Peter David has written incredible books for several Marvel and DC heroes, notably redefining what readers expect from some of the most iconic heroes.
Marvel and DC have both had a litany of great creators over the years, with many of them writing several books for the publishers. Perhaps one of the most underrated of these is Peter David, the scribe behind several big-time properties. Though he's known for bringing respect to the names of several major heroes, the man himself remains one of the most unsung in the industry.
Peter David's work has been instrumental in both launching different comic book properties and heavily reinventing them for the better. This is especially the case for two Marvel and DC heroes who are many times misunderstood. With the writer unfortunately hospitalized recently, now's the best time to look back and further honor his incredible work throughout the decades.
The character that Peter David is most associated with is Marvel's Incredible Hulk, who he had an immeasurable impact on. Peter David's acclaimed and classic Hulk introduced several new facets to the titular character's personality while expanding on previous lore. Briefly, no longer green, Banner's Hulk persona was now the grey-skinned Joe Fixit. This grey Hulk wasn't as powerful, but he was more intelligent, boasting a bad attitude and a thuggish persona. Likewise, Professor Hulk would combine the Jade Giant's usual form with Banner's intellect, creating a whole new kind of Hulk. This foreshadowed the dark future ruled over by the Maestro, a vision of the Hulk driven mad by power and the destruction of society. To this day, he still returns to write miniseries' about Maestro, remaining his main writer.
Beyond his well-known influence on the Hulk property, Peter David also wrote several other key Marvel books. One of these was Spider-Man 2099, the definitive book in Marvel's futuristic 2099 imprint. Still considered the premiere writer for future Wall Crawler, Miguel O'Hara, David's run did an excellent job of bringing the Spider-Man concept into the future without repeating the adventures of Peter Parker. Other notable Marvel works of David's include his X-Factor run, which helped to cement the tertiary X-Men team into a group that investigated mutant-related cases. These and other books of David's at the House of Ideas would receive acclaim and even awards, yet this name still isn't quite at the level of Geoff Johns or Brian Michael Bendis. Despite this, he's just as great, with his extensive bibliography extending to both of the Big Two.
Before Peter David's run, Aquaman had largely been seen as a joke among even comic book fans. That changed when David gave him a hook hand, a bad attitude and much longer tresses. This edgy take on the aquatic hero is still his most influential outside of Geoff Johns' work on the character during the New 52, with the long-haired hook hand Aquaman going on to arguably inform Jason Momoa's take on the character.
Young Justice was another highly popular DC book from Peter David, with the team in the title essentially functioning as the Teen Titans when that property was on the back burner. Peter David's Young Justice properly portrayed the youthful heroes as fun-loving, immature and too cool for school, heavily contrasting them from their mentors in a series of exciting stories. Perhaps David's most unique use of a teen DC hero was in his Supergirl title, which succeeded against all odds. Despite not featuring the "real" Kryptonian Supergirl, this book has continued to be looked back upon favorably, namely for its combination of superheroics and an examination of faith.
Needless to say, Peter David has several great runs on prominent books under his belt. Of course, that doesn't include his work on comic books for properties such as Star Trek and Babylon 5. His own life has heavily informed all of these books and said life has been lived as one of the best in the comic book industry. From giving more depth to Hulk to adding more of an edge to Aquaman, Peter David has inarguably crafted the definitive stories for several major comic book heroes.
Timothy Blake Donohoo is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing. A professional freelance writer and marketing expert, he’s written marketing copy and retail listings for companies such as Viatek. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching documentaries and catching up on the latest Vaporwave and Electro-Swing musical releases.