In her first official interview ever, Siya Oum spoke with me about her creator-owned series with Aspen Comics, “Lola XOXO.”

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“SDCC: Siay Oum Wanders the Wasteland in Aspen’s ‘Lola XOXO'” — Click to read entire article

“Siya Oum has been working in comics for the past decade coloring covers and interiors for Aspen Comics. Now she makes her creator-owned debut with Aspen’s “Lola XOXO” as both writer and artist, announced at Comic-Con International: San Diego and slated for release in 2014.

“Lola” stars a merchant woman surviving in the ruins of a great war, as she travels from location to location, bartering goods and supplies essential for survival. With a small hand-held arsenal at her disposal, Lola tries to break free from her past and look towards a brighter future.

Oum spoke with CBR News about “Lola XOXO,” revealing more details on the newly announced series and tells her story of how “Lola” came to become a reality at Aspen.

CBR News: Siya, before jumping into “Lola XOXO,” can you tell us a little about yourself, how you broke into the comics scene and ended up doing steady work with Aspen?

Siya Oum: It started about thirteen years ago when Top Cow Productions was exhibiting in Seattle, WA for a convention. I brought my sample pages with me and David Wohl was kind enough to look at my work, giving me great constructive criticism. I started to keep in touch with David years later, and he showed my work to Vince Hernandez at Aspen. My skills did not quite develop enough yet for pencils, but I was coloring my work digitally since college, so they started me off on color assists, then covers. Of course, I had to keep working at my art on the side, doing other projects for whatever I could get my hands on.

Not much is out there on “Lola” aside from the image released in a brief press release — what can you tell us about the story and who she is as a person?

“Lola XOXO” takes place thirteen years after a huge war. The majority of the United States has become a large wasteland of mercenaries, raiders, merchants and people barely getting by with their day to day lives. Lola was seven years old when she was separated from her parents right before the conflict began.The story is really about her struggle to adapt in this new world and separate herself from her past.”

“Aspen Comics exclusively revealed to CBR News covers for four new titles releasing in 2014, including Frank Mastromauro, Vince Hernandez & Mike DeBalfo’s “#Cosplay,” Mastromauro & Marco Lorenzana’s “Awaken Skies,” Hernandez & Giuseppe Cafaro’s “Fathom: Kiani” and “Legend of the Shadow Clan” vol. 2 by David Wohl, Brad Foxhoven & Cory Smith.”

“SDCC EXCLUSIVE: Aspen Announces “Awaken Skies,” “#Cosplay” & More” — Click to read entire article

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Writer Frank Mastromauro spoke with me about his new sci-fi series at Aspen Comics, “Overtaken.”

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“Aspen’s Mastromauro Gets ‘Overtaken’ in August” — Click to read entire article

“In August, creator and Aspen co-owner Frank Mastromauro, along with artist Marco Lorenzana, brings an investigative sci-fi edge to the initiative’s line-up with ‘Overtaken,’ a series which puts an extraterrestrial spin on missing persons cases. ‘Overtaken’ marks Mastromauro’s second 10 For $10 title, joining his writing gig on ‘Shrugged’ vol. 2, a slice of life series highlighted by its fantastical elements.

CBR News spoke with Mastromauro about ‘Overtaken,’ its alien life forms, leading characters and technology, an update on ‘Shrugged’ vol. 2 and his thoughts on whether or not the truth really is out there.

CBR News: Frank, seeing as ‘Overtaken’ is a sci-fi tale, when does the series take place, and what is it about?

Frank Mastromauro: It takes place in the present. ‘Overtaken’ is my spin on the backs of milk cartons (which you don’t really see anymore) of missing people — you don’t really know where they all go. This is my story on where those people end up with a sci-fi spin.

‘Aliens’ is one of my favorite movies, and I love monster movies. It could be the crappiest movie on Syfy, but I’ll still check it out. It’s impossible these days to tell anything that’s totally original, but I didn’t want to do a classic alien abduction or invasion story, so I found a cool way to mix the two.

The main character, Will Harden, is an investigative reporter who can’t accept the fact his wife was taken by aliens and he goes on a quest to figure out what really happened. He then unravels a conspiracy that’s been going on for years regarding UFO sightings and encounters. I’ll touch on real life things to give the story gravity and weight, like crop circles, Area 51 and the two flight attendants who still swear to this day that when they were crossing over Europe, there was a huge ship in front of them and they had to divert the plane — the pilots were fired on charges of drifting.”

Brian Buccellato, co-writer of DC Comics’ “The Flash” New 52 series, is writing “All New Executive Assistant: Iris” for Aspen Comics!

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“EXCLUSIVE: Buccellato Targets Aspen’s ‘All New Executive Assistant: Iris” — Click here to read full article

“Aspen Comics has told CBR exclusively that Brian Buccellato is taking the helm of the next series in the publisher’s 10 For 10 Initiative. ‘All New Executive Assistant: Iris,’ featuring interior art by Pasquale Qualano, debuts September 4.”

I interviewed writer Mark Roslan about his creator-owned series “BubbleGun,” #1 debuts this Wedesday as part of Aspen Comics’ 10 For $10 Initiative.

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“Mark Roslan Chews the ‘BubbleGun’ at Aspen” — Click to read full article!

“Available June 12, ‘BubbleGun’ follows sisters Molli and Devyn in a tech-funk society in a not-so gloomy future ruled by corrupt corporations. CBR News spoke with Roslan about ‘BubbleGun,’ the tech involved in his story and how it’s unique from other cyberpunk genre comics. Plus, exclusive art!

