Mark Poulton is living his boyhood dream of writing and illustrating comic books and graphic novels,
some of them for the gold standard in the business: DC Comics.
Mark Poulton presented his dream career in a paper he wrote for a business class during his senior year at Rutgers: “How I Will Use My Degree in Marketing to Work for DC Comics.” Two decades later, Poulton CCAS’95 writes and draws comic books and graphic novels. He cocreated Koni Waves, a series about a female private detective in Hawaii; launched a children’s book series with a story-in-verse titled A Cat Named Haiku; and even worked on Savage Hawkman for none other than DC Comics.
“It was a long task to finally get there,” Poulton says. “Now, thanks to the internet, you can figure out what it takes to break into the industry. But back then, it was almost like a secret how to get into the comics business.”
Poulton was not yet 10 years old when he insisted that his mother buy him the GI Joe comic he’d spotted on a bookstore rack. Soon, he was spending much of his allowance on comic books. “I didn’t even realize people were making them,” says Poulton. “They were just something that appeared on the shelf. The realization that people got to make these for a living didn’t come to me until I got a little older.”
Although he has steady work in the industry, Poulton is still waiting for that elusive Walking Dead-style big break. He holds down a day job as a quality-control analyst for a mortgage company and pens his comic books at night, after his wife, Chrissy (Pelikoski) Poulton CCAS’00, is asleep.
And he’s trying to cultivate the next generation of fans, starting with his 3-year-old son, Chase. “Every now and then, he’ll make my day and climb up in bed with me and ask me to read him a comic book,” Poulton says. “He’s getting there.”