(To be published by Independent Propaganda:) Arcana Studio has been finding some phenomenal talent lately. I had the pleasure to converse with Joe Martino of JGM Comics and his upcoming book SHADOWFLAME.
First of all, please tell a little about the history of JGM Comics and some previous successes.
JGM Comics is a company I started back in 1995 to publish some comics with my characters. The first book I published was Shadowflame. It was a 4 issue mini-series that the current one is based on. I got in right after the speculator boom and number 1 issues weren’t selling like they did a year before that. I honestly think that if it came out a year earlier it would have sold much better. I put out 3 issues through JGM and one through CFD Productions. The last book was put out in 1997. That was around the time I started on Ripperman, which was released through Chanting Monks Press in October 2004. I have done some various pinups and covers for indy books. I also had a piece in the Dave Cockrum Tribute book which was a great surprise. We sent it just as a get-well type thing and Dave, Paty and Clifford Meth were nice enough to include it in the book.
What is different about Shadowflame that will make today’s comic reader pick it up?
It is a great story of redemption. Here you have a man who has lost everything he held dear in his life and is about to end it all. He finds out he is the last in a chosen line and is the Earth’s last and only hope. He has to put away his personal issues and become a champion of an entire planet. This gives him not only fantastic power but a reason to live.
How have you been selling your comics? I see the website mentions comixpress.com. How did you get into Diamond Previews with the recent minimum solicitation?
The first Mini-series I did went through all the major distributors at the time. David Davidson and I put out an anthology type book through Comixpress called “New Age Tales of Alternate Adventures” around the same time Ripperman was published. My story revolved around 2 characters Crimson and Caress, who were sisters on the run from a government agency who are creating a team of Super Soldiers. They are also in issue 4 of the Shadowflame mini-series when Shadowflame fights Maldestrak to save the Earth. I try and sell on my site and through anyway possible. As for the Diamond solicitation, Sean (Arcana) handled that, which is great by me. It gives me the time to write, draw and talk with the fans.
What does JGM Comics mean by “comics like you used to read?”
My comic reading experience is based heavily from around 1983 to around 1989. But I am a big fan of 70’s comics as well. I still read comics, but to me, comics have lost a little bit of that magic they used to have. Maybe I am getting to old but the stories don’t grab me like they used to. My comics are like comics that I used to read. Comics that I enjoyed and can still read and have that sense of wonder.
I see a lot of mention of Dave Cockrum on your site. What else has influenced you, either in the realm of comics or outside it?
Lots. Movies, comics, even music. I remember writing issue 4 of Shadowflame with the song “Raining Blood” from Slayer in my head. It was appropriate because Shadowflame was getting the snot beat out of him and I think it helps to set the mood, at least in my mind. I take inspiration from wherever I can. I am a huge Superman fan. When I was younger my main influences were Dave, John Byrne, George Perez, Neal Adams, Curt Swan and a bunch of others. I also watch a lot of movies. Dave was supposed to do a cover for Shadowflame #1. Unfortunately, since his passing, that will never happen. He was a great talent and although I didn’t know him personally, he was always a nice guy over email. His wife Paty as well. Very nice people.
What else does JGM have coming down the line?
I am working on finishing the 3rd issue script on Ripperman: Fates Warning. It is a 3 issue mini-series that takes place about a month after the Ripperman Graphic Novel. There will also be a few crossover one-shots that I am putting together now with Shadowflame and other indy characters. I’ll have more info on that soon.
I saw on the website jgmcomics.com that Ben Templesmith (of FELL fame) did a cover for your graphic novel RIPPERMAN. How did you score that?
I was a semi-frequent poster on Ben’s message board after Steven Perkins (Pacify) showed me some of his paintings. I emailed Ben and asked him. Ben is another great guy. That cover made the book for me. I was really excited when I saw the cover for the first time.
Also, please take a look at the phenomenal bust that is being made of SHADOWFLAME. Contact JGM COMICS at www.jgmcomics.com to order the comic book and/or the bust!