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A Month of Writing Stars – Marc Sumerak

Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book writing “star,” someone who I think is a very good writer.

I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?

Here is the archive of previously featured writers.

Today we look at a neat all-ages writer for Marvel Comics!

Enjoy!

Marc Sumerak originally was on the editorial staff of Marvel Comics in the late 90s-early 21st Century before becoming a freelance writer.

Right off the bat, his work showed promise.

His mini-series Guardians in 2004 (an all-ages take off of the Guardians of the Galaxy) was a nice, offbeat character-driven piece that was perhaps a bit TOO offbeat. I liked it, but it was a lot like Greg Pak’s excellent Warlock series – way too difficult to market.

He followed that up with a great 2005, where he launched THREE series – two of which are still going on today.

Machine Teen was a Machine Man take-off that was fun.

But it was his work on the two ongoing series that really stood out the most.

One, Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, was co-written with the book’s artist, Chris Eliopoulos.

The book is a Calvin and Hobbes take-off with Franklin Richards and his robot bodyguard/babysitter, H.E.R.B.I.E. getting into all sorts of wacky trouble. This work is ALSO offbeat, but unlike the other books, it is a good deal more marketable (this IS the Fantastic Four we’re dealing with here, after all!).

Besides being wacky, the best thing about the book is that the characters have heart – they’re not just running gags, they have personality.

Personality is the key to Sumerak’s other ongoing work, his Power Pack mini-series for Marvel.

Fred Van Lente filled in admirably for Sumerak on a few Power Pack mini-series, but otherwise, since 2005, the Pack and Sumerak have been more than just rhyming words – they’ve been paired together, and he’s done a tremendous job capturing the spirit of Louise Simonson’s classic 80s series.

In fact, I’d say the current series is by far the closest to Simonson’s original vision of the series – just a book about four siblings dealing with superpowers.

The books are filled with adventure and superheroing, but also filled with heartfelt character interactions between four believable siblings.

The idea of having each mini-series tie in with a different popular Marvel hero (or villain!) is a great idea, as well.

The current one is Wolverine.

Sumerak has also done some fine work on Marvel’s All-Ages superhero line, like Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man.

Here is his website!

11 Comments

I’ve always admired writers and artists that do all-ages books without being condescending on their audience. I hope we can see many, many more Sumerak-penned comic books in the future, since I think writers like him really help move these sector of comic books forward!

My 7-year-old has been loving all the Power Pack digests, both the ones by Sumerak and Van Lente, and I really enjoy them too. It’s nice to have a list of writers (add Jeff Parker to it as well) that you know mean quality in an all-ages book.

For a year or so there, Marvel wasn’t publishing anything better than Sumarak’s Power Pack minis. I know how it sounds, but I’m sticking to my guns there.

Oh, man, I had totally forgotten about Guardians and Machine Teen.

The former, yeah, probably was too much of a departure to find an audience, but how could a series with Mike Hawthorne interiors and James Jean covers not connect?

Maybe if it had starred a young Aaron Stack, it would’ve been a hit. Machine Man’s certainly gotten hot in the meantime, thanks to Nextwave and Marvel Zombies 3 (along with appearances in Ms. Marvel and Marvel Comics Presents).

Ah well…

Perhaps Adam Aaronson and Stem Cell, from Livewires, will meet-cute and fall in awkward, robot love someday. Marvel Next survivors gotta stick together, you know?

Anyway, good call on Sumerak. Looks like he’s definitely found his niche at Marvel.

I love his Franklin Richards stuff. It’s too bad Marvel has included those one shots in their $3.99 price point, because as great as they are, I’m not paying 4 bucks for one. Hopefully when the digest comes out of the ones I missed it’ll be reasonably priced.

Excellent choice with Marc Sumerak. His Power Pack digests are some of my favorite Marvel books in the past 5 years; the writing didn’t have to “kiddie” it up to make it too childish, but enough for my 10 year old niece to read them and I to enjoy

Franklin Richards is very good, and I believe the digests have been priced at $7.99 & $8.99 for four issues of content–well worth it, jazzbo!

I never knew about that Guardians series, it was during one of my breaks from comics. Someone tell me a bit more about it, please?

Chris Eliopoulos also kicks much ass. If you liked lettering in a Marvel book recently, he probably did it.

Thanks for the kind words, Brian (and all who commented). It was a real treat to swing by your blog this morning and see a completely unexpected article about my work!!! :)
It’s been a fun couple of years writing for Marvel… and hopefully the year to come will bring many more exciting projects!
As always, thanks for your support. Keep on reading, True Believers…
–sumerak!

No problema, Marc.

Keep up the good work!

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