Tag: Bart Sears

Comics for Tots 2013

Once again, I’m putting together what has become known as Comics for Tots, an effort to raise funds for Toys for Toys. The idea started simply enough: I offered up autographed comics and collected editions that I’d written, and used the proceeds to purchase toys and books which were then donated to Toys for Tots. If you’re unfamiliar with Toys for Tots, it’s a national program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Foundation to get new toys into the hands of needy children for the holidays.

This will be the fourth year for Comics for Tots, and each year has brought in more donations that the last. In 2012, we were able to raise more than $2,300 to purchase toys and books, thanks in large part to generous donations from many of my friends in the comic industry, including a number of pieces of original art.

This year, I’ll be offering up signed books; some signed, original scripts; and comic script reviews from myself and Vito Delsante. There will also be original art and signed books from a lot of my very kind friends in the business, including Stjepan Sejic, Dan Jurgens, Bart Sears, Andy Smith, Darryl Banks, Cully Hamner, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Jennifer Meyer, J.M. DeMatteis, Chris Eliopoulos, Richard Clark, Paul Harding, Matthew Dow Smith, Saurav Mohapatra, Steve Niles, Scott Kolins and many others.

kyle_banks

thanos_stjepan

doompatrol_Kollins

HB_stjepan

This year, we’ll be offering the items on Ebay, to reach as wide an audience as possible, and to hopefully make the logistics a bit easier. I’ve opened a seller account in the name “ronmarzstore” on Ebay, which should lead you to all the items.

Direct link: http://www.ebay.com/sch/ronmarzstore/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Donations of artwork, signed books or other items can be mailed to a post office box I’ve set up. The address is:

Ron Marz
P.O. Box 144
Duanesburg, NY 12056

Thanks in advance for any contributions, as well as any donations. If anyone wishes to make a simple cash donation, the Paypal address remains the same:

kmarz@nycap.rr.com

Please be sure to mark the donation as specifically for Comics for Tots. Many thanks!

Cheers,

Ron


Convention Appearances This Month

I’m appearing at conventions on back-to-back weekends, something I usually try to avoid, but the shows involved were too enticing to pass up.

On Feb. 23-24, I’ll be at the London Super Comic Con, held at the Excel Centre in London. I believe I’ll be set up at the Top Cow booth, and if all goes as planned, I’ll hopefully have a few copies of Ravine Volume 1 for sale. I’ll definitely be bringing the Shinku TPB with me, so please send me home with lighter luggage.

More information on the show can be found here:

http://www.londonsupercomicconvention.com/

On March 1-3, I’ll be at one of my favorite shows, Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, held at the Washington State Convention Center. I’ll be set up at table C-16, and doing a couple signings at the Dynamite Comics booth as well. I’ll also be joining the Dynamite Comics panel, held 6-7 p.m. Saturday in Hall B. I’ll have copies of both Shinku and Ravine at the show.

And the big news: Chicago Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije will be joining me for a special signing from noon-1 p.m. Sunday. We’ll be in the signing area, giving away an exclusive mini-litho for The Protectors, the series Bart Sears and I are working on for Athleta Comics, the publishing imprint Israel has founded. We’ll have 200 lithos to give away, so come early!

More information on Emerald City can be found here:

http://www.emeraldcitycomicon.com/

My con schedule for the remainder of the year is taking shape. Be aware, this is a only a partial list, as a number of confirmations/announcements are still falling into place. But thus far, I expect to be at:

  • Woodstock Day School Comic Con, Woodstock, NY, April 13.
  • C2E2, Chicago, April 26-28.
  • MCBA SpringCon, St. Paul, Minnesota, May 18-19.
  • Albany Comic Con, Albany, NY, June 16.
  • ComiCONN, Trumbull, Conn., Aug. 24.
  • Baltimore Comic Con, Baltimore, MD, Sept. 7-8.
  • North Carolina Comicon, Durham, NC, Nov. 9-10.

I expect to visit at least a few more shows, so I’ll update with additional appearances as soon as they’re confirmed. Hope to see you this year.

Cheers,

Ron


The Protectors Announced

At the recent New York Comic Con, I announced a new project for 2013, a series called The Protectors, which is the brainchild of Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije. Israel, or “Izzy,” founded Athleta Comics in order to bring The Protectors, and hopefully future projects, to life. The exclusive announcement story was featured in USA Today, with comments from both me and Izzy, and can be seen here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2012/10/12/nycc-israel-idonije-ron-marz-graphic-novel-the-protectors/1630475/

The Protectors combines professional sports with the kind of superhero/cosmic storylines you might see in Avengers or X-Men. Now I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: sports hardly ever works in comics. The vast majority of the time, it reads awkwardly and looks worse. So when The Protectors came across my desk, I knew we had to get the right artist to draw it, or all would be for naught. So I called my buddy Bart Sears, to see if I possibly could lure him back to comics. Bart has been working in video games and commercial art for the last few years, but the prospect of The Protectors brought him back to sequential storytelling. I truly can’t think of anybody more suited to draw this story.

