Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

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Interview with Harry Markos of Markosia Entertainment

June 29, 2008

For those of you who have never met Harry I’d suggest tracking him down at the next con and pumping him. I mean for information, the guy speaks so passionately and doesn’t speak down to you. He is really enthusiastic about the industry and also comics. It’s a pity I have to transcribe this rather than putting the conversation up on the net as the enthusiasm comes across.

Interview with Harry Markos Bristol Comic Convention

CB: We’re here with Harry Markos of Markosia Entertainment, We’re going to have a little chat about Markosia, what he’s noticed this weekend and any forthcoming events and new titles coming out, Thanks for taking the time out this morning Harry I know that Markosia is busy this morning going through portfolio’s with people. Your stall’s been pretty busy this morning. What have you thought of the con in general this weekend?

Harry: Well it’s a bit busier than last year, Yesterday was incredible and they were locking people out it was so busy.

CB: I didn’t know that, I just thought that it was full again

Harry: They did, twice in fact, something to do with fire regulations and it being too busy in there. And as a side effect we were very busy yesterday which was great, todays a little quieter but still quite busy. We decided to do the portfolio sessions today as it’s a little quieter but we have still had 25 artists come today with portfolios. We’ve already worked through eight

CB: Already this morning?

Harry: Yeah, so I got plenty more to do. Some are also going to be sent in via email, as some of the artists couldn’t make it today. Markosia are always on the lookout for bright young talent, particularly from the UK, we want to encourage that talent as I know there’s a lot out there. We’re still using European and global talent as well but I want to introduce more British talent. We’ve been quite successful recently with the success of Paul Green who this time last year at Bristol, he came along and was introduced to me, his art blew me away. I asked him to do some concept art, which he did and it was amazing. Within a couple of weeks I’d offered him a four issue mini-series on Starship Troopers, which he was absolutely amazing on. He’s now been signed up to do Flash Gordon and is being looked at by everyone.

CB: This is the Flash Gordon that’s being shown at the convention.

Harry: Yeah, Actually I am quite fortunate, I made a bet with him, and I said that within a month of the first Starship Troopers coming out, if he wasn’t signed up by someone else, I would run down my road naked. So it was quite fortunate that in week three, he’d called me to say that he’d been signed up to do Flash Gordon. He’s got an amazing future ahead of him. I’m hoping that we’ll have some big players if the next few months pan out. He’s the kind of talent that I want to meet and I want to publish because there’s a lot of talent out there and I want to introduce them to the world as we feel we have a good platform to be able to do that.

CB: Going off the back of what you are saying there Harry, You’ve got the Big two Dc and Marvel obviously and then just underneath that you’ve got your Image your Dark Horse, which I personally don’t put down myself as I collect a lot of indie titles and Indie titles is where I started and where I will also show a lot of loyalty to. What’s Markosia’s main principle on the marketplace? DC and Marvel are all about the big bang the big buck. Some great writers and some great artists but it is the big product.

