[DISPATCH] An Interview with MAPS Artist Peter Krause
The veteran comic book artist spoke with 3W/3M about his new story, the allure of trains, and more.
Welcome to the latest edition of the [DISPATCH], a weekly direct report from us to you, with news, recaps, exclusive content and more.
We’re still riding high from hanging out with some of you in New York and the latest 3W/3M Creative Summit, but we’re not taking our eyes off the prize – delivering more amazing stories for you, the people who make this whole venture possible.
We’ll have a brand new comic headed your way tomorrow featuring art by Peter Krause and color by Ellie Wright. That story will be available to read exclusively for paid 3W/3M subscribers. If you haven’t yet:
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Tomorrow, we’ll be releasing SINGURAIL, the newest comic from the pages of the upcoming [MAPS] Graphic Novel Sourcebook. Prior to the story’s debut, we spoke with veteran comic and storyboard artist Peter Krause about joining a new sci-fi universe, his history with trains, and why he’s been part of so many digital comics projects.
Enjoy the conversation below, and then be sure to visit us tomorrow for the debut of SINGURAIL.
3W/3M: I know that former 3W/3M Editor-in-Chief Stephen Wacker was the one who reached out to you about this story, but I’m curious what about 3 Worlds / 3 Moons appealed to you as an artist and storyteller?
Peter Krause: It’s a trend that I get a job from Stephen Wacker as he’s transitioning to a new job. Such was the case with Daredevil: Road Warrior as Steve was leaving that part of Marvel at the time.
As far as 3W/3M, I’m always interested in visual worlds where there is room to make a contribution. It’s very impressive to see the work that went into this universe. Beliefs and political factions are nuanced and faceted. The variety of artists involved is freeing – there’s no sense of a house style here. The more I delved into 3W/3M the more intrigued I was. That’s not always the case.
Your story, SINGURAIL, takes place on Ordo, one of Therra’s moons. Did drawing a story about the most technologically advanced place in this solar system create any logistical or technical challenges for you?
While Ordo is technologically advanced, it’s not all smooth Star Trek lines and textures. Take the interior of the Singurail as designed by the 3W/3M team – it hearkens back to a time of vintage train travel on our world. That’s the challenge, isn’t it? When we tell a story of another world, there must be enough for the reader to relate to based on their earthly experiences. For the clothing, buildings, and flora of Ordo I relied on the artists that had gone before me. Ming Doyle’s work was especially helpful.
The Singurail itself plays a pivotal role in the story. What’s your history with trains? Did you play with model trains growing up, travel on them, etc.? Did any of those experiences shape your work here, or was it primarily about the people and the cars, and working from Mike Huddleston’s designs?
Absolutely played with trains – had several sets. And our boys – Lisa and I have three sons – were completely fascinated with them. It’s also worth noting that We Only Kill Each Other – the Comixology/Dark Horse project Stephanie Phillips and I created – had an extended scene on a train. Between that recent experience and Mike’s designs the train sequences were a joy to draw.
I feel like I have to mention that, in addition a lengthy career in superhero comics, you also spent four years drawing Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek while DC had the license in the early ‘90s. Did this story evoke any similar vibes to that time, or did you use any similar techniques now as you did then?
That was a while ago. ST:TNG was my first ongoing series and allowed me to do comics as a living. I’m much indebted to Bob Greenberger for that.
But I would say that any similarities are limited. Doing a Star Trek project, a lot is already defined for you. The ships, the uniforms, the likenesses of the actors – all that is a bit constraining. Don’t get me wrong – I was happy for the gig and what it led to. 3W/3M is still new and still evolving. Molly Mahan encouraged me to put my spin on the story and there are items that I had a hand in creating (the PA, for one).
Are there any sci-fi concepts you can’t get enough of, or do you have any favorite movies, books, shows, or comics in the genre?
I was a [Ray] Bradbury geek as a kid. The Martian Chronicles was a favorite and I read that to our sons when they were young. As a child, I watched more Lost in Space than
Star Trek. I also remember The Time Tunnel, which only lasted one season in the 1960s. And when Star Wars hit in the 1970s, I was all over that.
Comic book loves – I have all of the Jack Kirby 2001 comics, and some of the Machine Man issues. I also read the Marvel Logan’s Run books.
More faves – Interstellar, Inception (I need to rewatch it every year), 2001. Andor is so good. I like A.I.: Artificial Intelligence more than most. I saw The Quiet Earth years ago and it haunts me still. I’ve never seen Moon but my sons say I need to correct that.
