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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Krause

For dubbing our San Diego condo “Hive Five Headquarters,” we sure were quiet during the actual convention. Surely, the other blogs were covering all of the actual news stuff (OMG EYE-STABS) while we were out, you know, having fun and stuff. But we wouldn’t be much of a comic blog if we didn’t talk about San Diego Comic-Con itself, so here’s the day-by-day goings on through the eyes of us High Fivers.

Wednesday, July 21

Not much really goes on at Preview Night, but it’s always nice to get the lay of the land. Early access to the floor and first pick of whatever is for sale is cool and all, but that’s more or less all that happens. The highlight of Preview Night (for me) was definitely getting Bill Willingham to sign my copies of Ironwood #7-10 (pfft, don’t judge me). He was shocked when I pulled them out of their bags, and for a minute I thought the whole exchange was going to be super-awkward, but then he jovially asked for our I.D. cards and starting sharing some insider information with us, like how his former studio mates’ mugs are hidden in the cover art of issue #10.

Maggie’s Preview Night highlight? Shaking Michael Dorn’s hand and mumbling “Thank you,” like a big dumb fangirl.

Aside from that, I managed to pick up Power Man and Iron Fist #50, Flash Volume 1 #289 (first Firestorm back-up, the first thing George Pérez ever did professionally) and DC Comics Presents #17 (Superman and Firestorm team-up, a huge hole in my Ronnie Raymond collection). Hell yes.

Thursday, July 22

All the other blogs are putting in their two cents about this, so we might as well follow suit. Yes, Westboro Baptist Church protested Comic-Con and it’s “worship of false idols.” While High Five! unilaterally agreed with Warren Ellis’ plan of “ignore, ignore, ignore,” some attendees opted to counter-protest. Whatever, go for it. My biggest problem was that while most of the signs mocked religious intolerance (I did laugh at “the Cylons destroyed the 12 Colonies for your sins” and Maggie loved the “Kill All Humans!” sign wielded by a Bender),  some of the signs in the counter-protest (namely “Fuck God”) were just as offensive as Westboro’s signs, more or less giving Phelps and crew exactly what they wanted. Oops.

Inside the convention center, we got Hava all badged up and headed straight for the “BOOM! Irredeemable/Incorruptible” panel. Highlights included the potential for character-specific one-shot tie-ins and listening to Waid and Peter Krause discuss their writing process. Oh, and the Irreedemable perfumes by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (friends of Hava’s, plug plug plug).

Later we hit up the “Mondo Marvel” and “DC Comics 75th Anniversary” panels. Holy shit, I could listen to Dennis O’Neil (Green Lantern/Green Arrow!) and Jerry Robinson (creator of Alfred, Robin, and the freakin’ Joker!) talk all day. Fun Fact: According to Jerry Robinson, Batman’s sidekick was NOT named after the bird, but after Robinson’s own childhood nickname.

Maggie and Hava tried to hit up the “Geek Girls Exist” panel but the place was well over capacity and half-full of dudes. Bummer! Still, rather than pout, the girls gave up getting in and held their own Geek Girls panel at a bar on Fifth Street, because this is San Diego Comic-Con, and you can always find something awesome to do when your original plan falls apart. Big congratulations to the Geek Girls’ Network for hosting a massively successful panel!

Later on, Maggie went over to w00tstock and met Wil Wheaton and Aaron Douglas and Matt Fraction while Hava, Jon, and I went to the BOOM! Studios’ Fifth Anniversary Drink-Up and spent upwards of an hour and a half chatting up Peter Krause. Hell of a way to end a night.

Friday, July 23

Friday was Room 6DCE day. After sitting through the “Marvel Video Games” panel (and, I’ll admit, “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” looks pretty rad), the barrage of DC panels began.

First up was “Spotlight on Grant Morrison” and, my god, that was entertaining. Between his bajillion impressions, he announced the release of an Absolute We3 and revealed that Seaguy: Eternal will be coming sooner rather than later.

