Howling at the Moon with Mitch Hyman, Creator of ‘Bubba the Redneck Werewolf’
Have you have wondered what your life may have been like if you were given superpowers by some strange accident? If you have, chances are those dreams were more like THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN than anything imagined by the mind of today’s guest, Mitch Hyman. Hyman, a die hard writer/editor/supporter of independent comics is best known as the creator of BUBBA THE REDNECK WEREWOLF. The tale of a backwoods dog catcher from “Cracker County” who was bitten by a radioactive poodle, Bubba is the antithesis of “amazing.” In fact, aside from some extra hair growth and a snout, you could say that Bubba is downright normal… by Hyman’s standards anyway.
As you’ll soon find out, Hyman is a creative individual capable of finding humor in just about any situation and it’s that outlook on life that fuels his passion for the field of indie comics and literature in general. He’s a fan of The Stooges, a student of authors like Mark Twain and John Steinbeck, and he’s been writing for well over 10 years now. Not only that, but just wait to you see what he can do with a four pack of Twix and a Heath bar… the man’s hardcore! A big thanks to club member Nathan Christopher Thor for introducing us.
Since we’re all friends now, how many Rolos can you stuff in your nose? I got six one time… smelled nothing but chocolate for a week!
Rolos are easy… try four TWIX and a Heath bar. Damn, that toffee is brutal!
That’s hardcore, man. While we’re on the subject of being tough, and since you’re the creator of BUBBA THE REDNECK WEREWOLF, maybe you can settle something for me. Do wolfmen, in fact, have nards?
Boy, you just get personal from the get go! *laughs* Honestly, I’ve never looked… but I bet Bubba’s girl Bobbbi-Jo could answer and I still think it’s pretty clear. Look at her… look at him! He’s gotta have a set that would make a Brass Monkey feel inadequate! And in one of my issues (#7) she’s the one who knees another girl in her um… “nethers” so she must have some serious knowledge on the subject.
Point taken. BUBBA has been in print since the mid-90s, but for those unfamiliar with the title can you give us a brief rundown on the series and cast?
It’s the story of [Bubba], a dogcatcher in a small Florida town…There was a cosmetic factory that opened up in this little town and they were dumping the toxic waste into the swamps. One of the experiments they were working with was on a poodle that had Bulgarian toxic waste used on it so it could test glow in the dark mascara for the company. Well the dog got evilly intelligent and escaped. Unfortunately, they sent Bubba out after it and Bubba just got bit by the wrong dog. Movie producers out there… take notice.
To sum it up, though, Bubba is truly a working class hero that almost anyone can identify with. Bubba has three things he passionately believes in… his country, his girlfriend and his truck. Outside of that, (and the fact that he’s a toxically challenged Werewolf) he’s just like anyone else. He’s working day to day to keep his bad habits in good order. In his mis-adventures he’s aided by:
Cousin Clovis: If the word stupid had a pop up in the dictionary… it would be Clovis.
Bobbi-Jo: Bubba’s long suffering but hot as “a rabbit on a date” girlfriend. She is smart, intuitive and would make a dead man rise from the grave… and I don’t mean getting up and walking.
Biker Bob: The mystic master of the two-stroke philosophy. Bob has the Dalai Lama on speed dial… also the local Harley dealership and he calls both fairly frequently and never gets sent to voice mail from either.
Hatchet Hattie: The law of Cracker County. Hattie and bubba have a certain “Tension” between them and this since grade school. She showed him her undies for two snickerdoodle cookies. They went prom together and Hattie has a secret crush on Bubba. But she’ll never act on it for two reasons… Bobbi Jo is her best friend and she loves the law more than anything else and Bubba would be in jail more than with her.
Uncle Booger: Bobbi-Jo’s uncle and Redneck inventor genius. If Bubba needs something built to further his crazy adventures… Uncle booger is the man! My fav invention of his was the beer-powered rocket Bubba rode to get to a pretty whacked out adventure to save the world from ‘Gamer Nazis’.
His cast of villains are even weirder that the heroes… but not by much!
