Showing posts with label Mark Wheatley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Wheatley. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Atlas Returns in Baltimore

It’s easy to forget how close Baltimore really is, but it is less than an hour away and has one of America’s few comics museums. Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (aka GEM), housed in a former railroad station right outside the Camden Yards ballpark, is a magical place for comics fans. Steve Geppi is the owner of Diamond Distributors, the largest comic book distributor in the country, and his museum is a showcase for his collections. The main hallway is filled with large posters (including one for the original King Kong movie), original comics artwork, advertising signs, and a letter from Walt Disney to Mrs. George ‘Krazy Kat’ Herriman expressing condolences on her husband’s death.

The exhibit galleries tell the story of popular culture via characters, beginning in the 19th century with Palmer Cox’s Brownies (although there’s a nod to earlier history in the first one – you can see Ben Franklin’s original newspaper cartoon in it). They jump decade by decade, hitting highlights such as The Yellow Kid, Superman, Disney’s characters, Little Orphan Annie, Popeye and the like before ending with Star Wars in the 1970s. Each room is packed with toys and merchandising.

The galleries begin with one devoted to the history of the comic book which begins with early collections of comic strips from the 1900s through the ‘20s, then moves into pulps and a whole wall of Big Little Books, before showcasing Geppi’s collection of key comic books. Atlas At Last! the current temporary exhibit began in this room. Atlas was a company that barely existed from 1974-1975. It was created by Martin Goodman, the former owner of Marvel Comics (which had used the name Atlas in the 1950s), for his son Chip to run, in an attempt to outstrip his former company. As Diamond’s Scoop site notes, “By paying top rates, the company attracted creators such as Russ Heath, John Severin, Alex Toth, Walter Simonson, Ernie Colon, Neal Adams, Pat Broderick, Mike Ploog, Rich Buckler, Frank Thorne, Tony Isabella, Jeff Jones, Boris Valejo and others. One series, The Destructor, featured longtime Warren, Marvel and DC editor Archie Goodwin as its writer, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko on pencils, EC veteran and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents creator Wally Wood on inks, with Marvel veteran Larry Lieber (one of the Atlas editors and Marvel impresario Stan Lee’s brother) providing the cover.” It’s worth noting that talents did not move between the major companies at the time, and one could be blackballed for doing work for a competitor.


Mark Huesman, JC Vaughn, Mike Wilbur, Philip Zolli & Mark Wheatley

The exhibit features most, if not all, of the comics, that Atlas published and some striking original art down for the books. These are drawn from the collection of Philip Zolli, the enthusiast behind The Atlas Archives website (which he started in 2003). Zolli bought the comics he could fine when they appeared originally, and has continued completing and filling out his collection over the intervening thirty-five years. Mike Wilbur (employee of Diamond International Galleries) was one of the show’s curators and provided some of the comic books on display. The other of exhibit’s two curators, J.C. Vaughn (of Gemstone Publishing), invited me to the opening of the show. Of Atlas’ enduring appeal, he told me, “I’ve worked in comics for sixteen years next month, and I freelanced for a year before that, so I’m not a novice, I’m not your average fanboy, but I was totally a geeked-out kid. I got two of the comics in a trade when I was a kid, like 1976, a year after they died, and I got so into them -- that’s the seed of the exhibit being here now.”

The Atlas line has just been relaunched by Ardden Entertainment and grandson Jason Goodman, and Vaughn says, “I think there’s a better understanding of the company now … we’re talking 72, 73 publications in 1975, and the fact that we’re still talking about them in any sense is amazing, and the fact that anyone’s bringing them back is even more amazing.”