The Protectors will feature original characters, as well as cameos by real-life athletes. We intend to create a story that accessible to both comic fans and sports fans. Follow the Athleta Comics website for a pretty steady stream of updates and exclusive content, and expect the first issue to debut at C2E2 in Chicago next April.

Cheers,

Ron


Conan, by Crom!

I grew up on Conan. I devoured the Ace paperbacks that gathered the original Robert E. Howard prose tales with pastiches by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. I’m sure the initial attraction there was the Frazetta cover imagery; what boy could resist those? In fairly short order, I discovered Conan in the comics, drawn to the black-and-white magazine Savage Sword of Conan more than the color Conan the Barbarian monthly (both from Marvel). Presumably this had more to do with the higher quotient of violence and nudity in Savage Sword. I kept up with a few comics at the time, like Avengers and Uncanny X-Men, they were a distant second to bloody swords and heaving bosoms.

Conan was always a “checklist” character for me – one of those characters I wanted to write at least once in my career. I’ve been able to put a mark next to a lot of the character on my personal list: Tarzan, the Phantom, Batman and a number of others. But an opportunity to write Conan hadn’t presented itself until now. My editor at Dark Horse, Dave Land, offered up the chance during the San Diego con, asking if I might like to do an eight-page story that would see print in USA Today. He didn’t have to ask twice, especially with my friend Bart Sears in place to draw it. The result can be seen here:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/2010-11-22-kissoftheundead22_ST_N.htm

Obviously eight pages is not a huge amount of space for a one-and-done story, especially one that needs to introduce the main character to an audience that might not be familiar with him. Thus, the use of the familiar Nemedian Chronicles passage on page 1. The rest shows off Conan as he’s meant to be, complete with the trappings of a lovely maiden and some horrific opponents who need killing.

I can’t think of an artist whose sensibilities mesh better with Conan and his world than Bart. He and I have talked about doing a Conan story numerous times through the years, but it never came to fruition until now. Here’s a pretty fascinating blog piece from a Bart fan site, showing off the process of putting together the story’s art, with lots of previously unseen images:

http://bartsearscollector.blogspot.com/2010/11/conan-kiss-of-undead.html

I’m happy to report this won’t be the last time Bart and I tackle Conan. And next time we’ll have a few more pages to tell our story. More news on that as soon as I can.

Cheers,

Ron


Liquid Refreshment

Blog posts are apt to be in short supply this week, unfortunately, in the run-up to the San Diego Comic Con and the release of Artifacts #1. I’ll be posting my signing and panel schedule for the con, but most of the other words this week will be in the service of stockpiling scripts.

So in the meantime, here’s a couple links to keep you entertained. Both are from the Heavy.com site, which seems to be a something of an online lad magazine, with bikinis, mixed martial arts … and Liquid Comics. Not really sure how that came about, but the site is offering up a couple of my projects for Liquid (then Virgin) for free.

The first is issue #1 of Beyond, the four-issue mini I adapted, along with artist Edison George, from a Deepak Chopra screenplay. The print version of Beyond #1 was among the last Virgin books to be released, and I’m not sure how much distribution it received. It’s a story of other dimensions and alternate universes, with some dense, beautiful art by Edison. Here’s the link for the full issue

The second is actually a collection of material that doesn’t exist in a single-issue print version. In addition to serving as editor for Ramayan 3392 A.D. , I wrote a series of five short stories meant as origin pieces for the main characters. Each story was only three pages, and I came up with the idea of using one of those three pages as an alternate cover for the respective issues, necessitating that one of the pages be a splash. So the stories were a slightly tricky exercise in short-form storytelling and formatting. But I was in a position to hire my own artists, and I went with some of the best. In order:

  1. Michael Avon Oeming on Rama
  2. Jim Starlin on Ravan
  3. Luke Ross on Seeta
  4. David Petersen on Hanuman
  5. Bart Sears on Lakshman

I tried to pair characters with matching artistic sensibilities (frankly, something writers and/or editors should be doing all the time). Mike’s affection for heroic mythology made him a natural fit for Rama … and his rep for turning around pages fast didn’t hurt either. Jim’s career is obviously filled with memorable villains, his creation Thanos chief among them, so the villainous Ravan was an obvious choice. Luke’s beautiful, flowing lines and attention to detail were a nice match for Seeta. Luke did some gorgeous, full-color covers for Virgin’s Devi, a title featuring a female lead. That’s also Luke’s cover you’ll see on Beyond #1.

I was a little hesitant to typecast David, who is best known for his terrific Mouse Guard series. But pairing David with the monkey-god Hanuman was too perfect to pass up. And finally, Bart’s penchant for muscled warriors and bloody battles made the Lakshman assignment an easy one.

All five of the origin stories are collected here.

Enjoy.

