Marc Sumerak has always been a Marvel guy. He was an intern there in college, and shortly after graduation joined the editorial staff, working as an assistant to Tom Brevoort, the company's current senior vice president of publishing.
Following a few years of that, he's worked as a freelance writer for Marvel on many projects, including Power Pack, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and the Eisner and Harvey-nominated Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius.
For his creator-owned debut, though, Sumerak is moving to San Diego-based IDW, with the 112-page original graphic novel All-Ghouls School, out this August. Once you hear the name, you can probably guess what the story is about: a finishing school for young female monsters, complete with pun-tastic names like Francis Steinberg and Gillian LaGune.
"The story follows a girl named Becca Norman, and she's your average high school sophomore," Sumerak says. "She's a bright, popular girl, who has kind of fallen in with the wrong crowd. Becca, who's a pretty good soul, has slowly been dragged down by these other kids and their attitudes, and ends up finding herself embroiled in a bit of a cheating scandal that her friends have orchestrated."Exclusive interior art
from All-Ghouls School.Becca is faced with summer school at Darkmoor Academy, an institute of learning that, as local legend has it, is haunted. Turns out those legends happen to be absolutely true.
"We've got a whole range of characters, that kind of fit every classic monster archetype," Sumerak says. "We've got everything from demons, to reanimated constructs, to zombies. We've got swamp monsters, we've got witches, all of your random creatures of the night."
Sumerak first conceived of the idea for All-Ghouls School in 2004, shortly after transitioning from editing to writing. He says the only major type of famous monster you won't see in the book is vampires, saying they're "a little bit overdone" in contemporary pop culture (without mentioning Twilight by name).
Though All-Ghouls School will be released by IDW, the book has a lot in common with Sumerak's Marvel work. It's also all-ages, and the writer says producing stories appropriate for younger audiences is "absolutely essential for the survival of comics."Exclusive interior art
from All-Ghouls School."A lot of us started reading decades ago and the comics grew up with us," Sumerak says. "As they matured and as we matured, the overall flavor of the market has altered along the way. We need to have books that are friendly for a younger generation of readers. "
More than that, though, it's clear from his resume — at Marvel, Sumerak edited the acclaimed teen drama Sentinel series by Sean McKeever and Udon — that he simply gravitates to all-ages material.
"It was just a really natural fit for me," Sumerak says. "Even when I was in editorial, I always enjoyed working on books that explored the lives of younger characters. I always think it's great to be able to look at these kinds of universes — whether they're superheroes, or monsters, or just fantasy worlds — through the eyes of someone who hasn't experienced it before, and young characters are great for that."Exclusive interior art
from All-Ghouls School.Adding to the book's accessibility is the basic format of an original graphic novel — rather than hunting around for all the issues of a story, All-Ghouls School is a one-shot, self-contained tale.
"We wanted to make it a nice, simple, done-in-one package, that when people pick it up, they get a whole story, they don't have to worry about seeking out multiple issues to get a completed tale," Sumerak says, "but at the same time, we definitely wanted to leave things open in case there's a chance of doing more in the future."
David Bryant is the artist on the series, who Sumerak met through Brian Miller of the book's coloring team, Hi-Fi.
"They sent me some sample pages, they were absolutely gorgeous, and I knew right away that he was the right person for this job," Sumerak says.Following All-Ghouls School, Sumerak reports that he's planning more creator-owned work, though nothing that's quite ready to be announced yet. Until then, expect All-Ghouls School promotion at this month's Comic-Con International: San Diego, including 10 con-exclusive character trading cards. Got a comment? There's lots of Newsarama conversation on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.