For the latest 10 Questions with Christoph I have Bizarro writer and editor Jeff Burk, a fusion of pop culture insanity and pulp-punk action, JEFF BURK is the cult favorite author of SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, and CRIPPLE WOLF. Like the literary equivalent to a cult B-Horror movie, Burk writes violent, absurd, and funny stories about punks, monsters, gore, and trash culture. Everyone normally dies at the end.
He is also the Editor-In-Chief for THE MAGAZINE OF BIZARRO FICTION and the Head Editor of ERASERHEAD PRESS’ horror imprint, DEADITE PRESS.
Born in the Pennsylvania backwoods, he was raised on a steady diet of Godzilla, Star Trek, and EC Comics. He now resides in Portland, Oregon. His influences include: Sleep deprivation, comic books, drugs, magick, and kittens.
1) Here is Alan M. Clark doing a painting using your dread locks. Did any kind of Dorian Grey things happen with your soul? Also did you like the painting?
I loved the painting! It’s amazing to me how talented Alan M. Clark is. Literally, he used only my dreadlocks and it looks just like me! And it only took about forty-five minutes.
In case anyone is unaware, Alan M. Clark is a world-renowned painter in the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres. He has done work for Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Richard Laymon—you name them and Clark has worked with them. We are incredibly fortunate to have him doing covers for Eraserhead Press and Deadite Press. As a long-time fan of his work (well before I started working with Eraserhead) and I love seeing him getting to go total gross-out on Deadite covers.
STAR TREK. I’ve been a fan of the franchise since I was about eight years old. My Mom would have to work into the evenings at times and when I ran out of cartoons on TV the station would start playing THE NEXT GENERATION. I quickly became fascinated with the show. When the movie GENERATIONS came out, I asked my Mom to take me to see it. It turns out she was a big STAR TREK fan as well and had no idea her son had been watching it while she was at work. From there she began taking me to STAR TREK conventions several times a year until I moved away from home.
There’s that old writing advice of “write what you know.” When I was working on SHATNERQUAKE what I knew was nerd shit (because I’m a ultra-nerd) and conventions (at that time Eraserhead was doing over a dozen conventions a year and I worked at all of them). That book is what my brain felt like when life was one convention after another with marathon breaks of STAR TREK in-between.
3) Is there ever a chance that Williams Shatner would go Post-Post Modern and star in the Film “Shatnerquake.”
I would love to see this happen. I’ve had several film studios and TV studios approach me about adapting the story. I’ve always said “Yes” but nothing has come from it yet—film and TV work really really slowly.
There are two ways I could see an adaptation working. Live action starring the real William Shatner and all the other Shatner characters (Kirk, TJ Hooker, Denny Crane, etc…) would be played by Shatner impersonators.
A cartoon version might be best—then Shatner could voice all the characters himself.
4) You have been a big part of the Bizarro literary scene and going to BizarroCon I got to see it for real not just what Cracked and Gawker articles say. What are some things that people outside this genre get wrong?
Oh shit. Where to begin…
First off, we’re not just gross-out, obscene, pushing-buttons. While we love that shit and some of our more successful titles do fall into that category, what we are really interested in books that once you hear the title and concept you’re like “Holy fucking shit! I need to read that!” In other words, we simply like our books to not be boring.
“Help! A Bear is Eating Me!”, “Jimmy Plush: Teddy Bear Detective”, and my own “Shatnerquake” are devoid of the gross-out and cheap obscenity that we are so commonly accused of. Yet all of those titles are amongst Eraserhead Press’ best-sellers.
Another criticism I’ve been hearing lately is that the bizarros are closed-off and cliquish. I have no idea where that got started. When I tried getting involved in the scene, I had NOTHING published in any way. Yet because of my love of weird shit, everyone was welcoming, supportive, and helpful. Now, nine years later after getting exposed to all this awesomeness and five years of working with Eraserhead, I have out four books and run an Eraserhead imprint that’s had about seventy releases. That would have never happened if not for all the authors, artists, and publishers that immediately took me in as one of their own and offered me help, advice, and guidance with every challenge.
We’re open to and love anyone that shares our passions. Ask anyone that goes to BizarroCon—it feels like a family reunion. Just with family you didn’t know you had.