Phil Zolli was attempting to collect his comics before there were comic book stores. “I remember there several stationary stores had the spinner racks, and they were there, and Atlas in my area got good coverage, so I was able to buy them right off the newsstand. They just struck a chord with me because all I knew at the time was Marvel and DC, and I got to be at the ground floor of a brand-new company. It was very exciting. A year later, they disappeared.” He didn’t buy all of the line at the time – Archie knock-off Binky, Gothic Romances and other magazines waited for later, as did buying original art. “Once I started the site, and I had searches out because I wanted to accumulate as much information as I could, E-bay was a great source of information and artwork that popped up. I thought, ‘This is great and relatively inexpensive. I’m going to buy it.’ Zolli’s original artwork is interspersed with other artwork, both in the main comic book exhibit room and the museum’s main hall, a weakness in the show’s design that lessens the impact of the art. Very little of the original art exists. Vaughn noted, “When people went up to the Atlas offices, after they ceased publication, there was one secretary that denied that they were ever in comics, Simonson had a whole story missing… some have cast glances at some of the last editorial employees and others have just heard that it got thrown out.” Maryland comic artist Mark Wheatley, who noted that he published the first or second story done by Howard Chaykin, said “During that period, it’s quite likely it just got tossed.” Zolli is continuing to collect the new versions of the comics, and has been buying original art from those series as well.

The second Atlas failed for a couple of reasons. Vaughn points out, “They hired Jeff Rovin from Warren [a black and white comics magazine publisher] and put him in charge of color comics; they brought in Larry Lieber who worked at the core of silver age Marvel, and put him in charge of black and white magazines…” Wheatley said of Atlas, “They looked like Marvel deliberately, and then the distributors forced them to change and not look like Marvel” while Vaughn says that “a lot of the changes were capricious like the Movie Monsters [magazine on display] originally had differently colored lettering that didn’t get lost in the background orange, but the Goodman’s came by and made them change it.” Discussing how much the comics industry has changed, Zolli says “Larry Hama was doing the second issue of Wulf, and his mother was dying, and Martin Goodman refused to push the deadline back. The guy quit right after that. A lot of people were bitter.” Distribution was a problem for the company, as other companies such as Skywald and Charlton were still fighting for space on the racks. Wilbur remembers, “The place I was buying my new comics in the ‘70s was a bookstore / newsstand place. I went in there often enough that they would let me put out the new comics when they came in. They had no say in what they got – they would just get these bundles of comics strapped together and it was just totally random. Maybe this month you might get ten copies of this title, next month you’d get two copies and the next month you’d get twenty of them.”



The failure of this newsstand distribution system is what led Geppi to begin Diamond, his distribution company – so he could get his own comic books to read. If you’re curious about a little company that didn’t matter much, or are interested in cartooning history, the museum is located at 301 W. Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-625-7060, sliding scale entry fee begins at $10 for adults.

[Corrected June 1, 2011 for the misspelling of Mr. Zolli's name as Zullo. I regret the error].

Friday, August 06, 2010

PR: Lone Justice Graphic Novel Exclusive at Baltimore Comic-Con

Generally, I won't be forwarding all of these - however this one is of note because our area's Mark Wheatley is doing this comic.



Lone Justice Graphic Novel Exclusive at Baltimore Comic-Con
IDW Publishing, ComicMix and Insight Studios Team-Up for Signed, Numbered Edition

Baltimore, Maryland - August 6, 2010 - He's been the city's greatest champion, battling tirelessly to keep us safe from harm. But what could spell the end for Lone Justice? What could destroy the hero of the century? Does it take losing everything to a horrific economy to make a man see what he really stands for?

With the regular edition of IDW Publishing and ComicMix's Lone Justice - Volume 1 not due in comic shops until September, a select few fans will be able to get a signed, limited convention exclusive edition at the August 28-29, 2010 Baltimore Comic-Con.

Writer-artist Mark Wheatley, writer Robert Tinnell, and editor Mike Gold will all be on hand to celebrate this sneak peek edition, which is limited to only 50 copies. This edition includes a special illustrated signature plate.

"The Baltimore Comic-Con is one of my all-time favorite conventions every year. I love comics and this show is intensely about comics: old comics, new comics, the people who love to make them, and the people who love to read them," said Mark Wheatley. "It doesn't get any more comic-centric than that, which is why we're having these special copies shipped in directly from the printer."

