In honor of this week’s GO cover story on the third annual Maine Comics Art Festival at Ocean Gateway, it seemed only fitting that the cover should depict some type of comic book-style treatment.

So when Mort Todd asked whether I would be interested in using an original piece depicting characters fighting in front of The Portland Press Herald offices at One City Center, it was an easy sell.

Todd, who grew up in Yarmouth and now lives in New York, is a cartoonist and filmmaker who has written, drawn and edited for numerous comic-book companies, including Marvel and DC. He’s worked on such iconic characters as Spider-Man, Superman and Barbie.

He’s also a former editor-in-chief of the humor magazine Cracked, and has produced animation for Walt Disney, CBS, MTV and Comcast — as well as an unsold animated TV pilot starring Christopher Walken as a werewolf.

Todd created his own characters for the GO cover, each with a nod to the Pine Tree State. It’s not just a way to promote his appearance at the comics art festival — it’s a way to reconnect with his Maine roots.

“The heroes were influenced by things like the Maine motto (Dr. Dirigo), state animals and minerals (Cooncat, Chickadee, Tourmaline) and native Mainer legends (Pamola),” he said.

“Villains such as Black Fly and the Sinister Seagull were naturals. The Lobster I had actually done in a comic story years ago — a criminal biologist with an armored exo-skeleton.”

The cover took eight hours to pencil and ink, followed by another 12 hours of coloring and lettering.

All of the characters have background stories, but Todd is keeping those under wraps for a possible comic book or film series. And that will most likely have to wait until Todd’s current project, a crime-drama television series set in Maine, gets off the ground. He plans to spend summers here and possibly relocate.

At Sunday’s festival, Todd will interact with fans and sell numbered prints of two other original works of art set in Portland — one featuring DC and Marvel characters in front of the Time & Temperature building on Congress Street; the other featuring Godzilla at Portland Head Light. Some proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that helps injured men and women in the Armed Forces.

“I’ll be sharing a table with my old pal Rick Parker, who has drawn (the comic books) ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ and ‘Tales from the Crypt,’ and married into a Maine family,” Todd said. “I really enjoy the interaction with comics fans and meeting other creators.”

For more information on Todd, visit comicfix.com.

And, with apologies to Stan Lee, I close with this:

Excelsior!

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at:

[email protected]