Ron Marz – Crossgen, Green Lantern and more!

Ron Marz is BACK to talk about his history with Crossgen, his time on Green Lantern and the creation of Kyle Reynor, and a whole lot more!

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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas

Theme music by Good Co Music:

Ron Marz Interview – Crossgen, GL, and more

[00:00:00] Jeff: Hello listeners a spoiler, our country today on the favorite writers of all time. Mr. Ron Mars, how are we doing Mr. Myers?

Ron Marz: I’m good. Jeff, please just Rob

Jeff: Ron or we’ll do it. I’m definitely a huge fan. So if I kick out a little bit, you do, I do apologize ahead of time.

Ron Marz: It’s very kind of you to say, thanks.

Jeff: I’ve been, I’ve been reading your work all the way back since the days of green lantern, when you started and wrote Twilight, we’ll get to that in a little while, but like I said, you’ve done so many great works that you worked on cross gen which blades so much great work.

Ron Marz: Thanks while I’ve been doing it.

You know, I’ve been doing it for awhile. I haven’t had to have a real job in a long time.

Jeff: That must be a great feeling.

Ron Marz: Well if you can you know, if you can do your hobby as your job you never work a day in your life.

Jeff: That that is extremely true. Did, when did you know you wanted to do this for your, for your life?

Do you do, what are you buying comics as a kid growing up?

Ron Marz: It was [00:01:00] always kind of a, I was a comic reader as a kid and then fell out of the habit as a teenager, I think like, like a lot of us do. But I always I always thought I was going to be a writer. It was always the direction that I was pointed in and it never really occurred to me to be anything else.

You know, I thought I would maybe. Right. Novels or screenplays or something like that. I didn’t know that comics would be the way would be the way I would make my living. But when the opportunity presented itself I was fortunate enough to be able to do it and stick with it. And you know, 30 years later I’m still here.

Jeff: So which cap, which characters did you com comics, were you reading? Growing up?

Ron Marz: As a kid, I was you know, in terms of regular comics, I was like, I always liked the teen books. I was like an X-Men and Avengers guy. And then. I read a lot of the, the, the magazines you know, Marvel black and white magazine Savage is sort of Conan and Epic illustrated when Marvel kind of did their sort of heavy metal type type magazine.

And then I kind of fell back into comics [00:02:00] in the mid eighties when Watchmen and dark Knight came out and those sort of lured me back in.

Jeff: Is it, is it because how rich they were with their characterizations? Did they just feel like the, the one thing that, how much early on with the sixties and seventies, a lot of that had to do with the combos not feeling, but sure.

Or maybe, maybe some of them embarrassment reading them as if you were an adult, did you feel, do they make them, did Watchman and the dark night make it feel like it was okay to buy calm books again?

Ron Marz: Yeah, I mean, I was never really, you know, embarrassed by conflicts, but when I came back to them and Watchman and dark night were, were, you know, the big deals of the time along with, I, I think probably I, I started reading regularly just before both of those came out.

So I, you know, I read Frank Miller’s Ronin and kind of got lured in by Miller’s Daredevil and Simon’s and store. Which paved the way for, for the other stuff. So there was definitely a [00:03:00] sense of comics having grown up of comics telling different kinds of stories and telling I, you know, I always, I always hate to say, Oh, well, well, comics were telling more mature stories while it’s, you know, it’s still dudes running around in costumes, beating each other up.

But th there was a different, you know, there was a different sensibility to a lot of the comics. They were they were more sophisticated, I guess, maybe is a better, better word than mature. So the sophistication and yeah, the kinds of stories being told was a real attraction to me.

Jeff: So you said growing up, you were more interested in the team books.

I looking back at a lot of your career, you didn’t, you read it you’re more, it seems to be well known for the solo books. Did you, is there a team book that you’re, that you had wished you had a chance to write on?

Ron Marz: Yeah, you know, I was, I was actually a big teen Titans fan too, like new teen Titans with Marvel, Wolfman writing and George Perez drawing.

That was a book that was, and it was a big deal when I kind of [00:04:00] rediscovered comics. The, one of the first comics in that, in that period that I saw was the new teen Titans X-Men crossover. And I, you know, even though I was not reading comics at that point I knew enough, ha like I noticed that on a, on a rack or something maybe in the, in the mall or at a Walden books.

And I knew that that was, Oh, those are two teams that shouldn’t be meeting. How is this actual actually possible? This is a Marvel Marvel DC thing. So I picked up that book and was really just entranced by the whole thing. So I, I. Always wanting to write a teen Titans and got close. A couple of times I was the, I was the bridesmaid and a couple of bake-offs for the teen Titans and never quite got never quite got the gig.

Although as it, as it turns out co-writing the endless winter crossover at DC with my buddy Andy landing. And one of the issues in that crossover is a teen Titans issue. So I finally got to scratch that itch. [00:05:00] W

Jeff: was that a request of upon getting the job? I need to write a teen Titans issue.

Ron Marz: No, it was just, it was a yeah, I wish it was a request.

It was, you know, that that book was grouped in with the titles that we were going to have to to cover in the crossover. So it was, to me, it was a very cool very cool happenstance that. I was finally going to get my hand on, on that book. And as it turns out Donna, Troy and beast boy from, you know, that Wolfman Perez teen Titans era are in the issue.

So and I really got to, you know, I really got to play with those characters. There’s, there’s some scenes in Titan’s tower, which was a big deal in the Wolfman Perez era. So I really got to lean into that stuff a little bit for this crossover.

Jeff: Yeah, it’s kind of like looking at your career. It feels, it may sound weird at the beginning of it.

It sounds, it feels a little bit like you’re sort of like Dwayne, the rock Johnson ACOM books that you are always brought in to either save a franchise or launch something brand new, like Witchblade Kyle Rayner [00:06:00] you have launched cross gen that seems to be like that your expertise is to fix what is broken and make it work again.

Does the liver feel that way with you?

Ron Marz: Yeah, I mean, it’s not like, I, it’s not like I go into gigs looking for that, but those are sometimes the ones that come my way. I had an editor tell me that, you know, Oh, you’re, you know, you’re the guy that does world building and, and, you know, like nobody had ever said that out loud to me before.

And I went, Oh, is that what I do? Is, is that like, is that what’s on my resume? And I guess to a certain extent, that’s part of it. It’s you know, it’s, it’s flattering to be somebody that you, you know, the publishers feel like, Oh, let’s, let’s go get him and put it in his hands and he’ll fix it. I mean, that’s how to a certain extent, which blade came around.

When I wrote that top cat came to me and said, well, this, this book needs to be fixed. What, what would you do with it? So I approach really any [00:07:00] gig And again the same really? It’s a question of figuring out what makes these characters work. I try to write everything, you know, from character first.

You figured out what makes those characters work, what the, what the core characteristics and, and the basics of that character is. And then you build out from there. So really any gig that I approach, whether it’s a, you know, company owned thing, like which blade or a silver surfer or green lantern as a concept I try to figure out this stuff that, that makes it work.

And even on on creator, on stuff, stuff that I’ve created from the ground floor up, but, you know, you figure out what are the. What are the things that make this thing unique? What are the characteristics that this book, or this character might have that you can’t get somewhere else? And, and you work, you work on those.

Jeff: Is it basically faith in the character itself? Because it feels like a lot of times when a character [00:08:00] does get lost somewhere, it feels like when that does happen, that is the writer. Who lost faith in what made that character special? They tried to make it new, try to update it in some way, try to do something that kind of alters what it was.

The essence of that character. Do you feel that that’s usually when the character starts losing its way?

Ron Marz: Well, I, you know, certainly the, you know, the guy who turned, how Jordan into a villain is probably not the one that. It’s going to answer that question. You know, I think you try to stay true to what, what the original, no intentions of the character, or in terms of how that character work.