The standard edition of Lone Justice - Volume 1 is featured on Page 157 of the July edition of Previews from Diamond Comic Distributors [item #JUL10 0357]. The full-color trade paperback carries a retail price of just $19.99 for 132 pages almost entirely crammed with incredible pulp-flavored action.

Lone Justice was originally serialized online on ComicMix. This collection, the first of two volumes that will tell the complete tale, marks its first appearance in print. Volume 2 in this series is scheduled for February 2011, also from IDW Publishing.

The Baltimore Comic-Con will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 28-29, 2010 at the Baltimore Convention Center. In addition to Mark Wheatley, Robert Tinnell, and Mike Gold, guests include Sergio Aragones, Howard Chaykin, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Michael Golden, Marc Hempel, Klaus Janson, J.G. Jones, Denis Kitchen, Rich Koslowski, Steve Lieber, Todd McFarlane, Terry Moore, Paul Pope, Eric Powell, Jim Shooter, Billy Tucci, Mark Waid, Bernie Wrightson, and many others.

The Baltimore Convention Center is located just a few short blocks from the family-friendly and world famous Inner Harbor, and immediately across the street from the historic Camden Yards sports complex (home of the Baltimore Orioles and Geppi's Entertainment Museum).

For additional information, contact Mark Wheatley at insight@insightstudiosgroup.com.
 

 
 
Contact Information
Please use the following e-mail addresses to contact the Baltimore Comic-Con:
 
press@baltimorecomiccon.com - for any general press inquiries or to be added to our PR distribution
promoter@baltimorecomiccon.com - for requesting exhibitor, publisher, and Artist Alley applications
registrar@baltimorecomiccon.com - for inquiries about submitted registrations
harveys@baltimorecomiccon.com - for communications regarding the Harvey Awards ceremony and banquet
general@baltimorecomiccon.com - for general Baltimore Comic-Con inquiries
 
About The Baltimore Comic-Con
The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 11th year of bringing the comic book industry to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area.  With a guest list unequaled in the industry, the Baltimore Comic-Con will be held August 28-29, 2010.  For more information, please visit www.baltimorecomiccon.com.

About The Harvey Awards
The Harvey Awards are one of the comic book industry's oldest and most respected awards.  With a history of over 20 years, the last 5 in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con, the Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in over 20 categories.  They are the only industry awards nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals.  For more information, please visit www.harveyawards.org.

 
  


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mark Wheatly interview on Baker's Dozen part 2

Bill Baker has the 2nd part of his interview up now -

Looking Back to See the Future
Mark Wheatley on IDW’s Mark Wheatley Library (part two of two)
BAKER'S DOZEN for 12/14/2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mark Wheatley interview on Baker's Dozen

Bill Baker has an interview at Looking Back to See the Future: Mark Wheatley on IDW’s Mark Wheatley Library (part one of two), BAKER'S DOZEN for 11/25/2009.

Check out his books too - he's got interviews with Alan Moore and others. I bought a complete set recently.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mark Wheatley interview with Mr. Media

Bob Andelman interviews a lot of pop culture figures and hits comic people up too. Here's one with Maryland cartoonist Mark Wheatley that I just ran across. The description following is Bob's and a here's a direct link to listen, but click through so he can count you on his stats. Besides there's a lot of other cartoonist interviews there too - I just linked to one relevant to this site.

Original Air Date: 1/9/2009 1:00 PM
Mark Wheatley and Robert Tinnell, LONE JUSTICE, EZ STREET comics creators: Mr. Media Interview

Robert Tinnell has spent the last half decade racking up credits as a graphic novelist with The Black Forest, The Wicked West, and Sight Unseen splashing blood across the comic book pages. Now, Mark Wheatley and Robert Tinnell, the creative team behind last year's Harvey-nominated webcomic/graphic novel EZ Street, follow up with Lone Justice: Crash. LJ:C, like EZ Street, will run for free right on ComicMix beginning January 12, but that's not where the similarities end.

