Peter David's name pops up all over the place.
He is currently the regular writer for three monthly
books: Supergirl, Young Justice, and Captain
Marvel. David also recently completed the
novelization of the upcoming Spider-Man feature
film. Slush spoke to him about adapting the film
and what his fans can look forward to in his other
What is the creative process involved in writing an
adaptation of a film?
keep in mind that the average script is 120 pages
long. If you just write "He said, she
said," you've got a 120 page manuscript when you
need over 300 pages. The main thing that you
look for are scenes that can be fleshed out or added
and storylines that can be augmented. In the
case of SPIDER-MAN, I added a framing prologue and
wrote an entire sequence detailing a five year old
Peter Parker's arrival at Ben and May's home after his
parents died. In short, you try and take a movie
story--which is told in very visual terms--and try and
convert it into the more literary requirements of a
What type of rules and limitations were you under?
When adapting, obviously you can't change the story or
the dialogue (with the sole exception in my experience
being "The Return of Swamp Thing," for which
the script was so awful that I took a chance and made
wholesale changes. Fortunately the producers liked my
book better than the script.) I'm also under the
rule that I can't talk about plot details, so...sorry.
Was it difficult writing an adaptation of something
you hadn't seen?
Not "difficult," so to speak, but you have
to make some decisions blindly. I'll describe
how a character is saying something based on my
interpretation of the dialogue. The actor might
wind up saying it differently. I'm guessing.
It seems to me like it'd be difficult to make a
novel out a film that relies pretty heavily on special
Why? It's far easier to create pictures in a
reader's head than show them. For instance, a
viewer of a movie that's FX heavy might say, "Oh,
THAT doesn't look real" or "That's obviously
CGI." In a book, all words are created
equal. If I can describe it, it's
"real" for the reader.
I understand you can't reveal plot points, but how
closely does your book follow the film? Are
there any differences?
No differences. Just additions. Plus some
in-jokes for readers. For instance, I have Aunt
May and Uncle Ben, upon first learning of the
existence of our hero, reacting thusly: May
incredulously says, "Spider-Man?
SPIDER-MAN?" And Ben replies with a shrug,
"Apparently he does whatever a spider can."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you'd
have to deal with a lot of red tape with this project.
You have Sony Pictures, Marvel Comics, and Ballantine,
the book's publisher, to deal with, right?
Yup. Fortunately this one's been a very smooth
ride. It wasn't a nightmare the way, say, BATMAN
FOREVER was. That one I kept finding things
wrong with the script and explaining the plot holes,
and then getting revision pages in which they found
the same plot holes and solved them differently, so I
had to ditch what I'd written and incorporate their
changes. Made me nuts. This one was
How long did it take you to write it?
Have you seen the film yet?
Is adapting films to novels something you'd be
interested in doing in the future? Marvel has
quite a few films coming out in the near term.
on the property.
do you have any comments regarding Marvel raising the
price of your CAPTAIN MARVEL comic by a quarter?
I'm not happy about it.
Can you give us a sneak preview for CAPTAIN MARVEL?
What will we be seeing in the coming months?
Hopefully the book itself will keep coming out.
We have some major shocking developments regarding
Marlo. Captain Marvel, who's been feeling his
way much of the time, is going to start taking a
stronger hand in the title, and revist old haunts.
The Magus is going to show up. Genis' mom,
believed dead, is going to show up. I'm going to
resolve the murderous Jackie Shorr storyline in a very
unexpected way. And there's a scene in issue #32
that's probably going to get more comment than
anything I've ever written.
Same question for YOUNG JUSTICE.
We have a two-issue crossover that's part of a story
arc which runs through Robin, Impulse and Superboy.
We're also having an election for Team Leader, which
will occur in issue #46. Fans are able to vote,
just like in the old days with Legion of Superheroes.
Following that we have a four-issue storyline that
really shakes things up as a cast member is killed.
stuff is happening in Supergirl, as the quest
for the Earth Angel heats up, Mary Marvel joins the
cast, our main villainess is revealed, and it all
builds toward a major climax in #75.
else can we look forward to from Peter David?
Soulsearchers and Company (Claypool Comics)
continues with wild and wacky adventures for our
psychic investigators as a couple of our characters
get engaged and all hell breaks loose...literally.
It looks like there will be another limited series of
"The Haunted" from Chaos. My novel
career proceeds apace, with June seeing the
publication of the revised and improved KNIGHT LIFE,
July has the paperback edition of SIR APROPOS OF
NOTHING, and August sees the sequel to Apropos, THE
WOAD TO WUIN. And my bowling is starting to
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