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Archive for August, 2009

New Renaissance

August 27, 2009 1 comment

One aspect I particularly enjoy about our work on ‘Omni’ is that we are just as likely to spend hours debating scientific concepts as artistic ones.  In the past I’ve often had to work with, for example, script editors who don’t understand even basic scientific concepts let alone their implications; or scientists who neglect the immeasurable, subjective world to such an extent that they may, for example, think ‘Van Helsing’ a good movie.  And I won’t even mention other aesthetic sensibilities, such as personal hygiene.

But it is the lack of self-awareness I find most disturbing in scientists, or even self-knowledge.  I watched a documentary recently about a scientist seeking to create eternal life, experimenting by transplanting monkey heads onto different bodies.  The film showed how when a monkeyhead woke up on its new body, it reacted with sheer rage.  The scientist’s comment?  Something like:  “I don’t really know why it was so angry.”  This is horrific, not to say unbelievably stupid, and I find the scientist’s attitude – his lack of common sense and empathy – as horrific as a society that condones such approaches to discovering ‘truth’.  When I saw this though, the extreme violence of  Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewics’s superb graphic novel ‘Electra Assassin’ suddenly seemed fitting, particularly in the laboratory scenes.  In the past I’d always thought the bloodletting over the top, now I actually considered it understated.

And it has often been comics for me which have reflected today’s society the most accurately.  ‘Art is a spirit, and it has moved house…the poets have picked up electric guitars’ I wrote once in a little-seen play and I still think this, that the most salient art at any time is different from what went before, and what will come next.  16th Century?  Give me the theatre.  19th Century?  The novel.  1970s?  Rock music or cinema.  1990s for me was the comic:  nobody was watching it or took it seriously, so the real creative people could do what they wanted without censure.

Fortunately for me, although I find most current comics a bit tame, lacking spirit or pretending to have spirit by using shocktactics – particularly as they have become more culturally accepted (compare the movie ‘Constantine’ with Jamie Delano’s original ‘Hellblazer’ comic, for instance) – I still find it a tremendously exciting and vibrant medium.  Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen’s  ‘Secret Identity’ is a personal favourite amongst recent publications, and there are plenty of others to do what art is, in my view, supposed to do:  reflect upon the world we are in, and ask the deeper questions, so that we are forced – we want to – confront the truth about ourselves, so that perhaps one day even scientists may discover their souls.

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Welcome to the World of Omni

So this is what the infamous first post looks like.  Where am I?  What do all these buttons mean?  What am I supposed to do?

Which is pretty much how our main character feels after being transported from 1930s Germany to 2030s California in the comic Omni Man of Nothing. I won’t go into further details as they’re all available on the main site at http://www.omnimanofnothing.com.  (Now if I knew the right button I could make that URL a link.  Darn.)  This blog has been set up because of criticism that although the website got plenty of visitors, updates were few and far between.  People would get hooked on the world of Omni, offered tantalising glimpses and no more.  Part of the reason for this is that Pramada, as the artist and co-conspirator, has the lion’s share of work and until we find a way to clone him successfully (the last attempt failed, but Picasso talking like a monkey before running into the trees was kinda funny) he doesn’t have a lot of time to spare.  As I do little but play with words and make plans to take over the world with a comic, the onus has fallen on me to run this blog. Pramada has promised to step in though if I say anything really stupid.

To bring you up to speed:  Omni Man of Nothing is a comic that we have created, springing from an original concept of Pramada’s.  We have been working on this for some years, during which time we have also been approaching publishers.  It is a new take on the superhero genre, albeit with an affectionate nod to the greats of the past.

The first eight issues have been written, a process that involves numerous trans-Atlantic phonecalls and countless emails.  Drafts and artwork go back and forth on a regular basis.  The first issue has been drawn and inked, with seven pages coloured (or ‘colored’ as I’m learning to forget about English English) and completed.  Most of the cast, the colorful characters we spend so much time with, have also been sketched out.  A lot of this can be viewed on the website.

As Heavy Metal is one of the publishers we are hoping to seduce, we have also been creating short pieces to suit their demands.  These are mini-masterpieces – if I say so myself – of four pages only, depicting San Francisco in the period leading up to the events of the main comic.  If things don’t work out with HM, we may actually start making these pieces available for download.

We have already tried Image to no avail, but may give that another go.  Dark Horse is next on our list.  Pramada went to the SF Comic Con last year hoping to present the portfolio to other people like DC, only to find that they would only accept submissions at the San Diego Con.  I didn’t actually recall reading that on the webpage, but we live and learn.  Pramada was happy anyway as he came away with loads of goodies and, most of all, had a long chat with David Mack, he of Kabuki fame and one of our greatest influences.

So that’s where we are right now.  Still looking for a publisher, still developing and working at the comic.  (We’re so far ahead of reality, as befits a science fiction comic, we’re planning the second series of Omni already.)

I see this blog as having three main functions.  One, is to have regular updates so people know what we’re up to.

Secondly, as Omni covers so much of life, the universe, everything and Nothing, I intend to submit regular features on subjects ranging from science to science fiction, art, meditation and the state of the planet.

Thirdly, to encourage interaction with you, so that you feel free to submit your opinions and feedback, thoughts and insights; and that you can feel a part of this project as we seek to grow and make Omni a success on every level.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you.  (Now what button do I press?)