Steve Peters Awakens

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2005
By: Darren Schroeder

After a six-year absence from publishing full-size comic books, Steve Peters returns with Chemistry, a 32-page B&W comic book.  

Peters says: Chemistry started as an experiment. I decided I wanted to draw a panel a day for a year with no preconceived notions as to what the story would be.  At the end of the year, I would hopefully have a complete comic.  As I went along, I began hiding the date in each panel, and for some readers, looking at the book becomes a game of trying to find where the date is hidden.

The comic immediately became autobiographical.  I happened to be in a new relationship when I started it, and the first few pages are a reflection of my happiness.  By the end of the third page, however, things are starting to go wrong, and from that point on the pages become very dark as the character based on me begins to grapple with his inner demons of doubt and insecurity.

By the time I was halfway finished drawing the comic, the relationship was over.  The demons have all consolidated into one entity who tries to destroy any self-confidence left.

From then on, I begin to examine what went wrong in the relationship.  I start at the end, and gradually work my way backwards.  We watch as time is reversed and see the couple begin to grow happier and happier.  The comic ends at the beginning of the relationship.

Chemistry consists of many little leaps of faith that things would work out somehow, since I was not working with a script but just an outline instead, and I was consistently amazed at how well everything seemed to fall into place.  It seemed very much that this book was meant to be.

To go along with the comic, Peters is also releasing a Chemistry soundtrack CD of original rock music recorded by his band.  Comics with accompanying CDs aren't a new thing, but Peters says Chemistry will be different: Often, a CD that comes with a comic is just a random collection of songs, with maybe a title track that is about the same subject as the comic.  On the Chemistry soundtrack CD, each song is titled after a chapter in the comic.  The lyrics and the mood of each song reflect what is going on in the corresponding chapter.  For example, there's a breakup song called 'Goodbye' which is heavy and dark, with lots of distorted guitars.  A song about being drunk on love, 'Intoxicated', is appropriately silly and energetic and rambunctious.      

Peters describes the music thus if They Might Be Giants did Yes songs

I always loved the interaction of Steve Howe’s guitar and Chris Squire’s bass, so there’s a lot of that in my music.  At the same time, I like bands that do goofy music like TMBG and King Missile, so some of my songs are pretty tongue-in-cheek, which isn’t something you see too often in prog rock.  

Awakening Comics will be donating 75% of the proceeds from sales of the Chemistry soundtrack CD to charities aiding the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.  Chemistry is about spiritual growth, and I think that in order to achieve that growth it's important to give when you can.  I received a special offer from my CD manufacturer, Disc Makers; they're giving a discount to anyone printing CDs to benefit the disaster victims.  I happened to be finishing up my CD when I heard this, so the synchronicity of it made it impossible to pass up

Sample pages from the comic and MP3s from the CD are available at  Both appear in Diamond Comics' March Previews catalog and are slated for a May 2005 release.

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