For those of you who don’t know Mark McKenna, he’s a Inkwell Awards Hall of Famer and a veteran in the comic book industry with over 29 years of experience. Mark has worked with both Marvel and DC Comics on some of the largest names including X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, and The Justice League. His name is forever showcased on the credits of over 500 comics with over 8,000 pages inked by his hands.
Over the past year I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Mark twice– once at a local comic-con and again at my hometown comic book store on Free Comic Book Day. I was impressed with his work so much that I have 6 of his prints hanging in my downstairs bathroom (is that weird?) and have picked up comics from his other project called Combat Jacks.
Mark recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the printing of the latest installment of the Banana Tail comic, the BOOnana Tail Halloween Special. So far there have been 3 Banana Tail books printed and this would be the first comic. It’s planned to be a 32-page comic book that will be catered to readers of all ages. He’s set a goal of only $ 3,000 for the campaign with the majority of the proceeds going to the printing of the comic. Mark is no noob when it comes to the crowdfunding arena. He’s successfully raised funds for 5 other projects.
Update: The BOOnana Tail Halloween Special Kickstarter campaign has been full funded!
Here’s the video from the campaign:
The campaign ends very soon– on Sunday, August 3rd at 1:06 EDT. If you’d like to support a worthy project head on over to Kickstarter now!
Now as a special surprise to our readers, Mark took some time to do a short Q&A with me:
1.) What drove you to crowdfund BOOnana Tail by going directly to the fans instead of taking the more conventional route? Do you think crowdfunding projects will be the new normal in the years to come?
I like crowdfunding and I believe it’s becoming an important tool for creating products from ideas that possibly couldn’t be afforded otherwise. Saying that, I do think there are issues with too much of it and everybody looking to create and produce dream projects. I think that people may get tired of it at some point…
2.) Why is the BOOnana Tail project so dear to your heart? What makes it special?
BOOnana Tail AKA Banana Tail was the first creation I thought of when my kids were very young and my dad came up with the concepts for Banana Tail and his friends. The very fact that my father came up with the ideas for the unique monkey and his pals and he’s not here to see it move along and be proud of something he helped create makes it all the more important for me. It also came along at a lean time in comics as the boom ended in 1992/93 and many creators were left wondering if they’d ever work again. I needed to keep my feet moving and create new avenues.
3.) Could you share with us what’s it like to be Mark McKenna? What does your typical day look like? I know you don’t just ink for 8 hours a day!
It’s amazing being me! Are you kidding? Everybody should want to be me for a day! LOL… Of course that’s not true. I am visiting my late 50s now and I stay in shape by running 3 times a week to keep fit and keep the vitals all moving. I am the recent parent of an empty nest, so both kids are off in college and my wife works as a big wig in the HR department at a pharmaceutical company.
I usually do my social media stuff after 8 AM, run around at 9 AM, and start to work around 11 AM. I’m not as good as I’d like to be with organization as far as what’s next in the pecking order of work to be done. Is it this commission or that one? I’d consider my organizational skills to be organized chaos, but not really chaos. Whatever is below chaos maybe. I work until I have to get dinner going. I’ve taken over the cooking since my wife went back to college to complete her Masters, and I have to say I love cooking. I’m pretty good at it too. It’s creative, so I dig it. I usually will go back to work after dinner until about 10 PM and call it a night, sitting with the Mrs. until bed.
4.) You’ve been doing this for over 29 years now, and you’ve been part of some amazing projects. What’s the most memorable project you’ve ever worked on? Please tell me it was Batman related.
Working on Detective was certainly a huge highlight for me! Inking Detective from #769 which is the original Batman series was awesome… I also loved the Parallax: The Final Night one-shot and The JLA: World Without Grown Ups which introduced the Young Justice to the DCC…
5.) For any aspiring readers looking to get into the comic industry, what advice would you give them?
Keep your work up to date, don’t show older samples, and go see pros and comic art directors at comic conventions. It’s like jumping through burning hoops, but there’s really no other way since the Marvel and DC offices don’t want new talent to solicit through their offices.
6.) Thanks for taking some time out of that busy schedule to spend with the readers of Junkies Nation! Where can we keep up with all that you have going on?
The BOOnana Tail Halloween Special Kickstarter is active for 4 more days and you can check out the rest of the Banana Tail kid’s series at www.bananatail.com. I’m also working on a 4-issue sci-fi comic called Combat Jacks. Think Aliens meets Starship Troopers. Issue #1 is out and #2 is in progress.
If you need commissions or want help packaging a comic for yourself, I’ve also created a virtual studio called Virtual Inks Inc that I front with a few super talented younger guys. It’s your “one-stop shop” for all things comics!
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