Episode 2: Peter Raber

Jordan: I’m Jordan Werme and this is Table to Stage. Let’s get the pod started.

Hey there, listeners. Today’s episode is Pete Raber. He’s a Connecticut author and the owner of AJ’s Comics in Colchester. We had a great conversation about comic books and his own experience as a writer so I hope you enjoy it. If you enjoy the show or know someone who might, you can subscribe on Podbean, iTunes, and Google Play. If you have a question or a comment, you can reach me at tabletostage@gmail.com or through the website at tabletostagepod.com.

Before I get started, I do want to let everybody know that May 5th is free comic book day. AJ’s Comics is actually going to have some pretty interesting events available to everybody. They’ll have raffles, they have a cosplay contest. There’s going to be free food and drinks and of course free comic books for everybody who stops by. You can visit ajscomics.com for more info or you can visit them on Facebook.

Here’s my conversation with Pete from his shop in Colchester.

Alright. So I’m here at AJ’s Comics in Colchester, Connecticut and I am speaking with Pete Raber. He’s the owner of the shop and author of a couple of books that have been published. Pete, if you can introduce yourself and tell us where you’re from.

Pete: Sure. My name’s Pete Raber. I’m originally born in Milford, Connecticut and I’ve been up and down the east coast through my life. I’m back here in Colchester. I’ve been here for about twelve years.

Jordan: Okay. When did you purchase this shop here?

Pete: I bought it from my best friend Ken. Let’s see, when did I do it. It was almost two years ago back in May of 2016. He still helps me out, him and his wife, and they will help with the weekly pub books and he’ll ship stuff out for me to people who buy online, people who do eBay auctions and stuff like that.

Jordan: Okay.

Pete: He’s still a viable part of the store but I bought it from him two years ago.

Jordan: Alright. Why comics? How did you get involved in comic books?

Pete: I’ve been involved with them since… I’ve been collecting since I was 15 but I’ve been involved with them… Since I was a young kid, my father would go to the drug store and buy some for me if I had to stay home from church because I was sick with a fever or a cold, something like that. He’d come home with a few comics for me. I used to love that stuff, 5/6 years old, and read old Spiderman, old Batman.

My favorite thing to do was, and I cringe now when I think about it, is cut out the figures in the covers. So I’d have Spiderman and Dr. Octopus and I’d cut them out so I could play with them. I would since now go back and buy the comics and like, “Yeah, I remember reading that and destroying it and that was great.” It’s been a love affair for the past 47 now, over 40 years.

Jordan: Wow. What was it about comic books specifically that drew you in to the medium?

Pete: I don’t know. At first, it was just basically my dad would come home and say, “Oh, hey. You’re sick. Here, I got you some stuff to read.”

Jordan: Cool.

Pete: Stuff like that. When I became older, I remember I was in grade school, it was probably around 7th or 8th grade, and I had a couple of friends and they were talking about this new event DC was putting out, Crisis on Infinite Earth. It was such a great comic. I was like, “Oh, I have to check that out.” Ever since I did that…

Jordan: That was the book, huh.

Pete: That was the pivotal point where I started. At that moment, I was like, “Yeah, okay. I’m going to read these, I’m going to collect these.” That’s the way it went. I went on and off again over the years. Sometimes, money situations or whatever come by and you’re go “Yeah, okay. These I’m going to drop.” I always went back to them. Now I’m a lifer.

Jordan: That happens. The Crisis book, I remember that one being a very complicated storyline with a lot of different styles of art in there. What about that specific book… Some of the artwork I remember being mesmerizing not the right word but it was pretty cool.

Pete: George Perez is a very detailed artist. He would draw very intricately for something at that time, too. Comics before that were while you had good art, solid art, they weren’t super detail-oriented. You didn’t put all the leaves on the tree and then put all the veins in the leaves.

Jordan: It’s more of a suggestion on the background.  

Pete: Exactly, yes. Whereas, he would take the time and sit there really intricately draw every little facet of every panel. I remember seeing some pages when he was first introducing the monitors and Harbinger and those outer space panels and pages. They were just “this is something I really want to read.” As it got later in the series and then the comics got delayed a little bit, that would get frustrating but that’s been going on and will continue to go on long after I’m gone.

Jordan: That frustration comes from the anticipation of the story that you don’t want to see end. We want more of it.

