Interview with Peter David about his Spider-Man run

Peter David is a prolific author whose career, and continued popularity, spans nearly two decades. He has worked in every conceivable media: Television, film, books (fiction, non-fiction and audio), short stories, and comic books, and acquired followings in all of them.Peter has had over fifty novels published, including numerous appearances on the New York Times Bestsellers List. His novels include Sir Apropos of Nothing  and the sequel The Woad to Wuin, Knight Life, Howling Mad, and the Psi-Man adventure series. He is the co-creator and author of the bestselling Star Trek: New Frontier series for Pocket Books, and has also written such Trek novels. He produced the three Babylon 5 Centauri Prime novels.Peter’s comic book resume includes an award-winning twelve-year run on The Incredible Hulk, and he has also worked on such varied and popular titles as Supergirl, Young Justice, Soulsearchers and Company, Aquaman, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, X-Factor, Star Trek, Wolverine, The Phantom, Sachs & Violens, and many others. Peter is the co-creator, with popular science fiction icon Bill Mumy (of Lost in Space and Babylon 5 fame) of the Cable Ace Award-nominated science fiction series Space Cases, which ran for two seasons on Nickelodeon. He has written several scripts for the Hugo Award winning TV series Babylon 5, and the sequel series, Crusade. He lives in New York with his wife, Kathleen, and his children, Shana, Gwen, Ariel and Caroline Helen. 

Thanks Peter to join us for your first time at Lospaziobianco. First question: Jean Dewolff saga has been published between 1985 and 1988. Dark Knight Returns and Devil: Born Again (and Watchmen) came out in the same period. These comic books have common dark, gloomy atmosphere.
It is just a coincidence or comic book writers and artists were telling dark stories since it was a dark moment?
I don’t know how much of a coincidence it was.  All I knew at the time was that the editor, James Owsley, wanted “Spec Spidey” to have a darker, more “Hill Street Blues” feel to it, as opposed to the other Spidey books.  And I was the person he brought on to put that vision into motion.

Your Spider-Man is an hero defeated from life more than from supercriminals. How did you came up with the idea of a superhero that has to fight against things he can’t punch and send to jail (death, under age criminality)?
Well, *I* certainly didn’t come up with him.  That was Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  All I could do was carry out the character to the best of my abilities and stay faithful to the hero that they had come up with.

Did you think about the age of your readers? How old do you suppose they were?
At this point?  I’d guess eight to eighteen, but they certainly go much higher.

Your runs on Hulk or X-Factor were stuffed with -sometime bitter- humour. In Spider-Man we were not able to find it at all. It was something you later liked to put in your stories? Do you think they were too much gloomy?
No, I don’t think they were too gloomy at all.  I personally think the stories were much more humorous than things you’d find in other series.  Of my regular work, I’d say my time on Spidey was some of the more amusing stories I’ve ever written.  Then again, that could just be me.

You offered one of the most psychotic version on Venom; bringing him softly by putting some clues in your stories. The religious component of Brock story was almost completely deleted after your version. Did you have troubles in giving to a man with a massive religious sensibility a negative role?
No.  I think obsession with religion can oftentimes lead to complete disaster.

A stupid question we hope will be saved by a smart answer. With a time machine what would you change in these stories you wrote? And, if you had the chance to go ahead in writing Spider-Man is there something you would have done you didn’t had the time to do?
I wouldn’t change anything, with or without a time machine.  I had reasons for everything I wrote, and even if they turned out not to be the best reasons, they were still part of what I intended to write at the time.  As for things I would have liked to do, I’m honestly not sure.  If I was thinking about other stories, it doesn’t matter because I didn’t have the opportunity to do them and so stopped thinking about them.

You can find the Italian translation of this interview here
Peter David Wikipedia Page
Peter David Blog

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