Creator’s Corner – Ken Marcus

Creator of Super Human Resources joins us for a quick Q & A. Enjoy!

Rick: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Ken: My name is Ken Marcus and in my day job I’m an advertising copywriter. I write a lot of those GEICO commercials that are constantly on. Probably the “Hump Day” camel spot is the most well known. Also the Golf/Kraken, Salt N’ Pepa “Push It” and Europe “The Final Countdown” spots, among others. It’s a fun, creative job. But my first love will always be comics. I’ve been an avid fan for over 30 years.

How long have you been creating comics?

I guess for around 7 years. My first volume of Super Human Resources came out six years ago, through a publisher called Ape Entertainment. It was my first comic. And I was lucky enough to get it published. The first issue made the top 300 and the trade made the top 100 when it was published. So pretty good beginners luck.

Thanks to my day job and two young kids, it’s taken me a long time to finish our second volume. But it’s finally out in stores and I feel like it’s a much better book than our first volume, story-wise.

When did you come up with the idea with Super Human Resources? 

At the time, I wanted to do something that there wasn’t a lot of: a superhero humor book. There was a lot of dark and gritty stuff back then. Luckily, there are more fun, humor books out now like Howard The Duck, Squirrel-Girl and so on.

I was always fascinated by the idea of ordinary people working alongside superheroes. That it must be a day job, like any other. But with really dysfunctional co-workers. And the name “Super Human Resources” just kinda popped in my head.

How did you come up with all these unique characters? I gotta say my three favorite are Tim, Roger and Wombat.

Awesome, thanks. Obviously, a lot of our characters are archetypes or stand-ins for comic characters we’ve all not-so vaguely seen before. Wombat, The Bog, Stalwart, Zeus, Plasmarella and so on. As for Tim, he’s our relatable, every-guy. A sweet, ordinary dude who just happens to get thrust into this insane world of capes, claws and radioactive half-lives. And his supervisor, Roger, is just a crazy person. We’ve all had one of those as a boss, at some point in our lives.

How did you get involved with Action Lab?

Kevin Freeman was my editor at Ape Entertainment. He then became the President of Action Lab. And he was kind enough to champion our little book. He’s recently left ALE but Dave Dwonch and Shawn Gabborin (President and Editor-In-Chief respectively) have been both great supporters of our book.Those guys are doing a lot of really cool things at Action Lab and I feel lucky to be a part of it.

A few creators from Action Lab started with a Kickstarter, did you start that way too? If not, were you looking into it?

Honestly, our second volume took so long to finish I was able to fund stuff myself. In other words, the losses were spread out over such a long period of time, my wife barely noticed. (!) I’ll likely look into doing a Kickstarter, if we do a third volume. I always looked at it as a funding platform. But it’s also a helpful marketing platform to build an audience at an early phase.

The artists for Volume 1 & 2 were different. Was the process different with each artist?

My first artist and co-creator is Justin Bleep. Like all great relationships, we met online. He has a unique, kinetic and angular style. Which really made our book stand out. Justin and I are still friendly. He did our covers for Volume II, so I’m happy he’s still part of the book. But his main passion wasn’t really comics. He was really into Legos and now’s he’s a lead designer for them in Denmark. It’s a pretty consuming job, so it doesn’t leave a lot of time for comics. But luckily, I found Armando Zanker for our second volume. He has a wildly fun and animated style, which really brings an “Adult Swim” show feel to our book.

After reading both Volumes I & 2 I noticed that Tim is a lot more confident in Volume 2. Would you say this is because of how he helped save SCI in volume 1 or that he is just getting a hang of SCI overall?

Well, I guess it’s like any job. You’re always a fish out of water your first month or so. And that’s only magnified if you’re working at the Hall of Justice or Avengers Tower. And yes, in the second volume Tim is a lot more confident in his job, helping out our heroes. And he’s a lot more comfortable — until he gets kidnapped by nefarious (and stupid) forces.

In volume 1 there was no doubt that Tim was the main focus. In volume 2 a few of the other characters really get to shine, like in the storyline for Plasmarella. Are there other characters that you would love to develop in the series or even in a side series? Super Human Resources is really about what it would be like to work alongside superheroes. So there are other “ordinary” co-workers outside of Tim. Like Bill in Shipping who dates our fire-based alien, Plasmarella.

I’m a huge Simpsons fan. And I always loved how they had secondary plot running alongside the primary plot in an episode. And often, the secondary plot would be more important or more entertaining. I pretty much modeled my plotting after The Simpsons. As for side series? I can barely get main one finished! That said, I would like to explore more of what happened to Roger aka Dark Thrust in outer space.

Where can we find Super Human Resources? Will you be attending an Cons this year?

You can follow me on Twitter at @KenSuperHR for SHR updates, reviews and artwork. As for cons, I’ll be at NYCC and Baltimore in the fall.

Are there plans for more Super Human Resources?

I’m hoping if we get a good reception we can do another. The publisher has indicated if our second trade numbers are decent, we could do another.

Any final thoughts?

Building on that, indie comics are tough. There are just so many great books out there. While this is awesome as a reader, it’s challenging as a creator. If you even mildly want to see something, you really have to let your store know. Please consider telling your store to order the Volume II trade of Super Human Resources in Previews August from Action Lab.

Thanks so much for having me.

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