Mark Poulton has reason to smile. Not only did he just become a father, but he's got a lot to brag about in the world of comics.
Koni Waves, the comic Poulton created for Arcana Studios, is being developed as a television series starring Malese Jow of Vampire Diaries fame, and it also has a spin-off comic, Koni Konfidential, set to debut next year. In August, the main Koni Waves title has a 240-page omnibus coming out in August called The Perfect Wave.
"Every creator, when they write something, always dreams that, 'Oh, wouldn't it be neat if something big happens someday with this.' But I was just happy to have my first comic with my name on it," Poulton said with a laugh. "And to see it collected now in a big collection and have a TV show developed, it's amazing. It's pretty surreal."
As if that weren't enough for the writer, Poulton is also teaming up with one of his heroes, Rob Liefeld, to write Brigade, a new three-issue mini-series debuting this week from Image that brings back the characters in a new way.
"It's a re-imagining, kind of reintroducing those characters to the Extreme universe, but with a more updated take to it," Poulton said. "It's the same characters, for the most part, but just a reimagining."
Poulton broke into the comics world in 2006 when he and artist Stephen Sistill released the first three-issue Koni Waves mini-series. The series tells the story of a female private detective in Hawaii named Koni, and as she solves supernatural mysteries, the comic pays tribute to the horror comics of the '70s.
"Koni Waves has been inspired by a lot of our different influences," Poulton said. "There's a lot of horror in there. Stephen is big into the old Eerie Comics and Modesty Blaise, and I love Scooby Doo. I think some of the Scooby zaniness shows up in the stories."Poulton said Koni is a little different from most female comic heroines because she's flawed. "We came up with Koni as a character who had her own problems, who wasn't the typical perfect hero fighting evil," he said. "And then we started exploring Hawaiian mythology, with their gods and different urban legends, and we came up with the whole Koni universe from there."
Now the character gets a spin-off from Arcana called Koni Konfidential, which shows Koni's solving mysteries that "aren't quite as adult" while in a high school setting. That new series will be previewed at San Diego Comic-Con, and the first graphic novel will come out next year. "Koni Konfidential is aimed at a younger audience," Poulton said.
To celebrate the release of the Koni Konfidential preview book, Arcana will have Malese Jow from Vampire Diaries signing copies of the comic, since she's attached to play Koni in a television show that's in development by Barney Cohen, the creator of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the Canadian vampire series, Forever Knight.
"The TV show is probably going to be the best of both series: a little more serious like Koni Waves but set in high school, like Koni Konfidential," Poulton said. "Malese is 19, and she's perfect for the high school Koni. I always pictured the story as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Hawaii Five-O, so it's not completely unfamiliar when you give people that pitch, but it's still something you haven't seen before. Hawaii has that exotic setting, and the supernatural is just such a great premise and has so much potential for stories."
The Perfect Wave omnibus collects everything from the original First Wave mini-series to more recent releases like Ghouls Gone Wild. The collection ships to stores in August, but Poulton will have early copies available at San Diego Comic-Con, including hardcovers.
"It's all the stories that have come out over the last four years in one volume, but there are 40 new pages, and we've added a whole new ending to it," Poulton said. "It wraps up the entire first story, where Koni battles Prince Hopohopo and his Tiki monsters and surf vampires. I'm really looking forward to it."
With Brigade, Poulton gets to team-up with Liefeld again, who worked with him on a crossover between Koni Waves and Avengelyne last year.
" It's been great because I get to work with one of my heroes. I grew up loving Rob's artwork, and he's my favorite artist," Poulton said. "His New Mutants and X-Force stuff were the first comics I ever noticed who the creators were. And the early Image stuff he did was what inspired me to want to make comics myself."I had been a fan of his, on his message boards, and he took an interest in my work. He's given me a couple jobs through the years," he said. "The first one that was published was when I scripted the back-up story for Image United #2, and he must have been happy with that, because he offered me Brigade."
Liefeld is doing the story while Poulton does the scripts on Brigade, which features the same characters but with a different focus.
"In the earlier Brigade series, I think there was more focus on the action instead of the characters' backgrounds," Poulton explained. "So we've been giving a little more attention to them. Originally, they were just a vigilante team, but now they have a function where the government put them together to serve as a defense against alien invasion. So for the most part, it's the same characters, but with a different premise."
This release of Brigade is intended to be a three-issue mini-series, but Poulton said that, "hopefully, if it does well, we can do more."
Poulton will also be premiering a new magazine with Arcana called Zadora, and the first issue will have an interview with Stan Lee, with previews available at San Diego. He also co-wrote the graphic novel Khan: The Perfect Warrior about Genghis Khan, and has a new collection coming out of his series Velvet Rope and Koni Team-Ups.
"It's pretty cool this year to have so much coming out for San Diego," Poulton said. "Plus, I'm taking my son for the first time this year, so that's even better."