Catching up with David Mack

Fri, March 22nd, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Keith Giles, Staff Writer

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David Mack has risen from struggling black and white comic book artist to become one of the most sought-after artists in the comic book industry.

His secret?

He never sleeps.

Well, almost never.

Currently, David Mack is working on a new mini-series for Marvel featuring his own character, Echo. He's also the Visual Designer, Creative Consultant, and Co-Producer of the new live-action Kabuki film based on the comic series.

In between writing his "Agents of the Noh," through Image Comics, he's also preparing to publish an all-new series of "Kabuki" stories this year, all while continuing to provide covers for close friend Brian Bendis on the Marvel Comic "Alias".

"I am in the middle of working on an 'Echo' series from Marvel. I've been delighted at the response from readers about the Echo character. I'm happy to hear that people are looking forward to this Echo project. I can't say much about it yet, except that work on it has already begun."

Mack is very excited to be working on his next project for Marvel comics. "There are several surprises in it that I can update you with in the future. I don't think we will set a release date on it until it is finished. I will do an 'Echo' project that I write and paint and I will also do one in which I collaborate with another amazing artist. I can't comment on this yet, but it will be a very big deal."

Taking breaks between pages of "Echo," Mack doesn't stop to rest. Instead he turns to focus on one of his many other projects. "I have three major projects on the horizon. The first is the next painted "Kabuki" story, which I have already begun working on. I can't wait to get back into the groove of painting the next chapter of this character's life. The second is the Echo story that I am working on. The third is a brand new creator owned project that I will write and paint.

"I recently finished painting a brand new Kabuki story that appeared in the new 'Kabuki: Dreams' hardcover which is on sale now. I'm very happy with that new story and the 'Dreams' hardcover as a complete book. It was great to do an all new Kabuki story, and the book has other new stuff and an intro by Bendis.

"I'm putting the 'Scarab' Hardcover collection together right now. It should be on sale early April. It collects all eight 'Scarab' issues, cover gallery, sketchbook section and some more new stuff, including an introduction by Paul Pope.

"I'll continue to paint the covers for Bendis' 'Alias.' I'm working on the new 'Kabuki' series, the 'Echo' story, and I'm writing my new creator-owned project.

"I intend to do 'Tigerlily' next with Rick Mays. Rick and I also intend to do more 'Scarab' stories in the future. There are some more artists that I am working with for future 'Noh Agent' stories such as 'Siamese.' I've chosen a couple of collaborators. But I won't be announcing these projects until they are finished."

In addition to his numerous print projects, Mack is also hard at work on the film version of his "Kabuki" property. "Despite years in development, the option time for the animated version of "Kabuki" has expired. The film rights reverted back to me. Another division of Fox just optioned the film rights from me for a live action 'Kabuki' film. We are now developing it as a live action feature film, which is far more exciting to me, and is the way that I originally envisioned a 'Kabuki' film. ... Besides writing the treatment, I am credited as The Visual Designer, Creative Consultant, and Co-Producer."

While you may have to wait a bit before "Kabuki" hits the silver screen, action figures that could adorn the top of your computer screen are on their way. "Diamond Select is releasing an entire selection of the 'Kabuki' characters as action figures. 'Scarab' is the first to be released for this summer, next is 'Siamese.' All of the figures are sculpted from my personal designs. The figures look great."

One thing that Mack is most proud of as a creator is his commitment to his own vision and characters. "99.9% of all my comic book work has been on my own characters that I created. That is obviously my focus in comics. But already having that project that I do entirely myself, it is also a nice change of pace and challenge to do a Marvel project from time to time that I approach in the spirit of collaboration. I loved collaborating with Bendis and with Quesada on our DD stories. DD was the first time that I had ever written a character that I did not create myself. After seven years of working on only 'Kabuki' at such a break neck pace, it was a great chance to work on a character that I read as a child.

In addition to all the work mentioned above Mack also provided the covers for the "Marvel Team-Up" story featuring Spider-Man and Master of Kung Fu. Where does he find the time?

Getting back to Mack's "Kabuki" universe, he's has also finished a mini-series with artist Andy Lee that focuses on Kai, the main villain in "Kabuki." Andy's finished the artwork and now it's up to Mack to finish it up.

Another creator-owned book is also brewing for Mack in the future; one that takes a more personal look at the artist himself. Is he comfortable telling a story that is so revealing? "No, but that is why I should do it. It's sort of written itself. I really don't do projects as issues of comfort. I just do them because I am compelled. All my projects are internally motivated. If I need to do them I end up doing them. And If I'm not really internally motivated to do something that I'm offered, no matter how commercial, I just don't do it if it is not in me to do it. 'Kabuki' was my way of telling personal stories through a veil. Through a metaphor. This story takes away that veil."

So, out of the exhaustive list of projects that Mack has on his plate, which is the one he's the most excited about? "The truth is that the NEXT story is always my favorite. It is the one that I haven't told yet. Besides that, the LAST story I did is the one I'm able to appreciate most. The 'Kabuki: Metamorphosis' story probably represents my most evolved work as an author and artist. But it is the NEXT 'Kabuki' story that I'm most passionate about."

Mack's "Kabuki" series delves deep into the internal psyche of it's main character which requires a great deal of research on Mack's part to make what he writes authentic. "'Kabuki' is designed as a project that integrates my passion for learning things and my own personal experiences and interests. So I spend just as much time learning and experiencing things that go into the book, as I do writing it."

When he's finally ready to take a real break from his punishing workload, Mack finds joy in the simple things. "I love everything. I love physical exercise. I love learning and reading. I love spending time with my friends. Many of my closest friends are in comics or some kind of art field, (like) Brian Bendis, Mike Oeming, and Andy Lee. I have friends that I rock climb with, practice martial arts with. One of my best friends is a Yoga and Kung Fu instructor. I play basketball in my home court driveway. I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend.

"I find that if you love what you do and if you have someone to share that with, the line between work and play disappears. That's usually where I am. Hard at work playing, or hard at play working or researching."

 
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