Q&A: Matt Maguire (SawBorg Destructo) Discusses the Enduring Legacy of GWAR and the New Graphic Novel GWAR: IN THE DUOVERSE OF ABSURDITY
For nearly 40 years, they have unleashed a blood-soaked blend of heavy metal horror with a distinct musical style crafted in the darkest reaches of deep space. They are GWAR, and they’ve leapt from the stage to the paneled page to wreak intergalactic havoc like only they can in the new graphic novel GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity.
Pitting the members of GWAR against alternate dimension versions of themselves (what could go wrong?), GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity is now available from Z2 Comics (along with a bunch of historic memorabilia from the band), and we had the great pleasure of catching up with SawBorg Destructo himself, Matt Maguire, to discuss his eye-popping artwork for the new comic, working on the graphic novel’s mind-bending story, and the enduring legacy of GWAR through the decades (and into the future)!
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions for us, and congratulations on GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity, which once again brings the band into the world of comic books! How did the idea for this latest GWAR comic book story come about?
Matt Maguire: Well, we had been talking about ideas and concepts for the new record. [Michael] Derks and I took what the group was working on and started to shape it into a story. The album and the comic took form together, so we were able to weave the themes and ideas into both at the same time. We focused in on the divide between people in the modern age, and how it effects reality.
This time around, the members of GWAR face off against versions of themselves from another dimension. How fun was it to come up with the alternate reality versions of your iconic characters?
Matt Maguire: It was a blast. We had fun trying to focus on the main personality quirks and how they would measure up to the “real” GWAR. The Berserker Blothar was rage and raw power. We wanted to tap into an idea of Blothar being able to transform into berserker mode. Having all the counterparts was a way to illustrate the divides, even within GWAR. Poking fun at “real” GWAR where they picked a form of music that could not sway the masses, unlike their counterparts who use country music to rule Earth in their dimension, was awesome. I liked that we settled on a version that really makes the Alt GWAR a fun and very formidable foe! I had a lot of fun designing the looks for the Alt GWAR, and the other artists from the book helped make them come to life.
GWAR teamed up with filmmakers Matt Granger and Mikey Granger to write In the Duoverse of Absurdity. What made The Granger Bros the perfect fit to help bring this cinematic story to life?
Matt Maguire: Matt and Mikey are great! Derks has been working on projects for a while now with them and it’s fun to see their take on GWAR. With this project, the humor and satire they brought are a lot like ours. They seem like long-lost cousins or something…
You created the eye-popping artwork for the Cyber Universe in this graphic novel. What did you enjoy the most about working on In the Duoverse of Absurdity as an artist alongside Andy MacDonald, Shane Patrick White, and Bob Gorman?
Matt Maguire: Derks and I wanted the art to change to help the reader identify the alt realities. Andy [MacDonald} and Shane [Patrick White] were such a good fit—those guys nailed it and their styles contrasted so well. They both expressed to me how much fun it was to let loose and do a book that was less PG and more raunchy. Bob and I had fun doing our parts and I really do think the style changes help the story. I hope to work with them again. It was amazing!
There are a lot of ghoulish goodies that readers can purchase with In the Duoverse of Absurdity, including historic memorabilia and awesome art prints. How important was it for you to give readers the chance to own a part of GWAR history along with this new graphic novel?
Matt Maguire: Oh we always love to give our fans a chance to have part of the history. Our fans are great and they love collecting, so with each of our comic projects we love to give them a chance to have a piece of GWAR. And the art Z2 got together for prints is amazing; they did such a killer job all around.
What has it been like working with Z2 Comics to publish GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity and unleash it into the world?
Matt Maguire: Like I just said, it was an awesome experience to work with Z2. They put out such good stuff and they really helped get our fans a high-quality book. I loved working on this project; our editor, Rantz Hoseley, was so helpful. He really helped us see the book through. It really helped that [Z2 President] Josh Bernstein is a fan, and really saw the potential of doing this book with our album. It was a great combo. I can’t wait to work on the next project with these guys—it was so much fun!
Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity?
Matt Maguire: First of all, have fun with it! It’s a humorous poke in mankind’s history that could be a slightly cautionary tale. I mean, let’s face it: I got Chat GPT to write the answers to this interview… Just kidding ….Or am I?
Do you have any plans for a sequel to GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity?
Matt Maguire: Most definitely. We have a few threads in the story to go in other directions in GWAR’s world. And wait till you see what happens next!!
With this new graphic novel and the recent documentary This is GWAR, your band continues to build a diehard fanbase nearly 40 years after its initial formation. What do you think has given GWAR such an amazing resonance and relevance as it rocks on into the future?
Matt Maguire: It’s all-out entertainment. We don’t hold back. We go places people really want to go, even if they are kicking and screaming. We have always shown the human condition through the eyes of these imperfect aliens, and people get what we say. Plus, the live show is a rite of passage that we have seen being passed down through generations. The people who have created and perpetuated it love doing it! And for me, I hope it outlives all of us.
In addition to GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity, do you have any other upcoming projects that you can tease for our readers?
Matt Maguire: We are working on a few secret projects and getting some special tours together. But if I told you any more I’d have to kill you. But seriously, there are a lot of cool things coming!!
Below, we have a look at the NSFW cover art and preview pages from GWAR: In the Duoverse of Absurdity, and to learn more about the graphic novel and the band, visit Z2 Comics and GWAR’s official website!
Synopsis: “What can be more horrifying and terror-inducing than GWAR? The moment they must face the vomitous incarnations of themselves from a filthy alternate dimension! They’ve penetrated our world by rupturing the membrane which protected our very existence from these walking horrors. Unleashed in our universe, these dark mirror incarnations are bent on dominating and subjugating all of humanity to the will of The Master. Now… it is GWAR’s throbbing, messy duty to save us all before it’s too late!”
NSFW Cover Art and Preview Pages: