Ahoy Comics are pushing the boat out once again with a few new books, with Hashtag: Danger #1 coming out this week as an all-new mini-series from Tom Peyer and Chris Giarrusso. That as as good an excuse as any to catch up with captain-of-the-ship, Peyer, and discuss his new book, as well as other things, including Ahoy Comics’ wise decision to publish Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s The Second Coming this July.
Olly MacNamee: Firstly, can I congratulate you on the success of The Wrong Earth. It seemed to actually pick up new readers issue by issue. That’s unheard of these days, surely?
Tom Peyer: Thank you! You could have knocked us over with a feather. I guess our readers must have been talking it up, bless ’em.
OM: Indeed, it would seem all your first wave titles met with critical success. Given one of your aims was to offer that that little bit more for for their buck, you must feel elated that this model of publishing comics has worked so well?
TP: The response has been so encouraging. And now we have our collected editions of The Wrong Earth, High Heaven, and Captain Ginger coming out in May and June, so we’re anticipating that the word will spread further.
OM: Now you have a new series out, as part of your second wave of titles, Hashtag Danger, which started off as a back-up strip. How do you decide which strips have legs enough to carry their own book?
TP: In the case of Hashtag: Danger, we were given an opportunity to monopolize Chris Giarrusso’s time for awhile. We didn’t even have to think about it. Although his work looks delightfully cartoony on the surface, his staging, poses, and facial expressions are about 75% responsible for making these characters real. I give him scripts that are a certain level of funny and I get back pages that are funnier.
OM: For anyone who is unaware of the comedic crime-stoppers that are Hashtag Danger, how would you best describe them to new and potential readers?
TP: They are three pulp science adventurers who go on brief missions to capture monsters, fight UFO invasions, negotiate trade with undersea kingdoms, etc. Then they spend a greater number of pages sitting around their headquarters and being awful to each other. They all have their own reasons for choosing this life, and all of their reasons are bad.
Desi Danger is the enthusiastic young leader who funds the group. She believes Hashtag: Danger has an important and noble purpose, but if you asked her to tell you exactly what that is, she wouldn’t be able to.
Einstein Armstrong is a super-genius, which means about 99% of the work falls to him, and he really resents it.
Sugar Rae Huang is strong, brave, and quite often drunk.
OM: It’ll be a five-issue series, but what can we expect from these hapless heroes? The cover to the debut issue (beautifully illustrated by MAD Magazine’s Richard Williams) would suggest that they themselves could well be their biggest threat!
TP: They will never know peace until the day they manage to defeat themselves. And they’re working on it.
OM: It seems you’re cornering the market in intelligent, reverential parodies such as Hashtag Danger and the aforementioned The Wrong Earth. And, you’re returning to The Wrong Earth this FCBD too, aren’t you, illustrated by Russ Braun (Jimmy Bastard)? What can you tell us about this free comic and the added extras that Ahoy Comics have become synonymous with?
TP: In The Wrong Earth two versions of the same hero–the classically campy and kid-friendly Dragonflyman; the modern, gritty and ultraviolent Dragonfly–were trapped on each other’s worlds. In our Free Comic Book Day offering Dragonfly & Dragonflyman, we see them operating at full strength before they switched earths, in a story that focuses on their very different relationships with the police.
OM: Finally, Tom, I’ve just got to ask about your decision to pick up Second Coming by Mark Russell and Richard Pace? Genius decision, or are you just a glutton for punishment? Personally, I can’t wait!
TP: Me neither! If publishing a comic that entertaining, and with that much to say–is a punishment, I’ll have another.