Kurtis J. Wiebe is a Canadian comic book writer who has ingeniously recreated the Peter Pan mythology in the critically acclaimed Shadowline Comics series, Peter Panzerfaust. In his vision of the boy who never grows up, Peter Pan takes on the Nazis. Wiebe, who is also the 2012 Shuster award-winning writer, got his feet wet in the industry penning a number of other titles including The Intrepids, Green Wake and Grim Leaper. Peter Panzerfaust, which is illustrated by fellow Canadian Tyler Jenkins, is now in its eighth issue, and Wiebe took time to talk about his reimagining of the beloved character. He also dishes about a new series and his favorite comic book of the past year.
Q & A with Kurtis J. Wiebe
Comic Canuck (CC): For those that may not know, tell our readers a bit about your background. Where you’re from? Where you got your first start and what your first printed comic was.
Kurtis J. Wiebe (KW): Well, I’ve recently moved to Vancouver, Canada, but I’d spent the last 12 years in a small city called Saskatoon. My first published work was through Red 5 Comics (Atomic Robo) with a relatively unknown comic series called Beautiful Creatures. It was a 2 double sized issue fantasy comedy about a group of college women who learn that their bodies are host to the spirits of reborn mythological creatures and soon begin to exhibit their traits.
CC: How did you come up with the idea of doing this type of re-imagined Peter Pan story?
KW: Tyler and I had been batting around ideas for a few months and he’d come up with one that was the Lost Boys fighting during Vietnam. I truthfully didn’t take it very seriously at first, but as I started to think about it, the story took shape.
I’d been researching World War II at the time (I was on a huge Band of Brothers kick) and also doing some reading on Nancy Wake (The White Mouse) so when I put the concept into those situations, it really started to come together. I thought of interesting ways we could recreate the Peter Pan mythology in a World War II setting and it was pretty awesome how easily it all fit.
CC: There may be readers out there that have not read Peter Panzerfaust yet. How would you describe the story so far. You know, without too many spoilers.
KW: Peter Panzerfaust is a re-imagining of the classic J.M Barrie tale Peter Pan in real world France during the Nazi invasion of 1940. So, basically Peter Pan vs. Nazis.
CC: Issue 8 hit comic book shelves today. What can you reveal about this issue for those that have yet to pick it up?
KW: This is a big issue for the series and definitely one fans have been clamouring for since the series debuted last year. The first full appearance of the Peter Panzerfaust version of Captain Hook happens somewhere in this issue and from there, propels us into Issue #9 where he gets a lot of attention.
It’s been painful to have to wait this long to reveal our villain but I think it was a smart choice to build to this moment.
CC: Can you tell us about any other titles you’re working on or having coming out in 2013.
KW: Peter Panzerfaust will be continuing throughout 2013 and I will have a new horror series coming out in August called The Lineage. It’s set during World War I and follows a man who’s sanity wanes the longer he fights and begins to see monsters inside of men. It’s a very Cronenberg meets Lynch style mini-series that fans of Green Wake (another Image series I wrote) will really love. It’s as emotionally messed up and visually terrifying as that series was, for sure.
CC: Bit of an off-the-wall question, but have you thought of taking this amazing Peter Pan idea and telling the story of Pan in any other eras?
KW: Well, as I mentioned earlier, the first thought was to move it to the Vietnam War, but World War II was very clearly a war of black and white with defined good and bad sides. We didn’t ever want this to be a political statement, but an adventure story that was equal parts exhilarating and moving.
I think other eras would’ve muddied the waters a little.
CC: What is a favourite comic you read in 2012 and why would you recommend people pick it up?
KW: Well, the book I’d recommend doesn’t really need any explanation because I think everyone in the comic world is talking about it already. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. It’s gorgeous, it’s weird and Fiona is a friend and she’s a very talented and one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
For myself and the entire ComicBookTherapy.com team, I’d like to thank Kurtis for taking the time to answer our questions. To all you comic book fans reading, go buy Peter Panzerfaust or tell your friends to pick it up if you’re already loving it.
Keep reading and have fun.
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