Interview conducted by: Jay Christoph
Below is the inaugural interview for the website, with comic book artist-turned writer: Marco Lopez. Read on and see what inspired him to write comics and what he may have planned in the future.
Earth 7269: First off, I thank you for being the first interview for the website and hopefully I will be interviewing you again, sometime down the road.
Lopez:Thanks, man. I’m glad to do this. It always makes me happy when someone wants to interview me. It reminds me of being a teen; reading Wizard Magazine, thinking one day.
Earth 7269: Always great to have those kinds of memories! For me, it was Superman and DC Comics. What set you on the path to being a comic book writer?
Lopez: I originally wanted to be a comic book artist. I lived in NYC from 93-96 and I remember Witchblade #1 from Top Cow is the book that told me I need to be drawing comic books. Michael Turner’s art blew me away. Now that didn’t make my parents too happy but, what are you gonna do? From there. I begin to take an interest in writing around ’95 or ’96, after a teacher told me I had a knack for it. But it was in High School while becoming a film fanatic that I realized I wanted to be a writer. That and I let my art skills fall to the wayside. I mean even as a wanna-be artist growing up I would tell stories to myself using Marvel and DC’s characters. Or tell stories using my own characters.
Earth 7269: I used to do the very same thing. Creating characters within existing worlds. It could be quite liberating to do, as well. Do you feel like some stories from your teenage years have come to life in your writing?
Lopez: Do you mean if I have drawn from my own experiences? Or if I’ve brought to life yet some of my creations from when I was a teen?
Earth 7269: If you have brought to life some of your creations. I do apologize for the miscommunication. Ha (First interview jitters!)
Lopez: The answer to that would be no. Honestly, I don’t even remember any of my creations from my teen years. It’s probably best that way. I can still, to this day remember some of my writing from high school and it makes me cringe to even think about it. But that’s normal for all writers. Since I brought it up though… I have drawn from my real life experiences for some of the comics I’ve done. For my issue of Grimm Tales of Terror as an example. I had the main character William, see a deer and think the deer caused his car crash, because an actual deer caused me to crash my car when i was a pizza delivery driver.
Earth 7269: Very interesting. I love that issue, by the way. Speaking of your work in comics.. Aside from your most recent venture of becoming officially published, you run your own web-based comic book company, as well. You also write several of the stories. Can you tell us a little about that?
Lopez: Sure. Atomic Rex Entertainment is basically an independently owned imprint for myself and my good friend and sometimes co-writer Eugene Selassie. We use it to put out creator owned web comics and it doubles as an online portfolio we can use to help us get actual work in the industry. We have four series on there Massively Effective. Which is an ongoing web comic released 3 times a week and will total about 75 or 78 pages when done. It’s basically booster gold and blue beetle filtered through a saturday morning cartoon lens. Then there is Eugene’s comic Rock Paper Scissors. Which is like Goodfellas with superpowers. He’s released 22 pages so far. Basically the first issue but its on hiatus right now. Then, there is Orion’s Belt: a web-strip series about an African-American couple in space and the adventures them and their children get into. And the last one is A Shot of Whiskey which is a series of 1-4 page comic book shorts. I have done 3 or 4 stories in that series and Eugene has done one. I created ASOW so we could put out a variety of stories in different genres that wouldn’t cost a lot of money. Plus it would show that we could write more than just one type of story. For Orion’s belt and ASOW we have some more stories in development.
Earth 7269: I have personally checked out all of them and they are great reads. Massively Effective, I especially love. HARDCORE Booster and Beetle fan, here! Haha! Now, is there currently any plans to take the series from digital-to-paper format, in the near future?
Lopez: For Massively Effective, yes. I would like to when its done. which would probably be early next year. I would like to look into maybe going with a print on demand service and printing up a bunch of trades and sell them via the site and conventions and probably do a digital trade via Comxiology. Originally the comic was released via Comixology as single issues, but I removed it when i had a deal with a publisher to do an OGN (Original Graphic Novel) of the comic and then that fell through, so I edited the comic to get rid of the fat and make a lean and mean story. Originally, it was 90pgs and from that I shaved like 15pgs, and then decided to release it for free as a web comic to start building a fan base. which has been.. Not so bad. I mean, we get about 200 views a month. So, I can’t complain.
Earth 7269: Just means that it is a budding series. What was the transition like to go from writing the web-based comics to Grimm Tales? As you said, you have written many different genres through Atomic Rex, but perhaps this was the most different from what I’ve read.
Lopez: You’re actually right. I did get to flex a different muscle. none of what I’ve done so far, had anything to do with the horror genre. But, I am a HUGE horror fan and the chance to tell a story in a series that to me was like the shows I watched as a kid was a dream. I grew up on Tales From The Darkside, Monsters, Tales From The Crypt, Twilight Zone and all those other anthology shows. i wanted to tell a straight up EC (entertaining comic) comics-style story. Something that’s fun, maybe a little terrifying and just screams “I LOVE HORROR!”
Earth 7269: It definitely shows! As the issue progressed, it seemed like it got so much more climactic. I loved the story about the brothers. Do you have any plans on doing more for Zenescope through Grimm Tales of Terror or another title?
Lopez: That’s a good question. I have a pitch in with them for a project that I can’t talk about, but I would definitely love to work with them some more. My editor Jessica Rossana is amazing. I loved working with her and i got my in ’cause of Pat Shand. He’s a really good writer and he works on a lot of books for them and he’s an editor there, as well. One of the things I really dig about Zenescope is: their world isn’t based on superhero trappings. Marvel, DC, Valiant and a few others. They got that. Zenescope has been using fairy tales, folk tales and the horror genre to create their world and I think it really helps to set them apart. Honestly in this day and age Im not really looking forward to a million superhero universe. So they’re a bit of fresh air. They’re part of the reason why the industry continues to grow. It moves forward and upward ’cause of variety. Not beating you over the head with the same thing over and over. Also dont wanna forget to mention the talent that worked on my issue of GTT. Artist Roger Bonet, colorist Sonia Moruno and letterer Fabio Amelia. Without them there wouldn’t have been a GTT issue 11
Earth 7269: I absolutely agree with your sentiments about Zenescope. I am a newcomer to the horror genre and completely fell in love with the genre by reading your issue. It is, as you said, quite refreshing to see a company set themselves apart from other companies and use an often considered less popular genre within comics. As we get ready to wrap up the interview, what would you like to say to our readers?
Lopez: Thanks man! Glad to hear that! Means a lot. Plus, we could always use another ghoul in the legion of horror fans (Ha ha!) What would I like to say? Please continue checking out our website. like i said, we update new pages from Massively Effective every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We’re working on new material for “A Shot Of Whiskey” and “Orion’s Belt”. We recently had to put up a donation button. As we use our own money to get these books made and currently we’re hitting a brick wall in terms of funding. If people out there could donate to help us continue putting out fresh material that would be great. If you can’t we definitely understand. But, if you haven’t checked out the site.. Please do and if you have, please spread the word. Social media is a very powerful tool. Getting the word out helps. We’re on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow us, hit us up. We love making comics and we hope you see that in our work.
Oh, and I stupidly forgot to mention all the people who have contributed to Massively Effective, Orion’s Belt and A Shot of Whiskey. Without them, those books wouldn’t even exist. Those guys and gal are Michael Mayne, David C. Hopkins, Chris Winters, Sarah Elkins, Walt Barna, Josh Krach, Jose Marono and Robert Ahmad, and last but not least Massively Effective co-creator Bryan Ginn.
Stay up-to-date with Marco and Atomic Rex Entertainment at the links below.