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Paul Tobin on developing your creative muscles

Paul Tobin

Our pal, award-winning writer Paul Tobin (Made Men, Bandette, Colder), recently dropped some knowledge on Twitter that’s particularly relevant to folks who are trying to “break in” to creative industries. It’s a variation on the old “learn to walk before you run” adage, but it’s a good reminder for everyone, no matter what goal you’re trying to accomplish in life, whether it’s publishing a graphic novel or climbing an indoor mountain. We’ll let Paul take over here…

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Get the best of Omega Comics Presents in one volume this fall

best of omega comics v. 2

best of omega comics v. 2Bumbling bandits. A down-on-his-luck super-criminal. A hitman with demonic visions. A boy afraid of the monster under his bed. The only human girl in a class of space aliens. These are just some of the compelling characters populating The Best of Omega Comics Presents Volume 2, a collection of seven standalone stories from the second volume of our grab-bag, new talent anthology series that’s been called “imaginative,” “entertaining” and downright “ballsy.”

Since 2010, Omega Comics Presents has provided a highly visible platform for underexposed comic book creators. Behind the quirky stories of mobster ghosts, stranded astronauts and wartime vampires area number of creators who have gone on to find success both with independent endeavors and mainstream projects, including Jason Copland (Kill All Monsters, POP), Ed Brisson (Murder Book, Sheltered) and John Bivens (Dark Engine, Old Wounds).

The Best of Omega Comics Presents Volume 2 weighs in at 132 pages for only $17.95 and features seven distinctive stories in both full-color and black-and-white:

  • “Bluetick & Redbone: In Good Spirits” by Alex De-Gruchy and Marvin Mann
  • “Down Time” by Russell Lissau and Justin Castaneda
  • “Stranger” by Russell Lissau and Dirk I. Tiede
  • “Los Ojos” by Trevor Mueller and Francesco Iaquinta
  • “Hard Time” by Russell Lissau and Justin Castaneda
  • “Calypso” by Russell Lissau and Marvin Mann
  • “Sweet Dreams” By Russell Lissau and Christine Larsen

The Best of Omega Comics Presents Volume 2 hits comic book store shelves Sept. 28, and can be pre-ordered by July 18 using Diamond order code JUL161850. To find a comic shop near you, visit comicshoplocator.com.

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Final issue of ‘Omega Comics Presents’ offers an updated spin on ‘The Odyssey’

Calypso cover

Calypso coverLongtime collaborators Russell Lissau and Marvin “MP” Mann reunite in the latest (and final) issue of OMEGA COMICS PRESENTS with the standalone tale “Calypso,” which tells the story of an injured U.S. Army paratrooper during World War II who is rescued and nursed back to health by a beautiful, mysterious French woman. They fall in love and spend the next several decades together, but when a German soldier appears at their door one day, the veil of their idyllic life is shattered.

“I was inspired to write ‘Calypso’ while listening to the Suzanne Vega song of the same name,” said writer Russell Lissau. “I’ve always loved the story of Odysseus and his long, harrowing journey back home after the Trojan War, and Vega’s song looked at his adventure from a new perspective. That’s what Marv and I set out to do with our comic book—to put a new spin on a centuries-old myth.”

The 24-page, full-color OMEGA COMICS PRESENTS: CALYPSO will be available digitally for only 99 cents through ComiXology, ComicsPlus and DriveThruComics on April 20, with a limited-release print edition available beginning April 27 through our web store and at select comic book shops.

Preview This Comic:

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Demons fear what ‘Los Ojos’ see in the latest issue of OMEGA COMICS

Los Ojos cover

Buy now at ComiXology or DriveThruComics for only 99 cents!

Los Ojos coverAndres Sanchez sees demons. Literally. When he looks into a person’s eyes, he can see whether or not they are truly demonic in nature. Hired to find and assassinate a known child trafficker, Sanchez goes on the hunt, taking out demons as he perceives them, getting ever closer to his target. But can Sanchez truly trust what he sees?

