When io9 launched last week (happy one week anniversary, everybody!) many remarked about how gorgeous our logo is. Now you can meet the woman behind that logo. She's Eliza Gauger: artist, comic book creator, blogger, videogame geek, and monster-lover. We've got an exclusive interview with the three-headed lady herself, plus a gallery of her dreamy crawlies to make your morning just a little bit more surreal.
What are your science fiction influences?
My father is Rick Gauger, author of Charon's Ark and The Vacuum-Packed Picnic (which won a Nebula, if I am not mistaken). He read Jack Vance novels to me as bedtime stories, and the intense beauty and strangeness, and the humor, splatted right into waiting neural receptors. So I grew up sneaking all sorts of age-inappropriate stuff off his shelves. Moebius, DEN, Vaughn Bode, Heavy Metal, oldschool Judge Dredd, stuff like that. Seeing Blade Runner's director's cut in theaters when I was about ten was, I'm sure, an intensely formative experience. In my head, that grimy, neon metropolis became shangri-la. i've been seeking it ever since. When I was twelve or thirteen I was briefly obsessed with the X-Files and The Fifth Element. In the latter case, I think I was sniffing out the Moebius designs and the Gaultier couture, so despite it really being a terrible film in most respects, it laid eggs in my skull. Jurassic Park was also a big influence on me, too. I fucking love monsters in general, and dinosaurs in specific.
I would also like to add Red Dwarf to my clutch of early influences, as well as Invader Zim. The latter took me completely by surprise.
What do you hope never to see again in science fiction art?
Hackneyed dialogue, Hollywoodisms, and "hot" people. By Hollywoodism, I mean all of the following:
1. Super-badass vehicle/gun/utility is displayed. character says: "I gotta get me one a deez!"
2. Will Smith says, AW HELL NAWWW
3. Camera zooms in on badass hero, who says something about it being showtime, or possibly time for asskicking, or any number of four-word sentences that make ten year olds vibrate with awe.
As for "hot people," I am tired of pretty, in-shape, unclothed heroes. Pretty people tax the credibility budget, which is the finite amount of willing suspension of disbelief that can be expended by the audience before they start going "that's ridiculous." Look at Aliens. Or any Cameron film from that era. If he had attractive women in his movies, and he did, they weren't "women" in the way that movies define women: harpies, hags, or idiots. Scifi ditto. Ripley was not wearing any fucking mascara. She was a CHARACTER, she wasn't a GIRL. Ditto for everyone else. They were people before they were badasses, or killers, or idiots. This is not a luxury in sci fi. It is a necessity. Cookie cutter characters are unbelievable, and in a wider context of unbelievable things happening (aliens, lasers, spaceships, all imaginary), it is vitally important for as much of the rest of the package to be well-developed and believable. Otherwise, you squander your credibility (remember the budget) on things like how does the heroine keep her lip gloss so fresh in the middle of a reactor meltdown, or why our hero is standing in the middle of a bare hallway while shooting, instead of taking cover like the soldier he is supposed to be. This also applies to costumes. Case in point, Kate Beckinsale is not going to kill any werewolves while wearing a boned corset, no matter how badly fit it may be.
I know you love monsters. So what was the best monster of last year?
That Pallid Man in Pan's Labyrinth was a triumph of design and execution. I was grinning throughout the whole scene. I'm going to give silver medals to the Bouncer-type Big Daddies in Bioshock, and GlaDOS from Portal. Right now I'm incredibly excited about Wall-E, Cloverfield, and Hellboy 2. And Del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness.
Do you ever draw Mi-Go, Shuggoths, or Old ones?
I don't do much fan art.
I have some octopus-headed figures here and there, and I was inspired by Ranklechick and His Three-Legged Cat to take a crack at two of the characters, but otherwise I feel deep shame when I'm not working on my own designs. I start to shake, and weep, and chew at my flesh.