Pete: I want it and I want it now. I don’t want to have to wait instead of a month now, two months, 12 weeks, what’s going on?

Jordan: That serialized story telling that comic books have been doing for so long is going away in a lot of ways. With Netflix, for instance, everything’s available all at once. You don’t have to wait.

Pete: At least until it’s all done.

Jordan: Right. You don’t have to wait anymore so now there’s this built in waiting with something like a comic book. I’m not sure how that resonates with people now where everything’s instantaneous and everything. The stuff that’s going on now in the comic books, what are you seeing now that it separates it from where it was back in the 90s or even the 80s?

Pete: Well, the cost, obviously, is the first thing that jumps to mind. The cost in the 80s, you were still at a buck, 75 cents. Now, you’re at $4, some are $5. That’s the first thing that jumps out. The storytelling more or less has stayed the same. You’ll get books where they do bi-weekly books. I remember back in the 90s, they were doing Marvel and then DC jumping into the summer events where “Okay, for the summer we’re going to make Spiderman bi-weekly.” “For the summer, we’re going to do the two Avengers.” or Batman or something like that.

For three months out of the year, you’d get two books a month. Now, with DC, what they’re doing is for the past almost two years, a lot of their books are bi-weekly. Since in the past six months or whatever, they’ve tamped it down a little bit. The ones that don’t sell as well, they’re pushing back to monthly. The big books like Batman, Detective, Action, Superman, Flash, even the Green Lantern books, are still bi-weekly books.

You’d get more storytelling. I don’t see that what they’re doing is they’re diluting the actual story because while we have to get two out of the month instead of one so let’s do a lot of splash pages in and say the same thing that we were going to say but do it in twice as many pages just so we can fill up art or whatever. Art still takes a long time to produce. They don’t want to go that route. Now, they use rotating art teams so that’s still only one artist once a month but the same writer for both issues.

Jordan: One of the things that I’ve noticed because I took a long break from comic books from when I was a teenager. I used to read Batman and X-men and just over the last few years, now that I’ve hit my 40s, it’s like “What have I been missing all this time?”

Pete: Welcome, welcome.

Jordan: One of the things I noticed when I first started buying the books again was that the quality. The paper is very different than it was.

Pete: This is true. It used to be the newsprint.

Jordan: The inks are beautiful now. They’re not using the dot thing anymore.

Pete: That’s just using the dot printer.

Jordan: Even a book that is mediocre to pour usually still looks pretty incredible compared to what they look like when I was a teenager back when image first came out and they really changed the way that the books looked back then. The artist that are working today, there’s no Jack Kirby but there’s, who are the big names now, who are the ones that people are looking for when they come in?

Pete: Well, Greg Capullo is big, obviously. He was in Batman so we was a huge name. People still look to Jim Lee even though he’s more of an executive, he still puts his pages in whenever he can. John Romita Jr., people look to him even though he has a little bit of a different style.

Jordan: He’s a Spiderman guy for a while, right?

Pete: He’s not exactly mainstream. Oh yeah, he’s the Spiderman guy for a long time. He went over to DC doing DC stuff now. Patrick Leason. He was drawing Superman but now he’s co-writing it. Now, he won’t be once [inaudible 11:50] takes over but he was doing it for a time.

Jordan: Well, the Michael Bendis coming from Marvel to DC has to be a big shake up in the entire industry.

Pete: Yeah. Bryan Michael Bendis moving over to DC is huge. Even DC is [inaudible 12:08]. You open to comics and they’re like “Bendis is coming in.” Two page spread just in the fact that he’s coming. I remember for the longest time, he’s at Marvel and he’s like “I’m going to DC. I’m the Marvel Lifer.”

Jordan: He’s the guy that created the ultimate universe at Marvel, isn’t he?

Pete: He was the Mark Millar. They’re the ones that brought that about Bill Jemas and Joe Casada. They were the spearheads.

Jordan: These are heavy hitters in comic books.

Pete: Yeah, without a doubt. Bendis brought in Spiderman and Millar brought in X-men. That revolutionized comics for a while. They were excellent, fantastic books. I remember reading Ultimate X-men right from the beginning and going “This is really awesome stuff.” Ultimate Spiderman’s Spiderman, but he’s not even in until issue 5. That’s all Peter Parker, what’s going on with him? It was great story telling. I’m more inclined to follow writers than I am to follow artists.

