[Creator Spotlight] PopCultHQ’s Writer of the Month – May 2018: Mark Roslan

Michael Turner's Soulfire (Vol. 5)

PopCultHQ is kicking off 2018 in a new way. Each month, we’ll be selecting Comic Book Creators of the Month and interview them for a spotlight article. For May 2018’s Writer of the Month, we chose Mark Roslan.

Mark “Roz” Roslan has his hands all over the comic book industry. As the VP for Aspen Comics, he’s an integral part of the company’s production, publicity, and promotion. On the creative side, Roslan is an accomplished writer for the publisher, but also has a love for illustrating and graphic design. His digital inks have been featured across numerous Aspen (and other publishers) titles, and can be seen in the upcoming new series NU WAY, as well as Michael Turner’s SOULFIRE. And his talent doesn’t stop there. Mark has also worked as a colorist, letterer, editor, and cover artist. With all the credits to his name, we could certainly feature him in a number of spotlight features. But it was his work on BUBBLEGUN that got my attention and I wanted to explore further into the creator’s writing and celebrate it as our Writer of the Month.

In August of 2011, “Roz” debuted his story BROKEN PIECES at Aspen Comics, a new original series to the publisher about a deadly biological epidemic and the scientists involved seeking a cure for mankind, while attempting to fix their own personal world crumbled about them.

Here’s a look at Roslan’s BROKEN PIECES:

Broken Pieces

What is lost in life is found in…death! Aspen Comic’s newest original series, BROKEN PIECES, starts now! In a not too distant future torn apart by a deadly biological catastrophe, doctors Richard and Gabriella Adams stood on the verge of a scientific breakthrough-a cure to the epidemic spreading across North America, splitting the population between those that are plagued-and those in power that are not. However, their union of research and marriage is tragically ripped in two, and Richard soon discovers that he has to sacrifice everything in order to piece together a hope for humanity and put the shattered remains of his life back together again. Written and created by Aspen’s own Mark Roslan and featuring stunning artwork by newcomer and series artist Micah Kaneshiro, plus creators Cory Smith, Beth Sotleo, and Josh Reed, BROKEN PIECES will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

BUBBLEGUN hit the scene in the summer of 2013 and brouht with it a fun, fast-paced, cyber-punk sci-fi series that was a blast to read! Volume two, debuting just under 4 years laters in 2017, bring Molli, her sister Deyn, and their crew back with another exciting adventure.

Here’s a look at Roslan’s BUBBLEGUN Vols. 1 & 2:

BubbleGun (Vol.1)
They like the tech, but live for the high stakes! Sisters Molli and Devyn, along with teammates Roman and Kyo-and a stockpile of cutting edge, cyber-punk technology, form a confident team of mercenary thieves able to take on the most formidable jobs around. Yet, when one cyber heist turns out to be more than they bargained for, as a mysterious package and its contents threaten to unravel the group to its core, the menacing worlds of corrupt industry and deadly espionage is unleashed upon them! Join creator and writer Mark Roslan (Broken Pieces), penciler Mike Bowden (World of Warcraft, Ame-Comi Girls), and colorist David Curiel (Idolized, Avenging Spider-Man) on what’s sure to become Aspen’s next hit sci-fi, action adventure series! Strap yourselves in because BUBBLEGUN is gonna take you on a wild ride!
BubbleGun Vol. 2
The BubbleGun crew return for more high stakes jobs! Since the team rescued the group’s newest member, the cyber boy Asher, from the corporate megalomaniac, Drazic, their world has been in constant turmoil! Devyn and Molli find their bandit crew forced to do the bidding of an underworld gangster, Sir Penny, after borrowing and destroying his favorite ship, The Dark Lightning. Yet, even if they survive Sir Penny’s harrowing missions–how will they escape the clutches of a ruthless gangster plotting to kidnap Asher?! Creator and writer Mark Roslan (Broken Pieces) is joined by penciler Angel Tovar and colorist Erick Arciniega on what’s sure to become one of comics’ biggest sci-fi, action adventure series of the summer! Strap yourselves in because BUBBLEGUN is gonna take you on a wild ride!

Roslan’s latest series, PORTAL BOUND, debuted in February this year and brought a more fantasy-based saga that is such a fun read! The series released issue two earlier this month, so now is the perfect time to get caught up before issue three drops June 6th!

