Interview: Sylvia Mann
“I’m a sucker for happy endings; it just seemed happier in this story to have the “hater” transformed into a nicer person.”
Following my read of her comics The Amazing Powers of Snail Cat and Friends! & Snail Cat’s Fiercest Foes, author Sylvia Mann was kind enough to answer some questions for Geek Smash. She mused about the influence of art, the human condition, and what might be the worst superpower.
The Amazing Powers of Snail Cat and Friends!
Bradley Elenbaas: I was once asked if I thought art could change people. I remember answering ‘no, but that art could produce a positive feedback loop to reinforce a bit of the human condition.’ Alan Moore wrote an influential comic about a positive feedback loop involving aggression. Here with The Amazing Power’s of Snail Cat and Friends!, I’m looking at a very different type of positive feedback loop, one that promotes a pacification. Talk to me a bit about what you think art may do to make us better versions of ourselves, or reinforce any aspect be it good or bad.
Sylvia Mann: I believe art does not really make us better or worse people. It can be influential, but ultimately we choose to make “good” or “bad” choices independently and take what we choose from any work of art.
I’m a sucker for happy endings, it just seemed happier in this story to have the “hater” transformed into a nicer person.
BE: The Doubleclicks have a song concerning the worst super-power to have. What’s your opinion on the worst super-power to have.
SM: I think the worst super-power to have might be mind reading. To hear peoples uncensored thoughts would be brutal. Even nice people think terrible things.
BE: With that, tell me the best super-power you might have?
SM: I think the best super-power might be telekinesis. Moving things with your mind would be sweet!
Snail Cat’s Fiercest Foes
BE: In the deconstruction of horror fiction there is a distinction made between the terror caused by an external force and the terror caused by an internal force. How do you think that one internal aspect of the human condition might prevent another aspect from flourishing? Is this bad overcoming good, or is this good overcoming bad?
SM: Many traits of the human condition are at war like love and hate and can keep one aspect from flourishing over another, which may be good or bad.
BE: Name one positive aspect of the human condition.
BE: Name one negative aspect of the human condition.
BE: Talk to me for a minute about comic books and what you want to express.
SM: Comics let me express myself in art and story, and share it in a relatively inexpensive way. I try to write and create work that I would find interesting as a consumer.
BE: What do you see expressed by others?
SM: There is a huge amount of books out there many of which I love, and others I don’t relate to. The great thing is there is a variety and everyone can choose what interests them.