Mississauga Comic Expo – Tomorrow!

So tomorrow is the Mississauga Comic Expo (MCX) 2018, and yours truly is going to be there, slinging books like Bastard’s Waltz, Scum of the Earth, Breakneck, and a few other things. It should be an amazing event, so many incredibly talented creators (and me) are going to be there. I will be at booth 219B on the second floor. Come check it out!

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Updates and an announcement

Greetings, anyone who is still following along here!

I have some news, four pieces in total, so sit back, get a cold drink, get comfortable, and get ready!

Upcoming comic book releases:

I have officially signed a new contract with Action Lab comics to publish my sci-fi/time travel miniseries The Argus. This will be a 4-issue miniseries set to be published in 2019, with incredibly dynamic art by Darryl Knickrehm. Check it out if you love sci-fi stuff like Looper.

Secondly, my pulp anthology The Hand of Glory will be published later this year by Markosia. The Hand of Glory is 13 short stories, all written by me and illustrated by 13 different artists. A true labor of love, for fans of Doc Savage, the Rocketeer, and Hellboy! Cover by my good friend Carl Yonder!

Thirdly, coming back to Action Lab, their mature readers imprint Danger Zone (who published by sci-fi/grindhouse series Scum of the Earth) will published my lo-fi sci-fi story The Last Call. A quirky take on time travel, but very different from The Argus, with beautiful art by Carlos Angeli.

On top of all of this excitement, I am very proud to announce that I am now officially represented by the Robert Lecker Agency out of Montreal. RLA will represent me going forward, and will help to move my brand and my stories forward and hopefully into other mediums. I am very grateful to Robert and his team for trusting in me.

http://www.leckeragency.com/authors/mark-bertolini

That’s all for now, but I will try my best to be more active here.

How I Would Book It – Wrestlemania 34

So I’m going to try something new here. In addition to being a huge fan of comic books and music, I also love professional wrestling. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a fan, and now my own kids are into it. This weekend is the biggest wrestling weekend of the year – the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is on Friday, NXT Takeover is on Saturday, and Wrestlemania 34 is on Sunday.

Here’s how Wrestlemania would look if I could book it.

Universal Title match – Brock Lesnar (champion) vs Roman Reigns

Can Reigns actually beat Lesnar? Lesnar has been presented as unstoppable for so long, even with the fluke defeats by Goldberg, that it seems unlikely that Reigns could beat him – see their previous Mania match, Wrestlemania 31 – Lesnar manhandled Reigns the entire time, Reigns had very little offense.

How I would book it – Rumor has it that former ECW Champion Bobby Lashley is on his way back to WWE, and is set for a feud with Lesnar. What better way to start that feud than for Lashley to get involved in the Universal Title match and cost Lesnar the belt, giving the win to Reigns. It sets up the feud between Lesnar and Lashley, and gives Reigns the belt, while also putting together the storyline that Reigns is a hollow champion, he couldn’t get it done by himself. There’s plenty of storylines that can spin out of that.

Option 2 is an interesting idea as well – on the go-home episode of Raw, Paul Heyman said if Brock loses, you’ll never see Lesnar and Heyman again in the WWE. But if Heyman sees that Brock is going to lose, and he switches allegiance to Reigns, helping Roman win the match and aligning himself with Reigns, making Reigns an official “Paul Heyman guy”, and completing the heel turn that many have felt he would have benefitted from over the past year or so. (Also, there’s the “never see Lesnar and Heyman together” stipulation – they wouldn’t be associated any more.)

WWE Title match – AJ Styles (champion) vs Shinsuke Nakamura

How I would book it – Nakamura wins. He has to, at this point – they gave him the Royal Rumble win, they’ve hyped the hell out of this “dream match”, so there’s no logical reason for Styles to go over. Nakamura has to pull out the victory. The issue here is the “face vs face” setup of this match, which is easily rectified by an AJ Styles heel turn during the match – he realizes he can’t beat Nakamura, so he resorts to some cowardly heel tactics to try and save his title. Nakamura is able to withstand Styles’ assault and prove why he’s the King of Strong Style. Plus, Styles is boring and bland as a babyface, so reverting him to a heel makes for some more interesting stories after Mania.

Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle vs Triple H/Stephanie McMahon

How I would book it – In theory, Rousey and Angle have to win, right? Her first match, on such a huge stage, how can she lose? But she should. Triple H and Stephanie are cold and calculating and will have plans for this match. Triple H has shown time and again he always has a plan B. In this case, the plan B could be Samoa Joe, who is conspicuously absent from the event. Have the Destroyer take out Angle, have Rousey take out Stephanie, but then have Triple H hit a pedigree on Rousey and throw Stephanie on top of her for the pin. This makes Rousey a vengeful underdog, and can also set up the eventual one-on-one between Triple H and Angle, maybe for Summerslam.

Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn

How I would book it – Daniel Bryan can’t lose in his return match, right? After three years he has to come out on top, especially at Wrestlemania. BUT, Owens and Zayn are vicious heels, they will do anything to win, they will cheat and cheat and cheat again. This is a match for their jobs, they will pull out any underhanded tactics to win. Now, the other option is for Bryan and McMahon to win, for Owens and Zayn to lose the match and their jobs at Smackdown, and have them show up on Raw the following week, aligning themselves with Triple H and Samoa Joe. Triple H LOVES factions, so this could be the basis of a pretty great group. He could pull in NXT’s Pete Dunne to round it out nicely: The New Authority.

Smackdown Women’s Title match – Charlotte Flair (champion) vs Asuka

How I would book it – After a hard-fought match, Asuka wins. There’s no other option here. Flair has been the standard-bearer for this title for a long time, and she will fight valiantly, but Asuka is a force of nature. Her undefeated streak is not going to end at Wrestlemania. This one’s simple, there’s no other way to play it, unless you turn Charlotte heel again and have her cheat to win (she could stun Asuka with a cattle prod, the same way they eventually killed Goldberg’s streak). Or get the Nature Boy involved somehow?

Raw Women’s Title match – Alexa Bliss (champion) vs Nia Jax

How I would book it – it’s been weeks that Bliss has been humiliating Jax on TV, this should be a legit squash match, Jax goes in like a house of fire and just decimates Bliss. With the number of matches on this card, making this one a quick match makes sense. Jax can get beat down afterwards by Bliss and Mickie James and maybe the returning Alicia Fox – set up a new heel faction, the Bliss-fits. Or something.

Intercontinental Title match – The Miz (champion) vs Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins

How I would book it – The Miz plays Balor and Rollins against each other the whole match, weaseling himself out of harm for as long as possible, letting the other two beat each other senseless (look at the match they just had on Raw, these guys can go). If Balor is “Demon” Balor, maybe he ends up going to a dark place to pull out the victory. However, Rollins also deserves the win. So does the Miz, in fact, but I think Miz will be taking a bit of time off to spend with his new baby, so it’s down to Rollins or Balor. Balor deserves a title run, after his aborted Universal title reign, so give the victory (incredibly hard-fought) to Balor – he stacks Rollins and the Miz up and hits the double stomp on both of them, pinning them both to win the match.

US Title match – Randy Orton (champion) vs Jinder Mahal vs Bobby Roode vs Rusev

How I would book it – Rusev wins. The other three guys in this match are boring as all hell, and Rusev needs a title run right now, a good push to capitalize on the Rusev Day hype. Just have him wipe out the other three in a huge show of physical brutality. Have Aiden English lend a heel-ish hand on the outside, but ultimately, Rusev just dominates this match and takes the title home once again. Also, the fact that Wrestlemania is actually ON Rusev Day makes it even more meaningful.

Smackdown Tag Team Title match – Usos (champion) vs The New Day vs Bludgeon Brothers

How I would book it – The New Day are too over with the crowd to not walk away with the titles here. The Bludgeon Brothers are too new as a team to take the belts home. The Usos should score the win, but after the flukey Fastlane ending, I think they end up losing the belts to the New Day. Maybe the Authors of Pain, rumored to be coming up to Smackdown after Mania, interfere and wipe out the Bludgeon Brothers, letting the New Day pull off the victory.

Raw Tag Team Title match – The Bar (champion) vs Braun Strowman/TBD

How I would book it – I am a huge Bar mark, so I would love to see them retain here, but I expect Strowman and his mystery partner will triumph. Now that they’ve stated specifically that Strowman can only compete if he has a partner, he will have to bring someone in. Rumors have been swirling about guys like Elias (I love the idea of the team being called Symphony of Destruction), or even Rey Mysterio (WWE really loves really big guys paired with really small guys), but I’d like to see Strowman bring up someone from NXT – think about the devastation he could cause with a guy like Lars Sullivan at his side? Anyway, regardless, Strowman has been built up way too much to lose this match, even if he does end up going it alone.

