There aren’t many creative personalities that I can honestly say I’ve been following most of my life. I guess Patrick Stewart would be on that list between Star Trek and X-Men. I guess the cast of the Simpsons, since they’re almost as old as I am. But the most consistent one that I can think of is Peter David.
Most of you probably have no idea who that is, but he has had a surprisingly big impact on the geek world. The thing is though, his biggest impact has been on the under used corners of any geek-verse. For instance, his biggest claim to fame is a twelve year run as the writer of the Incredible Hulk. As big a name as The Hulk is, especially after his great appearance in The Avengers, he’s never quite equaled his Stan and Jack Merry Marvel Siblings. He’s no Spider-Man or X-Men. He’s more on the level of Daredevil. He needs a particular vision to make him really work, and David’s run on the book is legendary. Some of the most memorable Hulk stories are his, and they helped launch a young artist and famous ball enthusiast named Todd MacFarlane.
He also has had extensive and memorable runs on X-Factor, an X-Men sister-title. Speaking of sister-titles, he also has quite a cult following for his Supergirl stories. And, I can’t think of a more niche mainstream superhero than Aquaman, and yet Peter David did some pretty cool stuff with him.
One of the hallmarks of his stories is his sense of humour. Even in the darkest stories, he manages to slip in a joke or a sly reference to lighten the mood just a little. That’s really what keeps me coming back to his work. It’s always fun. The stories aren’t always great, but I never put it down feeling like I’ve wasted my time.
As evidence for this, I present Babylon 5. I watched 4 seasons of this show, and barely remember it. It’s Star Trek Lite. The writing, acting, sets, and effects pale in comparison to a show that it was in direct competition with. But, Peter David wrote two episodes and I think those episodes are the best of the series. Or at least, the best that I saw. They weren’t overly serious, or trying to make grand commentary on the universe. They were just tasty nuggets of what that world could be.
He also co-created his own TV series. It was called Space Cases and it was like Lost In Space meets Captain Planet. A group of kids from all different species get, well, lost in space and they have to learn to work together. It didn’t last very long, but I think anyone who grew up with it remembers it fondly. It also has a ton of geek cred- The other co-creator is Billy Mumy, Will Robinson from Lost In Space; it stars Walter Emanuel Jones, the original black Power Ranger; it also stars a young Jewel Staite, from Firefly and Stargate Atlantis; and it guest starred Mark Hamill and George Takei.
Lastly, I want to talk about his novels. Somehow, between all the comics and TV shows, he’s managed to crack out a bunch of novels. Some original ideas, and a lot of work for hire. He’s written some of the best known Star Trek novles including Imzadi, a bunch of Q books, and the New Frontier series, which has hit over 20 books.
The reason I bring all of this up is that Peter David has had a stroke. He’s in rough shape, but is slowly improving. But, because he lives in America, his health care has been expensive. Based on that laundry list of stuff I’ve listed above, David must have touched some corner of the geek world that means something to you. And, if he has, I humbly suggest you check out his website and purchase something by him. There are more details here – http://www.peterdavid.net/2013/01/04/here-is-how-you-can-help-peter/
Graham Becksted hopes Peter David gets well soon. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 72nd follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.