1. Hello there! And welcome back to the Mind Meld here at IndieComiX! You’ve just wrapped up the third and final story arc of Battlecats, one of the founding fathers of Mad Cave Studios, how are you feeling about this?
Hey, Rob, it’s a pleasure to be back here. Thanks for having me. Well, like Neil Gaiman said: “The best stories have an ending,” and although I think he was right, it still breaks my heart to bring the series to a close. Like you said, Battlecats is one of Mad Cave’s “founding fathers”, so to speak. It’s been a long road, but one that has truly changed the trajectory of, not just my own writing career, but Mad Cave Studios as a serious Publisher in the medium.
2. But with the final 7th issue, is this really the end? As we’ve seen the past and the present, but what of the future?
I can confirm that this is the end of the story. But not for Battlecats. Let me explain, we are currently completely redoing the first volume of Battlecats with Michael Camelo’s art. Mikey took over beginning with volume two and we’ve always felt that Battlecats is meant to be drawn by Mikey and Mikey alone. So we are going back and redoing the art to create one cohesive vision of the Battlecats universe. While we’re at it we are also tweaking story elements to better compliment that grand narrative we created.
To celebrate this, we will be releasing a series of titles in the fall as part of the MCS Legacy Initiative. Starting in August Mad Cave will be rereleasing four issue #1s that we believe represent Mad Cave’s Philosophy. Each reprint will come with all-new covers by talented creators and, best of all, each issue will only be $2.99. Only Battlecats will continue with “re-releases” of the entire first volume.
3. What’s next for you now that Battlecats is finished? Will we perhaps see a continuation of Midnight Task Force? As it has been a title that’s largely been left alone.
Midnight Task Force is on the backburner for now, but I would love to revisit that story at some point in the future. It’s just a matter of the timing. I’m currently completing the updated version of Battlecats volume one I mentioned earlier. I am also working on a new title at the moment that I am very excited about. I can’t say too much right now, but if you are a fan of Greek Mythology and Kill Bill then this book is right up your alley! Besides that, I am always focused on pushing Mad Cave forward and loving every minute of it.
4. Well now, a little disappointing that we won’t have future new Battlecats stories but all things do have to end at some point. What’s been your favorite part when it comes to creating the world of the Battlecats?
Great question! I think it’s just that: creating the world of the Battlecats aka Valderia. It’s so exciting to have the freedom that I do with this story. Thanks to Battlecats, I was finally able to roam enchanted cities or explore treacherous terrain filled with vicious beasts. Taking it one step further, I was able to create an entire world filled with religion, politics, and everything else your mother told you not to discuss at the dinner table.
5. Any potential yet for a screen adaptation of the coolest Cats around?
At the moment, not right now. We are focused on a couple of other things in regard to screen adaptations, but never say never! We are, as always, focused on Publishing first. The rest will take care of itself.
Not quite yet. There are a few other books that need to be announced before this one is next in line. However, if you are familiar with my previous work, then you know that this is going to have it all: high stakes action, real drama, and it will be a visual feast for the eyes.
7. What’s a genre(s) that Mad Cave has yet to touch but you’d love to see covered?
Actually, there is one genre that stands out and that genre is Horror. That’s why Mad Cave will be rectifying that this October with the release of A Legacy of Violence #1 by Cullen Bunn and Andrea Mutti. I believe there is a preview of the first issue in the back of Nottingham #6 that was released in early April. Horror is very near and dear to my heart, so it’s kind of odd that it has taken us this long to publish a Horror Comic.
8. Perhaps it’s a good thing it’s taken as long as it has to touch base on Horror as it let you and others explore other areas first. You guys are now not only producing an Anthology called Lower Your Sights, but have also opened the door to Creator Owned Projects, what’s the reaction/interest been so far in both?
It’s been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve already received so many amazing projects, many of them are going to be very hard to say no to. The response to Lower Your Sights Anthology and the open submissions to creator-owned projects has been a huge win for not just the company of Mad Cave but the entire team.
9. The paper shortage problem, has that had any effect on Mad Cave titles?
Yes, there was a paper shortage and that lead us to have to cancel some series and we were forced to release other books digital-only. However, we’ve taken measures to correct this to continue printing books.
It’s a reality that many publishers have been faced with recently and Mad Cave is no different. In a way, the paper shortage forced us to explore new avenues for printing and distribution. This has actually made it easier for us to make sure that we can still provide a quality feeling product alongside the quality of the work itself.
10. If you could do a crossover project with any Publisher outside of the Big 2, who would it be?
That’s a hard one, but if I had to choose, I’d gladly do a crossover with any of Mark Millar’s books at Image. His stories are so wild, that I know I could have a blast with some of his properties. Jeff Lemire’s run on Black Hammer at Dark Horse also has so much to offer, but is totally different from what Millar is doing. I think the Black Hammer is ripe for crossover potential.
The list is long and I can’t reveal too much yet, but many of them will be announced well before the end of the year. I can say that the top-tier comics and graphic novels we have in production are being worked by some very talented and well-known creators like; Cullen Bunn, Andrea Mutti, Liana Kangas, Lee Loughridge, Tim Daniels, Torunn Grønbekk, Jem Milton, Paul Tobin, Steve Orlando, Sebastian Piriz, Zac Thompson, Bayleigh Underwood, Joe Corallo, and Andrea Milana, Eliot Rahal, Stefano Simeone, Dennis Hopeless, Matthew Erman, Shelby Criswell and many, many more. Not to mention everything we have planned for Maverick, Mad Cave’s new and Young Adult Imprint for those who are not afraid to be themselves.
12. As for my last question, you mentioned earlier about the Mad Cave Philosophy, for those unaware of it, what is the Philosophy?
Mad Cave’s vision involves creating cutting-edge content that comic book fans love and connect with. It’s about entertainment in Horror, Sci-Fi, Action-Adventure, Crime, Noir, and Fantasy spaces. To that end, we work with talent across the globe to develop masterfully illustrated art with a focus on Character-Driven Storytelling.
Editor’s Note: Huge thanks to Mark for taking the time to answer these questions!
Interview by: Rob Wrecks