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Valor Comics To Smite The Marketplace...
Mario Ruiz Returns

At Comic-Con 2003, I picked up a book called Samson: Judge of Israel, reviewing it here. Though it wasn't perfect, it had energy, an interesting point of view on a Bible story, and, dare I say it, a clear sense of inspiration.

The creator of that book, Mario Ruiz, followed up with Testament, gathering a variety of writers and artists to put a modern spin on several Bible stories. Again, an impressively fresh approach to a theme.

Unfortunately, Ruiz and his backers at Metron Press parted ways over those thrice-damned "editorial differences," and he dropped from sight after making his splash.

Today, he came up for air. Ruiz's new plans look very interesting. Yes, I'm biased and excited by any creator daring to put his money where his spirit is and actually talk about his beliefs through the comics medium. Heck, though it's sometimes muddled and often something I disagree with, I love reading J.M. DeMatteis for the same reason.

The market needs more such honesty and personal vision, especially when leavened with the creativity that guys like Ruiz have.

From Valor Comics:

Some ideas are just too good to let die. Which is why artist and idea man Mario Ruiz decided he couldn't stay away from the drawing board for very long. The founder and former driving force behind Metron Press, publisher of the critically acclaimed Samson: Judge of Israel and Testament, had found himself without a creative home after editorial differences with his
former company forced him to rethink his situation.

His vision for telling important and entertaining stories just wouldn’t die. Which is why he decided to form his own publishing company, Valor Comics.

“I took some time to regroup and gather my thoughts. I even distracted myself for a while with fishing and playing semi-pro football, the latter not being the safest thing to do.” the artist stated recently in an interview at his home in Upstate New York, “I had created in my head and heart a set of stories that just had to get told. I created Valor Comics as a place where I could let these stories out.”

So Ruiz put pencil to paper and began sketching what would become the Jesus Christ: Son of Man trilogy. Using the Bible as his inspiration, the artist created a unique world, a place where the Roman Empire had never fallen, where Jesus had not yet been born.

“I was looking for a way to tell these stories with a modern, relevant edge to them. In the case of the Jesus Christ: Son of Man trilogy, I decided to do it by showing readers what it would be like if the events of 2000 years ago never happened. Basically, I wanted to take the greatest stories ever told and present them in a way that would make them exciting and real to people today, to people who might not otherwise give God, the bible or history a second thought.”

With his ideas and designs in hand, Ruiz then went looking for a writer who could help him bring his stories to life. Fortunately, Jerry A. Novick, his storytelling partner on Samson: Judge of Israel, was available. “I remember that when we were working on Samson, Jerry said he wanted to do something that was different than the things he had worked on before, that were more than just comic book superhero stories,” Ruiz recalls.

” When Mario told me he was putting his efforts into a new publishing house, I knew I wanted to get on board,” Novick said. “And when he told me his ideas for the Jesus Christ: Son of Man trilogy, I knew it was something different, a type of story that nobody else had tried to tell before.”

Currently Ruiz and Novick are fleshing out the art and script for all three books in the series—Magdalene, Jesus Christ: Son of Man, and The Revelation of John Devine. Each will be presented in graphic novel format with full color art.

The first, Magdalene, tells the story of a young woman whose desperate circumstances lead her down a dark path. Jesus Christ: Son of Man, the centerpiece of the trilogy, relates the coming of a charismatic preacher who turns the life of a Roman general on its head. And in The Revelation of John Devine, Ruiz and Novick follow a detective as he tries to hunt down a brutal killer who is bent on unleashing Hell on Earth.

Look for all three books starting in the summer of 2005 at comic book shops and specialty bookstores. For more information visit www.valorcomics.com.

Derek McCaw

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