An Interview with Colin Krisel, Co-writer of The Markings

Posted December 2, 2014 by Dennis Burns in Comic Books

PHD candidate Jack Lewis thinks he’s discovered the Original Language of Man. But now everyone reads his grant proposal is dying in mysterious circumstances. What is going on?

Dennis had the chance to talk with Colin Krisel, one half of the brotherly writing team (along with James Krisel) responsible for the new series The Markings. The first two issues just went up for digital sale on Amazon — click here to find issue 1 and here for issue 2. Check out their Facebook page for future updates also. Keep reading as we discuss how great projects like this can receive funding, how to find an artist, and how to argue just enough with your brother in order to find the perfect draft of a story. Also, be on the lookout for our reviews of issues one and two as well.

WTN: Is this your first foray into making comics? What was most surprising about it?

CK: Yes. Brand new adventure. We come from movies and television, so I think the most surprising thing was compressing all the motion of a shot down to a single frame. What still moment expresses the action most?

WTN: What’s the ‘elevator pitch’ for The Markings?  What can we expect from the series?

CK: Without giving too much away…Jack Lewis believes he’s discovered the original, unified language of man. When everyone he shows his grant proposal to is killed and he’s being framed, he must go on the run to clear himself and figure out what’s going on. What he discovers is he hasn’t found an ancient language of man…what he’s actually found is a language of magic.

WTN: What has been the best part of this process?  The hardest part?

CK: The coolest moment was probably when Bong finished the art on the first issue. To see our story actualized after talking about it and planning it for so long…pretty great. The hardest part was when our first artists strung us along and then vanished. Turns out it was a blessing as Bong rocks, but at the time…definitely a low point.

WTN: You and your brother wrote The Markings together—what is that like?  Do you both do scripts together or does one of you do the general layout and the other does specific dialogue?  Any pointers for cowriting?

CK: Well, we’ve been arguing with each other our whole lives so we know how to do it without feelings getting hurt. We usually sit in a room and pitch ideas til we find one we’re both excited on. Then we go back and forth and back and forth until we have an extensive outline. Then Colin smashes out a first draft. Then James fixes it. Then Colin fixes that. Then we sit in a room and fix it together a hundred times until it works.

WTN: I read in your email that you used Indiegogo for your project.  How is that different from Kickstarter?  Would you use it again?

CK: Indiegogo allows you to keep any funds you raise even if you don’t reach your goal. We were committed to the project as long as we came close to our number, so Indiegogo made sense. We ended up reaching our goal, which ended up being key as we definitely shot a bit past our initial budget.

WTN: You also mentioned your original artist from Atlanta who “disappeared.”  I’m sure this is something that happens way too often in indie comics.  Do you have any tips for aspiring comic creators to avoid this issue in the future?

CK: Cross your fingers?

WTN: As a follow-up to that question, how did you find Bong? Does changing artists midway through change the way you write and layout scenes?

CK: We found both artists on We wanted the whole first arc (it will be 8 issues) to have a very consistent feel, so we scrapped the first eight pages the other artist did and started fresh. The writing was already set, but Bong very much has his own style (his action is much stronger) that we shifted our ideas to take advantage of.

WTN: Where did the inspiration for this project come from?

CK: We love taking a “what if” (in this case, what if magic were real) and grounding it as much as possible in reality. Creating a mythology and keeping it consistent and grounded within itself. And once we started playing with the markings world, we kept going, well, could this historical event have been affected by markings? What about that one? And then, why did The Matrix and Star Wars work (two of our favorites)? Why are they so popular? The characters and stories we love, but they also have this idea that there’s this underlying connective force or code to the universe. In our story, the markings are that language, waiting to be found by anyone who knows where to look.

About the Author

Dennis Burns

I am a teacher, husband, father of a 2 year old boy, and a dog owner. I love coffee, comics, video games, and the occasional tennis match. I currently live in Korea, where my wife and I teach at an international school.