That certainly we, we went, we went against type when we did our Emerald Twilight and turn hell into a, into a villain. But I think hopefully we, we stuck to some of the psychology for how Jordan that might make that a possibility I mean for me, it’s always, it’s always a question of, you know, what story do I want to read?

[00:09:00] That’s always been how I approach this job is I try to, I try to tell a story that I would want to read. And then you hope that the that the rest of the audience comes along with you.

Jeff: Well, w when you wrote which blade I, and I, and I may be a little bit wrong about this, but I do feel that it was you who really focus on the idea of the Trinity.

Wished blade darkness and the Angelo and jealous of my press and jealous, Oculus, however it’s pronounced. That was really, was you who made that decision and by doing that, you built up a mythology around the character that I don’t think had been seen quite at that level before. And I really do feel that it’s, it felt to me anyway, that was your intention to make it feel, give it a mythology and make it feel like there’s this history behind it that gave the character extra weight.

Ron Marz: Well, in that case, the. All the pieces were kind of there all the pieces for the Trinity and kind of what became the top cow cosmology were a lot of that stuff was already in place that they had just never [00:10:00] been. Kind of stitched together in a framework. And, and that was one of the things that I ended up doing when we did the artifacts crossover for top cow was that a lot of that stuff seemed to be related, but the, but the connections had never been made explicit before.

So so bringing. Which blade than the Angeles and the darkness together in in the Trinity and making all of those concepts, hopefully relate to one another and work with one another. You know, I guess, I guess to some extent I was responsible for that, but I was really just putting the, putting together the pieces that were already in place and figuring out how they fit best.

Jeff: When, when you got, when you got the gig at a four, which blade was that part of it? Did someone say, we want you to focus on the bigger story or did you go to them and say, this is my pitch,

Ron Marz: You know, with which blood, I just tried to make sure that on a monthly basis, you [00:11:00] cared about what happened to her as a character.

That you were engaged in her story as a person. Not necessarily the which blade the which blade legacy and all that stuff. I wanted you to care about Sarah Bozenie both as, you know, as a, as a hero, but also as a New York city police detective, and, you know, later on in the series as a mother I wanted.

You know, I wanted her to, to be somebody to read about whether she had the Witchblade or not. I was the same thing I did with green lantern, which was, I want a Kyle rater to be of interest to you. Whether he was sitting at his art table doing a, doing a drawing or, you know, fighting dark side out in the cosmos somewhere I wanted.

The characters to be as real, as possible and as interesting as possible whether they were in costume or out of costume.

Jeff: So you also introduced a character called Danielle is a

Ron Marz: Baptist

[00:12:00] Jeff: into the comic book. What was the impetus around creating her character and were there plans to make the the book solely hers at some point?

Ron Marz: I mean, ultimately the idea with, with Danielle was that she was going to be, which played for awhile and then Sarah would get it back and Danny would move on to be the personification. Plus that that sort of tried and true comic making, which is you introduce a new character and, and put them in a central role.

In this case, you know, she, she was going to be the Witchblade bear for awhile, and then you, you spend them off in a different direction. Once they’ve earned some audience loyalty and, and the readership would be interested in what happened to them. It’s, it’s really, you know, like ultimately not all that different than what happened with with Ironheart right.

You know, she becomes Ironman for awhile and then get spun out and do our own title. We’ve been doing that kind of stuff in comics for [00:13:00] 50 years.

Jeff: W what, was there ever a concern that people would be unhappy that Sarah no longer had the was no longer the face of the book at that moment?

Ron Marz: Well, I think there was an expectation that people would be unhappy.

That’s that’s the nature of what we do. If, if you don’t change anything in the comic, the readers get annoyed because you’re not changing anything. If you change something in a comic, the readers get pissed off because you changed something. So so you go into it knowing that it’s a no win situation.

That, that your somebody is going to be upset no matter what you do. So that being the case you don’t, you don’t worry about it too much. You just tell your story.

Jeff: Is she also important? Did you need a character to be the new character, to be like the audience surrogate, to experience the history and, and had to learn things the way the readers knew readers would have to learn things.

Ron Marz: Oh, sure, absolutely. I mean, that’s the, you know, that’s another tried and true tool in the writer’s [00:14:00] toolbox is to bring in a character who doesn’t know anything. And you use that character as a proxy for the readership to learn what they need to learn. That’s you know, that’s kind of a way that you, you layer information into a story and hopefully it feels natural because you’re you know, you’re explaining stuff.

In story in the context of the story. So hopefully the readers don’t know that you’re actually you know, you’re actually handing them and it was free information. Download of here’s what you need to know.

Jeff: I will say it really was your run with which way that got me reading, which blade for that. I had picked up a few issues here and there, you know, the occasional, the out of curiosity.

But I think it was really what you were doing in that rural boom, that world building that you were doing that really made the character truly work. And I think I was like a lot of readers sat in when the series came to an end.

Ron Marz: Well, thanks. I, you know, I had a ball doing it. I didn’t really know that which blade was going to be such a great fit for me.

[00:15:00] I, I I was offered the book and really had never read many issues of the title in the first place. So when I was offered the book, I said, well, you know, please send me, please send me some issues. And they sent me an entire box of, of everything that had been published. So I could, I could sort of sort through it and see.

See what I felt like worked, see what I felt like the, the core of the concept and the character was. So you know, I got into it, not really knowing that it was going to be the fit that it was. And I ended up writing the book with a, with a break in between, but for for a total of about 10 years,

Jeff: It.

I mean, it was a wonderful run. Is there, I mean, is there not that one? I’m going to say a trick, cause that’s not the right word, but how do you write a great female character? Cause I must say I, as a writer being a guy, I have, I think more difficulties running a female character than male characters. Is there a method of doing it well or how to look into it?

Ron Marz: I, you know, honestly, I don’t even really [00:16:00] think about it. I just write characters, whether they’re they’re Mavericks, female to me, they’re, they’re all people and they’re all different. I think in general, women tend to be smarter and more empathetic. So that tends to be what I bring to writing a female character.

But I, to me, they’re all walking, talking, breathing real people. So. So my method is to just try to create you know, create as real, a character as possible. And that means, you know, that means shades of gray. That doesn’t mean everybody’s, you know, I don’t think anybody’s all good or all evil to, to great extent.

So you try to have those shades of gray in there and, and you try to have the character. The character is delineated by the choices they make.

Jeff: So, yeah, I think so. Which trail is fantastic. Another character you actually created my favorite character of all time and calm books. Kyle Rayner he’s by far my favorite, I even have on Facebook, the Kyle Rayner appreciation [00:17:00] to do honor your character.

It’s it really is. It was a tremendous, yeah. Doctor and I had been reading green lantern for. Maybe five years prior. I have since bought every single green comm book that was ever been done since 1960, but by of a long time. And I don’t know what’s how, how Jordan, but I really do feel like HIO Rainer was such a breath of fresh air in the series for the character.

And I know you made a comment about what they did with, how would you do with how Jordan, you know, that But I do feel like that was a necessary break in the series to give Kyle Rayner and the mythology of green lantern, another life. And I think that was fantastic that you did that

Ron Marz: well. Thanks Jeff.

I appreciate it. It it, you know, the opportunity was offered to me to take over the book and to tell the story of how Jordan. Falling from grace and, and not being green lantern anymore. So that those parameters were in place. And then the creation of Kyle was, was to large [00:18:00] extent, left up to me and to Darryl banks, the artists on the series and, and to our editor, Kevin Dooley.

So. We were kind of left alone to make up to make up whatever kind of character we wanted. And, you know, I grew up reading Marvel books. I grew up as a Marvel kid, much more so than, than a DC kid. So I kind of set out to make. Kyle more of a Marvel style character, more of a Peter Parker, feet of clay, kind of relatable to the reader kind of character.

Because I felt like how Jordan was very much a silver age, iconic, heroic type of character. So it didn’t make any sense to me to just repeat that, that archetype with a new Greenland on it. To me, it was, if we’re going to do something different with the book, let’s, let’s absolutely do something different with the book.