Next up was the “Batman: The Return” panel. The stage was packed, with Grant Morrison, Bryan Q. Miller, Gail Simone, Paul Dini, Paul Cornell, Judd Winick, Scott Snyder, Frazer Irving, David Finch, Dustin Nguyen, and Mike Marts (I probably forgot somebody). Biggest news was that Morrison will be replaced by Peter Tomasi on Batman and Robin while Morrison starts a new Batman team-up book called Batman Inc. Paul Cornell will also write Knight and Squire (which we’re all pretty psyched for) and a Batman Beyond ongoing was hinted at. Also, the whole panel kept joking about how Dick Grayson is about to get “a bullet in the brain” meaning that I’m pretty sure Jon and I were right (at least about something).

Next was the “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” panel with J. Michael Straczynski, Jeff Lemire, Sterling Gates, Shane Davis, and Paul Cornell. Straczynski discussed his upcoming run on the “Grounded” storyline in Superman (nothing we didn’t already know) and the Superman: Earth One graphic novel he’s writing, with art by Shane Davis. Cornell revealed that Neil Gaiman’s Death will be a major character in Action Comics #894. The biggest news (to us, at least) was that the Phantom Stranger would be a major character in an upcoming Superboy book by Jeff Lemire. YES.

The last panel of the day was “DC Nation.” Dan DiDio, Straczynski, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, and Jim Lee (flanked by fans in costumes, including a Darkseid who stayed frighteningly in-character) revealed a few future projects, but nothing too crazy. Mostly that Geoff Johns will write a book starring Bart Allen and the other speedsters called Flash: Speed Force, that he’s writing a Dex-Starr Valentine’s Day special, and that he has an upcoming secret project with Grant Morrison.

On the way out, after nearly six hours parked in 6DCE, we ran into fellow blogger Kelson from Speed Force. Who’d have thought people from the internet have, like, faces and stuff!

Maggie and Hava headed over to the Geek Girls Tweet-Up while Jon and I went to Tweet House Party on the U.S.S. Midway and watched William Shatner, Brent Spiner, and LeVar Burton promote a website they knew nothing about and then run away to a VIP area. At least we got to be serenaded by Alice Cooper’s son’s band (Oh God. No).

Saturday, July 24

By this point, we were exhausted, and we still needed to get a ton of shopping done. The only panel we attended on Saturday was “Avatar Press and Max Brooks” where they talked endlessly about Crossed and Lady Death before casually mentioning that Warren Ellis is working on a second volume to Ignition City and that Supergod #4 is fiiiiinally ready to ship next Wednesday. While there wasn’t much news on the Ellis at Avatar front, listening to Max Brooks riff for 45 minutes was a hoot. He even touched on inter-fandom animosity, saying, “Everyone gets to have something, even teenage girls who are afraid of penises. Suck my blood, but don’t touch my tits!”

The rest of the day was dedicated to buying books and gathering sketches (we’ll share those in a separate post) and autographs. Jon managed to track down a sweet copy of October 1976’s Captain Britain #1 (complete with mask) and Maggie got June 1967’s Strange Adventures #201 (featuring an old Animal Man story that’s screaming for the Silver Age Recap treatment).

The most awesome thing of all, however, was talking extensively with Frazer Irving (who drew a three-second Batman for Maggie even though he wasn’t supposed to) and getting a bunch of books signed by Grant Morrison. Oh, and this.

We win at everything.

Sunday, July 25

I guess Hall H had nothing going on because the Exhibit Hall was fucking packed. Everybody walking past the immense line to get signatures and sketches from Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Francis Manapul asked what the deal was and then walked away, unimpressed by some of the best artists in the business.

Maggie gathered 3 out of 4 signatures for her copy of 52 #1 last weekend, with a bit of Con luck on Sunday. We were talking with Greg Rucka at the Oni Booth about some of his upcoming books, including the next issue of Stumptown and a new Queen & Country novel.  As Rucka signed some comics for Maggie, up walked Geoff Johns. Rucka signed 52, then turned around and handed it to Johns for her. The two writers shared an “Aw! Remember the good old days!?” moment, and Maggie did a fist pump because in case you didn’t know, now that Johns is running half the DCU, his signing lines are enormous.

