Lilja: So, I understand you’re working with the last issues of The Stand. When is your deadline for the very last line?
Mike Perkins: At this time of writing it's the first day of December and I finished the final page two days ago. I've been wandering around in a daze since then!
Lilja: If Marvel and King would suggest continuing the story in comic form, would you stay with it if they asked you?
Mike Perkins: I think The Stand is a cohesive whole. Unless Mr. King continued the story himself I doubt that it would feel canon. If he should decide to do so then, of course, I would love to continue.
Lilja: How many issues have you done of The Stand all in all?
Mike Perkins: 31 issues all together. I'd still like to do one more - an adaptation of Night Surf from the Night Shift anthology. As I'm sure you know, this is a short story that revolves around a bunch of teenagers on a beach after Captain Trips has broken out.
Lilja: Any favorite moment during all those issues?
Mike Perkins: There are plenty of favourite moments. The first Flagg issue, Larry's escape from New York, Fran and her Dad, the initial shot of the results of the Trips virus, the following of that virus from person to person, Trashy, Nadine in the rundown drive-in cinema......gah!! Too many moments to list! We could be here all day!
Lilja: Any moment you want to forget?
Mike Perkins: No, not really. I'd like to forget when one of my ribs popped out of place while working on the project but nothing in the adaptation itself.
Lilja: I guess you would agree to do The Stand all over again if you had known all you know now when you started but is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting the comic today?
Mike Perkins: I would have put a water pump next to Abigail's house. There's one in the last issue which, strangely, wasn't there before. I guess another group of survivors stopped at Abi's house and put one in - we just didn't see them do it!
Lilja: Do you have any favorite character to draw?
Mike Perkins: Flagg is always a joy and Trashy is so much fun. Nadine was a visually interesting character to illustrate as well as Harold - especially the latter's changing physical from throughout the adaptation...starting as a quivering lump of lard and transforming into a cold killer by the end of it.
Lilja: Any character that you really don’t like to draw and if so why?
Mike Perkins: No, not really. There were some peripheral characters that weren't fleshed out physically in the novel and I searched frantically for descriptive passages. Oh wait, Kojak! I hate drawing dogs!
Lilja: Have you included stuff in the series that only you get? Like when you put Lilja’s Library on a sign. To me and my readers that meant something but to others nothing. Is there a lot of that kind of stuff in there waiting to be discovered?
Mike Perkins: There's not as much in there as I intended to do .I just got into the flow of things and sticking in a cameo of a friend or colleague would have taken me out of that flow. There are shop signs with friends names on and one my old school friends is a huge fan of the children's character Postman Pat, so a similar looking character was snuck into the background on the cover featuring crazy Julie Lawry. One of the guys who had bought a fair few original pages is now immortalized as a producer of laxatives! Then there's Mr. King's cameo - standing in for Whitney.
Lilja: Have you heard from King during this time? What are his thoughts about your version of his story and characters?
Mike Perkins: He's loved it. I doubt I'm putting words in his mouth when I say that it's been a wonderful experience for him and he mentioned that he's like a kid in a candy shop every time a new issue is released.
Lilja: How does it feel to soon be finished with The Stand? Sorrow or “Thank God it’s done”?
Mike Perkins: A bit of both. At the moment I'm still feeling a little drained. There IS that sense of relief but it's tempered by a feeling of remorse that it's no longer there waiting for me every day.
Lilja: What are you moving onto next?
Mike Perkins: I'm going to be getting back into the thick of the action at Marvel and taking on Astonishing X-Men with Marjorie Liu writing it. I'm hoping some of the Constant Readers who have followed my work on The Stand accompany me on to the next leg of my career... and , of course, I'm still trying to convince Marvel that they should let Roberto and I tackle 'Salem's Lot next!