The GWW Exclusive: Peter Simeti

Jun 11, 2015

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We recently had the chance to have an email exchange with Peter Simeti, President/Publisher of Alterna Comics, about running his “own publishing company,” Kickstarter, “The Chair” and a brief broad mention of comics in general.

GEEKS WITH WIVES: What has been your biggest challenge in starting your own comic publishing company?

PETER SIMETI: Well, we’ve been around for almost ten years at this point (2016 will be our 10th anniversary year) so we’re a bit past the “starting” phase.  When everything was starting out though, the first 5 years are definitely the toughest when it comes to juggling finances/schedules/etc.

GWW: “The Chair” Kickstarter has been a tremendous success. Are you at all surprised by the response the campaign has garnered? 

P.S.: I don’t think surprised would really be the right word, maybe more like “relieved”? Kickstarter is unpredictable in nature; sometimes no matter how much effort you put in, you can still fail. But I’m thankful that we’ve got a pretty strong fan base for the film and have been lucky that many of them are also excited to be a part of the creation of the film as well.  It’s been a very nice experience.

GWW: What made you make the decision to move “The Chair” from comic to film?

P.S.: It’s a long process that began shortly after the book started as single print-on-demand issues in 2006 and later on when the graphic novel was released in 2008. The book started gaining some interest from various production companies until it sat in limbo for a couple of years. We received renewed interest in 2011 and that’s when Erin Kohut (who edited the graphic novel) wrote an adaptation for film. She did a great job fleshing out the characters, especially the Warden and the guards, and she created the character of Richard Sullivan’s mother (played by Naomi Grossman in the film). Everyone involved on the film did a really terrific job bringing it to life.

GWW: What was your muse for the idea and story of “The Chair”?

P.S.: It’s a mix of a lot of different ideas and events that were happening at the time, but I always wanted to create a story that didn’t have a clear-cut hero. “The Chair” has two main characters, Richard Sullivan and the Warden, that are the classic “two sides of the same coin”. I think readers (and viewers of the film) will take a liking (and a hating) to them both.

GWW: If given the opportunity to write any current comic character/series in existence who/what would you choose and what story would you tell?

P.S.: Probably an ElseWorlds style story about Bruce Wayne being locked up in Arkham Asylum since his parents’ murder.  I’m not sure if that kind of story has already been told though but if it hasn’t, and the right people are reading this, I hope they reach out to me about it, haha!

GWW: Growing up, what was your favorite comic character/series? Has that changed? If so, what’s your favorite now? And how has it inspired/influenced your career work?

P.S.: I really loved the X-Men and Spider-Man when I was a kid.  The older I got, I moved on to Batman and then other indie works from publishers outside of Marvel and DC.  I read all kinds of books at this point, I love a lot of genres so I really don’t stick to one.  Science Fiction would probably be my favorite at this point.

Casey Walsh, GWW Vice President & EIC, contributed to this interview.