Irrdeemable #1, page 1Irredeemable, BOOM! Studios’ upcoming series about a superhero who becomes a supervillain, has earned a lot of pre-publication buzz with its viral markwaidisevil.com website and praise from creators like Grant Morrison. We recently spoke with the book’s creator, Mark Waid, and now we’re talking with artist Peter Krause (no relation to the actor), who’s returning to superhero comics after an acclaimed run on DC’s Power of Shazam! many moons ago. We found out about what brought Krause back to comics…a method that might cause BOOM! some headaches in the near future.
Newsarama: Peter, it’s been a while since fans have seen your work in a comic. What have you been up to?
Peter Krause: Since the end of Power of Shazam!, I’ve been working with ad agencies and marketing groups. Storyboards, demo concepts—you name it. Anything that needs a quick visual for presentations. You can see examples of the work at my website, www.peterkrauseillustration.com.
I have been busy drawing—just not specifically for comics.
NRAMA: So how did you come to work on Irredeemable?
PK: I’m sure my editor, Matt Gagnon, is gonna love this!
I was looking for an ongoing comic job that I could work on between storyboard assignments. I was checking out one of the forum boards that BOOM! has up, and saw a submission page.
Now, I had just finished a short story for an upcoming Image PopGun anthology, so I posted one of the pages. I got an email from Matt Gagnon the same day, and after some discussions (and drawing a page from the story), I landed the assignment. So there you go, boys and girls. Open submissions can pay off.
Be ready for a new onslaught of art submissions, Matt!
NRAMA: (laughs) What excited you about working on this book?
PK: Frankly, the possibility of working with Mark Waid was the real appeal. Few comic book writers have the track record that Mark has, and I certainly had enjoyed what I’d read of his—particularly his take on Flash.
Irredeemable #1, page 2Mark also has a way of giving the genre a bit of a twist. Once Mark and I had talked—and I read his pitch for the series—you could see that this was the rare opportunity as an illustrator to get in on the beginning of a whole new world.
NRAMA: So what’s it like working with him?
PK: It’s a joy to work with Mark. He has opened the book up to be very collaborative.
Along with Matt Gagnon, we’ve had numerous back-and-forth discussions about the characters’ appearances and personalities.
And Mark is an enthusiastic guy. That cheerleading can help an artist through the long, lonely hours at the drawing board.
NRAMA: How is Irredeemable different from your previous comics work?
PK: Conceptually, Irredeemable is different not just in tone, but also in terms of history when compared to something like Power of Shazam!
Shazam!/Captain Marvel has this long history behind it, and writer Jerry Ordway and I were trying to be very respectful to the core concept of the characters—while attempting to bring a fresh take with our perspective. Irredeemable obviously has no backstory. That freedom is a bit heady by comparison.
As far as drawing style, there will be a bit of a difference in that a significant amount of time has passed since I last drew a monthly book. I also use a different work process (enlarging smaller sketches and then using a lightbox) than I have in the past. Plus, I’m inking the work as well.
But there will be some similarities to past work. I think there are some tendencies in your style that are as hard to change as fingerprints.
NRAMA: Because the story moves throughout the Plutonian’s career, have you had to imitate an Golden or Silver Age styles for the book?
Irredeemable #1, page 3PK: I don’t think I attempted to ape any “age” here. My drawing is influenced by growing up in the Silver Age, so there might be more than a touch of that. As far as the characters appearances, we wanted them to be distinctive, but not so trendy that they’d be only of the moment.
We definitely stayed away from a lot of leather and chains. From my perspective, the main characters visually exist in that realm between mainstream comic books and a show like Heroes or the upcoming movie Push. Our heroes may have powers, but aside from a little color or flash, there’s little logic in going all capes and masks here.
NRAMA: What was it like designing the Plutonian?
PK: Actually, I did very little design work on the Plutonian. Paul Azaceta had done the line drawing for the “good” Plutonian, and the first I saw of the “bad” Plutonian was Barry Kitson’s cover. I had some input on color for the bad Plutonian, and facial features, but that’s about it.
Which of the book’s characters are your favorite to illustrate?
PK: Qubit—who’s the “genius” in the group-- is the most fun to draw. He’s lanky, has that long face and crazy hair. But I love all of the characters, of course.
NRAMA: What else are you working on?
PK: I’m still doing some storyboard work, but I need to keep at about a page a day pace for Irredeemable, so I’m not adding any other comic book work right now. I do have some other work I finished last year that should see print—a crime story by Derek McCulloch that will be in an upcoming Image PopGun anthology, and a six-page story for Negative Burn written by Jeff Limke.
NRAMA: Anything else you’d like to discuss that we haven’t talked about yet?
PK: Just tell people to give Irredeemable a try!
Irredeemable brings the story of the Plutonian’s downfall to stores this April.