Here’s a look at Roslan’s new series PORTAL BOUND!:

PortalBound Vol. 1

Their Future Depends on Each Other as Aspen’s 15-Year Anniversary kicks off with the debut of their newest series! A parallel otherworld exists as a mirror to our own, where science is melded with nature and a warrior spirit defines their true value. A teenage soldier princess, Sybil, is sent off with her Uncle Horuk in an effort to stop her megalomaniac father, Emperor Atilus from destroying two Earths. With a deadly array of monstrous creatures in hot pursuit, Sybil and her uncle race to activate a portal to Earth to find a savior who is also figuring out how to survive…being a teenager!

RELATED: PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of PORTAL BOUND #0

Catch up on the epic fantasy adventure NOW on comiXology!

I had the privilege in discussing with the writer about his love for sci-fi, how he manages to juggle duties as a writer, artist, and the VP at Aspen, and hear Mark reveal how the Death of Superman and the establishing of Image Comics were integral moments which ultimately led him to where he is today in the comic book industry.

PopCultHQ Spotlight Interview

Writer of the Month May 2018:
Mark Roslan

PopCultHQ: How did comic books influence your childhood? What was the defining moment in your life that you knew, from then on, that you wanted to write comic books for a living?

Mark Roslan and letterer Zen
Mark Roslan and letterer Zen

Mark Roslan: I was into art and drawing as far back as I remember. I used to lay on the ground and draw on the underside of our coffee table as if it was the Sistine Chapel. The first comic book I recall reading was IRON MAN #128 where Tony was basically a drunkard the whole issue. You can imagine it didn’t turn nine-year-old me into a fan. But flash forward a couple years later and Superman dying did! That story got my brother and I interested in comic books. One fateful night, my older brother Joe told me all about the formation of IMAGE COMICS. We tried all the new series. I was hooked. The art, the stories, the cliffhangers—it was all so exciting. It’s difficult to say which one specifically made me want to write, they were all so good and precious to me, but it was eight creators banding together to make some cool new exciting stories that triggered that itch to be a comic creator and writer.

PopCultHQ: You’ve been writing for 7+ years now, from 2011’s Broken Pieces, two volumes of BubbleGun, to this year’s new title in Portal Bound. How has your writing style changed since you released Broken Pieces? What changes have you, personally, seen transpire over the years with the industry?

Mark Roslan: BROKEN PIECES was a passion project that I thought I’d never get to write. It’s a very emotional story with complex characters that I spent a long time on. Much longer than any writer working today probably has spent on a six issue story. I’m very proud of how it came together but I’d say I’m a better writer now. Every writer or artist hopefully gets better with every project. BUBBLEGUN felt very natural to me and was a pure joy to write. Unlike with BROKEN PIECES, I wrote the first issue of BUBBLEGUN in two days, which is pretty absurd but I saw the story and action so perfectly in my head. I think the hard work and long hours on BROKEN PIECES really allowed me to grow and develop my style as a writer. PORTAL BOUND was a challenge to figure out, so bringing on board my co-writer Gabe Carrasco was a very smart move. There were too many questions and different paths to take the story, so it really helped to have someone to talk it through with. “Two minds are better than one” still holds true! For all three series, I do the same thing: I write out the whole story from start to finish and revise until it becomes pretty clear how it’s paced out and how the characters change. I don’t know how some writers can tell a story without knowing the ending. I personally need to plan everything out as best I can before starting dialogue.

Mark Roslan with Molli cosplayer
Mark Roslan with Molli cosplayer

PopCultHQ: Your titles feature strong and brilliant sci-fi/fantasy writing. It leads me to believe these genres were a big part of your youth and early beginnings as a writer. How did science fiction and fantasy play a role not only in your life, but in shaping your writing style?

Mark Roslan: Sci-Fi/Fantasy is my favorite genre for sure! Always has been. The idea of a grander or more fantastical world than the one we live in has always interested me. My mom loves to tell stories during the holidays to guests of when I was little boy and my active imagination. I would create the weirdest scenarios that she had no idea how they got in my head. When I was in my teens, I watched as many sci-fi films as I could. I just think that a story is more interesting when you bring something new or unexpected to it, and to make some fantasy appear and feel real is true magic created by the writer.

