When Fear Itself: Wolverine appeared last week in Marvel’s July solicitations, under “written by” was “Seth Peck,” a name that might not have been familiar to hardcore Marvelites.
Yet if you’ve paid close attention to creator-owned comics in recent years, you’ll realize that Peck isn’t a newcomer. At Image Comics, Peck co-wrote 2007 series Sorrow with current Uncanny X-Force and Venom writer Rick Remender, and in the next year collaborated with Hawaiian Dick's B. Clay Moore on the unfinished 8-issue title ’76.
Fear Itself: Wolverine is not only Peck’s Marvel debut, but also his first comic book work in the past couple of years — because, as the familiar story goes, life got in the way.
“The writing thing has always been sort of a side project thing for me,” Peck said in a phone interview with Newsarama. “All of my friends, literally, are either writers or artists in comics. I’ve got five kids, I’ve always liked the security of a day job, and insurance and everything else, but I enjoy writing, so I’ve always done it on the side.”
One of Peck’s comic book creator friends is fellow Kansas City-area resident Jason Aaron, Marvel “Architect” and current writer of the ongoing Wolverine series.
“He sort of urged me, ‘Hey, you should send some of your stuff in to some editors at Marvel,’” Peck said. “He’s always been a big proponent of my work.”Seth Peck co-wrote
Sorrow with current
Uncanny X-Force writer
Rick Remender.So rather naturally, the three-issue Fear Itself: Wolverine miniseries operates very closely to what Aaron is doing in the main title — while at the same time standing alone as its own self-contained story.
“There are a lot of things that will actually be planted in this miniseries that will end up playing out in the main title,” Peck said. “Obviously it’s part of the event, but if you’re just a Wolverine fan, I wanted it to be a good story, and I wanted it to have some kind of lasting impact. I didn’t want it just to be three issues and done without really having any ties to what Wolverine was going to be doing in Jason’s book.”
Staying true to that notion, one of the main players of Fear Itself: Wolverine is the title character’s reporter girlfriend Melita Garner, who was created by Jason Aaron. Peck notes that he’s a fan of Melita because he feels their relationship is significantly more realistic than previous Wolverine love interests.
“She’s not another superhero, she hasn’t ever tried to kill him in the past, she’s not a Japanese assassin,” Peck said. “I love the character. She’s doesn’t have superpowers or anything like that, but she’s very much Logan’s equal. She’s accomplished, she’s intelligent. She holds her own.”
Using Melita also gives Peck a grounded point-of-view character to show the greater impact of the other-worldly threats unleashed on the Marvel Universe during Fear Itself.
“That’s a big part of Melita’s story,” Peck said. “Someone that’s not fighting these guys first-hand. You’re going to see, from a very human perspective, the effect that these kind of things have.”
Appearing as the story’s antagonists are members of the S.T.R.I.K.E. organization, the British counterpart to S.H.I.E.L.D. The group’s primary appearances have been in Marvel UK comics — first showing up in Captain Britain Weekly #17 back in 1977 — and haven’t gotten much panel time as of late.'76 #1. “Them having been dormant and missing in action for so long is part of the story,” Peck said. “There’s a reason you haven’t seen these guys. But essentially they’re all new characters. These guys haven’t appeared anywhere else.”
Creating new characters was something that Peck wasn’t sure he’d be able to do given his Marvel newbie status, but the writer was pleasantly surprised with the amount of leeway he was given by series editor Jeanine Schaefer.
“Being new to it, I wasn’t sure how Marvel was,” Peck said. “Would they prefer you use guys already in the toy box, or are they cool with coming up with new stuff? Jeanine was very on board. That’s part of what you’re doing when you come to Marvel, you’re adding to the complement of stuff they have.”
Most tie-ins to major “event” stories like Fear Itself fall in two camps — the ones very closely related to the main action, and the ones showing the ripple effects of the conflict on a wider scale. Fear Itself: Wolverine falls in the later camp.
“It’s not in the middle of the action of Fear Itself,” Peck said. “As a writer, mechanically, one of the difficulties of writing during these events is there are so many pieces in play, especially when you’ve got a piece as large as Wolverine. He’s in the X-Men, he’s in the Avengers, he’s got his own book, he’s in Uncanny X-Force. He’s all over the place.
“One of the challenges as a writer is to make something that takes place during this event that feels very much a part of the event, but you don’t have to sacrifice anything in the story by having to make sure X fits into Y and Z, and everything is connected,” he said.
Roland Boschi is on art for the series, someone who also has close ties to Jason Aaron, having worked with the writer on Ghost Rider and the Punisher MAX: X-Mas Special.
“I’ve been a fan of his stuff since I saw it on Jason’s Ghost Rider,” Peck said. “In the first Fear Itself: Wolverine issue, there’s a character he did in Ghost Rider that I really liked his take on, so I actually used him in the story based on the fact that I liked how he did him in Ghost Rider.”
Aside from Aaron’s take on the character, Peck cited Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso’s Wolverine: Logan and the Charlie Huston-written Wolverine: The Best There Is as two stories among the ones he’s enjoyed starring the claw-popping X-Men icon.
“I almost feel like you’re a Wolverine fan or you haven’t admitted you’re a Wolverine fan yet,” Peck said. “He’s in so many books for a reason. He appeals on so many levels.”
Though he’s content with comic books remaining a side project for him, Peck said that he hopes Fear Itself: Wolverine leads to not only more mainstream work, but also creator-owned opportunities, adding that the plan is to finish up ’76 at some point.
“Even when I’m working a day job, I’m daydreaming, I’m making notes, coming up with stuff,” Peck said.Visit Newsarama on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and tell us what you think!