Cliff Meth talks about SNAKED

cliff-methFirst Comics News: Who is Bill Timmons?

Cliff Meth: Bill Timmons is an honest, educated, well-read, hard-working accountant who is naïve enough to believe that people are what they pretend to be. He doesn’t realize that his wife is being unfaithful, that his friends aren’t really his friends, and that working for politicians during an election year will involve more than attention to one’s work. So he receives a new education at the school of hard knocks and wakes up to a world where everyone—and I mean EVERYone—is a bit of a snake, metaphorically speaking. Unfortunately for the people who screw him, Timmons is the genuine article. By that I mean Timmons is authentically snake-like; not dishonest or conniving or scheming or slick or wily… but physically snake-like.

1st: Is he literally a snake?

Cliff: Well, yes and no. Timmons is most certainly a man, but he’s a man who must shed his skin from time to time. And he’s rather fast. And he can swallow your whole head if your head isn’t too ridiculously large. I think he’d have a hard time swallowing Rush Limbaugh’s head or Rosie O’Donnell’s head but we haven’t had to deal with that yet.

1st: Has he had these abilities since birth?

Cliff: Yes. And not arbitrarily. I’m afraid I can’t reveal the source of his abilities yet, but it’s clever and I dare say unique. All I can tell you at this point is he wasn’t bitten by a radioactive snake. Or a radioactive Republican. But you’re getting warmer.

1st: When he sheds his skin, how is he different?

Cliff: Quite like you and I feel after being constipated all day long and finally delivering the punch line; he feels a bit cleaner and relieved. Imagine, if you will, suddenly having to deal with that—literally itching to climb out of your own skin. The poor chap has to roll about on the floor and rub up against things. It’s quite embarrassing, I would think.

1st: He was featured in a text story in Aardwolf Comics #2 — do readers need to know any backstory for this mini-series?

Cliff: Not at all. That’s a collector’s item now, but not integral.

1st: Is the new series just an expansion of the original story?

Cliff: That story was a rudimentary basis for this series, but the five-part story arc in IDW Publishing’s SNAKED is far more intricate, with parallel story arcs and important supporting characters.

1st: How does the political angle fit into the story?

Cliff: Timmons’ own story takes place against a backdrop of current historical events and how various politicos use these events to advance their own interests… I remember the day following George W. Bush’s victory in 2000, I said to my best friend, “If we have any sense, we’ll invest every dime we have in defense stocks.” That wasn’t a political statement; it wasn’t judgmental—it was just pragmatism speaking. Sadly, I’m neither that pragmatic nor that mercenary, but there was clear logic lurking beneath that comment; it was plain to me—and I’m sure to many others—that the U.S. government, under Bush, would increase defense spending. Fast-forward a short distance and we find ourselves ass deep in the War on Terror. No matter what your stance might be on that war, it is still clear that certain people will profit or maneuver towards advantages, given this new reality. And that, my friend, is the world of politics—the world in which Bill Timmons must navigate.

1st: Is the story more political intrigue and horror, or more of an action and horror story?

Cliff: It is all of that. I think a comic book without action is rather dull.

1st: Cliff, you have been working as a writer for more then 25 years, and you are known for a great number of projects both in and out of comics. However, you aren’t known primarily as a comic book writer. Why is this project a monthly comic?

Cliff: I think that most writers try to recreate the works that impressed them most when they were growing up and making the decision to actually become a writer; we want to play in the same arena. I remember marking my calendar (I think it was my Marvel Calendar) so I’d know when the next part of the Avengers vs. Defenders series was coming out… The anticipation I had for each part of Capt. America 153-156 by Steve Englehart. The comics that I enjoyed most as a boy were the cliff hangers, so that’s what I wanted to create—a page turner that builds with each issue and gives you something to come back for each month.

1st: Do you have plans to adapt Snaked into a screenplay?

Cliff: Yes.

1st: What happens to Bill Timmons after issue 5? Are there plans for Snaked II?

Cliff: Bill will still be around. The truth is a sequel will depend upon how well the first five-part series does. But to play it safe, I’ve already started plotting it. For a pessimist, I like to think positive.

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