Interview with Peter Kuper
Name: Peter Kuper
City: New York, NY
Comics: World War 3 Illustrated, Mad, Bleeding Heart, Eye of the Beholder, & a bunch of books most recently Ruins.
Websites: peterkuper.com, Drawger
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
Peter – My first I was about 7. I never really left after that.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Peter – Thor by Lee & Kirby & Turok Son of Stone.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Peter – I did a fanzine with my friend Seth Tobocman when we were 11.
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
Peter – The 1990s & now. Not to ignore EC comics & many of the undergrounds...
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Peter – Killer combo.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Peter – Both, if by mainstream you mean published by say, Random House, & sold in bookstores & seen in libraries
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Peter – It has varied from 100-5000
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
Peter – A round number, $2-$5-$10. I hate making change.
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Peter – Usually one hard cover & one floppy (World War 3 Illustrated being the floppy).
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Peter – I prefer the whole schmear.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
Peter – Long form, short form. Both have their qualities
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Peter – Not a set period. I do things in one day that appear the next & things that take years. Once I finish a book with a bigger publisher there can be a wait of nearly a year before it’s released.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Peter – Art & stories. Besides that, not much.
QRD – Do you do thumbnails?
Peter – Always.
QRD – At what size do you draw?
Peter – Thumbnails very small, sketch at 1/3 size, pencils at print size & finish 120% - 125% larger.
QRD – What kind of pens do you use?
Peter – Microns.
QRD – What does your workstation look like?
Peter – Controlled abandon.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Peter – If I do at all, it is for the color.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
Peter – I prefer hand drawn & print to all digital, but I’m a dinosaur.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Peter – Depends on the story. Kafka - black & white, something about Mexico - full color.
QRD – How many different people should work on a comic & what should their jobs be?
Peter – Ideally one, but if there’s assistance scanning, stencil cutting, placement of text, & coloring with specific directions.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Peter – If it is a writer I look for someone who is dead (they don’t complain about my decisions). For assistance usually one of my students from the School of Visual Arts.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
Peter – I worked with Alan Moore once from an amazingly tight script. I was fine with that once. Otherwise I prefer the dead with no suggestions.
QRD – Do you think it’s important to have a full story arc completely written before starting to draw?
Peter – No, but I like to have a pretty clear idea where I’m headed, then change as I go along.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
Peter – Harvey Kurtzman.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
Peter – The ones that haven’t disowned me like them okay.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Peter – They punch better than alternative cartoonists.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Peter – Not much - unless they give me work on some oddball job. Then they are A-O-K.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
Peter – Spy vs Spy. That’s remained true for 20 years.
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
Peter – Ideally I have full control & make all the money while someone else deals with all the headaches of finances, printing, & distribution.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
Peter – Comic Con, Mocca, NY Comic Con. Why???? I ask myself every time I go.
QRD – How do you feel about doing work for anthologies?
Peter – Love them - much of my favorite work is for anthologies - WW3, Blab! etc. etc.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
Peter – I hate promo, but do as much as I can stomach. Book signing, literary festivals, stupid Twitter & Facebook, art exhibitions & on & on.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
Peter – Not particularly suited to comic shops especially these days. I’d prefer record stores, but there’s the minor problem of them being non-existent for the most part.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Peter – Done a bit of all. I’m sticking to good ol’ print books.
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
Peter – Both, but my wife tries to block anymore from entering our apartment given how many I already have, so I tend to be a library fan.
QRD – What do you see as the most viable mediums for comics distribution 10 years from now?
Peter – Drones.
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Peter – Reading them. Sending me money so I can make more of them.