In EZ Street, central characters Scott and Danny Fletcher set to work on a comic book project featuring their character, Lone Justice. Lone Justice: Crash is in fact Wheatley and Tinnell's take on what that book would be. Featuring the art of Wheatley (Frankenstein Mobster, Mars) and co-scripted by Tinnell (Feast of the Seven Fishes), Lone Justice: Crash takes place during the Depression, but given this era's economic troubles will most certainly resonate with the modern reader.

Lone Justice: Crash follows the exploits of the titular character, who was first introduced as the creation of Scott and Danny Fletcher, themselves characters in Tinnell and Wheatley's EZ Street. Occupied for years successfully battling crime as Lone Justice, millionaire Octavius Brown has let his own finances slip to the point of ruin. Now destitute, unable to even effectively re-arm his weaponry, Brown must live amongst the masses of homeless in the city. It is there that he learns the true face of evil, and from nothing is reborn as a true defender of the innocent. Combining the thrills of two-fisted pulp action with a storyline that parallels much of our nation's current socio-economic struggles, Lone Justice: Crash represents a sincere effort to deliver what comics can do at their best: an entertaining message.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mark Wheatley interview

Marylander Mark Wheatley is interviewed by Amanda Sheriff (I think) about his new e-strip in "Lone Justice: Crash! -- Free Scoop Preview," Scoop (January 9 2009). The article begins, "Scoop covered EZ Street when it debuted, when it concluded, and when it made its limited edition print debut, so it only makes sense that we'd also feature the spin-off "created" by the main characters of the previous story when it became its own graphic novel, right?

Say what?

If that doesn't exactly make sense – and we're not voting either way – here's how it worked out: In EZ Street, creators Mark Wheatley (Mars, Breathtaker) and Robert Tinnell (The Black Forest, Feast of the Seven Fishes) told the story of two brothers who were creators in the worlds of comics and film. Intermingled with the story of the brothers was the story the brothers were attempting to create, Lone Justice."


I completely missed the print edition. Did anyone see it?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mark Wheatley's new webcomic project again

Here's an interview: "INSIGHT & NASCAR'S MIGHTY-MOTOR SAPIENS" by Jennifer M. Contino,
Comicon's The Pulse 11-09-2007. Mark lives somewhere between DC and Baltimore, I think.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mark Wheatley's new webcomic project

Mark just sent me the following press release and pictures -

The Mighty Motor Sapiens Roar To Life
New Characters Introduced on Rowdy.com

Rowdy.com has partnered with Insight Studios Group to offer The Mighty Motor Sapiens, a new online daily comic strip that combines high speed action, fast cars, humor and the entire planet being taken over by lizard people.

With new installments appearing every weekday beginning September 3, 2007, the story begins 18 months after the world has been taken over by a race of the Morisoni, lizard people from the center of the Earth. Despite the odd change in circumstances, life has continued and things seem disturbingly okay. Sure, they took out Washington, Moscow, Beijing, and Paris, but on the other hand they took out Washington, Moscow, Beijing, and Paris. And for some reason they wiped out everyone's credit histories, too.

Now the Morisoni control the world and their military bases are everywhere. The Lizards live among us, but this new arrangement seems to be working. Four teenagers, Cam Corman, Hannah Barbario, Gigs Brewster and Maddie Brewster, haven't seen much of an impact from the changes. Yet.

Springing from the minds of writer-artist Daniel Krall (Oni's One Plus One), writer-artist Mark Wheatley (Frankenstein Mobster), and writer Robert Tinnell (Feast of the Seven Fishes), The Mighty Motor Sapiens was created as an exclusive feature for the ROWDY.com web community. The strip will be written and drawn by Krall with additional material by Wheatley and Tinnell. All three creators are veterans of both print and online comics. They are joined by inker Craig Taillerfer (The Chelation Kid), with colors provided by Krall's studio and lettering by Matthew Plog. The strip is produced by Insight Studios.

