More than 450 comics and 7,000 pages later, Mark is still doing what he does best, and he has some new and exciting projects on the go. I had a chance to chat with him about his new Halloween themed sci-fi/action book, some upcoming projects for 2013, and I ask him a bunch of crazy questions as well…it wouldn’t be a Blake Northcott interview if I didn’t.
Blake Northcott: Hey Mark! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me.
Mark McKenna: It’s completely my pleasure, Blake!
BN: I had the pleasure of reading your new book Combat Jacks – why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about it, and how the concept came together.
MM: Sure! Combat Jacks started as dinnertime discussion between my son and I. We were wondering why there was never a movie that had monster pumpkins as the creature, and I thought, jeez, why don’t I do this as a one shot for Halloween?
I set up the premise and created a Kickstarter to raise funds for printing and putting an art team together.
BN: Very cool! I noticed you credited your son in the book. So how was your experience with Kickstarter? Was it your first time, and how did it work out?
MM: It was actually my second Kickstarter. I did one for my kids book property Banana Tail where I wanted to do a portfolio of prints by top creators.
I liked the experience. The thing is, if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get the revenue, so you have to be modest about your goals.
BN: How did the creative team come together for Combat Jacks?
MM: Well, I knew I wanted to write it. I was looking for a good penciler – somebody that could give me solid art that I could use my twenty-eight years of experience to improve upon. That was the hope, anyway!
I was friends with colorists and letterers and opted to give the work to those who needed it most and fit into the project’s budget.
I had done a few commissions with Kate Finnegan and I asked her about it; she was thrilled, and John Hunt came on board to letter. I used my big shot friends, Jason Baroody, Tom Raney and Mike McKone to pencil and color the cover…
MM: I would love to do one or two a year, yes! In fact I have a sequel in my mind.
BN: Can you share any details, or is all of that under wraps until 2013?
MM: I can go a few ways with Book Two: one, of course, is a rescue mission, headed by an even tougher band of marines; hopefully headed by a well know celebrity that I want to attach to the project.
The other would be an attack on earth, or I can do a prequel to the book.
BN: It sounds like you have a lot of ideas for future installments! For people who weren’t part of the original Combat Jacks Kickstarter campaign, where can people get the book?
MM: It’s available in comic shops now, both in the U.S. and internationally – I saw a picture of a shop in Germany with copies of Combat Jacks on the shelf.
Although it was under-ordered, retailers can still re-order now. Retailers who want to purchase Combat Jacks can order twenty copies at a fifty percent discount, and receive a bonus one-in-twenty Billy Tucci variant cover.
The other place to get it is at the official Combat Jacks website.
BN: In addition to Combat Jacks and your Banana Tails projects, I know you’ve always got inking work on the go. What books are you currently working on, or what do you have coming up?
MM: As far as Banana Tail I have the Banana Tail Halloween Special which i had hoped to get out this Halloween, along with Combat Jacks, but the amount of work putting Jacks together ate a lot of my time up.
I’m also working on a one-hundred page graphic novel called Angel Falling that will be printed by IDW, and a zombie comic called St. Francis School for Zombies, both being released early next year.
BN: Now I like to ask some general questions…ready for the speed round?
BN: Best movie of 2012 so far?
MM: The Avengers.
BN: Best comic book movie of all time?
MM: The Avengers.
BN: I agree! So you’re stuck on a desert island with one graphic novel. Which one do you choose?
BN: The Watchmen: Great graphic novel, or the greatest graphic novel?
MM: Very good graphic Novel.
BN: What flavor should more things be available in?
MM: Mint chocolate chip.
BN: Nice…the answer I was looking for was ‘bacon’, but I will accept that. Name one penciler you’d like to collaborate with and ink his work – someone you haven’t worked with before.
MM: Jim Lee. Sorry, Jim ‘Bacon’ Lee.
BN: Is that your nickname for him?
MM: (laughs) It is now.
BN: If an epic movie gets made about the history of comics, who would play you?
MM: Rob Lowe…no, wait…Kenny Rodgers.
BN: (laughs) Alright, what epic Marvel versus DC battle would you like to see?
MM: Impossible Man versus Mister Mxyzptlk.
BN: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
MM: Besides looking through women’s clothing? I’d like to have the power cosmic to shoot from my hands.
BN: What would you shoot it at?
MM: The Philadelphia Eagles and Boston Red Sox.
BN: Good choice. And one last question: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
MM: Welcome to the pearly gates. You took more than a couple of Mulligan’s on your way here, I see.
BN: Your version of God sounds very forgiving. Thank you so much for your time, Mark. That was a lot of fun.
MM: Thanks for your fun interview. It was low fat and I highly recommend it!
You can check out Combat Jacks, Banana Tails and all things Mark McKenna at the following URLs: