Before we begin lets take the time to understand who Mark London is with a short bio of the founder and writer for Mad Cave Studios. Mark London’s descent into madness kicked off in 2014, adopting sunny Miami, FL as the base of operations for Mad Cave Studios. An independent comic book publisher dedicated to bringing the magical, surreal, and downright thrilling to life by way of visually-stunning art and dynamic storytelling. Mark is the author of Battlecats and Midnight Task Force, two on-going series gaining traction on the indie scene, in addition to Knight of the Golden Sun, slated for release in 2019.
What inspired this series?
Mark: I grew up in the 80’s, and I like to think that was a helluva time to be exposed to emerging types of media: Comics, video games, movies, animation, literature; I mean, I devoured everything I could get my hands on. I guess you put all that into a blender, and that’s where I get the inspiration I need. And if you look at my other works, this is also the reason why I like to explore so many different themes and genres, that might seem opposites, but I’d like to think they complement each other when done well.
What was the research process like?
Mark: Long but memorable. I had to dust off my love for King Arthur, for Conan, for the Lord of the rings, for D&D and even playing the Witcher 3 video game helped in the final stages. I love researching all the ideas I want to put on the page, so I enjoy this part of the process. I always have like 150 slide PowerPoint presentation for the team before we even start sketching.
Was it difficult to put together?
Mark: Well, the Battlecats lore proved to be a cathartic, “World-Building” experience. After all the research and the info to fell in their place, the result was a full-blown encyclopedia. It explains the expansive medieval fantasy setting, which includes deities, maps, timelines, character descriptions, etc. The concept phase became an obsession aimed at fleshing out Valderia’s history and add as much context as possible. And the work on this front continues! Maybe next year we will release it as The Tome of Valderia so you guys can see what we accomplished. Nevertheless, once I found the backstory, the direction where our warriors will go next became clearer.
What did you learn about yourself as a creator through this?
Mark: That I can long hours and even days without food or sleep and still be a normal functioning human being. But you need coffee though. All kidding aside, with each new series I create, I try to push myself, I try to surprise myself, I try to get faster, more concise, more precise, I guess what I’m trying to say is that with everything new I need to improve my craft.
Who’s your target audience for this?
Mark: With BATTLECATS, we wanted to offer a fresh perspective on a familiar genre that the direct market lacked. Inspired by classic action/adventure comics and cartoons from the 80’s, BATTLECATS provides a unique story line that appeals both to fantasy comic fans and new comic readers alike.
How is it different from other comic books in the genre?
Mark: Battlecats builds. With each new issue, Battlecats never stops building worlds, environments, teams, emotional contrasts, intrigue, etc. Our readers will quickly recognize that exploring Battlecats is a continuing process, one that will pique their interest issue by issue, never letting go. The building aspect also grabs hold of retailers in a way that allows them to know they can build a new customer base with Battlecats in particular, and grow with Mad Cave, in general.
How is it different from your previous work?
Mark: Well, my previous work is Midnight Task Force which was supposed to come out before Battlecats, but we ended up launching Battlecats first. I’d say my previous work (Midnight) dig’s deeper and goes darker into the psyche of the characters. Also, the setting is very different, its set in the future and it involves a detective who is fighting his demons while trying to a catch a vicious killer. A killer whose methods are different from any case he has ever seen before. Midnight Task Force is very different from Battlecats, but that’s part of why I make comics. I like to challenge myself, and everyone on the team feels the same way. Plus it gives Mad Cave Studios a variety of offerings from different genres, a variety of themes, diverse characters and so on.
How would you describe it to someone who has never read it?
Mark: BATTLECATS is a medieval fantasy comic series that explores an immense world–Valderia– built on a rich history and diverse culture. Immediately, the story takes off during an imminent power struggle among fierce, feline warriors destined to protect Valderia and its King and those wishing to destroy those institutions. Through in-depth character development, expansive environments, and captivating artwork, BATTLECATS grabs hold of the reader immersing them in a comic book reading experience like no other.
What you want people to get out of this series?
Mark: All I can say is that Battlecats builds. It’s an emotionally-charged, action-packed adventure enveloped by a captivating medieval fantasy setting that continually grows both in size and appeal. Battlecats offers something for every comic book reader–from fantasy fans to overall indie lovers, from the avid comics lector to the more passive ones. We want to submerge each Battlecats reader into Valderia’s precious environment and experience this world through their eyes.
Given this reality, much is in store for the series. Volume 1 will contain three complete story arcs consisting of Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3–each with five issues. Also, Mad Cave will publish The Tome of Valderia, an encyclopedia/concept art book that offers readers more content and backstory. Again, the aim is clear: Battlecats provides the roadmap towards a medieval fantasy world that continually evolves while bringing different aspects that engage a wide-ranging audience.
Mark: Next stop is Knights of the Golden Sun which is slated for release in Winter of 2018, and for 2019 we have a very aggressive plan which involves six new titles and the continuation of our flagship Battlecats. Those titles are, Honor and Curse, Legends of Wolvenhart, RV9, Nuke Lands, and two others that are in the pipeline.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Mark: Absolutely. There are many projects in tow at Mad Cave. Here is a quick description of each title:
Midnight Task Force
A mystery, thriller set in Detroit, 2055. The story centers around the anti-hero, Det. Aiden McCormick, and his struggle with mental illness while trying to solve a series of grisly murders plaguing the city. Will Aiden be able to solve the case? Or is there more going on than even he can imagine?
Knights of the Golden Sun
Our biblical take on historical fiction and mythology during the events that divide the Old Testament with the New. For four hundred years, God was silent. Without His leadership, the angels and their fallen brothers fought over His throne. What will become of humanity and the angels that watch over them? The struggle for Providence begins…
Honor and Curse
Set in feudal Japan, this martial arts inspired, action adventure comic follows a young shinobi: Genshi Sakagura. Haunted by the questions about a tragedy in his past, now his doubt is beginning to manifest itself supernaturally. Will Genshi be able to control this spirit or will he lose himself to the darkness?…
It’s been an amazing journey so far. Making comics is a tough business. The creative process can be pretty tough, too. But it’s really surreal getting to see your ideas and writing brought to life when you have the privilege of collaborating with so many talented artists, colorists, pencillers, editors, and more.
We have actually had the opportunity to read and review both BATTLECATS and Midnight Task Force and really enjoyed both titles. Mad Cave Studios under Mark’s leadership is going to thrive with the great titles they have already and some good ones still to come. I highly recommend you give their comics a read and like us here at Geek Vibes Nation, “Embrace The Madness”. You can find out more about Mark and Mad Cave Studios by going to https://madcavestudios.com/
Cainan is a walking talking Superman fanboy since age 2! He has been a lover of movies since he could understand them which was probably around the age of 5. Geeking out to He-Man, G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and just about every other Saturday morning cartoon. An old school action flick kind of guy, he grew up with Arnold, Stallone, and Willis keeping him company. He is also big into technology and video games. From the classic NES to the PS4, he has played them all. He runs the Geek Vibes Nation Twitter account and is also the main point of contact for booking guests for the podcast shows.