Like the pint-size characters he created, David Petersen has overcome the odds to become a success in his field. The writer-artist’s first book in the series “Mouse Guard” goes into its third hardcover printing this month, after selling more than 80,000 copies since its initial release in 2007 — not bad for someone who originally just planned to sell his self-published comic book at a small convention.
“It’s amazing,” Petersen said in a phone interview. “I started out doing a self-published comic … and all the magic happens of getting into the industry, getting a publisher, having a hardcover out there, and now we’re at a third printing. And that’s awesome. It also means that people are enjoying it, which is the biggest compliment.”
“Mouse Guard” is about medieval soldier mice that stand their ground against a weasel warlord. The first two volumes, “Fall 1152” and “Winter 1152,” made The New York Times best-sellers list. And Petersen has more planned for 2010.
On May 1, for Free Comic Book Day, Archaia, publishers of “Mouse Guard,” will release a Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock flip book, featuring a new 11-page story by Petersen. Petersen has participated in Free Comic Book Day on his own the past three years, visiting stores and giving away prints to fans. But he’s excited to have a book of his own shipping on the comic-book holiday.
“I was all for it, because I think it’s a great event, and obviously it helps my book, it helps Archaia, it helps Fraggle Rock, so how could I say no?”
Petersen, a longtime Jim Henson fan, doesn’t know whether he’ll contribute covers or other material to Archaia’s Fraggle Rock book, but he has been involved with another Henson property in comics, providing covers to some of Boom! Studios’ Muppet comic books.
“(In college) I was actually considering just dropping out and trying to go get a job at the Jim Henson Creature Shop making puppets,” Petersen said.
Petersen’s covers appear on Muppet projects including “Muppet King Arthur” and “Muppet Snow White.”
Petersen also will draw the covers for the first “Mouse Guard” spinoff, a four-issue miniseries. “Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard” will feature creators including Gene Ha, Guy Davis and Ted Naifeh. Petersen also will draw chapter breaks.
“My initial push was to try to find creators who are both artists and storytellers, just like I am,” Petersen said. “The setup is that it’s a storytelling competition at a tavern in the ‘Mouse Guard’ world.”
In September, the third volume of “Mouse Guard” is scheduled for release. “Mouse Guard Vol. 3: The Black Axe” will reveal the back story of the Mouse Guard’s most powerful member.
“It’s going to be a prequel,” Petersen said. “Now is the time to reflect on (The Black Axe’s) life and his past and see where things came from, before we see where they go.”
And a Mouse Guard movie is being discussed.
“We’re talking with a studio,” Petersen said. “It’s a studio that I like the stuff that they’ve done. They’re excited about doing a Mouse Guard movie, I’m excited about them doing a Mouse Guard movie. … I think we’re very close.”
- By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman