Updated: Nov 6, 2019
I had the chance to ask Tom Peyer, Editor-in-Chief of Ahoy Comics, some questions. An industry veteran, and writer of two amazing new series, The Wrong Earth (2018) and Hashtag: Danger (2019), I was happy to be able to delve into Mr. Peyer's mind a little. Enjoy!
Michael Austerlitz (MA): What got you into comics and writing?
Tom Peyer (TP): What got me into comics was Superman on TV. What got me into writing was figuring out that drawing's too hard.
MA: What were your favorite titles growing up?
TP: So many! I'm a Silver Age baby, so mostly DC and early Marvel, but I was also fascinated by Mad and the horror anthologies Creepy and Eerie. And discovering Will Eisner's The Spirit was huge. But the Superman titles were home base.
MA: What was the impetus for Wrong Earth? It feels like it’s following the deconstruction of the superhero, not in the way of Alan Moore, but sort of in the same way as Rick Veitch. Is that what you’re going for?
TP: I have to confess that I never read much of Rick's work outside Swamp Thing. And I personally wouldn't use "deconstruction"--it sounds like a very serious science experiment, which this never felt like. Superhero comics have been around for so long --readers of the '60s, '80s, the present day-- they all prefer their own flavors of escapism, with their own idea of what qualifies as heroic. And the characters adapt, but the branding never changes. To put these different versions of the same properties in a box and shake it up felt like it would be fun to work on. And it was.
MA: Do you foresee building an interconnected world with Ahoy Comics? Sort of like the Big Two? Or even Valiant?
TP: No. I think it would be foolish to try to beat DC and Marvel at their own game. But their devotion to the shared universe does create an opportunity for us. We can do stories about our characters and follow them to the end, without having to interrupt everything for a crossover. We don't have to change story plans because the Eastern seaboard was nuked in another title. It's a luxury for us, and I hope for the reader.
MA: Who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to writing? Follow up question, what contemporary writers do you most admire?
TP: See, you're going to get me in trouble. I do have favorite writers working today, and some of them work for us and some of them don't. But it doesn't help if I start making lists and leaving people off.
As for my long-time inspirations, I really love to go back and read old comic books. If you read the same ones at different times of your life, they become different comics, but they still tether you to that time when it all felt magical. I love the more eccentric writers, like Robert Kanigher and Bob Haney. Their stuff might not have grabbed me so much when I was a kid, but it does now. The most flattering review I ever got was at a blog called Seven Hells, written by Devon Sanders. He pronounced "Crazy" Bob Haney and "Crazy" Bob Kanigher the patron saints of his blogs, and in reviewing DC 2000 he knighted me with the honorific "Crazy" Tom Peyer. A big day for me, to be lumped in with those two. That was in 2006, and I'm still clinging to it. Sad!
MA: What writers and artists would you like to see do projects at Ahoy for future projects? Who would you most like to collaborate with?
TP: It's really more of a "what" list than a "who" list. We want to publish stories that are funny and unique. For an established team like Stuart Moore and June Brigman to do Captain Ginger, this insane space opera with cats, or for a new talent like Paul Constant and the ace professional Alan Robinson to bring us Planet Of The Nerds--there is no other comic remotely like either one of them. As long as we keep the creativity on that level, we're in good shape.
Check out Ahoy Comics' great titles such as High Heaven, Steel Cage, Planet of the Nerds, Second Coming, The Wrong Earth, Bronze Age Boogie, Captain Ginger, and Hashtag: Danger! Ask your local comic shop to order!