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Mania Interview: Mark Morales
A Mania Exclusive
By Chuck Francisco
September 12, 2012
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with inker Mark Morales at Baltimore Comic-con. His best known work includes The Mighty Thor, Secret Invasion and Siege story lines, as well as several issues of the about to conclude Avengers vs. X-Men series (issues 6, 7, and 9).
Chuck: I'm here with Mark Morales, inker extraordinaire; we're at Baltimore Comic Con, just enjoying the people watching. How are you doing today Mark?
Mark: Doing good, doing good.
C: Awesome man. So I wanted to start right off and ask you; what inspired you to get into comics?
M: Well I've always loved comics, since I was like five years old watching the cartoons on T.V.
I discovered comics when I was five; I went to camp with my brother, and I'd loved watching the cartoons but I'd never known they had comic books. So when they'd shown that to me, my mind was blown and I was lost hopelessly from that point on.
C: Do you know what show it was; which cartoon?
M: Shows like Superfriends, the old Batman cartoons back in the day. For the comic book I know exactly what it was, the old Iron Fist.
C: Did you ever find that issue later on?
M: Absolutely! Found it many years ago; I know the writer, penciler, inker, everything.
C: Nice. So then, how did you decide that inking was where it was at for you?
M: I went to the school of Visual Arts in New York City and I had teachers like Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine), Gene Colan (Blade, Daredevil), and Will Eisner (The Spirit); and that was part of my double major. I took illustration as the other. When I got out, I did animation and graphic design for a couple of years but I sorta hated it. I figured that I might as well give comics a try. At the time, though, you had to be really fast to be a penciler, and I was not and am not fast. The next best thing was inking and I sort of fell into that.
C: What's the most important thing that you can convey with your pen?
M: An inker's job is really to be working in concert with the penciler, so you're trying to convey what the penciler's trying to convey. My job is to give it light, and form, and some depth. To make it translate better on the page.
C: Who's your favorite superhero to have worked on so far?
M: The same as everybody: Wolverine and Batman.
C: Not Thor? I love your work on him.
M: Thor is my favorite book I've ever worked on, but as a kid I loved Wolverine and Batman.
C: I saw some work here on your table of Iron Man (Avengers vs. X-Men #6 ). Since that's wrapping up, will you be doing work on any Marvel Now titles?
M: I will be doing something, but can't speak about it just yet.
C: Totally cool. Is it any characters you've already worked with before or is it someone new?
M: I wouldn't say it's a brand new character, because it's someone who's a major character...
C: New for you?
C: When does your first issue come out?
M: That I don't know.
C: If you could pick any artist to ink for, who would it be?
M: I've had a good run; I've worked with a lot of really good people. I think I'm working with one of the best pencilers in comics right now, Olivier Copiel, and Jim Cheung, and Steve McNiven, and Lenil Yu; I've had a good run. I mean, maybe the only one I'd like to get a shot at is Arthur Adams; I think he's great.
C: Do you feel like you guys would have a good working relationship, style wise?
M: Yeah, I think so. He's very detail orientated and I seem to handle that pretty well.
C: What would you say the hardest thing about inking is?
M: It's not hard, so much as it's time; always time. But I'm not going to complain about a where job where I get to stay at home and ink comics all day!
C: And last question: what character, if you could pick anyone, would you want to work on?
M: I'd like to go back to Thor one day, since it was my favorite book to have worked on.
C: Where's your love for Thor come from?
M: I love the Walt Simonson run back in the day and I was always into myths and legends when I was a kid. He's also cool looking and has great villains; it works.
I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Mark again for setting aside time to chat with me. He's a fantastic guy who's very approachable. Take a look at his personal Deviant Art page for some truly stunning art, showcasing his talent. And, of course, keep your eyes peeled for him in the upcoming Marvel Now line. Chuck Francisco is a columnist for Mania writing Saturday Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a horror co-host of two monthly film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA (home of 1958's 'The Blob'): First Friday Fright Nights and Colonial Cult Cinema.You can delve further into his love of all things weird and campy on his blog, The Midnight Cheese or hear him occasionally guesting on eminent podcast You've Got Geek.