No, not the guy from Six Feet Under and Parenthood; the other Peter Krause, the infrequent comic book artist who has cemented a landmark run on Boom! Studio’s hit title Irredeemable. For the past (over) two years, Krause has been as integral a part to the series about a Superman-level hero gone very, very bad as writer Mark Waid. Now, with the release of issue twenty-eight in two months, Krause is moving on from the series to focus on some non-comic book work:
MTV Geek: Let’s talk about Irredeemable… You’ve just dropped a bombshell on me, who apparently doesn’t bother to read the news, but you’re leaving the book. Why’s that?
Peter Krause: It’s just a good time to do it. I do have another non-comics project coming up this Summer that I really have to devote some time to, and it’s a really once-in-a-lifetime type project. I’ve loved working with Boom! and Mark Waid, it’s been a joy working with them. It’s kind of bittersweet.
It’s in good hands, though… Diego Bareta, and I think his father Eduardo is going to be helping him do the artwork. Just a confluence of events, and I think it’s time to go.
Geek: Now, you ushered these characters into the world – this whole Universe of characters, actually. Was there any moment of holding on to them a littttle too long before you gave it over?
PK: [Laughs] The tipping point was earlier this year. I do some outside work besides the comic work. I overcommitted, and it was time to take a step back. I’m going to miss the characters, there’s no doubt about that. It’s been a lot of fun creating this Universe, but they’re in good hands.
Geek: When are you leaving the series?
PK: Issue twenty-eight will be my last.
Geek: So are you done right now?
PK: [Laughs] I’m actually working on issue twenty-eight right now. We’re actually close to the bone as far as deadlines go, I’ve still got a few weeks of work left on issue twenty-eight.
Geek: Looking back on the twenty-eight issues, then, is there any one moment, one page, one panel, where you look at it and say, “I got that just right?”
PK: Oh man, I don’t know if you ever feel that way. [Laughs] You always feel like you can do it a little bit better. But I think it was probably when we were doing the third issue that I said, “Yeah, I can see that we’re getting a little more comfortable with the characters and I felt a little more comfortable drawing them. And that was earlier on. I think you can see, as we’ve gone on, I’ve experimented with a few different art styles, and now I’m almost strictly a brush guy – it just seems to work better. I think that was about the mid-teens or mid-twenties, somewhere in that area where I said, “This is really working.”
Geek: Let’s talk about the most recent arc… There are some crazy characters in there, so what’s in the script from Mark. Does he say, “Hey Peter, there’s something that looks like a white blob here, you go crazy!”
PK: Yeah, actually, he’ll say something like, “There’s a hulking, bruising character here… Go to it.” We’ve got a character coming up in issue twenty-seven, and all he specified – other than his powers, which you’ll see – is that he’s a teenager. I think it’s a little twisted Wizard of Oz thing that’s going on in the book right now. But Mark has been very open to Diego and I designing the characters as we want.
Geek: There’s some pretty gross stuff in the book, too – in the most recent issue, The Plutonian skins an alien and turns him into a costume. Has there ever been anything in the book that you’ve said, “Nope, that’s too far. Not gonna do that.”
PK: Mark has written about this on a blog. And it’s really Mark’s story to tell. There was a sequence – I’m not going to go into the details – that I said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” He came up with what I think was actually a brilliant solution, and it was all the creepier for it. But Mark and I have gone back and forth, he asked me to redraw stuff particularly early on. But it’s been very collaborative. We’re just trying to put the best comic that we possibly can out there.
Geek: Irredeemable is a story about a very, very bad guy who does some awful things… As an artist, do you ever have trouble pulling that sort of emotion out of the characters?
PK: I haven’t that to be the case. When you have a really good script – and even when Mark’s working plot style, which he does occasionally, though most of the time we’ve got full script – he’s pretty good at suggested dialogue, and anything the artist can hang his emotional hat on. The characters are multi-faceted, and they’re making decisions where there’s no clear cut good answer… That’s fascinating to me. To me, the story isn’t The Plutonian, it’s good people in dire circumstances making the least evil choice. And sometimes they don’t even make that choice correctly. That’s what’s compelling about the book to me.
Geek: Where are you going to leave us when you finish the book? Do you get to tie things up in an artistically satisfying way for yourself? Or are we left hanging?
PK: That’s a good question. As far as tying up something artistically for yourself, I don’t know if there’s anyone who’s doing stuff creatively ever that they completely tie the bow creatively and say, “That’s a good ending.” But Mark’s given a good point for me to go, and I get to use a character we saw early on… For me – and this is really nice on this last issue – he’s played a big part in the book, this character. He’s actually based on my Dad, I used my Dad for photo reference. He plays a big part in issue twenty-eight, so it’s fun for me to go out using that character.
Geek: Last, can you talk about what you have coming up at all?
PK: I’ve got a non-comics job coming up this Summer. I don’t know my full involvement in it. It is a movie project, so I want to clear my plate for that. But I think you’ll see me back in comics… Maybe even later this year. We’ll see.