The Hand of Glory – pulp anthology

Okay, this is something I’ve been working on for a while – a pulp-style anthology, thirteen stories all written by me, illustrated by thirteen different artists.

The Hand of Glory was a 5-page story I wrote when I was pitching ideas to the editors of the Imaginary Drugs anthology. It wasn’t the story we decided to go with, but I really liked the story and wanted to do something with it. That’s when I connected with an artist named Anders Blidlov. We put together the design and look of the Hand of Glory “universe”.

I highly enjoyed working with Anders and thought the story we put together was pretty good. I’d started writing some other stories featuring the same characters, all 5-page stories, all loosely connected. I talked to Anders about doing more stories together, but his schedule had filled up and he wasn’t able to do more work.

So I took a page from my buddy Nic J. Shaw’s book and decided to have a different artist illustrate each story. I reached out to my friends, artists I’ve worked with before, artists I’d always wanted to work with, and started to put together more stories. I had to cut it off at thirteen 5-pagers.

All this preamble is to set up some samples here of the stories. I will be running a Kickstarter campaign in the next few months to fund production of this book, but I wanted to show some of the dynamic art that will be used in the anthology. Thirteen artists – thirteen different styles – all fantastic work. Lettering and design on the final product will be by my friend Micah Myers, who is bringing his A-game to each story.

Here we go:

Anders Blidlov

Anders Blidlov

Rob Croonenborghs

Rob Croonenborghs

Jim Lavery, colors by Paulo Miguel Garaygay

Jim Lavery

Giles Crawford

Giles Crawford

D.C. Stuelpner

DC Stuelpner

Matt Lesniewski, colors by Mark Dale

Matt Lesniewski

Matt Rooke, colors by Agus Harianto

Matt Rooke

Vlad Legostayev, colors by Matej Stasko

Vlad Legostayev

That’s all I want to show right now. But I’m super excited about this project, and can’t wait to finally launch my first Kickstarter campaign. I hope you’ll all (the five of you that read this) take a look at the campaign when it launches and consider helping us out, as I think this book is going to look incredible.

I’ll do my best to keep this updated here on the blog. Thanks for reading!

Watch This Space!

I know, I know, I ignore this blog too often. I get it.

But together with my buddy and frequent artistic collaborator, the mystery man known only as JE, plans are cooking for this blog. Things are happening, things are in progress, and soon all will be revealed.

Lots of other work going on as well – including some submissions that have not exactly been picked up, but haven’t been turned down either. For those fellow creators, you know that’s really the most you can ask for sometimes. One of these projects is going to be created with some of my oldest colleagues in comics, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Stay tuned!

Hell to Pay – new dead pitch

Well, it’s been a while again, no? I’m bad at this.

Anyway, I’ve been busy creating lots of comics. Some are going places, some are not. This is one that’s not.

Hell to Pay was intended to be a 4-issue miniseries all about revenge. It’s structured the way a video game would be, where the “hero” has to fight through lots of bosses before he gets to the end boss. I worked with a dynamite artist who went by the name of Havoc Caster – I never found out his real name. But something happened after these pages were created: I lost ALL contact with the artist. No email in the past four months has been answered. Originally, I wanted to get in touch to discuss more pages, now I’d be happy just to know he’s okay. If anyone reading this is familiar with this artist, please have him contact me, or give me his updated contact info. Thank you.

Letters on this were done by my buddy and trusted letterer, Micah Myers – do yourself a favor and hire this man to letter your comics. He’s a true professional. Check him out at

Without further adieu, feast your eyes on my newest dead pitch: Hell to Pay.

Hell to Pay Cover 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


This was intended to form the basis of a publisher’s pitch. I think we stood a great chance at getting this picked up somewhere, but for now, it’s dead in the water. I’m not even sure I’d be happy continuing this with a new artist.

Havoc – if you’re out there, touch base!

I’ll try to keep this updated more often. Cheers!

Favorite comics of 2014

I haven’t posted anything about the comics I enjoyed the most last year, but I wanted to rectify that. I read a lot of comics, a lot of graphic novels, and a lot of trades, and after letting things percolate for a bit, here is what I dug the most last year, in no particular order.

Deadly Class by Rick Remender and Wes Craig, published by Image Comics.

Moon Knight by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey, published by Marvel Comics.

Copra by Michael Fiffe, published by Bergen Street comics.

Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, published by Image Comics.

Zero by Ales Kot and various artists, published by Image Comics.

D4VE by Ryan Ferrier and Valentin Ramon, published by Monkeybrain comics.

White Suits by Frank J. Barbiere and Toby Cypress, published by Dark Horse comics.

Dead Letters by Christopher Sebela and Chris Visions, published by Boom! Studios.

C.O.W.L. by Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis, published by Image Comics.

Enourmous by Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour, published by 215 Ink.

And Then Emily Was Gone by John Lees and Iain Laurie, published by Comixtribe.