So what’s the biggest threat that BUBBA has ever faced?
Sobriety! But honestly… it was my family of Louisiana Vampires (Bubba #7) who moved to Cracker County to get away from tourists and hurricanes. And I wrote that story back in 2004 during a season where Florida was hit by four hurricanes in a row. I had to drive from Orlando to Tampa to just to get power and Internet to make my deadline. This was written before Katrina hit the Big Easy and to me was a weird co-incidence of what was to come and how to survive the odds.
Aside from getting bit by an evil, radioactive dog how does one become a Redneck Werewolf?
It’s in your soul when you’re born I feel. There’s something about being raised in the rural parts of the country and how you deal with nature and become part of it. And it’s not just southern US or the US. I have fans all over the world and they tell me about how “Redneck” they are as well. I love that! But I also know lots of urban Rednecks… they just call themselves “Blue Collar” workers. Besides, all humans are animals, it’s just some of us give in to our feral nature more than others. I know I do! *laughs*
With guest appearances in CRACKED and The Devil Panties it would seem that BUBBA gets around. Does the dog man have no shame or is he just a ham for the spotlight?
It’s not my fault, damn it! *laughs* Bubba is the kind of character who resonates with folks. You’d be surprised who in comics enjoy him. And he’s been drawn by some pretty cool folks. My first Bubba artist was Ed McGuinnes. Ed never got to do more than the pre-lim sketches as he got a REAL gig working on Vampirella and Deadpool. How could you blame him? I don’t! *laughs*
Bubba was also the first pro work ever done by Rob Guillory off the now famous CHEW series (his cover and inside art appear in Bubba #6). Bubba has been sketched by pros from all areas of comics… fans wanted these or the artists themselves wanted to draw (as far as I know) the world’s first 24/7 Werewolf because he’s fun to do. From Mark Kidwell to even George Perez – George is the nicest fella you’ll ever meet by the way – but I still think he hasn’t forgiven me for a few fans asking him to sketch him. *laughs*
The main art for most issues was dome by Brian Graham and Shawn Surface. The first Bubba story was in Bound in Darkness the infinity issue and he was a raving madman who killed whatever moved featuring art by Mike Broom. Mike has done the Phantasm comic and other well-known horror features.
It’s been awhile since BUBBA’s been in his own book, though. What’s the working class hero been up to lately?
Just keeping his bad habits in good shape and driving me nuts! I deal with him raiding the fridge like a ravening Mongol horde, but the liquor bill is almost as big as our national debt. But really, I’m working on a Bubba novel and it should be out early next year. It will be based on the script for a Bubba film that never got made due to the production company screwing things up royally and I’d rather not talk about it. Bubba is still pissed off and that just means the booze bill goes higher. *laughs*
I still have hopes though that someone will get smart and make the movie. But I’m not relying on LA or NY… they truly do not believe that there is a whole country between their two states. So I guess Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy (from Orlando, FL and Nebraska) are not anything the public would want. Yeah, right.
Are there any BUBBA back issues available online anywhere?
Yep! High Quality Comics, Mile High Comics and for the European fans Forbidden Planet has all the back issues. Another way to get them is that I’ve signed a lot of books over the years and they were all to someone named E-Bay. That guy has them all in multiple! Otherwise, Bubba can be found in finer dumpsters and lining bird cages all over the planet.
More recently, you released a book called Dr. Sarcophagus and His Carnival Of Dark Desires. What’s the premise behind the book?
Thanks for asking! This really is favorite project of mine from Words Take Flight books (or WTF as we call it, ya gotta love that!). This is a new publisher with a lot of ability and crew of people that have been working for or with some of the big publishing houses for years and now off on their own. Like DEL REY back in the 70’s it’s a company run by writers for readers. The Dr. Sarcophagus anthology was written by established and up and coming writers that myself and chief editor and publisher, Jeff Stundel, have brought together.
