Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interview with Omar Spahi & Siike Donnelly of OSSM Comics Part 1

Last week CBNAH caught up with Omar Spahi, writer of XENOGLYPHS & THANIEL, CEO and founder of OSSM Comics,and Siike (Seek) Donnelly, writer of the upcoming title MONOMYTH, EIC and Marketing Director of OSSM Comics. In the first part of our interview, we chat about the history of the company, THANIEL both issue one and two is coming out this April, XENOGLYPHS, MONOMYTH and much more.

CBNAH: How did OSSM Comics first started?

OMAR SPAHI: I kind of knew from the get-go that I wanna have a publishing company and I wanted to put out my own comic books. I went to other companies first, and the comic book industry is so incestuous and you have to be working for a company to get pull into another company, and everyone is kind of working with each other. We really wanted to make our own company and be able to make our own name. We decided to go against the grain and try to make something new and innovative in a lot of ways.

CBNAH: Did the company start in 2011 or 2012?

OS: Early 2012 that the company was officially released and we had our first issue of Xenoglyphs come out around that same time.

CBNAH: Siike, how did you first got introduced to the company?

SIIKE (SEEK) DONNELLY: I used to work at Golden Apple Comics, a retail store here in Los Angeles, and Omar came in promoting and trying to get sales on Xenoglyphs. I took a look at the counter and I thought it was really great. I loved the artwork. Peejay Catacutan is the artist on the book and he's really great. I thought the storyline and (Omar)his pitch was awesome. In the end, I couldn't say no. We came up with a kind of consignment thing. We set up a signing with Omar and ever since then, we've been friends. Around November of last year, I left my previous job on sick leave, I wasn't feeling well and I had some medical stuff going on. While I was recuperating, Omar offered me to come work for him. He said, "I could do it from my bed at home." And then I said, "Perfect cuz that's where I am. In bed." So, I started to work for OSSM. Now four months later we went from one book on the verge coming out to now six titles, four of which we'll be talking about today.

CBNAH: Omar, can you tell us about Xenoglyphs?

OS: Xenoglyphs is about these nine different elemental stones. Each stone has its own different power like earth, wind, water, light and darkness. If you hold that stone, you control all of that element. It's kind of like Captain Planet meets The Fifth Element. What really is cool about it goes back, explains a lot of mysteries, conspiracies and unexplained phenomena. These two best friends Steven and Dom are trying to stop these stones from falling to the wrong hands.

CBNAH: Is Xenoglyphs a mini-series?

OS: Xenoglyphs is a six issue mini-series. After that we're launching a new series called Separators, which begins after the conclusion of Xenoglyphs. It'll be our first ongoing title.

SD: It'll be out in late October.

CBNAH: This april will see the debut of your new title Thaniel(Issue #1 and #2 will ship in April). Can you tell us what Thaniel is all about?

OS: Thaniel is about this kid who is kinda of been around death throughout his whole life. He always wanted to figure out why. As the story progresses, he figures out what if it's his fault. It's about understanding life and death, and everything in-between too.

CBNAH: Will this also be a mini-series?

OS: That's going to be a four issue mini. We're really looking forward to it.

CBNAH: Can you tell us about Terry's(Huddleston) artwork? His art style is a perfect match for this title?

OS: Thank you. Terry has been amazing to work with. He has such a rich mainstream style. His artwork is something that people can see and instantly get on board.

CBNAH: How did you find Terry?

OS: I actually him at the New York Comic Con about two years ago. We just started talking and before that, there were several other artists who were interested in working on Thaniel. We went back and forth with a couple of them. Terry was the one that just made the most sense.

CBNAH: Any other upcoming titles coming out this year?

SD: Real quick on Separators, that was always the plan to do a straightforward team book but we wanted to build the team. So, Omar very forward-thinking he had Xenoglyphs being the mini-series leading up Separators. We're releasing Xenoglyphs in trade paperback in early October and Separators #1 comes out in the end of October. That's our big push for the fall. In the summer we have a mini-series that I wrote called Monomyth. Monomyth is basically like a what if story in a way. It's what of Lucifer did not fall from Heaven but Saint Michael did. What happens in it is Lucifer tells Adam and Eve not to eat the apple and she-- She ends up becoming the protector of mankind. Michael falls off into the darkness that would of been earth, Michael builds an army. In Eden, a young man named Enoch is born, who is also from the Bible. He's born a natural born warrior. He doesn't like rules, everything is too peaceful, too calm for him. He's a little bit chaotic and he has a lot of teen angst. It's the first time that Eden has seen something like this because they don't know sin, evil, war or disagreement. It's kind of a seemingly boring society. Enoch is this salmon swimming upstream and ultimately he's on his hero's journey because he's an outsider and goes against the grain like all good heroes should. He learns that his actual existence for a reason because he's chosen to protect Eden from the oncoming war that Michael brings. It's a really big, epic storyline and the format for that is a three issue mini-series but each issue is $3.99 and you get 30 pages of art and story. So, it's a lot of bang for your buck. In total each issue is 40 pages plus ads and everything. It's full of action, drama and everything you want. The best way to describe it is Gilgamesh meets Final Fantasy.

CBNAH: Is this material on comiXology?

SD: Yes, Omar and I are both actively pursue comiXology. ComiXology they created a site called Submit. It's geared towards indy creators. They recommend us to use that for  the time being. Over the course of book sales going up and other factors, maybe moving on to the main site. There's a lot of rules with them but we love comiXology and I have submitted all of Xenoglyphs and Thaniel to them. And we're just waiting to hear back.

Come back next week for the second part of the interview as we discuss Kickstarter, advice for young writers and artists, social media and much more.

Check out OSSM Comics official site:

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