Checking in with Mark Poulton and Koni Waves

Mark Poulton and Arcana’s Koni Waves have been slowly taking the comic book industry by storm. The success of the first series has led to a second volume, Koni Waves: Ghouls Gone Wild! and a Koni Waves/Demonslayer crossover. Having hooked up with the likes of Marat Michaels, Adema, and Rob Liefeld through working on Koni Waves, the future seems bright for Mark. JXM checked in with him to discuss Koni’s new releases and its success.

JXM: With the upcoming June release of the collected first series, Koni Waves: First Wave, tell us about the success of Koni Waves and your thoughts about it. How has it changed things for you and your career?

Mark: Koni Waves has been out a little more than one year and I can’t believe everything we have accomplished. I believed in the book, but with so many different comics to choose from, I thought it would be easy to get lost in the mix. I mean we came out on the same week as Infinite Crisis #7 and Civil War #1! It would have been easy to get overlooked. Needless to say, I’m extremely grateful for the support we’ve gotten. From Diamond naming us one of their Certified Cool picks to having the comic appear in three different television shows to great websites like Jaded Expressions being in on the ground floor with Koni, we really appreciate it.

One of the great things is we have been able to do exactly what we wanted with the character and series. Every suggestion we’ve thrown at Arcana has been met with an enthusiastic thumbs up from our publisher, Sean O’Reilly. It’s been a great relationship. And on a personal note, having Koni under my belt has helped me get a few other projects launched that hopefully people will see in the near future.

Tell us about the upcoming Koni Waves/Demonslayer crossover, also slated for June. How did you get involved with Marat Mychaels and what was the appeal of his character to you?

Mark: The Koni Waves/Demonslayer crossover is our first book in colour. Doing the old school black and white stories was a lot of fun, but we felt it was necessary to make the move to color. After seeing the pages, I really think it takes the book to the next level.

As far as teaming-up, originally Sean asked how Steve, Dex, and I felt about doing a team-up with Koni. I was all for it. As a fan, seeing one of my favorite characters team up with someone I might not be as familiar with was always exciting. Originally, Narwain was looking to do a team-up with an Arcana character for their book Jenna. Koni was one of the suggestions. In the end, they chose doing a team-up with 100 Girls and I can’t blame them. 100 Girls is a fantastic book that has received great reviews. Plus at the time, there wasn’t even one issue of Koni on the shelves so we were really the new kid on the block that no one knew anything about.

I was a little bummed we didn’t get picked, but at the same time I was really intrigued with doing a team-up. Asking Marat about Demonslayer only seemed natural. He had done a backcover for issue 1 of the original series and had been really supportive. Plus, I’m an old school Image fan and followed the series during its time there as well as when it moved over to Avatar Press. When I approached Marat with the idea he was very enthusiastic. I think the story turned out great. Demonslayer fits into the Koni world very easily and the story plays into current Koni continuity. Plus, it was an opportunity to work with one of my favorite artists. Marat provided the cover to the book and I actually got to draw the variant cover which will be used as a retailer incentive.

JXM: The graphic novel, Koni Waves: Ghouls Gone Wild! is coming up in October. Tell us more about the series and what fans can expect? Where are you taking Koni this time around and how is it different from the first series?

Koni Waves: Ghouls Gone Wild! is going to be an original graphic novel containing 3 new Koni adventures. It’s more of the sassiest occult crime fighter Hawaii has ever seen. Like with the Demonslayer team-up and all Koni books after it, it will be in full color! Readers will find Koni battling armies of fiendish ghouls, the Dred-Succubus, and the White Wolf of Waikiki. I think the biggest difference when comparing these stories to the first Koni series, was how much we have grown in our storytelling. I think we are telling better stories. Plus, there’s a running back-story in each adventure that will lead into the next Koni Waves graphic novel. We hope to do a graphic novel a year. Getting into the book market and heavy graphic novel publishing is a major goal for Arcana in 2007 and Ghouls Gone Wild! will be a big part of it!

JXM: Recording artists, Adema, guest star in Koni Waves: Ghouls Gone Wild!. How did you hook up with the guys and what inspired the story?