There you go. I recommend all of these books without hesitation. Go read them.

Back soon.

The Devil’s Hitman

The Devil’s Hitman is a story I’ve been working on with an artist named Matt Battaglia. Matt is doing color work at BOOM! Studios on “Dead Letters” as well as cover art on the “Hellraiser: Bestiary” title.

Matt and I have been working on The Devil’s Hitman for several months, working out these pitch pages and getting a great-looking package together. What you will see here is the pitch pages along with the publisher’s pitch info. Any publisher who is seeing this, feel free to get in touch with me at for more information.

Page 1


Page 2


Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8


The Devil’s Hitman

Sam Churchill, a former crooked cop, is infected with the demonic presence of the Devil’s Hitman, a curse that has afflicted hardened, dangerous men throughout the ages as a hired gun to the Devil himself.

Despite the arcane protections he’s granted as the Devil’s Hitman, Churchill is aware that as the body count grows, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the primary suspect in a series of grisly murders. His only way out is to rid himself of his cursed position as the Devil’s Hitman before the authorities track him down.

Unfortunately for Sam, the Devil cares nothing for the laws of man, and refuses to release Churchill from his terrible burden.

Complicating matters further is Detective Sarah Charles, assigned to apprehend the mysterious serial killer responsible for the murders Sam has committed, and the unwitting host (human anchor) to the antithesis of the Devil’s Hitman–the avenging angel known as Heaven’s Hatchet Man.

Now Sam and Sarah are on a collision course, both trying to to staunch the bloodshed and put a stop to the Devil’s Hitman–one way or another.


There you have it – The Devil’s Hitman, by Mark Bertolini and Matt Battaglia, edited by Mike Exner III.

Until next time, when I might have more new work to share!

January 1st, 2015 – State of the Union

Good morning, or afternoon, or evening, depending on when you read this.

This is my first blog post of 2015, and I really want to try to be more consistent with this blog this year. I only blogged 16 times in all of 2014, which is brutal, since this is a place that I love to write in. I hit some stumbling blocks last year, a change to my old job limited the time I could spend writing, then I switched jobs and lost even more writing time. And with 4 kids at home, writing at home is tough. Plus, I’m easily distracted.

Lots of great stuff happened in 2014. Scum of the Earth, my 3-issue miniseries from Action Lab: Danger Zone was released, the 3 issues came out as well as the trade. I did an in-store signing on the date of the release of the first issue at my local store, Gotham Central.

I also did Free Comic Book Day at Gotham Central, and talked a lot of comics talk and sold some books.

Knowledge also rolled on towards its ending this year (the last issue, #6, will see a release in a couple of weeks), and based on the strength of Knowledge, the creative team is hard at work on a new series (see below).

Instinct also made some waves, as the comic is being developed as a film. I read the first draft of the screenplay, and it was great. Looking forward to some (hopefully) big things.

Also this January is the release of the IDW anthology Imaginary Drugs, which contains my short story Bottle of Walter, which I’m psyched about. It’s my biggest published credit to date.

2014 also saw me go to New York Comic Con for the first time as well, where I met a ton of comic creators, spent time with some some friends, appeared at two different publisher booths, and just soaked in the comic book atmosphere. It was a trip I won’t soon forget.

I also (maybe foolishly, we’ll see) spearheaded TWO anthologies of my own in 2014. The first is an anthology based on the music of Tom Waits. I will have 2-3 short stories in the book, but there is also some fantastic talent attached to this project, and I can’t wait to see all of it come together. The plan is to Kickstart production on the book later this year.

The other anthology is a pulp-inspired book based on a character I created years ago that I’ve finally brought to life. It will consist of 12 five-page stories, each illustrated by a different artist. I’m very excited for this one, and will be launching a Kickstarter campaign for this as well later in the year. This is called The Hand of Glory, and I can’t wait to show these stories off.

2015 is already shaping up to be a great year. I have a lot of pitches ready to go, and others in production. I’m reuniting with my Knowledge teammates to create a retro-futuristic 3-issue miniseries called Secret Aces. I have an X-Men-meets-Fight Club story called Fistifcuffs almost ready. A pulpy horror story called The Devil’s Hitman. A semi-historical superhero thing called Masters of Crime. A brutal horror story that is one part Saw, one part One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest called Funhouse. A straight-up superhero bloodbath called NRV (No Redeeming Value). A revenge story with a twist called Hell to Pay. And I’ve just started work on a new story, a pulp book that’s Doc Savage-meets-Pulp Fiction called Feeder.

I love comics. I love creating. I love writing. I love collaborating. This is something I will never stop doing, and I thank you if you’re willing to come on this on-going journey with me. I promise to try to update this blog on a more regular basis.

Happy New Year. I’m about to sign off and eat some Chinese Food and park my ass on the couch for a few hours. But not for too long. There’s stories to write.