Jordan: Sure. Well, the story’s always going to be the most important piece of it.

Pete: That’s the way I look at it. There are some people that are just like, “Yeah, I’ll follow any artist. I don’t care.” I’m not that way. I’ll follow any writer. Give me a specific writer’s name and if he’s the one I really like, yeah I’m going to follow him to whatever he’s doing.

Jordan: What do you think is more polarizing among comic book readers? Because I know some writers are loved by a certain group and those same guys are despised by another group. I’ll assume it’s the same for different artists. Who are the more polarizing names that are writing these days? I’m thinking of a guy like [inaudible 14:16]. Some people really like his stuff, some people don’t.

Pete: Some people can’t stand it. I’m one of those in the latter camp. Some of his stuff is really good. His Detective, his first arc on Detective was fantastic. The latest Clayface arc was a great arc. Everything in between, not so much. He’s one of the ones that to me, when I’m reading it, has great ideas, decent layout start of the story. You get to the end and I don’t like the payoff.

When I see his name attached to most things, I’m just like, “Ugh. No.” I liked his first issue of Immortal Men. Let’s see where that goes though. The first issue was great. Jeff Lemire is a writer. He’s also an artist but he’s also a writer that I don’t care what he does. He could write a grocery list and I’ll read it. He’s one of those guys that I’ll follow wherever.

Jordan: What are his books now? What is he writing?

Pete: He’s writing Terrifics for DC. He will be writing The Century for Marvel.

Jordan: Oh, Marvel’s putting Century back into rotation?

Pete: Yeah, they are. Now, I don’t know. They’re saying it’s going to be an ongoing but that could be one of Marvel’s tricks of saying “Okay, it’s an ongoing but it’s really many series.”

Jordan: Right.

Pete: I like more his independent stuff where he does Black Hammer for Dark Horse, which is a phenomenal book. [inaudible 16:07] back to the golden age heroes of the DC age but obviously, they’re not. They’re solely created for the Dark Horse universe and it’s just a fantastic book. He does bloodshot for Valiant and another fantastic book. He does other stuff on his own. Everything that I read from him especially when it’s not tied to the big two is a fantastic read.

Jordan: Do you think that’s because there’s less structure, maybe, from the independent publishers?

Pete: Yes. There’s less editorial involvement from higher ups than when he’s at DC and Marvel. It’s like yeah, you could say whatever you want in your story but we’re going to have to sit there and maybe move things a certain way because this character’s being used here.

Jordan: Sixties, seventies of history we have to stay true to.

Pete: Yeah. I think when you get some of those constraints, it will hamper your creative output a little bit. You won’t be able to tell the story exactly the way you want to whereas in his independent stuff, he has free rein release from when I’m reading it. It looks like he has free rein. Royal City, that was another book. That’s a fantastic book.

Jordan: I’m just looking at the back wall.

Pete: Oh yeah, that’s another one of his books.

Jordan: I don’t know how you keep track of all of this.

Pete: Not easy.

Jordan: This place is just chuck full of titles I’d never be able to remember. It seems to me over the last couple of years that the comic books themselves, not the books, but the publishers have gone to an event-driven schedule. Everytime I turn around, I feel like there’s another major event coming up where they’re tying as many books together as they can. Is that the two major guys that are doing that? Is that just because of the direct competition between them?

Pete: I don’t know. Probably. It’s probably because of that. They always want to drive to the number one spot of the market place or whatever. Marvel and even DC, to a lesser extent, will manipulate it so to get to that level. When LootCrate was huge and they would offer free comics every so often as part of their subscription box.

Jordan: I got my reprint of Action Comics.

Pete: Right?

Jordan: See, that’s a DC one. Sure.

Pete: All of a sudden, “Oh, we’re the number one publisher. This book sold 800,000 copies.” Well, yeah, because you gave away 600,000 in this LootCrate giveaway. There’s always going to be those types of manipulations. Yeah, I think it’s mainly because they always want to try to one-up each other.

“We have this huge event.” “Okay. So now we have this huge event.” Marvel also is dictated by their movie, corporate level, too, because now all of a sudden they’re having all these huge Infinity War, Infinity Crusade countdown, whatever you want to call it, adjective of the month. Titles. That’s just purely movie-driven. We have to put it out for that.

