Peter David interview

Peter David is the popular writer of such books as Marvel's Incredible Hulk and Madrox, DC's Supergirl and Young Justice, Claypool's Soulsearchers & Company, numerous Star Trek novels, and more. This month, he and WoW Content Editor Roger Ash, discuss his DC title Fallen Angel and the return of Sachs and Violens. Peter has agreed to sign the copies of Fallen Angel #19 sold through Westfield! See the listing for details.

Westfield: For people who've never read Fallen Angel before, what do you want them to know about the series?

Peter David: In terms of the story itself, it focuses on Lee, a woman of mysterious origin and formidable powers who serves as a sort of court of last resort in a city called Bete Noire. People in need of help seek her out, but it's a dicey proposition. If she believes they're deserving of help, she will do whatever it takes to aid them. If she believes they're getting what's coming to them, she'll take steps to make sure it comes all the faster. At this particular point in time - for reasons I won't go into and the new reader doesn't need to know, but are thoroughly covered in issues 15-18 - Lee is in a reaaaaally cranky mood. In terms of the series, readers should know that it's probably the best reviewed work I've ever done, and now's as good a time as any to find out why.

Westfield: Issue #19 begins a 2-part story guest-starring Sachs and Violens. For those who are unfamiliar with them, who are they?

David: Juanita Jean Sachs and Ernie "Violens" Schultz were the hard-hitting, somewhat kinky stars of a four issue series produced by George Perez and myself for Epic Comics some years ago. Basically, Sachs and Violens travel the country, taking down pornographers and purveyors of obscenity, largely because they get a sexual thrill out of it. Sachs is a superb hand to hand combatant, plus she's armed with such toys as a very nasty whip. Violens is beefy, middle-aged, a combat veteran and former photographer with an extremely violent temper (hence his nickname).

Westfield: Why did you decide to bring back Sachs & Violens in Fallen Angel?

David: Even though they only showed up in those four issues, people ask me about reviving them all the time. So when I was casting about for someone to bring in as guest stars for issues 19 and 20, and I was considering finding some creator who'd be willing to have his characters show up in Bete Noire, my wife Kathleen pointed out, "Well, you own Sachs and Violens, right? How about them?"

Westfield: I know you and George Perez own the copyrite to Sachs & Violens. How difficult was it legally to get them in a DC book?

David: From the George angle? It was a phone call. "Hey, George, I wanna do this, you don't have a problem with it, right?" Not only did George have no problem with it, but he agreed to provide the covers for the two issues. Joe Quesada was gracious enough to ask the Marvel legal department to give me the official quit claim letter that they'd neglected to provide years ago. And DC... well, there was some serious hoop jumping, I can assure you. But bottom line, it all got done.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the story of Fallen Angel #19?

David: Sachs and Violens, tracking down leads on a child obscenity ring, are drawn to Bete Noire, convinced that Bete Noire's own head of vice and prostitution, Bumper Ruggs, is running it. And the only thing that can possibly get between Bumper and S&V is Lee, the Fallen Angel ... provided Bumper can cut her an interesting enough deal to get involved.

Westfield: Did George have any story input?

David: No. I did tell him in broad strokes what I had in mind, and he said it sounded good to him. I'm hoping he likes the final product.

Westfield: What do you think artists David Lopez & Fernando Blanco bring to the series?

David: I'm really very intrigued to see what Dave and Fernando do with JJ and Ernie. I expect that they will preserve the spirit and look of the characters as they were rendered by George, but will bring their own intriguing look to it as well. Dave and Fernando excel in conveying mood, and I'm thinking S&V will be right in their wheelhouse.

Westfield: You've done a lot of campaigning to keep Fallen Angel from being cancelled. What makes this books so special to you?

David: Honestly? I think it's the absolute best I have to offer. It has a depth and complexity that surpasses anything else I've done, and I'm not alone in that assessment. If the fans and retailers don't want the best I have to offer, well... that tells me something.

Westfield: Anything you'd like to say about any other projects you're working on?

David: Well, my work on Hulk is coming along well, and I'm in discussion with Marvel on another potential series. However, these days I'm spending more and more time outside of comics. Novels, screenplays and such. Hell, if I ditch comics altogether and show up again in ten years, I can have a whole new audience and be treated like the second coming. It's worked for others.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

David: Bottom line, my goal is to get Fallen Angel sales up to the 15,000 mark. This is not an unattainable goal. If exactly one out of every four Madrox readers who currently isn't reading Fallen Angel starts picking it up, my goal is met. If every single retailer out there orders exactly one more copy than he is now (and for a number of them that would mean putting out precisely one shelf copy, since quite a few are only ordering for pre-orders), my goal is met. If four hundred retailers increase their orders by ten copies, I more than meet my goal. It's not impossible. When I first took over Hulk, I was determined to increase sales by fifty percent. I nearly doubled them. All it took was focus and time. I've got the focus. Let's just hope DC gives me the time.