Featured Publisher: Haunted Pizza LLC

For those with a taste for the extraordinary, let us introduce you to Haunted Pizza LLC. Haunted Pizza was formed in 2017 by father-son writing team, Mark and Chase Poulton, after they self-published their Ringo Award-nominated all-ages graphic novel with artist and co-creator, Ryan Onorato, Pizza Tree. The horror graphic novel is about a father and son who are terrorized by an evil pizza tree after the son plants a slice of pepperoni in the ground. This self-financed venture gave Mark his first taste of independence. Before this, Mark had worked in the industry for others, writing for DC Comics, Image Comics, and Arcana Studio, where he also served as Vice President of Operations.

After the success of Pizza Tree, Mark teamed up with long-time friend, Jon Malin, to crowdfund the graphic novel, Graveyard Shift. Mark had pitched the idea to Jon when they were friends on the Rob Liefeld message boards way back in 2010. The duo worked on the project for 7 years, but were interrupted by mainstream work. Finally, in the Fall of 2017, Mark and Jon found themselves with a completed graphic novel just as the crowdfunding scene was exploding. They launched the book on Indiegogo and were funded within minutes. The book went on to crowdfund over $100,000, paving the way for several sequels. The series, which asks the question, “What if the Universal Monsters were the X-Men?”, was originally co-published between Haunted Pizza and Jon’s Secret Door LLC. Mark and Jon continue to work on the series together; however, starting with Volume 3, the book was solely published by Secret Door.

Mark invested his earnings from Graveyard Shift into several new properties with friends he had known for years. Haunted Pizza currently publishes over a dozen titles through crowdfunding. Their properties have crowdfunded over $1,000,000 on Indiegogo, and in the past year, they have expanded to other crowdfunding platforms. They focus on square-bound graphic novels with a page count of 48 pages and above. Some of their most popular titles are:

  • USAssassin: Government super ninja, Joe Knight, is assigned a team of elite killers to take on the missions too tough for the government’s military. Co-created with artist Mike McMahon, USAssassin has drawn inspiration from 80s action movies like American Ninja. Mark licensed pro wrestler “The Mercenary” Flip Gordon’s likeness for the series, adding a real-life member to the team. In addition, Mark recently licensed the likeness of Rowdy Roddy Piper to appear in the upcoming Volume 4 graphic novel, Dogs of War.
  • Writhe & Payne: Created with artist Chris Graves, Writhe & Payne tells the story of Detective Sean Payne, a former witch hunter who put that life behind him when he fell in love with Elizabeth Hectate, a witch he was assigned to kill. Their oldest daughter goes missing, and Detective Payne believes her disappearance is linked to a group of missing children cases in Vineland, NJ. The series is heavily influenced by Spawn and other 90s Image properties like The Creech and The Tenth.
  • Viking Wolf: Prince Gunnar Rovewolf is Viking Wolf. With his mystical Blood Hammer, he defends the Moonshire from the dreaded Tollman. Created by Mark Poulton and artist Matt Dalton, Viking Wolf is in pre-production for its second volume, featuring a cover by the great Kenneth Rocafort.
  • Black Owl: Mark and artist Gregg Paulsen put their spin on the public domain character, the Black Owl! The book follows billionaire Eric Danville, who discovers his grandfather was the Golden Age superhero, the Black Owl. He decides to don the mantle to clear his name from false criminal charges. The series hints at the appearance of other public domain characters, including Man Of War and Daredevil.
  • SeaDog: When his owner places an enchanted anchor medallion around his neck, a young pup transforms into the superhero, SeaDog! Created by Mark and Chase Poulton, SeaDog has super strength, can fly, and can transform into any sea creature. The character serves as an ambassador to the Haunted Pizza Universe in an almost Marvel Team-Up fashion, interacting with several characters from the publisher.
  • Loose Threads: What happens to your favorite comic book characters when their series are canceled? A group of comic book characters break out into the real world to track down their creator and make him finish their stories so they can fulfill their destinies! Created by Mark Poulton and artist Cesar Madarro, Loose Threads features the final cover by the legendary George Perez.
  • Koni Waves: Vampires, werewolves, and tiki monsters… oh my! Koni Waves tells the story of Koni Kanawai, a female detective in Honolulu, Hawaii, who specializes in supernatural cases. Created by Mark Poulton, Stephen Sistilli, and Dexter Weeks, the reboot brings back the series that started Mark’s comic book career in 2006.

Haunted Pizza focuses on family and fun. The father-son duo, Mark and Chase, have traveled the country together, exhibiting at conventions. In 2017, Chase became the youngest author to ever sign at San Diego Comic-Con at age 7! Besides a Ringo Award Nomination for their work, they won a Moonbeam Award for Best Kids Graphic Novel. The company produces titles that mix over-the-top action with stylized art reminiscent of the 90s, a reflection of Mark’s career working with Rob Liefeld on titles like Avengelyne, Brigade, and Savage Hawkman.

Upcoming Titles

  • Fulfillment: Before Graveyard Shift, Mark and Jon Malin were hired to create a whole universe of characters that never saw the light of day due to COVID-19. Mark recently acquired the publishing rights to this project and will release it later this year. The book features 50 pages of unreleased Jon Malin artwork.
  • The Golden Era: Mark teamed up with professional wrestlers, David Goldy and Brett Waters, who were featured on the Apple TV series, “The Monster Factory”, to create a fun manga series inspired by their journey to become professional wrestlers.
  • Viking Wolf “Blood Moon Madness”: This is the company’s first major crossover and will feature Viking Wolf taking on the rest of the Haunted Pizza Universe.

Action Figures and Statues

Haunted Pizza hopes to dive into the action figure world with the release of figures based on USAssassin. The first releases will be USAssassin, Bazooka Dog, “The Mercenary” Flip Gordon, and Raider the Search and Rescue Dog. Additionally, Mark and former McFarlane Toys sculptor, Enrico Botta, are teaming up for some statues of Haunted Pizza characters.

Mark once thought working for mainstream comic publishers would be the pinnacle of his career, but after years of crowdfunding and self-publishing success, he couldn’t imagine a greater accomplishment than building a company from the ground up with his son. The future at Haunted Pizza will be about making their dreams come true and letting their imaginations run wild! Look for Haunted Pizza at a convention near you or check them out on their social media platforms.

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