Marvelo: Monarch of Magicians
8 page comic - Published in “The Not Forgotten Anthology” - October 2016
"Marvelo: Monarch of Magicians" is a short comic I collaborated with artist Robert B. Matuluko for the “Not Forgotten Anthology,” an anthology with 20+ stories that reimagine public domain heroes from the past into modern day stories.
Robert and I created a story featuring golden age hero, Marvelo: Monarch of Magicians, that answers the question: where’s Marvelo been this whole time, and does he still have it? The full comic is featured below. Enjoy!
This comic was born out of wanting to participate in “The Not Forgotten Anthology,” an anthology that at the time was looking for submissions for stories that reimagined public domain heroes into modern stories.
I first came across the anthology on twitter and immediately I was intrigued. Here was an opportunity to write a comic featuring a character I hadn’t created myself—something I had never done before (at the time).
Trying to settle on what character to reimagine though was tough. I google and wiki’d different public domain heroes and read a bunch of their comics online. I went back and forth a few times but ultimately I decided on public domain super hero Marvelo: Monarch of Magicians.
Marvelo, created by Fred Guardineer and featured in Big Shot comics, could do just about anything with a simple utterance of his magical keyword, “Kalora!” That was something that really appealed to me. This was a character that I could do jut about anything with. Plus, his design I thought was pretty cool and very iconic.
My initial concept was drastically different from what we ended up with. I wanted to do more of a romantic comedy type thing with the character. Something unexpected and different that would stand out in an anthology filled with great stories. Below is a screenshot of my accepted pitch document with the premise of my original take.
This take I liked quite a bit—the idea of a long forgotten superhero randomly showing up again as someone’s wedding date still makes me chuckle. The editors of the anthology also seemed to like it, at least enough to accept it into their book. I was stoked!
But, in the end, this story didn’t work out. As I wrote it, it kept getting longer and longer and went beyond the length I had originally pitched. I spoke with the editor Einar and he approved me going with a different premise which is the story we ended up with.
Originally I was in talks with a different artist to work on this story with. But due to some other engagements he had there was no way he would be able to meet the deadline.
So I reached out to Robert to see if he wanted to work on this project and to my delight he was in! And so was Esther, our colorist on another project, La Cucaracha comic, which Robert also worked on.
I’m so glad things worked out the way they did because Robert and Esther nailed it. Their reimagining of Marvelo was beyond what I expected. Below is some sketches Robert sent me early that just solidified he was the right artist for this story.
So yeah my initial pitch, the one that got accepted didn’t work out—it was just too big of a story. But luckily our editor, Einar Másson, believed in us enough to allow us to rework the story from scratch.
After brainstorming a bunch of ideas I decided on a concept I felt captured who Marvelo was, showed off his powers, and explained where he’s been all along.
Our story ended up being the classic retired hero gets called back to action after years of inactivity to help those who need him most, and in the process learning the fight is never over, not while you can still do good—or something.
Here’s a screenshot from the script Robert drew from.
The key of cracking this story for me was figuring out where he’s been and what he’s been up to. Then giving him a good reason to come back. I think we were able to that.
Quick aside: reading it back I see a bit of Rambo 3 and Rambo 4 influence in there. I’m a big fan of Rambo, if you didn’t know—I even wrote a 1 page story about the guy.
And with the ending, we wanted to set it up so Marvelo can go on to have more adventures. Maybe meet up with his sidekick Zee, an important character which unfortunately I had to cut out due to comic length. But I think it would be fun to see Marvelo go on to have another adventure with his old pal.
Looking back at this comic, it was a blast to make. For me, it was the culmination of the short story work Robert and I had been doing. We’d both grown in our respective arts and with this comic we brought everything we’d learned individually and as a team into one story.
Esther also did some beautiful coloring work that just fit so well and brought the whole thing to life. And as a new member to the team, Einar brought the editorial eye we needed to polish our work and make it through all the bumps we ran into.
Really proud of this story. Hope you enjoyed the comic and commentary (if you did, sign up for my newsletter below!).