Peter J. Tomasi

Peter J. Tomasi is the creator of HOUSE OF PENANCE and the current writer of SUPERMAN. Tomasi previously wrote BATMAN AND ROBIN during DC’s New 52 era, and that book shares a lot in common with SUPERMAN in terms of a strong father & son dynamic. ComicsVerse spoke with Tomasi at New York Comic Con about his instincts for writing a strong family dynamic, what might be in store for the future of SUPERMAN, and what it was like to switch gears to supernatural storytelling for HOUSE OF PENANCE.

Peter J. Tomasi

ComicsVerse: Can you tell me what it’s been like to do a book with family at the center? How straining that family and tearing at the fabric that holds the family together might bring out the drama of the book?

Peter J. Tomasi: I think it boils down to simply enjoying writing a family dynamic. The humanization of that part of the story for me is just something that I’ve really been drawn to since BATMAN AND ROBIN. You know, Superman for me — you can constantly see him battling another set of robots or pulling the moon or doing something huge — it’s all amazing beautiful imagery and stuff you should see and wanna see. But I think the character also needs to be humanized for a generation of new readers. And right now, working with that family dynamic has been a real nice access point for us to bring that part of Superman to life. At the same time [we] have that family dynamic bring out way different types of conflict that you don’t usually get to [do] in certain superhero stories. So yeah, it’s been a Godsend to be able to just work with a family unit in this way.

CV: What is your personal interest in writing about family? You mentioned BATMAN AND ROBIN. There was a similar kind of bond between father and son that seems to come very naturally to you.

PT: Yeah I don’t know, it’s weird, the timing seems to be strange. I haven’t been like “I’m only gonna write family material and only write about the dynamic of the family.” It seems to just timing-wise have worked out that way, and the great thing is to have come from BATMAN AND ROBIN and to have that dynamic [stick]. Obviously, Bruce and Clark are different, distinct types of parents, and at the same time, Damian and Jon are two different, distinct types of sons. So it’s been really nice to explore that different side of the coin with both of the families.

SUPERMAN: The Rise of Superboy

CV: And then, of course, you have SUPER SONS where you get to do both pairings.

PT: Exactly. It’s a lot of fun. And you get to play with those kids in a way you can’t in SUPERMAN on a monthly basis.

CV: Can you tell me what it was like to do the crossover with Dan Jurgens and ACTION COMICS on the “Superman Reborn” story arc?

PT: Yeah that was great. Pat and I had a real blast working with [Dan] and just being able to kind of try to tie up all those loose ends [from the New 52] and make it, at least for a little while, seem like it all made sense. And bringing in a villain like [Mxyzptlk] was a lot of fun and I know it came out of left field for a lot of people. They didn’t see it coming, which is great, the way it worked out. It was an enjoyable effort, we went out to Burbank and had a couple days meeting where me, [co-writer Patrick Gleason] and Dan Jurgens just sorta wrote the story out. We knew we had something special planned for that real sorta quick run and gun story. It wasn’t drawn out for twelve issues, it was just – boom boom boom.

CV: What can you tease about the future of SUPERMAN? I know there’s an upcoming story set on Apokolips, for example?

PT: Yeah that’s the next one that Pat are I are doing. Its issue #33 and that comes out — I have no idea — at this point, I’m losing track of when everything’s shipping but that’ll be the first arc of the big Apokolips story. So we’re dealing with Lex Luthor and Superman, and all the baggage that Lex Luthor has [leftover from] when he was on Apokolips [at the end of the New 52] and had to come back. So we’re gonna address some of those issues.

Peter J. Tomasi

CV: Switching gears to HOUSE OF PENANCE, what was it like moving to something based around horror storytelling, and what’s your interest in the supernatural?

PT: It all started with being more historical than supernatural for me. I’m a big historical nut, so it all came from that part of it. And having all of those wonderful supernatural layers and creepy horror factors embedded in the story just added to the enjoyability of working on [the book]. Having an artist like Ian Bertram and a colorist like Dave Stewart — every time I would get a little ding on my email and see new pages and new colors, it was great. In two weeks me and Ian Bertram are going out to Paris where [the publishers] are putting out the foreign edition. They’re putting out this big oversized edition of it. [It’s all] in French, unfortunately, but maybe it’s time to learn French. But it looks beautiful and I can’t wait to be out there and see how the French fans enjoy it.

CV: Alright, it’s time for me to start learning French then.

PT: All of us.

Our thanks to Peter J. Tomasi! HOUSE OF PENANCE is available now. SUPERMAN #33 goes on sale October 18th.

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