When I was in high school years ago, my buddies and I would often read the Syracuse New Times. At the time, this weekly newspaper seemed to us to be very avant-guard. It was funky and weird, eschewing middle class sensibilities for a kind of suburban Village Voice vibe. And each week we read a comic strip that was really cutting edge – full of snark, pop culture references, irreverent political satire and acerbic wit. I remember one week when the writer/artist made fun of the political climate of the day with an “Earth Two” joke, and I nearly fell off the proverbial chair.
Today, with the mainstream success of the CW’s Flash, and vocal comic fans, “Earth Two” isn’t that cryptic a phrase. It might not be in the “Everybody knows that” category, but it’s close.
But back then, the phrase “Earth Two” was only known to a small portion of the population. You had to read DC comics and pay attention. And I just knew that the writer/artist of that comic strip must have been “one of us”.
He was! Tom Peyer, the creator of that strip, is a brilliant creator who’s written so many of my favorite comics (Hourman, Batman ’66 and more) as well as edited a plethora of outstanding comics for DC and the Vertigo imprints. I always look forward to everything he writes (Aftershock’s Captain Kid last year was fantastic) and I was thrilled to learn about his newest endeavor, AHOY Comics.
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AHOY Comics looks to be a wonky publisher. AHOY will not be about a shared universe or a house style. Tom Peyer, Editor-in-Chief and writer of several of the titles, says it’s all about fun. While Peyer is a serious guy, he never seems to take himself too seriously and that’s the vibe I get from AHOY Comics.
Tom talked about the long journey for this project. One part of the original idea was to license an established character, but he soon started with Stuart Moore and things took a different direction. Hart Seely is the publisher, and this is a new career for him after an award-winning career as a reporter.
“He was looking for a way to ruin his retirement,” chuckled Peyer.
In fact, there’s lots of great talent on board. One of the guys that I’d like to note is Frank Cammuso who illustrates the Stinger back-up in The Wrong Earth #1. Stinger is the sidekick character and Cammuso imbues this one with all the charm of a lost Golden Age story that you just found in Grandma’s attic.
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I just read an Image comic from 2004 that I had rescued from a comic shop’s bargain box. It was a clever comic that was clearly meant to showcase a premise (i.e., intellectual property) that was intended for bigger things, beyond comics, in the entertainment world. Even though it was only issue 4 of a 6 issue series, the text page talked about the plans to turn the series into a video game and a movie. In fact, producer names were even attached to the cinematic tease. In retrospect, that all seems overblown and clearly the creator was putting the cart before the horse. There was also an implied message creating a quality comic wasn’t the highest priority of the creator.
Thankfully, AHOY comics seems just the opposite. AHOY is clearly having a ball in the here-and-now, and especially in celebrating comics themselves. Hey, something may happen with one of these properties down the road. If it does, that’s great. More power to them. Nothing wrong with that and I hope every creator gets a big fat payday. But for time being, it’s refreshing when creators focus on making good comics when they are making comics.
The first two titles will be The Wrong Earth and High Heavens. Here’s the official solicits:
The WRONG EARTH #1
AHOY Comics launches with a biting superhero satire! On one world, Dragonflyman and his sidekick Stinger enjoy a life of adventure. On another Earth, the Dragonfly hunts criminal parasites like a lethal exterminator. But what happens when these two heroes change places? By Tom Peyer (Captain Kid, Hourman) and Jamal Igle (Black, Supergirl)! And a “Golden Age” Stinger solo story, by Paul Constant and Frank Cammuso! Plus: An all-new text story by comics legend Grant Morrison: “‘Hud’ Hornet’s Holiday In Hell,” illustrated by Rob Steen! All this plus a cartoon by Shannon Wheeler!
In Shops: Sep 12, 2018
HIGH HEAVEN #1
Chronic malcontent David Weathers dies and goes to Heaven-where everything is terrible, and everybody hates a complainer. A savage satire by writer Tom Peyer (Hourman, Batman ’66) with art by Greg Scott (Black Hood, X-Files). The socially awkward science-adventurers known as Hashtag: Danger kill a dinosaur! Backup story by Tom Peyer, art by Chris Giarrusso (G-Man, Mini-Marvels). And a cartoon by Shannon Wheeler, and an all-new text story by comics legend Grant Morrison: “Festive Funtimes At The New World’s Fair,” illustrated by Rick Geary! Painted cover by Richard Williams (MAD).
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
I’ve read them both and I’ll give each one a high recommendation. The extra efforts and additional pages create a sense of wonder and surprise in the debut issues. These two series will be followed by Captain Ginger, a cats-in-space adventure, and Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, a wild, dark horror anthology that not only fulfills but exceeds the company’s quest for ignoring a house style.
AHOY comics looks to be a breath of fresh air in the cluttered world of comics and pop culture, and I’m excited to join in the fun.