By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)—The comic book industry has a wide variety of comics- from Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Valiant, IDW, and Boom! Studios, just to name a few, there’s literally something for everybody. With the fairly new comic book publisher, AfterShock Comics, it looks like the world of sequential art just got a jolt of creative prowess.
With books on the shelves right now, AfterShock has been shaking up the local comic shop scene. With books like Dreaming Eagles, a wartime book about the first African American fighter pilots in the United States Army Air Force in World War II by industry legend Garth Ennis (Hellblazer, The Boys) and Simon Coleby (2000 AD), or the terrifying American Monster, from 100 Bullets creator Brian Azzarello and Juan Doe, which is a murder horror tale for the ages, AfterShock runs the gauntlet of genres.
With major talent on board, where did AfterShock come from? Well, the Editor and Chief is no stranger to the world of comics: Mike Marts has been in the industry for almost 25 years now, having been the editor for the Batman family of titles at DC Comics, and the Editor of the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy family of books at Marvel. So, why leave the “promised land” and start from scratch?
“Marvel had given me some great opportunities over the years, and DC had as well,” said Marts via a phone interview. “I got to work with some of the best, if not the best, creators, writers and artists in the industry. Moving to AfterShock, for me, was really the next stage in the evolution of my career. When my partners at AfterShock approached me about this opportunity, it was almost like written in the stars, it was something I had been thinking about for a long time. The decision was pretty much a no brainer for me.”
But what about AfterShock is different from the other companies on the shelves right now?
“The other companies that are out there today, a lot of them are doing some great things, they have some great books and working with some great people,” said Marts. “What is different about AfterShock is that you are really not going to find the level of consistency in quality anywhere else. We are committed to the best stories possible with the best creators possible. At AfterShock, the main difference is the standards of quality we have, which are unwavering.”
It clearly shows when reading an AfterShock book, and when comparing it to other books on the shelf. From the cover stock to the paper quality inside the book, the excellence of the production value is the first thing I saw after picking up my first AfterShock title, which was Replica #1. Presentation is so huge in this industry, something that AfterShock knows extremely well. Marts spoke about how AfterShock looks at every single facet of the production stage, always maintaining the highest level of quality. This quality can be seen physically with the book, but also creatively, as we see the names and stories that are connect to this new publisher.
The initial line up is already filled with plenty to choose from. Like the aforementioned Dreaming Eagles and American Monster, readers can find AfterShock’s other titles right now at their local comic shop, including Replica- a clone story gone horribly wrong and in a hilarious way, Super Zero- which shows what one young lady will do in order to become a super hero, or not. But what does 2016 hold for the company? Marts filled us in on the next wave of titles, scheduled to hit in April: Black Eyed Kids, Jackpot and Rough Riders, which features Teddy Roosevelt- you know that has to be good.
Even better, each of the new #1’s hitting in April will be available for half price at $1.99- making it a perfect time to try out the next wave of AfterShock. So, what are they about?
“Black Eyed Kids, which is a horror comic series written by our Publisher Joe Pruett and artwork by Szymon Kudranski,” said Marts. “We have Rough Riders, which stars Teddy Roosevelt and a few other heroes from around the turn of the century, it’s written by Adam Glass from Supernatural and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders with art by Pat Olliffe. We also have Jackpot, which is a modern day con story similar to Oceans 11 but with a twist of The Martix, written by Ray Fawkes and artwork by Marko Failla.”
In speaking with the industry mainstay, I asked him about any advice he might have for those hoping to break into the comic book industry. Besides being disciplined enough to draw a page a day for artists or write a script a week for writers, Marts stressed the importance of two major factors: perseverance and having the right attitude.
“Perseverance is key,” said Marts. “Everyone’s story about how they broke in to the comic book industry is different. Everyone has their own origin story. You really need persistence: it’s a very tough market; theirs only a few spots, and there are so many talented people trying to get in every single month. You have to stick with it, you have to have the right attitude.”
AfterShock Comics’ lineup can be found at local comic book shops across the nation; if the shop doesn’t have them, they can order them, so never fear! For more information on AfterShock, check them out online at http://aftershock.world/, and visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftershockcomics.