Danger Dead Ahead?
Tom Peyer is a busy guy making great comics. Comics like The Wrong Earth, High Heaven, and AHOY Comics’ latest hit, Hashtag: Danger. We actually got him at some rare downtime to talk about the new series and why it’s so gosh darn funny. He didn’t disappoint. Interview by Scott Braden…
TW: Hashtag: Danger is hilarious!
TW: How did you come up with this not-so-fantastic threesome?
TP: The name came first. Then it became about, “Who in their right mind would spell out ‘hashtag?’” Obviously, people who have big ideas about themselves but can’t get out of their own way. What if you had ambitious plans and all the resources you need, but just weren’t up to it?
TW: How would you describe the individual members of the team . . . which we’d like you to list in order of importance, by the way . . .
TP: Desi Danger owns the operation and has big dreams for it. She really believes they stand for something important, but she’d have a hard time articulating what that is. She doesn’t understand why everything’s so hard, and she worries that her teammates might be sabotaging her. (They are.)
Einstein Armstrong is the greatest genius in the world. He’s usually disgruntled because so much of the work falls to him; no one else is equipped to, say, autopsy a dinosaur, or build an artificial intelligence. Because he’s so smart, he feels a responsibility to be interesting, which leads him to adopt some edgy–and bad–opinions.
Sugar Rae Huang is a pro cage fighter. She’s strong and brave and great in dangerous situations. She has little trouble putting up with her teammates, largely because she doesn’t take them that seriously. They’re always stressing about their place in the pecking order; her gravest worry is, “Do I have enough beer in the fridge?” She loves cute little beings of all species, and is not above pulling a mean prank.
TW: How did you land artist Chris Giarrusso as your partner-in-crime with Hashtag: Danger?
TP: Frank Cammuso, our chief creative officer, recommended Chris, and he had an opening. Which is a good thing because he’s perfect for it. Hashtag: Danger is a character comedy; the plots take a back seat. And Chris is skilled at expressing character. He’s also fluent in dinosaurs, undersea kingdoms, giant space eggs, and everything else in the pulp science fiction book of clichés. We like the same dumb trash.
TW: How did Hashtag: Danger get promoted from a series of back-up stories in High Heaven and Captain Ginger to a six-issue limited series all its own?
TP:When we started doing the backups, Chris had another monthly he was drawing, Encounter. Once he finished that we got the genius idea to claim all of Chris’ time for ourselves. The decision was as simple as that. Chris is great, more Chris is better.
TW: The covers for the series are both striking and fun. How were you able to enlist the stellar efforts of MAD artist Richard Williams? Does he have any input on the covers, or are these strictly the brainchildren of Peyer and Giarrusso?
TP: Richard works with us regularly; he painted the covers for High Heaven and Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror. We all love what he does. Once a month, Frank, Richard, publisher Hart Seely, and I have lunch and hash out the next cover. Richard and I always order the same thing: a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato bisque. Which tells you something. I don’t know what.
TW: Does Hashtag: Danger remind you more of a dysfunctional Challengers of the Unknown or a belligerent Fantastic Four?
TP: An interesting Sea Devils.
TW: What do you have in store for fans as the series plays out beginning this summer?
TP: More unnecessary conflict, more tired pulp science-fiction clichés, and the introduction of a mean new super-villain who would make an amazing toy. And a big Yeti is stalking them.
There’s also a wonderful, bleak backup series, Snelson, by Paul Constant (Planet of the Nerds) and Fred Harper. It’s about an edgy stand-up comedian who was briefly big in the ’90s and is now a bitter failure. Fun!
And, of course, we’re rounding issues out with AHOY’s usual short stories, humor pieces, and maybe even poems.
TW: And finally, why hasn’t anyone come up with a concept like this before?
TP: Because we’re the smart ones!