Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Surprising Universe

I've started a new page on the Surprising Comics website, called Surprising Universe. This page will denote characters I've created or co-created, where they've appeared, and future plans I have for them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Perilous Adventures #1 at the printer!

Mike Rickaby has sent Perilous Adventures #1 to the printer! Perilous Adventures is a title Mike's publishing under his CE Publishing imprint.
Here's a pic of the fantastic cover to the first issue, along with a link to the download for .99.
Credits for Perilous Adventures #1 are as follows. Writers: Jonathan Gilbert, John Michael Helmer, Mark Davis, Michael Sacal, Danek Kaus, Lloyd Smith Artists: Michael Rickaby, Lon Roberts, Stu Berryhill, Randy Valiente, Rodolfo Maximiliano Buscaglia, Phil Fried, Dick Ayers, David Vance.
It's an honor to have my story published alongside such talented creators, and it's especially cool to have a story published in the same comic featuring work by legendary artist Dick Ayers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Pettis Story In Surprising Theater 4

John Pettis and Randy Valiente will be presenting a cool five page story in Surprising Theater #4, which is scheduled to be sent to the printer around the first of the year. Here's a page from that story.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Surprising Comics Covers

I've posted a Surprising Comics cover gallery at the Surprising Comics message board. Just click on the link below to check it out!
As of now only issue 1-3 have been released of our flagship title, Surprising Theater, but we've finished the covers up to issue 5!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surprising Theater #5 Cover

Kenneth M. Johnston has just turned in the cover to Surprising Theater #5. The cover was colored by Jason Griffin.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lloyd Smith's Ultimus Coming To Surprising Comics!

Lloyd Smith's Ultimus is coming to Surprising Comics! Originally published by Lloyd's legendary Blue Moon Comics Group in a series of issues, the story we'll be publishing was never finished. It's going to be an honor after all these years to get to print the original story, featuring art by Louis Sollune, and get to finish it as well! Now, if only one of my other dreams would come true... to publish a story featuring Lloyd's Kragor The Barbarian. One legendary character at a time, I guess. I've posted one of the original Ultimus pages we'll be reprinting.
By the way, check out Lloyd's tremendous blog over at

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jazzy Jon Gilbert To Bring The Heap To Surprising!

Jazzy Jonathan Gilbert is planning to bring Skywald's The Heap to Surprising Comics! By way of a warm-up, check out "The Man Who Became The Heap" from veteran comic book writer Lloyd Smith's terrific blog.

Unpublished Pablo Marcos Atlas Cover

Pablo Marcos is one of my all-time favorite comic book artists, so when I saw this image posted at the Atlas Comics message board I had to capture it and post it here.

If you haven't been, check out, a site quickly becoming one of my personal faves.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Atlas Comics Fan Site

I've really been enjoying this Atlas Comics fan site, and have been doing some posting on the message board as well! I can't believe after all these years Atlas is coming back!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Surprising Theater 4 Cover

Here's the final cover to Surprising Theater #4. Art by Smilin' Steve Williams. Colors by Genius Greg Holland.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Atlas Comics

Atlas comic books are returning to the stands. Finally! When the original Atlas comics were coming out, I was in my early teens, which was really my personal Golden Age of comic book collecting. I was very excited about the launch of a new line of comic books. I really enjoyed the variety of titles Atlas offered. My favorite Atlas book was Iron Jaw.I remember walking several miles each way for my new comic books back then, which I purchased at convenience marts. If I could manage to, I would get to several different marts, as none seemed to quite have everything that came out. Man, those were the days, getting new comic books at Circle Ks and 7-11s. In Phoenix there was one drug store that seemed to really respect comics and had a great selection of titles, and it was a rare treat when I could get to that store and pick up books I hadn't seen elsewhere.I was absolutely disheartened when Atlas folded. I couldn't be happier that they're back, and am greatly looking forward to the new launch. Thanks to those involved in making this day possible.
Be sure to check out What a great website featuring Atlas Comics, and an awesome message board to boot!

Friday, October 15, 2010

C.L. Werner at Red Leaf Comics

Accomplished novelist C.L. Werner is doing quite a bit of the scripting over at Red Leaf Comics, and provided most of the stories in issue #1 of The Leaf.
As Senior Editor at Red Leaf, it's an honor to be working on the same books C.L.'s working on.
Here's a link to C.L.'s official website.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Red Leaf Comics Press Release Re: The Leaf #1

The press release for The Leaf #1 for Red Leaf Comics was picked up by First Comics News. I'm really starting to love that site!

Surprising Character Bios

I started a new page on the site over at for Surprising character bios. So far The American Guard and Skyscraper bios are up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Skyscraper Page

Here's page 1 from Surprising Theater #1, only from Surprising Comics. This page features my character Skyscraper.

American Guard Bio

Here's the bio for my character The American Guard. Copyright Mark F Davis and Surprising Comics.

When 11 year-old Joseph Washington saw a woman about to be shot during a robbery, he stepped between the shooter and intended victim, taking the bullet for her. The bullet had been meant for Leona Lynn, a powerful Senator.As Joseph lay dying in the hospital, Ms. Lynn stepped in, ordering an experimental drug be used to save Joseph's life. The last-ditch measure did, indeed, save Joseph's life, and augmented his already growing strength and speed, eventually giving him the strength of ten men and making him twice as fast as a normal man. Now grown and trained to fight in multiple disciplines, he wages a one man war on those who would perpetrate evil in the United States Of America as The American Guard.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Surprising Comics Website

I'm working on a few changes to the Surprising Comics website. Yesterday I added a new page, featuring the new monthly Surprising Soap Box. I'm now beginning work on a page which will feature bios of the characters in the Surprising Comics universe.
Go to to check out the Surprising site, or click the Surprising Comics logo atop this blog to go there.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cover To The Leaf #1 from Red Leaf Comics

I just received the file to the cover to The Leaf #1. It was finished using a technique that's becoming more and more popular in comics... pencils and straight to colors, skipping the inking process.
The pencils were done by Stuart Berryhill, with colors by Randy Valiente. While still needing John Helmer's final approval, I think the cover looks fantastic.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Leaf #1 from Red Leaf Comics

Just finished double-checking the title page for The Leaf #1 from our sister company Red Leaf Comics. It looks like we'll be able to send this issue to the printer within the next few days.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Surprising Theater New Issue At Printer!

Surprising Theater #3 is now at the printer! Issue 4 is almost completely in the can, and work is being done on issue 5. Stay tuned to this blog for further developments!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Steve Perry Story Finished!

T. Warren Montgomery just turned in the completed files with his lettering for the 7 page story the late Steve Perry wrote for me. What an absolute thrill and privilege to read that brilliant story including art and letters for the first time!

Surprising Theater #3 Cover

I've approved this as the final cover to Surprising Theater #3. It was drawn and colored by Randy Valiente.
The files on this issue should be sent to the printer today or tomorrow.

Thanks so much to everyone who made this issue possible.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cover To Surprising Theater #4

Smilin' Steve Williams just turned in the cover to Surprising Theater #4. Here it is! It's based on the story Steve Perry wrote for Surprising Comics. This issue will also feature the five page story "The Error" written by Jonathan Gilbert and drawn by former Marvel Comics artist Seppo Makinen, and the first comic book appearance of CFAR, The Clinic For Alien Research drawn by Paul Moore and written by yours truly. T. Warren Montgomery will also provide a terrific pin-up for this issue.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Senior Editor John Michael Helmer Interview

Surprising Comics Senior Editor John Michael Helmer has been interviewed by Phil Latter over at Comics First News. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kenneth Johnston

Old friend Kenneth Johnston just turned in his pin-up for Surprising Theater #4, featuring The American Guard. Ken even created a villain, who first appears in this pin-up. Ken's art is influenced by his favorite artist, Gil Kane, and harkens back to the classic Silver Age art of the sixties. Powerful stuff, Ken. It'll be a privilege to publish this page.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The American Guard

My character The American Guard will be making an appearance in The Leaf #1 from Red Leaf Comics, due out in late October/early November. Pick up this issue and learn about The American Guard's roots! Fear not, when Red Leaf has this issue for sale I'm planning on posting a link right here in the mighty Surprising Comics blog!

John Pettus

John Pettus has written a five page script for Surprising Theater #5. Randy Valiente is currently working on the art.
I'm really looking forward to publishing this story! Welcome aboard, John!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Red Leaf Comics Free Web Comics

Surprising Comics' Senior Editor John Michael Helmer recently started Red Leaf Comics, and his first free web comic, Northforce- Village Of The Dead, is up and running at his website. Check it out on his website at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Steve Perry Story

The art is finished on the fantastic 7 page story the late, and much-missed Steve Perry wrote for me. This story will appear in Surprising Theater #4.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CFAR Preview

Here's a three page CFAR preview from the story that will appear in Surprising Theater #4. Paul Moore provided art for this story and T. Warren Montgomery lettered it, to go along with my script.

Friday, September 10, 2010

3 Page CFAR Preview

Here are the first three pages of the CFAR: The Clinic For Alien Research story that will appear in Surprising Theater #4, only from Surprising Comics. Click on images to enlarge. Plans are in the works to make CFAR a full length ongoing comic book.

My Letter Published By Dark Horse In Dr Solar #2

Here's a transcript of the letter I had published by Dark Horse Comics in Doctor Solar #2. It pertains to Doctor Solar 1, and could be taken as kind of a review of that issue, complete with spoilers.

Dear Dark Horse,
What a wonderful feeling to be able to read a brand-new comic book written by Jim Shooter that kicks off his being head writer in the launch of a new line of comic books! I have to start by thanking Mike Richardson and Dark Horse Comics for making this possible.
Now, regarding the first issue of the new Doctor Solar. One of my favorite things about Shooter's writing is that he creates magical moments in his stories. This issue was full of said moments. Solar creating a visual from his memories and displaying the event that changed him was fresh and historic. Seeing Leviathan throw what he believed to be the dead body of Doctor Solar into a dumpster was a nice touch. I've never seen a villain, or hero for that matter, dispose of a defeated adversary in such a manner before in a comic book. It made . . . sense.
It was nice to see Nuro in the first issue. It will be interesting to see what Shooter's up to with the evil genius. We already see him making some sort of grab for data relating to nuclear power. Can Nero be after the ultimate power in this day and age, the ability to make a nuclear bomb?
Gail Sanders made her historic first Dark Horse appearance, albeit a brief one. She's around long enough, though, for us to see her brilliance, as she "has theorized that consciousness exists in a quantum field generated by brain cells, and that the field may persist even after the brain is annihilated." Her theory aptly sets up the explanation of how Phillip Solar came back to life, strangely changed, after briefly dying following the nuclear accident he experienced, which was facilitated by Nuro's atomic spy.
In addition to the new versions of three storied Gold Key characters making their first Dark Horse appearances, we were also introduced to one Whitmore Pickeral. While it remains to be seen just what is the level of importance Pickeral brings to the new storyline, or perhaps even eventually to the other books in this new line, Shooter has obviously given him great potential, with Pickeral being able to create life with his own mind. I can't wait to see what develops here.
Now, enough about that Shooter guy. The Michael Komarck cover managed to capture the spirit of the issue. Dennis Calero is an outstanding selection as artist. He seemed to understand and deliver exactly what Shooter wanted out of each scene, and I really liked the way he gave Doctor Solar and some of the other characters a defined look, not overly muscle-bound like so many artists draw each of their characters. His colors were beautiful, keeping up with the quality of the other elements of the book. I sleep well at night knowing Shooter has an editor like Chris Warner on this book, and I'm pleased Blambot! is providing letters for Doctor Solar as well.
I'm expecting the Doctor Solar title to spearhead this new line of comics and infuse a significant shot of life into the comic book industry. Thanks again, Dark Horse, for making this all possible. Major props. The eyes of the industry are now on you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Doctor Solar Kind Of Week

It's been a Doctor Solar kind of week for me. More specifically, it's been a Doctor Solar kind of last couple of days.
Although it's hard to admit, until yesterday I'd never read any of the first ten issues of Valiant's Solar title, which was superbly written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith. A week or so ago, however, I found a copy of Solar Alpha And Omega from Valiant, which reprints those historic first en Valiant issues. It arrived in the mail yesterday, and I immediately proceeded to read the first seven Valiant Solars. They were incredible! I still have three issues to read, and am greatly looking forward to doing so shortly.
Now, today, Doctor Solar #2 from Dark Horse Comics hit the stands, and I excitedly drove to the Atomic Comics Phoenix Metro location, picked up a copy, and right there in the store I turned to the letters page, and found my letter regarding Doctor Solar #1 had been printed! I rushed home and read the issue, which was, of course, written by Jim Shooter!
What a great and memorable week in comics it's been for me, indeed, thanks to Jim Shooter, Barry Windsor-Smith, and a certain Doctor in a red suit.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stuart Berryhill And Mike Rickaby Page

