Apocalypse Comics Owner Discusses The Origins Of The AHM Exclusive Covers

The proprietor of Apocalypse Comics Mario Coleman was kind enough to answer some questions about the excluseive All Hail Megatron covers he created with IDW's Casy Coller. Special thanks to Tfans member Patient_Zero v2.0. for putting us in contact with Mr. Coleman. Check out the interview and the covers here.

Tformers: How long have you been in the comic business? And what got you started? (or to be more comic-ish: What's your origin story?)

MC: I have been in the comic industry for about 18 months now. My Dad introduced me to comics when I was very young and I fell in love with the medium right away. When I got to 18, I realized that I wouldn't be content working a 9 - 5 for the rest of my life, so I set about researching the industry, trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could and when the cards all fell into place I created www.ApocalypseComics.com

Tformers: I see on your site, you have several other exclusive covers. Has this been a sales strategy for a long time?

MC: Well, it started out as an experiment. I knew there was a market for exclusive variant covers and I wanted to advertise my shop, so I used the first two covers (Army of Darkness #8 and Transformers Reign of Starscream #1) to do that. The others have been about selling comics and making money, but also about having fun. If you look at the All Hail Megatron covers that we have done compared to the first two covers then you can probably tell that I have had a lot of fun coming up with interesting and new ideas and watching those ideas evolve into actual physical products. I'm still a massive fanboy and this is my geek-tastic wet dream!!!

Tformers: What was your inspiration to pursue the exclusive cover angle?

MC: Credibility. I remember hearing about stores like Graham Crackers, New Dimension and Rupps World before I even knew that they were stores. All I knew was that they were producing really nice exclusive covers. I had only really heard of conventions producing covers before that. I thought to myself that if a guy like me, who lives in the middle of England, a four hour round trip on train from my regular comic shop had heard of Graham Crackers solely off of the back of one of their variant covers, then why can't I produce something similar that would establish me as a credible comic retailer. I kinda have a little fantasy that there is a kid somewhere in Timbucktoo reading a copy of All Hail Megatron #1 wondering what Apocalypse Comics is. That would be cool.

Tformers: What was the process by which cover and the AHM #1 cover came to be?

MC: I had an idea to do a cover which primarily featured Galvatron. Pretty much at the same time the solicitation for Spotlight Galvatron was released and because of bad timing (among other things) we weren't able to produce a cover for that book. I was gutted and was determined not to let another opportunity slip away. A few months later, All Hail Megatron #1 was solicited and I jumped straight into the process, contacted IDW and got the ball rolling. I tweaked my previous Galvatron idea to include Megatron, but as the Galvatron and Megatron characters in the IDW Transformaverse are two separate entities, they didn't want to confuse the two. Looking back retrospectively, that was the best thing that ever happened. It forced me to be more creative and eventually I came up with the idea of the Killing Joke homage. I was always a HUGE fan of Reflector and to sneak him into the cover like that made me very proud of myself. I love that cover and have had nothing but praise regarding it. In my opinion it should have been voted cover of the year 2008!!!

Tformers: Had you worked with IDW or other companies before to create exclusives?

MC: Our first cover was an Army of Darkness variant for Dynamite Entertainment. The people at Dynamite were all really accommodating in helping to create the cover and at one point we were toying with doing either a Battlestar Galactica or a Terminator variant to coincide with conventions that were BSG and Terminator specifically oriented. For one reason or another we didn't go through with it, but I really enjoyed the process we went through with the AoD cover and it has a sentimental spot in my heart as our first exclusive. I would definitely like to do another cover with them again in the future.

All our other covers have been with IDW. We have a good relationship now and they make everything so smooth and easy for me that it truly is a real pleasure to do business with them.

Tformers: Who did you approach about these covers?

MC: I have been in contact with both Andy Schmidt and Chris Ryall whilst working on these projects. Both of them are top guys who have given me a lot of time and patience. I haven't met either of them yet because of the distance between here and San Diego, but if I catch up with them at a convention, I'll have to buy them a pint.

Tformers: The two AHM covers both are homages to classic covers, were there other classic covers, or concepts you were considering?

MC: Yes. Definitely. They are so much fun to watch being produced, especially if the original cover is so iconic that it is embedded in your conscience. I remember being emailed the first pencils for AHM #1 and going crazy when I saw Brian Bolland's quintessential masterpiece transformed (no pun intended) into an incredibly fun new perspective of his original vision. Like I said before; FANBOY'S WET DREAM!!!

Tformers: What were some ot those other ideas?

MC: Well, we are doing an Exclusive cover for the Auto Assembly convention this year which features Grimlock and is a Jurassic Park homage. Nick Roche provided the pencil work this time and the cover is very cool!!! Make sure you all come along to the Auto Assembly convention to guarantee yourself a copy and get it signed while you are there by not only Nick but also Liam Shaloo (who inked the cover) and Gregg Berger (who voiced Grimlock).

Other than that, I do have a few more ideas, but I'm gonna keep them under my hat for now. I don't want to ruin any surprises.

Tformers: To my under standing you requested Casey Coller for your exclusive covers. Could you tell us why you chose Casey? Was there some work of his that you had liked? Had you worked together before?

MC: By the time my original idea for AHM #1 was rejected and I had come up with the concept for the Killing Joke cover, we were very close to deadline and IDW were finding it difficult to find an artist who wasn't already so busy that they could fit my cover into their schedules. I remeber Chris Ryall emailing me suggesting this new artist on the scene called Casey Coller who had been untested, yet potentially perfect for the cover. At the time I had never heard of him, but took the chance, honestly, out of desperation for needing an artist quickly. As I said previously, I remember going nuts when I saw those pencils for the first time. His work completely blew me away and even though I'll throw my hands up and say that it was a fluke that landed him the project, it is the best outcome that we could have ever had. That year he flew over to England to appear at the London Film and Comic Con, to sign copies of the book and sketch. That weekend I got to learn that the man behind the talent is just as amazing as the work he produces. For my dollar, he is the best Transformers artist on the scene today and that is no disrespect to anyone else, just my honest opinion.

So I did request that Casey do the cover for AHM #12 and to be honest, if he wouldn't have been able to do it for any reason, I wouldn't have done a cover for issue #12 at all. I already have plans in mind for 2010 and Casey is top of my list in anything I do.

Ooh... and he will be appearing with us again this year at London Film and Comic Con to sign #12. Make sure you come along :)

Tformers: How do you feel about how All Hail Megatron has turned out?

MC: Ecstatic. I love the covers, I love the story, I love Transformers baby!!!

Tformers: Do you have any upcoming plans for exclusive covers, Transformers or other wise?

MC: Yes, but they are top secret at the moment. But I will make sure that TFormers.com gets the official scoop!!! Watch this space and bookmark www.ApocalypseComics.com

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