Comics: The Spider Vs. Iron Man?

Mark Wheatley on The Spider: Burning Lead for the Walking Dead, and His Renewed Love of Painting

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The Spider: Burning Lead for the Walking Dead by Mark Wheatley

Mark Wheatley has been telling stories for the better part of a generation now. From monthly comic books, graphic novels, and webcomics, to commercial art, spot illustrations, and painted covers for prose books, he’s done it all, all the while garnering praise and multiple awards for his work.

In his role as a publisher and the main driving force behind the Insight Studio Group, he’s also helped launch the careers of a number of artists - including Frank “Liberty Meadows” Cho and Mike “Hammer of the Gods” Oeming.

He’s also a regular presence at the annual San Diego. As usual, Wheatley will be there, helming booth #2308, starting tomorrow. And, as always, fans of comics, fine art, and Pulp culture have several good reasons to seek him out during the show.

As Wheatley explains, there’s “The Spider: Satan’s Murder Machines… the story that introduced the name and concept of an Iron Man to us, way back when it was first published in the December, 1939 issue of The Spider Magazine.” Being offered the chance to paint the cover for Moonstone’s new edition of that tale was a dream come true for the pulp enthusiast. “I've been hooked on Page's hell-bent writing for decades - extending to pretty much anything he ever wrote."

As Wheatley, who recently released the all-new graphic novella, The Spider: Burning Lead for the Walking Dead, explains it, “aside from the opportunity to create a new Spider painting, I also had the lure of doing the cover for the first hardback edition of The Spider - and it was a Norvell Page story to boot! The fact that there is a never-before-published Page story in the book was simply icing on the cake!”

In addition, he’ll also be offering an all-new project. “The Mark Wheatley Gallery is my new color art book that collects a bunch of paintings I've been doing as covers, illustrations and for my own enjoyment in the past two years.”

According to Wheatley, it all came about almost by accident. “I did a painting one night, as a complete break from the 700 or so pages of color comics I had just finished for several graphic novels. The next morning I posted the painting to Facebook and I was pretty much thinking that even though it was fun, my next step was to return to my comics work. But fate and Jeffrey Catherine Jones took a hand in changing the direction of my career.”

That shift came after Jones—one of the most influential painters of her generation—posted her approval of that painting on Wheatley’s page, sealing his fate.

“I immediately started another painting! That first year I turned out almost two paintings a week on top of my comics and design work. And even though I've had more time-consuming work this year with the new Skultar series for Dark Horse Presents, I've still managed to get a painting or two out each week. This book collects everything that was appropriate and complete as of late January of this year.”

 “But it gets better than that,” Wheatley stated. “Anyone who goes to my Facebook Fan page, 'Likes' it and prints the discount coupon that I've posted to the page, will get 20% off the price of any book, comic or art print purchased from me at the con. What are you waiting for - go 'Like' the page!”

The Mark Wheatley Gallery costs $20.00 for 50 full color 8 by 10 inch pages; one page has been left blank so he can do a free sketch for those who buy it at conventions. Wheatley will also have a few graphic novels and comics available, but noted that at shows he typically sells art books and large art prints, such as fine quality Giclée prints of his work at 13 x 19 inches and 20 x 30 inches.

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A veteran journalist who has covered the comics medium since 1998, Bill Baker is also the author of Icons: The DC Comics and WildStorm Art of Jim Lee and seven previous books featuring his extended interviews with Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and other notable creators. You can learn more about Bill’s work…

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