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Interview: Alex Ross and Steve Darnall talk PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT

Get ready for the return of Peter Cannon.

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Back in June, Dynamite Entertainment announced the return of Peter Cannon, the world-famous author, international celebrity and superhero known as Thunderbolt. Created by the late Pete Morisi, the character makes his return to comics courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment. The new series, PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT will be written by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross with art by Jonathan Lau. The series will also feature covers by Alex Ross, Jae Lee, John Cassaday and Ardian Syaf.

The series goes on sale this September. In case you're not exactly sure who Peter Cannon is or what to expect from this series, we asked Steve and Alex a few questions to prepare for the new title.

Comic Vine: hat will be the feel for this series? Will fans familiar with the character immediately recognize everything?

Steve Darnall: I guess it depends what you mean by "feel." I will say that none of us were interested in discarding the work Pete Morisi put into creating this character back in the 1960s—and while we weren't about to pretend it was still 1967, I can't guarantee fans will "immediately recognize everything," I don't think it should be too much of a challenge to ask them to step into Peter Cannon's world.

Alex Ross: I’m not sure how many people that represents. This is the same character who shares the same history, and even the costume design I’ve done is essentially a look he’s moved into, not eradicating what he wore before.

== TEASER ==
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CV: What do new fans need to know in order to jump in?

SD: Start with the first issue.

Seriously, one of the strengths of a character like Thunderbolt is that he doesn't come with a lot of baggage, so to speak. We can draw upon the characterizations Pete Morisi created in his stories and hopefully expand upon them. In any case, it's my sincere hope that anyone—whether they're familiar with this character or not—will be able to get up to speed pretty quickly. I don't think we've assumed that everyone.

AR: Thunderbolt is a hero who has been around before our story begins, but is now living with the repercussions of having truly shaped and changed the world.

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CV: Will this series begin from the beginning of his origin or will it be loosely tied to past continuity? (Can we assume there will be no connection to the DC Comics series from the 90s?)

AR: We’re not rebooting it in quite the same way that the DC Comics series did. Past readers can assume that his general history is the same, as we will recap his origin immediately.

SD: We don't begin issue 1 with his birth, if that's what you're asking. In fact, our story begins where a lot of other stories end: with our hero saving the world. From there, we'll delve into the character's past and of course, take him into his future. I think we were more interested in staying true to the characters than in toeing the line based on some notion of "continuity." For instance, the Mike Collins-Jose Marzan Thunderbolt series of the 1990s to which you refer made a concerted effort to incorporate Peter Cannon into the DC Universe. We didn't have that option here, so we just tried to draw a little from the work of those before us and add a few ideas of our own to make a little universe in which Pete Morisi's character could exist.

CV: Where did the Pete Morisi "never before published" origin story come from? How come it was never published?

SD: It's my understanding that Pete Morisi wrote and drew a special story in the 1980s for a book called SECRET ORIGINS. As for why it was never published... that's probably a better question for the editor or publisher of that book.

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CV: Will the series take place in the current age or have a retro feel?

SD: Long, long ago, in a galaxy...oh, wait! Seriously, this story takes place in a time similar to our own, with the same conveniences and some of the same nuisances.

AR: The series is set as if everything is completely contemporary.

CV: Will other characters and villains such as the Hooded One be part of this series?

SD: Yes, during the course of this series, we will feature some characters that Pete Morisi and his cohorts created and some that we created.

CV: What's the one thing that sets Peter Cannon apart from other heroes?

AR: Partially his reluctance to be the hero he was trained to be is somewhat uniquely conveyed in his behavior. And his main ability is a force of will over all odds to fight against the limitations of his own frail body.

SD: Well, to start with, there's his costume, which is a "coat of many colors," as it were. There's also something about the character's attitude which always struck me as unique, in that he had this particular life sort of thrust upon him and didn't really have a say in the matter. He was given a great honor when he was allowed to study the ancient scrolls that would unlike the secrets of mind and body, but it wasn't something he necessarily wanted. I mean, even Bruce Wayne got to decide whether or not he wanted to be Batman. What's more, Thunderbolt was created to protect a society and a world for which he doesn't have much respect. He's in charge of saving a world he doesn't necessarily think is worth saving—to him, we live in a loud, violent world, filled with stupid and meaningless distractions; worse than that, we do it willingly. And yet, when he's needed, he calls upon everything he has and does what he can.

PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT is on sale in September.

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