Jeff: think what you did, one of the things you did that was absolutely genius that you created. [00:19:00] I definitely a sense of dramatic irony that you actually had the readers understand the mythology better than the character who was in the costume. And don’t think I’ve ever seen that really done

Ron Marz: before. Well, I always feel like the, the hero’s journey of becoming the hero is generally more interesting than.

The hero who is already the hero. So we spend a lot of time with Kyle kind of growing into the role and learning how to do the job, learning too, learning the backstory of, of what being a green lantern was learning how to do the job with nobody to teacher me there was, you know, it was a lot of trial and error on it, on his part because he was for a long time, the last green lantern.

Jeff: Now, early in the series, I think it was within the first, maybe year and a half. Rainer faced, held Jordan twice in, in battle, once in zero issue. And once in the series parallax view do you think, was it important to have [00:20:00] Rainer best Jordan? And was there ever a feeling in writing Rainer that the legacy of Jordan kind of hung over him at all?

Like a shadow.

Ron Marz: I’m sure. I mean, you actually had to have how’s legacy hanging over Kyle and hanging over the the, the book as a whole. And you know, certainly there was a, there was a sales aspect to it as well because you know, people were excited when, how was in the book as, as an antagonist.

We didn’t want to go to that. Well, Well, you know, all that often, but we, you know, we could bring Hal in once in a while. And, and I always felt like he was, you know, he was an antagonist. But he wasn’t really a villain. He was he was doing the wrong thing and making the wrong decisions, but in his mind he was doing it for the right reasons.

Jeff: When, when you were creating those situation with Raynor and how Jordan I mean, did you feel [00:21:00] once again, that you did have to show that Rainer was the better green lantern? Cause I know there’s some, obviously with a little bit older lantern fans who still may have had some of their heart with how Jordan to show that, you know, Rainer really is the better

Ron Marz: character here.

Well, to me, it was never a question of the better character was just this, you know? Okay. It’s it’s Kyle’s book now. And he was, he was the hero. And how was, you know, if not a villain and an antagonist and the hero generally needs to win it and comics that’s in superhero comics at least. So. You know, it wasn’t ever a question of showing who was better.

It was a question of, of contrasting the characters. Both in terms of how they approach the job and in terms of who was the hero and who was, you know, who was doing the job for the right reason and who was pursuing his own goals or maybe the wrong reasons,

Jeff: whose idea was it to make Kyle Rainer and artists?

Was it yours or [00:22:00] Derald?

Ron Marz: That was mine. Cause I just felt like. To great extent. Green lantern is a special effects book. And the, the stuff you can show with the land with the ring, the, the ring creations needed to be a lot cooler than, you know, giant arrows and boxing. So it just made sense to me to have somebody with a real visual imagination.

In that role at, to make, as you know, to make the coolest stuff we possibly could with the,

Jeff: the question I always had about the constructs is that. Are the constructs one way or another better than another version of a construct. In other words, does a bigger, stronger contract, like does an airplane construct that stronger than a boxing glove construct?

Did you ever think about how that actually functions or is it just the willpower alone and they’re both equally powerful, depending on how much will insert into them.

Ron Marz: Yeah, I think it was just, you know, that’s all that stuff is just open to interpretation. We didn’t really have, we didn’t really have a set of rules [00:23:00] of what was more powerful and whose constructs were more powerful.

The only rule we had in place was that that Kyle should never make the same thing twice with his ring. We wanted to make sure that if he created a robot, it was a different looking robot every time. You know, as, as much as possible, we tried to make we tried to make every ring creation, unique.

Jeff: Like I said, there are banks who we didn’t. We did interview on the show. Someone’s back is was a phenomenal artist or is a phenomenal artist as well. What, what, what made your team a team of worked so well between the two

Ron Marz: of you? I just think we had a lot of the same and, and still do had a lot of the same storytelling sensibilities.

I try to be as visual as possible when I write and part of my job as the, as the writer is to give the artist something cool to draw as often as possible. Don’t write a bunch of pages of people standing around and talking, that’s kind of a waste of the artist’s abilities and time. [00:24:00] So my, my goal is to make sure that the artist is excited every morning when he or she gets out of bed and goes to the drawing board.

There should be something cool on every page. So Daryl and I just got along. Great. And you know, I, I love what he was doing. He seemed to really enjoy the scripts he was getting. I try to make life as interesting and in ease as easy as possible for the artists I work with.  Because ultimately that makes for a better book.

The, the artists being excited, having room to stretch artistic muscles and show off. Ends up with a better book. So it’s, it’s better for the readers. You know, I, I frankly get the credit for all the genius stuff that the artist does anyway. So so it’s a question of, of, you know, how do we, how do we make the best book?

And a lot of times I think the best, how do we make the best book? The answer is, well, give the artist something cool to draw on every page. Yeah.

Jeff: And it’s at the same time you were [00:25:00] doing with Kyle Rayner in your series, Carina was also in JLA written by grant Morrison. Was there communication between the two of you on how you’re going to show Kyle Rayner in the justice league and not only that, but show maybe growth in Kyle from that book or was that basically two separate

Ron Marz: entities?

Yeah, I mean grant and I like a few times went out to lunch a couple of times in San Diego. And you know, and grant had a wonderful handle on, on Kyle and used him just terrifically, well in justice league as sort of the human, the human POV of, of, you know, the rookie being in with all of these, these gods, basically.

Superman wonder woman, Batman, even Martian Manhunter. These were, you know, hugely powerful characters. So being able to have Kyle amongst them allow the readership to. To get a human point of view, what, you know, [00:26:00] what is it like for just a regular person to be around Batman or Superman or wonder woman?

So it was, you know, was it, it was just really gratifying for me every month to see. The C Kyle as part of the justice league it was it was really thoroughly satisfying. And you know, that was just a great book grant and Howard Porter together were just a terrific combination.

Jeff: That’s really cool that you got to read the JLA as a fan and, you know, you’re able to just enjoy that way.

I would always think that there’s, there’s almost a competition, but a little sense of, you know, that’s my character you’re using kind of, you know?

Ron Marz: Oh yeah, definitely. So, I mean, it was it’s it was, and still is just very cool. Whenever Kyle shows up somewhere that, Oh, you know, that’s, that’s kinda my guy.

Jeff: Well, I mean the only thing, because a lot of what seems like it’s an issue in comics sometimes is that the characters or aloud or desire to be static and not [00:27:00] grow, but with Cairo rain, or you definitely show growth over the course of, I think you wrote it for 70 issues, maybe, maybe 80 issues. I can’t quite recall the exact number.

Ron Marz: Yeah. Was probably, you know, 75 or 80 issues of the regular book and then, you know, annuals and specials and mini series and stuff like that. So. I mean, ultimately probably over a hundred issues total, but yeah, I mean the, the whole purpose of bringing a new character into learn the job was to, to take the readers on that journey, then take the readers on that hero’s journey.

And You know, I, in some respects, I, I think, yeah, got it. And maybe we move that, that journey along a little too slow. Because you know, when you’re working on the book, you’re working on it virtually every day, but for readers, you just, you know, you get it once a month and you forget about it for 30 days.

So I, I sometimes wonder if we moved the process along too slowly, but. But ultimately the vast majority of superhero comics are [00:28:00] about heroes as they are Batman and Superman and wonder woman in the justice league. And, you know, they’re, they’re all very much kind of how they have been for. You know, 50 or 60 or 70 years the, you know, the old, the old adage is that that superhero comics are basically all middle because none of the stories and you have an origin and then the rest is all middle.

So to be able to. Really tell the story of someone growing into the role of a hero was, was not the kind of opportunity you get very often with a large legacy franchise, like green lantern.

Jeff: And, and I think I really appreciate the risk that it takes to do that because on the one hand, you honestly, can’t just allow a character to not grow.