Readers will find out when our flagship anthology series Omega Comics Presents returns on Jan. 13, 2016 with “Los Ojos,” which tells the story of Sanchez, a hitman whose senses allow him to see the true nature of his targets. This one-shot tale is written by Albert the Alien co-creator Trevor Mueller and drawn in dramatic black-and-white by Italian artist Francesco Iaquinta.

Omega Comics Presents: Los Ojos will be available for only 99 cents at ComiXology and DriveThruComics. A limited-release print edition will be available beginning Jan. 20 through the Pop! Goes The Icon web store and at select comic book shops.

Previews:

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‘Christmapus’ launching with author signing event in Vegas on Dec. 10

Paul Mattingly, F Andrew Taylor

Paul Mattingly, F Andrew Taylor

Writer Paul Mattingly and illustrator F. Andrew Taylor will celebrate the release of the new paperback, color edition of their twisted yuletide tale, Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, with a special event on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. inside Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 567 N. Stephanie St. in Henderson, Nev., featuring a reading of the book by RJ Owens, who plays Bebe François in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil.

Christmapus, which has been called “a fun gift for the person in your life who enjoys a bit of sideways humor,” tells the story of Chris the octopus, who finds himself transformed into Christmapus when Santa’s lost hat lands on Chris’ head. It’s a rhyming tale that’s as funny as it is touching. The book is now available in print for $7.99 or for your Kindle device for only $2.99.

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‘Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus’ wraps its tentacles around readers this holiday season

christmapus cover

christmapus coverChris the octopus was content as could be under the sea. He knew nothing of Christmas or holiday cheer. That was until, one day, Santa Claus lost his famous hat–and it found a new home on Chris’ head! In Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, writer Paul Mattingly and illustrator F. Andrew Taylor tell the hilarious story of what happened next to Chris in this rhyming tale set to the meter of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

Christmapus was conceived on a cruise ship,” said Mattingly. “During Thanksgiving dinner, my friends and I were talking of traditions and we thought of the thing kids do where they trace their hand and make that into a turkey. I thought it would be fun to use both hands to create an octopus. Soon, we were joking about a Christmas octopus who gave meat to kids on the holiday. I was inspired and wrote the story-slash-poem in one marathon session that night.”

“When he got back on dry land, Paul performed Christmapus at a sketch show, where I was in the audience,” Taylor said. “After the show, I told him I was interested in illustrating it and he told me he had planned on asking me to illustrate it. Really, it’s mostly Paul’s madness. I added a few elements when I drew it, but it was mostly there in Paul’s text already.”

Mattingly and Taylor self-published the 34-page story in 2013 as a coloring book, which quickly delighted readers of all ages with its twisted humor and cartoonish illustrations. Pop! Goes the Icon helped distribute the original edition through our website and at trade shows, and based on positive reaction to the tentacled yuletide tale, we decided to publish the book in a mass-market edition, just in time for the 2015 holiday season.

“At comic conventions, we’d sell out copies of the black-and-white edition no matter what time of year,” said Pop! Goes the Icon publisher Pj Perez. “This was too charming of a book to stay hidden for very long. We knew Christmapus needed to stretch its tentacles!”

This new paperback edition has been entirely remastered from the inside out. In addition to producing an entirely new, full-color cover, Taylor colored all of the interior illustrations using a limited palette of muted tones, intended to replicate the look of mid-20th-century children’s books.

“The story of Christmapus is ultimately a hopeful one and a call for everyone to expand their spirit of giving all year long, not just during the holidays,” Mattingly said. “The story is unique and quirky and if I’ve done my job, perhaps reading Christmapus can become a favorite holiday tradition for your family.”

Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus (ISBN 9780990568827; $7.99 US) is now available for pre-order, shipping Dec. 1.