About Rowdy.com
At the forefront of the new media revolution, Rowdy combines podcasting with social networking and the internet to create a unique new place for NASCAR fans to congregate. The Rowdy podcast is a daily racing radio show devoted strictly to NASCAR racing. For 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, fans listen in on their MP3 players, computers, or cell phones as hosts Reginald "Buck" Fever and Leonard "Bass" Masters deliver the latest news on America's most popular motorsport. Joining Buck and Bass to deliver expert commentary and analysis are award winning broadcaster Mark Garrow, former Cup driver Rick Mast, championship-winning crew chief Barry Dodson, and veteran print reporters David Poole of the Charlotte Observer, and Steve Waid of NASCAR Scene.

About Insight Studios Group
Producing numerous award-winning comic books, on-line and newspaper comic strips, graphic novels, portfolios and other publications, Insight Studios Group is profiled in a lavish art book titled IS Art - The Art of Insight Studios. This exceptional collection of artists, writers, film makers and media-masters is responsible for many books, comics and films that include Sightcadelic, Hammer of the Gods, Titanic Tales,
Jimgrim and the Devil at Ludd, Frank Cho Illustrator, Gray Morrow Visionary, Al Williamson Adventures, Frankenstein Mobster, Miles the Monster, MARS, Tug & Buster, Gregory, Marc Hempel's Naked Brain, Breathtaker, Feast of the Seven Fishes and many more. Their website, www.SunnyFundays.com, features additional daily strips such as The Chelation Kid, America Jr., Doctor Cyborg, Cryptozoo Crew, and others.


For more information contact:
Mark Wheatley
Insight Studios
insight@insightstudiosgroup.com
410 871 1235

- he also sent me the theme song, but I have no idea how to link it here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Insight Studio Group on Fanboy Radio


Suburban Maryland's Insight Studio Group, which is centered around Mark Wheatley and has seen Marc Hempel, Frank Cho and the late Gray Morrow as members, was interviewed today on Fanboy Radio. I haven't listened to the show yet, but I ran into Mark a few weeks ago and think that he's going to bring Frankenstein Mobster back soon. Yeah!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wish You Were There #2 - IS Art: The Art of Insight Studios

From the International Journal of Comic Art 3-2, we present another WISH YOU WERE THERE, starring Frank Cho, Mark Wheatly, Marc Hempel and a defunct comic store. Is Insight Studios still functioning I wonder?

IS Art: The Art of Insight Studios. Washington, DC: Illumination Arts Gallery of Georgetown / Beyond Comics II, May 12--June 30, 2001.

IS Art displayed original art of Insight Studios, founded in 1978 by Mark Wheatley, and artistically now consisting of him, Marc Hempel and Frank Cho. The exhibit is based on the book of the same title (by Allan Gross, Baltimore: Insight Studios Group, 2001. ISBN 1-89317-11-X; $29.95) which includes a history of Insight; the title of both is undoubtedly a play on words reflecting the general perception of comic art as a lowbrow form. There was a checklist for the show, but no explanatory exhibit text except for captions; presumably the book was intended to fulfill the viewer's possible desire for further information. Due to his syndicated comic strip, Liberty Meadows, and his penchant for drawing beautiful women, Cho is undoubtedly the main attraction of the Studio. In this show, held in an unused upper floor of a comic book store, very few of Cho's strips were displayed. However, instead he was mostly represented by his fanzine work on E.R. Burroughs' Tarzan and Mars series. Hempel included many of his early 1980s paintings of women, cover paintings from his 1990 DC Comics series Breathtaker, and cartoons from his self-published comic book Tug & Buster. His current work, of increasingly-stylized caricatures in ink and watercolor, harkened back to art of the 1920s and 1930s. The twenty-year span of Hempel's career exhibited here provided an interesting view of his artistic evolution. Wheatley has frequently worked on material derived from pulps and magazine illustration. His gouaches for IS's publication of Talbot Mundy's Jimgrim and the Devil at Ludd, clearly having evolved from his comic book work, displayed a strong sense of color and composition. The exhibit, although obviously not done by art gallery professionals (artwork not used in the show was still leaning in piles under a window), was an enjoyable look at a trio of local creators.