Cruiserweight Title finals match – Cedric Alexander vs Mustafa Ali

How I would book it – this one’s kind of bland for me. Have Alexander turn heel, let Ali pull out the gutsy victory. I’m not all that invested in this, to be honest. Neither of these guys does it for me, unfortunately. I think there’s lots of guys who should be the champ. Maybe Neville returns and inserts himself into the mix somehow and wins.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

How I would book it – I read somewhere that Goldberg is supposed to be part of this match, and that they really want to drive attention to the battle royal due to the Andre the Giant documentary that just came out. So why are they putting it on the kickoff show? This match doesn’t matter, it hasn’t mattered since the first one when Cesaro took out the Big Show. I don’t even know who’s in this match. Maybe give a wild card the win, like Tyler Breeze or someone. Much like the Cruiserweight belt, I can’t bring myself to care about this too much.

Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal

How I would book it – same as the Andre the Giant match, this doesn’t really do anything for me, it’s clearly an excuse to put as many superstars on the card as possible. So I don’t know, maybe Bayley? Maybe Sasha? Maybe Bayley is about to win, and Sasha does her dirty again and wins? I dunno.

John Cena vs The Undertaker

How I would book it – Taker hasn’t made so much as a peep this whole time that Cena has been calling him out, but there’s no way this match ISN’T happening, they can’t tease it for over a month with no payoff. We saw last year the Undertaker lay his gloves, jacket, and hat in the middle of the ring and walk away. The Deadman is retired, right? You know who’s not? The American Badass, that’s who. Have Cena stand in the ring to address the crowd at Mania, just to say “hey, it’s me, huge star John Cena, I have no match tonight” and then the Kid Rock music hits (let’s not forget that Kid Rock is getting inducted into the HOF on Friday night, so he’ll actually be there), and out comes Biker-Taker on his motorcycle, coming down to the ring with his newly repaired hip to answer Cena’s challenge. Lots of kicking-out of finishers, lots of back and forth with Hells’ Gate and the STF until Undertaker finally drops Cena with a Tombstone and pins him. Taker needs to close out his career, and legacy, with a victory. Cena can take the loss, it won’t affect him, but Undertaker needs a final victory to ride off (with the bike, literally) into the sunset.

There you have it. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment!

See you on the other side (of Wrestlemania, that is), where I’ll compare my booking to how the show actually plays out.

Year-End Favorites and Stuff

Okay, so I blew it with posting here on a regular basis, but I’m a busy guy. When I’m not here blogging, I’m writing some fun comics and knocking on publisher’s doors. It’s paid off for next year, and I’ll explain why below.

But first, I’m going to list off some of my favorite comics and music of the year, because this is my blog and I can do what I want.

Comics first (in no particular order):

The Black Monday Murders by Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker.

4 Kids Walk into a Bank by Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss.

God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw.

The Wild Storm by Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt.

Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.

Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey.

Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston.

Weird Detective by Fred Van Lente and Guiu Vilanova.

Go check these comics out – trust me, I’ve been reading comics all my life and I feel like I have pretty good taste in books.

My favorite music of the year is as follows (in order)

  1. “The Dusk in Us” by Converge. These guys never put out a bad album, every release is almost instantly a classic.
  2. “Low Teens” by Every Time I Die. I know this wasn’t released this year, but this was the year I got into it. I love ETID when I was younger, and then we drifted apart, but Low Teens is a masterpiece and it reignited my love for this band.
  3. “Two Parts Viper” by ’68. Also not a 2017 release, but man, is it inspired. One part metalcore, one part Blues Explosion, it’s unlike anything else I listened to this year.
  4. “Dissociation” by the Dillinger Escape Plan. Another previous year release, but it really hit home with me this year, mostly because the band is almost finished, they have a few more shows at the end of the year and then they are calling it quits.
  5. “A Walk With Love and Death” by Melvins. I love the Melvins, every release makes me exceptionally happy. While I think they could have put all the really good songs together and made it a single album instead of a sprawling, slightly weaker double, it’s still pretty awesome.
  6. “Emperor of Sand” by Mastodon. Mastodon know what they do well, and then they just do that shit really, really well. They don’t stray from the formula, and there is no reason to. Epic, ball-shaking metal.
  7. “Dead Cross” by Dead Cross. Old school hardcore with drums by Slayer’s Dave Lombardo and vocals by Mike Motherfucking Patton. What else do you need to know?
  8. “Hostage Animal” by All Pigs Must Die. This is something I very recently got into after a friend recommended them. Crushing, bloodcurdling metal (the drummer is the same dude from Converge, so you know it’s good.)

Eight is enough. That was a show, wasn’t it?

In Mark Bertolini comics news, 2017 saw the publication of the biggest release of my career – the Darby Pop-published “Bastard’s Waltz“. It was a thrill to put this book together and to see it hit comic stores, and to see the genuinely great reactions to it. It’s a book I’m very proud of, and I hope to do a few additional shows next year to sell copies, so come and find me!

2018 is already shaping up to be a great year for my comics as well. I have a 4-issue sci-fi/time travel book coming out closer to the summer through Action Lab comics with artist Darryl Knickrehm. I’ve recently signed the contract for a pulp anthology I put together with 13 different artists, that will be getting a print release in probably the first quarter of 2018. And I have a third pitch being evaluated right now that I think will get the green light, with artist Carlos Angeli. If I can have three books getting published in 2018, that will be a win for sure. I also recently got asked to pitch for a relatively high profile mid-tier publisher, which is exciting!

I am going to have a really great body of published work, work I am proud of, work that will stand the test of time, work that my sons will one day be able to read and say “my dad made that”. I’m grateful for the continued opportunity to create comics and have fun doing it. It’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do, and to be able to continue to create things and live my actual dream is amazing. Thanks to everyone who read something I made this year.

Maybe next year I’ll actually stick to a schedule with this whole blog thing!

Day 1 – Bastard’s Waltz

Good morning. I’ve decided to spotlight some of my comics here on the blog, because I’m terrible at promoting my work, but I really want you to read it. So each day this week I will highlight a prominent work of mine, along with all of the ways you can possibly purchase a copy, be it physical or digital. Sound good? Here we go.

Bastard’s Waltz

Bastard’s Waltz is clearly the biggest release I’ve had so far in my career. Published by Darby Pop comics, Waltz was illustrated by Giovanni Guida and lettered by Micah Myers. It remains one of my favorite stories, one I had wanted to tell for a long time.

Bastard’s Waltz is available in the following formats:

Physical copies on Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/Bastards-Waltz-Trade-Paperback-Giovanni/dp/099885803X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509980464&sr=8-1&keywords=mark+bertolini+bastard%27s+waltz

Kindle-ready copies on Amazon.cahttps://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mark+bertolini+bastard%27s+waltz

Digital copies on Comixology (both individual issues as well as the collected Trade Paperback) – https://www.comixology.com/Bastards-Waltz/comics-series/103507?ref=Y3JlYXRvci92aWV3L2Rlc2t0b3AvbGlzdC9jcmVhdG9yTGlzdA

Physical copies from Darby Pop directlyhttps://squareup.com/market/darby-pop-publishing/item/bastard-s-waltz-tpb-preorder

I implore you to check out Bastard’s Waltz – it represents a lot of work, a lot of stress, and a lot of love. If you have read any of the series, I’d love to hear from you, let me know what you liked and anything you might have disliked.

That’s day 1. I promise to keep these coming this week. I know I don’t get a ton of traction here, but I’ll do my best. Cheers!

Bastard’s Waltz – this Wednesday!

Hi All,

Long time coming, Bastard’s Waltz hits store shelves this Wednesday. It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work by myself and many other people, who I would like to list here.

Giovanni Guida, Bastard’s Waltz artist – without Giovanni, none of this would have happened. He embraced my idea and brought the characters to life and made this book look distinct and unique and unlike anything else on the shelves. He is almost fully responsible for us getting to this point.

Micah Myers, Bastard’s Waltz letterer – what can I say about Micah? He’s one of the very (very) few guys I trust to letter my work, to take my words and put them on the page. He kills it each time, finds the right font and style for each project and then blow it up. My words never look better than when he’s lettering them.

Renee Geerlings – without Renee’s early enthusiasm for the project that would become Bastard’s Waltz, it wouldn’t be hitting shelves this week. She was always supportive and made sure we kept in line, stayed on task, and created a fantastic product.

Phillip Smith II – the guy who kept us all in the loop. Phil was our middleman, the one who communicated with all sides and kept us flowing, kept us staying on track and made sure we didn’t slack.

Jeff Kline – Darby Pop’s bossman, Jeff was our number one cheerleader throughout this creation process. His excitement for the project and characters was palpable from the start. His input, experience, and second-set-of-eyes was invaluable for me.

Bastard’s Waltz. Check it out, this Wednesday, at finer comic stores everywhere, and on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bastards-Waltz-Trade-Paperback-Giovanni/dp/099885803X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506344081&sr=8-1&keywords=Mark+Bertolini+Bastard%27s+Waltz

Thanks for all your support!