It's nice to see an article about Peter Hogan and Tom Strong. The article doesn't mention, however, that Hogan also wrote two limited series about "Terra Obscura" and contributed to the unfinished "ABC A-Z" series. If I recall correctly, Hogan actually collaborated on the writing of "Terra Obscura" and the "Tesla Strong" special with Alan Moore himself.
It would be interesting to know more about these collaborations. What's it like to collaborate with one of the most influential writers in the history of comics? Did Alan create the initial plots, or did Peter, or did the ideas emerge spontaneously during some conversation or phone call? Did Peter write the script to then have it edited or rewritten by Moore, or was there some other method?
More recently, Alan has seemed to give a lot of time and feedback to Antony Johnson, the writer who has adapted several of his Moore's stories for Avatar Press. In the book collections, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes material, and Johnson discusses the many notes Alan gave him about certain scenes or characters. Moore is known for having a similarly collaborative spirit on the ABC comics, particularly with writer-artists like Rick Veitch. But as Peter Hogan is the only writer with whom he collaborated during that period, details would be welcome.
Along those same lines, I'd like to hear how Peter wrote his own solo Tom Strong scripts, because I think they were much more successful than the other scripts that were developed for Tom Strong at that time. There were a lot of well-known and acclaimed writers who contributed an issue each, but Peter's were the best. How did he manage that? Perhaps he has unique insights into the world of Tom Strong - or the characters - or even the way Allan told his own stories?
Also, I wonder if we might hear details about the aborted "ABC A-Z" project. Again, Peter contributed some excellent work there. I am very curious about the Promethea issue, which was lost when the entire run was cancelled. Did Hogan write the script for that? Did JH Williams start on the artwork? Could Peter give us an overview about how that entry was going to be presented?
Finally, I'd like to hear more about DC's (or Vertigo's) approach to Tim Strong and ABC, now that we are several years "down the road." Who is the editor that Hogan is working with? Is there a vision related to these ABC characters? For example, can we hope to see a new Tom Strong miniseries every couple of years? I still feel rather angry and bitter about how Cannon and Ha's Top Ten sequel was left in limbo. That was such a fine piece of work, and now it seems as though all hope is lost for it ever being resumed and finished.
Again, thank you for this interview on the new project. If there is a chance for a follow-up, maybe someone could ask about some of these issues - or Peter Hogan, if you are reading this? Could you respond directly?
Okay, I'll try to answer some of these. The Tesla special was basically all me - Alan contributed a minor plot suggestion (so minor I can't even remember what it was), which gave Wildstorm an excuse to stick his name on the credits, but I'm sure he was as bemused by all that as I was.
But Terra Obscura was a real collaboration. With each issue I'd trek up to Northampton and sit in Alan's front room, and we'd thrash out the plot between us while I made a lot of notes. Then I'd go home and write the script. And yes, it was an amazing experience, and I obviously learnt a lot from it, and I can't ever thank Alan enough for the opportunity to work with him.
As to the Tom stories ... most people seem to think I'm pretty good at staying true to established characters, which was something I'd already done before Tom with various 2000AD characters, and with John Constantine and quite a few members of the Sandman supporting cast for Vertigo. All I can say is that if I'm writing Tom Strong, I'll try to give you Tom Strong. I wouldn't try to claim that it's as good as Alan's version, but Chris Sprouse says it still feels like Tom to him.
The A-Z project was bizarre, in that I don't really understand why they did it at all, given that they pulled the plug on ABC the minute that Alan left. But I enjoyed most of the ones that I did ... the only one of mine that nobody got to see was the one for Smax, which was by far the weakest, and it was a bit of a relief when that one went into limbo. The Promethea entry was going to be written by Steve Moore, and I would love to have seen what he came up with, but I don't think it ever got that far.
My editor at Vertigo now is Kristy Quinn, who was the assistant editor on all the ABC titles. So, it's pretty much business as usual. I'm hoping that Chris and I will get a green light to do many more Tom stories after this one, but only time will tell. And I'd love to see the rest of the Top Ten story too, as much as you would. Start a thread on it, pester Vertigo, maybe they'll listen. You never know.