Interview: Peter David

Published on July 18th, 2009

Fallen Angel: Reborn #1 published by I.D.W. came out in comic shops on Wednesdy and I have a special e-mail  interview for you with series writer Peter David! The comic is an awesome noir story about the Fallen Angel, an outcast from Heaven, who has come to the city of Bete Noir to help those in need by delivering justice to the beings who deserve it. Think The Preacher meets X-Factor blended with Christian mythology and you’ve got Fallen Angel. Plus, Peter even takes the time to talk a little bit about what’s coming up in X-Factor! So pull up a chair, read this interiew, and then head out to get yourself a copy of Fallen Angel: Rebon #1!

ComicImpact: So right off the bat, lets talk about the reboot, Fallen Angel: Reborn. How many issues are planned for the series, and what is the release schedule going to be?

PETER DAVID: Four issues at this point.  We’re still weighing whether to continue from there, or keep it as a series of limited series.  After all, Mike Mignola doesn’t feel the need to turn out “Hellboy” on a monthly basis; you don’t see Frank Miller cranking out “Sin City” twelve times a year.

peterdavidComicImpact: We have two volumes of Fallen Angel published by DC and 5 from I.D.W. Is Reborn a good jumping on point for new readers, or should they read all of the back story first?

PD: “FA: R” is absolutely designed to be read on its own.  People with no experience with the Fallen Angel will be able to follow the story effortlessly because it’s being told from Illyria’s POV, so the reader learns things as she does.  And if you have no familiarity with Illyria, again, not to worry:  We have a sort of “Lord of the Rings” preamble that explains her backstory as well.

CI: Things ended in a state of disarray in vol. 5 as some characters died while others were  seriously injured. Does Reborn pick up right where this volume left off?

PD: Yes.  Some time has passed, and Bete Noire has put things back together, but the new status quo is still in place.

CI: While I’m sure you’ve never really encountered demons, angels, vampires, and immortals (… right?), have you ever experienced a city like Bete Noir? What place was the impetus for you to create this magnificent locale?

PD: Bete Noire is loosely based on New Orleans.

CI: At the end of vol. 5 Bete Noir, the ‘Gotham City’ of the series, quite literally disappears. Where did it go?

PD: Bete Noire is always disappearing.  It vanishes during daylight.  As to where it goes, that’s easy:  It goes back to where it came from.

CI: Lets talk about the leading lady of the series- Liandra a.k.a Lee a.k.a the Fallen Angel. What’s in store for her in Reborn?

PD: Illyria comes to town with a mission, and the Angel has to determine whether to help her or hinder her.

CI: How did Liandra learn to fight so well, and where do her powers hail from?

PD: She’s not all THAT great a fighter.  She’s more of a brawler than anything.  She has formidable strength and also the energy web that she generated that can kick the crap out of people pretty good.

CI: In the introduction to DC’s vol. 1 of the series, Harlan Ellison claims that he knows the reason why the Fallen Angel doesn’t wear shoes. Black Mariah states that it’s because Lee “doesn’t want to touch our world.” Is this the reason?

PD: It’s part of the curse she lives under.  The earth will have no part of her since it is God’s creation; He has banned her from it.

CI: Why doesn’t the Fallen Angel wear a mask? After Black Mariah recognized Lee at the school she subs for, shouldn’t she be a little worried that someone more

dangerous could detect her outside of Bete Noir?

PD: Considering she resides almost exclusively in Bete Noire now, it’s pretty moot.

CI: So how the heck did Lee get a job as a High School gym sub anyway?

PD: She saved the ass of the head of the school and the job was payback.

CI: While the Fallen Angel, may be the series’ title character, it would seem to me that the leading player of the book is the city of Bete Noir itself. Much like Vertigo’s Scalped where the location, Prairie Rose Reservation, could be considered the main character, Bete Noir seems to take front and center in Fallen Angel. Would you agree?

PD: Yes.

CI: Speaking of other characters in the series, will we see many familiar faces in Reborn?

PD: Many of them, yes.

CI: What about new ones?

PD: Between Illyria and the crew from Bete Noire, I think that’s quite enough for one series.