Harry: It is, it’s a really tough brutal market out there at the moment. And it’s only really the top five publishers that are actually achieving anything in my opinion. There’s a lot of controversy regarding the comic format itself, is it going to last? Is it going to be replaced? I personally think that it will always be there. Though I do think that it will be in a limited form and probably only those that can afford to do it will be able to do it in the future. As you know it’s not a cheap business. We’ve been going for four years now which is a miracle in itself. We were told by Diamond that 75% of new publishers don’t last five months. So four years is a big achievement for us and particularly for a British publisher as well. There are lots of small one title publishers about and they are doing a great job but unfortunately because of the way the market is at the moment they are not getting the recognition or the exposure that they deserve that they would have got 20-30 years ago when it was a different market. When there were millions of copies being sold around the world. It’s completely changed now, the internet has made a lot of inroads into the way the industry is being presented in the future, which we are going to be a part of, and we’ve got some talent lined up to do that. Mainly as a publisher and we’ve published Starship Troopers and Kong a couple of licensed properties, we moved into novels and when we started no other publisher was doing it. Now everyone seems to be doing it now but when we announced it people thought we were crazy as no one else would contemplate it. But back then we thought it would be big and we’ve been proved right. Where I am very keen to explore is new concepts new property’s new creators as well as established creators who want their own creations to be published, we enter into a partnership with them, where we take the risk on the publishing and marketing side and pitching it out there to the Hollywood’s and the European markets. We’re very well placed with that now and we see that for us that is the way forward. Acquiring these partnerships and new property’s because there’s a need for it, a need for new fresh blood, which is becoming more and more difficult for people to get into and what people don’t realize is that despite the success of Marvel and DC and maybe a couple of others the market is tightening up in terms of creator owned stuff, In terms of artists getting well paid jobs with the publishers, it’s getting harder and harder there’s more and more talent and less and less work paid work that is. And it’s stifling the market a bit, with all the problems with distribution and low sales more and more company’s are being forced out. What people don’t realize is that when the small press guys go and then the indie company’s go the rest of the industry will collapse as well. Most of the big guys at Marvel, DC, Dark Horse etc all started at the bottom of the ladder.

CB: Of course in the indie market.

Harry: Yes, so you take that away and they are going to suffer quite badly as well. I realize that every business has to evolve I think that at the moment we’re going through a transitional period where no one seems to know which way to turn other than internet related. Digital stuff. It’s very unclear where it’s going to go, so we’re determined that we’re going to be around for many years anyway. We’ve got a very good business plan laid out and we know where we are headed. We’ll struggle through it because we need to keep ourselves in the mind of people. Everyone needs the exposure and awareness out there. And when eventually the market sorts itself out with whatever direction it’s chosen we’ll be well placed to take advantage of that. I am very confident that within a year or two we’ll be very well placed.

CB: So going back to last night, The Butcher understands that Markosia was nominated for several awards at the eagles. Is that correct?

Harry: (smiling) I think it was seven yeah, it was originally more than that but it got whittled down to seven.

CB: Not being a fan of any awards as I find them very open to nepotism and I tend to smell a rat, were there any controversies at the awards last night

Harry: Hmmm there may have been, In fact there was yes. In fact the controversy started many weeks ago with some rumors spreading about some potential vote rigging and cheating, which was very unpleasant at the time. We kept well out of that as a company, we refused to have anything to do with that and were not involved. The creators who were involved were given an apology last night which was very good to hear and very big of the person who gave the apology. That was it as far as we were concerned we were actually nominated as far as I was aware. We made it into the top five as best publisher.

CB: Nice achievement.

Harry: Then we were removed, and were replaced by vertigo apparently. Which is quite interesting as DC were one of the five as well, it was interesting to see how that worked. But you know we’re not bothered about things like that, we keep out of it, and we get on with our own business. For us Bristol is a very important show it’s one of our home town shows and it keeps us flying the flag as it were. Which I think we’re doing reasonably well.

CB: It’s certainly a good stand this year, and in such a prime spot.

Harry: Thank you, we try our best, and there’s a good collection of work there to see as well, Over the last four years we’ve built up approximately 25 titles which is quite an achievement. We’re just experimenting with something and we went online and live on Thursday night before Bristol, We put three web comics up. Completely different formats and property’s than we’ve ever published before including a manga web comic which we’re quite excited about. We’ve got a lot of different avenues that we are pursuing.

CB: You’ve mentioned your big titles being Kong and Starship Troopers, here’s your chance to give us the lowdown on your other titles and guys

Harry: Oh most definitely, we’re very excited we’ve got some gorgeous new property’s coming out this year. One is at the printer this week Lazarus Immortal Coils by Joseph Gauthier who is based in SanFrancisco. The Man is amazing  his story coupled with the amazing artworkworks brilliantly he does so much work. It has Lazarus as the good guy and fighting demons. In July we have another completely different direction in a new series called N-Guard by Canadian Creator John Bryans,it’s an anthromorporthic all ages adventure that is in four parts that we’re very excited about and it’s just been given a staff pick in Previews which is quite an achievement for us. Also later on this year we have The Magpye, which  I understand that you know a bit about and the boys behind it

CB: Sure do, and have been pimping it well for you.

