predominantly women in their 20s and early 30s living either in Williamsburg or Silver Lake, who listen to, like, the Arctic Monkeys. And I’ve been reading these ladies complain about men they’re dating, and the complaints are so depressing in how little they’re asking for. “I wish a man would buy movie tickets ahead of time for our dates. I wish a man would make reservations for dinner. I wish a man would have a job, for which he earns a salary.” I saw one the other day, the gist of the story was, “I was on a date with a boy, and he interrupted our date to pee on a tree, right in front of me.”

I mean, in the 1950s, they had something called the battle of the sexes, and they made movies about it, and the movies were delightful. Has it really devolved to “I wish a man would not pee in front of me”? Worst Frank Tashlin movie ever.

So, yeah, my short answer is that vampires are popular because guys who live in Williamsburg and Silver Lake can’t satisfy women sexually.

Abhay Khosla's dogsTMN: What’s your favorite object in your office?

AK: I inherited a print of dogs playing poker with my office, C.M. Coolidge’s “A Friend in Need.” Besides a Johnny Bench bobble-head, it’s the only decoration I keep in my office. I don’t have the best nesting impulse. But I look at it every day.

(1) The dogs have beers, whiskey, pipes, and cigars. I like that the dogs aren’t just playing poker, they’re getting hammered. (2) Two of the seven dogs are cheating—the two smallest dogs at the table, I might add. (3) The dogs who are cheating are making a lot more money than the dogs who are playing an honest game of poker. And (4) doggies!

Plus, C.M. Coolidge was the inventor not only of the dogs playing poker genre, but also the inventor of those big drawings of cartoon characters at parks, where tourists put their head through hole in the face and people take photos of them. Do you know what I’m talking about? They’re called “Comic Foregrounds.” I always just called them “those hole things.”

TMN: Comics readers are known for brand loyalty. How much of an effect will the recent Disney buyout of Marvel have on readers?

AK: I don’t think I agree with the premise of this question. The Marvel “brand” is seeing a change of ownership, but the brand itself isn’t going away, to my present understanding. There will still be a Marvel Comics after Disney has completed its purchase. McDonalds owns Chipotle. Coke owns Sprite. So mostly, I don’t care. Marvel has a culture, and a company’s culture doesn’t change overnight—people have to be fired. Then, their loyalists have to be fired, and their loyalist’s loyalists. Marvel was in a very different position at the end of the ‘90s than they are now, a historic low-point—all bad news. Then, the right people started getting fired.

Marvel’s competitor DC just fired a guy, though? But just one. So far.

Really, more than brand loyalty, though, comic readers are more known for their amazing lovemaking skills. Why can’t we get that rumor circulating for a change? I heard that the effect of the recent Disney buyout of Marvel is that comic readers will just have to spend more time giving your girlfriend multiple orgasms while you’re not around; pass it on.

TMN: What’s something you’re not good at, but wish you were?

AK: Well, you know how Matthew McConaughey named his production company j.k. livin productions, based upon his dialogue from Dazed and Confused? “Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.”

So, yeah, I kind of wish I was better at whatever the hell is going on with Matthew McConaughey. I wish I could just keep livin’, l-i-v-i-n. And sadly, I mean that much more sincerely than you expect. This may be the most sincere answer I’ve given in this interview.
biopic

TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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