Kate (and Dan) Interview Peter Krause

We at Kate (and Dan) Read Comics are pleased to present our conversation with the incredibly talented, and gracious, Peter Krause. Peter has illustrated such titles as “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Irredeemable”, and “Power of Shazam”. We are thankful that Peter took the time to do this interview.

You are a Minnesota based comics professional. We like local. Local beer. Local restaurants. 3M Post-It Notes. Local is good. Is Minnesota a strong area for comics?

As long as I can remember, Minnesota and the Twin Cities area in particular has been a great area for comics creators. Going back to when I was starting my career, you had creators such as Dan Jurgens, Gordon Purcell, Chaz Truog and Reed Waller all producing comics work. Other creators such as Gary Hartle and Greg Guler were working for the major companies before moving into the animation field. And you had an early independent comic made here–“Domino Chance” by Kevin Lenagh.

We first became aware of your work in the mid ‘90’s with “Power of Shazam”. What was your first work?

Well, I was part of a comics collective of sorts in the mid 1980s. We produced a comic called “Entropy Tales” and then a short-lived series call “Nightwolf” that I wrote and drew. I then did some work for both Slave Labor Graphics and First Comics. Most comics fans probably became aware of my work for DC when I penciled the Star Trek: The Next Generation comic in the early 1990s.

We hear your new project is an all-digital book called “Insufferable” and it’s with your long-time collaborator Mark Waid. Tell us more.

It just launched May 1 at thrillbent.com. We’re playing with the hero/sidekick model, and their relationship is fractured. You can read the first installment for free right now, and we’ll update it every Wednesday thereafter.

Are there any challenges that arise moving from Bristol board to digital? How are these overcome?

I love working digitally. I’m drawing “Insufferable” on a Wacom Cintiq 21UX. The final work is much closer to what I view inside my head, and I’m saving at least two hours of work per page. That and no scanning!

As mentioned earlier, this isn’t your first work with Mark Waid. “Irredeemable” was a major success. Can you tell us a little bit about the collaborative process? Do you receive highly detailed scripts, or do you as an artist have room to add your own interpretations of the script?

Mark is very open to any ideas that we (me and our colorist Nolan Woodard) put forward. And with the options open to us by publishing online, the collaborating is vital. Mark and I talk by phone a couple of times a week.

Mark is good about pointing out the important details in his script, but there is plenty of room for my interpretations as well.

Kate (and Dan) Read Comics is a comics-oriented blog, written by folks who love comics for people that (hopefully) love comics. In the spirit of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” and the Bernard Pivot questions asked of every guest, we have our own comics-related questions we ask of every interviewee.

What sort of work did you do before embarking on graphic art full-time? Secret Agent? Hotel Detective? Playboy Philanthropist? When did you finally say, “Yeah… I’m gonna draw stuff for a living. And it will be AWESOME.”

My first job out of college had nothing to do with my degree (I have a BA in both Studio Arts and Journalism from the University of Minnesota). I was an assistant warehouse manager at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.

Although I had always drawn, and loved comics, it wasn’t until I got married to Lisa in 1984 that I got serious about pursuing a comics career. She was well established in her career, and was able to provide much of the economic support while I did free-lance and worked part-time in retail sales.

What was your favorite moment in comics? The moment that when you read it on the page, you smiled and said, “That was so cool!”

I probably have to go back when I was young and saw a Jack Kirby panel of Captain America jumping off a motorcycle and kicking a bad guy in the head. I redrew that panel over and over–trying to get it right.

Really, there are so many cool moments. The first Flash comic that I can remember reading that reintroduced the Jay Garrick character, looking at Nick Cardy’s art in the old Teen Titans comic, studying everything drawn by Alex Toth, being blown away by Moebius and Jorge Zaffino–those and many more get me excited about comics.

What was the moment that made you say, “Working in comics is amazing”?

Probably the first time you see a comic with your name on it in a store. Either that, or getting to meet all the comic heroes of your youth–guys like Gil Kane, Curt Swan and Stan Lee.

Our standard Beatles or Rolling Stones question: Superman or Batman?

Love them both, but I go with Superman. My favorite Marvel character is Daredevil.

Parting thoughts?

I’m more excited about drawing comics now than I’ve ever been. Look at all the cool stuff out there–“King City”, “Fatale”, “Scott Pilgrim”, “Love and Rockets”, “Hark A Vagrant”, the latest version of Daredevil–it’s all so inspiring.

You can follow Peter on Twitter at @petergkrause.