Harry (laughs) Yep, the Magpye is a much darker tale. Then December time we have a five-issue mini called Serpent Wars. It’s set in the 19th Century and is about a young apprentice, He Stows away on a British Lord’s ship to prove the existence of sea serpents. We’re really behind this title as we’ve pitched it to Hollywood and they are quite excited about it. Also we signed Mr. Regie Rigby’s Sunset, which Paul green is currently illustrating. And Paul is busy next year with another title Contagion which is written by Chris Jones.

CB: So going back to what you were saying earlier, has anyone taken the Harry seal of approval.

Harry: Yes, there’s been a couple actually. I’ll be holding further talks with them later. The two I met yesterday are both British Lads and some Spanish lads today. So we’ll see how it pans out but I am sure we’ll be seeing them under the Markosia label in the coming months. Our guys seem to do so well and move on to bigger things, we had Ryan Stegman who worked on Midnight Kiss. Now he’s drawing Spider man for Marvel. And that makes us proud to know that we helped those guys on the way. They are like part of the family and we stay close to them. That’s they way I like to work where it’s small contained like a small family unit and I believe that works.

CB: Anything you’d like to say to the fans?

Harry: Thank you very much for your support and we couldn’t do it without you, it’d be great if you continued your support and spread the word that we’re a young ambitious enterprising British company. We want to succeed, we need to succeed. We’re always open to comments if you want to get in touch, get in touch with me personally I will always respond. Markosia couldn’t have done it without you, thank you

CB: The Question from Stu.Art is what is your favorite cheese and why?

Harry: Dutch Edam, I have always loved that cheese, It’s the first cheese I remember as a kid and it’s just stayed with me, gorgeous tasting.

CB: And on that note thank you Harry .

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Update

June 6, 2008

Ok people tomorrow, I will be doing an interview with Chris Lynch and Stu.art about the Magpye, Markosia and cheese. These guys are hot Welsh comic talent and I think it will make for interesting reading. Also there are a shed load of comics to go through so If i get time I will do a review for you guys

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Long Awaited:James Barclay

May 27, 2008

Thanks for taking the time to drop by and have a chat. What first got you started as a writer. It couldn’t have been for fame and fortune as so many try and fail.
I’ve just always loved writing stories. Ever since I can remember. I wrote my first recognisable piece of prose at the age of seven and by age eleven was writing plenty of little bits and pieces in my spare time. I had an English teacher at secondary school who really encouraged me (and one who actively discouraged me like the prat he was) and I wrote a couple of novella length stories as a result. Both awful but great practice.

So I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The fame and fortune were never important so long as I could make a living. I just about do that so I have to consider myself happy.

What was your first published work?
It was a short story called ‘Goldstone’ and it was published in a Sheffield literary magazine called ‘Sheaf’ in 1985. The story was about birds cavorting around the walls and roofs of houses. I was delighted to see my work in print though I was paid not a penny for it. A special moment only bettered in writing terms by seeing Dawnthief on the shelves of Waterstone’s for the first time.

When did you realise that you had something real special with the Raven series. As a father did your literary child come easily, or did you have to drag it screaming into the world.

I always knew it was a good concept and that I’d executed it pretty well but that doesn’t guarantee a publishing deal. I knew it was special when it shot up the amazon bestseller charts shortly after it was published. It reached no18 or something in the Hot 100 at one stage which was amazing for a first time author of a fantasy novel. I was just so pleased that readers were getting out of it what I wanted them to.

But no, it didn’t come easily. Actually, The Raven began life as comedy fantasy years and years before it was actually published. I’m glad I changed tack because it would have been rubbish. I worked on the serious action fantasy version for five years before I got a publishing deal. Rewrite on rewrite, deletion, addition… but I knew I’d get there in the end. As the rejections came in, it occasionally became a tough thing to do but somewhere inside, I knew it would be worth it in the end. I’m glad I listened and kept on going.

I have to admit that I got upset several times in the books, and i judge that the mark of a good storyteller when you are totally immersed within their world and living with the characters, Does it get emotional for you when such and such happens to a character?

Yes, it certainly does. I’ve cried while writing the deaths of some characters and feel physically very low after writing such scenes. I guess when that happens, it means I’ve got them right. I’ve never taken a decision to injure, kill or write-out a character without a huge amount of thought as to the consequences further down the line. I can’t let it become a gratuitous thing to do or the emotional force is lost.

I’m glad you’ve been upset too – for me that’s a huge compliment because it tells me I’ve put across that emotional force correctly and that you loved my characters enough to feel sad when tragedy strikes.


Which of the Raven members are your favourites? Mine are Sol and Denser. Two complete opposites, but I also like the character journey that Denser undergoes to become a better man.

Hirad is my favourite. No surprise as he was my character way back in my role playing days. I love him for his passion, his belief and his unquenchable drive and desire for The Raven to succeed. And Ilkar too, because he’s sharp-witted and his banter with Hirad is something I loved to write. I love what he does for The Raven. He’s their techie, if you like, but impatient with it.

Your second series was a slight departure and while as you know I was critical of the first book, the second book allowed me to gel with the characters, any plans to revisit any of the characters again?
I have no current plans to return to Estorea though there are plenty of stories to tell there. I never say never but I can’t see anything happening for a good long while, if at all.

I understand from our communication that you have a new raven book coming out, what can you tell us about it?
It’s called Ravensoul and it comes out in November this year. It is set a decade after the end of the wars depicted in Demonstorm. It deals with an enemy that has cast the dead from rest and threatens the entire world. An enemy that barely even recognises the Balaians as sentient, let alone a threat. It is a chance for The Raven to ride one more time (metaphorically speaking) and is a story of how belief can turn the tide and how the pursuit of power can poison the minds of men.

Several great books have been picked up to turn into comics, how would you feel if the raven was picked up bringing it to a whole new series of fans.
I’d love it. I think the Raven would translate very well into graphic novel or comic format. And onto the small or big screen come to that.

How are you managing being a new(ish) father and successful author.
Well, it’s a tough balance to strike at times. I look after Oscar two days a week and that leaves just three for writing. It means I have to work a few evenings but that’s OK. What I find difficult at the moment is doing too much beyond my current project. That’s very frustrating as I have a million and one ideas sloshing about and precious little time to flesh them out to see if they have legs. But I can’t complain. I have a wonderful son and I get paid to do the thing I love best. Anytime I feel low, I remind myself of that…I’m a lucky man when all is said and done.

What do you have planned for the future?
Well, I’ve just agreed a trilogy of books based around the elves of Calaius. Can’t say too much at present but suffice to say that they will cover a couple of thousand years of history before The Raven began but will still have familiar names for fans to read about. The idea is that raven fans will love them for their history and new readers will love them just because they’re great books about cool elves J.

Any plans for a signing tour of Wales as so many of the big names tend to ignore us guys when the tours are announced. I know it’s down to agents but Welsh fans do deserve to meet their hero’s and people who take so much of their lives with their books.

I’ve no plans for a tour of anywhere at the moment. Whether there’ll be one around the launch of Ravensoul, I don’t know yet. Best to check my website for details nearer the time. But I do make as many appearances at conventions as I can. I’m at Fantasycon in Nottingham this September and also at Gamesfest in Tring this October. Neither is Wales, I admit but I’m happy to travel anywhere where I’ll get a warm welcome, can meet fans and have a good pint of ale!

