Going Mad With Mark London, CEO & Chief Creative Officer At Mad Cave Studios
by James Ferguson
2020 has been a weird year for many reasons. Companies of all types have had to adjust to a new normal and that has usually involved scaling back in some shape or fashion. That doesn’t appear to be the case with Mad Cave Studios. The publisher has been moving at a mile a minute with a ton of new projects in the works. I had a chance to speak with Mark London, the CEO & Chief Creative Officer at Mad Cave about how he’s approaching this market and what’s in store for the publisher in the future.
James Ferguson: With all the obstacles facing the comic book industry in 2020, Mad Cave Studios seems to be moving faster than ever with new titles, new talent searches, and more. What keeps this momentum going?
Mark London: Mad Cave Studios is not just a publisher; it’s an experience. An experience where our Cave Dwellers always come first, no matter the circumstance. Whatever the genre or title, it’s a priority for us to allow our readers to be able to enjoy and stay lost in the pages. Mad Cave Studios will always stay true to its promise to continue providing quality entertainment with a fresh take in an array of genres while focusing on uplifting the community by supporting the underrepresented and writing stories that resonate with unapologetic authentic audiences. We prioritize our Mad Community so much because they are what makes us; whether it’s our local comic shops, a rising artist, or our passionate readers.
JF: How does Mad Cave approach the direct market as a relatively new kid on the block?
ML: In 2014, when we were first starting out, we approached the market mainly through events. We first launched in Chicago at Wizard World as well as New York Comic Con in 2015. There’s nothing more effective than approaching someone face to face in real life. This year we have had to pivot our approach slightly, and because of that, we have begun hosting virtual showcases. Those showcases have already proven to be an excellent way of communicating directly to consumers beyond newsletters and social media.
JF: More for clarification, but who owns the IP for the books produced by Mad Cave? Are these creator-owned titles or work for hire? How did you come to that decision?
ML: Mad Cave started for the love of storytelling and with the notion to bring our own ideas/concepts to life. Within Mad Cave, we have an array of stories that we wanted to share with other fans and we have had the great pleasure to bring talent on board to help us accelerate the pace at which we are realizing these stories. Hence, creators owned work is something we might explore down the line.
JF: Mad Cave is cultivating new creators through its talent searches. What do you look for with these kinds of submissions? How do you separate the complete novices from someone ready to take the next big step into the comic book industry?
ML: The Mad Cave talent search was designed to bring fresh voices into the industry. Whether they are “novices” or about to break out onto the scene doesn’t really influence our decision on who we work with. What’s most important is that the submission sent in has its own voice or unique qualities that make it stand out from the rest. The most important thing is that the work should move you in some sort of way.
JF: What does Mad Cave have in store for 2021?
ML: 2021 readers can expect to see the continuation of Battlecats, Honor & Curse, and Wolvenheart by Mark London, as well as numerous new releases that include, but are not limited to; They Fell From the Sky – a nostalgic sci-fi by Liezl Buenaventura, Nottingham – a Noire by talent search winner David Hazan, Becstar – a space odyssey with cover art from Sweeney Boo, and a Horror Anthology – headlined by Cullen Bunn. For the undiscovered authors and creators out there, Mad Cave Studios is also proud to announce that in 2021 we will be continuing our Talent Search for the 4th year in a row.
Something else thrilling and exciting is coming… created for those who think differently, unafraid to be independent, who find freedom in the unexpected, and fight for who they truly are; Mad Cave Studios will be releasing our first young adult imprint, Maverick, this fall. Each original graphic novel will be 160 – 200 pages of a stand-alone story that gives the readers a view into situations and lives that mirror their own. Whether they’ve already lived through it, these stories shine a light on the moments that define the term: coming-of-age. We are so very thankful to work on each one of these projects with all our incredible creators, as well as have the support from you on this MAD journey.
Comicon would like to thank Mark London for taking the time to speak with us.