With the release of Image’s Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #1 earlier this month, readers got their early enrollment into a school for super villains. Created by New Brighton Archeological Society’s Mark Andrew Smith and artist Armand Villavert, Gladstone’s shows the children of the most vicious villains how to keep up the family traditions of evil. The first issue sold out just weeks after its release and both a second printing second issue due out in just weeks, Newsarama sat down with the writer to fill us in on what comes next.
Newsarama: You’re no stranger to stories of kids in super circumstances with New Brighton Archeological Society in your past, but this one takes on super-heroes – and being the child of a super villain. What can you tell us about Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors, Mark?
Mark Andrew Smith: Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors takes place at a top-secret academy where children of the world's greatest super villains go to learn the family trade. Kid Nefarious, Mummy Girl, Martian Jones, Ghost Girl, and the infamous Skull brothers must navigate the trials of Gladstone's as they unearth the school's and their parents' hidden past.
Nrama: And just who or what is the school’s namesake, Gladstone?
Smith: Gladstone was a down on his luck villain who set out, in a Napoleon Hill fashion, to find out what made some villains A-list and others C-list villains like himself. Gladstone set out to create a school where super villainy would be taught as a science. Along the way things take a terrible turn for Gladstone and his school is taken over by a villain named Ironsides. Ironsides keeps the name and runs Gladstone’s his own way. Trust us, it’s for the best.
Nrama: How long has the school been around?
Smith: Gladstone’s has been around for fifteen years.
Nrama: There are some lively characters here; tell us about them.
Smith: id Nefarious is the son of two heavy hitters in the Gladstone’s Universe, Mr. and Mrs. Nefarious. He’s ambitious and puts a lot of pressure on himself to perform and to try to reach the same heights his parents have reached. The problem is that they’ve had a lifetime to do it and he wants to be where they’re at right now. It’s laughable and funny to watch Kid Nefarious get so wound up and to take everything so seriously.
Mummy Girl is a mystical villain. She has mummy wraps that act as hands and she can do ancient Egyptian magic attacks in battle. She looks cute and nice, but beware, she’s incredibly strong and powerful.Ghost Girl is the daughter of two supernatural heavy hitters. She can change form and get into the most secure location without anyone ever knowing she was there. She has some great attacks in battle that you’ll get to see in issue #4.
Martian Jones is a perfectionist, a teacher’s pet, and a science villain. He’s gets everything perfect without seeming to put effort into it. This drives Kid Nefarious crazy. Martian Jones has telepathy and a small army of machines and inventions working for him. As a Martian, conquering comes naturally.
The Skull Brothers are my favorite characters in the series. We never see their faces and they’re the ones who know what’s really going on at the school. They’re complete wildcards in the series. Hands down, they’re my favorites.
Nrama: What kind of classes could one expect at Gladstone’s?
Smith: Giant Monsters 101, Mystical Relics, a History of Intergalactic Conquests, you name it and Gladstone’s teaches it. I want to go there and study. That would be so cool to go to Hogwarts for villains.
Nrama: If these guys are the villains, who are their, um, villain villains?
Smith: There are villains among the villains and villains among the heroes. It’s complicated but I think it’s the dance that makes it so fun to figure out.
Nrama: Somewhere out there, is there a mirror-image school for super-heroes?
Smith: Somewhere in this world there is a mirror-image school for superheroes but we’re not planning on going there for a while. Our focus right now is establishing the larger Gladstone’s universe and the world of the parents. This world is viewed through the students of Gladstone’s eyes. We’re going to focus on the villains for now, but I have an idea for later that would be interesting in that facet.
Nrama: Working with you on this is Armand Villavert, who just came from doing four issues of Muppet Robin Hood. How’d you two hook up, and what made him the right fit for this book?
Smith: Armand had just finished a series called ZAPT! and I saw his work online and knew he was the perfect artist to work with to create Gladstone’s. His style is very fun and he does a great job with characters and expressions and the book feels very alive because of his work on it. He’s the perfect artist for Gladstone’s.
Nrama: In the original solicits, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors #1 was set to come out on May 25th – but the first issue already came out. As a certain comic-loving wrestler would say… what’s up with that?
Smith: It was always May 4th, because I’ve been counting down the days. June 15th is the second issue. I’ve really been doing everything I can to keep us on schedule and we’re ahead with material. The next two issues are real treats for readers because they’re all 32 pages of actual story. Between the first three issues there are over a hundred pages. There isn’t another book on the market that’s giving readers as much work and dedication as we are. We give people more than they expect.
Nrama: I haven’t seen you answer this before, but is Gladstone’s a miniseries or an ongoing?
Smith: We’re setting our sights on Gladstone’s as an ongoing series and are going to create an entire universe of villains and mythology. I think it’s going to be a great time for everyone. We’re doing our best to make sure that they run on time and that’s extremely important to us.
Nrama: For people that have already read #1, what can they expect in #2?
Smith: Issue #2 is a fight issue but a very energetic fight issue. There are three different well-crafted and meaningful fights in issue #2 that serve the purpose of the larger story on almost every page.
One fight is staged. The other fight is real.
You’ll have to read it to find out more. And yes, I hope I’ve done my best to pique your curiosity with that statement.Visit Newsarama on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and tell us what you think!