Meet the creative team behind our all-new anthology project, Tales from The Cave, featuring three fresh short stories plucked from the Mad Cave pumpkin patch by Mad Cave Studios’ 2022 Talent Search winners!
We had the chance to sit down and chat with each contributor about their contributions to the anthology, their inspirations, and more!
Check out our interview below with the team behind the short story, Hunt. Kill. Repeat.: Spearhead, below:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Rachel: I’m originally from the East Coast and am now making my home in California. I have an editorial background from Marvel and DC Comics and am excited to make the transition professionally from editing to writing. I’ve been reading comics since high school and have always enjoyed writing, from short stories to poetry, and of course, comics. I’m on Twitter and BlueSky @racheaissance and Instagram @thecostumedcity where I post about the intersection of comics and culture. A fun fact about me is that I once held the door for Ethan Hawke at a Starbucks in Manhattan.
Marcello: After attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome I shifted my attention to the illustration and concept art part that I still follow and hope to create, starting almost by chance with small projects the colorist part of comics. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work in this field with small and large publishers including Disney, Heavy Metal and for 2 years for Image Comics.
Here are some links to my works:
Instagram: @iozzoli | Artstation: marcello87
Marco: Since childhood I have always had a great passion for drawing and comics, the desire to draw comics led me to enroll in the International School of Comics in Rome, which I attended for three years.
After some collaborations in Italy and America, I arrived at Mad Cave Studios, winning the talent search in 2022.
Those who want to follow me can do so on
Andriy: I’m a comic book creator and a graphic designer from Sumy, Ukraine. I letter and write comic books and also design logotypes for tabletop games, comics, music albums and other art forms. I post my work on social media under @andriylukin and you can check out my website at andriylukin.com. Fun fact about me — I used to entertain people as a Yogi Bear mascot during my summer job in the US!
Q: What is your contribution to Tales From The Cave?
Rachel: I contributed the storyline and script for “Spearhead” in Tales From The Cave. The story, set in the world of Hunt. Kill. Repeat., focuses on Athena now that the gods have taken over humanity and established themselves in present-day New York City. Collaborating with the talented team of artists Marco Tortella and Marcello Iozzoli and letterer Andriy Lukin is a comics dream come true!
Marcello: For this project I handled the colors with a unique and wonderful team that I got on very well with
Marco: My contribution was to draw and ink “Spearhead” a story written by the very talented Rachel Pinnelas and set in the world of Hunt Kill Repeat.I am happy to have collaborated with a team of talents like Rachel, Marcello, and Andrly, it has been a wonderful experience
Andriy: I lettered the story titled “Spearhead” set in the world of Hunt. Kill. Repeat. It was written by Rachel Pinnelas, drawn by Marco Tortella, colored by Marcello Iozzoli and edited by Chas! Pangburn — an absolutely killer creative team! I hope readers will enjoy our short story about Athena as much as I enjoyed working on it. I’d also like to thank Mark, Francesco and the rest of the HKR creative team for lending us their toys!
Q: Which Hunt. Kill. Repeat. character would you say you resonate with the most?
Rachel: I resonate most with Athena and her big sister energy, since that is a role I embody in my own life and one that she personifies for the Olympians. I also love owls like she does!
Marcello: I think I feel very close to Hermes, who faces things very simply and if all is well, enjoy a drink
Marco: Perhaps with Artemis, I like his instinct for rebellion, his determination not to be crushed by those who want to impose others’ life choices on him, even at the cost of paying heavily for his own choices.
Andriy: I’d say Tempus is my favorite, since I really dislike the Olympian tyranny depicted in the series. Go get ’em, old man!
Q: What does your creative process look like, and where do you draw inspiration from?
Rachel: My creative process involves endless research tabs for deep diving into the background and world for every project. In the case of “Spearhead,” I revisited some of my favorite Greek mythology moments and architectural monuments, especially concerning Athena. My research notes help create the outline for scripting. Lately my inspiration has been drawn from stories (mythological and otherwise) from across history.
