Last week (Tuesday, Nov. 27) I had the pleasure of interviewing Mort Todd for my radio show, PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO. This was what I called a 'career-spanning' interview, and a one-hour show could only scratch the surface! Listen to the interview here!
Mort Todd, while only in his early 20s, was the Editor-in-Chief of CRACKED Magazine. From there, it's been a very diversified career in comics including publishing his own mag, MONSTERS ATTACK, launching the MARVEL MUSIC line of comics over at the House of Ideas, working with such greats as Dan Clowes on various projects and with comics legend Steve Ditko on pitching Ditko's objectivist hero MR. A as a television series! Other things Mort has worked on include the comic strip versions of SPEED RACER and RAT FINK, independent filmmaking and rock & roll posters and album covers. Mort's creator-owned works include BAT LADY and MOLLY THE MODEL, the first interactive strip.
Among Mort's current works are SADISTIK, his adaptation of the European cult classic photo-comic, KILLING. Mort is a producer of the SADISTIK documentary, DIABOLIKAL SUPER CRIMINAL. The film had it's world premire last month in Italy and Mort is currently involved with the distribution phase of the film. All the while continuing to produce new comics and photonovels based on this phenom.
I met Mort through an interesting Ebay transaction. I had seen some copies of Marvel Comics' BOOK OF THE DEAD and CURSE OF THE WEIRD listed. These comics were edited by Mort in the 90s and featured rare, 1950s pre-Code horror comics from icons such as Wolverton, Ditko, Everett, Heath and Orlando. Well, one of the issues reprinted a very rare story. The first appearance of The Zombie, Simon Garth. Created by artist Bill Everett and writer Stan Lee! Well, I ordered the books and a few weeks later I received the package. Only problem was, the issue with the Zombie was missing! I wrote the seller, explaining that the book was missing from the package. Soon, I received the comic in the mail. I thanked the seller and explained that normally I wouldn't have fussed too much, but I had really wanted that issue! I went on about how much I loved the old Marvel artists and also shared that I was a publisher of my own book.
At that point Mort told me about his own love for the classic comics and that he was in fact a comic creator himself. We immediately hit if off and exchanged packages of our own comics. Eventually, we got along so good that back in 2005, when we hosted our first panel to show the teaser trailer for the EL MUERTO film, I asked Mort if he could moderate the panel!
And that led to me actually working with Mort on a project. When it was decided that we would be including an EL Muerto comic book with the DVD release of EL MUERTO, I knew I wanted to work with Mort on it. He had often told me about wanting to work with me on a project anyways, so this was ideal. I wrote the story and did rough layouts while Mort handled the finished art with his inking and digital coloring. He also lettered the book and handled production. With all his years of experience, and his much faster production speed, he really made the book happen. I learned some things from him that helped improve my writing and layout choices. Mort's mantra was too make the book a lot more contemporary-looking, and I really applaud the final choices that were made.
When it came time to plan my first episodes on PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO, I knew Mort was one creator I definitely wanted to interview. I've heard the playback of the show and I think it came out really good. Certainly there is a lot of information on the man's interesting career. And I feel that I'm getting into the groove of this interview stuff! When I think too much about what I'm going to say, I feel that I tend to stumble around a bit. It's when I start talking in a more rapid rire, spontaneous manner that I'm satisfied I'm putting on a good show. But every step I take to get to that point is good. You only get better and something you do regularly, and everything anyone does always sounds/looks rougher in the beginning.
Mort is an enjoyable guest. Hope to have him over again in future shows.
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