Home Culture Comic Interviews Chatting with Chandra Free: The God Machine Creator Talks Art, Influence, and...

Chatting with Chandra Free: The God Machine Creator Talks Art, Influence, and Industry

I sit down with Chandra Free to chat The God Machine, growing up around music, Doc Hammer, a world without guard rails for AI, and how art can ferry us through the more Stygian moments of life.


Sometimes, things just hit at the right time. It was New York Comic Con 2013. I was writing for a transgressive culture website called “Moneygunsweed.com.” Like the Electric Banana, “Don’t look for it; it’s not there anymore.” Though not my first rodeo at the Javits, that year was my first foray into the venerated hall of immeasurable talent that is Artist Alley.

To be among so many whose art you admire can be somewhat intimidating… but that year I knew a face among the group of creators. Memory, much like the intrepid mountain goat, takes a slip from time to time, but I feel like I was a fan of The God Machine creator Chandra Free for even longer. Her febrile talent jounced my sensibilities, an elixir combining the inky freneticism of Jhonen Vasquez, and the romanticism classic 80s goth punctuated with madcap Merrie Melodies-esque moments through side characters, all in the color palette of a fever dream I don’t mind being entrenched in.

The interaction between Chan and me that year lasted probably no more than a sweaty handful of awkward moments on my part, but the reception couldn’t have been sweeter if you baked it and put in on a fucking windowsill. I had no college radio show at the time, and no podcast to speak of yet. Stock in myself approaching a total stranger whose oeuvre I’d loved was nowhere to what it is now. However, Chandra never felt like a total stranger, for there was something subcutaneous in her work that clawed at me, something that was just at the right time. Plus, the leatherbound edition of The God Machine was also too divine to pass up.

It’s been 11 years, infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things, but a decent chunk of minutes lived. The hoary winds of Fate have entered the chat, and despite this being my first proper chat with Spooky Chan, our conversation seemed to reverberate with an energy usually reserved for old friends catching up. Chan never felt like a stranger through the years, however. Her art always felt like home to me. Yet, it didn’t allow my brain to grant it residence. Rather, it tore the door from the frame, fired up a Djarum Black, and sauntered in… Hey, I ain’t complaining.

As an amuse-bouche, I’ve chosen a few highlights from our nigh-hour-long conversation below.

We briefly get into some sensitive territory concerning depression in the video, so be warned.



On the creation of The God Machine:

Chanda Free: The God Machine started in 1999 when I was in high school, so it was a concept I really enjoyed, and my background [loving] Disney, Warner Bros.–

Robert Kijowski: The good stuff.

CF: Yeah, the good stuff! Me and my cousin [Lindsey Cibos] would watch Disney television and other programs like Gargoyles, Batman: The Animated Series–

RK: Amazing.

CF: We would tape them, pause them, and then recreate what we saw because we’d seen certain poses, and we didn’t have the books or anything like that. So, we would just like to practice and practice and practice… When you think about that, those are my biggest influences early on. All of that 80s/90s pop culture and stuff like that because I’m an old person.


On character creation:

CF: Guy [Salvatore] is very much me, but I did not act out towards people I didn’t like. I didn’t like yell at anybody or anything like that. I was more morose and in my own head, and in my own world. Guy is like the part of me that didn’t get to shine through, I guess you could say.


On timeless albums:

CF: A Perfect Circle, “Mer de Noms”. That was kind of the mantra of 2000 when it came out. We were listening to that non-stop and it’s one of those albums I come back to every so often and it’s a good playthrough from start to finish, but also… “Songs of Faith and Devotion” from Depeche Mode is another really friggin’ great album. God… ugh! Music, I love it!!

On The God Machine’s new life at Global Comix:

CF: I owe it to my fans. I owe it to myself.

RK: Yes.

CF: I mean, I got the creative bug again and I don’t know why. I’m not going to question it.

RK: It’s a gift.

CF: Oh, yeah. Oh, wow. What a gift! (laughs)

RK: … I was saying that half saying that seriously… as a creator myself, it’s a gift… until it’s a curse.

CF: Oh yeah!… like, it’s always going to be a curse.

RK: It’s the Ouroboros. It’s just the snake eating itself. Which I would have no other way. This madness of creation, I would have no other way, personally.

CF: I’m just so thankful for my brain kicking in and being like “Let’s do Volume 2.”


Find The God Machine and other Machina Corpse comics at Global Comix here: https://globalcomix.com/a/machina-corpse/comics

Machina Corpse is a spooky comics imprint from the minds of Chandra Free and Stephen Emond. The company was founded in 2019, successfully Kickstarting comic publication FIRST OFFERINGS. They had further success with Kickstarter in 2022, funding the relaunch of The God Machine, Volume 1 re:VISION graphic novel and art book, which can be purchased at: https://machinacorpse.myshopify.com

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