CI: Dolf, the city’s sagacious barkeep, is such a great character, coming off as a darker version of Yoda or Gandalf. It seemed like at the end of vol. 5 his character was headed towards a more rocky path than before. Are there any advancements of his character in Reborn you’d be willing to share?

PD: Nope.

CI: Have you ever met a bartender like him before?

PD: A guy who might very well be Adolf Hitler?  I think it’s safe to say “no” on that one.

CI: In vol. 3 we discover that Lee isn’t the only Fallen Angel of Bete Noir. We meet Lin- Lee’s predecessor- who is very much like her in most respects, only Lin’s powers are flame based as opposed to Lee’s which are electric. Can we look forward to more fallen angels dropping out of the sky?

PD: I wouldn’t rule it out.

CI: Asia Minor is my favorite character, and that twisted, cocky smirk of his rivals even The Joker… just sayin’.

PD: He’s in the series, so that should please you.

CI: In vol. 5 you introduce a little boy named James who quite literally stumbled into Bete Noir, only to be saved by Liandra. He draws his own comic book about the experience, leaving me thinking if there are plans for this character in the future?

PD: If James is lucky, no, he’ll never be back.

CI: Juris, the first magistrate we meet of Bete Noir, once said, “Poetic justice… so called because there’s always rhyme… not to mention reason.” I think this is a fantastic quote, and was wondering how you came up with it.

PD: Just plucked it out of Peter’s head.

CI: Gilles de Rais is a sick, vile villain having raped 100 little boys to obtain the magical power he craved so dearly. That’s f-ed up man.

PD: No, what’s fucked up is that he was a real guy.  He’s the first genuinely historical character to show up in the series.

CI: The story about Terry May, a singer who had brain rot, was incredibly touching and probably the most sentimental story in the series to date. Mainly because the villain isn’t some demon or hell bent crusader, but something real- brain disease. This of course proves that even our heroine, the Fallen Angel, has humbling limitations to her powers. What was the influence for this story?

PD: Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, heightened to a tragic degree.

CI: Who is your favorite character to write?

PD: Probably Asia, with Dolf a close second.

CI: Your least favorite?

PD: Jubal.  He really pissed me off.

CI: Was there a story arc or character change that happened which you didn’t pre-plan but decided to run with anyway? Were there any other ideas that took you by surprise that you just had to write?

PD: No.  On Team Angel, we pretty much know what we’re doing.

CI: David Lopez’s art in the DC run, while very good, came off a bit too ordinary to do Fallen Angel justice. It reminded me very much of a Vertigo comic, and when J.K. Woodward came aboard with the I.D.W. reboot, the series seemed to truly find it’s identity. Woodward’s whispy lines and shadowed style seriously heightened the appeal of the comic. How did you feel about the artist switch, and why was it done?

PD: Dave was actually offered the book when it transitioned to IDW, but he passed.  Peter was shown samples from a variety of artists, saw JK’s work, and said, “This is the guy.  This is how Bete Noire always looked in my head.”

CI: The book heavily dabbles into the mythos of the Christian religions. Do you consider yourself a religious man, and if not, did you ever?

PD: Not especially, no.

CI: So what’s next after Reborn?

PD: Hopefully more stories.

x-factor42CI: Lets shift gears for a minute and talk about some of your other work… being a die-hard X-Men junkie, I have to ask a few questions about X-Factor. To start, are there plans for Ruby Summers to make it into the 616 Universe and possibly meet her sister Rachel, brother Nathan, and mother Emma?

PD: Not at this time.

CI: Darwin is such a cool, underdeveloped character and I think it’s great that you are utilizing him. Given his power to evolve in order to survive any situation, is something in store for him to truly display his full potential?

PD: He goes toe-to-toe with Monet; that’s pretty formidable.

CI: Thank you for bringing Shatterstar back and making him look cool again (he looked cool in the 1990’s, but that style just wouldn’t fly today). Is he here to stay?

PD: Very possibly.

CI: Are there any other surprise X-appearances we have to look forward to?

PD: Fallen Angel will be guest starring.  Seriously:  If there was going to be a surprise appearance and I told you specifics, the surprise would be what, exactly?

CI: Dude, Jamie absorbing a dupe baby was messed up!

PD: Kind of the point.