Me? IDW? A match made in comic book heaven.

Yup, you read that title right. I am now going to be officially published by IDW.

My story is called “Bottle of Walter” and will be featured in the anthology Imaginary Drugs, which will be published by IDW this fall.

This is huge for me (and everyone else involved), this is easily the biggest credit to my name, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Here’s the scoop – I’m friends with the guys who put together Imaginary Drugs. I’ve seen the work they’ve been putting in for a while, and when they launched a Kickstarter for the book, I was right in there to place an order. The Kickstarter was super successful, and as they hit higher goals, they mentioned adding pages and adding stories, and I reached out to the editor and all-round ID bossman, Michael McDermott, and told him I’d love to contribute a story. Michael gave me 5 pages, and paired me up with artist Luke Parker.

I pitched Bottle of Walter to both of them, and Michael really seemed to dig it, it fit in with the weird tone of the anthology. I’ll go over the impetus for Bottle of Walter another time.

Luke Parker. My god, Luke Parker. He killed it, this is a gorgeous looking 5 page story. Luke has a hell of a unique style, sort of Mignola influenced but also fully all his own. I was psyched to work with him, and my buddy Nic J. Shaw came onboard to letter the story. I think I’ve shown this off before, but here’s my favorite panel from the book, and the basic gist of the entire story:


I can’t wait for this book to come out. It validates a lot of things for me, but the biggest validation is that there are people who I consider my peers who are interested in the stories I want to tell, and will give me space in their sandboxes when there’s room. That means a lot.

This is going to be a good year for me, comics-wise, with Imaginary Drugs and Scum of the Earth coming out. That’s me hitting more goals, but not all the goals. There’s still a lot of work to do, and a lot of work to come.

My name is Mark Bertolini, and I fucking love making comics.


Pieces of Hate – another free comic!

I don’t know if anyone is actually reading these, but I’m having fun posting them, so here’s another one:

Pieces of Hate was conceived after I worked with Valentin Ramon on El Diablo Rojo. It was a weird stream of consciousness thing, I created a handful of characters, a setting, and just threw them into the pot and started writing. It was more of an experiment than anything else, but the whole time I pictured the story being illustrated by Valentin.

Valentin was extremely gracious and agreed to work on the story, and he even started throwing ideas at me about ways to improve upon the original idea. Valentin’s ideas were great, and added so much to the story without changing it. Originally, it was a semi-mindless gore fest – I just wrote some ultraviolence with a bit of a plot and that was that, but with Valentin’s additions, the story took on a proper pace and suddenly became a story worth writing and reading.

It still maintained some of the vile stuff the original did, but it now made more sense in the context of the story.

Unfortunately for me but fortunately for him, Valentin got picked up at Monkeybrain alongside my buddy, writer Ryan Ferrier, with the title D4VE – find it here: ( – seriously, go check it out, that shit is sharp as a tack, and Val’s work is breathtaking.

So the following pages are the 7 pages that Val was able to do before he had to step back to focus on D4VE. Some of the pages are incomplete, some are more complete than others, but I wanted to show them all how they are, so you can see the magic that Valentin is able to weave.

These were lettered by my buddy Micah Myers ( who always does a bang-up job.

Here we go – the grand unveiling of Pieces of Hate.


That’s all seven existing pages of Pieces of Hate. I love these, I love the twisted and depraved storyline we were developing, and I truly hope that one day Valentin and I can keep working on this.

That’s all for now – watch this space for a big announcement coming soon!

Red Rover – 4 page short story

Hey gang,

I’m back already – I know, I can’t believe it either! But I’m really digging sharing these comics with you, and I want to continue doing that. There’s no point in creating comics if no one will ever read them, you know? These were meant to be read and enjoyed.

This is a 4-page short story called Red Rover. It’s a sci-fi thing, a little out of my wheelhouse, but I dug it. Art duties are stunningly handled by Daniel Pereira dos Santos, who just absolutely brought the noise here.

These were intended for a sci-fi anthology, but the pages got turned down, unfortunately. So here we are – I wanted to share these, because Santo absolutely killed these pages, they’re jaw-dropping. See for yourself – Red Rover.


There you go, short and sweet. I absolutely love these pages, the amount of work Santo put in is insane. The level of detail is crazy. I thought about having these pages colored, and I think it might help a little with the clarity, but man…I don’t know. I love them the way they are. It’s a bold approach to a short story, in my mind.

So here’s one other little thing, just a tease – an image from the upcoming Devil’s Hitman by Matt Battaglia.