It’s the story of the last horse drawn Freak show in America circa 1931. The man(?) in charge, Dr. Sarcophagus, has assembled the most unusual group of performers who are more like family to he and the others. A good example of the kind of story and character in this book is our Dog-faced boy (Bartleby), who under the right moon phase is more than your run of the mill Labrador Retriever. The other acts are also supernatural or are specially abled in that way. We have abused women getting revenge, Raggedy Dan; a contortionist and cutter, who just wants his family back and so on.
The anthology includes a story I did that has the doctor dealing with the infamous Jersey Devil. He’s out to get it into his show and finds out that it’s really not what anyone would expect and this story gives you a great insight as to who the doctor really is. The Doctor is a mentor, father, caretaker, confessor who has gathered these acts over quite a few centuries and he’s their last hope for being accepted in any world. Plus, he’s lived so long and is far wiser and is a champion of the unusual which lurks in our souls and our dark desires which can create darkness around us just as our shadows do on a sunny day.
What you bring to the carnival as either a patron or performer is how the Carnival will affect you. That goes double for the reader! WTF is also preparing a huge roll out soon and will feature books from both newbies and NY Times best selling authors. A company to watch for sure. But right now Dr. Sarcophagus is available on Amazon.com and for upload to Kindle users. Plans for Nook and so on are in the works.
What other projects do you currently have planned?
We’re also planning on a series of Dr. S books dealing with everything from Gods and Godesses, strange objects and a more YA oriented group of tales. Also, my novel Hitmen in Paradise will be coming out very, very soon. Two lovable ex-mobsters who retire and wind up back in the game , but this time up against stuff that won’t t die or easily. The best thing is that this novel has been out in limited release and has garnered some really good endorsements from several best selling horror authors.
On one last note: I love the amateur critics and bloggers out there who have read and liked the book and the ones who didn’t… well, I say to the public judge for yourselves. Not everyone likes chocolate, but there are plenty who do! That said, the person who works for Godiva as a taste-tester… that’s who I’d listen to. *laughs*
What are a few of your biggest influences? Tequila? Jim Bean? Radio Shack?
All of the above and not in that order! Seriously, I love Mark Twain, Groucho Marx, Nicolai Tesla, John Steinbeck, Shakespeare (whoever he REALY was), Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Golda Meir, Lou Gehrig, George Cukor, George Melies, Elmore Leonard, Piers Anthony and my Dad. These people made a huge impact on my life. Especially my Dad… I still have his handprint on my butt from when I was ten and used his lawnmower engine to make a motorcycle outta my old Stingray bike. *laughs*
That said… I’m almost afraid to ask… what’s the strangest thing you can remember doing as a kid?
That’s a tough question. Most people who know me know that I’m still a big crazy kid. I am not gonna stop because in that great wide eye wondering way I can discover and re-discover all kinds of wild stuff in this big old universe. I’ve dined with the rich and famous at tables set with food prepared by JFK’s ex-White House chef and went rummaging a few weeks later through a Mickey D’s dumpster for a meal. I’ve sailed to the real Treasure Island, deep into the third world and than later been chased out, been to Moe Howard’s home and met his fantastic and talented daughter, Joan Howard Muarer, who really likes my style of humor in my work and said that her Dad and Uncles (Larry too) would enjoy the SlapShctick I use.
See? I’m even Stooge approved. *laughs* I’ve fired Donald trump (in CRACKED Magazine) and because of the ups and downs in a writer’s life I’ve had to talk down more than one nut with a gun in my face to put it down and come get a cup of coffee with me. I’m not kidding here. I’m a person who lives life two fisted and bare-assed. *laughs* My goal though is to one day get over my one fear… the skydiving thing. I have another writer, Tori Nicole, (a woman who is like Lara Croft in many ways) I hang out with who is willing to baby-sit me to pull it off. She’s done the ‘jumping outta the perfectly good plane’ thing and I really want to get good enough to try and get to learn how to use the flying squirrel suit from Tomb Raider.
Any famous last words?
To all of you folks out there… read something, maybe write or create something, then be inspired and go out to find your dreams afterward. I’ll be watching for you and so will the world.