CBR News: What sets ‘BubbleGun’ apart from other cyberpunk comic books?

Mark Roslan: Most cyberpunk stories are dark and bleak with a strong sense of misery following a lowlife loner, but ‘BubbleGun’ is more of a bright and artificially happy world following a team of optimistic youths. I don’t think the future is dark and scary — I think it’s like Times Square on neon crack. Instead of dark leather trench coats, we have orange see-through plastic cardigans. Of course there are evil corporations behind this happy facade that want to control us all. Society in ‘BubbleGun’ is mostly unaware of how much these mega corporations are in control of the world, and how the government is weak compared to their influence. ‘BubbleGun’ follows a team that supports each other, making money off exploiting feuding conglomerates and enjoying every minute of it. It’s lighter on the philosophical statements and more on the wonder that the future can bring.

Is the BubbleGun an actual object in the story or is it just a fun title?

It’s both and more! I wanted a conflicting title; two words that balanced the fun nature of the book but also the dangerous life the characters live. I gave the youngest character on the team, Molli, a non-lethal weapon. It was originally a high-powered stun gun but I thought it would be a lot more fun if it was as if Spider-Man’s web shooters were handguns, so I changed the taser to a paintball gun that shot a basketball-sized bullet of adhesive goop. It’s way more embarrassing finding yourself shot to the wall in pink gum and that suits Molli’s personality.”

I spoke with writer Vince Hernandez about his latest volume of “Charismagic,” part of Aspen’s 10 For $10 initiative. The first issue is out this Wednesday, May 1!

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“EXCLUSIVE: Hernandez Takes Center Stage in Aspen’s ‘Charismagic’ v2” — Click to read entire article 

“Aspen Comics Editor in Chief Vince Hernandez pulls double duty as the writer/creator of the fantasy series ‘Charismagic.’ The series stars a Las Vegas magician named Hank who discovers his abilities are much more real than simple parlor tricks. Lacking any combat experience, Hank is forced into a dangerous conflict against dark magic, accompanied by his talking cat Sparkles and the beautiful druid Sudana. In the wake of ‘Charismagic’ volume 1’s completion and nearly wrapped ‘Charismagic: Death Princess’ prequel miniseries, Aspen and Hernandez are preparing to launch ‘Charismagic’ volume 2 featuring artwork by Vincenzo Cuccaand vibrant colors by Emilio Lopez.

CBR News: A threading theme throughout ‘Charismagic’ is fear. The main villain of Volume 1, Samsun, imposes it on others throughout the story and in Volume 2 the Death Princess feeds off it. What makes fear such a driving force in ‘Charismagic?’

Vince Hernandez: Fear is a very powerful emotion for storytelling — you can go in any direction with how a character responds to their own fears and what drives them to do the things they do. With Samsun a lot of his anger and motivations are built out of fear in how people respond to him and what he can do to others. However, even the good guys in ‘Charismagic’ have their own fear challenged — our leading man Hank responded heroically to his fear. What he didn’t know he jumped into full-bore. Comparatively, Kon, one of the most powerful characters in the story, ran when confronted with his fear in ‘Death Princess.’ The all powerful wizard doesn’t always act heroic.

I want my characters challenged and grounded — fear makes a lot of sense to do this. People like to think they’d act heroically when put in fearful situations. I like to think I would, but at the end of the day when considering what the characters are confronted with in these books, I’d probably run my ass off too.”

Interviewed writer J.T. Krul on his new projects with Aspen Comics — the prose novel “The Lost Spark” and new creator-owned comic book series, “Jirni.”

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“J.T. Krul Takes ‘The Lost Spark’ on a ‘Jirni'” — Click to read entire article

“Aspen Comics’ ’10 For 10′ initiative sees the release of ten new titles throughout 2013 for the introductory price of $1 each. One of the series involved is the April-releasing ‘Jirni,’ a story of magic and sorcery by ‘Soulfire’ and ‘Fathom’ writer J.T. Krul. Fresh off of his exclusive contract with DC Comics and New 52 runs on ‘Captain Atom’ and ‘Green Arrow,’ Krul’s workload has not diminished as April will also see the release of his first prose novel, ‘The Lost Spark.’ A story over a decade in the making, the novel spins a tale starring a young girl on a magical quest to save her grandfather.

CBR News: J.T., ‘The Lost Spark’ is a prose book you’ve been working on for the last decade. What’s it about and why are you presenting the story in prose rather than a comic?

J.T. Krul: ‘The Lost Spark’ is a fantasy adventure about a teenage girl named Angie who’s reunited with a magical world she all but forgot as she embarks on a journey to save her grandfather. The essential premise of the book is that when we are young, there is one special object or heirloom — be it a toy, piece of clothing, or stuffed animal — that was most precious to us. It was our private talisman or spark. With it, we would imagine doing great things. The problem is once we get older, we forget about that connection. We forget about the magic. Our sparks break, get lost or even given away. We leave that part of our childhood behind and move on with our lives.

What are some unique elements of ‘Jirni’ making it different from other Aspen titles you’ve worked on like ‘Soulfire’ or ‘Fathom?’

Krul: In both ‘Fathom’ and ‘Soulfire,’ the rich mythologies of the worlds play as a backdrop for the story itself, but in ‘Jirni’ the mythology is the story. Within the larger quest, there are adventures and encounters that serve as almost fables for that world. There is a much more classical fantasy feel to the book.”