I’ve had the opportunity to discuss Ahoy! comics with Editor-in-Chief Tom Peyer twice previously, and now, with our third conversation, we’re lucky to be joined by Ahoy writer/editor Stuart Moore as we discuss the company’s latest titles, the ramifications of COVID-19, and how they spent their quarantine.
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FOG!: Congratulations on the continued success at Ahoy! You recently released Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, Season Two as well as the first issue of the third volume of the series, which will be published under the new name Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood. What motivated the name change?
TOM PEYER: Our second series was called Edgar Allan Poe’ Snifter of Terror, Season Two, which possibly made it sound like a new reader was missing something. Who starts anything on Season Two? It’s an anthology, so you can read it from anywhere, in any direction, but the title didn’t support that idea. So, changing the contents of the Snifter from series to series seems like a better way to go. What will be in next year’s Snifter? Aren’t you dying to know?
One thing that I’ve noticed is that often anthology series are often very uneven in terms of quality, but I’ve found that Snifter of Terror has been consistently solid throughout. How are you able to maintain such a high level of quality across your entire publishing line?
TP: Thank you! All credit to the creators: the most skilled, dedicated, and experienced specialists this side of The Fast and the Furious. I’d list them here, but I’d start crying.
COVID affected the industry across the board and one of your titles, Captain Ginger, was completed digitally. What led to that decision? Was it sales specifically?
STUART MOORE: Sales played a factor—Ginger, which I write and co-created, has never been our strongest seller in single-issue form. But equally important, we’d published two issues when Diamond shut down. That put us at an awkward point in a six-issue run. We figured it made sense to publish the rest in digital singles, which get the material out there, and then collect it all as planned in trade paperback.
Has Ahoy considered other digital first projects?
TP: Not so much at the moment. We do have another digital title at Comixology: Penultiman #0, which represents the origin story from our anthology one-shot, Steel Cage. So it’s not digital-first, but you can access it free of charge!
SM: Penultiman #0 is here: bit.ly/penultiman.
In addition to new volumes announced for Second Coming and The Wrong Earth, you’ve also have two new series, Happy Hour and Penultiman. What can you tell us about the new series?
TP: Happy Hour, a series we love by writer Peter Milligan and artist Michael Montenat, is about a near-future America where it’s a crime to be sad and the law is brutally enforced. We’re trying to get this out to the shops before it becomes a crime to be sad and the law is brutally enforced.
The second series, drawn by Alan Robinson and written by me, is basically a two-person character comedy with superhero trappings. Penultiman, the Next-To-Last Stage of Human Evolution, is the hero who has everything: great power, magnetic charm, the public’s affection, and a deeply destructive streak of self-loathing. He also has an android assistant, Antepenultiman, who wants to fix him. Can an android fix a human? Can a sidekick fix a hero? Can anyone fix anyone?
With the big two focusing on maintaining I.P.s, what does Ahoy offer that comic fans can’t get anywhere else?
TP: Instead of a universe of characters who cross over, we have a sensibility that covers all of our series. It’s meant to be sophisticated, well-produced, and on some level funny.
But the individual series stand alone, which means we can tell stories without having to interrupt ourselves because something big happened in another book.
I’m not putting down that latter approach, but I respect that Marvel and DC have a lock on it.
How did you spend your quarantine? Did you binge anything?
TP: What didn’t I binge? A partial list: Bourbon, Three Musketeer Minis, episodes of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, pre-code horror comics, the Stay F. Homekins podcast.
SM: I’m still basically quarantined! Been reading a lot of middle-grade novels; catching up on science fiction magazines and the past several years of Love & Rockets.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1, Edgar Allan Poe’ Snifter of Terror,
Season Two TP and Penultiman #1 are available now via comic book stores.
Happy Hour #1 arrives in stores this Wednesday, November 4th
All titles are available digitally via ComXology