As an editor at Marvel Comics Marcus McLaurin was surrounded by vampires, pinheads, a guy who was half man, half serpent, and of course, Spider-Man.
Marcus worked on several books in the company’s Epic Comics line and other projects, including popular series like Alien Legion, Morbius the Living Vampire, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Nightbreed, as well as the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. A 1986 graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Marcus has lived the life of an artist, writer and teacher. Besides being a Programming and Web Design instructor, Marcus is the creator of the new sleek, eye-catching and informational Franklin County Technical School web site.
"I like different challenges..."
Marcus started working as an intern at Marvel Comics while a student at Pratt, and took a full time job at the company as an editorial assistant after he graduated. In his 10 years at Marvel, Marcus held the positions of editorial assistant, assistant editor, managing editor, editor, writer, penciller, and colorist.
“I wrote a monthly comic called Cage for over two years,” said Marcus, referring to the 20-issue comic series with the main character Luke Cage. “I wrote stories for the Marvel Comic Presents series.”
Did he ever. Take a look at Marcus’ Wikipedia page (yes, Marcus has a Wikipedia page) and up pops an extensive list of titles that would be the envy of any comic book enthusiast, including Captain America, Spider-Man, The Punisher, and more. A gifted artist, Marcus grew up in Springfield’s Hill-McKnight neighborhood and attended school in East Longmeadow as part of the state Metco program which was developed in 1966 and allows urban students to attend school in the suburbs. He graduated from East Longmeadow High School in 1982.
“I was one of the first students to be involved in the Metco program,” Marcus said. “I was in East Longmeadow schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. I’ve gone back there to talk as someone who is a Metco success story.”
Marcus is the youngest of six children and by the time he graduated from high school his parents were retired and his siblings had all moved out of the house.
“I kind of grew up like an only child,” he said
After leaving Marvel, Marcus took a job with Design Development Group (DDG), a planning, architecture and design company in Baltimore. There, he designed environmental graphics for malls in Indonesia, as well as characters for an indoor amusement park.
“I like different challenges,” Marcus said, “but I didn’t like Baltimore. I was there for a year and half, and I started looking for a job up here.”
In 1997, Marcus landed a job at Channing Bete Company in South Deerfield as managing art director in the Custom and Revision Department. He stayed at the company for 10 years, but seeking other challenges he left and started looking for another job.
"I like the idea of helping kids figure out how to be creative."
“All of the available jobs were in the Boston area,” Marcus said. “I got a job at Aqua Leisure in Avon, where I designed water toys and snowboards.”
After a year at the company, Marcus got a job at the publisher Houghton Mifflin, where he worked on projects such as turning existing books into e-books. The company merged with Harcourt Brace to become Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Marcus worked with a team to design the new company logo. After working at the publisher for two years, Marcus was a victim of a companywide downsizing in 2009. That same year, he founded Idea MechaniX, his company that does branding, logo design, web development, print design, and more. A Conway resident, Marcus also taught art in Springfield, and did freelance work following his layoff. Three years ago, he was hired to teach at FCTS.
“I like teaching,” Marcus said. “I like the idea of helping kids figure out how to be creative. They’re taught to find the right answer, but they often don’t realize that that there could be more than one right answer. You see it when they get excited about what they’re working on; when they have that ‘aha’ moment. They’re happier when they figure it out themselves.”
Marcus said FCTS has “great teachers and kids,” and there is a strong atmosphere of caring about the students. He also very much enjoys the subjects he teaches.
“People do this because they want to see the kids do better and they care about the community,” he said. “It’s more unique than you think. It’s a really good environment here.”
Marcus and his wife Janet are the parents of Tristan, 16, and Trace, 14. He edits a newsletter in Conway called The Visitor and is active in his church. In his spare time, Marcus does decorative painting on furniture at Treecycled-Art.com.
“It's art you can have in your house, but doesn’t hang on your walls,” he said.