Why did you decide to bring back Tyler Durden?
I didn’t realize people would be asking me about this single book for the rest of my life. So why not break it open and turn it into the kind of thing [H. P.] Lovecraft or Stephen King would do, write a whole mythology around it so it bridges lots of different projects.
In your short-story prequel to “Fight Club,” the main character is writing something described as “a vivid pornography of other people’s misery … [that] would validate the tedious, timorous lives of bank clerks and shopkeepers.” Is that writer you?
Well, like him, so much of my process is talking to people and hearing their confessions. You go to parties and there’s that moment when someone’s had one drink too many and they feel safe. If you offer a small embarrassing story from your life, they will tell you a similar anecdote. And people tend to be competitive. They will ramp it up and suddenly they will be trying to dominate one another with the extreme humiliation or upsetting nature of their own story, and that’s when they tell the stories that really matter. I call it crowd seeding, like cloud seeding. You throw out the idea you want people to develop and you put all the different stories together and suddenly you have a book.
In the short story, you place Tyler Durden into a seemingly Victorian-era past, and in “Fight Club 2” comic book, Durden’s spirit takes root in a modern-day child. Are you projecting Durden into the past and into the future at the same time?
Exactly. That will be part of this big mythology the comic book will set out to create. That Tyler wasn’t just an aberration for one man during one small period of his life. He is actually a meme, an entity of his own that has occurred across time, always steering people towards this one large goal that we’ll find out.
What goal is that?
The goal of Project Mayhem in the movie and the book is to give people trials and quests and challenges that help them to discover their own brilliance, courage or skill. To make them more aware of what they were capable of doing in the world. But like so many empowering organizations, by the time it gets to the comic, it becomes about empowering the organization, instead of the member. And the members have become more like slaves, perpetuating this very large thing that will lead to disaster.
Why did you decide to write “Fight Club 2” as a comic book?
A friend of mine, a writer called Chelsea Cain, invited me to a dinner party with Brian Bendis and Matt Fraction, two of the biggest names in comics. Chelsea and the two of them just hammered on me all through dinner saying how I should write a comic and what a thrill it would be.
What other forms might the “Fight Club” mythology take?
The original “Fight Club” might become a musical. David Fincher has been working on this for years — he was the director of the movie and he has convinced Trent Reznor to do the score for a “Fight Club” rock opera.
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW; Thu., 7 p.m., $35.