Creator at large Mike Rickaby just sent me this page, starring John Michael Helmer's The Leaf. It's from a short story called "The Hoax" that I scripted for Surprising Theater #3. Stuart Berryhill pencilled it, and Mike Rickaby provided inks and letters.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Diamond has announced that beginning in January 2011 all comic stores in North America and the UK will be able to get their comics on Tuesdays, the day before the street date. Until now, only larger stores were able to do so. This new policy sounds fair to me. Watch for more reviews to appear on line in times the day before the comics are on sale to the public.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My New Position At Red Leaf Comics

I've just been offered and accepted the position of Senior Editor over at John Michael Helmer's Red Leaf Comics. Check out Red Leaf at
I've already been helping John develop his comics, and my new position at Red Leaf won't affect my publishing, editing, and scripting duties at my own company, Surprising Comics.

Surprising Theater Status

Mike Rickaby is finishing inking and lettering the short Modern Leaf backup story for Surprising Theater #3. John Michael Helmer is finishing lettering the main story, and has some production work left for the cover, then it's on to the printer for issue 3.
Issue #4 isn't far from completion either. Soon it's going to be time to start putting the pieces in place for Surprising Theater #5.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Steve Perry Story

Steve Williams just finished pencilling the 7 page story, "The Battle Of Dulce," written by the late Steve Perry, former Marvel Comics writer, for Surprising Comics. It's now on to Stuart Berryhill for inking. This story is scheduled for Surprising Theater 4.

Since Surprising Theater 3 is on schedule for an early October release date, and it's a quarterly book, it won't be long until we send this issue off to the printer.
It's a bittersweet feeling to be so close to finishing this story and getting it ready to print. Steve Perry was excited I'd be publishing it, and we corresponded often about the story and many other things as well. I miss Steve Perry.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Surprising Theater #3 Cover Prelim

Here's an almost completed cover prelim to Surprising Theater #3, due to be sent to the printer next month. Art and coloring by Randy Valiente. This issue features a 26 page story starring Canada's Greatest Hero The Leaf, scripted by John Michael Helmer with art by Randy Valiente, and a 2 page story of Canada's Greatest Hero The Leaf scripted by yours truly with pencils by Stuart Berryhill and inks by Mike Rickaby.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1999 Hulk John Byrne Run

I've always wanted to read the all too short John Byrne run from the current Incredible Hulk series. For those of you who don't remember, that series began in 1999, and Byrne wrote the first seven issues.

Well, I purchased the entire run on eBay yesterday. Those seven issues seem fairly hard to find, and I had to purchase them from three separate sellers, which drove my costs up due to paying three shipping fees. I'm looking forward to finally reading this run, though.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Depthon Story In Surprising Theater 2

I plotted a short story starring my character Depthon, Son Of The Ocean, that appears in the second issue of Surprising Theater, published by my company Surprising Comics. ( )
I had heard of the cruelty done by certain people, who catch sharks, cut off their fins for making shark fin soup, and toss the sharks back into the water to drown. My plot had Depthon running into the aforementioned situation, and doing what I would do under those circumstances if I were Depthon.
The story was graced by a Chris Sheehan script, editing by John Michael Helmer, art by Steve Williams, and lettering and design work by George E Warner.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Stan Lee Boom Universe Board

I've started a message board to document and discuss the new comic universe utilizing Stan Lee characters being published by Boom! Studios. Check it out at

Lost In Space

I used to love the Lost In Space TV show when I was a kid. I looked forward to getting out of school and watching the one-hour show shortly after arriving home each day.

Now, I'm interested in the Lost In Space comic book series, published by Innovation in the early nineties. It's of particular interest to me, as Bill Mumy, the actor who played Will Robinson in the TV series, worked for the entire comic series as a writer and consultant. I'm thinking of tracking down the comic book series. Check out the cover to the first issue in the pic.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The American Guard In Action

Here's a page featuring my character The American Guard in action! It's from the seldom seen Suddenly LandMark! #1. Art and design work are by Dashing Dave Allred.

Surprising Characters. Surprising Comics. That's my new slogan for Surprising Comics. I commissioned artist Randy Valiente to design an ad for Surprising Comics incorporating the new slogan, as seen in this image.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

John Michael Helmer

John Michael Helmer is not only the Senior Editor and a writer for Surprising Comics, he's started his own comic book publishing company, Red Leaf Comics.
Check out his website at for more info on what John's up to. His first comic, The Leaf #1, is due to hit the racks in late September.