I mean, at some point, like, I mean, Spiderman, who is a good character as well. As a nerdy kid, it’s like, well, at some point you’re Spiderman, you’ve been fighting the villains, you be doing all these other things. You’d be dating supermodels at some point. You’re not going to [00:29:00] be that shy and nervous anymore.

You’ve grown out of that. I would imagine, you know, with all that experience and you would think the same thing with any character they should grow and develop and stuff like that. And I think that’s fantastic. I think you did with Kyle Rayner. Of course, there’s also, I assume there’s also that risk that you’re taking in taking away an aspect of the character that your fans started by your character.

And enjoying that aspect of that character. So that must’ve been quite a bit of a risk taking a calculation on your part.

Ron Marz: I suppose it was, but that’s not the kind of thing you think about what, when you’re in the medicine, it’s sometimes when you’re, when you’re doing the book, you don’t really see the forest for the trees.

You’re just working on what’s right in front of you.

Jeff: Well, I will say this is a comment about from my the Facebook group for car Rainer. This is, I guess you would call it a hotly debated topic. Which character you think was better for Rainer as a Jade or Donna. Like, was there a sense that you need it one character fit better for you or over time you thought this character worked better?

Ron Marz: Boy, I don’t know. I mean, I, I, I liked, I liked the [00:30:00] Donna relationship because I was a Titans fan and it, it seemed like they were they were well-matched. We ended up losing Donna out of the book because John Byrne wanted to have her when he took over a wonder woman and. You know, she’s a wonder woman based character.

So they got first dibs. So we ended up having to write her out of the book fairly fairly abruptly, which I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t fond of it was a little too It was a little too quick for my taste. I thought it was it was, it was so abrupt that the readers didn’t get the closure. They really deserved from the relationship.

But then having having Jade in the, in the book was, was kind of cool because she was, she was related to the green lantern legacy, but not specifically a part of the green lantern core legacy. So, I don’t know that I liked one better than the other, but I, I liked both characters a lot. I liked, I liked both of them immensely.

And I know Kyle has since moved [00:31:00] on from both of them. But you know, these things are, are ultimately super you know they’re, they’re super heroics with soap operas mixed in. So the, the soap opera angle there is always pretty evergreen.

Jeff: Well, I definitely appreciate you waiting on that, that it crashed.

You created quite a firestorm when, when that question was brought up and the Mount, and it must be something, and it says something about, think what you did with these characters, that people were that passionate and respectfully passionate about that to be on which character was better for him. And it must be amazing for you to hear people have a serious debate about fictional character that you created.

Ron Marz: Yeah, well, look it, passion is great. It’s it’s certainly a blade that cuts both ways. But you, you know, you, you like people to be involved and engaged and to actually care. These are ultimately made up characters. These are not real people, but when it means something to somebody it’s It’s flattering.

You feel like you’ve, you’ve you’ve done a good enough job in [00:32:00] creating the book and creating the characters that, that people are engaged.

Jeff: And like I said, in the book has so many good ones. I mean, for villains as well, he created a fatality, which I thought was a tremendous building. I think fatality, I think was one of the best Rogue’s gallery green lantern characters.

In a very long time, I think, let me the last great ones I could think of for green lantern came out, you know, probably had came out of the sixties, you know, Hector Hammond Sonesta and all of that fentanyl thing was one of the best ones to come in a long time to the character as was effigy. So what was your, how did the creation of fatality come about?

Ron Marz: What, what we were always kind of aware that green lantern rogue gallery pass an Astro was not, was not real great. It was, it was, you know, charitably, it was a bunch of B listers. So, you know, certainly Greenland turns road gallery doesn’t hold the candle to flashes Rhodes gallery for instance.

So we were very aware that we needed to generate some more villains. We needed to have a better rogues gallery. [00:33:00] And fatality was obviously brought into the mix because of the cosmic Odyssey storyline with, with John Stewart which is one of my favorite DC comics. So being able to go back to that and use that as kind of a touchstone for creating her character.

Was a lot of fun. Effigy to me was, you know, pretty much Kyle’s opposite number. He was sort of, you know, evil, irresponsible Kyle in a lot of ways. And I really liked the, you know, the look and the costume and everything

Jeff: when they tell it was used later on and made it to a star Sapphire to anyone when I bought you thinking that was that a good idea. And do you think that was something that fits the

Ron Marz: character? Yeah, I mean, nobody ran it by me because it’s like, you know, DC owns all these characters. They don’t have to ask me anything.

So it was just, I was just a reader at that point of, of, you know, paying attention to to where the character was going to go. So anytime you, anytime you work on corporate characters and that’s not, you know, that’s not a term to, to [00:34:00] to denigrate the characters. That just means. You know, somebody else owns them.

They’re not, they’re not yours to play with ad infinitum. So You know, whenever you do work for work, for hire for Marvel or DC or working on star Wars or something like that, you, you know, that ultimately these aren’t your toys and that somebody else will make the ultimate decision of how these toys are played with.

So there’s, there’s not a whole lot of sense in getting too riled up about anything that happens.

Jeff: I do think Apogee. Was under utilized after you left. And I do. I feel like the character deserved a lot more, many more appearances that he unfortunately ever received.

Ron Marz: Yeah, I mean, look, it’s, you know, he was a character that, that that we created and, and kept around for awhile, but that doesn’t mean that somebody else is going to, you know, the next, the next creative team that comes along or any of the creative teams down the line are going to have the same affection for them.

So we, we, [00:35:00] we actually kind of kicked around the idea of. Of him returning and some of the more recent DC DC stuff I’ve done. But it, it ultimately didn’t didn’t work out. So you know, maybe someday,

Jeff: well, I know recently you got to write the 80th anniversary, Greenland furniture, at least a chapter of it with Kyle Rayner.

Did he find it difficult to jump back into the character’s head?

Ron Marz: Oh, no, not at all. I mean, it was just like, you know, putting on a, you know, comfortable, comfortable pair of jeans or, or a hoodie that that fits just right. It was I, you know, I had too many ideas for a Kyle story, so we had to narrow it down to which one we’re going to do.

And try to, you know, try to do a story that. That honored the legacy, which is obviously what the 80th anniversary special was all about to great extent. But didn’t wallow too much in nostalgia.

Jeff: Well, I think what I love a lot about what you did in the 80th anniversary was you did a great job of expression, how important Rainer became to the mythos of green lantern.

And I really liked the liner that you wrote for [00:36:00] Mr. Barkley, which said it could have ended with you, but it didn’t. I think that’s pretty important is that your commentary on the importance of your run?

Ron Marz: Yeah, I guess in a, in a macro sense that was, you know, that that’s part of what our job was, is to, is to, you know, extend the franchise.

And we, you know, we extended the franchise by pairing the franchise down to one character which, which I think shows the elasticity of the, of the concept. And, and. Just being lantern is one of those franchises where it’s got a lot of breadth and depth to it. You can do a lot of different kinds of stories.

You know, Batman is generally always going to be Bruce Wayne. Superman is Clark Kent. And you know, those things change and, and have have different iterations at times, but it always comes back to square one. Green lantern is one of the few franchises where you can kind of pick your favorite.

And you know, there’s a, there’s a [00:37:00] whole range of, you know, what are essentially lead characters to choose from.

Jeff: And I also love about green Hunter is the scope of the stores. I mean, you have anything from. The street level, you know, standard bank robber villain to cosmic disaster villain. I think Greenland is one of the only characters that work equally.

Well, regardless of which situation you put them in.

Ron Marz: Well I think that was one of the cool things with Kyle. We could, we could do, you know, Basically Spider-Man type stories in New York city, or we could do, you know, huge cosmic, outer space stuff. It was you know, again, it was because we had paired down to one character.

We could really tell a whole range of stories. I mean, in that sense, it was, I kind of had the same experience in which blade where, you know, we could do police procedurals or quasi superhero stories or or, you know, Serial killer stories or you know, [00:38:00] cosmic horror or, you know, just anything was possible with, with that, that character and that concept because we could go in a lot of different directions

Jeff: and it sounds like you still do follow the events of Carl Reiner in the comic books that true or over time, have you kind of lost touch with the character?

