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Tom Peyer Interview
[00:00:00] Casey: all right, everybody. Welcome again, to another episode of spoiler country today on the show, we have a comics legend. mr. Tom Pyre has done editing. he has done comics writing. He’s done pretty much anything under the sun. And he is right now, currently the EIC at a Holi comics. So Tom Pyre, how are you doing, man?
Tom Peyer: Hey Casey, I’m doing fine. How are you?
Casey: I’m good. I’m good. So, as terrible as an intro is that was, it can only go up from here. So, let’s get down to brass tacks, man. How you been?
Tom Peyer: It was a flattering intro, but good. I’ve been good. You know, we’ve been, sort of, hunkering down for the last seven months.
Tom Peyer: Which can be very, very crazy making, but Oh, it comics has a. We postponed a couple of things, but we’ve been working pretty steadily. We didn’t have any pencils down orders or anything.
Casey: I read that and that blew my mind and it re I [00:01:00] respect it so
Tom Peyer: We have, we have a lovely, publisher, Hartz Seeley who, understands that, other people need to work too.
Casey: That’s that’s amazing. And it, yeah, it, it shows me just how much you respect the, the craters you have working underneath you. So, so it’s, it’s fantastic. long before you became the, the play comics. Tell me about how you got into comics in the first place, because you, you started off as, as a newsman, right?
Tom Peyer: Well, you know, while Kelly who did Pogo
Tom Peyer: Comic strip Pogo said, once wrote, is a Clark is a cartoonist, a newspaper man. And the answer was as a barnacle. Okay, great. But, no, I had a weekly, political comic strip and the local alternative paper. And Sierra park, which is where I am [00:02:00] now defunct.
It was the Syracuse new times. And, I did that strip for like 12 years and then I stopped it only when I got hired, to be Karen burgers, assistant editor at DC comics. and, got too busy to do it.
Casey: So, so how did you get into
Tom Peyer: the,
Casey: working in the comics industry in the first place?
Tom Peyer: Well, I did the strip for a long time here in central New York.
And, some other comics projects. I wrote a superhero. Cereal called captain Q, which is short for Syracuse. And he was like the America of Syracuse. And he was the brainchild of the artists, Joe, or his neck. And I wrote those for a little while. And also in central New York was the very talented and successful comic book writer, Roger stern, who was aware of my work.
And, after he saw I could do some superhero stuff, he, he very generously [00:03:00] started nudging me in. and, at first I was, I assisted him on some things cause he got so busy. He switched from Marvel to DC and he was doing a lot of Superman stuff and one of them was a, the two page Superman. Series in action comics weekly, which was formatted like a Sunday strip.
And the work I was doing had the same format. So he, he sort of waved me in to help him with that. And he was just such a good guy that he started talking to me up to his editors, and one thing led to another and I got some work on my own and I owe it all to him. And I owe it to a lots of Karen Berger who hired me when I hadn’t had much experience.
And, I got to be there for the beginning of vertigo. It was a very exciting time to be an editor at DC comics.
Casey: Oh, that little flash in the pan imprint there vertigo, man. That is [00:04:00] fantastic. you, you had such a big hand in. So many of the comics that I guess kind of brought me back to comics. so because you know, you, it kind of comes in cycles, I guess when you’re a kid, you, you, you go for the, the superhero stuff and then you, You discovered that there’s a little bit more out there and vertigo was a big part of that.
Tom Peyer: Good. I’m glad I was too old for comics when I was 14 years old, but then I, I wasn’t anymore when I was 15.
Casey: So, so you know, the, the cycle
Tom Peyer: I’m going to have to cycle really well. I know a cycle really well. Yeah.
Casey: So, As an editor for, for, for vertigo, you were working with some massive names in the industry already.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. Yeah. But I, I worked with, I learned so much from the writing, the scripts from working on the scripts of, grant [00:05:00] Morris and, Neil Gaiman and Jimmy Delano and Peter Milligan. And others. I don’t want to leave anybody out.
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Tom Peyer: It’s pretty, pretty good budget writers to be learning your craft off of
Casey: if, if we named off everybody that you edited for, we’d be here all day
Tom Peyer: and I got to work with Brian Bolland for gosh six.
Oh, wow. Send ’em. Charles vis Jill Thompson and so many Kelly Jones, so many artists. Oh yeah. W it was, it was a great time. And I don’t know about everybody else there, but I really felt like we were doing something important and blasting DC comics in the fifties. And, I think I was right. What,
Casey: how was it received then?
Because, I mean, I only have the benefit of, you know, The, the reputation that that imprint has now, as, you know, groundbreaking and everybody, owe so [00:06:00] much to it now. But at the time, when, when you went in, was, was it kind of shaky? What did you, were you kind of, worried about how things were going to be taken?
Tom Peyer: been doing these comics already before we gave them the name and S and got sectioned off into an imprint, even before I was there. it really goes back to Ellen Morris, swamp thing in the mid eighties, and, which Len Wein brought in as the editor and Ellen that’s, Alan Lawrence, Steve Bissette and John title.
Ben, of course. And, so Karen. Berger inherited that. And she started to spin it off and do a line of comics by, giving Constantine Hellblazer his own series. And that led to more, like a shade, the changing man, which was just getting going when I got there. And, and we sort of sort of shooed the grant Morrison books into the stable there, animal man and doom patrol.
So it was really kind of [00:07:00] up and running before it became a brand. And, it was, I would say the books were received very well. Be sales were. Let’s say they were not as good as like the main line superhero titles, but they were well above what anything is getting today. Yeah. And, I would wait a lot of support, you know, it was, it was, it was a great time.
Casey: Do you mind if I ask you, just. The industry has changed so much between, you know, the, the nineties that the eighties and nineties, when you were, working, at vertigo. And now do you think that people, that creators are given more, more or less opportunities now than they were then? Because it seems like there’s, anytime you do something, that’s not a superhero book, there is you’re taking a risk.
Especially [00:08:00] with, especially with like smaller creators and smaller companies.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. Well, I think any comic book is a risk, unless, which is why we see so much of the major, major characters. They all have like, you know, six or eight books. That’s why there’s
Casey: 2011 Batman books.
Tom Peyer: And so, and you know, both the big companies do that and, Maybe a couple of the smaller ones, like the stretch out their brands if they get a hit.
but it’s just, so anytime you put something out there that’s new that hasn’t been seen before. It’s it’s. You have no idea if people are going to pick up on it. like people, you know, a few years ago, when at Marvel, they were changing some of their main characters to give, women and people of color and like a shot at being superheroes.
So you have Thor, who’s a woman, et cetera. And a lot of the people who objected to this, I [00:09:00] don’t understand objecting to it in the first place, but a lot of the ones who did say, well, why don’t you create your own characters? Why does it have to be Thor? And the answer is you’ll only buy four.
We’re going to experiment. We’ve got to do it with DOR. We got to do with Batman, you know, and, I’m satisfied with that answer.
Casey: Yeah, that totally makes sense. I’ve never heard anybody put it that way, but yeah, I think you’re hitting the nail on the head.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. But we do, you know, we’ve gotten some really good response to some of the new things we put out.
Oh boy, a second coming has gotten a great response. I’m pleased to say, I’m gratified by the reception that the wrong earth has gotten, which is my book and, several others, you know, people see they’re, they’re always going to be readers who are open to new things.
Casey: Can I tell you a secret real quick?
Sure. Jamal angle or [00:10:00] angle is. Fantastic. I think that man can do no wrong. Yeah. Holy smokes. His artwork is fan freaking tastic.
Tom Peyer: It really is. Isn’t it?
Casey: Oh my gosh. Look, I’m looking through his stuff right now. yeah. Yeah, he’s great.
Tom Peyer: It’s so involved in it and he’s, you know, in the world, he just there’s so much of that.
That he brought to it in the wrong earth, that I never would have thought of. And, he’s a real co-creator. He reminds me of like George Perez and I’m teen Titans earlier, just so completely giving himself over to it. That’s
Casey: that has high praise right there that, yeah. And he’s. It, it really looks like he’s, he’s just pushing and pushing and pushing, fantastic stuff.
Tom Peyer: You should know. You’ll see stuff from the second series of Rauner, which he’s working on now. That it’s pretty [00:11:00] great.
Casey: It’s like Christmas morning. I’m sure when you get the proofs in. So, how did you, how did you go about working with him on, on the wrong earth? Did you, did, is that a project you wanted to work on him with or did you guys, did you just kinda pick him out of a stack or?
Tom Peyer: I, I had. Something in mind I want to do that was the wrong earth. And, Stuart Morris suggested him Stewart, had edited, had worked, had written, run a firestorm. I believe that Jamal drew and, so it was a great recommendation. And once. Jamal got involved. Like I said, a lot of things changed because he had such great ideas, Ebro, the, the whole dragon fly motif.
Our heroes are dragon fly fly, man. And, the dragon fly motif was Jamal’s idea, which I think works beautifully.
Casey: That’s fantastic. Yeah. So [00:12:00] when you’re working on a book with, with another creator, like, like Jamal, Is it hard? Is it hard to kind of seed some of the creative control too? Or is it natural?
it seems like you’re, you’re very, generous with, with your storytelling. A lot of writers seem to be very precious. it seems to me
Tom Peyer: you want. If you’re going to hire creative people, you’d have to give them a chance to be creative. also Jamal is just so brilliant. I would be stupid. I don’t want your, you know, let’s do my idea.
We’ll make him dog, man. You know, who would even want to read that? So I was very lucky to get him. he’s. It is just brilliant. No, I don’t. I’m not jealous when someone else has a great idea that makes me look better. Absolutely not. And that’s not a dumb question because I think [00:13:00] there are writers who are that way, and I feel sorry for them.
If you listen, I feel sorry for you,
Casey: so, okay. So you started at DC. and you, you eventually, started, you started in an editing and then eventually started working in, in writing. Is that how it,
Tom Peyer: yeah, I’d written before I, got the job, I had done some freelance writing for DC, but the opportunities were kind of drying up and this came along at just the perfect time.
Casey: Oh, nice.
Tom Peyer: Nice. And. You know if you’re 28, 29, 30 years old out there and you’re thinking life has passed you by, I started full-time in comics, not having to work another job when I was 35. So you still have time.
Casey: That’s amazing. I love hearing stories like that. I like to write and writing is, is something I do as, as a [00:14:00] pastime.
I don’t think I’ll ever be, you know, a Tom Pyre, but, but, it’s always nice to hold. How
Tom Peyer: lucky lucky you,
Casey: so you actually wrote a book that I was fascinated with. When, when I was a kid and it was the rebel books.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. Yeah. Is that right? You were a kid.
Casey: Oh yeah. Well, I mean, it had Lobo in it and Lobo was red and it was such a different take on, the DC superheroes that it was, it, it made it fun and it made them seem dangerous.
Tom Peyer: All right. Thanks.
Casey: Do you have a lot of fun writing that
Tom Peyer: we did? And I was kind of learning by the seat of my pants on that one. I hadn’t written a whole lot, you know, and, and so to me it felt like I was sort of struggling to stay above water, [00:15:00] but. But I tried to, I did try to do different things and I try to make it entertaining and funny and stuff.
I always, you know, I mean, Keith Giffen and Alan Grant had done Legion, the book that this was a cul tube and they were so funny that, I felt like I had, so, I’m really glad you liked it. I loved to work in on that.
Casey: Outside of Roger stern. was there anybody else at DC that kinda kinda showed you the
Tom Peyer: ropes?
well, in terms of helping me get in, there was, my Carlin, the famous for being the Superman editor. he helped me get in. He recommended me to Karen.
Casey: Oh, cool.
Tom Peyer: And, in terms of showing me the ropes, I think honestly the most helpful thing was, was, seeing first and script form and then, you know, working along with them to make them into comic books.
But again, [00:16:00] you know, Peter Milligan and grant Morrison and those guys and Jamey Delano, you couldn’t get a better education. So that’s, I always thought about them. And then when I was it, it just took me a while. I felt it took me a while to become satisfied with my own work, but that’s good. That’s how it should be.
Casey: when you were working on an, as, as an editor that did it kind of teach you how you wanted to be. In regards to when you were like, I mean, in your job now, as the IC at a OID,
Tom Peyer: I think it helped me as a writer dealing with editors. And I think working as a writer helps me as an editor. You know what I mean?
I, I kind of know both sides of the table and ended up, I know, I know the unfairness that can be visited upon both. [00:17:00] Parties. So, you know, you try not to do it
Casey: that area. Yes. So, after, after your run at DC, I, I guess you eventually moved up into Marvel. How was, how was the transition to that?
Tom Peyer: Well, I went after I was on staff at DC, I went freelance and I mostly worked for DC, but I did some Marvel and I did some acclaim and that was a freelancer.
I could work for anybody. And it was always exciting to get my hands on a character. That particularly ones that I read when I was a kid, you know, like Spider-Man or Magnus robot fighter or Spider-Man is a lot more exciting than Magnus robot footer, but you know what I mean? And, you know, certainly Superman and Batman and those guys justice league.
It’s real. You never outgrow the feeling of Holy cow. I’m doing this thing that I loved when I was a kid
Casey: and, the,
Tom Peyer: the
[00:18:00] Casey: collaborative. Act of it is such a fantastic thing to see, and I’m sure it, it is when you you’re working with such heavy weights, like, like you’re, I mean, hell like working with Jamal.
Tom Peyer: Oh, he’s so great. Yeah. Yeah. You know, every collaboration is different sometimes there’s a lot of, no, it it’s like every couple is different, you know, it’s, sometimes you sort of work. Just off the paver with each other. Sometimes you’re with somebody you talk to your family, you have a particular understanding with, that’s.
You never know what it’s going to be like, but, I’ve been very lucky with artists over the years.
Casey: when you ended up, how did, how did you end up over at, Hawaii? ’cause that? that’s a pretty big leap going from, you know, freelancing being the ease of, [00:19:00] UN UN nice slowly Indi of collaboration is fantastic. You guys have been putting out some amazing titles.
Tom Peyer: Thank you very much. Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t, art Seeley, our publisher, Frank Comoso our chief creative officer and I, we all live in Syracuse and we all have been really good friends for decades.
So, we started the company together. and, that’s how I got involved by starting it.
Casey: So w what is your, what are your duties as the IC? Like, what exactly are you responsible for? Because that seems like a lot of, a lot of pants in the fire.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. It’s not so bad. It’s, it’s basically, Well, there are the books I added and then there are the books that other people at it.
And like I said, I, we’ve got a couple really terrific people, a few terrific people. Who’ve edited books for us. Sarah lit and Stewart Moore and [00:20:00] Darren Bennett. And again, it’s the same as with. Artists, you know, if you don’t hire creative people and then tell them what to do, usually you hire creative people to be creative.
And I include editors in that. but there is a particular, Hawaii comics tone. That I want everybody to understand and it’s that, the books don’t all have to be comedies, but humor is very important. And every one of her books has to have an element of humor. And cause I just think it’s the best way to entertain people.
You know, that the most entertaining thing you can do is make someone laugh. And and of course we, we, I don’t know how to say this without sounding, you know, Certain way, but we do, we really try to maintain a high standard of production and our craft and, all through the Lord. So they should, I like to say that the books have to [00:21:00] be smart, funny, and good-looking.
Casey: And I think you guys have achieved that because, I mean, you, you have some really, really beautiful looking books and, they, they hold well in your hands too well, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re just a nice, just in terms of. Design
Tom Peyer: we, had John Jay Hill is a great, great freelance designer and he designed our line and he did such a beautiful job.
Casey: I love the aesthetic.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. He was on staff at DC for awhile, but it was long after I was there, but we went, we went looking for a designer and his stuff was just so beautiful. We knew it wasn’t even a decision. We just knew we wanted him. And, everything from, you know, the, the, trade, trade dress on the cover to the way like the inside front [00:22:00] cover contents and just designed, the text pages.
it all looks great, doesn’t it?
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s fantastic. I actually, the first book I had from you guys was, second coming, which, was how I came to know about your line and in the first place, because it, you know, you guys hadn’t been around for too long.
Tom Peyer: No, we haven’t. We’re very lucky to get that book and, We really felt like struck by lightning to get it.
Casey: Mark Russell is fantastic. He is a, one of a kind and, and Richard Pace as well as. Super solid,
Tom Peyer: Leonard, Kurt, doing a finished start on a superhero pages. This stuff looks so good.
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s hitting on all cylinders. And when that book came out, I thought it was such a, an interesting, and an interesting way to tell the story, where you guys kind of.
Did it worry you having such a controversial [00:23:00] at the time? I guess it was kind of controversial till people realized it was actually like, Oh no, it’s, it’s not, it’s not all that bad. It
Tom Peyer: turned out that all the anger came up from people who hadn’t read it
Casey: as far as how it usually,
Tom Peyer: and I wasn’t surprised none of us were surprised by that.
So, I don’t think we were too worried going in. We’ve just felt lucky to have it cause it’s so good. it’s, it, the own senior and it’s, it’s basically a S sort of, a superhero who’s like, you know, a typical vanilla flavored ultra powerful superhero. Who, becomes roommates with the second coming of Jesus Christ, sort of against as well, like God told them to do it.
So it’s kind of like an odd couple of story. And, it’s, Mark Russell is so great at thinking deeply. And hard about issues and stories and stuff, [00:24:00] and then writing them in a form that is so easy to, to digest.
Casey: Okay. Don’t have to say it. It just kind of lulls you into the story. You don’t
Tom Peyer: have
Casey: as heavy as a concept, as some of the things that he brings up.
You, you come about it easy. It’s not, it doesn’t make you work too hard to enjoy it.
Tom Peyer: And the, none of it is that this superhero has like fantastic strength and he can fly and everything. And, he keeps being beset by problems that can’t be solved by violence or force. And, that’s, to me, that’s kind of what the, that’s, what the book is about.
how do you it’s so limiting to be a superhero or a mass vigilante, because you can only solve problems with your fists and most problems don’t fall into that category.
Casey: you guys have, you know, [00:25:00] multiple books at a Hawaii. How does one go about, like, how do you guys find your creative teams? How do people go about proposing for a Hawaii? Because you guys have top tier people on there. Have they just come to you or have you sought them out?
Tom Peyer: It can happen either way. we were, you know, a few of us have had like a, a long, long careers in comics. I’m thinking of me and Stewart in particular. And we can, we know a lot of people and we know who to call sometimes. And sometimes people know enough to call us. We’ve gotten a couple of things. From, people submitting them, I think.
But, we’ve also gone after things.
Casey: That’s that’s that’s pretty cool.
Tom Peyer: Yeah.
Casey: So as a writer yourself, what has been inspiring you lately? [00:26:00]
Tom Peyer: well,
Since, we’ve been sheltering in place for what is it? Seven months.
Casey: I get
Tom Peyer: very inspired if I can find my pants in the morning,
Tom Peyer: it just doesn’t seem like I can remember anything anymore. Like where I put my pants. I don’t know about you.
Casey: my family has been sheltering in place for the most part.
The kids are still on a virtual school, but my wife is a teachers pre-K and, I work in the medical field. So I have to be at my job at 6:00 AM every morning. Oh my
Tom Peyer: goodness.
Casey: And, even. Even when, people were, you know, completely shut down and had no idea what to do, which, I mean, if they would have kept shut down, we would not be in the situation we’re at, is even during, you know, all the initial [00:27:00] craziness, I was still expected to be there at 6:00 AM sharp every morning.
And, so my, my wife would make me, When I got home strip down on the back porch on the back deck and spray off my shoes with Lysol and I run upstairs real quick take shower. but, yeah, man, it was, it was very, very much like a, of like a scifi movie or something.
Tom Peyer: I mean, if someone told you to.
So exactly what this year would have been like,
Casey: Oh, hell no,
Tom Peyer: you have like, I mean, you wouldn’t believe them, but if you did, it would just be like, I don’t know, like a movie or a, or a vertigo comic.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, hell somebody told me, you know, 10 years ago that we would have the guy from home alone, two in the oval office.
Tom Peyer: Okay.
Casey: Well, we
Tom Peyer: got, [00:28:00] it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens. Eight days from when we’re recording this.
Casey: so, I live in a very red state. I know that, I’m taking somebody’s phone away and that’s good enough for me because it’s not going to do anything. It’s I’m just. No keeping good thoughts, keeping you know, positive thoughts and we’re just gonna do it.
Have you already voted?
Tom Peyer: I think we’re voting tomorrow.
Casey: Oh, nice. Nice.
Tom Peyer: early New York state. didn’t start until Saturday. New York state is a blue state and it is, it has always been a very hard state to vote in. Really? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And people don’t quite understand this about New York, but they’ve always, they’ve all, both parties have always tried to keep the total down here.
Casey: That’s that’s awful. And it’s, [00:29:00] it’s one thing we, you know, almost every election, we see, you know, CNN talking about how Alabama is trying to restrict the vote and all that, which they have. But, it’s fascinating to me that, you know, other other States that you wouldn’t necessarily. Consider, trying to obstruct the democratic process.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. Yeah. I remember even when I was, you know, when I was young and getting into this stuff, which was quite a while ago, let me tell you, could you see, that always seemed like they were like a lot of roadblocks to, to vote in New York. it’s, it’s also the, the, election bureaucracy is controlled by parties here.
So, yeah, that’ll do it.
Casey. I’m looking up at the TV screen right now and there’s another super spreader event in the Rose garden.
Casey: Oh, nice. Nice
Tom Peyer: swearing in of,
Casey: Coney Barrett
[00:30:00] Tom Peyer: is like, just like the other one except it’s night and there’s lights. Huh? It’s an amazing image.
Casey: Yeah. Darwin do your best. Come on, man.
It’s such a, such a bummer dude.
Tom Peyer: I’m sorry. The stress on you must be complete dealing with the medical field.
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I’m, I’m sequestered away from everybody else. For the most part. I work in a lab, but, 99.9% of the people that I work with in my lab, believe that it’s just a bunch of BS.
Tom Peyer: really people working in my lab believe that.
Casey: Yes. Yes. I mean, it’s, it’s engineers man, and they, yeah, they love their Fox st anymore. My, my office is butted right up against the, the [00:31:00] wall to the break room, which stays. There’s a, a big, big screen TV that stays on Fox news. And so I hear, I hear Fox news all day.
So, keep my earbuds in and just kinda smaller down the bottom,
Tom Peyer: but you’re are you in a hospital?
Casey: No, no, no. We, we build, medical device for the hospitals.
Tom Peyer: I see. Do you have protocols there? Are these people wearing masks?
Casey: Yes. Yes. People are wearing masks, but, We, there’s no telling them what they do when they, when they leave the office, especially when they, you know, talk about it so openly, like, ah, that’s bullshit.
So yes, it’s, it’s a bummer and, trying to, also stay safe. So, My, my in-laws who live about a mile down the road who are in their eighties. Won’t get sick.
Tom Peyer: Yeah.
Casey: Good for you. But yeah. And we have two [00:32:00] kids, so that’s also a concern, but how old are they? Five and 10. Yeah. So I love it. Do you have kids?
No. No, no, man. It’s when they go to bed, I start writing. And, sometimes I’ll make it, you know, for a good hour and then I pass out,
Tom Peyer: you work full-time and then you have children. That’s gotta be,
Casey: Oh yeah, yeah. But you know, it’s, it’s worth it. Yeah. So what, what do you do? I mean, you, you have a lot on your plate.
You’re, you’re writing multiple books, you’re editing you’re, you’re doing the day to day business stuff.
Tom Peyer: What do you do
Tom Peyer: disconnect?
That’s a really good question. That’s a really good question. I guess I get, you know, when I was, it’s not, not now, but, years ago when I was doing like a lot of freelancing, and writing for DC and Marvel and the claimant [00:33:00] stuff. I would decompress by watching C span because there was nothing like what I do, you know, there’s not going to be a single explosion. What’s that going to be like, you know, I go on and make an a wise.
Correct. I would just chill out in front of C-SPAN. I used to love it. I used to leave it on for my dog when I left the house too, because I knew there wouldn’t be any loud noises.
Casey: It’s a, yeah, it’s a constant drone and yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s also good to kind of hear things from his mouth rather than somebody’s idea of what happened and
Tom Peyer: yeah.
So I can’t get to see spend out because we stream the man, but you know, I do a lot of news and junk like that and I like to, you know, we’re all [00:34:00] everything’s okay. Comics and heroic storytelling has gotten so sophisticated over the years, North
Tom Peyer: Can you hear that background noise? Because
Casey: I can’t a little bit, I’m sorry.
Tom Peyer: So it’s not, it’s not a person. Sorry. Something’s wrong here. Hold on a sec with
Casey: that. That’s fine. That’s fine.
Tom Peyer: We’re spreading this then.
Yeah. Here. Nevermind. Go ahead. We can edit it.
Hey, KCM Beck.
Casey: Hey, tell her I’m very sorry.
Tom Peyer: Oh, that’s fine. That’s my partner, Mary she’s in here. I’m watching TV with earphones while we do this. And I think the batteries went out, the remote sound came on and you know, it was a. [00:35:00] Bedtime, but you can edit this, so,
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. We can knock that out. No, it’s okay.
I’m so sorry that I’m interrupting your TV time. No, not at all. Not at all yet. So, yeah, it’s so hard having the two kids we’ve been trying to, catch up on shows and it’s so hard to watch this stuff that you want to watch.
Tom Peyer: Oh, I know.
Casey: Yeah. so if, if grandma gets them for a little while we’ll, we’ll binge something real quick.
Tom Peyer: That’s cool. That’s cool. I’ve been, you know, are kind of junk, you know, superheroes and adventure and science fiction and action. It’s gotten so just. Sophisticated and smart and full of itself that hadn’t really been drawn to like early primitive things like movies, cereals. I watched the Batman, the first Batman movie serial this summer, and I just loved it because it was terrible, but they weren’t trying to improve the idea of Batman.
Like everything else, [00:36:00] like.
Casey: Hmm. I totally get what you’re saying. I recently bought a bunch of paperbacks, like the, they were from the sixties and I cannot for the life of me. Remember what the name of the guy is, but it’s like, he’s like a super spy and it is. So outside the bounds of what right now might be considered, like acceptable.
Tom Peyer: Yes.
Casey: But, you know, like, you know, a buxom lady with a gun on the cover and you know, he’s
Tom Peyer: like Matt home stuff
Casey: or something. Yeah. Stuff, stuff like that. But it’s so fun to read and especially kind of compare to. What comes out now? Yeah. It’s a blast. It really is.
Tom Peyer: Yeah, it can be. It’s nice to, I mean, talking about a different world, you want to escape into a different world than is as, as I’m fond [00:37:00] of saying our ancestors were rotten to the core.
Tom Peyer: And you can see it in these old stories. But, also, you know, I love, what do I love star Trek discovery just started up again. And I, I think it’s been great.
Casey: I’ve been sleeping on that and I need to get on board because I loved star Trek back in the day. the next generation was my jam. I, I didn’t really mess with the other ones, but, when I was a kid, I could stay up a little bit extra.
if, if I’ll watch that with my dad. So it was kind of a good memory,
Tom Peyer: but that’s cool. Discovery is, it’s not good out of the box. It takes quite a while for it to become good, but it’s really great. So far this year, the third season. And, there’s a show called the expanse Amazon prime that I think is the best space opera.
That we’ve had for a long time.
Casey: I’ll have to check that out.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. Yeah. [00:38:00] It’s a little hard to follow in the beginning. They don’t really hold your hand, but you figure everything out and it’s really something. That’s
Casey: awesome. So can you tell me a little bit about how you, how your Workday goes?
Tom Peyer: Well, I, It’s very unstructured here, or I could work for hours and hours and hours.
And it’s a lot of it is just sort of reacting to things that pop up in my email and then. after a while, I’m like stop doing that and start trying to get some writing done or, doing something proactive. Editorially
probably doesn’t happen as much as it should, but, it’s extremely, I wish I could tell you that it was an ideal structure, but I can’t, I’m particularly in the new world where, everyone’s having a hard time thinking and remembering things really, really unstructured. And,
Casey: so you’re a [00:39:00] plate spinner.
You, you you’re, you run around and tend to the spinning plates.
Tom Peyer: You know, it’s not like. For one thing. we have a lot of good people working here and, you can really trust them to do good work. And, the other thing is would the, the early months of the pandemic, we were working, but we weren’t working to a deadline and we weren’t working to printer deadlines because, there was no diamond for awhile.
We couldn’t get this. So that bought us some time. And, I think thanks to that, nothing has really gotten too crazy because we have some lead time to do some work. Obviously, I mean, we could have done more. Let me tell you lead time to do some work, to take pressure off the things we have to do now.
And we came back after that with, I think our most ambitious slate. We, it’s a way of five of our books. We can call them waves. What we’ll do is we’ll do like, we do our books as kind of many [00:40:00] series and we’ll put out three or four. In a wave. And then when they’re done, we started a new wave of three or four more titles.
And now for the first time we have five titles. And, so we came back strong, I think, after, after this suspension. And, there’s still, you’re, you’re the book you like a second comedy is coming back in December.
Casey: That’s probably all that. Yeah, I’m totally stoked.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. Yeah. We have Android and post snifter of blood, which used to be called a drown post snifter of terror.
and that just started, the first issue of that just came out happy hour. Number one is coming out either next week or the week after that’s Peter Milligan. And Michael Montana. And it’s about a near future America where it’s a crime to be sad and the punishment is brutal. And, and the ultimate is by me and [00:41:00] Alan Robinson.
And it’s about a, a perfect superhero who hates himself and, his Android helper who wants to cure him. And, so let’s kinda, we got thinking around PO penultimate, happy hour, second calming. And then in January, the next series of the wrong earth starts with the me and Jamal and Juan Castro on X.
And that’ll be, that’s the wave that’s wave
Casey: five. Has, the lack of, like conventions and stuff like that really affected you guys, or
Tom Peyer: we don’t do a lot of them. We got into the habit of doing Baltimore because it’s not too big and not too small. And we would go down to New York for that big show, but we wouldn’t have a table there.
We would just try to be, you know, I mean [00:42:00] seeing people and catching up with them and stuff and seeing what’s out there. But, so we didn’t do a lot of shows. So it’s not too big a disruption for us. We, we were able to do a couple, you know, virtual shows and that was, that was something, I guess, at least.
Casey: Oh, yeah. Yeah, man. I’ve been to one convention in, in my life. I’m hoping to eventually, yeah. And it was a tiny one in Birmingham, so I’m hoping to eventually go to, I don’t know, dragon con or something like that, but right now, now the thought of something like that, just kind of terrifies me.
Tom Peyer: It’s going to be a while before we can do things like that.
Casey: Oh, yeah. The, however, the first and only convention I went to, I did get to meet you baka and he was awesome.
Tom Peyer: yeah, Peter Mayhew.
Casey: Yes. Yes. I pointed to him and I [00:43:00] said, Oh wow. And my wife looked at him. cause she had no idea who she was. she just saw a really tall man with a lightsaber cane.
And, she said, who’s that Chibok? And I was like, no, that’s, that’s, that’s actually Chewbacca. And, he introduced himself to us, so it was perfect gentlemen and it, jaw was on the floor.
Tom Peyer: How great is that?
Casey: Oh yeah. Fantastic. And in my very non nerd wife was, was beside herself because she, she met, she met a star.
Tom Peyer: That’s great. That’s great.
Casey: When you’re, when you’re writing, do you have any like music or anything on while you, while you do your thing or do you have to have it completely silent?
Tom Peyer: Eh, I, I haven’t been doing much lately, but I do like music when I’m writing. I like it when, sometimes I’ll, if I have music on sometimes I’ll, look up and I realized I missed a [00:44:00] song because I was concentrating so well on a story that I liked that feeling.
Casey: Oh, nice. It’s the opposite of the feeling you get when you realize that you. Don’t forget the last 15 minutes of your driving experience. Like, Oh shit.
Tom Peyer: Where
Casey: am I now?
Tom Peyer: I, I, I tend to want instrumental music when I’m writing, because I’m working with words and I don’t want to get thrown off.
Casey: I hear you. So at what type of instrumental are we talking about?
Like soundtracks or, classical or
Tom Peyer: jazz? Yes. And I like a certain electronic music is that there’s a guy named burial who is just perfect for
Casey: writing. Oh, cool.
Tom Peyer: kind of recommend him. He, he had now called untrue and I can. Recommended without hesitation for writing, because it is just a beaut it’s, it’s the most [00:45:00] complete combination of weird and beautiful I’ve ever heard.
Casey: I, for the longest I would, they don’t have it on anymore. I don’t think, but on Roku there is the, NASA channel. And they have a camera outside of the international space station that shows the earth just shots of, of earth, like a live feed of earth. And it is so cool. So I would, I would turn the lights off just to have my computer on and, the NASA channel.
And, it was such a nice kind of. atmosphere. And, I, I showed my daughters just one day and they’re like, can we camp out in the living room? I was like, yeah. So we will put up a tent so they could pretend they were in the international space station. We had the, the live feed going. It was really fun.
[00:46:00] Tom Peyer: Nice. Well, that’s great. I’ll check that out myself.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. It’s totally, totally worth checking out just for. Just the awe of seeing, seeing yourself from, you know, however many thousand miles up. It’s fantastic.
Tom Peyer: Great.
Tom Peyer: by the way, if you like, if you love star Trek, the next generation, what you want to check out is lower decks.
Casey: I’ve been hearing good things about
Tom Peyer: entirely based on the next generation.
Casey: Oh, for real. Yeah. I’ve heard nothing but good things about that show. I’m going to have to check it out.
Tom Peyer: It’s even got the same credit type face and stuff.
Casey: That’s wild. Yeah. So how awful is John layman? Why do you put up with this shit?
Tom Peyer: Oh my God. I think I do. I like to think I don’t. That is probably the most objectionable character I’ve ever met.
Casey: Pure and total awful. Just awful [00:47:00] all the way around. I talked to him a few months ago.
Tom Peyer: Yeah.
Tom Peyer: He’s like a pure end. God of evil.
Casey: So did you, you guys, I guess, met on the tech Janson book?
Tom Peyer: No, we knew each other already. He brought me in cause we knew it was cool. Cool. Your friends, we both lived in Seattle. For a while at the same time, about 15 years ago. And
Casey: what brought you up back to, to, Syracuse?
Tom Peyer: Well, come back to Syracuse. I always live somewhere four or five years then come back
So w where’s next on the map for you?
Tom Peyer: I’m of we’re done with the old, all that
sort of broken the pattern I’ve been back for over 10 years now, so
Casey: nice, nice. yeah,
Tom Peyer: but, w we became. We became really good friends in Seattle, John and I, and then. One day. I [00:48:00] just took a clear look at him and realized who he is
Tom Peyer: since,
Casey: man. I’m sorry. You have to put up with that, William. Thank you.
Now he, he was, he was such a, like in all seriousness, he, he was, Just such a, a nice dude,
Tom Peyer: fall for it.
Casey: Don’t let him, don’t let him get drawn in by wasting
Tom Peyer: a couple of years on him before.
Casey: So it is there, is there anything that you’re particularly excited about for a wholly right now coming up?
Tom Peyer: well, let’s see. Happy hours coming out in a couple of weeks or a week. I should have a schedule in front of me and I don’t, but, yeah, it’s a really. It’s a, it’s a book about this moment or the next moment, as I said, it’s a near future America that, where it’s a crime to be unhappy and they will, if they catch you being unhappy, you won’t like what they do to you.
And [00:49:00] it’s just Peter Milligan at his, you know, in classic form, you know, he’s, he’s, he’s always got. A funny trippy take on things. And the art by Michael Monton is exceptional. It’s really human, but so I’m, I’m psyched for that to come out. I’m always psyched for the next one. And, I’m deaf. and we’ve been working on polo again.
I love doing that. The anthology, so many different creators, you know, Whose
Casey: idea was that because that’s such a fun, just a fun kind of, I guess of narrator, not, not narrate like presenter, I guess
Tom Peyer: for host, you know, because he’s, he drinks so much, she’s been reduced to that
hates himself for it. I, so that’s been. Great to work on. Cause we get to work with so many different people and [00:50:00] that the subject matter is so rich. Most of it is funny versions of post stories and, it’s really, really easy to make fun of things that take himself so seriously. And, although cold, it must mostly said had a terrific sense of humor and did write a fair amount of funny stuff.
I’ll give him that. But these, he was, just a drunk. So we’re taking advantage of him
Casey: and, you know, meanwhile, you’re, you’re watching a, a live feed of the, mask of the red death Redux, CNN, right.
Tom Peyer: I’ve been wanting to write an annotation myself, a masculine red, and I’ve been trying to come up with like a hook.
And I think I’ve got one this week. So you might be seeing that soon. That’s like my favorite post story. It’s so visual and so colorful and so [00:51:00] descriptive.
Casey: And it’s, it’s so great that the people who are terrible get what’s coming to them. Yeah,
Tom Peyer: yeah, yeah. And it, and it’s obviously of the moment and, which, you know, I, I try not to do too much stuff.
That’s directly of the moment because it takes months and months for comics to come out and things get still pretty quickly. But also this year has been so hard. I’m a huge believer in escapism. And, I don’t want to be reminding people of this stuff all day, you know,
Casey: Oh, yeah. Yeah. But I mean, horror has the way to transcend and I mean also humor, which, what you guys are, you know, taking part in.
So yeah. You’re at least taking people’s minds off of it a little bit, even if it’s kind of, I guess, directly, inspired by current events,
[00:52:00] Tom Peyer: it can be, it can be like, I didn’t want to do a comic book about any living politicians, because again, it gets stale so fast, but it’s not like a coincidence that I made the villain in the wrong earth and narcissist.
So I thought narcissism itself would be timely to look at and, and narcissism never goes out of style. Let’s face it.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah. You’ve got
- I don’t want to waste a, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. There may not. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. Is there anything else you want to talk about before we, before we hit the road?
Tom Peyer: Yeah. Tell me what kind of comics, what comics you like and what you’ve always loved
Casey: right now of I’ve been kind of going back to the [00:53:00] classics.
and yeah. Not necessarily like the like old, you know, old Superman or stuff like that. but, love and rockets. I’ve been reading that,
and just really enjoying it. And it’s. From creators that I I’d always wanted to, to check out, but never had the opportunity. Cause I didn’t grow up around the comic store.
And now that I’m old and have a credit card, I can do that.
Tom Peyer: Good for you. Congratulations.
Casey: But, so that’s one thing that’s on my list right now. And what else. I have a stack in the other room of stuff that, that I’ve been going through, but that’s the one that, that I’ve just really, it’s like candy of I’ve really enjoyed reading it.
Tom Peyer: That’s great.
Casey: This just blowing your hair back right now.
Tom Peyer: Oh, I always go back to the old stuff cause it, I don’t want to like do nostalgia [00:54:00] comics, but I like to always be reminded of the way comics made me feel. When I was most receptive to them, you know? So I read a lot of old comics. I read a lot of old DC and Marvel comics and, Harvey and ACG and these other companies pre-code horror stuff.
