Cartoonist Martin creates his own comic book



Ronald Martin created his own comic book, All-Star Protect and Serve, which is about a man whose loved one was killed unjustly. He said his connection to his character is that they are both tired of people losing their lives needlessly.

Brionna McCall, University News Editor

Ronald Martin is filled with imagination and creativity as he is on his way to publishing his first comic book, “All-Star Protect And Serve,” after working on it for the past three years.
Martin, who was born in Montgomery, Alabama, has been interested in art since he was about four years old.
“I knew I’ve always wanted to make art at a very young age,” he said. “My first exposure to comic books was through Spider-Man as a kid. Then, as I got older, I learned about the other characters.”
Martin, who attended junior high school in Montgomery, Alabama, actually finished his high school studies at Morrow High School in Morrow, Georgia, where he worked on his high school newspaper as an illustrator and artist that garnered him awards like the John Lewis Congressional Art Award.
Upon arriving at Alabama State University, Martin declared an art major and started working at The Hornet Tribune, the official student newspaper, as a cartoonist.
“It is apparent that someone with Ronald’s skills is going to be famous someday,” said Kenneth Dean, J.D., general manager of The Hornet Tribune. “He won the ‘Best of the South’ cartoonist on his first try, as a first-year student. I knew then he had the potential and talent. It is just a matter of him developing that talent. I believe this comic book will be his introduction to the world.”
According to Martin, All-Star Protect And Serve is about a man, John Birmingham, whose loved one was killed unjustly. For wanting justice, he was granted superpowers to protect people and create true justice. He explains that he would introduce his work to readers by explaining the story in a brief summary through the lens of a superhero story because that’s exactly what it is.
“When making the character, All-Star, I was heavily affected by the people of color dying at the hands of the police, and I used my character as a way to vent my frustrations with unjust behavior,” he said. “Making a character who was for his community that was always seeking justice and trying to protect others was my goal. Real-life people like MLK and Malcolm X were influences in making my character, as well as superhero characters that were already pre-established. Civil rights leaders, military veterans, as well as superheroes in comic book media influenced All-Star.”
Martin’s connection to his All-Star character is that they are both tired of people losing their lives and want to make a positive effect on their community in some way.
He states that the most challenging part about working on All-Star was drawing backgrounds and buildings, but other than that, the characters and story came naturally to him.
Currently, Martin is pre-launching his book through Kickstarter, a platform that allows creators to set a funding goal and deadline for their projects. Backers can pledge money towards their project, and if the project reaches its funding goal, the backers’ credit cards will be charged once the deadline hits.
“For my pre-launch, it could have been better executed, but it was my first time, so I’ve learned a lot through the course doing my first crowdfunding project,” he said. “After All-Star gets published, my next step is to focus on building my publishing company with other characters and ideas that I’ve created to put out more interesting stories and concepts.”
In terms of how Martin organizes, plans and prioritizes his work, he wakes up early in the morning and promotes his work on social media to generate interest for his upcoming projects.
Although All-Star is the main character, Martin believes there are many other characters that will be loved by fans just as much.
“For my characters, there are hundreds of other characters with backstories that I would love to explore when my publishing company is officially created,” he said.
Martin’s goals for All-Star Protect and Serve in the next two years are for his character to be well-known and for a fan base to be interested enough in his work to create more editions.
Martin’s chief advocate, professor Nathaniel Allen, says the Montgomery native’s work is “world-class.”
“Ron’s work is incredibly impressive. It takes many more hours to produce a finished comic book product than most traditional paintings because a comic book requires both creating its written story, as well as hand drawing the many art panels that illustrate it,” Allen said. “So, Ron is doing 10 times the work as many traditional artists with his multiple figures and backgrounds that are all hand-drawn in color. This kind of medium is technically called ‘sequential art’ because the artwork has to tell a story in sequence.”
Martin thanks his faculty and staff for their attention and their encouragement over the years.
“Faculty in both the fine arts department and The Hornet Tribune have both helped support my artistic endeavors,” he said. “My art professors Allen, Knight, Greenman, Taylor and Webber have been extremely supportive of my dreams. The general manager of the newspaper, Mr. Dean, has also given me an opportunity of being the cartoonist for The Hornet Tribune.”
As he is going through his journey to success, Martin leaves an important message to anyone trying to reach success.
“If you are passionate about something and you have a dream, don’t give up on it no matter how unrealistic it may seem,” he said. “You will never lose if you never give up.”