Up, Up, and Away!

Freelance illustrator Marlin Shoop quoted his own father’s words of wisdom as he addressed the region’s middle school gifted students at the annual Outreach Program

“Persistence and tenacity!” Freelance illustrator Marlin Shoop quoted his own father’s words of
wisdom as he addressed the region’s middle school gifted students at the annual Outreach
Program hosted by the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia (GSSV)—Alberta campus, on
November 7, 2018.

As he did two days earlier for the GSSV Creative Writing seniors, Shoop shared some of his past
experiences and current projects with the students at the Superhero-themed assembly. Currently
working with IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics, Shoop spoke of childhood talents and
wishes, role models, education, and remaining current in his dream career.

Students, teachers, and chaperones at the Outreach event viewed a variety of Shoop’s work. With
several pages of the 2015 graphic novel L.A.R.P. (Live-Action Role Playing) that he illustrated,
Shoop covered a work from inspiration and creation to publishing. Enhancing the themed
program, Shoop showed several of his superhero illustrations among his volume of work and
also provided a sneak peek of one of his newest projects, the graphic novel Unprepped. Teamed
with best-selling comic book writers Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty, Shoop revealed six pages of
the new apocalyptic novel that focuses on a family working together as they journey through the
changed Earth.

As Shoop presented, many middle school students shared their own dreams for the future—
becoming engineers; joining the military; entering the medical field as physicians, surgeons, and
nurses; teaching; writing books; and much more. Remembering those who inspired him—his
mother, Mark Kistler from the PBS shows Imagination Station and Secret City, James O’ Barr
who created The Crow, and also Dan Jurgens known for his Superman work—Shoop
emphasized persistence and tenacity as they follow their dreams. Shoop recommended that
students get the proper education, use their gifts to enter the fields of their choice, and enjoy the
people they meet on the way and the lives that they live.

After his presentation, Shoop took questions from students and then visited the superhero
stations created by the GSSV students. Focused on the science behind a particular superhero’s
powers, each station--manned by costumed high schoolers--provided interesting scientific
principles as well as fun and educational hands-on activities, concerning Wonder Woman’s lasso
of truth, Storm’s weather control, Spiderman’s webbing, and more.

Wendy Kidd, an instructor at GSSV and one of Shoop’s former teachers, emphasized her respect
and admiration for the Park View graduate: “Marlin Shoop exemplifies the difference between
the superheroes found at each of these stations and the role models found in our lives. We can
admire the superheroes of comics, TV programs, and movies, but we will not meet a woman who
can control the elements, a man capable of leaping a tall building in a single bound, or another
able to regrow a lost limb. A role model, however, is one of us, a person whose intelligence, hard
work, and courage inspire us to reach toward our own dreams. A role model shows us what we
can do for ourselves and for others. Marlin is that example for these students.”

Shoop, who studied at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art and at the Savannah
College of Art and Design, has drawn and inked with other groups such as Mushim Studios,
Archie Comics, Penny Farthing Press, Marvel, and DC. He has concepted with Icarus Studies
and Zenescope Entertainment, and his skills as illustrator and inker have allowed Shoop to
complete projects involving comics, graphic novels, video games, and the iPad HeroClix
TabApp. Laurie Michaelson, GSSV director, added, “We thank Mr. Shoop for being here today,
and we wish him the greatest of success.”

Freelance illustrator Marlin Shoop quoted his own father’s words of wisdom as he addressed the region’s middle school gifted students at the annual Outreach Program