Cheers,

Ron


“Russian” Translation

A few years ago, a creator-owned project of mine called Russian Sunset was announced at Desperado Press. It was a five-issue crime/espionage story about an enforcer for the Russian Mob, drawn by a talented Serbian artist named Mirko Colak. Short version, we completed the entire first issue, but the project didn’t come out due to a number of factors that I won’t go into. It just didn’t work out. I’m still friends with Joe Pruett of Desperado, and I’m sure in the future we’ll work together on something (in addition to the foreword I’m writing for the Jim Starlin art book that Joe is publishing). Mirko is presently drawing albums for French publishers, and hopefully we’ll get to collaborate again.

Russian Sunset itself landed at Top Cow, with a different artist attached, but not too long before we were going to begin anew on the series, the artist accepted a DC exclusive. No hard feelings at all, it was the right thing for him to do. But it put the series back into limbo, where it presently resides. At some point, though, I fully intend to get it up and running again. I’m thoroughly enjoying all the work-for-hire gigs I’m doing – Witchblade, Magdalena, Angelus, Velocity, Artifacts and a few other things that are still under wraps. But there’s nothing like working on creator-owned projects. You’ll be seeing a few more of them from me in the future.

In the meantime, here’s the original cover to Russian Sunset #1, pencils and inks by Bart Sears, color by Mike Atiyeh. Come back tomorrow for a look at two versions of the Luke Ross cover to issue #2.

Cheers,
Ron


Colorful Indy

A brief addendum to the awesome Indiana Jones pages by Luke Ross I posted earlier this week. Here’s the first of those pages in glorious color, courtesy of Mike Atiyeh, whose color work has graced books from Marvel, DC and Dark Horse, as well as CrossGen.

Mike was one of the first CrossGen colorists hired. Besides being one of my best buddies there, we worked together on The Path, Mike coloring both the Bart Sears and Matthew Dow Smith issues. Mike has been a regular contributor to the Dark Horse’s Star Wars line, which is fitting since he’s one of the biggest Star Wars fans in this universe or any other. Obviously there’s a whole lot of love for Indy as well, as this page shows. Hope you like it.

I’ll be working with Mike on a future project, something that won’t debut until 2011, but we’re starting on it now. More details about that later on, maybe about the time of the San Diego convention…

Cheers,

Ron


Man of the hour

HourmanOne of the cool aspects of working in comics is that you very often wind up working with your friends. Of course, your friends are likely scattered around the country, or even the globe. Probably the best part of being at CrossGen in Florida for a few years was working in the same studio with guys who were not only my friends, but some of the best artists in the business. Seeing new pages by Jim Cheung, Steve Epting, Butch Guice, Bart Sears and everyone else was the main attraction of going into the office every day.

I’ve known artist Cully Hamner for about as long as either of us has been in comics. He’s one of my best friends in or out of comics. We’ve worked together a number of times, though always on something of a single-issue nature rather than an ongoing. If you’re not checking out his current “Question” stuff in Detective Comics, your life is not complete. Cully was actually a candidate to draw my year-long run on Thor early in our careers. Maybe if he’d ended up on the book with me, my run wouldn’t have been so dreadful. I still have Cully’s pitch piece for the series, featuring one of the more kick-ass Thor versions you’ll see. I’ll dig that out and show it off soon.

Back early ’90s when Cully and I were eager, young know-it-alls (as opposed to the jaded, older know-it-alls we are now) we got it in our heads to pitch an Hourman revamp. I truthfully can’t remember the specifics, like which editor it was for, or even if it was intended to be a stand-alone mini, or maybe part of an anthology series. Hell, I don’t even remember if we ever officially pitched it or not. But I did save the faxes – yeah, this was before e-mail – of Cully’s character designs, which you can see here. Still pretty damn cool, huh?

Hourman

So the pitch never went anywhere, but one aspect of it stuck in my head ever since. Our Hourman story was going to take place over the course of one hour, and count down each minute of his Miraclo pill-induced powers (with interspersed flashbacks). Imposing that kind of storytelling structure would have been a real pain in the ass, but worth it.

Flash forward to last autumn, when I was pondering a proper story for the Velocity four-issue mini. I live adjacent to a lake, and the road that loops around it is 2.5 miles. I do a lot of my thinking on daily walks around the lake. And I thought of … Hourman. Or more specifically, using that one-hour framework in which to tell a story. It worked for Hourman for obvious reasons. But I thought it would also work for a speedster character like Velocity, a literal ticking clock she’d be racing against. How much could she accomplish in an hour? I called Cully, made sure he was cool with me resurrecting the idea on something he wouldn’t be drawing. He was.

So the controlling element of the Velocity series is going to be one hour: four issues, told in just a little more than 60 minutes, each page counting down the time she has to save not only her own life , but those of her Cyberforce teammates. One more tidbit: the opening sequence is an homage to a Bond movie, though I’m not saying which one. Velocity #1, by me and Kenneth Rocafort, hits stands in May. Hope you have an hour to spare.

Cheers,

Ron


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