Today's guest is Alterna Comic's Peter Simeti
discussing his upcoming new graphic novel, The Chair
Greg: Mr. Peter Simeti! Welcome to Face to Greg. How is everything?
Pete: Everything’s been going pretty good!Greg: So as we’re starting, tell us about yourself.
Pete: I’m very happy that my book’s finally headed for distribution;it’s a great feeling to be on the other side of that since I’m used tobeing the one that tells other creators their books have been picked up.Greg: I feel you. Can you tell us a little about your comic?
Sure, here’s the official summary: THE CHAIR
is a psychologicalthriller that takes place on death row. Richard Sullivan has spent thepast 10 years on death row, awaiting execution for crimes he claims henever committed. But lately strange events have started occurring inthe prison, including a piling body count of inmates, a viciouslysadistic warden, and enough twists and turns to make Sullivan questionhis own sanity. Can he prove his innocence before it's too late - or isthere entirely something else going on?Greg: What if there was nothing going on? How about that?
Pete: Ya got me, the whole “prison” plot is just something we thoughtwould sell the book. It’s really a book about different toilets fromacross the world. Haha, now that I think of it, that sounds like apretty good book, haha.Greg: Heh! How’d you come up with the story? Was it lingering in your noggin for a long time?
Pete: I guess I came up with the book’s premise about 2 and a halfyears ago. It was when everyone thought JonBenet Ramsey’s killer hadconfessed. I was thinking about capital punishment vs. life in prisonand which one was actually worse. I know it sounds weird but that’s howmy mind wanders.Greg: Hmm. Interesting. Did you do a lot of research for your character and the position he was in?
Pete: I looked into what happens to a lot of people when in isolationon death row. It turns out death row can make crazy people evencrazier. Human beings are social by nature and prolonged isolation canactually alter our brain chemistry and twist our perception of things.I mean think about having to be alone in your house for a day or two,without TV, radio, anything really. Now imagine that for ten years ormore? I’m not saying the punishment is too harsh for someone thatcommits a horrendous violent crime, but there’s no doubt that if youweren’t insane before, you might end up becoming that way.Greg: Are you usually interested in the insanity of the human psyche?
Pete: I’ve always been interested in what makes a person tick.Greg: What makes Pete Simeti tick?
Pete: That’s another book for another day, my friend. HahaGreg: Haha! I’ll find out somehow. So tell us about the art for yourbook. They have a very raw and scratchy look to them and I quite likehow the lettering is attached to it.
Pete: I wanted the art to feel very scratched in and nightmarish forthe book and Kevin [Christensen]
couldn’t have done a better job. Itwas a lot of fun to add the tones over his pencils. As far as thelettering, that actually went through a small change going to thegraphic novel. The graphic novel also has some tweaks and extras thatthe issues didn't have. Think of it as a “director’s cut” or something,haha. I liked a lot of what I did for the lettering on those firstissues, but there were some readability aspects to it that many peoplewere irked by, so I ended up tweaking it a little bit.
Greg: By the way, I’m one of the lucky ones to have a copy for yourfirst issue, which you already know. From what I understand, two issueswere released but all of a sudden a trade is being released with allthe issues together. Why the change of plans?
Pete: The series started off as a 6-issue mini. The first three issuescame out and then there was a company changeover at Alterna
. We wereheaded in a direction of only producing graphic novels and trades; theonly single issue we produce to this day is the Alterna TalesAnthology.
It was just a decision that has allowed us not onlydistribution through Diamond, but distribution through Partners BookDistributors, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and more. Single issues canonly go so far and we found that they would soon become an economicrisk. Given the rising costs of everything, it’s easy to see singleissues heading to $4.50 or $5 a piece. That’s just ridiculous. Butthat’s the way the economics of printing those things works. Since mostof the cost of printing is involved in just preparing and starting thepress, a single issue can become almost as costly as a 100 page graphicnovel. I really believe that eventually the single issue will becomeobsolete if the world’s economy keeps worsening as it is. It might notbe immediate, but I believe it will be eventual.Greg: That saddens me…
Pete: Also by buying a trade, 9 times out of 10 you actually save moneythan by buying the single issues. So the only thing you’d besacrificing is a monthly fix. And even then, if publishers timedreleases the right way and released a different set of trades/graphicseach month, then there will still be many to choose from.
