Shame Itself

The Shameless: Tom Peyer

The comic book ringer of Shame Itself discusses Psycho-Man and why he likes writing humor

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SHAME ITSELF #1 cover by Skottie Young

By Tom Brennan & Ben Morse

The Marvel Universe has weathered war, invasion, siege and fear (itself), but can it survive…shame?

On November 2, an assemblage of talent from the world of comics and comedy team up to showcase a seldom seen side of Spider-Man, The Hulk, the Fantastic Four and other luminaries from the House of Ideas in SHAME ITSELF. Over the next week, we’ll be speaking with these humor heavy hitters to learn a bit more about them, their Marvel fandom, what they’ve got planned and more.

Tom Peyer has written nearly every major character for nearly every major comics company including MARVEL APES and SPIDER-MAN: HOUSE OF M. He lives in Syracuse, New York and you can follow him on Twitter @tompeyer.

Marvel.com: You’re a known commodity in the comics world, but do you have any background in comedy that prepared you to be a part of SHAME ITSELF?

Tom Peyer: I have a long background in shame, obviously. And I've written a lot of things that were meant to be funny, including a political newspaper strip and some Bart Simpson comics. And I've had to do a little public speaking about comics, so I know what it's like to bomb in front of a crowd.

Marvel.com: How did you become involved in the project?

Tom Peyer: I was pestering poor [editor] Thomas Brennan for an assignment and he threw me this two-page bone, thinking it would get rid of me for a while. I don't know what made him believe that.

Marvel.com: What are the particular challenges of writing humor as opposed to your average super hero comics?

Tom Peyer

Tom Peyer: There's nothing to it. The hardest thing about writing is plotting.

Unlike a good super hero story, a humor piece doesn't necessarily require a coherent, surprising plot. So humor is actually easier, if you can be funny in the first place.

Marvel.com: How did you come up with the idea for your SHAME ITSELF framing sequence involving Psycho-Man?

Tom Peyer: I want to point out that this is a two-page framing sequence. This interview is probably longer than my script. So, as Stan Lee never said, "Don't expect much, True Believers!"

Marvel.com: What appeals to you about using Psycho-Man here and in general? Do you think there’s inherent humor to the character or did you have to work to find it?

Tom Peyer: You can play Psycho-Man straight and he still cracks me up. He carries this big box with the names of emotions written on it, and buttons next to the names. If he aims it at you and presses the button marked “HATE,” a ray will shoot out and fill you with hate. And while he's doing this, he's acting so stern and above-it-all. The closest thing to Psycho-Man we could ever have in real life is if Dick Cheney took up the accordion.

SHAME ITSELF #1 preview art by Karl Kesel

Marvel.com: You and your artist here, Karl Kesel, have worked together many times; what is your collaborative relationship like?

Tom Peyer: It usually starts with a long walk on the beach around sunset, then dinner and drinks in some out-of-the-way little bistro, and after that who knows? Karl gives great back rubs, and he's not a game player.

Marvel.com: Who is the funniest character in the Marvel Universe?

Tom Peyer: The Watcher. The last couple of years, I've been running Watcher gags into the ground whenever Marvel lets me. A super-powerful demigod devoted to inaction? That joke will never stop being funny.

Come back tomorrow to meet the final member of The Shameless and be sure to pick up SHAME ITSELF on November 2!

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