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Upcoming Interviews and Questions

April 4, 2008

Ok people, so far on the hit list I have

Jesse Blaze Snider

James Barclay

Beau Smith

Mark Chadabourn

Stu. Art from MWM

Barry Kitson

 if there’s anyone you wish to see let me know and i will do my best to get them. Also any questions. If you have any burning questions for any or for Jimmy P then please forward them and I will do my best to get them answered for you

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Interview with Jimmy Palmiotti

April 4, 2008

tn.jpgtn1.jpgJimmy Palmiotti

He has extensive inking and writing credits and has often inked the work of his friend and collaborator Joe Quesada, notably on Ash(which they co-created, along with Painkiller Jane) and Daredevil(esp. the ‘Guardian Devil’ arc penned by Kevin Smith). He also worked for Dark Horse Comics, as the inker during the Doug Mahnke run on X. He inked Paul Gulacy on Shang-Shi Master of Kung Fu and Steve Dillon on  Punisher. He’s also inked over brad walker’s pencil’s on the DC Comics mini secret six. His most recent inking credit was on DC’s ,Manhunter , Countdown to Final Crisis, teen titans and The War That Time Forgot.As a writer Palmiotti is known for Deadpool , Punisher, Daughters of the Dragonand  Heroes for Hire for Marvel Comics, Hawkman, Superboyand The Monolith for DC Comics, as well as 21 Down, The Resistance  for their Wildstorm imprint (often in tandem with fellow writer Justin Gray). Palmiotti also co-scripted, with Garth Ennis, the Ghost Rider and punisher video games that tie in with the movies. He has also recently penned Supergirl #12, the Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters miniseries and an arc for Superman Confidential arc. Currently, Palmiotti, along with Gray, are writing the monthly, Jonah Hexand a second Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fightersmini for DC. Palmiotti and Gray are also part of the writing team for DC’s countdown series. Jimmy is also working on the fantastic Dock Whalloper at virgin comics with Ed Burns and has two animated projects with writing partner Justin Gray coming out soon.,  The Speed RacerDVD from Lionsgate and Deadspace, an animated feature written for Starz and E.A. GamesHe has, as well, sold and put into development at one time or another:  Gatecrasher, Tempest, Beautiful killer , The Pro And recently co-wrote with Justin Gray The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning for Fox Atomic Comics.His work on the Painkiller Jane series for the Sci-Fi Channel starring Kristanna Loken has lasted one season which he held the titles writer consultant and creator as well as scripted the 13thepisode called “The League’ which was about comic book fans gone bad. In the past he has written and storyboarded films for Nike. They featured LeBron James and Vince Carter. Jimmy Palmiotti has been called a Renaissance man of comics, for his great productivity and versatility. He has been active in comics since the EARLY 90’S, co-creating many great titles such as ‘Ash’, ‘Painkiller Jane’, ‘Kid Death and Fluffy’, ‘Gatecrasher’, ’21 Down’, ‘Spygirls’ ‘Beautiful Killer’ ‘New West and ‘The Resistance’. Together with Justin V. Gray and Amanda Conner he founded Paperfilms.  

Jimmy let me start with saying thank you for popping by.

Butcher:What got you started in the industry?

JP:A love for the things that I enjoyed. Comics, movies and games have been a huge part of my life way before I made my first dime. I started drawing as soon as I popped out of my mom and was creating my own horrible little comic books when I was but 10 years old and haven’t stopped . I love everything about creating and living in a separate universe and one of my favorite things as a child and still as an adult is listening to people tell stories. At the end of the day its all about getting the story across to the next guy and comics certainly is a fantastic medium for just that.  

Butcher: What was the first comic you read?

JP:I really try to think hard to what that was and my brain goes right to superman or to Archie comics. There were so many around the house because I had two older brothers that had them, so I think I was fed a steady diet of superheroes and horror comics daily, with the break of Archie and Ritchie rich here and there. All of them have made an impression on me, especially when I was in high school…things like master of kung fu, swamp thing and killraven changed the way I thought about comics. Funny thing I notice now is they are all genre titles and not classic superheroes. Explains a lot. What was the very first comic you worked on?It was while I was in high school and it was INVADERS #41. I helped ink the backgrounds for chic stone. Someone at the high school came by looking for an artists assistant for an artist he knew and I was recommended by my teacher, Mr. Jefferson. It was a short lived job because chic didn’t like what I did…he told me I ink like I’m trying to create a photo and fired me right away…but he used the work I did.  