Like for instance, The Chair
would be at $3 an issue given the newrising cost of printing, which would come out to $18 and would’vespanned over a 12-month period as it was a bi-monthly release. Butinstead it’s going to come out in one-shot for $13.95 (or less in someplaces) and there will be no waiting involved.Greg: Very interesting indeed. Some of the reasons a lot of people havedecided to just wait for trades rather than buy books monthly.
Tell us more about Alterna Comics
. What are you guys doing over there?
Pete: We’ve got over a dozen books scheduled for release from now tillthis time next year, so look for those in a store near you! We’re alsoworking on expanding our children’s line of comics. Convention seasonis coming up, so we'll be making stops at different cons like BaltimoreComic-Con, SPX, San Diego (Stephen Lindsay of Jesus Hates Zombies willbe there), Boston Comic-Con, and many more. We’re also making plans toofficially exhibit at New York Comic-Con 2009, so that should be ablast.Greg: What else do you have planned after The Chair? Maybe Spectrum?
Pete: As of now, I’m just focusing on the publishing aspect of things.I’ve got 2 or 3 stories on the back burner but I won’t be gettingaround to those for a while. Spectrum
was discontinued as I just didn’thave the time at all for the book, I don’t think I'll ever start thatup again either. So if anyone has those, I guess just save them in casethey become collector’s items! (haha yeaaa right...)Greg: (stores Spectrum copy in bubble wrap) Heh…
Pete: I’ve got a few signings lined up for The Chair
and I know I’llprobably be promoting that book till doomsday as I’m a firm believerthat you can never stop promoting a book just because it’s sold Xamount of copies or has been around for X amount of months/years. Therewill always be new readers!Greg: Heh heh, most definitely. Well, we’re back to The Chair! Onething I know about writing is that when you have an idea and whileyou’re writing, you tend to look at stuff or read through things,mostly favorite books or subjects, to sorta “channel” what inspires youinto your writing. Any of that happen to you while producing The Chairand what?
Pete: Hmmm... I know I was reading Arkham Asylum
again by GrantMorrison
and Dave McKean
. Batman’s always been my favorite comiccharacter as his stories are just slightly more grounded in realitythan a lot of others. A good Batman writer is like a good mysterywriter. [The] Long Halloween
comes to mind as well.
In general, I try not to read too much when writing because I don’t want any ideas to be subconsciously stolen.
I think that’s what was happening when I was writing Spectrum
. It justended up seeming like another cliched revenge/scientist type storythat’s been done to death already.Greg: Definitely understandable. So when you make it big in the industry, who are the characters you’ll be writing?
Pete: I’d love to write a Batman graphic novel. I could never do serialstory telling, I’m much more a fan of a complete story being told.Other than that though, I really have no other aspirations right now.I’m just concerned with getting my book out there and with helpingAlterna
grow into a great company.Greg: And a great good luck, man! I’m definitely interested to see whatelse you guys produce. Anything else you’d like to add for the readers,man?
Pete: I’d like to say that even if people aren’t interested in my book- or well, any book we have at Alterna
- as long as they read comics ingeneral, then that’s a great thing. The comic industry needs all thehelp and support it can get and as long as people keep reading, therewill be people that keep on making them. Oh yeah, and buy THE CHAIR
!Diamond code: JUN08 3610
- 136 pages for $13.
95 (or less if you order at DCBService.com) What, you didn’t think I’d end this without plugging my own book did ya?Greg: Hahaha, Pete! Thanks a lot for the visit. You were a great guest.
Pete: No problem, the pleasure was all mine!Diamond code: JUN08 3610
- 136 pages for $13.
You can also read the preview pages here -> http://www.alternacomics.com/thechairpreview.htm
Look through more Alterna Comics stuff! http://alternacomics.com/
Posted originally: 2008-06-25 22:59:25