Peter David: Bringing Sir Apropos to Comics
by Matt Brady
Date: 28 October 2008 Time: 12:28 PM ET
Bringing Sir Apropos to Comics
As we reported from San Diego Comic Con, Peter David (with Robin Riggs on art) is bringing his Sir Apropos character to IDW Publishing next month in an all-new five issue miniseries with a story entitled "Gypsies, Vamps and Thieves."For those not familiar with the character, Sir Apropos has appeared in three novels: Sir Apropos of Nothing (2002), The Woad to Wuin (2003) and Tong Lashing (2005) as well as short stories over the years. Born to a prostitute, Apropos is everything a high-minded, noble hero of fantasy isn’t. He’s coarse, foul mouthed, lame (literally) and self-centered. As a result, Apropos’ stories have contained wicked satire of high fantasy while remaining readable as adventures in their own right. We spoke with David about returning to the character in a new format, while IDW provided Newsarama with a first look at the covers coming up in the series.
Newsarama: Peter, what brought Sir Apropos to IDW in the first place? You’re not currently writing new novels in the series, are you? Peter David: The deal was arranged by Andy Zack, the agent who reps the "Apropos" series. He sold IDW on the idea of doing a limited series, and Marvel was kind enough to allow me an exception to my exclusive contract. In terms of the novels, they're kind of in a holding pattern. Pocket claims they're not interested in doing more novels, and yet they keeping back to press with the original. Go figure. NRAMA: Where will you be picking up from in the comics? And just so we’re clear, these are all new stories, right? PD: Yes, this is an entirely new story. People have been asking for new "Apropos" stories for years now, and it would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to give the fans what they've been asking for. The new storyline picks up after the events of "Tong Lashing," which was the third book in the series. However, a new experience for the reader will be seeing the aged Apropos for the first time. One of the conceits of the series has always been that the stories being told are memoirs written by Apropos at a very advanced age. We actually cut away at one point in the first book to depict that. NRAMA: Your storyline, as you’ve said, is a gentle poke at The Dark Tower, which you’re expanding upon with Robin Furth at Marvel. What hints can you give about what catches your eye for some ribbing? PD: I went for two of the most iconic aspects of the series: The famed opening lines of the first book, and the image of Roland standing directly in front of the Dark Tower. Of course, since Apropos is involved, neither instance turns out as expected. NRAMA: And this was cleared with King? PD: I absolutely cleared it with him. It is being done entirely with Stephen King's blessing. I would never have satirized Dark Tower unless King was okay with it. King is such an unassuming, good-natured guy, I was pretty sure he'd approve it. But I was fully prepared to discard the entire notion if he had displayed the slightest hesitancy. NRAMA: You’ve said previously that Apropos basically leapt into your head like a reverse Athena, fully formed, and ten times more bawdy…if you had to put yourself on the couch, what would you think inspired him or led to his creation? PD: I honestly don't know what single event triggered his arrival in my skull. Certainly I was casting about for some new book; some new story I could tell that was unlike anything I had ever done. Perhaps Apropos, in being sparked by his desire to break out of the preconceptions that people have of him, likewise represents my desire to break out of the box that readers seem determined to put me in. I wanted to do something dark and cynical and not remotely Star Trek, and Apropos gave me that opportunity. NRAMA: It’s clear that heroes and characters of the Apropos mold are popular in fiction…but what do you think fuels that popularity? Something as simple as wanting to eat chocolate after novels full of vanilla, or is there something more complex? PD: I think people are simply tired of seeing the same kind of thing over and over again. Just how many times do we need fantasy novels in which the names of the characters change, and whatever they happen to be questing after or whoever their enemies are may likewise change, but ultimately it's just same old, same old. Furthermore, Apropos is probably much closer to how the average person would react in dangerous situations: His impulse is to turn and run, or find some means of tricking his way out of it. He's not out for noble causes or determined to save mighty realms; he just wants to make a few bucks and not die. I think people can relate to that. NRAMA: That said, how is Apropos seen in his world by those who meet him? PD: Depends who it is. Some people see right through his posturing. Others, such as the gypsies he encounters in this particular storyline, see him as a hero and savior. NRAMA: What gets "Gypsies, Vamps and Thieves" rolling at its start? PD: Apropos is in the midst of endeavoring to find a treasure for which he's acquired a map. But things don't exactly turn out the way he hopes (again) and instead he sets into motion a series of events that winds up with his being dumped in a strange and unknown land. NRAMA: How far are you looking to go with the character in comic book form? Are you seeing comics as Apropos new medium, or are you looking to see the comics change minds at Pocket Books, and bring the novel line back to action? PD: I'm just looking to keep the character going because I love writing him. The opportunity presented itself and I happily took it, just as I seized the opportunity to produce an Apropos novella when I was approached about contributing to a short story collection entitled "Heroes in Training." If the first series is successful, IDW wants more, and Marvel is amenable to letting me do so, then I'm happy to do more. And if Pocket Books comes calling, that's fine, too. I can do stories in both venues. NRAMA: That said, what are you looking at for the frequency of the IDW miniseries in terms of future installments? PD: It's five issues coming out monthly. It's far too soon to speculate over future miniseries. I do want to say, though, that Robin Riggs has been doing a great job with the artwork. His art style is exactly the Prince Valiant look I was seeking for this particular book, and I think people will be blown away by it.