Mark Mariano is a Renaissance man. A writer, illustrator, musician, certified nut-job, he’s all that and a bag of chips. Of course around here we talk about comics and luckily we have some of his comics to talk about! This is a two-fer review!
First up Escape Into Comics! volume one has the distinction of being 22 pages (plus 2 covers) scripted, written, and drawn in just 24 hours. The 24 in 24 challenge is a grueling trial undertaken by few artists and Mark went one step further by allowing the world to watch via webcam!
Now if I had tried this what you’d have before you is 24 pages of scribbles with some plot ideas in longhand. Luckily Mark is a professional, five short stories and several vignettes come together to form a very cute and funny anthology. Mark style is cartoony and kid friendly but his scripts aren’t dumbed down. There are some subtle jokes and intelligent ideas couched in these kiddie books Escape definitely gives you a glimpse into what Mark can do in a comic, it’s a perfect gateway book for anyone looking for a new author/artist to introduce to their kids (and enjoy themselves!)
So if Escape is the gateway then Hugless is the destination. “A tale of two monster looking for friendship in an unfriendly place.” Sounds cute. Sappy even. Actually it’s the story of Mella, a monster who likes to sing and dance among other things, and Greenbo, who loved to draw among other things. What they have in common is that the things they like are frowned upon by the rest of the monsters of Hugless Hill. If you have children you know how hard it is to explain why every time your little Sally builds a tower that mean kid in school knocks it down or when little Jimmy says he likes to sing or dance some of the other boys tease him for it. Mark has given us a really nice story to use as a tool for showing not only how to deal with being picked on but also shows how obnoxious it is to be the person who picks on others.
I really enjoy Marks books and can’t recommend them highly enough. Both books get a 5 out of 5. Pick up Mark’s books from amazon.com or from mypalmark.com,