The cult section of the literary world

Show Me Your Shelves: David W. Barbee

David W. Barbee is one of those rare individuals I liked from the get-go. He’s amicable, talented, and has a great sense of humor. He’s also a great wrestler. In any case, I read a lot of bizarro, and very few author have the kind of innate understanding of the genre that David possesses. His books are always a blast and his readings have the kind of sexiness and nastiness balance that makes you gag and wink at once. Now that Mr. Barbee has a new book out, I asked him to show me his stuff. Dig it.

Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

I’m David W. Barbee and I’m a weird author, which is to say that I’m a weird person who writes things but also that the things I write are really fucking strange. Books and stories have been a huge part of my life because they afforded me an escape from the real world, which is usually a shitty place for me to hang around in. Instead of religion, I worship stories: all those cool pop culture things that I grew up with and that sustained me, whether they’re books or movies or comics or video games. I always knew that I wanted to create my own stories that would reflect all the weird things that I hold so dear.

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You were in the first NBAS. You’re a bizarro OG. How come you’re still around when so many have failed? Are you comfortable with being a go-to guy when newbies like me have questions? Can we call your gramps?

My OG status is thanks to a steady diet of Don’t Give A Fuck Flakes. I eat a hefty bowl every morning with orange juice instead of milk. It’s strange that I’m one of the most successful NBAS authors, mainly because I feel like my book was one of the weakest. Carnageland was supposed to be the beginning of a perverted alien trilogy, and published alone the first part is too short and doesn’t have enough character development. Anyway, I remember Carlton Mellick III talking about the qualities each of us had back then. Some of us were good performers or promoters or even lived in Portland with the Eraserhead crew. My quality was my determination. I lacked experience but I wanted to be a bizarro author more than anything. I was willing to throw myself into it, even if I didn’t always know what I was doing. To this day I try to make up for it all with hard work. It’s the same approach I have when I’m writing. I’m not always the best but I show up and I work at it. Now I have people calling me gramps and asking for my advice, which I’m happy to give but I must warn you: like every old man in existence, my advice will be folksy, simplistic, and irrelevant. Now get off my lawn.

Using the books on your shelves, give me five bizarro titles everyone should read and five non-bizarro books every bizarro fan needs to check out.

Five Bizarro Titles: Quicksand House, Space Walrus, The Cannibal’s Guide to Ethical Living, Starfish Girl, and The Pickled Apocalypse of Pancake Island

Five Non-bizarro Books (and why!)

Smonk, because it’s one of the meanest and most brutal books on my shelf.

The Hangman’s Ritual, because it’s just as brutal but also beautiful and elegant.

-The Plucker, because it’s my favorite modern-day children’s fable.

-Bones of the Moon, because Neil Gaiman ripped it off in a Sandman storyline.

-Top 10, because it’s Alan Moore writing a superhero cop show and it’s stunning.

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Please finish the following sentences:

David W. Barbee is… a diddle-eyed Joe to a damned-if-I-know.

Zelda is… my future daughter, the first of what I hope to be many offspring, and probably the one who will bring balance to the Force.

If I had a beer with Cthulhu… we’d ride around town visiting my enemies and filling their souls with our puke.

The most amazing southern plate is… cornbread…. Mercy, I love me some cornbread.

I wish Kevin L. Donihe… a very Merry Christmas.

The best comic book ever… is Garth Ennis’ Preacher. That comic reached out and pinned me to my seat.

My wrestling name is… Barbeque Sauce Boondock

I’m inspired by… All the weird stuff, even the weird stuff that I’m not into, simply because of the people who love it. The fans of weird stuff are usually the most delightful people on earth, especially in the case of the Bizarro community.

Tell folks about your new book and at least one reason they should run and buy it right now.

My new book, THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS, is a collection of four novellas that are very near and dear to my heart. My best stories are the ones that are personal and reflect who I am on the inside. They are full of monsters and maniacs, humor and horror, sex and drugs. A Town Called Suckhole was like that, and this book is even better because you get FOUR stories packed into one book. That kind of value refuses to be ignored, so just get it over with and buy a copy!

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