Pictured are John and me. I'm the guy holding a copy of Surprising Theater #1.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Selling Comics On eBay

I bought and sold comic books on eBay for over 9 years using the user id grandcanyoncomics. During that time I received over 7,500 feedbacks, without a single negative feedback standing.
After all that time, I decided a few months ago I wanted a bit of a fresh start, and also, having been considering for some time I may end up leaving the Grand Canyon state, thereby making that user id outdated, I decided to change my user id on eBay to stockcomics. Stock Comics was the name I bought and sold under when I was a teenager, buying and selling comics via the Comics Buyers Guide.

Check out my eBay auctions here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Now for a word from our sponsor... me! Aside from our website at, Surprising Comics has a message board located at So... check 'em out!

Perilous Adventures #1

Aside from my scripting, editing, and publishing work I do for Surprising Comics, I also write for other comic book companies. To that end CE Publishing has just put out Perilous Adventures #1, which has an 11 page story I scripted called Flying Objects. The entire issue is 28 great pages. Go to to download this issue for a mere .99!

Monday, August 2, 2010


One thing I love to do is watch back issue prices on comic books. In view of the new Dark Horse line of comics featuring Gold Key characters that is being overseen by the chief architect of the Valiant Comics universe, Jim Shooter, I'm keenly interested to see what will happen with back issue prices of Valiant comic books. I feel namely back issue prices on Solar, Magnus, and Turok prices may rise, if the new launch at Dark Horse is successful.
Ten days ago there were five complete sets of Valiant's Solar series for sale on eBay. Since then, three sets of Valiant Solar have sold there, leaving just two for sale on the Bay. This fits in with my expected increase in demand for Valiant Solar issues due to the new launch.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scoop Shooter Interview

On 08-07-09 Diamond's Scoop posted a Jim Shooter interview. At the time much of the info in the interview was essentially breaking news. Here's a copy of that interview. I was fortunate to have had a couple questions chosen to be used for this interview.

