Comic Book Biography: PETER DAVID (volume 2)

peter-davidThe last time I talked with Peter David he was writing Captain Marvel and Marvel was threatening the book’s existence. Times have changed and this month he has seven titles coming out from Marvel.

First Comics News: How do you go from having one title on the verge of cancellation to writing seven comics for from the same publisher?

Peter David: I have seven? Where did you come up with that? Lemme think: Hulk #87. The third issue of the Hulk limited series. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1. I think that Monsters Special is out. I get four. What are the other three?

1st: I count, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1, Marvel Knights Spider-Man #19, Amazing Spider-Man #525, Spider-Man Family One Shot, Incredible Hulk#87, Hulk: Destruction #4 (Of 4), and Marvel Monsters: Where Monsters Dwell.

PD: Oh. Wow, yeah, okay, I hadn’t thought about those individual Spidey books. I was just thinking of them as one long story….Wait. Spider-Man family One Shot? I didn’t write anything for that. What have I got in there?

1st: They have one of your Spider-Man 2099 stories in there.

1st: Let’s start with the biggest thing going on this month. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. How did you end up writing Spider-Man?

PD: They asked me. I feel badly, because people keep asking me this question and I think they want some sort of really involved answer. That I made a huge push for it, or that tons of approvals had to be gotten. But really, it’s as simple as that Tom Brevoort called me and said that Mark wasn’t going to be doing Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Manand would I be interested. And I said “Hell yes,” and that was that.

1st: I have always enjoyed the humor you add into your stories. Do you find Spider-Man fits more naturally with the one liners and corny jokes?

PD: They fit in, but I like the notion that-even after all this time-Spidey does the wisecracks as a means of steadying his nerves and keeping himself focused. Every time he’s cracking wise, he’s doing it so he doesn’t freak out.

1st: How did writing Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man turn into writing all the Spider-Man comics in October?

PD: Came as a result of the “The Other.” Marvel and JMS (J. Michael Straczynski) were looking to do a major Spidey event, and the choice was simple: Be a part of it or not be a part of it. If I chose not to, I knew I’d be essentially marginalizing Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man right out of the box; I’d be sending a message that all the real action inSpidey’s life was going on elsewhere. That seemed a huge mistake in the long term. The notion of each writer doing a month’s worth in one shot was, I believe, Joe’s idea.

1st: What is “The Other” about?

PD: About twelve issues.

1st: Now that was funny. OK, seriously what is “The Other” about?

PD: Honestly, I don’t want to say too much, because really JMS is the engine and Marvel is the car. I’m just the guy who’s taking the thing out for a drive. Besides, anything that I would say would either be (a) a reiteration of something that’s been said already, or (b) something we didn’t want to get out there. So it’s probably better at this point to play it close to the chest.

1st: What’s it like only writing part of a 12 part story?

PD: Well, it’s actually not bad because instead of the way all the other crossovers I’ve been involved with have gone…writing pieces here and there, chapter inserts, I basically produced an entire arc of the storyline. It’s much more satisfying.

1st: After “The Other” is over, how will Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, be different the Marvel Knights or Amazing?

PD: I’ll be writing it, bucko! We’re going to focus heavily on just having fun with the series and character, producing the types of stories I remember so fondly from the early days of Spidey…but with a modern sensibility.

1st: October also end your second run on the Hulk. What was it like returning to the Hulk?

PD: Incredible.

1st: Is it easier to leave this time?

PD: Well, last time I was shoved out the door with no other prospects from Marvel in sight, so yeah.

1st: Is there any chance your fan will see more Hulk stories from you in the future?

PD: My fan? I’ve got one fan? Boy. That explains a lot. Okay, well…yes, tell the fan there’s always a chance.

1st: Sorry, I ment fans.

1st: Talking about returning to familiar characters, in November you reunite with X-Factor. What can fans expect to see in X-Factor?

PD: A series that’s nothing like my previous run on X-Factor. Far more sophisticated, far more adult in its sensibilities. My original run was more a reaction to the types of stories that other X-books were telling. This time I’m far more focused on giving the book more of an identity than “the funny mutant book.”

1st: Who is on the team this time?

PD: Madrox, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, M, Siryn, Rictor, plus one more original character brought over from House of M. Actually, I’m having way more fun with the original character than I thought I would.

1st: How does this tie in with House of M?

PD: Well, X-Factor feels that part of its mission is to investigate just what the heck happened, and if it’s possible to restore the status quo. And what’s interesting is that it that mission will bring them into conflict with some unexpected people.

1st: In December we see the long awaited return of Fallen Angel. Why is the new IDW series set 20 years after the DC series?

PD: Because that’s when the next chapter of the Fallen Angel’s story takes place. I mean, if the book had remained an ongoing series from DC, I would have taken much longer to get to this point. I was going to jump time sooner or later, but it would have been later. In this case, since I’m sure not going to take the longevity of the series for granted, I figured I’d cut straight to this major event in the Angel’s life because it’s the strongest story. Plus it makes it convenient for both new readers and longstanding readers. The new readers come aboard on a convenient jumping on point, whereas the long-time readers will find a new/old status quo…plus will finally have the opportunity to learn the Angel’s origins.

1st: How were you able to take your series from DC to IDW?

PD: Deal making. Lots and lots of deal making.

1st: Has this ever been done before?

PD: I’m pretty sure it has, but I don’t recall off hand the other titles.

1st: Why isn’t David Lopez doing the art on the new series?

PD: His choice.

1st: From the preview art we have seen so far, the new series appears to be aimed at an older audience then the original, how was this decided?

PD: Actually, it’s pretty much aimed at the same audience as the previous series, at least in terms of story content. Perhaps J.K.’s (J.K. Woodward) radically different art style makes it look more “adult.” We had nudity, strong language and such in the previous run. We’re not going for porn or anything. If I was going to compare it to anything, it’d probably be the level of content that you’d see in the average drama on FX…”The Shield,” “Rescue Me,” “Nip/Tuck,” that kind of thing.

1st: With the mystery of Lee’s origin revealed, new art and the story jumping ahead 20 years, it’s a great starting point for new readers, but will it be familiar to old readers of the DC series?

PD: Oh yes, definitely. Keep in mind that time moves differently in Bete Noire. So many of the same faces will still be there. Interestingly, the one who has aged appreciably is the Angel herself…and that’s only when she’s outside of Bete Noire. Once she’s there in her “Fallen Angel” environs, she looks just as she always did.

1st: This brings up another question; with the first arc telling the origin story how is it set 20 years after the DC series?

PD: Because we flashback to events before the DC series started…and an individual who was instrumental in the Angel’s life back then shows up in Bete Noire now. That’s the connecting thread.

1st: After the initial arc are the stories going to follow chronology from that point or was the jump ahead in time just to tell the origin story?

PD: No, we’d continue from that point on.

1st: Is the new series an on going monthly?

PD: IDW seems to prefer doing individual arcs, like each of them being self-contained novels. That’s fine with me.

1st: After starting a new Spider-Man title in October, a new X-Factor in November, and a new Fallen Angel in December, what can we expect in 2006?

PD: A new miniseries I don’t want to announce yet, a possible new project I’m also not ready to announce, plus several novels including “The Hidden Earth” from Tor, the third in the King Arthur trilogy-this one entitled “Fall of Knight” from Ace, plus other neat stuff.

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