To be fairly honest, I’ve just discovered Kurtis Wiebe’s work. I had the chance to hear him speak at a couple panels over at the Image Expo and decided to give his work a chance. His comics quickly became must reads for me as new ones came out. Needless to say, that it was pretty awesome when he agreed to do a Pro Logs column. While you’re busy reading his answers about Peter Panzerfaust, Grim Leaper, Derbis, and the career of writing, I’m gonna go catch up with Green Wake.
Adam Messinger: Peter Panzerfaust has consistently sold out and gone into multiple printings with each issue. What/who do you attribute this to and do you view it as a positive thing?
Kurtis Wiebe: I believe it’s because Peter Panzerfaust is an adventure story that anyone can read. It doesn’t matter your age or gender, it appeals on many levels because of its connection to the Peter Pan mythology. I think most people know of the original J.M. Barrie novel or at least the Disney movie, and there’s something satisfying, exciting and familiar about taking a character you know and placing them in a different setting.
Adam: Who has been your favorite character to write in Peter Panzerfaust so far?
Kurtis: Probably Gilbert (Tootles). Not only is he a close friend to Peter throughout the series but he is the first of the orphans to be interviewed. That allows me to really dive into his psyche and develop him as a deep, layered character.
Adam: Is Peter Panzerfaust set in an alternate past World War II or are they having adventures in history as we know it?
Kurtis: This is based on my thorough research of World War II as it happened. We will be sticking to the events as closely as possible, it’s very important to me that the reality we’re grounding it in stays true to the history surrounding it.
Adam: You’re re-teaming with your Green Wake collaborator, Riley Rossmo for Debris. What is the story of Debris, and what does it mean to be working with Riley again?
Kurtis: Debris is the story of Maya, the Protector of the last tribe of humanity. Far in the future, our world is covered in garbage and the spirits of Earth have risen up to wipe us off the face of the planet forever. As they are only spirits, they need to take a physical body and do so from the debris strewn across the land. Hence, the giant junk monsters.
It’s great to be working with Riley, we’ve got 10 issues under our belt together from our previous series and that’s made us a very tight knit team.
Adam: Grim Leaper is also on the horizon, and features two people who die repeatedly while falling in love between deaths. How did you conceive this concept?
Kurtis: Watching Quantum Leap I thought to myself, “What if he just died every episode or made things far worse in people’s lives?” I thought it was a funny concept so I took a week to come up with the series, eventually settling on a combination black romantic comedy.
Adam: It often appears that you try to be as accessible to your fans as possible. What went into this decision and has this opened the door for any odder than usual fans?
Kurtis: I think it’s just partly my nature. I’m so grateful to be here and I still don’t fully understand the luck I’ve been awarded in being where I’m at with my career. I owe that to the people who gave my books a chance when I had no titles to my name. That part is the best, getting to meet those people who’ve made my situation possible.
And, no, I haven’t run into any weirdos, all my fans are awesome people.
Adam: Your career thus far has been mostly independent comics over at Image. Is this a conscious effort to focus solely on your own work or would you entertain offers to work on mainstream comics?
Kurtis: I’ve done some work for Marvel already back in December with their Marvel Holiday Annual 2011 and I’m definitely interested in working more with them or with DC. You have to pay your dues in the independent market, show you can stick with a series or make a name for yourself before you can cross over to the big leagues. That’s how it seems to play out most of the time, anyway.
Adam: What was the comic, or the moment, that made you go “Holy crap! I want to write this stuff professionally?”
Kurtis: Fell by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith.
Adam: You’ve started a podcast called The Process. What motivated you to start the podcast in such a competitive field of work?
Kurtis: When I first started out putting together pitches and trying to get published I really had no idea where to start. There were small bits of information here or there but not a solid place to get the hard facts on pitching, finding an artist, and talking to editors. I wanted to be able to help other aspiring writers find a home where they could find answers and ask questions to make that part of the writing a bit less of a mystery.
Adam: What is the dream project that you’ve been pining for since you started?
Kurtis: I’m doing them now. I’ve been doing them since last year. I’ve wanted to write my own original stories and I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to do just that.
Thanks a bunch, Kurtis! You can find him on twitter @KurtisJWiebe, at his website, and every month from Image Comics! Arrive back here on Friday as we have fellow Image creators, Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz. This will be the first part in a special two part interview with the creative team behind Hell Yeah!