20 Questions with Jim Shooter On Saturday, July 25, 2009, Mike Richardson, President of Dark Horse Comics, announced that new versions of Magnus Robot Fighter, Turok, Son of Stone, Doctor Solar and Mighty Samson. The first three of these characters (all were originally published by Western Publishing’s Gold Key imprint) were revived in the early 1990s by VALIANT under writer and Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter, who Richardson introduced as the “new” writer of Dark Horse’s undertaking. In the Twitter, texting and Facebook age we live in, word of the announcement spread quickly. By the time Shooter ventured to the convention floor immediately after the panel, he was greeted by fans, creators and retailers congratulating him on the announcement and telling him how eager they were to see these new efforts. At that moment we asked him if he’d be willing to take questions from the most serious Magnus, Turok and Solar fans we know, the online community at He said sure, so we asked Greg Holland, the keeper of the flame, to put to the word out. For those who haven’t seen or, these are the enthusiasts who have documented everything there was to document about the original VALIANT, from print runs of individual issues to rarities, and from record sales to credit mistakes in the issues. When it wasn’t cool to still love VALIANT, these guys did. And when the market for key early and later VALIANT issues rebounded, they were the ones simply smiling. The group quickly jumped in and offered a series of questions. We’ve added a few of our own. Mark G., Cape Neddick, Maine: Since this announcement was unexpected and came sort of “out of the blue” at the San Diego Con, can you describe the process of how this opportunity with these characters at Dark Horse came about? Was it something you've been considering long term, or did this relationship just blossom recently?Jim Shooter: Mike Richardson and I first talked about my relaunching the Gold Key properties two and a half years ago. We spoke about it occasionally thereafter, but for one reason or another—rights issues, both of us busy with other things, whatever—nothing ever came of it. Recently, I opted out of another gig, and though I had some commercial work to fall back on through my company Illustrated Media, I figured it would be a good time to check in with Mike. And it was. The week of the San Diego Comic Con, we worked out an agreement and next thing I knew I was standing beside Mike onstage at the show as he announced the project. James Kilpatrick, Greenville, SC: How gratifying is it to finally get your hands back around these characters after so long? It's obvious you're passionate about the properties. How good does it feel to finally have them again?Jim Shooter: It feels great. When I redeveloped them for VALIANT back when, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to bring to life some of the vast potential I always knew they had. I thought we got off to a good start with them, but my watch ended abruptly and too soon. I didn’t get to do many of the things I had in mind. I’ve had years to think about those things, and I’ve added many more to the list. Also, there were a few things I did during my first try that I’d often thought I’d do differently, given a second chance…. Magnus Ramström, Stockholm, Sweden: What will your involvement be in the new books (the news have talked about “overseeing” and “writing”)?Jim Shooter: I’m going to do as much of the writing myself as I can, and I’ll supervise any other writers needed. I have a few in mind—extremely talented people with whom I know I can work with closely and well. I’ll be working with a Dark Horse editor, who will do most of the heavy lifting from the script stage on, but I will be of counsel regarding covers, art, coloring and the rest. Everyone at Dark Horse has been nothing but helpful. Mike Richardson has already contributed some great ideas and suggestions. He knows his stuff, he’s an outstanding idea man and a terrific sounding board. He’s the boss, but it seems clear that his intent—and therefore, Dark Horse’s intent—is to help me fulfill my vision for these properties. Scoop:It’s early in the game, but what can you tell us about the release schedule at this point?Jim Shooter: Mike and I haven’t discussed it much yet, but I’m sure the answer is as soon as possible. I guess it depends a lot on how quickly I can get everything figured out and write good stuff. Scoop:It sounds like a gradual roll-out rather the slamming the audience (and retailers) with a bunch of new comics all at once. Is that the plan?Jim Shooter: Again it hasn’t been discussed much—remember, this project came into existence only ten days ago, as of this writing. However, I think a gradual rollout is probably a good idea. Mark F. Davis, Phoenix, AZ: Can you tell us any creators who will be working with you on these titles for Dark Horse?Jim Shooter: Sorry, not yet. Have to ask them first. Sean Neprud, Only The Valiant Podcast, San Francisco, CA: What challenges do you anticipate while relaunching these characters in comics?Jim Shooter: I think the main challenge is the state of the market itself. There are many wonderful niche and eclectic titles; and a small number of good mainstream titles, but there are way too many bad, boring, same-old-stuff books of every kind each month glutting the shops—too many crises, over-crossed crossovers and gimmicks du jour. It’s difficult to reach the audience, difficult to cut through the clutter. The good news is that the situation also offers opportunity. Everyone is tired of trumped-up “events” and indecipherable “stories” that go nowhere. And therefore, a lot of people are eager for something exciting, fresh and really good. The secret to success in businesses like ours hasn’t changed in 40 thousand years—tell a good story and tell it well. I’m going to give it my best shot. Magnus Ramström, Stockholm, Sweden: Will the new stories appear in Dark Horse Presents or in their own comics?Jim Shooter: I believe where Mike and I left it, the new series will debut in DHP and go into their own titles from there. Scoop: Will the new titles be mini-series or ongoing comics when they launch?Jim Shooter: Ongoing comics, but it’s possible we’ll do some mini-series down the road. Alejandro, Bay Area, CA: Will Doctor Solar be the man from the Gold Key Comics with a new spin on it or will it be an entirely different guy like you did at Valiant?Jim Shooter: I’m trying to honor the source material as much as possible, but remember it