Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mack & Comic Zone

UPDATE: This interview, in a surprisingly fast manner, has been archived. Get over to the site and enjoy a great show. Including a couple of surprises I didn't mention in my blog.

Well I am really hoping to make this a weekly installment. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of enjoying my first live installment of the Comic Zone in a long while. And it was well worth it. I only had the idea to do an installment on the show about a half an hour before. So bear with me.

Kabuki creator and Daredevil dabbler David Mack first got to mess with the host for a moment, as they experienced technical difficulties. It was hilarious upon reflection, but I was cringing for host Vincent Zurzolo. (All of this has sadly been cut from the archived version) One of the first questions was a pretty intriguing intro. Mack told of his first comic exposure which was Daredevil from Frank Miller. It was his neighbor's and involved an angel dust story with Punisher. He stated not surprisingly that at ten years old he found it really scary and intimidating. The good guy was a contrast to what he was led to believe add to that the guest "hero" Punisher shooting people up. It broke out of the confines of what a comic was supposed to be.

He then proceeds to tell how a couple of years later he discovered the next issue. And he left that issue a few years older and much more amazed. Every element was used and utilized. At that point he began a more fervent search for anything about Frank Miller other comics, interviews, and seeking out the more intelligent storytelling that comics had to offer. Then Mack found out about Eisner's influence on Miller and devoured Comic Books and Sequential Art. It was more than safe to say that he was hooked on the medium now.

Zurzolo hit on some great questions, but the difference here, lies for the most part in Mack's answers. For instance on the topic of Mack's first comic work, David expressed that an Art Teacher recommended in sending a packet for college that he already had nine excellent pieces for his portfolio and to choose his tenth. For a final piece he chose a comic book. When the host inquired further Mack happily revealed he still has that book, a 55 page crime story. However he quickly added that it would probably never be printed. Then the discussion turned to Kabuki and the history of this title. First published through Caliber Comics Kabuki started over 10 years ago. Mack also noted that Brian Bendis and Mike Oeming started at Calibur.

Mack likes the medium because it is limitless in alot of respects. He shared a passion for the autobiographical comics, and that he loved American Splendor and other biographical books. He did Kabuki with a female character to veil the book so it would not appear to be about himself. A character that is a government operative in Japan that polices the Japan crime works and politics. It takes place in a near future, though just how near was not revealed, and basically said to be left to reader perception. The show appeared to hit rough ground at one point when Zurzolo inquired about Kabuki looking like someone he had seen Mack with on occasion, but Mack showed only a slight vulnerability about the inspiration for the character look being based on various ex-girlfriends.

From Caliber Mack (on Kabuki) and Bendis (on Powers) put the word out that they wanted a new publisher and moved to Image. Mack explained that he was in need of a more direct route to stores. Then the interview shifted more about the move to Marvel and Icon. Reminding that yet again Mack and Bendis moved together. Marvel offered that it would like if there was a creative imprint where comics by creators could be made. Mack talked about Joe Quesada and his presence and influence on the industry. Then Zurzolo mentioned that he was impressed at how Kabuki was published around the world in 7 languages. Mack independently took those offers, revealing that a perk was that he could fly out to places for signings and such.

Then Zurzolo asked about Europe comic fans compared to American. Mack only elaborated that Europe seems more open to things that are not superhero oriented. However he does enjoy the appreciation in the states. Now Zurzolo let compliments come praising Mack for his innovative page layout and that each story is still accessible to new readers. Mack added that accessibility is one thing he strives for. Looking for continuity along with different styles. Making each book something new. Also, he mentioned that Steranko was an inspiration on Kabuki.

Mack's influences are very diverse... and fall far outside of comics. Mack revealed some of his plans for the future of the Kabuki title. Also that he is heavily involved in the new movie. and is also very open to embracing a new medium of film. Zurzolo then asked about Daredevil. Mack explained that Joe Quesada said he liked Kabuki First Blood, and the he needed a creative team on certain books (before Marvel Knights and before the position for JQ as EiC) Mack declined Joe at first. Since Kabuki was new at Image and only in it's second volume. Ever persistane Joe Quesada later asked for Mack to do a follow up to the Kevin Smith arc. It was challenging in that DD was his first time writing for a title created by someone else. Mack had to consider the stories of the past, but bring a uniqueness to it. A point of view that only Mack could do, and artist Joe Quesada fused some extra qualities beyond that. In Parts of a Hole Mack tried to show a new way that DD views the world, and does his job as a crime fighter.

Zurzolo moved on "Which DC character would you like to do?" Batman. Mack then discussed his limited DC work including a few painted Swampthing covers... and then did a Transmetropolitan images. He has also done covers for Alias, and preceding that he did early projects with Bendis as Penciler and Mack on the inks.

Which led to Mack telling a fascinating story about Bendis's way into Marvel. Mack had left a copy of Torso for Joe Quesada to look at, and after praise on Mack's part, Marvel snagged Brian Bendis. Zurzolo then joked that Mack should get more credit for helping Bendis. Mack humbly stated that great talent is always discovered at some point. As a hint of wrap up Zurzolo asked about websites and David recommended run by a huge fan (who also called in) David Thornton. Jokingly adding that he was on that site daily to see what he had done, and what he would be doing.

It seems suitable to end this column as Vincent Zurzolo would: Peace Love and Comic Books.

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