Thursday, May 14, 2009

5 Quick Questions with Carl Potts

Carl Potts is an American comic-book writer, artist, and editor best known for creating the series Alien Legion for the Marvel Comics imprint Epic Comics.

After contributing to such comics fanzines as the anthology Venture, Potts drew backgrounds and some secondary figures for a late fill-in issue of DC Comics' Richard Dragon: Kung Fu Fighter, being drawn by comics artists Jim Starlin and Alan Weiss.

Potts freelanced briefly until joining Neal Adams' commercial-art company and comic-book packager Continuity Studios. He was involved with storyboard and comp art for major New York ad agencies. He also produced finished-illustration for magazines and books for several years before joining Marvel's editorial staff in 1983.

At Marvel as an editor, Potts worked with such notable comics creators as Jon Bogdanove, Jim Lee, Mike Okamoto, Whilce Portacio, Steve Skroce, Larry Stroman, and Scott Williams early in their careers. He oversaw the development of The Punisher from guest star to franchise character, and edited such titles as The Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, Alpha Flight, The Defenders as well as the newly created Power Pack and Strikeforce: Morituri.

After hours, Potts continued to write and produce occasional art for Marvel, and in 1983 teamed with Alan Zelenetz and Frank Cirocco to co-create the series Alien Legion, conceived as "the French Foreign Legion in space." Two ongoing series and several miniseries and one-shots were produced.

In 1989, Potts was named executive editor in charge of the Epic imprint, and about a third of the mainstream Marvel titles. Five years later, he became editor-in-chief of the "General Entertainment" and Epic Comics divisions.

After 13 years at Marvel, Potts left to become Creative Director at VR-1, a massively multiplayer online game company. He then worked with Gary Winnick and Cirocco's Lightsource Studios before become senior creative director of the New York City office of He also consults for publishing, entertainment and interactive clients including HarperCollins, Tokyopop, Mainframe Entertainment, The Learning Company and Funrise Toys.

He agreed to answer 5 Quick Questions:

1) What would you say is your greatest achievement in comics?

As an editor, I can probably boil it down to two. One, developing the Punisher from a second-string character into a publishing franchise that also spawned numerous licensed merchandise deals, games and major media productions. Two, finding and developing a lot of quality comics talent including Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Scott Williams, Larry Stroman, Chris Warner, Jon Bogdanov…

As a creator, creating Alien Legion would be the choice. An Alien Legion screenplay has been optioned to a major studio. Waiting to see if it’ll end up in front of the cameras. A new comprehensive set of trade paperbacks will collect all of the Alien Legion comics done in the past and work has begun on a new series as well.

2) Who was your favorite writer or artist that you worked with & why?

Writer: Louise “Weezie” Simonson was a real pleasure to work with on Power Pack. Denny O’Neil on Last of the Dragons would be right up there too.

Artist: Jim Lee

3) What character you have never worked .., would you like to do & why?

I grew up as a Steve Ditko fan. I only got to write/draw one Spider-Man story (for Marvel Fanfare) but that was with the black costume so I’d like to draw one in the traditional costume. I did get to write and draw an issue of Dr. Strange. I guess The Creeper and The Questions would be the other main Ditko characters I’d like to have a crack at.

4) Who are your influences?

Ditko was my first big comic book artist influence. Later Neal Adams and Steranko were influences. A lot of American Illustrators including Dean Cornwell, Norman Rockwell, Mead Schaeffer, etc. Many other influences too numerous to list.

5) What hero or villain would you like to change if you could and why?

For the most part, the Punisher has been handled very poorly in the films. He’s a simple character. That simplicity, ironically, makes him easy to screw up. The Punisher films have also exhibited an amazing lack of internal story logic. I’d like to write a screenplay that fulfills the character’s potential for the big screen.

Check out Carl's blog at

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