Telling My Father's Story on Veterans Day

Telling My Father's Story on Veterans Day

This is a true story.

The story that follows was originally created for the project "8 Percent," published by Van Breed Studios to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. (The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is a daunting 8 percent.) When the opportunity to contribute to the book presented itself, I knew this was the story I wanted to tell, even though it didn't quite fit within the framework of the other stories in the comic. Van Breed's Allen Cordrey, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer, was kind enough to let me stray from the issue's parameters to tell the tale.

One of the joys of making comics is being able to work with your friends. I recruited Rick Leonardi to pencil my father's story, because Rick's not only one of my favorite collaborators, but he's also a big aviation buff. I knew that Rick, maybe more than any other artist, would breathe realistic life into the plane sequences. Rick called the gig a "sacred trust," and turned in a stunning job. There aren't really words to describe the feeling of seeing your father (and yourself) on a comic page like this.

Rick's pencils are so fluid and expressive, they demand an equally expressive, experienced inker. My buddy Andy Lanning is known as much or more for his writing, but he's also one of the best inkers in the business. Andy squeezed Rick's pages into his overburdened schedule, and made them sing.

Ross Hughes colored the pages beautifully, with Rick providing input. It was my first time working with Ross, but I hope it's not the last. Troy Peteri lettered the story, putting up with my finicky decisions about fonts and caption shapes. Obviously I'm not an unbiased observer, but think it's a gorgeous story, and a testament to what happens when a team truly collaborates, rather than being an assembly line. I remain immensely flattered by everyone's efforts.

I was a late-in-life baby for my parents, what my mom euphemistically called "a surprise." I was the only kid I knew whose father served in World War II. On this Veterans Day, this is his story. Thank you, dad. Love you.

Ron Marz has been writing comics for two decades, and thinks it's pretty much the best job ever. His current work includes "Witchblade" and the graphic novel series "Ravine" for Top Cow, "The Protectors" for Athleta Comics, his creator-owned title, "Shinku," for Image, and Sunday-style strips "The Mucker" and "Korak" for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Follow him on Twitter (@ronmarz) and his website, www.ronmarz.com.

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