Mark: It all started on MySpace. I had seen Adema had their own page so I added them as my friends and then saw the individual members of the band had their own pages so I added all of them individually as well. They are my favorite band so I just wanted to keep up with what they were doing like any fan would. Around the same time I was trying to come up with some story ideas for Ghouls Gone Wild! Originally I thought it would be cool to do a story where a film crew came to Hawaii to film a movie and the set was haunted. I then rethought it and decided it would be cooler if a band came to the island to film a music video. I even thought we might be able to land a real band… never did I think I would be working with my favorite band, Adema! Coincidentally, Kris Kohls, the drummer for Adema, had seen me add him as a new friend on MySpace and decided to check out my page. He commented on how cool he thought Koni Waves looked and the rest is history…

The band has been great to work with. They are just as excited to be in the comic as I am to have them in it. Plus, they have a new CD coming out this summer so I get to help them promote it in the storyline. The story, “The Island of Ghosts,” is actually inspired by a real Hawaiian myth about the island of Lanai. Lanai’s earliest inhabitants were said to be man-eating spirits and ghouls controlled by the sorceress, Pahulu. In the comic, Prince Hopohopo summons Pahulu and her army of ghouls to put a stop to ADEMA filming their music video. Luckily for them, Koni is an old friend and is on hand to work security.

JXM: What other Koni Waves projects can fans expect in the near future?

Mark: Koni is teaming up with 10th Muse this coming July! The story will be released by Bluewater Productions as the bonus story in their 10th Muse Team-Ups TPB. It’s written by Darren Davis with art by Nate Watson. I’ve already read it and I think they did a fantastic job. Plus, it’s an honor to even be asked to team-up with 10th Muse. She’s one of my favorite characters and has teamed up with some legendary characters during her run. To see Koni on the cover side by side with Muse, Savage Dragon, and Shi is just a really cool feeling.

Also, Koni Waves will be part of the War of the Independents in 2008. As part of the series, she will have her own tie-in special where she teams up with Bluewater Productions’ Orion the Hunter and hip-hop legends Public Enemy! Talk about one of the wildest team-ups ever! Steve Sistilli has already painted the cover for it and it is incredible.

JXM: With the amount of Koni crossovers and tie-ins coming up, are there any other characters you’d love to see Koni team up with?

Mark: Absolutely! Vampirella was a huge influence for Steve’s artwork so I would love to see a Koni/Vampirella team-up. I think a Koni/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team-up would be a lot of fun. The turtles already talk like they are surfers so it would be a perfect fit. And Scooby Doo has always been a big influence for me with the book. So to keep the Scooby Doo vibe going, we would have to have some more real-life guest stars. I’d love to see Tony Hawk in the pages of Koni! Maybe we can get a Koni Waves skateboard deck out of it!

JXM: You’ve already teamed up with some of your heroes yourself, like Rob Liefeld and Marat Mychaels. Is there anyone else you’d still hope to collaborate with in the future?

Mark: I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Marat on a couple of projects. Plus, I did an unpublished Bloodwulf story for Rob awhile back. Now, Rob’s doing a Koni cover! Rob is my hero and the reason I wanted to get into comics. Seeing one of my comics with his artwork on it will be a dream come true.

So I have gotten to work with my two favorite artists, my favorite rock band… who else would I want to work with? Well, before getting into comics I had optioned a couple screenplays out in Hollywood. The movies never made it out of development, but it’s still something I would very much like to do. I feel I have some unfinished business there. Growing up in the 80s I was a huge fan of movies like The Lost Boys and License to Drive. I would love to write the comeback movie for the Coreys! They have a new TV show coming out this summer so I think the time is right for a new Coreys movie. I actually already wrote a horror-comedy with them in mind that’s reminiscent of the great 80s horror films that were so fun like The Lost Boys and Fright Night. So if Haim and Feldman are out there reading this: Give me a call!

JXM: Outside of Koni Waves, what else is in store for Mark Poulton in the future?

Mark: Well, Koni takes up a lot of my time, but I have several other projects in the works. I’ve written a couple of books for Marat. One is a three issue series called Genesis. The title character actually makes her first appearance in Koni Waves/Demonslayer. The other book for Marat is called ShotXShot. Jim Hanna from Arcana’s Philly series will be working on that with us too. Plus, Sean O’Reilly asked me to help him develop an animated film that’s in the real early stages. Finally, I promised my wife I would finally write my children’s book that I have wanted to write for years. I told her I would complete it by the end of the summer so I should probably wrap up this interview and get working on it.

Thanks again for your time and look for the Koni Waves: First Wave TPB and Koni Waves/Demonslayer one-shot on June 27! As always, keep up with all things Koni at