Published on April 13th, 2013 | by Richard Boom
Mario Gully, Ants and beyond…
He’s known to a few but has gained a place in comic book history. His name is Mario Gully and he is a comic book artist with a very inspiring story.
In 1996 he was convicted of robbery in Florida at 19 years old. The youngest child of a family of six, Mario started drawing at an early age. While incarcerated, His life was changed forever. “One day,”Mario recalls.”I was looking out the cell window and I noticed a tiny ant crawling on the window sill”. “I was feeling so bad”. “That my life was over and I was so ashamed, I wanted to disappear.” I felt like that tiny and I wanted to trade my life for his”. Filled with grief, his cell mate encouraged him to draw to pass the time. What happened next is nothing short of amazing.
“I turned that Ant into a superhero in my head.”Mario says, I wanted to better my life so I decided to draw again.”
Draw is what he did and the character ANT was born. A red hot sexy female with razor sharp antennas that could block bullets!
Mario was a huge fan of comic books and especially Todd Mcfarlane the Creator of Spawn. “He was my idol, my focus”. The young artist recalls. Trying to get Mcfarlane’s attention wasn’t an easy task. Mario’s character was turned down by Image Comics and many other publishers.
One publisher saying “A idiotic idea for a character that nobody is interested in”.
Not being deterred, Gully kept trying for 8 years! Even getting financing from a friend to get better color and variant covers from comic book superstars for a better package.
“Finally, when I exhausted all my resources, I received an email from an small publisher in Canada”. My wife kids and I were living with my dad in a small apartment because money was hard to come. I was working at an air conditioning helper in Louisville KY. One email from Arcana Studios. That’s when it all started.
ANT launched in 2003 and the book sold out in 9 days. Ant was legitimately a hit. “I cant say I was surprised”, Mario says, “or I may have been in shock, “I’ve always believed in my characters”. “I just think they are cool that’s all”. “It was fantastic to see other people believing they were cool also”.
ANT was now published at a major publishing house! The publisher at Image Comics Erik Larsen brought his book aboard with scepticism.
“I wanted it bad”! Mario say.”I wanted to prove I could play with the majors”!
ANT played with the majors an issue#1 sold out now under a huge publisher. “I talked to Erik Larsen (the publisher) and he told me the numbers. “I cried”. “I fell down and cried because it was a huge accomplishment for me”
ANT was in the starting line up and was one of the top selling independent comic books. Selling on Ebay for over 100 dollars a issue for a specific retailer cover.
“Ant is one of the most iconic, original characters created in the last 20 years”!-Comic book veteran and a founder of Image Comics Erik Larsen
Later Mario continued his success drawing books for many other publishers including comic book powerhouse Marvel Comics! Drawing special illustrated books and working with a comic book legionary writer Roy Thomas!
“Hey,this is another great – looking batch of pages”! “You gave us some great action – packed pirate scenes with real drama”. “I’m very impressed”. “You continue to get better on all fronts”. “And you keep such a wonderful schedule”. “Glad you’re a big part of this fine effort”!-Senior Marvel editor Ralph Macchio
It would appear that this artist had everything he wanted. A Creator owner title, drawing a new series for Marvel Comics. A promising road to success?
“It was difficult behind the scenes”. “With all I’ve been through and how very hard I fought to get my chance to fight..I’ve kept battling with publishers about my ideas”. “I had to change Ant’s story for Image Comics to publish the book”. “I believe originally it was her story not her costume”. Gully bellows.””Also, many comic book creators didn’t accept me”. “I guess they felt that I wasn’t qualified enough to be where I had gotten to in my career”. “Rather me being self taught and not being groomed by Marvel or D.C comics before I became popular like most creators were.. or being a black dude”. “I can’t be honest and say I didn’t feel that animosity”.”One time, I was even asked to not stand behind the Image Comics booth at San Diego Comic Con”! “I felt very bad”. “That was like crushing my dreams all over again”.
There were also the vultures circling Mario’s success. People that promised movie deals and video games that ultimately took Gully for a ride.
“That was my biggest problem”. Mario’s recalls. “Most of these people I met didn’t have the resources they pretended to have”. “I would try to help develop my characters in other forms of entertainment but it was a lot of work”. “In addition to pencilling,writing and producing a monthly title at Image”. “It was hard”. “I was very worried that if I passed up an opportunity a deal I was looking for could fall through”.
It became difficult for the artist. Having a wife and 4 kids things became hard financially and the couple decided to file for a divorce after 14 years.
Gully: “That’s was the darkest time in my life. We separated and I have my 4 children. I left Florida to move to Nevada to start over. Our Marriage was bad for 3 years before it finally ended. I tried everything even going to church and I even taught Sunday School while going to seminary. I wanted to save my family”. It seems it went from bad to worst. It felt like God was laughing at me”.
More tragedy struck Mario when on route to Nevada he was in a serious car accident!
“The car I was in flipped a couple times on route 66”. “I know for sure I could have been killed”. “I almost rolled into a semi truck in the snow.”
The relocation to Las Vegas Nevada was anything but smooth. Mario would eventually become homeless with his 4 children!
“It was very.. very hard”.” I literally lost my mind”. “I felt like so many people I helped wouldn’t even return my calls”. “I couldn’t draw because I was so depressed”. “I thought about suicide one night very seriously”. “To this day it was the lowest point I ever been”. “I got locked up because we got evicted because I brought a puppy for my daughter”. “The place where we were living wanted a pet deposit or us to vacate”. “I didn’t have it. “It was less then 200 bucks”. “I tried to steal it”.
This can be one of the best come back stories in comic book history. Since then Mario Gully has changed his name to O.M.G and he’s more determined then ever to live the dream he always wanted!
O.M.G: “O.M.G stands for Original Mario Gully”. “It’s that guy that I wanted to be that follows his heart and march to his own drum beat”. “I feel I’m my original self”. “My honest self”. “After all I’ve been through, I draw better now then I ever have”. “I’m more focused then I ever been”.
O.M.G has creations he’s been developing for years. He is looking for one investor that can help make this story the beginning of his new life!
O.M.G: “I just need one chance”. “One shot to do a few books my way without the restraints or any of that jazz I get from publishers every day”. “I only need one investor”. “I’ve done a lot with very little experience and very little resources with Ant and my career.
I’ve learned a ton”. “I’ve worked with so many great people in this biz”. “Now, I want to show the world I’m ready for round two”! “I know I’ve got a golden opportunity here”. “I’m ready now and I’m disciplined!
O.M.G is offering a percentage of his characters for life as well as a return on the investment!
O.M.G. “I know I’m a sure investment”. “I’ve proven most wrong about my characters all my life”. “I’ve had time to develop my strategy and marketing plan”. “I know with certainly this is my destiny.
O.M.G: So this is to my possible investor. All my life I felt I was meant for something. I know in my heart it’s to inspire people to be better today then you were yesterday. To show kids that no matter what obstacles that are in your path you can overcome them with hard work and dedication. Sometimes everyone needs just a little push to take off and fly higher then one ever has.
Help me live the life I was always meant to live.
Invest inquires can me made to Creator / artist Guru O.M.G by contacting him here: Mariogully@gmail.com