was created 45 or so years ago, so there has to be some significant adaptation and updating. No one has more respect than I do for the old work, which, given the context of the times was remarkable. The best way to honor it, I think, is to preserve the essence, the heart and soul of it, but develop it inward and onward. Advance the frontier. Fulfill its potential. Fulfill its destiny. That’s what I tried to do last time. I hope to do it better this time. John Helmer, Phoenix, AZ: One of my favorites is Dr. Spektor from The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. Do you have plans to include this amazing character…?Jim Shooter: I’d love to. I’d also love to have a go at Jet Dream and Her Stunt-Girl Counterspies. I kid you not. Mike, are you reading this? Scoop:It became really clear to us after your departure from Valiant that some creators “get” Magnus and others don’t, and the “don’t” group includes some pretty good creators. What is at the core of his character? What made you able to elevate him from an after-thought for many to a top character in Valiant’s heyday?Jim Shooter: Long before VALIANT, I had the privilege of meeting Russ Manning and talking a bit about Magnus. I also read somewhere—can’t remember where—Manning’s recollections about creating Magnus. I started my run on Magnus picking up exactly where Manning and company left him, and understanding, I think, who Manning meant him to be. Magnus was the dutiful slayer of rogue robots. Leeja was the impetuous girlfriend who always disobeyed Magnus’s admonitions to stay out of danger, and then lay fetchingly on the floor while Magnus saved her. I used all Manning’s brilliant conceits—broadcast power, Central Rob, psychoprobes, the Goph Lands, more—and I tried to develop it all inward and onward. Advance the frontier. Fulfill the potential. Fulfill the destiny. I think it is all too common these days for creators, even talented ones, to take the easy way out, to go for cheap, bottled drama. I developed Leeja, Magnus and the rest, as naturally as I could. Most creators, I think (I fear) would have instantly “modernized” Leeja and given her robot-fighting powers, or at least a big gun. Most, I think, would have instantly taken Magnus’s relatively positive future and wreaked apocalyptic havoc upon it. Cheap, easy drama, short term. Then, once you’ve destroyed the essence, whatcha gonna do? You have to build, not destroy. Leon Mallett, West Midlands, United Kingdom: Dark Horse have been publishing archives of Gold Key titles prior to this launch, but have also been publishing other archives such as Nemesis and Magicman - are there any plans to include characters other than the Gold Key ones in the fledgling universe (specifically those mentioned or Dark Horse's own Comics Greatest World characters)?Jim Shooter: As of this writing, all I’m planning to do is my best on Magnus, Solar, Turok and Samson. I have high hopes for many things down the road, but…that’s down the road. Heath Fitts, Pineville, LA: Will the titles all be part of a shared universe?Jim Shooter: Well…in the sense that the world each character inhabits is, to the extent I can manage, a world that seems like/could be ours, I guess so. Writing stories set in entirely fabricated worlds is difficult. Could I write a story set long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, or in the Land of Oz? I think so, but the Gold Key properties require our world and believable extensions thereof, in my opinion. I’ve just started working on these things, remember. I’m still figuring them out. I don’t know exactly how they’ll evolve yet. Greg Holland, Little Rock, Arkansas: What color skin will Solar have? Are you keeping the red suit?Jim Shooter: I never could understand why Solar’s skin turned green. I plan to keep it normal. The red suit stays. Magnus Ramström, Stockholm, Sweden: Will you work exclusively for Dark Horse?Jim Shooter: My services to Dark Horse (and those of any other writers I bring in) are being provided by Illustrated Media. I may, from time to time, do a non-competitive project for IM—advertising, custom comics and the like—but I will devote whatever time it takes to the Gold Key characters. This project comes first. Heath Fitts, Pineville, LA: I really enjoyed the new stories you did for the Harbinger and Archer & Armstrong hardcovers. Does this deal with Dark Horse prevent any future collaboration with Valiant Entertainment, Inc.?Jim Shooter: I wish them well, but I won’t work for them anymore. Mike never asked me to be exclusive. He didn’t have to. This is what I want to do. Scoop: What other projects do you have going on?Jim Shooter: I’m finishing a custom comics series for an IM client, but that’s almost done. Right now, this is what’s on the board, and I’m very happy that’s the case. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the work I want to do on the Gold Key properties. Right now, I don’t need or want anything else. Mark F. Davis, Phoenix, AZ: As unlikely as it may seem, do you think you have a chance to top the quality of the work you did at Valiant with your Dark Horse work?Jim Shooter: Well…I think I’ve learned a lot since then and gotten better. I hope so. Also, VALIANT was a way undercapitalized start-up, so broke for much of the time that I actually had to draw several covers and a couple of stories because we couldn’t afford real artists! So many things were compromised by lack of time and money. However, working with Mike and Dark Horse, I think the rest of the creative process, beyond the script stage, will be vastly upgraded. They have all the apparatus already in place. They are totally professional and top drawer in every way. I guarantee, they wouldn’t let an “artist” as lame as me draw anything even if I wanted to. Hooray! Magnus Ramström, Stockholm, Sweden: Are you as excited as we are?Jim Shooter: If it isn’t clear from the above, let me leave no doubt—I am totally thrilled. Let’s do this thing! Let us know what you think about the return of these characters!

My New Blog

Okay, I decided to start a blog here at blogspot. My name is Mark F Davis, comic book writer and publisher of Surprising Comics. ( My blog will touch on Surprising Comics, and my comic book writing and publishing experiences. As a huge fan of legendary comic book writer Jim Shooter, I'm also intending to do some posting on the launch of the new comic book line from Dark Horse Comics headed by Shooter featuring the old Gold Key comic book characters. I hope you'll stop by from time to time and check my blog out.