|Peter Wartman, a Self Portrait.|
Froggie: First of all, allow me to say thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I have a few questions mostly related to the plot but please tell me how you developed the world in "Over the Wall" and what your primary inspirations were in it’s creation?
Peter: Thanks for setting up the interview!The world in the comic developed as I was drawing the story, mostly to serve the needs of the plot. The first image I had of the comic was a girl standing on top of a wall, looking into a huge, abandoned metropolis, and all I did was start asking questions about what was going on. Why was the city abandoned? Why did she need to go into it?
The look of the city developed at the same time: my objective was to create a maze-like place you could easily get lost in, hopefully reflecting some of the themes of the story.
FQ: I love the tribal themes in the world you created. Can you tell me what specific cultural influences (if any) that you were drawing from?
P: It's a bit of a polyglot mix. There's a bunch of Mesoamerican stuff in there, but also quite a lot of Roman influence (all those domes, for example). I wasn't really trying to invoke any one culture, and, hopefully, I was able to build something with its own flavor.
P: Using pure black and white forces you to focus on lighting and composition, which has always been what I've been most interested in. Comics like Mignola's Hellboy (or Miller's work) are great examples of this, Mignola especially can evoke complex scenes with just a few well-placed areas of white in a sea of black. It feels like getting down to the core elements behind what makes an image work (contrast, value, composition) and I really enjoy that.
FQ: Throughout history in humanities myths and legends, names hold power over good and evil alike. What is the significance of names in your story? Why does the main character remain nameless?
I left the characters nameless for most of the story partially due to the rules of the world they inhabit—giving your name to a 'demon' is a bad idea—and partially because the story is about searching for identity. Giving the characters a chance to show who they are before I saddle them with names seemed to fit.
F: I am terrible for trying to predict the end of stories while I’m reading them. I had immediately decided that our main character did not locate her brother when she ran into the boy in the city. What is the truth about this plot point? Is the boy she found actually her brother?
I like it when stories leave a lot of lingering questions and don't tie things up neatly at the end (although I hope it feels like the comic did have a clear ending). I also think that stories are always a collaboration between the writer and the reader, and whatever interpretation the reader brings to the table is as valid as my own.
F: Did you write this story with the intention of it being readable for an audience of all ages?
F: What are the chances of a sequel to Over the Wall?
F: As this is your first graphic novel, what are your plans for the future? Are you currently working on or developing any new stories?