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David Malki! Talks ‘Machine of Death 2′ [SDCC]

Last year, webcomic creators David Malki!, Ryan North and editor Matthew Bennardo released Machine of Death, a collection of short stories based on a premise by North, in which a machine was created that could predict the way you’d die with 100% accuracy. The book, self-published by the creators and featuring a roster of talent known for their work in webcomics, made headlines when it shot to the #1 spot on Amazon the day it was released, dethroning pundit and perennial best-seller Glenn Beck from the top spot.

Now, at this year’s Comic-Con International, the Machine of Death sequel has been announced, set to hit at next year’s convention with a similar roster of talent. I spoke to Malki! to find out a little more about what to expect from the book, their new publisher, and a few experiences he’s had at the Con so far.ComicsAlliance: What’s going on at the con for you today?

David Malki!: Oh man, this is the best Comic-Con I’ve had all year. The first San Diego Comic-Con I’ve had all year that featured a hundred million people dressed like your favorite characters from popular culture.

CA: Do you have a favorite costume that you’ve seen so far?

DM: My favorite costume that I saw is a little baby Stormtrooper that’s a kid who’s maybe two years old. His dad was totally normal, non-costume, but the little kid had a helmet way too big for his head and it was adorable.

CA: It’s always nice when you see small children dressed as faceless Space Nazis.

DM: I know! It’s my favorite type of thing to do with children, because I feel like otherwise they don’t learn the difference between right and wrong.

CA: So, Machine of Death 2 is on the horizon?

DM: Yes! We just basically made it as close to final as it’s going to be for a while. The sequel to Machine of Death is going to be out next Comic-Con, 2013. It’s going to be published by Grand Central Publishing, who you may know from their book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It’s going to be called This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death. It’s going to feature 32 new Machine of Death stories, new art from some of the same artists and some new ones, it’s going to be amazing, I guess. Maybe incredible.

CA: Can you tell us anyone who’s coming back, or any new contributors that you’re excited about that you didn’t get to work with the first time?

DM: Let’s see… We had an open submission policy for all the stories, and it turned out some of the same authors wrote new stories that we liked as much as their first ones, so we’re publishing about six of the authors in the first one, coming back with an all-new story. In terms of the art, we had an open submission policy as well. We had a lot of artists submit portfolios to us and from that we had six or eight people, including Tony Cliff, who was nominated for an Eisner this year for Delilah Dirk. Just a tremendous comic, and he has a new mini out as well. Just the best comic I’ve read in a long time. He did a piece for us that’s absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t wait to put it in the book.

A lot of new webcomic faces are contributing art. Trudy Cooper from Oglaf has a piece in there, returning favorites such as KC Green and Aaron Diaz. Glenn Fabry, who of course is known for the Preacher and Hellblazer covers from way back, he’s close to doing a piece for us as well. That’s going to be real fun. So it’s a good mix of indie webcomics and mainstream folks as well.

CA: It’s set for release during next year’s Comic-Con… Do you know if there’s going to be another Glenn Beck book released that week?

DM: I can only hope. If we find one that’s to be released within a week or two, we may fudge our release date a little just to see what happens.

CA: I’m curious, obviously your webcomic following — yours, Chris Hastings’, Ryan North’s, and the other contributors — really contributed to the success of the book, but did that translate at all to any new readers for your webcomic?

DM: It’s hard to know for certain, because you only know that if someone tells you. So I have had a few people tell me that, and I feel like that happens all the time. The more cross-promotion, the better. I’ve had people tell me that from Tweet Me Harder, I’ve had people tell me that just from being a part of Topatoco, and vice versa. I wouldn’t say that Machine of Death was particularly unique in that regard, but it’s a good example of it.

CA: Has it been weird for you to be next to Chris Hastings and his profane apron this weekend?

DM: He just tried to be vulgar at me, thrusting his hips at me in a salacious manner. It’s only made me love him more. In fact, the hardest thing has been to restrain myself from just ravishing him behind the booth.

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