Chemistry is a 32-page B&W comic book, the winner of the 2006 Gene Day Memorial Prize. It is a fully self-contained story. A CD soundtrack of 7 original songs, about 58 minutes in length complements the comic.
Creator Steve 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 has also released a Chemistry soundtrack CD of original rock music recorded by his band. Other artists have created comics with accompanying CDs in the past, 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.
Chemistry was given a “Certified Cool” by Diamond Comics’ March 2005 Previews catalog. The comic and CD won the 2006 Gene Day Memorial Prize, awarded at SPACE in Columbus, Ohio.
PRAISE FOR CHEMISTRY
“For as long as I’ve known Steve, I’ve always felt blessed to be in his company, awed and inspired by his work. After reading his latest creation, CHEMISTRY, I’m convinced more than ever that some stories HAVE to be told and are meant to be. His stories are personal, human and heartfelt as he explores situations that one can’t help but relate to.”
—Eric Battle, artist, Tarzan syndicated Sunday newspaper strips, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and various other publications
“I read CHEMISTRY – WOW. Man, I f—ing love this. I’m sorely impressed by this, and [by the] styles used to create it. Personal stories are always so hard to do, and it’s even harder to do when you bare your soul to other people to see. It was real honest, and to look at it from someone who has never met [Steve] before, you really feel for ‘Steve’ the character as well. This is ACES.”
—Jamar Nicholas, creator, The Jamar Chronicles
“Steve Peters is a unique talent in the world of comics, and it has been a joy to watch his development. Chemistry marks both the fulfillment of his earlier promise, and the first step on a new artistic journey. Great work by a talented creator.”
—Jimmy Gownley, creator, Amelia Rules
“I was just remarking to myself when I was looking at Chemistry—your candidate for the Day Prize this year—boy the kid has never given up. You’ve certainly been across the spectrum of Large Questions over, under and back again and it’s all here in black-and-white, metaphorically, literally and every other way imaginable. A real comic-book Pilgrim’s Progress.”
—Dave Sim, creator, Cerebus
[Dave Sim on Selecting Chemistry for the Day Prize] (Starts at 9:00)
[Indy Spinner Rack Chemistry Interview] (Starts at 54:56)