Jordan: I’ve wondered for years now how much impact the cinematic universe has over what the writers and the artists are able to do in the publishing side of it because obviously, the comic books came first and they have a long history and they have this very deep characters. And then the MCU comes along and there’s a shift. It seems like maybe there is a change in hierarchy within Marvel. Maybe the comic books have to fall more in line with the movies. The source materials switching.

Pete: Yeah, I know what you’re saying. I think I saw that for a time. I don’t really think it’s that way currently. I think they tried to do things in their own way separately and not try to intertwine it. They used to at the beginning, especially one like Amazing Spiderman, came out in the movie. When Spiderman first came out, [inaudible 20:59] Spiderman, Marvel all of a sudden went “Oh, you know what? We got to make Peter Parker have organic webshooters in the comics, too.” That lasted for about 3, 4, 5 issues and then it was back to the norm.

Jordan: It’s that quick, huh.

Pete: Yeah. I don’t remember being, though. Maybe it was a little bit longer than I thought but I know obviously they’re back to the normal again. I’m trying to think about stuff that was in movies that are different in the comics and seeing if the comics tried to adapt that. At the top of my head, I really can’t think so much stuff.

Jordan: I’m sure some of it bleeds over in both directions. You’ve been around comic books for a long time. Is there a certain title, a certain artist, a certain writer, that gets you excited still? You see something coming up and you feel that same feeling you had when you were a kid when you see a comic book.

Pete: Oh yeah, definitely. Batman’s my favorite character.

Jordan: Batman should be everybody’s favorite character.

Pete: Absolutely. It should be without question. When anybody says somebody else, you go “What? No.” He’ll have certain events, certain mini series come out, and some of them will be like, “Eh, whatever. It’s another one.” But then sometimes, you’ll read this [inaudible 22:34] coming up and you go “Yeah. Now that sounds awesome.” One of the problems that I find is they’ll still have older writers or older artists announcing for a new mini series or whatever and you go “Yes.”

But you’re [inaudible 22:54] back to your days when you were reading them in their heyday in the 70s or the 60s even, and then you turn around and you read them now and you go, “Yeah, not quite the same.” Dennis O’Neil’s a fantastic writer in the day. Nowadays, not so much. Neil Adams, fantastic artist. Nowadays, I don’t like his Superman art, I didn’t like his Batman art, Odyssey art, Batman with a perm. It was not it for me.

Jordan: Is that because their style has changed or talent has diminished?

Pete: I don’t think the talent’s diminished. I think the style has somewhat changed. Obviously, you don’t want to draw the same way that you drew 40 years ago. You don’t want to write the same way you wrote 40 years ago. You’re going to adapt with the times but I don’t know. Maybe it’s my problem because I don’t want to adapt with it. I want them to be the way they were back then.

Jordan: You’ve said it in your head, this is the way somebody is supposed to look.

Pete: This is the way it’s got to be.

Jordan: You have an expectation.

Pete: When you don’t meet and when you fall short of it, yeah. That’s probably more of my problem than anybody else’s.

Jordan: This may be an impossible question but do you have a favorite writer for Batman or a favorite Batman story arc over the years?

Pete: There’s a lot of good ones. There are a lot of good ones.

Jordan: I love the Long Halloween and Knightfall personally. Those are two of my favorites.

Pete: I love the Long Halloween. Tim Sale on that stuff is fantastic. Those were very fast read. They were great.

Jordan: The Knightfall’s more of a sentimental thing for me. It was one of the first stories that I read all the way through for Batman.

Pete: The Knightfall was good. It wasn’t bad.

Jordan: He doesn’t mean that.

Pete: I’m not a big Bane fan. Arkham Asylum, the Grant Morrison hardcover, that’s phenomenal.

Jordan: That was an industry changer.

Pete: Oh, yeah.

Jordan: Without a doubt. That was a beautiful book.

Pete: Yeah, it was. It was fantastic. I remember getting that. I was out of comics at that time. It was in my 20s, maybe 19, 20 or whatever. I was in college and I just wasn’t reading comics at that time. I remember seeing that in a magazine my mother had shown me saying, “Oh, look through this. See what you want for your Christmas or your birthday or whatever.” I was like. “Psh, I want that. That looks awesome.” Obviously, the Frank Miller stuff goes without saying. Dark Knight Returns year 1, fantastic.

