Anthony Marques is pretty busy these days. Not only is the artist running The Kubert School, but he is also penciling DC’s all-ages book Batman: The Audio Adventures, a seven-issue companion series to the HBO Max scripted podcast.
Marques chatted with The Beat about drawing the Dark Knight and what’s happening inside The Kubert School these days.
Deanna Destito: So what’s going on with Batman: The Audio Adventures?
Anthony Marques: Batman is a lot of fun. I’m having a really great time doing it right now. We’re really happy with the way that is coming out. So many cool characters, big characters. All the main villains are in this. And you get to draw Batman and Robin fighting them. It’s really a dream come true kind of a job.
It’s seven issues written by Dennis McNicholas, and it has artwork by myself on pencils and J. Bone doing the inks and Dave Stewart doing colors. So it’s really a pretty incredible team putting it all together from editorial all the way down to letters [by Ferran Delgado].
It’s based off of the audio adventure show, which is up on HBO Max, and from there you can see all the different character designs that I did. And season two just launched, I believe. So we’re really excited with where this is going, and this bridges the gap between seasons one and two. It’s really beautiful and sad and heroic and everything that you want in the Batman story.
Destito: So this series is basically in canon between the two seasons for the show? Where does that fit in the overall canon of Batman?
Marques: That’s what’s really fun about this story; it kind of pulls from all the different aspects of Batman throughout time. We kind of joke about that. This is kind of Batman ‘66 meets Quentin Tarantino because it’s not campy, but it’s also not over the top serious, which I think sometimes it can be these days.
This is a really kind of a general Batman for everybody, where if you’re not really up to date with what’s happening, you can pick this up and really just enjoy. You can read it with your kids, you can give it to anybody, and you have a really good experience. Dennis, like I said, is writing a really great take on the character. Batman and Robin are really Batman and Robin the way that you would expect their voices to be, and all the characters are true to who they are, and it’s just really fun.
Destito: Has the podcast been picked up for another season?
Marques: Well, season two just came out, so I’m hoping. I think it’s a great show. If you haven’t checked it out, I would say give it a listen. It’s really fun. Very similar to what I’m talking about with the comic. It goes from being kind of funny and serious to being really scary at times. Their takes on the Penguin and the Joker are pretty scary, so it’s very good. I hope it just keeps on going. It expands. I’d love to see a whole universe of these type of shows.
Destito: Any plans for other heroes to get a podcast like this one and in the same universe?
Marques: I sure hope so, and I hope that I get to be the guy that draws it all.
Destito: Favorite Batvillain?
Marques: Okay, I’m going to do two. Killer Croc for the book that we’re doing right now. Killer Croc is so good. Such a tragic character. He’s really fun to draw. I should never read reviews, but I read a review, and one of them said that he looks like a muppet, and I kind of love that.
I don’t want to be generic and be like, oh, the Joker, but I guess Mr. Freeze. But then, that’s The Animated Series version. That’s why when we’re talking about this series in particular, we get to pull from everything and do their versions of the characters that we really love.
Destito: There are so many incarnations of his rogue’s gallery, too. Do you have a least favorite version of a villain?
Marques: You know, I think they’re all pretty good. Everybody has their own kind of take on things, and I guess it depends on the story that’s being told. And as long as it works within that story, then I’m okay with it. I know that’s such a cop-out answer! That’s not juicy at all. It’s like, “This guy has some real lame material, he likes Nilla wafers probably.”
Destito: Nillas are delicious, by the way.
Marques: They are delicious. Those are one of my favorite cookies. Here’s your headline, talking Batman and Nilla Wafers.
Destito: What else is on deck for you in comics?
Marques: We’re also working on the Stan Lee Just Imagine universe. There’s a big one-shot coming out in December so I’m working on one of the stories for that. I just got asked to work on another secret project over at Dynamite, and I’m really excited about that as well, but always looking to hopefully get to work on Superman at some point because that’s the dream. That’s the goal. Once I get there, then I’ll sit down, eat my Nilla wafers, and stop drawing forever.
[The Dynamite series is] pretty super secret, but I think if you’re paying attention to what they’ve been doing recently, you’ll figure it out.
Destito: Like Disney recently?!
Marques: I mean, that’s a pretty good direction to go. I love going to Florida.
Destito: So what’s going on over at the school?
Marques: We have so many great new programs going on. We have our full-time program, which has been open for 47 years, and we now have a bunch of different options for students. So they can do it in person or they can do it online.
We have our online studies, which are going to be kicking off for the fall, the week of November 7. So those are open and available for registration on our website. We have our Saturday morning kids classes that kick off every single month, and those are a great way to get young artists out there using their imagination and playing around with designing different characters and learning about narrative art.
And then we also have a brand new program which we haven’t talked about anywhere yet, which is going to be our adult professional program, and that’s going to be three days a week and have some really incredible instructors. And it’s going to run from January until May.
Destito: Taylor Esposito works for you still, right? He has a lot of lettering classes. And Amy Chu?
Marques: Taylor is still there. Amy too. Maria Sanapo and Marco Santucci actually just came out from Italy, and they actually taught an in-person and online workshop at the school. We also get to have a bunch of different guest speakers throughout the year. Andy Kubert came out. Brittany Holzherr from DC. And then Karen Berger was at the school yesterday from Berger Books over at Dark Horse.
We have Mike Marts, who’s going to be teaching for our online studies courses in the fall. He’s teaching a class called Editorial Strategies. So I think that that’s a really incredible new class that people can pick up and learn about how to get your series going in the right direction and ensuring that you’re putting out a quality book. Suzannah Rowntree, who’s an animator from California, she’s going to be teaching our basics of animation class for online studies. And then we also have some returning favorites like Abe Audish who’s a director for Cartoon Network. He’s teaching storyboarding. Fernando Ruiz, he’s going to be teaching Basic Drawing. And Emma Kubert, who teaches narratives for online studies as well.
It’s a commercial art school. So now some people might even say, well, what is commercial art? What we do is teach you different ways of getting into art that pays. So when you go into a supermarket and you look around, all of those different things that you see were done by designers and artists. Every package, everything that you see everywhere has an artist involved. And so we teach you all those sort of jobs. We teach you graphic design, we teach you marketing, we teach you advertising. We teach you storyboarding, narrative art, sequential storytelling, which is using your artwork to tell a story.
We want you to be hireable. That’s so important to us at the school. We also created an art agency to start getting our students working as soon as they graduate, or even when they are students.
Destito: What else should people know about The Kubert School?
Marques: I would say that one of the other things that people forget about the school is that we also have an incredible art store. The Kubert Art Store has been around almost as long as the school itself, and we have some of the most top-notch supplies that you could get that are out there.
We also have our own comic shop located at the facility as well. Dewey’s Comic City. And that’s another great resource for our students not only just to go down and pick up comics–and we do this for our faculty and for the students–to actually pick up comics and put them out because we want the students to know what’s going on in the industry, see what the latest trends are, be aware of who is working on what, know the editors that are working out there. So we actually incorporate that into our business class to make sure to bring the students down there and pay attention to what’s happening in the industry.
Batman: Audio Adventures #2 is out this week!