Besides, this way of life is a war. We, as independent artists, are struggling and fighting everyday with the major media conglomerates that control almost everything we see, hear, and buy. We independents need to stick together. We’re not looking for enemies—we’re looking for allies to help tear down the mass-market axis of mediocrity and banality.
5) Word. That was well said and true from my experience. You were a political science major and activist which leads to me a very important and self-serving question: what current American politician would you like to see eaten by Great White Sharks & why?
All the bastards. Also, every religious leader. Seriously, fuck those assholes and charlatans.
6) You edit for Deadite Press. Right on. I’m an editor as well; it has effected and helped my own writing. How has editing others work helped your own?
That’s really hard to judge as I publish almost entirely horror fiction and I couldn’t write a decent horror story to save my life.
What it has taught me is how to create and present a story that other people will want to read. My job as an editor is to work with the author to create a book that get in front of the exact people that need to read it. It’s not just looking for typos but crafting a work of art that will have an effect on the audience that both the author and myself as publisher want to reach.
I know that I’m picky with my own ideas of stories. If I come up with something I always think “would I publish that story?”/“would I read that story?” If the answer is ever “no” I say fuck that idea and forget about it.
7) Ok, tougher question. With no bias please answer this likely scenario. There are only three people left in the word: a 40-year-old woman ovulating with her last egg, Bruce Campbell, and William Shatner. Who does the woman procreate with and why?
This is quite the conundrum. While Shatner has the shear charisma that is a straight up panty-dropper, Campbell is obviously the physically superior specimen—he never needed a girdle.
For the sake of the human species, she should fuck Ash.
8) We talked about a prolific author Alara Branwen who has also graced this blog also answering 10 questions. She is the co-author of all the dinosaur erotica books. At first I thought she was bizarro author, and this was a brilliant bizarro idea but through this interview we learned she really just likes writing about damsels meeting dinosaurs who have sex. What do you and the other members of the Bizarro community feel about the popularity of dinosaur erotica?
GOD DAMN HER!!!! We spend our days trying to figure out the most ridiculous and exciting books and we come up with Baby Jesus Butt Plugs, Ass Goblins, and William Shatner fighting Captain Kirk. But dinosaur erotica? Fucking brilliant! They beat us at our own game and seriously upped the ante.
In all seriousness, we think it’s fantastic whenever independent artists can find an audience, especially when they’re doing something that the mainstream would never touch. The major media conglomerates that use to control everything we consume are losing power and influence over culture and new and unique voices can finally flourish—the success of Bizarro and Dinosaur Erotica are proof.
9) If visited by the Darwinist aliens: The Predators. You A) offer your dreadlocks in exchange for life B) use your political persuasion to make peace and not be killed by the predators C) offer to ghostwrite the head Predators Life Story “Head Predator: I Killed Out Of Pride” D) All of the Above
I would never cut my dreads. Fuck that. They would respect me for that.
My strategy for dealing with problems is getting my enemies to work for me. It’s surprisingly affective. You find a situation where both parties benefit and it would hurt you both for one of you to be hurt. With that in mind, I would go with writing for them. But I would prefer to write the speeches in which they address/dominate the human species. I could help decide who lives and who dies…
10) Last question, what are you working on now?
A shit ton of things.
With my own writing, I have two new short stories that should see publication in early 2014—“I’ve Seen Enough Hentai to Know Where This Is Going” and “How I Got a MY LITTLE PONY TATTOO.”
I’ve also begun work on my fifth book—”HOMOBOMB”. It’s about a bomb that’s attracted to other bombs when it’s supposed to be attracted to people and buildings.
In regards to Deadite Press, you can expect to see new releases from our regular authors including Brian Keene, Edward Lee, Wrath James White, Shane McKenzie along with new to Deadite authors like Monica J O’Rourke (I fucking love her stories and I’m so psyched she has joined the Deadite family!!!!!).
I am working on two super-secret amazing projects that I can’t really talk about (still working out the details behind the scenes) but I can hint at. 2014 should see the release of the first non-fiction Deadite Press book.
Also, I am working on putting together the first Deadite Press anthology. It will be the most extreme horror anthology ever published. HARDCORE FUCKING HORROR—you’ve been warned.
That sounds cool as fuck!
Thanks Jeff for taking the time to shoot the shit.
You can find Jeff’s books and connect with him at the links below.