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Pop! Goes the Icon’s fall and winter lineup offers illustrated fun for everyone

fall-winter-lineup-wide

When it launched in early 2010, Omega Comics Presents had only one mission: To provide a platform for underexposed comic book creators. Behind the quirky stories of mobster ghosts, stranded astronauts and wartime vampires were a number of creators who would go on to find success both with independent endeavors and mainstream projects, including Jason Copland (Kill All Monsters, POP), Ed Brisson (Murder Book, Sheltered) and John Bivens (Dark Engine, Old Wounds).

After a brief hiatus, Omega Comics Presents is back, beginning with the all-ages standalone tale, “Stranger,” written by Russell Lissau (Old Wounds) with art, colors and letters by Dirk I. Tiede (Paradigm Shift). Debuting Oct. 13 on ComiXology and other digital comics platforms—with a limited-release print edition following Oct. 21—Omega Comics Presents: Stranger leads off an entire season of new comics and books from Pop! Goes the Icon.

On Nov. 18, the trade paperback collection of Russell Lissau and John Bivens’ acclaimed murder-mystery series, Old Wounds, will hit comic and book shops, offering an additional 20 pages of new and rare content, including behind-the-scenes sketches, essays, and a reprinting of Lissau and Bivens’ previous collaboration, “One of Us,” from the first volume of Omega Comics Presents.

Then, just in time for the holiday season, Paul Mattingly and F. Andrew Taylor’s illustrated story, Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, comes to bookstores on Dec. 1. This rhyming tale of what happens when Santa’s famous hat lands on an unwitting octopus’ head puts a twisted spin on traditional children’s holiday books, offering humorous fun for adults and less-impressionable children alike.

Omega Comics Presents then returns on Jan. 13, 2016, as Albert the Alien co-creator Trevor Mueller teams with artist Francesco Iaquinta for “Los Ojos,” the story of a hitman whose senses allow him to see the true nature of his targets. The digital-first release of Omega Comics Presents: Los Ojos will be followed by a print edition on Jan. 20.

Find out where you can purchase any of these books and comics!

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Murder-mystery tale ‘Old Wounds’ collected in paperback on Nov. 18

old wounds TP cover

old wounds TP coverMost comic books tell the stories of their heroes battling villains and conquering seemingly insurmountable odds. But in the four-part series Old Wounds, writer Russell Lissau and artist John Bivens went against the grain, showing the harsh consequences of a crime-fighter’s life after he’s hung up his mask. On Nov. 18, fans of crime and mystery fiction will be able to pick up the entire story in one, deluxe trade paperback edition.

In Old Wounds, retired vigilante Michael Lane’s former associates and loved ones are being killed one by one. As police detectives Frank King and Alyssa Hess move to protect him, Lane struggles to keep his secrets hidden, all while racing against the clock to find the killer before it’s too late.

“There aren’t many comics about what you do in the second or third phase of your life, once youth is past and you’re making decisions for different reasons,” wrote Comics Worth Reading’s Johanna Draper Carlson. “A lot of this works for me.”

In addition to the 96-page murder-mystery, the collection will include a reprinting of detectives Hess and King’s first appearance in Lissau and Bivens’ “One of Us,” which previously appeared in the indie anthology series Omega Comics Presents. The paperback will also feature a look into the collaborative process between the creators, as well as a brand-new cover by Bivens.

Old Wounds will be available on Nov. 18 in comic book stores for $12.99, and can be pre-ordered before Sept. 18 using Diamond order code SEP151548. To find a comic store near you, visit comicshoplocator.com.

