Thursday, February 18, 2016


(This is the third installment of my essay on 2 key influences on me during the period in the early 1990’s when I was drawing “The Mark”, the first of which is the movie producer for RKO in the early/mid 40’s, Val Lewton.)

My admiration for Lewton validated my own dramatic equipoise. In “The Mark In America”, I resolved to treat the Archon with as much respect, gravitas, and droll (or arch) humor as I did the Mark and his posse. I would not put my artistic thumb on the balance of the audience’s decision of who was morally superior; let the reader judge for themselves based on their interpretation of the events depicted. In fact, one might find oneself rooting for the Archon and Helda, since they are under assault by an implacable foe. So be it.

And this is the page where the assault begins. In case you were wondering, the Archon is equally as strong, resistant to pain, and equipped with high speed healing as The Mark; I believe the back story is, both characters came out of the same genetic experimental program that, for some unremembered reason, ended with the two of them. The writer, Mike Barr, bragged to me that he was using the freedom and lack of expectations on the part of the editor, Bob Schreck, to break the traditional superhero comics rules. One of which was to load down each installment with fight scenes. Spoiler Alert: The set piece starting here and the climax of issue 4 are the closest we get to a normal comic book fight scene in the entire 4-issue mini-series, and we never do get the anticipate final knock-down drag-out that the entire series seems to be building towards. Sorry if I spoiled it for you (no I’m not). Basically “The Mark in America” is a superhero series almost completely bereft of fight scenes. We have drama, tension and confrontations (and droll/arch humor) but no real fight scenes in the classic (or cliché) sense. Directed, I’m sorry, I mean drawn, by me, with my thumb off the scales.

This is page #20 from "The Mark" issue 1, volume 2, otherwise known as "The Mark In America", published by Dark Horse Comics in December 1993. Written by Mike Barr, Drawn by Brad Rader

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