June 26, 2012 at 2:37 PM ET
In one of his final interviews, celebrated children's book author Maurice Sendak said he fantasized about killing former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The famously cranky Sendak spoke at length about his comics career, his life and times, and blowing up the president.
"Bush was president, I thought, 'Be brave. Tie a bomb to your shirt. Insist on going to the White House,'" Sendak told Groth. "And I wanna have a big hug with the vice president, definitely. And his wife, and the president, and his wife, and anybody else that can fit into the love hug.
"And then we’ll blow ourselves up, and I’d be a hero," Sendak said. "To hell with the kiddie books. He killed Bush. He killed the vice president. Oh my God. ... It would have been a very brave and wonderful thing. But I didn’t do it; I didn’t do it."
Eric Reynolds, associate publisher at Fantagraphics Books, where Groth is founder and president, said Tuesday that they've seen quite a bit of outrage on Twitter and a few conservative blogs. "I saw a tweet just a few minutes ago that said, 'I wish I'd read and collected Sendak's books as a kid so I could burn them now.'"
Sendak certainly never shied from expressing his outrage at numerous things. In an interview with The Guardian last fall, he railed against everything from e-books to the American political right to Gwyneth Paltrow.
"Anyone who has watched Sendak's infamous interview on the 'Colbert Report' (or read his books, for that matter), should recognize that not only was he cranky, he had a razor-sharp wit and a very dark sense of humor," Reynolds said. "He was 83 years old when he gave this interview [to Groth]. He was at the point in his life where he clearly didn't give a damn about propriety; he could speak his mind and clearly enjoyed provocation. I see these comments as part and parcel of his personality, not as a legitimate, actionable, treasonous threat."