PopCultHQ: What do you enjoy most about attending and appearing at conventions? How do fans of your work respond when meeting you in person?

Mark Roslan: Conventions are terrific! To meet fans is a pure joy. As a writer, there is no better feeling than to hear someone loves the story you shared with them. Every story holds a piece of the creator in it. For them to share it can sometimes be scary because your putting yourself out there. When it’s well-received, it’s an amazing feeling. In person only magnifies it because you can actually have a conversation about it. Plus, it’s fun for me to also talk to creators that I enjoy and share what I love about their work and have them sign my personal copies.

PopCultHQ: Atop of writing for Aspen Comics, you’re also their VP and an artist across a number of their titles. Do you set any kind of perhaps annual goals for yourself as a writer to accomplish aside from any other role you play?

Mark Roslan: I love comic books, and to contribute in any form is what I live for. I really think comic books are the best form of creative media. When I work on putting a book together or adding to the artwork, I can’t help but think of my own stories in my head. I have a ton of ideas that just need to be fleshed out. I do have a personal goal of one story a year. I’m busy juggling a lot with VP and graphic design duties at Aspen and with my family, so one a year is a realistic goal. I don’t want to overextend myself. I enjoy the process of creating something from scratch and not having to rush it out. I feel like I could write more, but I personally prefer to focus on one story at a time and give it my everything. If I ever find myself with extra time, I scribble notes and expand on outlines, but just keep them to myself or archive them for another time. You could say my goal is just to continue to be creative, regardless of whether it gets published or not.

PopCultHQ: What has been the most important and/or valuable piece of advice you’ve received as a writer in the comic book industry?

Mark Roslan: “Move forward.” While I love to think, revise, rework, rewrite, and overthink it all again, the best advice I received was to move on and keep going. Even though I’m wired to overthink decisions, I remind myself to continue forward. You have to trust your instincts and believe that the next thing you write will be better than the last. It’s not good to try to create perfection. It’s better to live and learn.

Mark Roslan with Michael Valentine
Mark Roslan with Michael Valentine

PopCultHQ: On top of Portal Bound, what’s on tap in 2018 for Mark Roslan? Any conventions and signing appearances lined up?

Mark Roslan: Later this year I’ll be digital-inking Soulfire and an all-new series from Aspen that I’m proud of called Nu Way. For conventions, I’ll be at Phoenix Comic Fest and Long Beach Comic Con, but I’m really looking forward to Comic-Con International: San Diego this year. Aspen Comics is celebrating 15 years of independently making comic books! We plan to have a party to celebrate. My books will be available at the Aspen Comics booth and I’ll be there all week long signing and hanging out with my fellow peers.

PopCultHQ: If you had the power or ability to make one change in the comic book community or industry, what would it be?

Mark Roslan: Great question! I’ll give you two quick ones.

First: I’d like to see more love than hate. Seems the comic community as of late has been the haters with the courage to post on social media more than the enthusiasts. I’d like to see more of what you enjoyed than what disappointed you.

Second: I wish film and television based on comic books would embrace where they originated and say something at the beginning, or during the end credits like, “Find this story or more like it from this series and at your local comic book store.”

PopCultHQ: Which other writers are you reading right now? If given the opportunity, is there a writer currently producing comic books that you’d like to work with (in any capacity)?

Mark Roslan: I really enjoy Brian K Vaughn’s work. Warren Ellis thinks like no other. Rick Remender’s catalog of creations is amazing. And from the big two, Dan Slott and Peter Tomasi have put out very entertaining work month after month. These guys never disappoint and I enjoy reading their books on Wednesday evenings. I do enjoy collaborations. It’s difficult to say who amongst them I would love to work with, but if you held me over a cliff and made me choose one, I would say Mark Millar. To bounce ideas back and forth, pick his brain, and know more about his experiences would put a big smile on my face.

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Special thanks to Mark for making time to speak with PopCultHQ.

To find out more about our May Writer of the Month,
be sure to follow Mark Roslan online!

Writer/Artist – Mark Roslan

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Publisher: Aspen Comics

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About Jason Bennett 3509 Articles
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all! Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett