“Some Of It’s Funny, Some Of It’s Tragic” – Tom Peyer On The Wrong Earth, AHOY Comics & More

by Olly MacNamee

New kids on the block, AHOY Comics are set to launch with a number of all new titles this September, starting with The Wrong Earth by writer and Editor-in-Chief Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle. We were fortunate enough to get to talk to Tom about AHOY Comics, parallel universe stories, and the top talent they have on their up and coming books, ahead of their first release dropping in comic shops on September 12th.
Olly MacNamee: Your new book, The Wrong Earth, is the debut title from AHOY Comics. How did you get involved with AHOY Comics in the first place?
Tom Peyer: I was here on the ground floor. My old friend, journalist/humorist Hart Seely, was apparently looking for a way to make his retirement more stressful, so he got the idea to publish comics. He made an offer to me and our mutual good pal, cartoonist Frank Cammuso (Edison Beaker, Creature Seeker is his latest graphic novel for kids). We put our hands on top of each other like the Fantastic Four did after their catastrophic rocket launch, and we swore a vow to do good comics together.
OM: The Wrong Earth is a comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously by the look of things. But, having said that, it does seem to suggest the hapless hero, Dragonflyman, from Earth-Alpha, is not having the best of days. How will you be juggling the humour in the book with the more dramatic? Its a fine tightrope to traverse.
TP: In The Wrong Earth, Dragonflyman, a campy Silver Age crime-fighter who lives in a relatively safe world, unwittingly switches universes with his gritty modern version, Dragonfly. So in both places, you have this tension between the hero and the world he doesn’t belong in. And some of it’s funny, and some of it’s tragic.

I like stories that have humor and drama. To me, a TV show like Better Call Saul or Fargo is a lot funnier than a sitcom where they have to stop the story to fit a punchline in every 20 seconds. I can’t even watch those things anymore. I hope you can say this about all our books: The Wrong Earth, High Heaven, Captain Ginger, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror; all of the humor flows naturally from the characters, not from a desire to crack jokes.
OM: It’s a comic that wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, right?
TP: Oh yes. Silver Age comics with their upstanding heroes and trustworthy authority figures; modern comics that portray grim, ultraviolent vigilantes who battle the corrupt establishment. A trillion super-hero comics since 1938 fit into one of those two molds, and we pick from about five hundred billion of them.

OM: Behind the gags and the melodramatic moments, is there an ulterior motive to focusing on the kind of parallel universe stories readers love? You seem to be exploring the tropes of the genre from the inside, so to speak.
TP: It’s funny to me that a 60 year-old can look at a particular mainstream super-hero’s chest emblem and see it as a symbol of courage, civic responsibility, and wise use of power, while a 30 year-old looks at the same emblem and sees bloody revenge and sticking-it-to-the-man. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but we’re clearly getting into a Tower of Babel situation here.

OM: You’re working with Jamal Igle. How much input does a seasoned pro like Jamal have in the design and look of the characters and the book? Is there a lot of back-and-forth between the two of you?
TP: Jamal is the co-creator. I wrote the first script or two before he came on board, but he brought so many ideas and so much energy, The Wrong Earth would be very different without him. And not nearly as good.
OM: And finally, Tom, what can we expect from this series moving forward in future issues?
TP: You can expect our two heroes to suffer through the predicament of being trapped on worlds where even the good guys don’t share their values. And we have backup stories to show a little bit of what their lives were like before the big switch, by Gary Erskine, Paul Constant, Frank Cammuso, and Tom Feister. And all AHOY comics give you more to read when you’re finished perusing the comics. We have prose stories in three of our first issues by Grant Morrison. Subsequent issues will have humor pieces, short stories, nonfiction articles, single-panel cartoons, illustrations and/or poems by Mark Russell, Matt Brady, Shannon Wheeler, Carol Lay, Rick Geary, and many others.
The Wrong Earth #1 will be out on the 12th of September.
High Heavens #1 will be debuting on the 6th of September.

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