Updated: Nov 19, 2019
POP: Culture & Comics owner Michael Austerlitz recently had an exclusive interview with Tom Peyer of Ahoy Comics. Writer of Hashtag: Danger, The Wrong Earth, and the just-launched Dragonfly and Dragonflyman. A veteran in the field of comics, Mr. Peyer answered Michael's questions about present and future projects, and they even jived about Syracuse, NY.
MICHAEL AUSTERLITZ: Loved Wrong Earth. Such a great dive into the superhero psyche and a super enjoyable read. Was it always planned to have Dragonfly & Dragonflyman come back in their own series?
TOM PEYER: Jamal Igle had another job to do between the first two series of The Wrong Earth, so we knew there'd be a wait. When we found out people liked TWE we figured it would be good to bring the heroes back more quickly while keeping the swapped-earth story on ice for Jamal. And there was still all of this unexplored territory; like, we never saw Dragonfly interact with his kid sidekick, and we didn't see much of that with Dragonflyman. But the real saving grace is Peter Krause; he's carrying Jamal's torch brilliantly (as did Russ Braun in our Free Comic Book Day special).
MA: I love how you juxtapose the two worlds: Earth Omega and Earth Alpha. What’s the writing process like doing that? That is, is it more difficult to write almost polar opposite characters? Or do they bounce off one another.
TP: Once I knew enough to approach it with a question— "what was it like for the sidekicks?"—the answers came easier than you might think. It helps to write the characters separately and then mush the pages up later; Peter likes drawing it that way, too.
MA: The world building you’ve done with The Wrong Earth and now this solo-ish series seems like it has potential for more character spin-offs. (I’d love to see one about the president of the bank and his cohorts). Any plans to expand this world even more?
TP: Never in my life did I expect to get a request for a comic book about the president of a bank. I can't tell you how flattering that is.
MA: On to your other project: Hashtag Danger. Absolutely love it. The writing is fun and funny, and the art is, as I think I put in a review, Kirby-lite with a fun cartoonish flavor. The trade is coming out. Can you tell us a little about the series?
TP: The first thing I knew about Hashtag: Danger is that they spell out the word "hashtag." I had to ask, "Who would do that?" and the clear answer was: people who can't get out of their own way. So you have this group of scientific adventurers, like the Challengers of the Unknown, or Fantastic Four, or Doc Savage's crew, and you think they're going to go on all of these fantastic adventures. But they really waste most of the readers' time bickering over trivial disagreements. Because they don't know what they're doing.
Desi, the leader and financial backer, wants fame as a glamorous scientific adventurer, but doesn't know the first thing about it. Einstein, the genius, is largely up to it. But he's drowning in resentment, because he's the only one who can do the work and it all falls to him. Sugar Rae, the muscle, just wants to get paid.
Artist Chris Giarrusso is perfectly fluent in all of the cliche comic book fantasy elements I love, and his people react to each other with a hilarious, cartoony realism. He draws a lot of kids' comics, and the Hashtag heroes are cute as hell, but they swear like sailors. The book is rated "P" for Pottymouth.
MA: Ahoy just seems to be pumping out amazing titles. The Wrong Earth and Captain Ginger are two of my favorite titles in recent memory. How’s it been running this stellar company? How do you come about so many talented writers and artists?
TP: It turns out that there are a lot of very gifted people in the world of comics. We can't publish all of the great writers and artists who approach us, which is heartbreaking.
MA: Off topic but you’re from Syracuse right? I used to live in Liverpool. That area has a great love for comics. How is it running the company out of the area? Lots of local love?
TP: Go Liverpool! We did a comic book show at the State Fairgrounds this summer, and a lot of people we met expressed surprising levels of affection and pride that good comics are coming out of Syracuse. You can imagine how great that felt. Of course, it paled in comparison to being asked to do a comic about a bank president, which I never saw coming.
MA: Anything you want to tell us about your future projects or what to look for from Ahoy?
TP: There's going to be an announcement of our next slate of titles very, very soon. How very, very soon? I'm already trying to squeeze into my old tux for the unveiling. I think I have to get a new one.
Tom Peyer's newest book, Dragonfly and Dragonflyman is out in stores. A prequel to The Wrong Earth, this outstanding story finds our heroes before they've found each other. Facing off against the murderous Devil-Man, both Dragonfly and Dragonflyman respectively handle crimefighting in their own way, and with their own trusty sidekicks. Definitely check this one out, and while you're at it, go pick up the trade to The Wrong Earth!
Dragonfly and Dragonflyman hit local comics shops on November 6, so you still have plenty of time to grab a copy. If your LCS is out, ask for a reorder.