I have to agree with your sons there that Moon is really good, and arguably all the more impressive for being a debut feature.
Given that your story features flashback sequences, and there are an infinite number of ways to represent that on the page, how did you choose to differentiate them from the present-day panels? Did you discuss that approach with colorist Ellie Wright at all?
Yes, Ellie and I discussed that. It’s important that the reader is clear about flashbacks. Added some panels on my part and put black in the gutters around those panels. Ellie muted the colors–she considered a sepia tone but decided against it.
As with all 3W/3M stories, SINGURAIL will be released digitally first before being collected in the [MAPS] Graphic Novel Sourcebook. You’re a digital comics veteran, having done Insufferable at Thrillbent and Daredevil: Road Warrior at Marvel, both of which were collaborations with writer Mark Waid. Are you drawn to the possibility of alternate storytelling options (like Thrillbent) and formats (like what we do with the vertical scroll conversion), or has it just been a coincidence that this is at least your third digital-first project?
Every format has its own challenges. With Insufferable on Thrillbent, Mark and I first tried to hedge our bets – create something that would work both on screen and in print. We abandoned that quickly and embraced what the digital medium offered. Using a hand/finger swipe to advance the story, Insufferable gave us a chance to do a crude sort of animation. But the reader was in charge as to how the story advanced – that’s important and distinguishes comics from video.
The Thrillbent experience served us well when we did Daredevil: Road Warrior; it was nominated for an Eisner.
I like what 3W/3M is doing – it’s a scroll but I’m not giving up any drawing real estate. I still can draw the story on a full-page comic template.
The goal is definitely to meet readers where they are, allowing them to choose the device or format that they prefer.
On a related note, what’s your working method these days? Are you traditional pen and ink, fully digital, or a hybrid process?
Fully digital. I use Clip Studio Paint for my software. I draw on an old Cintiq 21UX (first generation) that I bought from Trish Mulvihill. Irredeemable was the last series I drew traditionally. I’d never completely close the door to going back to ink on paper but it’s unlikely.
Is there anything you miss about the traditional process, be it the tooth of the board, the zen of filling in blacks, or having originals at the end of an issue or project?
Oh, sure. I miss the grungy aspects of working with traditional materials. But I don’t miss a worn-out brush or a recalcitrant pen that won’t perform to my needs. The time saved working digitally is worth it, and has allowed me to be bolder in my choices as mistakes are more easily corrected. I can still doodle on paper when I want.
In addition to comics, you also draw storyboards. Does that let you scratch the storytelling itch compared to comics, or how much does your approach change given that, unlike comics, the boards themselves aren’t the finished product?
It’s still storytelling. That’s the most important contribution of the artist in comics – more than flash and style. Storyboard drawings are the story all stripped down to the core. They’re usually done fast and on a tight deadline. But the pay ain’t bad.
We touched on your Star Trek work earlier, but you also had lengthy stints on both The Power of Shazam and Irredeemable, and your OGN with writer Chip Mosher, Blacking Out, began on Kickstarter and is getting a new hardcover from Dark Horse next year. Would you say any of those are the definitive Peter Krause project, or is that still yet to come?
And don’t forget all the work I’ve done for Ahoy comics! Is there a definitive Peter Krause project? I’m not sure I think that way. I sincerely try to make every new series or comic a little better than my last one.
For the future, there’s five more issues of My Bad from Mark Russell, Bryce Ingman, Kelly Fitzpatrick and me for Ahoy Comics. Chip and I have another crime thing that’s half drawn that needs completing. And – the Irredeemable sequel from BOOM!. Mark should start on the scripting in early 2024.
After that? I’d love a return visit to 3W/3M. Maybe I’ll start writing. We’ll see what the future holds.
Thank you to Peter Krause for making a stop on his journey and chatting with us. We’ll be releasing SINGURAIL for all paid subscribers tomorrow.
And now, let’s look back at the week that was…
[CREATIVE SUMMIT] The team was in New York City last week making big plans for the future of 3 Worlds / 3 Moons at the latest Creative Summit.
[LIVESTREAM] Day Two of the Summit finished up with a Livestream. The 3W/3M Team team provided updates about what they were working on and answered your questions LIVE. Paid subscribers can watch a replay any time.
[COMMUNITY] We capped off a tremendous week by sharing images from the NYCC Meet-Up and across the Creative Summit. Check out some wonderful photos of the team in action.
We’ll be back tomorrow with SINGURAIL, and we’ve got plenty of [PROCESS] and much more to follow.