Oh yeah, yeah, no, it was a comic book. I just, I try to just. I liked it. It’s funny, the ideas you get reading them, you don’t, again, you don’t want to do necessarily comics that are just reconstructions of old things, but sometimes you just get a feeling out of them that you can reproduce in a more modern way.
And, like those one thing we do in a Hawaii is we do, Pros stories in the back of every book we do, you’ll have two or three short stories that are illustrated, but they’re text. And the reason we do that, what gave us the idea to do that as they always did that in old comics, before there were letter pages,
[00:55:00] Casey: it was to get around a certain, mailing tax, I think, right?
Tom Peyer: Yeah. If they, if they want cheap rates, like the magazines were getting, they had to have text pages in them. so they would, just pay the least amount of money to write a story as fast as possible. And they were terrible, but we were looking at those and they were like, we were like, what if they were good?
You know, that’s what we’ve been trying to do. And I think people like them, it may, it lets you spend more time with the comic. No. So that’s, so I don’t just read old comics to like, look for things to steal a lo like our back cover. Art is always, the front cover without the logo and trade dress and barcode and stuff.
And I got that from old goat, gold key comics in the sixties. They did that. So you can always find things to steal, but also I just like. Once in a while, I just want to read an old flash story, you know, [00:56:00] because part of me is still a kid, I guess.
Casey: So who, who have you been? What are the older comics that you’ve been reading?
A lot of, what, what, what’s the well that you go by?
Tom Peyer: I go back to, I like things that, from when I was very young and things that came out. Before I started reading, like the stuff I missed that always has a glow around it to me. So kind of looks from the fifties. Oh wow. Wow. Stuff like that. but today I sat down with, thunder agents from the sixties was there, goes in there, I think the main creative force and that was wiling wood.
Casey: Yeah. Wally men. That’s somebody that I’ve just recently kind of discovered and blows my mind, but the stuff that he could do with a brush.
Tom Peyer: Oh, he was brilliant. He was absolutely brilliant. And yeah. I [00:57:00] love those old guys that looks tow. I have, in my mind, I probably romanticize it too much, but these people who worked in the fifties in particular.
we’re great at it. We’re pushing the form, took it very seriously for next to no money, no credit. And they couldn’t tell their neighbors what they did for a living, because comic books were considered like the major contributor to juvenile delinquency. So
Casey: for the Wortham years,
Tom Peyer: yeah. So they’re like Saint to me because they got.
They worked hard, push the form forward, push their own work forward and basically got nothing for it in return. I
Casey: was talking to, gosh, I was talking to a creator recently and he, he told me that a lot of these guys, Basically thought that, taken, I was talking to Chaikin, he told me a lot of where it was to [00:58:00] them.
They were considering just like a step stone to their, their eventual job in advertising or something that, and they were kind of bitter about that because you know, some of them never had that lucrative, massive advertising career, but they, they created what is now just a massive, massive thing. Right.
But they, you know, that didn’t pay the bills in and it probably doesn’t pay the bills for them now either. Yeah.
Tom Peyer: Well, most of them are dead now.
Tom Peyer: I’d say all of them, but, except for one or two, I can name the, yeah. Yeah. W w why would LS tone become so good? Why would Bernie Creek’s theme, tear up the pre-loaded boards that BC comics sent him to make new panel arrangements and, you know, razor of all the lines of type and rearrange them to fit his new [00:59:00] panels.
what did they love it so much?
Casey: That’s that’s a passion. Yeah. It’s, it’s crazy to think that, the amount of BSA had to go through at the time. I would love if there were a madman type show based on the comics industry during that time.
Tom Peyer: Oh, that’d be great.
Casey: Especially like, Maybe even leading up to the inception of Marvel comics and the, and the boom that occurred there.
Tom Peyer: That’s a great idea.
Casey: Tom, I’m sure. You know, some people let let’s let’s let’s do this, buddy. Yeah,
Tom Peyer: this would be greenlit,
Tom Peyer: great idea. Casey,
Casey: fantastic. fantastic stories. I always hear so many, just some of them heartbreaking. [01:00:00] Like I heard a quote from Hollywood where, Somebody asked him if, if he could do it all over again, Woody. And he said, if he could do it all over again, he cut off his hands. Well, I mean, that’s dark as super morose.
Tom Peyer: He might’ve meant it when he said it, but he might not have known it the next day.
Casey: Oh yeah. Yeah. I’ve done a lot of things like that. Especially after a drink or two.
Tom Peyer: Yeah. He had a few of those.
Well, sir, this was great talking to you,
Casey: mr. Tire. Thank you again. if you ever want to come back on by all means, let us know. we will put links up to your books and, to, wholly as, as a whole, in our show notes also, how did, after me to ask, how did you get the name? Where did a wholly come from?
Tom Peyer: The, Hart and Frank and I have well heart, when he was in college, [01:01:00] they’re having an annual holiday party called the a Hawaii party. And it was a party where people would vote for the whole way. Which then for the asshole of the year,
and that’s where we got
Casey: the name. Oh my gosh. I’m so glad I snuck that last one.
Tom Peyer: It stands for asshole of the year.
Casey: That is fantastic, Tom, thank you so much. I, unfortunately, I don’t think we can give you the assholes a year award, however. You, you have been a great guest for our show.
Tom Peyer: Thanks. It’s been my pleasure and let’s do it again,
I’d love to thank you so much. Stay safe. good luck voting and, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed and man. Yeah, regardless, we’ll get through this.
Tom Peyer: Thanks man.
Casey: Take it easy. Bye.
Tom Peyer: He’s a really good [01:02:00] guy.