Marcus Muller is a comic creator and freelance artist who has worked with DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Locust Moon Press. He’s also has worked as a concept artist for the video game industry. His latest venture is King of the Unknown, an exciting and interesting webcomic that features a fat Elvis. Currently Marcus is in the process of putting together the first graphic novel for King of the Unknown, which should be out in 2016. Marcus wears many hats on this project and works as its writer, illustrator, colorer and letterer.
The webcomic is on hiatus as Muller works on the graphic novel, getting it ready for print. The graphic novel will be around 120 pages and Marcus still has plans to keep the webcomic going, telling shorter King of the Unknown stories. Marcus loves digital comics, but he grew up on print versions and is excited to see his series in hard copy for the first time. Marcus has been hitting all the comic cons and promoting his work. He took time from his busy schedule to talk to Comics Beat and let us know what is up.
Seth Ferranti: What is King of the Unknown about?
Marcus Muller: The short of it is that after a supernatural mishap that transforms him, fat Elvis fakes his death to become the premiere paranormal investigator for a secret government agency. Tonally, I’ve heard people describe it as a cross between the X-Files and the Venture Bros, which I guess is a pretty fair assessment of it. I try to have a good balance between, horror, comedy, the paranormal, and action in the comic. I’ve always had a fascination with the paranormal and occult, so I use this comic as a vehicle to combine a lot of my interests (music, the supernatural, geeky stuff, bad conspiracy theories, etc.). If I’m going to spend this much time on something, then I want it to be something I would be interested in reading myself, so I basically put everything into it that would make it my dream comic to work on.
Ferranti: What role did you play in King of the Unknown‘s creation?
Muller: On King of the Unknown, other than having my buddy Andrew Carl edit the comic, and my brother help out coloring a few of the early pages, it’s all me on the comic. I am the creator, writer, illustrator, colorist, and letterer on it. It’s not the fastest way to do things, but it is the most affordable for me, and I have this OCD about having to do all of that stuff haha
The actual creation of the comic dates back to 2007 when my friends Amado Rodriguez and Bud Burgy were putting together an anthology focusing on mid-western creators called Muscles & Fights and asked me to contribute a story for it. So it was in Muscles & Fights volume 2 that King of the Unknown made its debut when King fought a Skunkape in a trailer park down south. From those humble beginnings he would then appear in the third volume of Muscles & Fights before I started the webcomic in 2011.
It was those short stories in M&F though that were the genesis for the full comic, as before I even finished the first M&F comic, I had quickly developed a whole back-story and world for the King and his adventures with the unknown. It’s at the point where I now have the whole series planned out from beginning to end in my notebooks here.
Ferranti: How long have you been working in comics and on what projects have you worked on?
Muller: Professionally (meaning getting a paycheck for it), I’ve been working in comics since around 2006-2007. I think it was around that time that I got some work from DC Comics Creative Services Department penciling a few comics. Since then I’ve had work published by Dark Horse Comics and Locust Moon Press on such books as Once Upon a Time Machine, and the recent Eisner nominated Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. I’ve also done some concept artwork for video games at High Voltage Studios.
Doing freelance art for a living I pick up a lot of odd jobs, so I’m kind of all over the place taking whatever I can get to make a buck off my art. It ain’t easy and sleep becomes my enemy, while coffee and music become my best friends that get me through a work day. I would love to one day make a living off of just my creator owned work, as that’s what my heart is into doing and where I feel like I have the most to offer.
Ferranti: When is the King of the Unknown graphic novel coming out?
Muller: The plan is for the first 120 page OGN to be out in 2016 with the next follow-up graphic novel the year after that. I grew up on print comics, so that’s my preferred format for the comic, but I still plan on doing something with the website, which I’ll probably use to tell short KotU stories. The website was doing fairly well until it went on hiatus, so I’d like to bring that back on a regular basis in some form.
Ferranti: What comic cons have you been to recently? How do you promote your work there and how do you like the con scene?
Muller: Admittedly, self promotion and conventions aren’t my strong suit since I’d rather be chained to a table working on art with music blaring, but I tabled at C2E2 this past April where I pushed a lot of King of the Unknown merchandise, and there was a strong response to the material. Besides KotU prints, I had a preview comic for King of the Unknown there, and of the 40 copies I brought with, I sold out of nearly all of them, and ending up going home with only about 5 copies left after the convention. I was told by a lot of people that prints sell really well at the convention, but that wasn’t the case for me, as everyone wanted that comic. That’s something that I was happy to see, as you’re always hearing stories that no one goes to comic conventions anymore to actually get comics.
Also, if people reacted like that to just the short preview comic, then I can’t wait to get the full graphic novel out there and see what the response is, and get KotU out there on a larger scale. I’m really excited about this comic, and can’t wait to get it out there in all of its full weirdness for people to see!
Ferranti: What is next for you?
Muller: Right now I’m finishing up a few side projects before I dive full tilt into the King of the Unknown OGN. The KotU graphic novel is going to be my main project for a while, and we’ll see how that goes. I’ll be expanding my convention presence to promote that as well, so if you find me at a convention you’ll be able to see a preview of the book there, as well as pick up some limited edition King of the Unknown merchandise. For some non-KotU related things coming up that you can check out my work on in the immediate future, I have a Street Fighter piece in the Udon Capcom Fighting Tribute book that debuts at the San Diego Comic Con, and I’ll be doing the cover on the next Scary School book. Like I mentioned, I’m kind of all over the place with my work, so check in and follow me on your favorite social media to see the latest project I’m working on.
Connect with Marcus Muller on social media and check out King of the Unknown!
Seth Ferranti writes for VICE, The Fix, Don Diva and other media outlets. He runs www.gorillaconvict.com, www.thegr1nd.com and has 8 true crime books out, one of which, The Supreme Team, is now being adapted into a graphic novel with Stache Publishing.