Guest Post from Joshua O’Neill
Mark Robinson is a Philly boy who’s been neck-deep in comics for most of his life. From his childhood invention of the gonzo super-team book BATTLE TEAM FIVE through his currently running live-wire mini-series I LOVE TROUBLE, Mark is a fountain of cartooning ideas and passion for his medium.
His art is swooping and breathless, a blend of silver-age thunder and modern manga flash. After a decade of work-for-hire for major companies such as Marvel, DC, Vertigo, IDW, and Top Cow, he is now unleashing a slew of creator-owned books through Image Comics. We spoke with Mark over the weekend while he enjoyed an ice-cold orange soda.
Back in October 2010 I went to NYCC and handed a sample packet of my work to someone over at the Image booth. Took a shot in the dark and about a month later I received an email from Eric Stephenson asking if I would be interested in teaming up with a writer (Kel Symons) that had been attached to a new series proposal. That new series became I LOVE TROUBLE, a four issue mini series that after more brain storming and creating went down, became a 6 issue mini.
I went to film school for Animation and I think it started to happen there. When I would create my storyboards I would drop in sound effects here and there just to give myself audio cue notes for sound production that was to come later. These “footnotes” became more technical when I started studying more of Eisner’s work. I am not really a fan of the computer programmed comic book fonts that you see in most comics. I find them too static and my work really doesn’t jive with that stagnation too much…
So I went for something that I always wanted to do and that was incorporate my own sound effects and “special effects” within the art work itself. It makes it more lively and comic booky fun for me… not to mention it’s old school and that’s how comics were made when I was reading them. I am really into fourth wall breaking in comics. Meaning, I want to let the reader in and give back their ability to imagine the story within the cracks of the story even if it’s not really the story at all.
You’ve been active in comic books for well over a decade now. How has being an artist in the industry changed in the last ten years?
There are so many ways to go about answering this question and most of it would sound like a bitch session. But the adaption and interpretation of the comic book medium via the entertainment industry is the first notable thing that comes to mind. The second would be the emergence of more creators separating themselves from the more known corporate companies such as “The Big Two” ( Marvel and DC comics) and pushing more indie publishing.
Ownership of my creations and ideas gives me creative freedom to put out a product that is 100% my work without editorial influence. Working with Image allows me to experiment and define my own style without editorial hand handcuffing. I am a free slave to my creative grind now.
I have another creator-owned concept in the works called MEET THE MONSTRES with Image Comics as well. It will be produced by the same creative team as I LOVE TROUBLE (Kel Symons, Paul Little and myself). It’s a “Victorian brain-themed X-files” that takes place in London in the 1890′s. Should be a humdinger of a good time. Look for it in the fall.