Ron Marz: Well, yeah, I mean, I, I keep up with it and you know, it’s not like I go out and read every appearance, but when I get a chance I’ll read some green lantern stuff. That’s, you know, that’s stacked up on the pile here. But. You know, I obviously I have a I have an affection for the character that I think Daryl and I both do.

And I’m very proud of what we created, but it’s, but you know, I know, I know it’s not mine. I, you know, it, we, we created them, but DC owns them and they can do what they want with them. That

Jeff: being said, you liked the direction the character had taken going from a blue lantern and a white lantern and everything else, or do you, or do you feel the character has gotten lost over the last few [00:39:00] years?

Ron Marz: Well, I, you know, I never looked at it like being lost. It’s just you know, somebody comes in and picks up the toys after you and tells the kind of stories they want to tell. And, and I think often I, you know, I see those stories and I think to myself, well, that’s not what I would have done, but I think that’s actually a positive.

You want different people to come in and tell different kinds of stories. You want them to come in and put their own spin on the characters because that’s, you know, that’s the beauty of a shared universe. It’s, it’s not all the same vision. It’s not all the same types of stories being told. So the fact that Somebody comes in and tells a wildly different Kyle’s story than I ever would have thought of, I think is is a real positive for the character.

Jeff: Was there always a sense that how Jordan was going to come back? Because of, I mean, obviously if you ever launch other media beyond comic books with green lantern is going to be Jordan who has to start that media, that franchise there’s always a sense that he was going to come back and you couldn’t have, Kai was your star.

[00:40:00] If Jordan was eventually going to be the story of other media,

Ron Marz: No. I mean, when, when I was working on the book, there was no, you know, we never even discussed how coming back. As far as we were concerned, as far as we knew, you know, it was a one-way ticket with Kyle was green lantern and that’s, and that’s how it was going to be you know, But you also know that there’s no, there’s nothing that’s permanent in comics, right?

Jean, Jean Grey’s died 15 times. So, you know, you know that nothing is permanent and all of these toys are in the toy box for somebody to play with. So in a, you know, On the one hand, we never had a plan for how to come back or, or be be the lead in the book because we weren’t, we were doing something different, but you always know that, you know, in the back of your mind that, well, somebody else could come in and do something different after we were done, which is, which is what happened.

And I think that’s fine. Sometimes, sometimes all the character needs is a break is you know, is to [00:41:00] be taken out of the spotlight for a while to make the audience, miss that character.

Jeff: Yeah. And another character, a book that you did that I think was absolutely fantastic. Or actually, I mean, it was your work on crosswind comic books, which at the time when crushing came out, I pretty much quit everything else.

I green lantern and ball cross Jen, I thought it was that wonderful of a publisher. And, you know, I mean, and I, and I really did go out and I bought all of them. There was an, I think, I don’t know how you feel about, but I feel like if it was handled, the publisher handled it correctly, we could have solved had cross Jen.

Now, do you think it was, that was possible or do you think it was destined to eventually fold.

Ron Marz: Well, it’s, it’s a very expensive way to make comics having everybody on staff and you know, they paid us, you know, they painted very good salaries and we had benefits. You know, it was a real job, so.

That’s an expensive way to do comics. It’s an expensive way to create a product that sells for three or $4 a piece. So I, I [00:42:00] look at, I look back on the experience as a positive. But I also realized that, you know, from a, from a business standpoint, it’s, it’s a tough way to it’s a tough way to, to make comics unless you know, that you’re able to to move these properties into other media where you can generate more revenue.

Jeff: Do you think it would have been a preferred method of. Crossing had been proven, truly successful and long lasting. Do you think that would have been a benefit to the industry for the writers and artists to be in that method of creation? Or do you think it’s better with the more, the freelancers type of way that we have

Ron Marz: now?

Wow. Certainly. Yeah. I think certainly most creators would rather be in the, in the position where they have a steady job and they know the paycheck is going to come every two weeks. And, and, you know, you have access to things like, you know, like a, like a healthcare plan and, and a 401k and vacation days and all that.

Now we’re being a freelance freelancer is, you know, it, [00:43:00] you’re always, you know, you’re always lining up the next job while you’re doing this job. That’s not necessarily a complaint. It’s just an observation of, of how this works. So that was one of the attractions of cross gen, is that everybody got treated.

Everybody got treated like a permanent employee. Everybody got treated like they were valued rather than a replaceable cog.

Jeff: Was it by book or was it sort of like a salary job? I’m like, I’m a teacher. So no matter how many hours I work, I still get the same pay it. Was it like the more books you had, it was different or was it, this is what you get, so you can, you know, so you have to do these many books or can do these many books.

So, I mean, was there a more controlling aspect to being on a salary like that?

Ron Marz: You know, you, you, you got, yeah, you’re on a salary. So, you know, if you, if you worked 40 hours one week and 60 hours, the next week you got paid the same, no matter what you know, your responsibilities were the books, the books that were assigned to you and every once in a while, something extra would come up like you know, for the artists that would be, [00:44:00] you know, pitch illustrations or something like that, or an extra cover here and there.

So extras came up, but everybody, you know, everybody kind of pitched in and pulled in the same direction. It was you know, for a few years it was, it was it was a pretty good situation.

Jeff: Well, the, the, the books were wonderful. I mean, they felt to me that they were beautiful to look at the art was tremendous.

And also love what you did with the character. And I found that there’s like a, to, to be there’s definitely a theme that goes across a lot of your characters. Ethan from cyan, Daniel Betty’s and Kyle Rayner, which are all characters that you say that are growing into being a hero. And it was at another, is that really something that you’re particularly interested and you wanted to focus on a character with Ethan?

That was in a similar situation, looking, trying to become a hero.

Ron Marz: Well, that’s, you know, that’s really the, the, the usual hero’s journey kind of stuff is, is you know, characters that are suddenly thrust into a world that’s much bigger than their own much bigger than what they’re used to. [00:45:00] And they have to figure out how to how to navigate it, how to, how to grow into the role of B.

Be responsible. I, the, the example that I always use is Cary grant North by Northwest, you know, he’s not a secret agent, he’s just a guy. And the fact that he’s just a guy makes him much more interesting if he, if he’s if he’s a secret agent and knows how to do all this stuff still an interesting story, but it’s not half as interesting as just a regular person trying to navigate that world.

Jeff: W when running a story like Saigon, do you think to yourself? Cause obviously science was part of a larger universe, but in many ways it’s also very insular its own its own little universe. Do you think. What are you running it at, in your mind first as if the sine universe was the only university in the cross gen universe, or did you always have to keep in mind that larger picture that they kept building towards?

Ron Marz: Well, there was, you know, we knew that there was that larger picture out there. In my books in particular, [00:46:00] I tried to. I tried to concentrate on the individual titles and not the overall universe stuff. I always felt like the individual titles needed to be completely 100% satisfying in and of themselves.

And then the cross gen universe stuff was kind of. An extra layer for those, for those readers that wanted it. But, you know, if somebody came in and just wanted to read sign, they should get they should get the full story that that you would expect in any book rather than just, just piecemeal.

Jeff: So eventually, what, what, what, what would have been your longterm goal for sign?

If the issue, if the company headed folded, what, what did you have some, what was your longer plan for the character?

Ron Marz: I think for Scion, we had never really we had never really decided what the ultimate end of it was other than Ethan and Ashley would eventually marry and turn there both turned their backs on either of their kingdoms and go establish a new kingdom somewhere else with, [00:47:00] you know, sort of equality for all as the, as the concept behind it.

Jeff: So, what are you, so he would have survived the negation war miniseries. Your definitely.

Ron Marz: Yeah, definitely.