Jordan: What do you think of Dark Knight 3?

Pete: It was much better than Dark Knight 2. The Dark Knight Returns or whatever the heck that was called.

Jordan:  Yeah, the little interlude there.

Pete: That was no. Dark Knight 3 was a pretty good story.

Jordan: The story was great.

Pete: There were some issues where you feel like, “Okay. I’m getting let down” and then bam, smack you in the face again. You go, “Okay. Alright. That’s pretty good.” I like seeing Carrie Kelley back in the fold there. That was nice. That was a pretty good story. There was a story arc and I can’t remember who wrote it. It was around Batman in 296, 297. It was a four-issue arc. One of the stories was the many deaths of Batman or something like that. It was his four greatest super villains going up against him.

One was, at that time, Catwoman was against him so Catwoman was the one, the Riddler was one, the Penguin was one, and obviously the Joker. They were just fantastic. I remember seeing one panel with the Joker and Batman’s face was getting melted or something but it wasn’t really him. They wound up being somebody wearing Batman’s mask or whatever.

I just remember seeing that from when I was a little kid and then there was another part where two faces in there and he’s pulling is face on a panel and then you come to find it’s actually Batman pretending to be two faced because he’s trying to get on the side of all these bad guys so he can round them up at the end. That was a great four-issue story. I haven’t had it for the longest time. I had two of the four issues. It took me a while to go back and get them. When I found it, I was like, “Yes. Nice stuff.”

Jordan: Having been around comics for as long as you have, having read them as much as you have, being a writer in your own write, what influence has your love of comic books had on your own creative processes.

Pete: When I’m writing, I try to be more, I don’t know, I don’t want to say cinematic but I guess that’s what I’m going to say. Cinematic. Rather than set a scene, I want to immerse the reader in the action and the moment and get people’s blood pumping and moving rather than just being expository where I’m sitting there saying, “Oh, okay. You’re here and you’re at the park” and explaining the trees and the clouds and the grass, the dew on the blades of the grass and stuff like that. That, to me, is boring.

Jordan: You’re looking for a visceral reaction from the reader.

Pete: Exactly.  I want to grab the reader right away and for the most part not let go. Sometimes, I’ll give them a quick breather but then I want to jump right back into it. That’s the way I want my comics to be. I don’t want to sit there and read a 22-page story of just people talking. Comic books don’t have time for all that. They have to get you immediately. They only got a few pages to work with.

Jordan: You have two books that have been published?

Pete: Well, self-published.

Jordan: Okay, self-published. I know one of them, Heaven’s Hell. What is the other one called?

Pete: The Power Within.

Jordan: The Power Within. You were talking about the way you try to go about the writing. I read the first seven or eight chapters, probably, of Heaven’s Hell. As a husband and a father, that was really hard to read. It got a visceral reaction. I didn’t stop reading it. I was engrossed in the story but damn, that’s upsetting.  

Pete: It was.

Jordan: It’s a cinematic image that you get in your head of this horrific thing to happen to this man and his family.

Pete: I drew it from a real-life event that happened down in Cheshire.

Jordan: Cheshire, that’s exactly what I thought it was.

Pete: That’s exactly what it was. My wife actually told me “See, I don’t like it because you use that as a basis.”

Jordan: It’s absolutely heartbreaking reading through it. It definitely gets that.

Pete: Then I turned him into a superhero.

Jordan: I haven’t gotten there yet. Spoilers.

Pete: Oh, well. Okay. If you’re into seven, right chapters. I don’t mean superhero but I mean he is…

Jordan: The opening couple of chapters were drawn from that awful thing that happened in Cheshire. The rest of that story, where did that come from?

Pete: My mind. It was just like, “Okay. What are we going to do with this?” That was horrific but we want the story to just end? Well, no because that’s not really a story at that point.

Jordan: Give us a spoiler-free… I don’t want to try to explain because I haven’t gotten far enough along in the book but it’s a very unique take on this situation that this guy finds himself in.

Pete: It’s not really spoiler because he dies at the end of the first chapter. It’s everything that happens to him after that. You’re like, “What are you talking about? He’s dead.” Well, okay, but is he really? He winds up being visited by one of the archangels who goes to him and says, “Hey, look. We got a proposition for you.”

Jordan: He drops some pretty big names right in there, too.

