The Monq

The Monq” was one of my own indy projects for which I speculated artwork and then shopped around to publishers off and on for years. It was early for creator-owned projects and most publishers were still trying to go toe-to-toe with Marvel/DC in full lines of dirivative drek instead of forging their own way, like those brilliant fellows at Dark Horse and Fantagraphics, who’re far better stewards of their fortunes in media (and the comic book medium itself) than history shows most to be.

Graphic Novels were still considered “special projects,” and plum jobs, rewarded to certain people. Most publishers instead, wanted open-ended projects that could go on monthly – this is also the most common way to lose quality control over your properties. Left open-ended with schedules of every kind to fill every month, editorial sorts default to whomever has no work load at the present and happens to be standing around with a broom in his hand. Lesser hands inevitably take the wheel of whatever you make and hand over on that basis. Some time when I’m feeling particularly pissy about editors and marketing I might make a list of their failures in this respect.

Side note: The hubris of launching an entire line of comics in a year, even two years with unknown properties, to compete with larger publishers destroyed many companies like Atlas, Pacific Comics and First Comics, among others. Some great ideas and good charters – but too fast, too quickly. Publishing on paper, the return on your investment can take months or even most of a year to come back to you before you can continue to finance the next operations. It’s logistics, money flow dries up.

The Monq is a 3rd string amalgam of obvious influences. Nevertheless, it was my initial foray into something of my own, still swamped with all that I’d studied and thought of as a superhero comic up to the time. There’re filmic and graphic influences from other places and lots of my version of pen-masters past (mostly non-comics).

This was right after I left Marvel and just after the John Sable work for First, starting in ’87. I dropped all ideas of getting it published by ’91 or so. I was broke in NY (with short visits home in AZ) but flushed with excitement over not being under the Marvel editorial boot. I paced the scenes, pushed the shots and drew like I knew I could.

The resulting silence among editors and publishers was deafening and the paying publishers stayed away in droves.

Some one in H’wood convinced me to write it up as a treatment for a movie. The movie didn’t happen (except for the rip of it the producer pulled off later) and it’s been registered at the Screen Writer’s Guild with his name on it with mine. He didn’t have a thing to do with it beyond getting me into a hinky deal with a bad producer. So much for my love and respect for H’wood.

The Monq was a silly, linear story with a fair version of handling in the dialogue and characters that I still think would’ve been an interesting offering at the time. I don’t really have any motivation to finish it, at this point.

This is the first public viewing of The Monq.

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8 Responses to The Monq

  1. Billy says:

    wow, thank you for sharing these. those inks are so fantastic.

  2. Fantastic, Tony! Just look at these… wow!
    And I have a ‘Monq’ story in Dark Horse Presents you did.

    Was that a standalone story or related to this at all?

    • TonySalmons says:

      Hey, Adrian. The shorts in DHP were stand alone. I think I did 2 with the Monq. It may be that only one of them was published. The only one I really remember is, “Message From Earth.” There’s a video of it on youtube with soundtrack by Fiery Furnaces with analysis of the compostions. Very cool and cogent Can’t help thinking what it might’ve been like with the direction I was going back then and the support of a publisher.

  3. Kelly says:

    Thanks for posting that Monq story. Wow ! Your art is great. Too bad you never got the chance to publish it. I always hoped you do another Monq story. Loved the one you did in DHP those years back. Are you working on anything new ?

    Best wishes ,

    • TonySalmons says:

      Kelly, Through an unfortunate circumstance Monq wound up locked down in legal matters with the Writer’s Guild in LA. Poor judgement about questionable people on my own part. Keep an eye on the site, though. I have what I think are better characters with stronger stories coming up there. Thanks for dipping in! -t.

  4. John says:

    Hi Tony! It’s fantastic seeing you posting images and discussing your work. I was over at Joe Bloke’s blog, Grantbridge Street & other Misadventures. The other day Joe posted the Hulk story, ‘A Day in the Life’. It features Salmons artwork I’d not yet seen, so I was stoked. This lead me to do a long overdue search for you and I found this site. Thanks again for giving us fans some new images to salivate over! I love the Monq and that’s my YouTube video I narrated and accompanied with sounds. I hope you enjoyed it.
    Big fan. Thanks again. John, Newark, CAlifornia

    • TonySalmons says:

      Thanks, John. I have to do something about the visibility of the site. It gets around but unevenly. Glad you enjoy the stuff. I’ve been shopping stuff around for years and can’t find the love anywhere among the mainstream. So it looks like indy and self-publishing from here on out. I’m doing a few interviews recently; they’ll fill out a bit more of my career path (if it can be called that) and give a bit of insight into the “bizz” as experienced by a total outsider for the last 30 years plus. Thanks again and stay tuned, a bunch of stuff coming along on this site that will surprise. -t.

  5. This is pretty neat, really. You should consider dusting it off for another go. You never know!

    (And I love love love the Kirby-esque shots you seemed to be exploring in the 2000s. I’d be super curious to see a Nightmask done with your new style.)

    Great work, Tony. Always one of the best.

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