Did you ever think comics would be as cool as they are now?
‘Who’d have thought I’d be cool? Well, of course I’m still not cool, but my collections are and so is my knowledge.”
How did your parents feel about your huge passion for comics?
“My dad used to say I was wasting my time, but recently a Hollywood studio offered me a job advising them about some comic material they’ve acquired, because I know about the obscure characters. I do have an unhealthy level of interest; I’m used to seeing people’s eyes glaze over when I start talking for too long.”
What is it about comic books that stole your heart?
“When you’re a kid it’s the freedom and the sense of power, especially when you’re a boy from my generation and you want to be strong, but you’re fearful of the world and what your place in it is. I think the best superhero comics speak to that. I’m very visual and seeing beautiful comic art is just a thrill for me, but when it comes together with a great story it has more impact on me than a good movie sometimes.”
What do you think of the new Channel 5 drama Gotham?
“I love the idea because wherever you go in the world people know who Batman is. There’s a very rich world they can build on, but a lot of the heavy lifting is done – you don’t need to spend three weeks explaining who the Penguin is. I’m looking forward to The Flash too, and if they get the right people writing it the return of Heroes will be great. I’ve got a big appetite for that sort of stuff, even when it’s not quite right. The last Superman movie, for example – some of it was incredible, some of it was so dull, but still I probably watched it three times.”
You share many of your TV obsessions with your wife Jane and your three children, do you watch them together?
“Jane and I don’t have to watch things together, but we prefer to. Normally at the end of a long day we sit in bed and Jane plays games like Tamagotchi Life on the Nintendo DS and I’ll be reading on my iPad, then we’ll watch two or three episodes of something.”
Have your tastes changed much since boyhood?
“I assumed there would be some maturity that came with age, but sadly that’s still eluding me. I still like silly things. I’m really looking forward to Dumb and Dumber Too, that’s coming out soon. But I do read a different sort of book now. I’ve just finished a really good biography of Shakespeare by Peter Ackroyd and I wouldn’t have read that for pleasure 20 years ago.”