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Dave Marshal (Editor) - Dark Horse Digital
Dave Marshall has been an editor at Dark Horse Comics since 2005, where he has worked tirelessly to turn all of his hobbies into his job, working on titles such as Star Wars, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Avatar the Last Airbender, and many others they never taught in school. Darren Rea caught up with Marshall as the Prototype 2 digital comic miniseries was published to coincide with the release of the console game...
Darren Rea: With the release of Prototype 2 Dark Horse is planning a digital comic series. What will this add to the understanding of the story for fans of the game, and can it be enjoyed by comic book fans that have no intention of playing the game?
Dave Marshall: Dark Horse’s first priority is always to tell great stories in comics, whether they’re based on an idea from another medium or are entirely new. A comic that is compelling, exciting, moving in and of itself will satisfy existing Prototype fans and readers who have never heard of it alike. You absolutely don’t need to be a gamer to enjoy these Prototype 2 comics, which tell stories of action, drama, love, loss, triumph, and sacrifice. For those who do play the Prototype games, these stories cover critical pieces of the mythology of the series, specifically pertaining to events between the two games.
DR: How important to the market are digital comics? And what changes have you seen in the industry since they started to become more and more popular?
DM: Digital publishing is a growing and fast changing market that’s having a tremendous impact on where and how people read, not just for comics, but all books. With Dark Horse Digital we’re striving to stay on the cutting edge of those trends, evolving our reading experience to the demands of the readers. In the last year, we’re not seeing digital comics taking the place of print comics at all. Instead, we’re seeing digital comics bringing new readers to the medium and reaching out to new audiences in exciting ways.
DR: For comic book fans who like to keep it old school, what would you say to them to try and get them to give digital comics a chance?
DM: I’d tell them that comics are comics, whether they’re read on paper on a screen. The illusion of movement through panel-to-panel storytelling, the creation of meaning through the juxtaposition of words and pictures, all of the elements that make comics an engaging, affecting medium for telling stories, exist in digital as much as they exist in print.
DR: Where do you see the future for this media in the next 5-10 years? What advancements in technology will make them a "must read"?
DM: I don’t think anyone can successfully peer into the future, especially when it comes to a rapidly changing landscape like digital publishing. What I expect for the future is more comics reaching more people worldwide thanks to digital, ultimately resulting in a bigger, broader number of comics readers. Comics aren’t ending and they’re not beginning, they’re expanding, reaching more and more people than ever before, and that’s good for everyone who loves the medium.
DR: With a comic that's based on a game does this provide any headaches for you as an editor, or the writers, rather than if it were a stand alone project?
DM: Honestly, no one kind of project is inherently easier or harder than any other. Consider the tremendous opportunities that working with a game like Prototype 2 provides - a richly populated fictional world filled with interesting characters, terrifying monsters, and eye-popping visual designs. It’s an extraordinary pleasure to get to play with all of these amazing toys the team at Radical have spent years creating. On these comics, Dark Horse was also very fortunate to work with writer Dan Jolley, who was also the writer of Prototype 2.
DR: What's the one project you've been involved with that you're most proud of - the one thing that you don't think could have gone any better?
DM: It’s impossible to pick a favourite. The best part of being an editor is getting to work with so many incredibly talented people - writers, artists, game developers - and doing whatever I can to support their creative efforts. The books aren’t mine, they’re theirs, and any project where these creators feel their vision has been executed as well as possible is a victory in my book.
DR: Outside of comics what is your main interest?
DM: Gaming, for sure. I began working on video game comics because I have always been a big fan of games and comics, and as a fan, I constantly wanted the two to be brought together more often and more successfully. Chances are, if I’m not reading a comic, I’m playing a game.
DR: Can you remember, as a kid, the first comic story that blew you a way?
DM: There are a lot of different comics that have had an important impact on me at different times in my life, especially when I was a teenager. But, as a kid, I’d say the first comic that blew my mind, as cliché as it may seem, was The Death of Superman. Of course I can look back at it now and realize that of course they weren’t really going to kill Superman off forever, but as a kid I was not so savvy, and seeing Superman die, well, it was shocking beyond imagination.
DR: What advice to you have for aspiring, young comic book writers?
DM: Write a lot, and I mean a lot. Professional writers spend most of their time writing, so anyone who wants to be a professional writer should be spending most of their time writing. Beyond that, I’d say use the internet and comic conventions to meet aspiring artists, and get a web comic and/or mini-comic going with them. Don’t wait for someone to hire you to make comics, start making comics yourself. And finally, dedicate yourself to improving the work. Seek out constructive criticism and make use of it. Be determined to make each story better than your last.
DR: As an editor is there much difference between editing a standard comic book and a digital one?
DM: Not really. The fundamentals of comics storytelling exist on the screen the same as they do on the page.
Prototype 2 digital comic miniseries is released through Dark Horse Digital.
Click here to buy this digital comic book series