By Matt D. Wilson
July 31, Tom Strong will return to comics for the first time in more than seven years with the new series "Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril," the new six-issue miniseries from writer Peter Hogan and artist Chris Sprouse. They're both well-versed in the character, as Sprouse drew a huge portion of the previous Strong series, and Hogan wrote several stories concurrent with co-creator Alan Moore's work on the character.
MTV Geek got a few minutes with the writer of the new series to discuss the jump from ABC to Vertigo, how life has changed for Tom, what working on a Moore character feels like, and much more!
MTV Geek: There's a lot in the promotional copy about how big of a role Terra Obscura will play in the new series. You wrote the miniseries about Terra Obscura a while back. How much will that series inform this one? Will fans need to be up to speed with it?
Peter Hogan: Well, we’re further along the road in the lives of all those characters, so in a sense this starts from scratch again. Even so, I think people who’ve read the two Terra miniseries will probably get a lot more out of it than those who haven’t. But I’ve tried to make the story fairly user-friendly, and comics readers are usually pretty used to picking things up as they go along.
Geek: This series is the first after a shift from Alan Moore's America's Best Comics imprint to Vertigo. Does that mean we'll be seeing any big differences in Tom Strong's world as a direct result of the change?
Hogan: No. Absolutely none. It’s just a change of label.
Geek: The solicitation copy says Tom Strong is powerless here. Can you expand on that a little?
Hogan: He’s powerless only in the sense that his daughter’s life is in danger, and it seems at first that there’s nothing he can do to help her.
Geek: Any time you're following Alan Moore on something I suspect it's got to be a tad daunting. Of course, other writers, including yourself, have taken on Tom Strong before, but Moore's name is still closely associated. Any nervousness on your part?
Hogan: No, not these days. I’ll admit to feeling some with the very first thing I wrote for ABC, which was the "Many Worlds Of Tesla Strong." As it turned out, Alan’s wife read it and congratulated him on it, not realizing that it was actually by me. So, if I can fool Alan’s wife, I’m probably doing okay!
Of course, there’s no denying that Alan’s a hard act to follow – so’s Neil Gaiman, but that didn’t put me off having a go at writing the Sandman characters either. The good things in life are often a bit scary, but you just have to deal with it.
Geek: Certainly having Chris Sprouse, who completely defined the look of Tom Strong, working on the book with you has got to alleviate concern. How happy were you to know he came back for this series?
Hogan: Delighted, of course. Chris and I did three issues together in the first "Tom Strong" run, and then the "Tom Strong & the Robots of Doom" miniseries three years ago. I think we’re a good team, and I think he does too.
Geek: Much of the previous "Tom Strong" series featured relatively short stories, sometimes multiple stories in one issue. This is a multi-issue miniseries. Did you feel a need to make it a bigger story as a result?
Hogan: Like "Tom Strong & the Robots of Doom," it was always planned as a six-issue series, so … you need a story big enough to fill that, which both "Robots" and this one are.