Jeff: That was good. Like I said, I mean, I, I was able to talk to Tony  some years back and find out how, how they ended, how his plan was to originally end that mini series. I was really was hoping nothing would have happened to Simon because he really wasn’t my favorite character, that universe.

Ron Marz: Yeah, he was, he was definitely, you know, most of the characters we’re slated to live through the war, although where there were, you know, there would have been a number that, that were there were casualties, but we wanted the, the war to sort of bring together all of those overall sort of universe storylines and pay them all off.

And then we could send the books often in their own directions.

Jeff: What would have been Ethan’s role in that when they finally gathered, what did he have a particular role he would have played in that series?

Ron Marz: That’s probably a question better for Tony than me, [00:48:00] but I mean, he was in there and he was a character, but, you know, since Tony was the one writing it the characters from negation were really the ones that had had a central role.

Jeff: Oh, I wasn’t sure if there was if you all gathered in to discuss that, see what I’m saying, series cause each had a part of that, those characters,

Ron Marz: You know, part of the, you know, like part of the war was to pay off all of these threads that we had been running through a lot of the books, but, but a bigger part of it really for, for a lot of the writers was that we were, we were tired of that overall storyline that we had to keep.

Going back to, so we wanted to, we wanted to pay it off so that we could just, just do our books as individual titles and not worry about the overall you know, this huge cosmic art to it. And if, you know, if we wanted to do that again in five years, you know, have another big crossover. Great. But we wanted to just, we wanted to pay off [00:49:00] everything and sort of let the stories go where they wanted to go for awhile.

Jeff: Oh, so the, so the, the series would have kept the, the universe would have become less involved with each other, the less tied together once th th

Ron Marz: it still would have been, it would have been a cohesive universe, but we wouldn’t have had so much interconnectivity between the titles. We wanted to bring everything together and then let them go off and be separate for awhile.

Jeff: Would this Seadrill still existed? The characters.

Ron Marz: Yeah. Yeah, the centrals would have still been a part of it, but there wouldn’t have been the overall you know, the central bearers wouldn’t have been in contact with each other. We just would have told the stories that, that the individual titles demanded.

Jeff: I, I must say I’m definitely those people who are very disappointed when they were eventually purchased by Marvel. And I guess now Disney, because I really do feel like there’s there they’ve lost a lot or they’re not properly using this property that the own that I think a lot of readers would have still enjoyed it.

They brought it back. [00:50:00]

Ron Marz: I think there’s no audience for crushing and stuff. I mean, people ask me about it all the time. I just think it’s the, you know, the sale was, you know, 12 man, 16 years ago now, 15 years ago now. And I think Disney bought the stuff to get a hold of just a couple of properties and the rest sort of all came along with it.

And those properties didn’t really pan out the way Disney wanted them to. So I think to a large extent, the stuff has just been forgotten. They, they tried it out, some of them via Marvel and there were plans for maybe bringing some of them back in a crossover type series that never came to fruition.

So now I think there just because there’s, there’s no champion for it. There’s nobody. Agitating to do anything with it. The properties are just sort of sitting on a shelf until until somebody wants to go to bat for them.

Jeff: Yeah. And I think that’s amazing because like I said, the sales that crushed in hand at the [00:51:00] time would have been considered quite successful for an independent combo now.


Ron Marz: yeah, certainly, you know, th the market was, the market was different than, than it is now. And in some ways I think Crosstown was probably three, four or five years too soon. Because Hollywood hadn’t really discovered comics yet when Krause gen was in, was in full blossom. If we had been around three, four years later when studios and streaming services and all that you know, other media platforms started to gobble up comics.

I think we probably really could have made go of it or at the very least had the, you know, had the studio. And the properties bought out by by a Hollywood production studio or film studio or or, you know, something like Netflix or Amazon. Because there was, I still feel like there was a lot of pretty good content generated by the company.

But we were just, you know, we were just [00:52:00] too soon and burn rate of the money because of the way we were doing the comics. Because of the, the overhead we had with having everybody on staff was, was just too much. And honestly, when the. When the tech bubble burst and all the stocks plummeted, that’s where a lot of the owner’s money went up in smoke.

A lot of his, a lot of his wealth was via tech stocks. And when the tech stocks crashed his wealth evaporated not, not completely, but we suddenly had a much smaller war chest than we thought

Jeff: the lessons from cross gender. Is that something that you took to heart when you created ominous press?

Ron Marz: Not really. I mean, I’m going to say it was, was, it is just a way for myself and Bart Sears and Andy Smith and Sean has far, and other people that have done work for us to, to tell the kind of stories you want. And certainly a lot of the lessons, you know, business-wise that we learned at [00:53:00] cross gen are kind of in the forefront of our minds when we do ominous projects.

Jeff: So just recently you had a very successful Kickstarter for beats of the black hand volume, too for our listeners. Can you give us the pitcher for beats of the black hand,

Ron Marz: Beast, the black hand as a concept that. Was created by my friend and sculptor and artists, Paul Harding. Who’s done a lot of sculpts for star Wars, gentle giant DC DC direct DC collectibles diamond select side show virtually everybody’s sculpted statues, and action figures for, and Paul had this sort of monster concept.

Which is what beats the black hand turned into and brought in myself to write it. And our friend, Matt, Matthew Dow Smith draw it. And it’s it’s kind of a horror, espionage story set right after world war one. So it’s a, it’s a period piece, but it’s got magic and monsters and [00:54:00] Rasputin and monsters from Eastern European lore.

So we’re, we’re currently working on the second hard cover of it and it’s, you know, it’s really just kind of a It’s, it’s got a little bit of Hellboy to it. It’s got a bit of a sort of world war, one comics. It’s got a bit of espionage to it. Some of the characters that are actually in the book are, are based on real people.

Oswald Rainer is one of the main characters and he’s, he’s a real estate agent who was. Kind of thought to be the person that actually killed raspy his, his Espionage partner in the book is Biffy Dunderdale, who’s also a real person. Was one of the figures that inflaming based James Bond on Henry Johnson is a world war one actual medal of honor winner from, you know, from the Albany New York area where I live.

He’s a character in the book, so [00:55:00] it’s, there’s, there’s real real-world stuff. Meeting monsters and magic and mayhem head-on.

Jeff: So am I correct? That Oslo Rainer is a nod to Kyle Rayner or am I totally off on that?

Ron Marz: He is not a nod to Kyle Rayner. He’s, he’s an Oswell Rainer as an actual person. He’s he was, you know, like I said, he’s a, he’s a British secret agent.

And when Paul initially brought me the story and said, you know, the main character is alcohol Rainer. I said, well, you know, we’re going to change the name because Rainer he’s like, no  Rangers are real person. Like we can’t change his name because that’s his actual name.

Jeff: That’s a, that’s a hell of a coincidence.

That must be like, when you heard that, you’re like, damn, this is faded to happen. I must write another Rainer.

Yeah, it’s,

Ron Marz: it’s an odd thing, but once, you know, once I learned the, the truth of, I was like, Oh, well then we have the perfect excuse. We can, we can, we have to name a Rainer now

Jeff: that, that does. Cause I read that. I was like, [00:56:00] Oh, okay. So he’s, he’s gonna, he’s basically bringing Kyle Rayner into ominous press, but no that’s, I didn’t know.

He was a real person.

Ron Marz: Yeah, a lot of the, a lot of the characters in beast of the black hand are real people and obviously we’ve, we’re we’re embroidering from there. But the, the real life stories of these people are, are, are actually worthy of their own comics. Anyway Oswald Reynor Biffy Dunderdale Maria Rasputin, who was the daughter of Rasputin, Henry Johnson.

These are you know, frankly, I’m, I’m honored that we’re, you know, that we’re able to use these, these real people. And, and if somebody goes and learns their actual life stories after reading beasts in the black hand, that’s a bonus.

Jeff: Well, I think one of the things I found very cool about the entire series is that once again, it takes place during world war one, but kind of assume what would happen if you added, I guess I, what I read was description is that is diesel punk.

