Catching up with Tom Peyer about all things AHOY

Ahoy Comics debuted in the fall of 2018 with the bold promise for readers to expect more from its line up of comic book magazines, featuring comic book stories, poetry, prose fiction, and cartoons. We talked to Tom when Ahoy launched, and he was nice enough to stop by First Comics News again to reflect on his career and let us know what to expect from Ahoy in the future.

First Comics News: I heard back in the day you were a letter hack.

Tom Peyer: Not really. I had a couple of letters printed, but I won’t tell you how to find them. They were written by someone who was very young and very stupid. I have to say, though, the first time I saw my name printed in a comic book was a pretty special day.

1st: Broke in with Zero #2 March 1975

Tom: Wow, you know a lot! My friend and mentor Warren Greenwood was an excellent, Kirby-influenced cartoonist who went on to an animation career. He put out a couple issues of an underground comic starring his titanic vegetable creation Ultimato and, as encouragement, gave me a page to fill. He even went in and tightened up my inks so the thing would be presentable. I’m still grateful.

1st: How did you get the assignment on Power of the Atom?

Tom: Through Roger Stern. The great comics writer was living a few towns away and was familiar with my alternative newspaper work. When he became over-committed in his early days at DC, he enlisted me to help. That got my career in comic books started.

1st: How did you transition from freelance writer to Vertigo editor?

Tom: After Power of the Atom, the editor, Mike Carlin, didn’t really have any more writing assignments to give me. So he recommended me to Karen Berger when an assistant editor slot came open. That’s the reason I was able to continue in comics. This was a few years before Vertigo, but we were already working on Swamp Thing, Sandman, Hellblazer, and Shade, the Changing Man. Our only mainline DC title was Wonder Woman, which Karen had been editing since she and George Perez relaunched the character.

1st: As a DC editor how were you able to write the Mickey Mantle comic for Magnum Comics?

Tom: I wrote it before I went to work at DC, but it was published after.

1st: What brought you back to full time writing?

Tom: Editing is hard!

1st: After so many years at DC what caused the move to Marvel?

Tom: I don’t think I moved to Marvel, so much as my freelance status opened up opportunities at other companies. I also worked for Acclaim, and later, Bongo, Oni, Dark Horse, Lion Forge, and AfterShock. But DC was where I did most of my work and where I felt most at home. I knew my editors there from the days when we were on staff together, so we were pals.

1st: How did you end up joining Ahoy Comics?

Tom: Our publisher, Hart Seely, got the idea to do this. He and I and Frank Cammuso, our CCO, have been close friends here in Syracuse for decades, so it was always going to be about the three of us starting this together.

1st: DC has a style of comics, Marvel has similar but different style, how would you describe the style of an Ahoy Comic?

Tom: Funny and smart is always our goal, with accomplished art high production values. And page numbers!

1st: HASHTAG: DANGER launches on Wednesday, what is Hashtag: Danger about?

Tom: It’s about a team of super-scientific adventurers who really should be doing something else.

1st: Who is Einstein Armstrong?

Tom: He is a super-smart, super-capable genius in every field the story needs him to be. He’s also kind of bitter because so much of the real work falls to him. And, despite being smart, he believes in a lot of stupid conspiracy theories.

1st: Who is Sugar Rae Huang?

Tom: She is a champion cage fighter who’s very strong, very brave, and often very drunk.

1st: Who is Desiree Danger?

Tom: She’s the leader, a Junior Chamber of Commerce-type. Desi will tell you that Hashtag: Danger stands for some very positive and important values, but she’s not very clear on what they are, exactly.

1st: Wrong Earth is also getting a Trade Paperback, for fans who may have missed the single issues, what are the worlds of Dragonfly and Dragonflyman like?

Tom: Dragonflyman’s Earth-Alpha is approved by the old Comics Code. Nothing very terrible is allowed to happen there, and everyone who’s supposed to be a good guy–politicians, bankers, police–really are good guys. Dragonfly’s Earth-Omega is after the Comics Code, and it goes a little overboard sometimes because it feels so free. So the violence is ultra, sexuality exists, and authority figures tend to be corrupt.

1st: Let’s explore Second Coming, why did DC Comics drop the series?

Tom: I haven’t talked to anyone there about it, so it wouldn’t be fair to venture an opinion. Mark Russell and Richard Pace, the series’ creators, speak positively about their time over there, so I don’t have any reason to believe DC did anything wrong.

1st: What makes Ahoy Comics the right home for Second Coming?

Tom: It’s funny, it’s smart, it looks great, and it’s not like any other comics story. We would  have jumped  to publish this under any circumstances.

1st: Who is Sunstar?

Tom: He’s a super-hero, very good at solving things with his fists, who is increasingly beset by problems that punching can’t solve.

1st: What is his relationship with Jesus?

They are new roommates, by order of God, who wants Jesus to be exposed to more forceful ways to use power.

1st: In this series what is Jesus opinion of mankind?

Tom: He loves us, but he’s confused by some of the choices we’ve made.

1st: How is Jesus presented in this series?

Tom: He’s a wise figure with a philosophy of nonviolence that he believes in very strongly.

1st: Thanks for catching us up, is there anything else you would like to say to our readers in closing?

Tom: Thanks for being readers!

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