A ticking clock. A positively flamboyant thirst for vengeance. And there, where a hand once curled to a fist, a sinister prosthetic. He’s the Hook, and he’s finally making his presence known in the pages of the wildly inventive WWII drama, Peter Panzerfaust. This January, an SS officer called Haken arrives to squash the fight for freedom once and for all.
We spoke to writer Kurtis J. Wiebe about the long-awaited emergence of the series’ main antagonist, the progress of the Lost Boys’ bid to bring the fight to the television screen, and the welcome arrival of one valiant pooch.
iFanboy: The Hook finally makes his presence known. Who is Haken?
Kurtis Wiebe: Haken is the Peter Panzerfaust incarnation of Captain Hook. He is the adversary that will be a massive presence in the remainder of the series. In the world we’re building, Haken is a Nazi SS officer tasked with hunting down and eliminating the French Resistance.
iF: When we think about Peter Pan, Captain Hook immediately springs to mind as well. Yet, we’re fairly deep into Peter’s story and only now meeting up with this villain. Can you talk about the decision to delay his arrival? It’s a smart and fascinating choice.
KW: The first arc of Peter Panzerfaust was meant to show the journey of Peter and the Lost Boys from young boys in a time of horror to their transformation into young men who’d been forced to grow up before their time. There wasn’t a clear villain in The Great Escape, it was more an idea they were running from. They sought safety when there was no safe place to go.
With the events on the farm haunting them, the loss they suffered, they realized they could longer flee from what was coming. They had to embrace it, become part of it to survive and to save their friend.
The second arc is dealing with those themes and in that it is the perfect place to drop the Hook character. An embodiment of direct threat. He is the face of the enemy and a very personal one to Peter as the remaining issues of this second arc will reveal.
iF: Historically, Pan and Hook tend to define one another through their ongoing feud. What can you tell us about this iteration of their dynamic? Does Haken develop that same level of obsession, or are his wartime concerns a bit broader than the pirate’s?
KW: Great question! I’m actually diving into that concept right now finalizing the final few issues of the arc. In issue 9 we will begin to reveal the connection between Hook and Peter that will be surprising to a lot of the readership. It ties into their lineage, where they come from and what makes them who they are. Both survivors against impossible odds, destined for greatness.
It’s because of this connection that Hook will pursue Peter until the end.
iF: I have to imagine there’s a larger story to Haken’s hook and how he ended up with it. Have you looked into the prosthetic technology of the time, the psychology behind that kind of thing? Is that part of his motivation?
KW: If you look back to Issue #3, to the first encounter between Haken and Peter, you’ll see that we hint at the origin of his missing hand. As far as the meaning behind it we’re keeping it very clearly rooted in the aesthetic, but you can be assured that it has made a very permanent impact on the obsession Hook has on Peter.
iF: As a guy who came of age under the watchful eyes of some terrific dogs, I’d be remiss not to ask about Nana. What’s the iconic watchdog’s role here?
KW: This is the first time we’re revealing Nana as well. That opening scene in Issue #8 is one of my favourite scenes, and I’m very proud of it. So far, Nana is searching for her family. At the end of her appearance in Issue #8 she’s still searching but her journey is far from over. Nana will return in upcoming issues.
iF: What’s happening with the BBC? Can we expect to see Pete and the boys in other media soon?
KW: Right now development is under way for the motion comic which should be released in spring of 2013. BBC/QT Digital will be using the motion comic as a pitch document to attempt a live action adaptation of the series. The motion comic will be fully voiced using original artwork from the comic and then foreground, background and action animation will be blended in.
iF: What’s next?
KW: The conclusion of our second arc is going to have some very wonderful surprises about Julien in particular. From there our third arc will be focusing on Felix, the misfit orphan with a huge chip on his shoulder. We will be pulling back the layers on his very complicated character and give context to his throwaway line from Issue #3.
“Five days. Five days to Paris.”
A small sentence that means everything to him.
From there, we have two more arcs planned, 25 issues in total, with a very defined beginning, middle and end. This story has been brewing for four years, so be prepared for some absolutely insane revelations with each arc.