The only panel we attended on Sunday was the “DC Town Hall Meeting.” Dan DiDio and Jim Lee really, really wanted to know what we thought of digital comics. (Answer: We like them, but don’t you dare fuck with our weekly books.) Also, Maggie may have terrfied poor Mr. DiDio. He brought it on himself though, when he asked (albeit jokingly) if she didn’t mean to be at a Harry Potter panel instead.  Sorry, DiDio. You mess with the bull, you get the horns.

We’ve got more San Diego news in store, including some reviews and the High Five! Sketchbook, San Diego edition. Stay tuned!

Heyo everybody! Jonny here. It’s no secret that here at High Five! we love us some BOOM! Studios. Recently I was given the opportunity to interview artist/writer Peter Krause whose work includes pencils for Irredeemable, The Power of Shazam!, and sundry 90s Star Trek comics. Published below is my Q&A session with Mr. Krause, conducted via emails and interwebs:

————-begin————

High Five! Comics: Thanks again for the interview. We always have fun interacting with industry people and getting human faces/personalities for the books we enjoy reading every month. When did you start reading comics?

Peter Krause: Somewhere around 9-10 years old.  We had a drugstore around the corner from where I grew up in south Minneapolis, and comics were stocked on a spinner rack there.  That’s what I spent my allowance money on–comics.  I always bought Superman or World’s Finest.  My brother bought Legion of Superheroes and Teen Titans.  Later, I discovered Marvel comics.  Spider-Man and Daredevil became my new favorites.

HF!C: Some people grow up knowing exactly what they want to do, and most of us stumble in to a job that works for us. Where on this spectrum did comic illustration fall for you? Was it something you dreamed of doing as a kid, or something you fell into?

PK: Oh yeah, I dreamed of it.  In grade school, I became good friends with two other guys who also drew all the time.  We’d hang out at each others’ houses after school, draw and trade comics.  But drawing comics for a living remained a dream.  My parents always encouraged my drawing, but somehow I didn’t ever think I’d make a living with my art.  I  graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in studio arts and also a degree in journalism.  My first freelance job after school was a writing gig. It wasn’t until Lisa and I got married that I reconnected with my love of drawing comics.  After several years of working with smaller companies–including a self-publishing stint–I got my first freelance assignment with DC.

HF!C: You’ve been in the business long enough to have been influenced by some of the Silver and Bronze Age artists. What can you tell us about your influences (inside, and outside of comics), and what artists have been most important to you?

PK: The most obvious influence is Curt Swan.  I was a Superman fan–first and foremost.  Curt drew the Superman I grew up with.  When I was showing samples at conventions, Curt Swan’s name was brought up in comparison.  Not that I was as good as Curt, mind you.  But the influence was there.  Curt was a Minnesota guy, like me, so maybe there was something in the water! Other favorites from my childhood were Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr., Gene Colan, Gil Kane, Nick Cardy, Carmine Infantino, John Buscema.  And of course, Steranko.  Steranko just completely blew our minds!  We’d never seen anything like his stuff before!

HF!C: Do you have an artistic philosophy?

PK: Always make your present assignment a bit better than the last.  And don’t be afraid to fail–failure leads to learning.

HF!C: When I read your 90s work I notice a stark (and pleasing) contrast from the exaggerated, often abrasive imagery that was so popular at that time. Did you feel any pressure then to mimic that style?

PK: Ultimately, I think you draw the way you have to draw.  Not that you can’t learn from others, but I was attracted more to the solid, Alex Raymond approach to storytelling.  I remember Frank Miller saying that chasing trends is a fool’s errand.  That can apply to your art as well.

HF!C: Were there any offers between “Power of Shazam” and “Irredeemable” that you turned down?

PK: I did turn down some things, but it wasn’t like comic editors were beating down my doors.  I’m not sure that “Power of Shazam!” was seen as a success at DC–Jerry Ordway has commented on that in his Modern Masters book.  I did get a few smaller assignments from DC–I’m sure that was Mike Carlin’s doing.  But I was getting some interest from local ad agencies and production houses to do storyboards and marker comps, so I turned my attention to that line of work.

