When Mort Todd saw the devastation caused by fires in Maui, he wanted to help the people affected by the disaster. That aid came in the form of Maui Mighty Comics, a charitable book featuring new characters with proceeds going straight to Maui relief. Todd talked to Scoop about the calamity that befell Maui and introduced some of the characters in the book. As the Editor in Chief of #1Comics, he also shared plans for the line, which launches in the summer of 2024.
Scoop: Maui Mighty Comics was created to help the people in Maui following the tragic fires the island endured. What drew you to that cause?
Mort Todd (MT): I was shocked when I heard about the horror in Hawaii and maybe even more shocked by how the story and suffering faded from the headlines so quickly. There wasn’t much I could do as an individual, so I devised Maui Mighty Comics #1, a charity comic with a cadre of top creators who have donated their services.
Scoop: How will the book benefit the people of Maui?
MT: ALL profits from the sales of Maui Mighty Comics #1 will go towards Maui relief. #1Comics will donate any proceeds, and Diamond has generously offered to forgo any income from this title, and it will all be distributed by Direct Relief, a respected charity with a philanthropic history.
Scoop: How did Maui Mighty Comics come together so quickly?
MT: Initially I considered contacting Hawaiian creators to contribute to the book, but I wanted to get this comic out as soon as possible to be able to raise funds and benefit Maui. I had been planning to launch #1Comics in 2024, though after the tragedy I chose to use some material on hand for the future releases for Maui Mighty Comics #1 instead. Even with this book put together in August, it took until now to get in the December PREVIEWS catalog for a February 2024 release.
Scoop: Tell me about the new characters introduced in Maui Mighty Comics.
MT: One of the breakthrough stars who has much potential is Mr. Mixit. Created by Roger McKenzie and Steven Butler, with some help from li’l ol’ me, Mixit is a loving superhero tribute to the comic character creations of the legendary Steve Ditko (so parts of his costume might look a little familiar). Mr. Mixit is a teen who is imbued with strange new powers by a cosmic comic rack spinner!
Ms. Molecule is a fascinating character created by Rene King Thompson and Sandy Carruthers. A young, incapacitated girl is treated with an experimental treatment that cures her… but only when she shrinks in size. At a microscopic size, she often works for medical science.
Yang, Master of Kung Fu, is a revamp of the Charlton Comics character from the 1970s, by Roger McKenzie and Ben Torres.
Scoop: Who are the creators that worked on the book and how did they get involved with the project?
MT: For the last 10 years I’ve been releasing titles under the Charlton Neo imprint. There I worked with some of the most well-known creators in comics as well as ultra-talented up-and-comers. When I reached out to the ones I was considering, they were fully on-board.
Roger McKenzie had written Captain America and was writing Daredevil when they introduced Frank Miller as the artist. Steven Butler is an accomplished artist whose style can adapt to any genre. An ex-Spider-Man artist, Steven drew Sonic the Hedgehog for a long run and is currently doing some really fun work for Archie Comics.
Rene King Thompson is a writer and works in the health industry, which lends the authenticity to Ms. Molecule’s adventures. Sandy Carruthers is a prominent graphic artist and was the original Men in Black comic artist, before it became a film series.
Ben Torres is a growing force in comics, among other things, and along with Yang, Ben has been working with Roger McKenzie on a character called Deathwatch.
Scoop: How do you want to set #1Comics apart from other publishers and what are your plans for the future of #1Comics?
MT: Throughout my editorial career, from Cracked Magazine to launching the Marvel Music line at Marvel Comics, through Charlton Neo to now, a top goal of mine is to expand the audience and appeal to people who don’t normally buy comics and expand the market. One way to do that is to have a variety of genres underserved in the industry. Naturally we’ll be doing superheroes, but also westerns, horror, humor, and probably even romance and funny animals! We’re also planning diverse formats to see what works best for consumers and retailers. Keep your eyes open for #1Comics’ launch next year. You can follow along at www.morttodd.com.
Learn more about the Maui Mighty Comics benefit book in Scoop.