INDIE SPOTLIGHT ON Marc Lombardi

The Grayhaven Comics Staff Spotlight

We’ll spend the next few weeks featuring some of our incredible staff members who volunteer their time and energy into putting together GrayHaven’s comic line. As a group we’re from assorted backgrounds and even different parts of the world, but we share a passion for creating comics and helping others to bring their comics dreams to life!

Today, we kick it off with the brilliant Marc Lombardi!

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Name: Marc Lombardi

Position:  Editor, Talent Acquisitions/Assistant Art Director and (starting this year) Marketing & Social Media.

How did you come to be involved with Grayhaven Comics?

ML: After meeting Andrew Goletz and many of the other founding members of GrayHaven on the Brian Michael Bendis Jinxworld forums, and after having some of my early pitches accepted as stories in early volumes of The Gathering, Andrew invited me to join the team as an editor.  I think part of that is because he knows I smoked him in our head-to-head matchup to win the very first “season” of the Bendis Board Apprentice, a comic-centric take-off on the Donald Trump TV show, where our very own Ray Goldfield served as The Donald.

We all wear many hats at Grayhaven. Of the jobs you have to do, what do you find most rewarding?

ML: Most definitely the marketing and talent scout side, because that’s what allows me to interact the most with the fans and the talent. Which is why I’m really looking forward to dedicating myself to that aspect of working with GrayHaven moving forward.

We’ve all made appearances at different conventions. What is your favorite part of the convention experience? Your least favorite part?

ML: My favorite is definitely the interaction…meeting people who are interested in the books and explaining what GrayHaven is all about. Seeing people who are genuinely interested in what we are creating is the closest you can get to instant gratification for your work.  I’ve been blessed to be a part of a few panels over the years where I’ve also been able to pass along some of the information I’ve learned in my time with GrayHaven. My least favorite part is probably the shift away from conventions focusing on comic books, comic creators and general comics fandom in favor of celebrity appearances, autographs and photo ops. That’s why I tend to focus my attention on the true COMIC conventions that don’t treat comic creators like they’re second class citizens at their own event.

Of what Grayhaven projects are you most proud? Why?

ML: Hands down this is YOU ARE NOT ALONE because the idea of an anti-bullying comic book really resonates with me. I was bullied as a kid and wish I would have had a resource like this to help me cope when I was a young teen.  I’ve been able to work in some way on each volume of YOU ARE NOT ALONE (I did production, was one of the co-editors and had a story published on the first volume, did the production on the second volume and am currently handling the editing and handling production duties on the third volume). The concept is so simple yet so significant that we’re actually starting to see other comic companies do the same thing. And while it’s not like I’m bragging that we were first (although I sort of am), I think it’s definitely a project that I hope sticks for as long as GrayHaven is around. And I want to be involved every single time.

I’m also very proud of my very first published work, which is a story called “Greyhounding” that appeared in the first Romance/”Love Letters” issue of THE GATHERING. It was a 2-page true story of how I met my wife at a Greyhound bus terminal, and it was perfectly illustrated by John M. Coker and Travis Howard. I have the pages from the book framed and hanging on a wall in my house.

Are there any other works – be they comics, literary, or art related – that you’re working on?

ML: Aside from my GrayHaven work and my actual “day job” in transportation and logistics, I work doing Communications and Social Media for Shadowline Comics and have been doing so for about nine years now. And I’m working on editing the aforementioned YOU ARE NOT ALONE vol. 3.

What kinds of comics do you enjoy reading and why?

ML: I’m definitely an Image and “indie” guy. It’s not that I’m not into superhero books, but I’m definitely appreciating the more creator-owned approach to characters and storylines than what Marvel and DC seem to be doing. And I’ve got a serious case of Event Fatigue, which makes the Big Two practically unreadable for me. I love that the people who are putting out books through Image and other creator-owned heavy publishers have a lot more invested in these characters, and I think that shows in the stories. While I certainly appreciate great art, it’s the story-focused comics that land best for me.

What are you current top five books to pick up?

ML:  Rachel Rising, Saga, Rat Queens, Invincible and The Walking Dead. They’re also probably the only five books I’m entirely caught up on right now.

How were you first introduced to the comics medium?

ML: As a very casual reader I remember buying some comics as a eight- or nine-year-old at a local garage sale – I’m pretty sure they were  ROM: SPACEKNIGHT and WARLORD – that I picked up for ten cents each. I read those over and over again until my parents would pick some other books up for me after that. When I got a little older I remember buying issues of SUPER POWERS, LEGENDS and ARCHIE comics from a spinner rack at a local candy store near the neighborhood movie theater. Then when I was 12 I started getting those 3-packs at the 7-11…and I vividly recall some issues of UNCANNY X-MEN and NEW MUTANTS that caught my eye.  When I was 13 I started going to a comic book shop in Center City Philadelphia called Green Onions, and it was DOOM PATROL #1 that made me a regular customer with his own “pull box” of comics every week.

Do you have aspirations to be a professional in the comics industry?

ML: I think that my level of involvement now is about as much as a professional as I really aspire to be. I think I always want to be a part of making comics in some way, but realistically I don’t think I have the passion or the desire to make it a full-time “job.” Part of that is because I’m actually very successful in my work in transportation & logistics, and the other part is because I think that the moment that comics became my actual profession I would start to enjoy it a little less.  It’s bad enough I’m over a year behind on many of the comic titles that I love because I just don’t have the time in the day to get everything done, but if I were to actually focus on just being a professional comic writer or editor I think it would make it even harder to still be a fan – especially since I hear the same thing from other creators.

What is the fundamental advice you’d like to give to all up-and-coming comics creators?

ML: The best advice I could give is to practice at what you want to do every single day. If you want to be a writer, then write all of the time. If you want to be an artist, then draw every day. Keep at it, work at it, and hone your skills through perseverance and tenacity. The other really significant piece of advice that I need to give is to follow instructions when it comes time to submitting a pitch or ideas to a company, especially if they have given information on the format they want you to follow. Ignoring the small things is the easiest way to piss of an editor and get them to think that you will not take instructions well, which is important in comics, because it’s a team activity. Lastly, be nice. People like working with nice people. They’ll even accept lesser talent for a better quality of person. Keep that in mind.

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