Reading Comics With… Mark Charan Newton

I’m always trying to get more people into reading comics for the first time but it can be a struggle as some regard it as just one genre (superheroes) and not a medium. Some people don’t know about the variety of stories being told and the different ways to tell a story that are unique to the medium. I regularly review comics and talk about them often on my podcast, but my opinion only carries so much weight.

Last year I contacted several fantasy authors to lend a hand by talking about their experiences with comic books, how they into reading comics and what they are currently enjoying at present. This week Tor.com will be running those short interviews.

Today features Mark Charan Newton. Mark is a British fantasy author of the Legends of the Red Sun series which started with Nights of Villjamur, followed by City of Ruin. The third book in the series, The Book of Transformations, will be published by Tor UK in June this year. The series is published by Bantam Spectra in the U.S.

Stephen Aryan: When did you first get into reading comics?

Mark Charan Newton: I came to the comics party late, probably only in the last six years or so, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing! They were a natural extension of the storytelling form, and I saw nothing remotely immature about them—which says a lot about how they’re perceived these days: as a quality form of literature. I started off on The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and then moved onto things like Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine and Jonathan Lethem’s Omega the Unknown. I love the more introverted strips like that.

What comics are you currently reading?

I’m a slow reader, and an even slower comic reader. The last graphic novel I finished was a few months ago nowEx Machina by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris, which I thought was really interesting and smart. (I liked Vaughan’s Pride of Baghdad, too.)

What is your favourite comic at the moment and why?

I’m a big fan of Batman—and love the usual clichéd favourites I’m afraid, The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke. I’m not a reader who keeps up with current continuity, largely because I’ve so much other stuff in general to keep up with, but I will probably pick and choose some more Batman soon.

Are there any new comics that you are particularly looking forward to?

New to me is old to you guys and gals. Instead of showing myself up, I’ll just say what’s next on my reading pile: Promethea Book One (Alan Moore), which I know I am looking forward to. I don’t need to say just how much I enjoyed Watchmen, but after that, I’ll give anything from Moore a go.


Stephen Aryan is a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction and fantasy. He co-hosts the Comic Book Outsiders podcast and writes fantasy and comic book reviews at Walker of Worlds.

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