Pete: I went to the seven archangels and used them. Here we got Michael the archangel, Gabriel. Gosh, it’s been so long since I wrote it I can’t remember the rest of them. I got all seven of them. I used one of the lesser known archangels as basically his entryway into that metaphysical universe. Then of course, when you bring that side of it in, you got to bring the other side in. Lucifer’s there as well.

Jordan: Sure.

Pete: What’s going on with that? You get the good and the bad, the ying and the yang. Also throw in there the perpetrators of the actual foul deed that caused him to lose his life and his family to die as well. How he goes through and handles all of that and comes out the other end as somebody that you can cheer for. That’s spoiler-free. That’s about it. That’s all I can do spoiler-free.

Jordan: Well, the fact that you could cheer for anybody after the way that book begins is pretty remarkable.

Pete: I would hope that you would want him to succeed in what he was doing by the time you finish the book.

Jordan: Oh, I’m already rooting for this guy.

Pete: Okay. Alright.

Jordan: I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read of it so far. How did you get into writing to begin with?

Pete: Well, again, I was dabbling in that for a long time. I guess my college days? I worked at a children’s mental hospital in Florida in college. I worked the night shift and so there were certain nights where I had nothing to do and I was like, “Well, let’s just sit down and come up with some ideas and write them down and see where those go.” I’d come up with a short story or two and I’d write those out then I’d put them away for a while then I’d go for six months without writing anything.

But then something else would strike my fancy and I would just have to sit down and write about it. That’s just where it went. I just never really had the drive to do it consistently but when I sat down and had the idea to do it, then I would do it and not stop doing it.

Jordan: Sure. Okay. How many other writers you know or have known, but have you ever had somebody that you have looked at as maybe a mentor or somebody who has given you some great advice for writing your own stuff?

Pete: You mean somebody that I’ve actually talked to?

Jordan: No, it doesn’t have to be.

Pete: Oh, okay.

Jordan: Just somebody who’s inspired you. Somebody that you’ve looked at as…

Pete: Well, Harlan Ellison’s my favorite writer. Short story fiction is the best parallel. He writes plenty of non-fiction as well and essays. His introductions to his short story collections are as equally as fascinating, fantastic reads as his short stories are. Reading his words in the introduction and his thoughts and what he’s playing out was very impactful to me into wanting to say the things that came to my mind and laying them out and saying them.

Now in today’s age where you can self-publish anything, it’s much easier to do. I’ve gone the normal route where you try to send it to agencies and editors and stuff and get rejected. I’ve gotten rejected plenty of times and I was just like, “Forget it. I’ll just go self-publishing route.”

Jordan: It’s also a much longer process to go through one of the big houses.

Pete: Yep. But not even being able to get into the front door. I was just like, “Well, I can’t waste any more time. I want to get the story out of people reading.” For the few people that have actually bought it and read it and have said that they liked it, then I’m pleased. I’m not looking to be making money on it. I wasn’t planning on making money on it.

Jordan: But if you have a story in your head, there’s a satisfaction in being able to get that out.

Pete: And finish it.

Jordan: I’ve never been able to do that. I get the beginning of a story…

Pete: I hear that a lot. A lot of people say that. The perseverance to actually see it through. I didn’t see it as that hard. I get the start of ideas as well. The whole thing’s not laid out for me. I get the beginning of the idea and then I go with it and see where it takes you. Even though you think it’s going to take you to a certain point, when you start writing it, it inevitable changes.

Jordan: Do you find that, I’ve heard other writers say things along this line where, once you start writing, it’s like when a basketball player gets in the zone and they can’t miss a shot whereas some people will get into the flow when they’re writing and they can’t stop. It just keeps coming out. Did you every find that happens to you?

Pete: Yeah. What happens usually though is I’ll write… The way I’ve done it is I’ve written and it’s not really the greatest thing to do from everything I’ve been told and heard about. I write and edit at the same time mostly. That’s probably because of my proofreading background. It’s just something that I do. I’ll write the sentence and then go, “Yeah, that doesn’t sound really right” and then re-write it and write it over again. By the time I’m done for the day or done for the night, I’ve only written two pages but I’ve re-written the heck out of it so it’s more or less done.

Jordan: It’s a finished two pages.

Pete: Yeah. It’s not like I’ve written 30 or 40 pages and go, “Okay. I got the idea now.”