Is that the correct description of it?

Ron Marz: Yeah, it’s not quite it’s not quite steampunk, but it’s [00:57:00] sort of dirtier and grungier. So diesel punk seems to be about the best description we can come up with,

Jeff: but it sounds awesome. It does sound like a very oppressive term. You know, if you got to give anything.

A description. In two words, diesel punk is a pretty bad ass sound to it.

Ron Marz: It’s it really is kind of cool. The only question we ever have is is that one word or two words?

Jeff: See how I was running. It was a diesel dash punk.

Ron Marz: I’ll go with that. Fair enough.

Jeff: So by him, two takes place the 1920s. You have the black and are being led by Maria Putin and there’s mention of a character called the bulbous.

What is a

Ron Marz: bulbous. The Bob is, is is actually, it’s a monster that Paul harden came up with based on some Eastern European folklore. Can you, so he will, he will be seen in beast of the black hand volume two, and he will be large.

Jeff: Can, can you give any other details about what inspired the character, the monster, [00:58:00] and you said German mythology.

Ron Marz: Yeah. It’s like, it’s like Eastern, Eastern European Slavic, folklore. And you know, Paul, Paul was pretty famous for, you know, coming up with this stuff and we think he’s just making it up, but he’s actually like pulling from, from real sources and then just embroidering it.

Jeff: Well, I, I’m definitely curious.

And so this is like Godzilla big, like KGU.

Ron Marz: Not quite Godzilla big but bigger than bigger than the, the monster in visa black hand volume one. So we got to, you know, we got to keep making stuff bigger.

Jeff: So what up yourself? That must’ve every time.

Ron Marz: Yeah, well, bigger is better,

Jeff: right? Definitely 100%.

So volume two is also right now on any Google, is that correct? It’s still going strong, right?

Ron Marz: Yeah. Be go, go is, you know, you can put stuff up on any go-go and it just sort of acts like a like a pre-sale really like a pre-order site. So we’re working on the book now and you know, trilling it and [00:59:00] trailing a little bit behind the scandal that we want to do.

Thanks to pandemics and people, people moving and, you know, the, the general sense of on we, the 2020 has, has brought, but we’ll we’ll wrap it up and it’ll be a very nice hardcover companion to, to volume one.

Jeff: And know that that is true. Depending on what does seem to begin in a way of, just about everything though, I will say the last couple of days, the last day or two has kind of made up for far as politics has gone.

I think everyone feels a little bit lighter, a little bit happier.

Ron Marz: Yeah, it’s, it’s It’s going to be nice to be able to, you know, get up in the morning and not think about what the president is doing.

Jeff: Yeah, I totally agree. I think that a lot of people are saying that it’s nice not to have to think about it anymore.

And I must say for the last four years, it’s been on my mind quite often to start my day. Cause we start today with, well, before I go to work, I go to work. At least I’m a high school teacher. First thing I do. Wake up, grab some cereal, turn on the news, start my day. And that’s such a shitty way to start your day, the last few years.

Ron Marz: It’s you know, now that we have the phrase [01:00:00] dooms growling now, right? It’s you know, it’s unfortunately what what we’ve come to and, and hopefully in a couple of months, it we don’t, we have a. We have a better feeling about daily life. It’s obviously going to take us a while to work our way out from under the pandemic.

And hopefully that gets that gets addressed in a more serious and scientific way as well. So I think everybody feels at least people that I know, people that I interact with everybody feels a little lighter these days because we feel like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s still, there’s still plenty of work to get there. And there’s plenty of work to fix a lot of the damage that’s been inflicted upon our system, but at least now we have a sense that we can start, we can start those repairs rather than rather than having it made worse.

Jeff: I pardon me, does wonder As someone who writes on a various, on a very small scale and, you know, not obviously at the level where you are, but [01:01:00] from, you know, what you’ve read as well.

And the other people who you’ve talked to who are, you know, in the industry and writing in other fields as well. I do wonder if there’s going to be a change in tone of writing as well. That will feel also hopeful that that kind of Springs from the feeling of you’re out of like the dreariness of the previous administration.

Ron Marz: I don’t know, you know, obviously you know, art reflects life, art reflects what we’ve gone through, and I think it’s going to take a while. As creators as writers and artists to kind of work through what we’ve, you know, what we’ve experienced and how that comes back out. And do you, you know, do you portray that that sense of hopelessness or do you portray the whole you know, I think everybody’s got a different answer for it.

But I, I definitely think this is, has been such a It’s such a trying time for everybody. And you know, [01:02:00] in particular, the, the pandemic on top of the political situation it’s really, you know, like I’ve never experienced a year like this in my life.  Anything even close to it. So it’s, I think this is gonna leave a Mark.

This is going to leave a permanent scar on, on the nation’s collective psyche and on the psyche of, of most of us. And everybody’s going to deal with that a little differently. I hope I hope some amazing art comes out of it. Musically artistically literary You have to use all of this stuff for fuel and you have to hope that you can create something out of it that that enriches not only your own life, but everybody else’s you know, you hope we didn’t suffer through all this for no good reason.

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, it definitely feels that since almost March, that time has pretty much stood still, you know, as a weird feeling with that, like you see those movies or the cartoons where after the villains fought and everything’s lifted [01:03:00] everyone, like wakes up, rubs rise, leaves, the bill leaves their house and everything’s green and bright and shiny look, I feel like you’ve been trapped in the house now for God damn.

Was it eight months now?

Ron Marz: Yeah, it you know, I’m in New York state, so it’s, you know, we’ve been in PR we’re in pretty good shape.  Comparatively, I mean, nothing’s great, but you know, we’ve, we’ve had a few months of, of. Well, not normalcy, certainly. But because I’m in a state where people are taking mask wearing seriously, and there’s a lot of testing and, and in some ways what we’re doing is kind of a model for what, you know, everybody else should be doing.

Things are, things are a little better here. You can, you know, you can go to a restaurant and be socially distanced and, and, you know, Feel like you’re in an, in a relatively safe space. Particularly if you’re, if you’re eating outside. So you know, it’s. It feels like we we’ve been through an ordeal, but [01:04:00] with winter coming, I’m afraid we’re going to go back into that ordeal because everybody’s going to be in closed spaces again.

We’re we have to be on guard about how How we deal with it. I think, you know we had, we had terrific weather this weekend. I think a lot of people were out and about trying to do things and looking at it as well. Maybe this is the last chance I actually get to go out and experience something until, you know, until the snow starts to fly.

And we’re, we’re all kind of shut in for the winter.

Jeff: Yeah, I will definitely say I being a T I live in Rhode Island. And mostly I work at a high school and I do feel that that’s something that has been on my mind for many months. Especially being back at school with mass, everything else.

And it doesn’t, it does seem like the one problem I do see with people is that the moment our numbers drop and started going down, the mass came up and everyone back went back to normal. And I feel like people are so shortsighted that they [01:05:00] will immediately react to any positive news in a way that’s irresponsible.

Ron Marz: Well, you know, the, the, the positive news is because you, you, you know, the positive news is the fruit of what you did. So again, I, I feel fortunate to be in New York state because by and large people are taking it seriously here. It’s just, you know, everybody wears a mask. Everybody does what they’re, you know, what science recommends you do?

So I don’t think I don’t think you know, the onset of, of winter and everybody being inside is gonna is gonna make it much worse here. I think what, you know, there’s, it’s starting to, the instance of cases is starting to go up again a little bit here. And I think that’s mostly from people bringing it.

In from other States. But you know, the, the state health, the health system is really trying to do trying to do a bang up job of testing and tracking and, and squashing hotspots as they come up because obviously New York city in particular went through [01:06:00] hell in March and April and may. They, you know, look, anybody who says this is not a real thing.