HF!C: “Irredeemable” is a year old now. How has the critical and commercial success of the work impacted you or your career?

PK: I can easily say that the last 15-16 months have been the busiest of my drawing career.  I still do some storyboard work–the pay is just too good.  When you put a monthly book on top of that, it makes for many hours at the drawing table. The Eisner nominations–“Best New Series” and “Best Continuing Series”–were a bit of a shock.  What impact that has on my career is too early to say.  But Mark Waid has been very supportive, and my editor Matt Gagnon has worked around the rest of my drawing assignments.  And since I’m giving out kudos, Andrew Dalhouse’s colors have been great.

HF!C: “Irredeemable” has given you a unique opportunity to create characters from scratch. How much of yourself is in these characters?

PK: When we started working on “Irredeemable”, Mark gave me a rough outline of the characters we needed to design.  I actually followed up with some more written details on each of the characters as I saw them.  I’d hate to say that there are aspects of my personality in each of them–that’s what our imaginations are for.  But we have striven to make the characters human with real flaws–some of which have had fatal consequences.  And some of the characters I identify with more closely than others.

HF!C: Do you have a favorite character, and is it because you love or hate that character?

PK: Qubit and Kaidan are my favorites.  Qubit because he’s a bit obsessive and kind of a straight-line thinker–I’m a bit too much like that myself.  Qubit is the closest character we have to Reed Richards–but perhaps without the moral certitude Reed has.  Reed Richards has always been one of my favorite comics characters. Kaidan appeals to me because she likes being part of a team, and also is a bit unsure of her worth.  She’s at heart an optimist, and maybe a bit naive.  All those things make it easy to root for her.  And as you will see in one of the upcoming issues, she discovers another aspect of her powers.  I think Mark has big plans for her.

HF!C: In issue #9 of “Irredeemable” we saw a good deal of role reversal. Tony seemed fragile and human, whereas The Paradigm became much darker and almost sinister. Has your perception of the characters changed as this project moved forward, or have you and Mr. Waid maintained a consistent vision?

PK: I think the Paradigm/Plutonian conflict has not been inconsistent, but it has brought out hidden aspects of the heroes’ personalities.  I think the Paradigm is wrestling with the “ends and means” dilemma, and that’s pushing them to a place where they are a bit unsure.   But that’s a place where we can tell a lot of cool stories.

HF!C: Before we go, is there anything you’d like to plug, promote, or otherwise talk about?

PK: I’m on a bit of hiatus, as my next issue of “Irredeemable” will be #16.  The incredible Diego Barreto will be drawing issues #13-15. I’d just like to thank everyone for supporting the book.  If you haven’t read it, please give “Irredeemable” a try!

————-end————

Congrats to Peter Krause, Mark Waid, and the rest of the creative team/staff at BOOM! Studios for their much deserved Eisner nomination. Irredeemable #13 is in stores now (sadly lacking Krause’s art, yet pleasantly featuring fine pencils by Diego Barreto). Many thanks to Peter Krause for taking time out of his schedule to mingle with us internet nerds.

Happy readings!

-Jonny

What can I say about Mark Waid that I haven’t already said? When he took a job as editor in chief at BOOM! Studios I assumed Mark was settling down after a long career in comics with a fun job that would eventually end in retirement. I knew he was writing stuff like The Incredibles, but I felt little reason to care. Oblivious to the “Mark Waid is Evil” ad campaign I picked up Irredeemable #1 purely on spec. “Sure,” I thought, “I like Mark Waid.” The ensuing 9 issues were some of 2009’s best reading, a feat that managed to catapult this late comer into the High Five! Comics’ top 5 of the 2000s list.

By the first page of Irredeemable we are immersed in to the world of The Plutonian. Once humanity’s great saviour now the scourge of the earth we are introduced to “Tony” as we witness the terrifying and merciless butchering of a former team mate along with his family. Devastating entire cities, murdering those closest to him, and generally acting like a premium grade douche bag, the once hero now villain parades in a bath of blood not seen since the days of Miracle Man #15. Oh, but there’s more. Not content simply to horrify his readers, Mark Waid crams romance, family, relationships, humanity, and every form of interpersonal drama imaginable into this masterpiece. Arguably, the true brilliance of Irredeemable has been that every panel of every page matters. Clothing, expressions, gestures. Don’t blink, you’ll miss something cool.

True, I can’t give Waid credit for the most innovative concept ever. But, what nobody can deny is that this is one of the decade’s most well plotted, and well paced stories, period. Waid is a master of structure and Irredeemable gives his strengths every opportunity to shine. Think of everything you love about your favorite TV drama. This does that and it does it as well or better. Waid has constructed what may be the most concise and high powered superhero comic of the last decade and for nine months I finished each issue exclaiming, “Dammit why don’t I have the next issue in my hand right f***ing now?!?!” Here at High Five! we anxiously anticipate what BOOM! has in store for the Plutonian and his former friends as their humanity reveals not just who they are, but a little bit of who we are as well.

-Jonny

Fangirl moment! This made me giggle. Thanks Waid/Krause!

flash123nod

IRRDBLE001AI finished issue # 6 of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable this week. This is not a review of that issue. This a review of the entire series so far. You need to start reading this book right now.

Waid opens this series with pure terror. We’ve got a basic Superman-esque character – strength, flight, invincibility, laser eyes, super hearing, etc – named the Plutonian and he’s gone totally fucking crazy. Not crazy like Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys. No, Plutonian’s killing everyone he ever cared about and their families (including babies, gasp!). And by everyone I don’t mean his aunties and cousins, I mean all the super-powered good guys and bad guys alike. He’s pretty much unstoppable. I was terrified.

The Plutonian’s senseless, endless massacre continued through several issues, blinding me with shock and awe. But by issue #4 the effect began wearing off and I started to wonder when some actual character development might occur. I found myself thinking, “Yeah, I get it. Homeboy’s powerful and fucking evil. C’mon Waid, when do we get to know what’s up?” As I mused this question Comic Con 2009 rolled around and I managed to meet Mark Waid. [As an aside this brilliant author is ridiculously underrated and I was able to harass him with fandom and nerdery at length. Awesome for me, but seriously people – this guy wrote Kingdom Come, show some love!] So here I am at Comic Con standing in front of the Boom! booth talking to Mark Waid and I ask how many issues Irredeemable will be. To my surprise I was told this is an ongoing series meant to establish a full universe. Hmm. Seriously Waid? You’re staking the Boom!U on this?

markwaid

Mark Waid is Confused!

Then issue #5 arrives. Conveniently it’s only 99c. (brilliant marketing, Boom!) Aside from a brief introduction where “Tony” the Plutonian talks about super evil shit we don’t see much of our bad guy. This issue is almost entirely devoted to Plutonian’s former team-mates, which is great, because so far they’ve been important, but mysterious. By the end of the issue I was interested in more than the gore and horror of #1-4.

Enter issue #6. Now we’re really getting in to some deep shit for all characters involved. These people had been there from the beginning, but this was the first time I was forced to really think about them. Feeling out of the loop, I decided to re-read #1-5 to remember what they’d been doing so far. Lo and behold! You brilliant mad-man, Mark fucking Waid! All of this time I had been so distracted by the flashy, shocking rage of the Plutonian that I’d missed just how much had been going on. Given what you learn in issues #5 and #6 you realize just how nuanced and interesting Tony’s former team-mates were from the beginning of the series. Bread crumbs of character development had been carefully laid out in the trail that’s lead us to this point in the story. I cannot wait to see every issue of Irredeemable and all of the spin-off series we’re bound to have for the rest of these characters.

Basically, Mark Waid is proving once again that he’s absolutely brilliant and deserving of the accolades typically reserved (and deservedly so) for minds like Morrison, Rucka, Ennis, and Bendis. Maybe people dislike Waid because he comes off formulaic. But what gets neglected is that this is a guy who takes a formula that by all rights should be the most tired thing in all of comics and somehow makes it fresh and exciting to read. Reading Waid is like rediscovering comics again. Irredeemable is no exception and shows Waid at his finest. Seriously people, the first trade is only $9.99. Go read this comic.


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