Every day this month I'm going to feature a current comic book writing "star," someone who I think is a very good writer.
I'm mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?
Here is the archive of previously featured writers.
Today we look at a neat all-ages writer for Marvel Comics!
Marc Sumerak originally was on the editorial staff of Marvel Comics in the late 90s-early 21st Century before becoming a freelance writer.
Right off the bat, his work showed promise.
His mini-series Guardians in 2004 (an all-ages take off of the Guardians of the Galaxy) was a nice, offbeat character-driven piece that was perhaps a bit TOO offbeat. I liked it, but it was a lot like Greg Pak's excellent Warlock series - way too difficult to market.
He followed that up with a great 2005, where he launched THREE series - two of which are still going on today.
Machine Teen was a Machine Man take-off that was fun.
But it was his work on the two ongoing series that really stood out the most.
One, Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, was co-written with the book's artist, Chris Eliopoulos.
The book is a Calvin and Hobbes take-off with Franklin Richards and his robot bodyguard/babysitter, H.E.R.B.I.E. getting into all sorts of wacky trouble. This work is ALSO offbeat, but unlike the other books, it is a good deal more marketable (this IS the Fantastic Four we're dealing with here, after all!).
Besides being wacky, the best thing about the book is that the characters have heart - they're not just running gags, they have personality.
Personality is the key to Sumerak's other ongoing work, his Power Pack mini-series for Marvel.
Fred Van Lente filled in admirably for Sumerak on a few Power Pack mini-series, but otherwise, since 2005, the Pack and Sumerak have been more than just rhyming words - they've been paired together, and he's done a tremendous job capturing the spirit of Louise Simonson's classic 80s series.
In fact, I'd say the current series is by far the closest to Simonson's original vision of the series - just a book about four siblings dealing with superpowers.
The books are filled with adventure and superheroing, but also filled with heartfelt character interactions between four believable siblings.
The idea of having each mini-series tie in with a different popular Marvel hero (or villain!) is a great idea, as well.
The current one is Wolverine.
Sumerak has also done some fine work on Marvel's All-Ages superhero line, like Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man.