They were, you know, they were filling refrigerator trucks with bodies in Brooklyn. Yeah. I mean people that need people in New York state. Nope. This is the real deal. This is, this is not the flu. This is, this is something much, much worse and much more communicable. So I think because New York state went through that, hell people take it a lot more seriously here.

Now. Certainly you, you know, you run into pockets of people who who either don’t believe or. You know, just want to, you know, just want to go back to living their normal lives. And don’t really care if they impact your life. But in general you know, things are, things are pretty good here. I wish I wish things were were as, as positive around the rest of the country as they are.

Jeff: How has it impacted you as a writer? Because I think we learn a lot about. People during the last eight months. And I think a lot of our perspective on [01:07:00] people probably has shifted a little bit as a writer. Has it affected you as in and how you carried out your characters in your stories?

Ron Marz: Not really. I mean, I think there, you know, there’s the, you know, you’re sort of confronted with the reality that, that, you know, here we are in the 21st century and, and people don’t want to believe in science just because it’s not convenient.

That’s I think we always knew that that sort of sentiment was there, but it’s more obvious now. But I don’t, you know, it hasn’t, you know, somewhat ashamedly, it, it hasn’t really affected me. Personally, to any great extent. I’ve apparently been quarantined for about 30 years when he came right down to it.

This is, you know I know so many people have had have had their lives completely upended. And and I really haven’t because this is, this is what daily life has been like for me anyway. The only thing that’s really different for me is you know, there, I don’t go to conventions anymore because there are no conventions.


I [01:08:00] miss. I miss that aspect. But other than that, you know, my day is the same. I, I get up in the morning and I make a cup of coffee and I come in, come into my office and I make stuff up.

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I must say I, as a teacher, I noticed the difference a little more because. You’re not allowed to be like the way you help and interact with your students.

It’s quite different. Like before you sit at their desk and help them, you know, with the writing or something along those lines, or you do give them hand out a handout, a hard copy of something. And now you can’t give that out anymore, really? Because you know, contagious potentially, and you can’t sit next to them to help them with the writing.

Because once again, Potential exposure. So you do have to do everything from like literally your desk and everything on the computer. And it does make things a little, it reminds you every moment that there’s a pandemic.

Ron Marz: Yeah. Well we just, you know, we, we are being forced to live our lives differently.

And you know, you can piss and moan about it [01:09:00] and, and be upset about it. And the only thing that the only thing that you’re going to gonna gain by not, not paying attention and not taking it seriously and not wearing a mask is you’re just going to make it longer.

Jeff: Yeah, no, I

Ron Marz: think that the thing that sort of drives me crazy is that we in New York state really, you know, really locked down everything and have lost you know, look, I haven’t, I haven’t been to the gym in like seven or eight months, however long it’s been since it started, because, because gyms weren’t open and the, my gym still has an open.

Maybe never will. Again. So we have, we have suffered, you know disruption in our lives and, and, you know, economic loss and you know, my, my favorite restaurant has gone, has never coming back. We’ve suffered all this and like nationally, we’re not we’re not any closer to being done with it. It’s like all of the work that was put in by people in New York state for the [01:10:00] last seven months.

Is kind of for not because nobody else paid attention to it. No, but you know, plenty of other places in the country are taking it. Seriously.

Jeff: I agree with you a hundred percent. It does feel like the lessons were not learned. And unfortunately, I felt like the wrong lessons were learned. People are saying to lock down, didn’t work.

It’s like it did work for those who did the right thing during it. And now people look at it as well that we still have it. They don’t realize. Yeah, but because you didn’t listen when you had the opportunity.

Ron Marz: Yeah. I mean, it’s, to me, it’s just it’s mind boggling because it’s obvious that the lockdown works.

And it, it doesn’t take that long to get things trending in the right direction. It’s, it’s sort of. It should be short-term pain for long-term gain, but if everybody’s not pulling in the same direction, it it does not, you know, it doesn’t do the, the overall good that it’s intended to do.

Jeff: And it’s, it really is amazing people estimated that [01:11:00] if everyone did the right thing and locked down for maybe three weeks, we could have been out of this by now.

And the fact that.

Ron Marz: You know, it, it it doesn’t take that long and, and frankly, look, it’s, you know, so you gotta wear a mask when you, you know, you go into the grocery store for 15 minutes. If that’s, if that’s the worst inconvenience you have to deal with you’re doing all right. And, and again, it’s I think the, the, the depressing thing for me has been that the whole sort of adherence to mask wearing and all of that stuff is.

It’s not about you. It’s, it’s something that you’re, that you’re doing to benefit other people in case you’re, you know, in case you’re a spreader in case you are asymptomatic and spreading it it’s it’s so that you don’t. Inflict any harm upon anybody else. And so many people are just unwilling to do that.

The, the selfishness of it and the self-centeredness of it is I think [01:12:00] something that we’re going to be struggling with this as, as a society for a long time, because It’s, it’s not easy to come to grips with the fact that, that your fellow citizens maybe don’t give a, give a shit about you. Like you’re there are there, they’re not willing to be slightly inconvenienced to safeguard your health and the health of everybody else.

Jeff: It, it, it does pretty well. It just illustrates that. And I, and I do find it still, the funniest thing is when people put on the math, like runner neath the nose and they do it and they’re doing purposely, not the one that’s sometimes, you know, slipped from time to time. But when it goes underneath, they’re walking around like that and I’ve talked to a few people.

They’re like, I can’t breathe with the mask up completely. I was like, okay. Yeah, but that’s the point. Yeah. People don’t need to figure that out is I find it. I find it disturbing.

Ron Marz: Yeah. Look, you know, look it’s, it sucks. It’s inconvenient and you know, you wear glasses like I do your glasses get fogged up and it’s a pain in the ass, but.

That’s you know, this is the situation we find ourselves in. You know, you don’t, you know, if, if the boat you’re on sinks, you [01:13:00] don’t go. I don’t feel like I don’t feel like swimming. It’s tiring. You know, you, you do what you have to do.

Jeff: And, and it’s almost, almost like someone to use that same analogy, that someone that you see someone swimming or drowning, and you have a life preserver in your hand, and it’s not worth the effort to throw it.

It’s like, whatever, it’s too much. It’s too stressful. I’m not fucking doing it.

Ron Marz: It’s it’s yeah. It’s, it’s it’s too much of an imposition on me. So hopefully, you know, hopefully, you know, new administration. More of an adherence to actual science. We, you know, we can we can attack this and, you know, come out much better.

On the other side,

Jeff: I agree. A hundred percent. Also just to go back a little bit so beats of the black hand, is there going to be a volume

Ron Marz: three? Well, I would hope so. We have more stories to tell, but we want to get through volume two first before we make any decisions. Well,

Jeff: it will follow the pattern of being a world war one, 1920s.

Well, this wouldn’t be, I assume, thirties, forties, world war II. [01:14:00]

Ron Marz: This volume two is literally a few months after volume one. So it’s still it’s still post-World war one in early in the early twenties. If, if we have, we have talked about future volumes being set you know, closer to world war II.

Jeff: Well, it sounds very cool. And you said the indie go-go is still going. The Kickstarter is complete. And am I remembering that correct?

Ron Marz: Yeah, the Kickstarter, the Kickstarter is complete, but you can always order. You can always pre-order off of a ominous as well.

Jeff: All right. Very cool. And I know you’re going to be doing endless winter with DC that comes out in January.

It starts

Ron Marz: December. We are, the entire thing comes out in December. December is a five-week month and we’ll have, we’ll have books. We’ll have books in the endless winter crossover every week of the month.

Jeff: Well, I definitely hope you come back to talk. Talk to me about it with and is Andy Lannon, correct?

Ron Marz: Andy landing my, my brother from another mother in the UK. Well,

Jeff: like I said, I [01:15:00] definitely hope you decide to to come back with a Mr. Lanny and talk endless winter with

Ron Marz: sure. Jeff, be happy to do it. And this has been a, this has been a pleasure.

Jeff: Thank you so much.



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