Praise for Old Wounds:

“Russell’s writing is so real.  It’s humanizing the mystery man a lot more than other things have done. John’s splash pages are amazing. he does it so well. The visuals tell just as much of the story. Front to back, every part of it is so well thought out.” – The Basement Fodder Podcast

“I never expected to get teary-eyed at a comic. This was an amazing miniseries that I am sad to see end. Both Lissau and Bivens have found a very big fan in me.” – Kelly Smith Reviews

“Lissau’s writing style feels concise and tight, as if each word was carefully chosen to have just the right impact. The style pairs fantastically with the hard grit of a crime story such as this. Bivens’ art is expressive and evocative, working perfectly with black and white to evoke an atmosphere of grit and shadows.” – The Adventures of Scott

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Russell Lissau hits Las Vegas Aug. 15 for a day of workshops and appearances

Russell Lissau

Russell Lissau

He’s written the adventures of Batman, the escapades of Strawberry Shortcake, and created his own pulpy universe in the comic Old Wounds. Now Russell Lissau will share his expertise from a decade in the comics field with a day of workshops and appearances in Las Vegas on Saturday, Aug. 15.

The Chicago-based writer, who by day is a reporter for the Daily Herald, will lead back-to-back, free programs at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road), beginning with “Making Comics” at 11 a.m. and followed by “Ready…Set…Draw!” at 1 p.m.

“The ‘Making Comics’ workshop is for teens and adults—people who are serious about the craft of making comics and who want to learn more about it,” Lissau says. “The ‘Ready…Set…Draw!’ event is for kids and teens, mostly. It’s like Pictionary, but with comics, science-fiction and fantasy as themes for the things to be drawn.”

After the library workshops, Lissau will then head across the street to Alternate Reality Comics (4110 S. Maryland Parkway, Suite 8)—recently named “Best Comic Book Institution” by the Las Vegas Weekly—for a meet-and-greet from 3 to 5 p.m. celebrating the conclusion of his acclaimed, creator-owned miniseries Old Wounds.

Drawn by fellow Midwesterner John Bivens, Old Wounds tells the story of a retired superhero and the ghosts from his past who’ve come back to haunt him. All four issues will be available at the comic store appearance for purchase and for Lissau to sign.

Although he calls Chicagoland home, Lissau is no stranger to Las Vegas. He was a guest at the 2014 Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival (where his “Making Comics” workshop was standing-room-only) and makes frequent recreational visits to partake in the city’s myriad diversions. He particularly enjoys the “great restaurants, fantastic hotels and swimming pools.”

“I gamble a bit as well when I’m here, typically craps and blackjack,” says Lissau. “Although my poker skills are improving and I may sit down for a game. Most importantly, however? My publisher is in town!”

Lissau’s next project for Pop! Goes the Icon is the one-shot story “Stranger” with artist Dirk Tiede, which will be released as a digital-first comic later this year. He also has several self-published comics in the works, including Rubicon with Danielle Alexis St. Pierre and Dinner at Dante’s with Mark Stegbauer.

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Nobody’s safe in the final issue of murder-mystery series OLD WOUNDS

old wounds 04 cover

old wounds 04 coverRetired vigilante Michael Lane’s ex-wife and closest friends have been killed in freak explosions. His secret identity has been uncovered by the same police detective trying to solve those murders and protect Michael. And now, in the final issue of Russell Lissau and John Bivens’ murder mystery mini-series OLD WOUNDS, the killer stands revealed! But will Michael and Detective Alyssa Hess be able to end the reign of terror? Or are they to become victims themselves? Readers will find out when they pick up the action-packed OLD WOUNDS #4 on Aug. 5.

“The team of Lissau and Bivens is one that will go down in comic book history,” writes Kelly Smith of Kelly Smith Reviews. “Russell’s writing is so real,” said Todd and Dave on the Basement Fodder podcast. “It’s humanizing the mystery man a lot more than other things have done. The visuals tell just as much of the story. From front to back, every part of it is so well-thought-out.”

OLD WOUNDS #4 (written by Lissau, drawn by Bivens and lettered by Josh Southall) will be available on Aug. 5 in comic book stores or directly from this website for $2.99, and is now available via such mobile apps as ComiXology, ComicsPlus and DriveThruComics for 99 cents. To find a comic store near you, visit comicshoplocator.com.