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Talking Comics With Ron Marz

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Ron Marz has worked for every major publisher in comics. One book that he's well know for is GREEN LANTERN. It was in this book he created Kyle Rayner, during the "Emerald Twilight" story. Kyle has gone on to be a major character in the DCU since his creation. To this day Kyle has been my favorite GL and it's all thanks to the work Ron did.

Ron also helped steer the ship for WITCHBLADE, over at Top Cow/Image for years. The work he did on the title were some of the best stories in the history of the character.

He's currently hard at work with his Ominous Press line of comics being published through IDW along with a slew of other creator owned books as well. No matter what he's working on, you can be sure it will be filled with adventure and amazing characters.

COMIC LOUNGE: How did you get your "big break" in comics?

RON MARZ: I was and still am friends with legendary writer-artist Jim Starlin, and he was the one who suggested I try my hand at writing comics. I was working as a journalist at a newspaper, and had copyedited Jim’s first prose novel, so Jim suggested giving comics. I was already a comics fan, obviously, and Jim showed me the ropes of scripting, and co-wrote my first few jobs with me. The first thing I wrote was SILVER SURFER ANNUAL #3, so I got to start right in the big leagues. When Jim left Surfer to do INFINITY GAUNTLET, I took over writing the book.

COMIC LOUNGE: When did you decide you wanted to be a professional writer?

MARZ: Truthfully, it never occurred to me to be anything else. Even in elementary school, I just knew I was going to be a writer. It was what I could do.

COMIC LOUNGE: GREEN LANTERN #51, my first Green Lantern comic, where you created my favorite GL, Kyle Rayner. Where did the inspiration for him come from?

MARZ: I was handed the job and asked to create a new Green Lantern, without a great deal editorial direction. The editorial edict was to remove Hal Jordan from the book, and come up with a new lead character. Kyle was the result. I figured if we were removing Hal, the new lead should be someone unlike Hal, so I very hewed to the Everyman archetype, cut from the same cloth as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Hal was a hero before he ever put the ring on. I wanted a character who was not a natural hero, someone who had to grow into the role. I wanted someone the readers could see themselves in.

COMIC LOUNGE: Did you expect all that backlash you received for the Parallax storyline?

MARZ: Well, I certainly knew it was going to be controversial, and get some people riled up. But the extent of it was probably more than I expected. I knew Legion of Super-Heroes fans were supposed to be the most hardcore, passionate fans in comics. But I found out that Green Lantern fans were right up there with them.

COMIC LOUNGE: Do you think you would ever write Kyle again?

MARZ: I never say never. Kyle is obviously near and dear to me, so if the right situation and the right story fall into place, sure.

COMIC LOUNGE: You've written for all the major publishers, do you have a favorite and least favorite book that you've worked on?

MARZ: Whenever I’m asked this question, I always have to break it down into creator-owned stuff and work-for-hire stuff. The creator-owned books are like your children, you bring them into the world. Of those, I think SAMURAI: HEAVEN AND EARTH, which came out through Dark Horse, is my favorite. Luke Ross and I still want to get to a third volume someday. As for work-for-hire, it’s tough to choose from everything, but I think it’s a tie between two one-shot stories that I did. One is an ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN story I did with Doc Shaner, and the other is a black-and-white Daredevil story I did with Brian Stelfreeze. For least favorite … wow, I don’t know. My run on THOR did not turn out as I wanted it to, but even so, there are some moments I quite like.

COMIC LOUNGE: What would you say is your fondest memory of your career?

MARZ: Honestly, the work is great, and I’m grateful for it. I get to make up stories for a living. That’s a rare blessing. But more than that, what I hold dearest are the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. With some admitted exceptions, comics people are great people, both fans and pros.

COMIC LOUNGE: Do you think you would ever work for DC again?

MARZ: Oh, definitely. If you hang around comics long enough, you work with every publisher, most of them multiple times. DC has such wonderful characters and a great storytelling tradition, so all of that is still enticing. 

COMIC LOUNGE: You did a pretty big run on WITCHBLADE, another book I really love. What did you like best about writing that book?

MARZ: Obviously I found that the character of Sara Pezzini was a good fit for me, and the way I tell stories. But beyond that, the thing that I really loved about Witchblade was that the concept and characters were elastic enough that I could tell almost any kind of story I wanted to tell: thriller, horror, crime, even science-fiction and superhero. I don’t think I’ve ever done a book that was so expansive in terms of the genres it could encompass. I’ve still got more stories to tell in that universe.

COMIC LOUNGE: Are there any books you're currently working on that you can talk about?

MARZ: Well, how long have you got? I’m writing FATHOM for Aspen and TUROK for Dynamite, though the first issue of that does not come out until January. I’m also the Editor-in-Chief at Ominous Press, where I’m writing DEMI-GOD (which is published through IDW), as well as a number of original hardcover graphic novels. BEASTS OF THE BLACK HAND with Paul Harding and Matthew Dow Smith is already out, and we’re working on the sequel. HARKEN’S RAIDERS, which my Green Lantern collaborator Darryl Banks is drawing, is a World War 2 adventure that’s going up on Kickstarter right now. And soon after that, Rick Leonardi and I are doing a 1930s horror/noir called DEAD OF NIGHT. I’m also working on the second volume of THE PROTECTORS from Chicago Bear Israel Idonjie’s AthlitaComics. Plus a few more things that will be announced in the next couple of months. Good to be busy, right?

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