Jordan: Then you have to re-write those 30 or 40 pages.

Pete: Yeah. Then I got to re-write them all over again because none of it makes any sense or it’s just poorly written and it’s haphazard and all over the place. I’m very meticulous when I write it, I guess is what I was looking to say. It takes me a while to do it. It will be very time-consuming and I won’t do many pages in a day or in a week, even. I might get 20 pages in a week done. I’ll have a book done in six months and it will be done. I won’t have to go back and edit it ridiculously. I’ll go back and read it for punctuation and stuff like that but as far as editing or changing the idea as a whole or concepts about it and all that, I don’t have to do.

Jordan: Do you write pretty consistently?

Pete: No, sadly.

Jordan: Whenever you have something?

Pete: Yeah. I just don’t have the time to do it as much anymore. Basically working three jobs so who’s got the time to sit down and write a story on top of it. It’s stuff I’ve missed. The first book that I wrote, The Power Within, is supposed to be a trilogy. I’ve written the first chapter of the second book and that’s it. I just haven’t even had the time. I haven’t had the inclination either.

Jordan: George R. Martin would be proud. I have a couple parts of this podcast and I’m working on actually doing segments so we’ll see how this goes. I have one that I’m calling front row center, which is just a bunch of rapid fire questions. Just first thing that comes to your mind. First question I’m striking because you’ve already answered it. Marvel or DC. I know the answer to that already.

Pete: You do because you’re a comic book store and we already talked about it. It’s DC.

Jordan: I’m curious. Better villain, the Joker or Darth Vader?

Pete: Joker.

Jordan: Yeah, that’s easy. I’ve had conversations about that with people that they think Darth Vader is.

Pete: No. No. Darth Vader’s an awesome villain, don’t get me wrong. He’s a fantastic villain. Probably the best cinematic villain but Joker’s the best overall villain. Unquestionable.

Jordan: Favorite movie?

Pete: Favorite movie ever?

Jordan: Ever.

Pete: Casa Blanca. Favorite themed type movie, if you want to go science fiction movies, 2001 Space Odyssey.

Jordan: The classics.

Pete: Oh, yeah. No question.

Jordan: The best meal you’ve ever eaten?

Pete: Best meal I’ve ever eaten?

Jordan: Ever.

Pete: Wow. I can’t rapid fire that. The best meal I’ve ever eaten. It has to be something my wife made. Her lasagna’s fantastic, I would have to say that.

Jordan: A good lasagna is a good meal.

Pete: Cheesy lasagna. Got to have cheese. As much cheese as I could handle.

Jordan: One place everyone should visit before they die?

Pete: Disney World.

Jordan: That’s a good one, yeah. One book that you read that changed your life?

Pete: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton. Fantastic.

Jordan: Good book.

Pete: So realistic, I can’t tell you. I finished that book and I’m like, “Did that really happen?” The way he wrote that so scientifically and analytically and made it seem like yes, this really happened. That was a game changer for me.

Jordan: I really enjoyed all his early stuff but that was a good one.

Pete: Yeah. That’s definitely the one.

Jordan: Now, I want you to sell me on something. Can you recommend something that you’re currently in to? Movie, music, book you read, anything that’s going on recently that you think somebody should try?

Pete: If I go comics, I’ll say Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire.

Jordan: What about it?

Pete: It’s its own universe but they’re all, like I was saying earlierm golden age heroes. They have the feel of golden age heroes, not golden age heroes. It harkens back to that time so when you’re reading it, you think back to the DC times, the old days, the 40s and the 50s. You think about all that great fun other worldly stuff when you’re reading it. It’s a fantastic read.

Jordan: How many of them are there?

Pete: It was a twelve-issue series then they had two mini series and now they’re starting the second leg of that.

Jordan: It’s been around for a while then.

Pete: Yeah. It’s been around for, I’ll say, 18 months, two years.

Jordan: Alright. Good. You’ve sold me on that. Add it to my subscription. Thank you very much, Pete. I appreciate you taking the time.

Pete: No problem.

Jordan: People want to come in to the store, I’m sure, so what’s the address here?

Pete: 167 Lebanon Ave., Colchester, Connecticut.

Jordan: It’s a great shop. I love coming in here. Alright. We’ll sign off for the night.

Pete: Alright.

Jordan: Thank you very much.

Pete: Thank you.

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