Peter David is the Multiple Man! He must be, because the only way I can fathom someone creating so much excellent work is if they had the mutant power to duplicate themself. In fact, Peter David also must have multiple personalities. That is the only possible way he can write so many diverse characters. His mind must be filled with a mob of mutant weirdos, superwomen and fishy dudes with hook hands.
David recently ended his amazing 7-year run on X-Factor, for which he won a GLAAD Award. He was awarded a Best Writer/Artist Team Eisner Award (with Dale Keown) during his 12-year stint on The Incredible Hulk. Other writing credits include Young Justice, Supergirl, Spider-Man 2099, Aquaman and many more titles! He has scripted the popular TV shows Babylon 5 and Young Justice, and is a well-respected writer of over 50 novels that do not even have pictures (Star Trek, Babylon 5, and many more self-published titles you will learn about in this amazing interview)!
David’s recent stroke has done little to curb his willingness to ruffle feathers. His newly-announced All-New X-Factor series is a take on huge corporations sticking their noses in all aspects of life. David is not afraid to speak his mind and his comics often directly discuss modern day issues and politics. I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Peter David at this year’s NY Comic Con. We discussed politics, the ultimate Hulk movie, censorship, how to support creators, The Hero Initiative, and his current projects. Without further ado:
Probably Madrox because I lived in his head for so many freaking years that I just feel a certain kind of dedication and loyalty to him. I’d probably have to say Jamie.
UTF: Jamie. Very good. What would be your dream team if there was an X-Factor movie that came out?
If there was an X-Factor movie?
UTF: Um hum.
Probably the entire X … let’s see. The team that I just wrote. Jamie. Layla would be exciting to add. Although I don’t know if the movie would really be able to understand her. Let’s see, Polaris would be interesting to have. Lorna could be interesting to have. Guido and Rahne.
UTF: What would be your vision for the ultimate Hulk movie?
UTF: Ultimate Hulk movie. If you could do it right, what would it be?
Wow, depending on how the Hulk is, it might be really fun to do something based using the Pantheon. Having him be introduced into that group and having to be made part of a team, because in the movies, he works so well as a member of a team that it might actually be fun to do that in the movies as well.
UTF: You have written many stories dealing with political issues you care about. Which is the closest to your heart?
The closest, you mean that I’ve written or the political issue?
UTF: Political issue. What do you care most about that you have written?
Probably free expression. Probably, if I’m going to pick one issue of a book that I wrote that had to do with something that means a lot to me, it would be an issue of Supergirl that involved free expression, involving a guy who’s going to be coming lecture at Stanhope University who the students were protesting and trying to stop him from talk … from talking, and it came down to a punch-out between Supergirl and Steel, and that was a tremendously fun and exciting book to write that was particularly interesting because the things that I … Steel was in favor of censoring the guy, and a lot of fans wrote in and protested, “No no no no! Nobody intelligent would say anything like what Steel says.”
All of his comments, I took directly from essays that were written by black professors talking about why these people should be censored. I use real world words and people reacted badly, so I always found that very interesting.
UTF: Has there ever been an issue you’ve been told not to deal with?
Yeah, I wrote an issue of X-Factor involving the concept that pregnant women could determine whether or not their child was going to be a mutant, and, if so, terminate the pregnancy. The whole story was about, you know, was basically a choice or no choice proposition. After I had written the script, which Marvel absolutely loved, they then came back to me and said, “No, sorry, we can’t do it. We can’t do anything controversial anymore.” They wound up gutting the story. I quit the book shortly after that.
UTF: Your work has a lot of comedy in it. Is it a stylistic choice or is that a natural inclination? (Credit for this question must be given to the anonymous fanboy nearby who requested I ask it. Thanks dude.)
It may be a little bit of both, but I always feel that it’s more attuned to the real world. People generally tend to react to stressful situations in a comedic way. The Challenger blew up, and how long was it before people were saying, “What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts.” It is human nature to react in a humorous fashion to things, so I will put in humorous moments, but the thing is that they are generally set up to serious things. I don’t write books that are just comedic. Okay, I did for a while, but other than that, generally I used them as a way to offset the seriousness. I will have something serious and then something funny and then something serious that alternates to keep people interested.
UTF: Was there ever a subject you thought was too dark to touch?
What do you mean?
UTF: Something that was too depressing to touch in a comic book.
Dude, I had Jim Wilson die of AIDS, so there’s really nothing that I think is too depressing to touch.
UTF: I know you deal with a lot of characters that other people aren’t dealing with. Is there any that you wish you were able to write that maybe you weren’t able to get at the time?
UTF: Yeah, very good. Very good, and I’m excited about your next X-Factor series that was announced today. Can you tell me about the other work you do? About some of your fiction work?
I write novels published by a variety of publishers, including Crazy 8 Press, which is a self-publishing endeavor that I do with a group of my friends. The most recent one is a book called Fearless, which is a follow-up to a previous book of mine called Tiger Art. I also just finished a book called Artful, which is a book that I wrote that is going to be published by Amazon, and it’s basically the story of the Artful Dodger, hunter vampire. That should be a lot of fun.
UTF: Awesome, and I know that when you went through the issue that you went through a little while ago, you told your fans to support you through buying your books.
UTF: Can you speak a little bit about that and supporting the creators we love?
I can say that they certainly did. The fans came through and bought a lot of books. It was easily the best sales I’ve ever had. I almost wish I thought to just have it all be a big publicity stunt, which it was not, but of course, the fans were very supportive. I just wish the fans were more supportive on a regular basis for all self-publishers. We just toss books out there and sell maybe a couple of dozen or something like that. It’s really nice to see that kind of fan attention, and you just wish it was there all the time.
UTF: How did the Hero Initiative support you at that time?
Oh, first they had money in their own fund, and second, we put up a thing where, if you wanted to donate to me, you could just donate cash. You could send money to the Hero Initiative, and they would forward it, which they did.
UTF: Nice, and how are you feeling now?
I feel fine.
UTF: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time.