I grew up reading classic comic books, and I must admit that I'm a big fan of the upsurge in popularity of comic-based TV shows and movies over the past couple decades or so. Comics are about heroes who are regular guys, too, and while they might sometimes paint good and evil as stark contrasts to each other, they are a beautiful combination of amazing art and kick-ass writing. I'm glad that the creative form has gained the recognition that it deserves.
I recently had the great pleasure of delving into the world of comics with a very informative chat with Omar Spahi. CEO and founder of OSSM Comics, Omar Spahi, has also written Xenoglyphs, Thaniel, and the recently released Separators. A comic creator with retail and business experience, running a successful real estate agency and working with management at HI DE HO Comics in Santa Monica, Omar has proven that he’s driven, talented, and passionate.
His goal is to find other creative people like himself and bring original ideas to the proverbial table. It’s hard to be innovative these days, but Omar knows there are many untapped talents in the world, making it his mission to find them and bring, through them, the best in indie comic books.
Omar has produced numerous web series, including the upcoming Sons of the Devil with New York Times Best Selling Author, Brian Buccellato (Flash, Detective Comics). With successful comics and now a sure-to-be hit series under his belt, Omar continues his conquests into other media in hopes to keep OSSM growing.
Thanks for joining me, Omar! Superheroes always have their origin stories, so let's start with the origin story of Omar Spahi. How did you get started? Did you always want to write comics?
Thanks for having me, Alison! Super pumped to be here with you. I didn't know writing comics was even a thing until I was out at dinner one night and I was talking to me about comics and told me about different creative teams on comics. From that moment on, I decided I was making my own comics.
OSSM Comics has released many popular titles and series since its inception in 2012 and seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. What's the story behind the decision to found your own independent comic company?
OSSM Comics was made in large part, because no one would put out my books. I never knew it would take on a life of its own when I founded it. I've been fortunate to know some of the best minds in comics and have them partner with me to create over 10 amazing projects through OSSM Comics.
How many individual issues have you written or have you lost count at this point? How has your writing process changed from your first issue to now, with so many publications under your belt?
At this point for Xenoglyphs, I've written 18 issues. But for all the other titles combined, I've lost count. My process has changed a ton and not at all. I still outline all my scripts before writing them and do breakdown, but I've evolved when it comes to characters emotions and plot points.
Xenoglyphs is the project that first launched OSSM Comics, and it's a project that you've returned to today. You're currently running a Kickstarter to complete the series for its many fans. What is Xenoglyphs about and what were the inspirations and influences behind its creation?
Wow. So many inspirations, I grew up a huge fan of Dragonball, the comic and animated series, Captain Planet, Batman the Animated Series and comics like the Flash were all huge inspirations for me.
Xenoglyphs is about these 2 best friends that travel the world to stop these nine different elemental stones from fall into the wrong hands. Steven and Dom are on a mission to solve the mysterious disappearance of what happened to Steven’s parents. It takes place around the world and follows different mysteries and uncovers conspiracies.
Xenoglyphs not only spans the world, but it contains a varied cast of characters. Especially today, this is a topic that has become highly publicized. Was diversity/globality one of the goals you had in mind when you first conceptualized the comic?
The goal was just to show people around the world as they are, it was never meant to be differences for difference's sake, it was just a real honest reflection of humanity.
I especially love the artwork on the action sequences, which is phenomenal. PJ Catacutan's artwork seems like the perfect fit for the storyline. How did you come to team up with him?
We met on Deviantart, it's sort of Facebook for artists. I loved his art style and he has grown and evolved so much as an artist. It still blows my mind. I couldn't be luckier to have such an awesome partner for Xenoglyphs.
According to ICv2 and Comichron, both print and digital comic sales are booming, even though sales growth has slowed within the past couple years. One thing you're planning on doing after the Kickstarter for Xenoglyphs is successful is to transition the series from hard copy to online. What prompted you to make this change? Is this what you see as the future of comics?
Honestly, I'm a huge fan of printed comics, but they're very hard to sell in stores with printing costs so high. I think transitioning to online is much easier and can give easier access to the fans. And it's all about the fans and making sure we tell the best story we can. The future of comics I believe is a mix between both, I love collecting comics and I love the digital read anywhere model as well. I think we live in a world where options for both are perfect.
I completely agree - I think it's great how many options there are for fans nowadays to enjoy their favorite characters, who have also been brought to life in popular films, TV shows and video games. You were recently involved with Code 8, a sci-fi film scheduled to be released this year. After your experience as executive producer, do you see yourself being interested in translating Xenoglyphs to a new medium, such as film or TV?
Absolutely, the main reason I got involved in Code 8 was to take my comics to the next level. Code 8 was such an amazing experience and I learned so much from the process. Xenoglyphs is my baby, and I won't rest until I find a way to take it into another form. It's always been a dream of mine.
Once Xenoglyphs is done, what's next on the horizon for you and OSSM Comics?
The plan is always to take what we have and nurture them and grow them into the next medium. The plan to grow what we've created and really do something special.
What advice would you have for aspiring comic book writers?
That's an awesome questions. I always ask this as the final question on my show. Here's the truth.
It takes time and work to break in, make as many comics as you can, learn how to master your craft. Find any way at all to work with people who have already been published at DC/Marvel or Image because once you become an associated act people begin to know your name. Keep pushing even when you feel like giving up. There's not a lot of money in comics, so if you're doing it for that, you're going to be disappointed, but if you love comics, you'll love your life.
Omar, thank you so much for chatting with me!
The pleasure is all mine.
If you like what you've seen of Xenoglyphs, the Kickstarter for Xenoglyphs ends on March 1st, and they are within spitting distance of their goal.
If you'd like to see the finished series, there are some fantastic rewards for backers, including both print and digital copies of Xenoglyphs, custom artwork by PJ Catacutan, getting drawn into the comics as a background character, comic writing lessons with Omar, and even the opportunity to be directly involved in creating the next series released by OSSM Comics.
You can check out the Kickstarter and all the backer prizes here.
I hope you enjoy reading Xenoglyphs as much as I did!
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with over a hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. If the Walking Dead isn't on, I draw pictures and do origami meditation in Connecticut, where I live with my family. If the Walking Dead is on... shhhh! The Walking Dead is on! For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
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