You mentioned the response to 9/11 via movies and videogames. But what was the comic book response?
Awkward and unpleasant, for the most part. There were some very worthwhile initial moves, like some charity books Marvel/DC published in the immediate aftermath and a lot of interesting takes on the event in the indie/underground scene, but as things segued into "The War on Terror" mainstream superhero comics stumbled spectacularly in dealing with them. Marvel briefly reworked Captain America into a 24-style terrorist story arc (it didn't last) and every other DC bad guy flirted with the "metaphor for terrorism" bit. By far, the most embarrassing thing was seeing how the event "broke the brains" of certain creators; Frank Miller seemed to lose whatever was left of his mind after 9/11, and he wound up writing a pitch called Batman: Holy Terror, which boiled down to "Batman versus the eeeeeevil Muslim Menace!" DC refused to publish it, for obvious reasons, and instead he changed the characters just enough to make it not the Batman and published it independently as just Holy Terror. (It's even worse than you imagine.)
When exactly did death become so taboo a topic for kids?
When American parents decided that television was a babysitter and began making the same requests one makes of a real babysitter: "Don't tell my child things about life, death, sex, etc., that I might not be ready to tell them." Makers of children's entertainment are depressingly well aware that parents want their kids' books/games/shows to be safe, and that safe means it won't do anything other than keep them out of my hair for an hour or so.
Have you ever thought about doing a show about Cerebus?
Yes. And then I've thought about having to actually sit down and think at length about the ridiculous crap that frequently spills forth from Dave Sim, then I think about how life is too short.
What are your thoughts on [Jennifer] Hepler? (Hard Mode: Discuss her without using the terms "sexist," "sexism," or "feminism".)
There is nothing, creative or otherwise, that Mrs. Hepler could have said or done to justify the disgusting attacks she was made to endure. Also, the notion that everyone involved in game development needs to be gamer (hardcore, traditional or otherwise) themselves is utterly absurd. It takes many creative/technical disciplines to make a game, and the best person at that discipline need not necessarily be a "gamer" themselves. Case in point: Shigeru Miyamoto, widely considered to be one of the greatest if not the greatest game designer of all time, does not generally play videogames recreationally. I rest my case.
Who is your favorite Venture Brothers character and a quick explanation why?
Oooooh, that's a hard one. Honestly, I'd have to split between Rusty (Dr. Venture) and Gary ("Henchman 21"), because they both so completely encapsulate the broader "crushed by reality" theme that fuels the whole show. Rusty is just such a singularly perfect visualization of every broken promise made by Kennedy-era "go get 'em" kiddie-sci fi to its fans bound up in one kinda awful yet relatable sad sack of a man. I have a strong feeling that when all is said and done, Gary's ongoing transformation from henchman to (Maybe? Hopefully?) awkward, late-blooming-but-functional adult will end up being one of the ultimate metaphors for my particular generation of fanboys. I'd also be remiss not to point out that Shore-Leave and The Alchemist are, hands down, two of the best written/acted/developed gay male characters in pop culture history, and it's astonishing that they exist together on the same show.
Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.