Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cream City Conversations with Marcus Muller

Like Alberto Rios, Marcus Muller is a creator I have a long list of creative links to. I've watched Marcus grow from a very energetic pin-up artist to a phenom of a sequentials technician.

As if that intro were not enough, Marcus also has a penchant for sweets. If you've got a healthy supply of donuts and other confections, you've got a friend for life.

That is definitely the strangest intro I've written, thusfar. Once you've read through Marcus' interview... this will all make perfect sense.

CCC: For those who don't know, Name and location?

Marcus Muller. Harvard, IL

CCC: How did you become interested in creating comics?

As a kid I loved watching cartoons, that eventually led to a love of comics as some of the same things I liked so much about cartoons could be found in comics.

CCC: What was your first published work? Did you self-publish that work?

I think my first published work was actually that Curse of the Ronin short story that you ran in one of your Cream City Comics volumes. Which reminds me, one of these days I’m going to have to finish up that Curse graphic novel that’s been sitting in my portfolio.

CCC: If you self-publish, what do you gain from that experience? If you've been published by other publishers, compare the experience to self-publishing.

I haven’t self-published anything yet but will most likely do so in the near future. I think the thing about self-publishing is that it really allows you to micro manage every little thing about the process and without the worry of having some other publisher or editor change parts of your story. Also, I think the whole process is a lot more personal not just in the material that’s done but also with the distribution like getting to personally talk to fans at conventions or talking to owner’s of comic shops to get them to carry your comic.

CCC: Give us a list of your published works (self-published or otherwise)?

My list of published work includes the short Curse of the Ronin story in Cream City Comics, artwork in the Element X Atomic artbook, pencils on the Batman Legos comic book and ConEdison Kids Safety book for DC comics’ creative services department, and a short King of the Unknown story in Muscles & Fights Vol.2 and another one coming out in M&F Vol. 3. It’s a short list of work and a lot of it is definitely hard to find but I run a lot of the penciled artwork on my blog ( for anyone interested in checking it out.

CCC: Describe the art scene where you live. If you've lived elsewhere and were producing art there, compare those scenes.

I hardly get out and I only really use the internet to check e-mail so I’m pretty much unaware of the art scene in the area where I live. Also, I live out in the middle of nowhere so I imagine there’s not much of one here.

CCC: Do you belong to any online or 'real world' art groups? If so, list them and describe how that/those group/s benefit you.

I work with Bernie Gonzalez under some Element X Studios projects. The benefit there is working with someone that has a lot of the same artistic influences and digs a lot of the same comics and stories as I do, which helps when working on a story because then you’re both on the same track and don’t have to keep going back and forth explaining stuff. Also, it helps a lot to have someone you can show artwork to and they actually know what they’re talking about and can give you some honest insightful feedback to help you improve.

CCC: What is your ultimate or immediate goal in creating comics?

I think my ultimate goal when creating comics is to just have fun working on them and make something that I’ll enjoy first and hopefully there’s people that will enjoy it also and be entertained.

CCC: What do you think is lacking from the underground art scene? If you had the power, what would you do to address that void?

You mentioned this on your blog before and I think you were dead on when you said it, in the underground art scene there really is this a growing lack of community lately. You’d think there would be more with the internet, but it almost seems like there is less than what there used to be. I’m not sure if it’s because of comics not having that audience that they used to or that whenever an indie artist starts getting recognition they’re usually scooped up right away by the big two, but it just doesn’t seem to be there like it used to.

CCC: Do you blog? MySpace? ComicSpace? If so, what kinds of things do you communicate through it and what is your ultimate goal in using that site?

I have a blog account which I use to post sketches and occasionally ramble on about pointless things. My ultimate goal of the blog is probably just to gain more exposure which is something I’m sorely lacking.

CCC: Do you read any other creators' blogs? If so, what do you think of them?

The blogs I usually read are animator’s blogs because that’s where a lot of my artistic influences come from and I try to see what kinds of tricks and tips I can pick up from them.

CCC: What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?

There’s probably no book in particular I enjoy reading, if something can entertain me I’ll read it. No real bias there, just make an entertaining comic.

CCC: What kinds of standards and/or expectations do you place on a comics purchase?

My expectations and standards I place on a comic I’m buying really depend on what I’m buying it for. If I’m picking it up because I’m a fan of the artist or like the art style, then I expect some really kick ass artwork. If I’m picking something up for the story, then I expect something that’s a great read and I can read it over and over again. Ideally I’d like something that has great artwork and I can read over and over again (like those Akira volumes or that giant Bone collection).

CCC: What is your favorite indie publisher?

My favorite indie publisher is probably Image comics, mostly because they have a nice varied line up of books while at the same time they carry that name recognition of the other two big comic publishers. It’s like the best of both worlds really.

CCC: Who is your favorite creator/writer/illustrator?

Choosing just one favorite artist/creator is difficult so instead I’ll give you a short list: Katsuhiro Otomo, Geoff Darrow, Jason Pearson, Mike Mignola, and lots of cartoons and animators.

CCC: Give us a short list of indie creators you believe are sort of shaping the future of comics (indie and/or mainstream)?

Some of the creators that I think are shaping the future of comics would have to be Bryan Lee O’ Malley because he really seems to be tapping into that new generation of comic readers that grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s on Nintendo and Sega games.

Also, I’d say Dan Hipp is another great artist shaping the future of comics, no reason in particular other than everything he’s done so far has kicked ass. Then there’s Gabriel Ba who even though he has only done a few projects that have not been associated with a big name character, each has gone on to garner the attention that a big name character would get. To me to do something like that is huge.

I’d say the entervoid site is doing a lot to shape the future of comics. It seems to be the breeding ground of a lot of talented up and coming comic creators, and anyone looking to see who the next superstar artist of tomorrow will be should probably be checking that site out.

CCC: If you could change one thing about the modern comics 'industry' what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the modern comics industry I would make it so there’s a 2 book limit to all superheroes (hell let’s make a 1 book limit.) I mean really, who reads eight different X-men titles a month? It’s time to trim the fat and give that shelf space to comics that need it.

CCC: Give a shout out to any site and/or underground comic you think people ought to be checking into.

I don’t go online that often but if I had to give a shout out to some sites and creators people should check out, I’d say check out the entervoid site like I mentioned previously, also check out the muscles and fights website if you like your anthologies tough and manly that take no lip. Then I’d also recommend looking up any creators or comics I mentioned in this Q&A, and lastly pleeaaase check out my blog, I could really use any extra exposure I can get… and if you could send me some cookies that would be awesome too.

Thanks for your time, Marcus!


Be sure to tune in soon, folks. The ladies of funnybooks are finally getting their time in the CCC limelight!! My next posting will not disappoint.

In the meantime, check out the links to your left. The interviewees sites are up there [provided they have one I'm aware of]. If you'd like to contribute links or be interviewed, contact me via

And if I don't see you or post before then, Happy Holidays to you and yours.