Comic Creator Interview
with Steve Peters
Name: Steve Peters
City: Willow Grove, PA
Comics: The Comicverse, Awakening Comics, Everwinds, Chemistry, Tails of Sparky
Websites: www.awakeningcomics.com, thecomicverse.wordpress.com
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
Steve – Two of my siblings read comics & I remember my mother reading comics to me before I was able to read them myself, so comics have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Steve – Impossible to remember. I would guess it was probably a Batman or Spider-Man book.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Steve – I put together my first mini-comic when I was 24. My first comic to be widely distributed by Diamond Comics came out when I was 30.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Steve – I’m a storyteller. Comics is the only medium that gives me complete control over all aspects over what the audience experiences. Someone who only writes has to paint a picture for the reader & every reader has their own different mental image when they read a book. Television, animation, & film require a group of people & large amounts of money to create a product. Comics can be created by one or two people, or a small group at most in the case of mainstream comics.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Steve – It could be either. You can use minis & indies as a barometer to see if there’s enough interest in your project to take it to a wider audience, or you can just stay indie if that’s as far as you want to take it.
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Steve – When my stuff was distributed through Diamond, I would print 1,000 to 1,500 copies. Nowadays, with digital printing so easily available, I’ll print 100 & do another batch when that sells out.
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Steve – Usually 1 or 2. Ideally, I’d like to be producing 4-6 a year.
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Steve – There seems to be a trend towards focusing on graphic novels. The problem is that an artist will disappear from view for a couple of years while putting his or her book together.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Steve – It varies. Usually around a year as I’m producing at least one a year. But I do have semi-complete works sitting around, sometimes for years, that will eventually re-surface when I have the time & inclination to finish them off & publish them.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Steve – Everything.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
Steve – Almost always. Though never with jam comics.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
Steve – I was working at 10” X 15” for many years, though now I’m experimenting with a manga-size format so I’m working a little smaller.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
Steve – I started using Hunt 102 pen nibs when I talked to Gerhard at a Cerebus gallery show in New York City & he told me that that’s what he & Dave Sim used primarily. I also use Sharpie markers & Koh-I-Noor rapidographs. Sometimes I use brush pens; I recently discovered a really great Japanese brush pen with a nice hard point.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Steve – After penciling & inking, I scan the art in, clean it up, & add gray tones & lettering.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Steve – I’m a black & white guy.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Steve – You put yourself out there. I met Bianca Alu-Marr, my collaborator on The Comicverse, at an open mic. She was there to read her poetry; at the time I was recording & releasing albums of original music as soundtracks for my comics & I was at the open mic to play songs from those albums.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Steve – They don’t interest me any more, though I will sometimes parody them in The Comicverse since, as a comic about a comic book shop in space, it inherently has to deal with superheroes to some extent. I have no interest in writing or drawing a superhero comic, but see them as necessary to get kids interested in comics.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Steve – Who?
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
Steve – Yes.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
Steve – I have been to SPACE in Columbus, Ohio & SPX many times. Wizard World Philadephia, San Diego Comicon, & New York Comicon a few times. I did very well at MICE in Massachusetts 2 years a go & would like to go again. Mostly it has to do with how close it is to where I live, or if it’s further away, if I have someone to stay with nearby.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
Steve – Not enough, I’m sure. I have Facebook pages for myself & The Comicverse, blog pages for the latter & my publishing imprint, Awakening Comics, & I have an eBay page that sometimes helps bring in new readers.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Steve – I can see The Comicverse as all of the above & would love to see that happen once the world is completely developed.
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
Steve – I’m definitely a reader.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Steve – I like to see personal, heartfelt work. A comic doesn’t have to be autobiographical or even be set in the real world in order to draw on personal experience. “Write what you know”, as they say...