Harry Markos has built a reputation on high quality comic books and graphic novels in England. His publishing company, Markosia Enterprises Limited continues to defy the odds that are currently stacked against publishers by diversification and quality of the books that he publishes. This Examiner.com had the opportunity to follow up with the erudite publisher on the eve of the United Kingdom's biggest convention called The London Super Comic Con. After the first interview that I conducted with Harry Markos last year, he has proven to be an reputable authority on graphic novel publishing in the United Kingdom.
Examiner.com-Your company has now gotten into the gaming industry. How has this development affected your company? What are your hopes for this rather interesting and dramatic business decision.
Harry Markos-Well getting into the Gaming industry is a no brainer, it is an industry that is thriving and still growing, so we’d be silly not to! I’m keen to partner with dynamic companies where we can offer our services to enhance their properties and help show them in the comic book format. It’s a slow process but we are getting there, and it is only a matter of time when one of pour projects and partnerships succeeds in a manner that we all expect.
Examiner.com-When we last spoke you addressed the issue of where you believe the comic book/graphic novel industry is heading. Electronic and high end books is where you felt the industry was essentially headed. Although it has been a year since we last spoke, have your views remained the same or has there been a change?
Harry Markos-Absolutely the same, I have seen nothing at all that makes me want to change my mind. There are rumors that one of the top publishers is considering all digital comic books and only printing the graphic novels, which is exactly what I think will be happening soon. It makes sense and is more viable, so watch this space!
Examiner.com-Has your company been negotiating with any interested parties that may wish to adapt any of the graphic novel titles to motion pictures? Has there been any interest?
Harry Markos-Yes, we are always talking to people. It takes time though, in some cases many years, before you can even talk about it! It is a very important part of our future and we believe that ignoring it will be bad for business!
Examiner.com-The London Super Comic Con is upon you and your fans-you have a number of exclusive tie-ins with the con. What are the logistics and hoops you need to jump through in able to produce such an exclusive con exclusive?
Harry Markos-It isn't as bad as it sounds-to be honest. We are fortunate in that we have an excellent relationship with the organizers, so communicating with them six months in advance of the show allows us to do exactly what is needed to get the exclusives in place. It is then a simple case of prepping the covers with the show logo and then co-operating with the promotion with the show, which starts a couple of months in advance of it.
Examiner.com-Can you tell my readers about your exclusive London Super Comic Con books that you will be offering at the convention.
Harry Markos-This is our most ambitious convention ever, we have four LSCC exclusives, three of them are hardcovers limited to just 100 copies each and the other: ’Terminus at Fenton’s Green’, ’Toxic Storm’, and ’The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley’. The fourth, ‘Apollo’, is an over sized exclusive limited to just 50 copies! We want them to be very desirable books and we are also offering lots of freebies to make it a really attractive purchase for those lucky enough to get there quickly! We are also launching two other new books, ‘Serial Artist’ and ‘Hero 9 to 5: Quietus’, so we have plenty of variety this year!
Examiner.com-The con itself is starting to gain the type of attention and notoriety that such cons such as the San Diego Comic-Con receives yearly. What are your thoughts on a possible growth spurt that would approach the levels of the San Diego Comic-Con.
Harry Markos-Well it is by far the biggest and best comic-only convention in the UK. The guest list is staggering and nobody else comes even close to getting the sort of guests that LSCC has attracted. This is their third show and each year has seen an increase in attendance. I doubt that it will ever get to the sort of numbers that San Diego has, but it is the best option for the UK and Europe in terms of US-related comic books. I can see it growing much, much more and we aim to be a part of its success.
Examiner.com-Is there a favorite author that you would wish to work with and publish?
Harry Markos-I personally am a fan of Garth Ennis, I think he is a super writer and the humor that he introduces is superb! It would be great to work with him some day.
Examiner.com-That question can also be applied to a particular artist-any you wish to cajole into working with you.
Harry Markos-Well there are many artists that I’d love to work with, but the one who I think would bring something different and exciting to the table is not a comic artist! I absolutely love the art of Larry Elmore, he is a well known fantasy artist and one of the best pencillers you will ever see! And then there are the usual suspects who I may have to plead with one day, Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Frank Cho, Bob Layton and about fifty others!
Examiner.com-The continued domination of comic books that are and have been adapted into motion pictures would seemingly bode well for comic books and graphic novels, but numbers state otherwise. What is the disconnect between motion picture audiences and comic book readers. Why do you think fans of these comic book movies are not becoming readers of the graphic novels/comic books?
Harry Markos-Unfortunately I think that the comic book medium is seen as something of a dated format. Movie-goers are more likely to go home and play a game than read a comic book. There are more exciting and dynamic alternatives now, whereas comic books are for the more patient type! Those who like their comic-related movies are more likely to order another comic-related movie or game from Amazon than the graphic novel that it was based on, that’s just the way it is nowadays.
Examiner.com-What do you wish to address that I might not have possibly asked you this time around?
There is so much to discuss! Personally, I think that there are some false economies involved in this beloved industry of ours that hide the fact that things are still really tough out there, especially for smaller independent publishers. We need to talk about this more and address the issues that will allow us to put things right and give us a chance to ensure graphic novels will be around for a very long time.
London plays host to the London Super Comic Con and Harry Markos' publishing company, Markosia will have a sizable presence for fans to peruse and discover his many titles. The convention will touch down in London, England on March 15th and 16th.