BUTCHER:Who are some of your hero’s and who’s the most fun to work with. 

JP:My heroes are, starting at home, my mom and dad, Amanda conner, Justin Gray…then frank frazetta, paul gulacy, darwyn cooke, joe kubert, elmore Leonard,  will Eisner, milo manara, Phil Noto, moeibus, Kevin nowlan, james jean, and so on…the list goes on and on. They are my heroes because they do their own thing and make this business so much richer. Each one has has a specific effect on a part of my life and what I do and how I am able to stay successful in this business. I’m not kidding, this list can go on for pages.  

BUTCHER:What do you think the main difference is between American Comic book fans and British Fans? 

JP:Hmmmm, at times better manners all around and they can hold their drink! I think the fans have so many things in common and if the land mass was connected, it would even be a smaller difference. Now that I am thinking about it, the British fans have a healthier attitude towards embracing genres like war comics, westerns and science fiction. I must have a bit of a brit in me. Comes from hanging out with Garth Ennis too much. Honestly, I have only met the brit fans at shows in the states…I really haven’t been invited to many cons over there…just mostly Spain and Italy.   

BUTCHER: Us Brits really took to secret six, and also Catman, did you like the character.?I found him really intriguing that a villain had such a strong moral compass and that team wouldn’t have been out of place walking on the side of angels? 

JP: Well, the better written the villain is the better the book and showdowns will be, don’t you agree/ they are both interesting studies in people who “ think” they are doing the right thing and by whatever way society is judging things this week, they are looked upon as bad guys. On of my favorite “bad guys” to write is jonah hex. In his brain he is doing a service, but to the rest of the world he is a feared killer. Perceptions. Very important stuff.  

BUTCHER: What do you do for fun?

JP:I hang out with Amanda conner, go out and travel, get drunk, tell tons of stories, break up a fight and fool around. I also have my work, which I find great fun.  

BUTCHER:What have you got coming out in the coming year? 

JP:A lot more Jonah hex books featuring jordi bernet, darwyn cooke, jh Williams, Michael beck and so on. Working on a war that time forgot series with Bruce Jones writing…got a big superman/Supergirl mini series with Phil noto attached,the terra series with Amanda Conner coming as well and a few more books to be announced. On the tv and film side…too many to mention and they wont let me talk about them yet as well.   

BUTCHER:Any tips for budding artists or writers who want to break into the industry apart from don’t starve.? 

JP:Yeah…get published or publish yourself…stop looking at porn and make the internet work for ou…network yourself and talent and have manners with people you meet. Be good to all people.  

BUTCHER:When will us Brits get to see you over here?

JP: Working on that…seriously. Was there for 2 weeks a few years ago…but hid out in pubs with my comic friends and complained about the food mostly.   

BUTCHER:Is there anything you’d like to do in the industry, life? 

JP:Yes, write and direct a film with a character I created, travel more and only do creator owned characters for the rest of my life. Real simple , please make that happen for me…ok?  

BUTCHER:Is there anything you wish you hadn’t done, is there anything you wish the industry hadn’t done?

JP:Weekly comics, alternate covers, more than one title for characters…you know…4 batman books, 9 x-men titles, and so on. It kills the industry and leaves no room for Indy guys to get your money. I wish I hadn’t gotten into advertising for 9 years and I wish I met Amanda Conner when I was 7.  

From Stu.Art from MWM what’s your favourite cheese and beer. 

JP:Cheese, I like cheddar…and beer…man, you brits are gonna think im nuts…but I like  crap beers…nothing too heavy. All my British friends laugh at me…but I was brought up stealing beer from stores and the cheapest beers were always the ones closest to the door. You get the picture. Oh…and I don’t like Heineken at all.

I have to thank Jimmy for doing this in his Dinner Time. This is one genuine nice guy and I will be more than glad to buy him a ale or six