Marcello: I can say that even before starting to put the colors, I already have in mind how the table should be, the colors and the strokes of light, what I want to highlight and how to involve the reader, then a photographic research of environments that can give me that inspiration begins greater perhaps for particular and important plays of light
Marco: When I get a script, I read the whole thing to get an idea of the setting and the general atmosphere, while I’m reading I’m already thinking about how to scan the narrative. When I start drawing, I start with small layouts, doing speedy and synthetic drawings making all the changes I can think of, (this is a very important phase because, if there is a problem then we will find it in the finished pencils. ) once I am satisfied with the result I enlarge it so that it fits on an A3 sheet, and then continue the work at the light table. Once the pencils are finished, I scan the drawing and bring it to the computer, inking it with the Manga studio program
I get my inspiration mainly from comic books and also from TV series that I consult most assiduously before drawing a comic book
Andriy: I usually start by highlighting all the relevant information in the script. I then letter a couple of pages to figure out the style of lettering, whether it matches the artwork and the script. At this stage I need to find suitable design elements (fonts, speech balloons, captions, sound effects) that I’ll use throughout the rest of the book. Some pages require extra care and creativity (you might notice them in the “Spearhead”), so I usually come up with something on the spot!
Q: As a winner of Mad Cave Studios’ annual Talent Search, do you have any advice to aspiring creatives?
Rachel: My advice for aspiring creatives, particularly in comics, is to hone your craft. Allow yourself to be open to experimentation with different approaches for writing and illustrating.
Marcello: Well I must say that I didn’t expect to be one of the winners of the contest and to have participated with the serene spirit of having a portfolio that could perhaps be of interest without thinking too much about the result. In my small way I can say that we need to present the works that are as presentable as possible and convince us of ourselves and be proud of it, because by dint of trying in the end as in my case, the effort is rewarded and it’s worth it
Marco: The advice I can give to aspiring creatives is to draw a lot, a lot, a lot, I recommend drawing pages in sequence rather than pin-ups. In my opinion, the best thing is to look for the scripts on the internet, there are sites like comiscexperience.com where you can find them, download them, and start enjoying
Andriy: Try to learn different aspects of the creative process — draw, write, color or letter some samples for yourself to figure out the limitations and potential problems that your collaborators might encounter. You should also constantly study the work of your fellow creatives!
Q: Any projects or events on the horizon that we should be looking out for?
Rachel: Yes, but I can’t announce them just yet! So be on the lookout for more details soon!
Marcello: For the moment I have no new projects in progress; Who knows? Maybe later.
Marco: Yes, I have a project that I’ve been working on for some time, and it will see the light probably in the autumn, however, check my Instagram for new updates
Andriy: Don’t sleep on “Crusader” by Matt Emmons! Matt has crafted an amazing adventurous series and I’m so glad he asked me to help with lettering this book! I’m also contributing to cool comic anthologies “Always the Same Story” and “Let Her Be Evil”, you might want to check them out!
We’ve got your first look inside the pages of Tales From the Cave! From the woods of Nottinghamshire, to Olympus, to Valderia, we’ve got three all-new stories from some of your favorite Mad Cave titles. Check out our preview below!
TALES FROM THE CAVE
Writers: David Hazan, Keith Frady, and Rachel Pinnelas
Artists: Shane Connery Volk, Riccardo Cecchi, and Marco Pelandra
Colorists: Luca Romano, Marco Tortella, and Marcello Iozzoli
Letterers: Justin Birch, Renato Quiroga and Andriy Lukin
Synopsis: Just in time for Halloween, Mad Cave Studios is proud to present readers three treats: a spooky Nottingham story from Hazan, Volk, Romano, and Birch; a Battlecats “tail” featuring teenage felines tempting fate; and a Hunt. Kill. Repeat. battle over technology.
Fans of all three worlds are given “pumpkin” to talk about with stories crafted by MCS Talent Search winners from past to present.!
Be sure to check out the Hunt. Kill. Repeat. side-story. Spearhead, by author Rachel Pinnellas, artist Marco Tortella, colorist Marcello Iozzoli, and letterer Andriy Lukin in Tales From the Cave, available September 27th, 2023!
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