Matt’s getting close to having our pitch sequence finished, and then we can really put the Kickstarter plans in motion.

Until next time, do yourself a favor and go listen to “Everyday Robots” by Damon Albarn. It’s a damn fine album.

Kenga #1 – world premiere!

My oldest son Ryan turned 10 in April, and for his birthday, I gave him his own comic book. Not a comic for him, though, a comic created BY him.

In December, I asked him to write me a short story. He created some characters, drew them up, and then wrote a little one-page story about them. I then took that story, adapted it into a comic book script, and sent it and the character designs to my good friend Carl Yonder, who was gracious enough to take the time to illustrate the 8-page story.

I surprised Ryan on his 10th birthday with a stack of his very own comic book.

Tomorrow, on Free Comic Book Day, he’s going to table with me and sell some copies of his book for a buck apiece. He’s super excited about it, and so am I, truth be told. Ever since I gave him the comic, he’s been writing and drawing up a storm, getting his next issues ready. He’s 10, and he’s already making money making comics.

Here, for the first time ever, is Kenga #1, written by Ryan Bertolini (with some assistance from his old man) and illustrated by Carl Yonder (who did me the biggest solid in the world by making this happen, and who I can’t thank enough.)


There you go, the first ever appearance of Kenga, Chompy, and Sensei Bananas, created by Ryan Bertolini, age 10.

If you’re in Mississauga tomorrow, and you stop by Gotham Central Comics, you might have the chance to get your hands on a print copy of this bad boy!

That’s it for updates today, but more to come in the next week or so!

More free comics!

I’m in a giving mood today, so here is another free comic, a day ahead of Free Comic Book Day.

This is called Old Friends, and was created and illustrated by my buddy Michael Tyler. He had these pages on his site, and when I saw them, I knew I wanted to add some dialogue to them. I did, and got my buddy Micah Myers to letter them up.

Michael and I are working on a new pitch, a supervillain thing, and we’ve previously worked together on the Ghostwalker short story in the 215 Ink anthology, Ignition Volume 1. I love Michael’s work, and I’m proud to share this story here now: Old Friends.


Old Friends. I love how this turned out, and Micah did a hell of a job giving each character their own “voice”.

Michael Tyler was the very first artist who ever turned an idea of mine into art, and I’m glad to be able to continue to work with him, even after ten (!) years.

More later today, if I have the time! Cheers!

Free Comics…a day early!

Hey gang, to show I’m not such a bad guy (considering I left you all hanging without a blog update for a while), I’ve decided to try and one-up Free Comic Book Day by giving you some free comics today. It’s like Christmas in May, you feel me?

These are a couple of comic pitches that ultimately didn’t go anywhere. I absolutely love them both, and would jump back on them in a heartbeat, but for now, they’re both considered inactive.

First up is Antihero. This story is special because these first 8 pages are the first 7 pages I ever properly scripted when I first sat down to teach myself how to write comics. This was probably 10 years ago, and there wasn’t so many “how to write comics” things on the internet as there are now, so I really had no idea how to do it. However, I figured it out, and I still fully love the results.

Pencils and inks by David Pentecost. Colors by K. Michael Russell. Letters by MaGnUs. Here you go: Antihero.

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God I loved this story. There was going to be a lot of exploration of generational themes, the idea that if a bad guy is forced to do good, does he become a good guy? Themes of race, character redemption…Jesus, I had some lofty goals for this. I’d love to go back to it down the road, I just might need a new title, as there’s a Monkeybrain series with the same name.

Next up on your Pre-Free Comic Book Day plate is Deep Rest. This was a sci-fi/horror series I created and managed to fully creep myself out with while writing it. I wrote all 4 issues of what was to be a limited series, and then lost the last 3 when my laptop was stolen. I’ve since learned to back the shit up out of my work.

The story was built around a single catchphrase, which might not be the best way to create a story, but I did it anyway, because I desperately wanted to use this tagline somewhere in the comic, as a marketing/commercial type of thing:

“Depressed? Use Deep Rest!” It fully tied into the storyline, too.

Art by Fabian Cobos. Letters again by MaGnUs. Check it out: Deep Rest.

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That’s it so far, that’s Deep Rest. I really dug the story, even if it did give me the willies while I wrote it. The characters grew on me immensely as well. I’m in the process of trying to re-start this story with a new artist, but so far it’s slow going.

That’s all for now – I might be back later today with another update on a third stalled-out comic.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy Free Comic Book Day tomorrow!