Thursday, January 17, 2013

Peter David

If you don’t know, author and comic book writer Peter David suffered a stroke right before the beginning of the New Year. I’m a huge fan of his work and wanted to repost something his extremely sweet wife, Kathleen, posted on his website. It’s a way you can help Peter out with medical expenses and get something awesome for yourself at the same time.
            I’m going to go ahead and put that here first because that’s the important thing. While I don’t agree with what the government has done to our health care system – it has already impacted my family in a very negative and expensive way – I do feel that the American health care system is a disgusting and bloated monstrosity that fights the people it should be caring for every step of the way. I have a lot of sympathy for artists and creators that have chosen to follow their dreams, but that in the process have put themselves in a situation where they are at the mercy of said system and its ludicrous expenses.
Now, the Davids do have health insurance, but that doesn’t mean what they’re going through won’t be hideously expensive for years to come. Please help out if you can – the ways are more than reasonable and will benefit you, as well.
I’ve got my own little collection of thoughts and stuff after that you can read if you like.
Peter David, writer of stuff and host of this site, suffered a stroke on December 29. Here’s how you can help.
To recap: Peter had a stroke while vacationing with his family in Florida. He’s currently recuperating in a facility in Jacksonville until he’s well enough to travel home. Even though Peter has health insurance, there are co-pays and the like, and since this stroke fell at the end of the year, there are all new co-pays to deal with, and there are things that the insurance company just won’t cover. So we are at the beginning of what is going to be a very expensive year.
Many people have asked how you can help. First: THANK YOU. Here’s how.
The most direct way is to buy his e-books from Crazy 8 Press (via ComicMix) or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites. These are books that he gets the money from directly and the most per book. The quickest and most money is buying the EPub versions from ComicMix, by the way. The more we sell of these books, the easier it will be for us to pay the bills as they start to pour in. All the books are in the sidebar.
Buying his other books does help– especially the Marvel graphic novels he has written. The Crazy 8 books are the most immediate help but all his writings do help the family and the family’s ability to pay bills. If you buy via Amazon, please use this link, which will bring in even more funds.
Buy X-Factor. Put it on your pull list at your local comic book store. Encourage others to do the same. Peter is still writing it and will continue to write it. Issue 250 ships on Jan 15th, 2012 (today) and is a great jumping on point for both X-factor and something Peter has been working on in the Marvel Universe since his Hulk days.
If you’d like to donate directly, we’re working with the Hero Initiative to accept donations. All your donations made through this button will be earmarked to help Peter out, and are tax-deductible.

(The button is over on their page)

And of course, you can still help us a lot by getting word out all over the Internet about how they can help Peter. We are asking every blogger and people who have access to an audience to spread the word. Feel free to use the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post.
We’ll continue to post on Peter’s progress on the weblog, so come back often or subscribe. We’re also working with Crazy 8 Press on speeding up the process of making Peter’s backlist available for sale, check back as we add more items that have been long out of print.
There will also be some auction announcements which will be added to this post closer to the time that they are ready to go.
Peter and I really appreciate the support and help that you all have been. We have talked a number of times about how this outpouring of admiration and appreciation has given us solace in some pretty dark times.
I am asking again to help us get the word out so I can help Peter get home and back to his new normal life whatever that might be.
Thank you all,

So go buy some books.
Peter David first caught my attention by making the Hulk interesting to me. For the first time ever he had me buying The Incredible Hulk every month. As much as I loved the Bill Bixby show when I was a kid, I had found the Hulk’s comic book adventures to be inaccessible. But David’s characterizations of not only Banner but the Hulk made it interesting to me.
And then came the second volume of X-Factor. This, to me, will always be Peter David’s trademark book. Between his smart, funny writing and Larry Stroman’s utterly unique artwork, this thing was my favorite of the X-titles. And that’s saying something because just like everybody else, my mind was also being destroyed every month by the flash and sizzle of Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld (no, really!), Whilce Portacio, and writers… um… well, some other writers. Notice that Peter David is the only name I can pull off the top of my head. And it’s because even as a dumb, teenage fan of 90’s comics I knew that I was getting something special out of X-Factor. It was more fulfilling. What’s more, I had no trouble keeping up with it from month to month. The stories flowed naturally and in a way that was easy to follow and enjoy.
And his characterizations! No other writer on this planet could handle the force of nature known as Strong Guy. Seriously – nobody could do what David did with Mr. Guido Carosella. One of my favorite moments in comics ever is when Guido calls one of the Nasty Boys “cupcake”. To this day everything line of dialogue to come out of Guido’s mouth is priceless.
Strong Guy wasn’t all, though. Peter made me give a shit about characters that I had previously thought bland or even actively disliked. Havok. Who the heck ever liked Alex Summers? But David made him a wry and self-aware leader.
I loved David’s X-Factor and was bummed to see him leave, though I think it corresponded with my own departure from comic collecting. There have been a couple of periods where I just haven’t bought stuff. I’m not saying David leaving the book affected me, but I’m also not saying that the trauma of losing my favorite writer on my favorite book didn’t turn me off of comics entirely for five years, no sir! Okay, I’m kidding.
I’ve read a couple of David’s Star Trek novels, a few of his licensed books and adaptations, and I could swear I’ve read some short stories somewhere. I was absolutely thrilled when it was announced that he was adapting Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (the greatest book series ever written) for comics, and even happier when it turned out he would be scripting new stories from “in between the pages”. The man has a style that is uniquely his. I’m not so silly as to say that I’d recognize his work out of context, but you’d sure as heck know if it wasn’t Peter David writing. His wit and skill with language, as well as his ability to weave an engaging narrative, are unmistakable. His work just draws you in.
I love the third series of X-Factor. While I may get distracted by new, shiny things like Saga, Uncanny X-Force, or the new Iron Man and Hulk comics; Peter David’s current run of X-Factor is a constant source of greatness that is always near the top of my stack. The book is never less than “good” and rarely dips that low.

I haven't read any of David's original novels. I'm terible about making the transition from licensed work to other material. It took me almost twenty years to try some of Timothy Zahn's non-Star Wars stuff. I had The Camelot Papers on my list before they banned books at work, but I still haven't gotten around to it. I feel comfortable enough recommending Peter David's books without having read them. It would require a massive shift in universal dynamics for them to not be any good.
 I try to be one hundred percent honest here on Needless Things. I went back and forth as to whether or not it would be appropriate to mention the one time I met Peter David here. I’ve discussed it before, but not in detail. And I think it’ll keep until later. For now I just wanted to briefly talk about why I love the guy’s work and maybe drive a few people to go and buy some of it and help out an immensely gifted artist.
Get well, Peter. You and your family are in our prayers.

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