2004_09_seanhowelarge.jpg1-What's your name, how old are you, where do you live and with whom? what do you consider your hometown, and would you ever consider returning to
live there?

My name is Sean Howe, and I still can’t believe I’m thirty years old. My hometown will always be the idyllic Cazenovia, New York, just east of Syracuse. Everyone who’s visited has been impressed with its beauty. Last year, having still not sufficiently adjusted to living in post-9/11 New York, I decided to move back there for a few months, and it was absolutely rejuvenating. I made a plan that I would rise every morning at sunset, go to the gym, jog a few miles, make coffee and a big breakfast, read the paper, work on my novel for three to four hours, swim, play guitar, render sketches, return emails and work on the anthology I was editing, drive around and photograph the area in the waning hours of sunlight, cook a big dinner, and read until I passed out. I wish I could admit that this regimen only lasted the first month, but…in fact it never started. I got as far as gym, jogging, breakfast, coffee, newspaper, anthology, email, pass out. A year later, I’m just starting the novel, and if you’d like, I’ll show you the one sketch and two photographs. I live in Park Slope again, with my spectacularly spectral friend Alex Pappademas.

2 – Isn’t he the dad from Webster?
No.

3- How do you make your living?
For the past few years, I edited liner notes (and wrote jacket copy, and proofread all text, and occasionally produced) for a DVD production company called the Criterion Collection. It was an ideal situation for me as an editor, once I realized that I could match my favorite writers (whether they were "critics" or not) to their favorite movies, and watch the sparks fly. I loved the people I worked with, and it jumpstarted my love for film (it had been all but extinguished by film school and other industry jobs).

I left Criterion to put together an anthology Give Our Regards to the
Atomsmashers: Writers on Comics
and work on some other writing projects. Just as I turned in the manuscript of Atomsmashers, I moved back to New York and returned to Criterion, in a freelance capacity, to help produce an eight-disc box set of movies by my favorite filmmaker, John Cassavetes. After nearly a year, work on this has finished and it’ll be out September 21.

4- How did you come to edit Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers? To what or whom does the title refer?
Over the last few years, several of the writers I worked with were dropping hints (and sometimes coming right out and saying) that they’d grown up on comic books. I thought it was a shame that all these eloquent voices were not coming forth in print about an artform that affects so many people. When I approached the writers about contributing, they were unanimously excited—for some reason, no one had asked them to talk about their fandom before.

I really wanted the writing to be personal and emotional enough to give
non-comics readers a foothold, a way to invest in the essays, but I also wanted it to be a book for all the comic fans who never discussed this particular passion with their friends. So in that regard, I guess it does have kind of a clubhouse feel.

The title comes from the first appearance of Spider-Man—as Peter Parker heads to the science lab after school, it’s shouted by a convertible full of pretty girls and jocks. I liked the idea of taking a taunt and turning it around into a declaration of tribute.

5- What are you working on now?
I’m helping a friend develop a comedy show for cable, writing some short fiction (my first published piece will be in the next issue of the CalArts literary magazine Black Clock), and finally getting started on that novel, which has involved a lot of research on Southern California in the 1970s. If anyone can provide me with photographic references of domestic life in that placeand time, please get in touch!

6- Ridiculous-hypothetical-scenario-with-obvious political-opinion-corner: Would you spend a year coaching girls' junior varsity bowling in your hometown if it meant that George Bush would not return for a second term as president?
You underestimate my commitment to the good of my country. Never mind
coaching, I’d gladly serve as a bowling pin if it meant getting the nation back on track.

7- Who would you rather drive cross-country with: Vincent Gallo or Courtney Love?
Honestly, the first thought I had was that maybe I could get VG to change his vote, but then I remembered that he’s registered in a solid-blue state anyway. Still, I think he’d take better photographs of the road, and we could discuss Upstate New York, Two Lane Blacktop, and Ben Gazzara performances for a couple hours. What am I going to talk to Courtney Love about?

8- what's the last thing you cooked for yourself?
Chicken and rice. I’m not much of a cook, sadly.

9- Tell us about the last time you got really drunk.
A wedding reception in Chinatown. A lot of vodka. I’m sorry to report that I had to ask a friend to fill in the blanks of my night. Apparently I did “the running man” and hugged everyone I knew. Let’s change the subject.

10- Think you'll stay in New York forever?
That’s what all the interviewees are supposed to say, right? But who knows. Depending on how November 4th goes, I can’t guarantee I’ll even live in the United States forever. But for now, it’s wonderful to be here.

Interview by Laurie Woolever