Writer Mark Andrew Smith has penchant for getting young heroes into trouble. He did it in 2005 with The Amazing Joy Buzzards, and again in 2009 with The New Brighton Archeological Society. In 2011, he expanded on that by casting a group of kids as villains-in-training for his Image series Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors. But after that title went on hiatus at the end of last year, readers didn’t know where, how or if that story would continue.
But after talking to Smith earlier this week, we can confirm there’s more … lots more.
Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors does for super villains what Harry Potter did for magicians—throws them together into an elite boarding school and lets the dynamics of the schoolyard take over, with a bit of intervention from the adults. The first six-issue arc, published by Image, was very well received, and writer Mark Andrew Smith announced yesterday that the next six-issue series, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors: The Battle of the Superhero Archives, has been written and the first three issues are drawn. Artist Matthew Weldon, who illustrated Smith’s The New Brighton Archeological Society, is taking over the art chores from Armand Villavert for this arc.
Smith isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet: “I’m starting writing on series three and hope that the third series can be drawn while the second one is being created,” he writes. It’s worth noting that Gladstone actually was published on a monthly schedule; the fact that Smith works with a generous buffer may have a lot to do with that.
Mark Andrew Smith and Matthew Weldon are putting the first volume of The New Brighton Archeological Society, The Castle of Galomar, online. A fantasy story that neatly spans the territory between straightforward (and clean!) enough for tweens and elegant (and clever!) enough for adults, The Castle of Galomar came out in 2009 and was nominated for two Harvey awards.
This is just the start—Smith, who is also known for his work on The Amazing Joy Buzzards, plans to put some of his other work on the site, including a new graphic novel, Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors, which will launch in a few weeks. I grabbed the opportunity to ask him a couple of quick questions, the foremost being why anyone in their right mind would put a Harvey-nominated book online for free. Read on for all the answers, plus a second sample of art from book two.