RICH INTERVIEWS: Eric Peterson Co-Writer for Space Bastards

First Comics News: How did you get involved in writing comics?

Eric Peterson: I started scribbling comics when I was about 13. In fact, one of the first illegitimate comics I ever made was essentially Space Bastards, albeit the only resemblance there are the characters. When I was in college I did a self-published 32-page one-shot with an artist named Charlie Bink called “Save the Babies.” Around 2008 I did a trilogy of graphic novels called “Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun” with artists Ethan Nicolle (Axe Cop), Ryan Cody, and Gabo. But Space Bastards was always there.

1st: What is “Space Bastards” all about?

Eric: In a form, it’s about America, human freedom, and the consequences thereof.

Postmaster General Roy Sharpton inherits the Intergalactic Postal Service and things are very much broken. Almost bankrupt. 80% of packages don’t make it between planets. He creates a free enterprise system that functions on 3 rules: Whoever delivers the package gets the cash. A postal worker can use any means or weaponry necessary to steal that package from another postal worker. Every time a package changes hands, every time the dispatch bracelet goes, “Parcel Transferred,” the customer pays fees, which go to the Space Bastard. It is a cutthroat free enterprise in space.

1st: How far can a postal worker go to deliver a package?

Eric: However far they want to go.

1st: Who are a few of the postal workers featured in “Space Bastards”?

Eric: Davey Proton, a recently laid-off accountant. Manicorn, a force of nature who very much only cares about “winning,” or more accurately, “making others lose.” Leroy Palestine, a divorced ex-real estate agent. Zordakk, a… I don’t know what he is exactly. Nobody does. Resurrection Mary— a postal worker who seemingly does not die.

1st: What makes a space postal worker good at their job?

Eric: The ability to take it personal. To put their all into the job, because they are their own boss. Maybe a bit of adrenaline addiction.

1st: Would a real postal worker enjoy this book?

Eric: So far they seem to really enjoy it. An ex-postal worker came up to us at San Diego Comic-Con and exclaimed “You guys got it. This is exactly what it’s like.” I’m not sure if that’s hyperbole or not, because I hope real-life postal workers aren’t this psychotic, but I’m not one to judge.

1st: Is “Space Bastards” an action-adventure or humorous book?

Eric: Both, really. If your sense of humor is a bit sardonic in nature.

1st: Will there be a lot of fighting going on in “Space Bastards”?

Eric: Does Zordakk have a libido? Yes. Yes, there’s lots of fighting.

1st: What is “Toothmail”?

Eric: Tooth and Mail is the spine of year one of Space Bastards— the story that all others weave in and out of throughout that first year. Art duties handled by Darick Robertson

1st: How did you feel writing about Jesus in “Jesus Christ: In The Name of the Gun”?

Eric: I worked as a TV Producer for five years, producing internationally syndicated televangelism. I grew up in a strong Lutheran household. I think after five years of being on the financial end of religion, I sort of… Well, I wouldn’t say I had a cross to bear, but I had all sorts of inputs from different religions growing up and the through-line for me out of all that was “faith is important. Whether you’re religious or not, there’s something important about believing in SOMEthing. Again, religious or not.” The JC book is satire, and it’s very much with a human/different version of a theological character. My goal was to make something about 450 pages in length that was satirical, challenging, but ultimately not condemning and an advocate for belief in things without proof. I think I did that. If you ever consider making a 450-page theological satire as your first comic though, I’d really heavily not advocate doing that. Dealing with anything in that realm almost guarantees a lack of clarity for the reader, replaced by divisiveness. I still re-read it though sometimes just to make sure I wasn’t absolutely god-awful in my twenties. I dig it. Space Bastards is way better.

1st: What is the main difference between making a comic book and a movie?

Eric: I made a lot of short films (most of which were Space Bastards) when I was in film school. I think there’s one major difference in the scripts at least— you paint more of a snapshot panel by panel in comic scripts. Film scripts that’s a big no. In terms of making movies, you have to rely on a whole lot more people in a specific setting with a limited time to get it done on a way more granular scale (“we only have this space for 6 hours or whatever”). I like making comics. I’d like to make more films one day, with a proper budget and help.

I do not think I could write comics like SB now if it weren’t for that film training though. I’m pretty visual and storyboarding films was a great start for comics. The mediums are very different though.

1st: What would you like to accomplish next in your career?

Eric: Year two of Space Bastards. The universe is so compelling to me, and timeless, albeit pretty referential to some issues happening today. And I’ve always wished I could work with these artists, and now I do. It’s hard for me to think past like years two or three or four of Space Bastards. It’s like a third child for me— I love it.

1st: Would you like to try being a Space Bastard postal delivery person?

Eric: I’ve been Roy Sharpton at the best and worst of times. I’ve been Wayne Powers at other times. I’ve been Davey Proton and worried about my next check and feeling the thumb of “work for your life.” I’ve been Zordakk when I’ve traveled for work for weeks on end and generally feel like a fish out of water. I’ve been Manicorn and just fueled by competition to an obsessive degree. Calto resonates with me every day. Oof, I’ve been Chuck more than I’d like to admit. I think Joe can say the same thing about some of these, and we laugh about digging that stuff out and working together on those characters. It’s so much fun.

1st: Any last words for all the new Space Bastards out there?

Eric: If you get the book you aren’t just buying a book. You’re actually becoming a Space Bastard. Welcome to the force and cheers.

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