It came from the 80s. That phrase applies to almost everything rad, but today we are referring to the artistic awakening of Bill Peterson, a Rochester comic artist. Peterson’s discerning eye for detail and penchant for optimistic, atmospheric storytelling will grace the pages of the 507 throughout this month. In fact, the back page of this week’s issue features the first of three exclusive strips he has drawn for us.
It started circa 1985, when Peterson and a friend found themselves inspired by cartoons like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Jungle Book, and The Rescuers. They developed characters and practiced drawing them with consistency. Then, his interest waned and Peterson went on to work as a chef.
Roughly four years ago, he got back into art, teaching himself the history and techniques necessary to bring his imagination to life. He watched YouTube tutorials,
read books by Walter Foster, and observed the progress of fellow comic artist Dylan Jacobson on Patreon. He also credits Craig at Book Review (1618 US 52, Rochester) for showing him good comics.
These days, between research and development, technique building, and actual drawing, lettering, coloring, and page layout, he can works at his craft between 10 and 14 hours a day.
He does it for the enjoyment of the viewer. One day, he may compile a coffee table book.
“I’m not really too interested in huge success, it’s just something that I enjoy to do and just want to share with people,” he said.
507 readers will get to know Angst and Innocence, a project he describes as a hybrid of a comic strip and comic book, but Peterson’s cast of original characters goes deep. Here is an inside look at some of his creations, told in his own words.
Limbo Happenstance is a super soldier. He was beaten up terribly on the battlefield and was given the, what was quite controversial at the time,
but they called it the half-brain. He has a sidekick, a drone that goes out and does recon for him. He’s kind of in a constant state of limbo because of the half-brain. He kind of bounces from his true self to the super-soldier persona.
Hard Hitters had been in contact with the scientists that were responsible for this half-brain which was given to Limbo Happenstance… which was so controversial. They decided to break off on their own path and are kind of self-righteous as far as what they wanted to do with their science.
Socia, she was developed as I was learning about women in the 1800s and they didn’t have their own money or their own property, really, and so in order to move into a higher social class, they had to do what they called is “marry well.” They would have to marry into a higher social class. So, for some reason, that brought me to the idea of a character that has to avenge her mother due to social injustices, similar to what were taking place for women in our own country, which is set up for freedom and equality and I developed her in a land called Hugh Canyon. She lives on the lower level and most of her tribe has been diminished due to the other characters that I have living up higher on the canyon walls and even eventually up into the skies.
So Socia has not met Limbo Happenstance, but they will, at some point. Socia has a peacock feather that is kind of her sidekick and can also go out on recon and report back to her through telekinesis.
Initially, Angst & Innocence were developed as, basically, my wife and I. I am Angst and she is Innocence, which is similar to how we were in the 80s. We didn’t meet until the 90s. Angst & Innocence really takes place in the 80s, early 90s. Angst is kind of a little bit crabby and things don’t always go very well for him, but he’s really pretty patient and has a real fondness for Innocence. Angst listens to more punk rock music and maybe some heavy metal in there, and Innocence is more of a fun loving, just happy going gal that’s really appreciates the music of the 70s, late 60s.
They’re very different in the attitudes that they carry but their ideals are pretty synonymous and from that spun the characters to develop even to the point where they’re not even really working against each other in any way, they’re just, they’re both trying to get things accomplished, they’re busy people, they like their community and they do really well together, despite their differences in opinions. They come to the same outcome.
Innocence actually has two left hands in one of the panels in this comic, so if you can find it, maybe I’ll buy you a pizza.