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Omega Paradox: Mark Sparacio Draws the End of Everything

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This summer Mark Sparacio rockets into the far reaches of the galaxy in his new creator-owned series Omega Paradox, launching this July from Moonstone Books. Fresh off of a brilliant turn helping to kick off the publisher’s Return of the Originals banner, in the beautifully rendered Battle for L.A., Sparacio teams up with newcomer Ian Ng and colorist Abe Melendez to chronicle the saga of an eclectic group of young outcasts charged with saving the universe. Broken Frontier spoke with the busy artist about his return to sequential art, the freedom of working on your own property, and just how one goes about telling a story about the end of everything…

BROKEN FRONTIER: So Mark, just what is an Omega Paradox? 

MARK SPARACIO: Besides being the name of my first creator-owned comic book, Omega Paradox is the end of everything as we know it … or possibly … not. Omega Paradox will launch in July with a 16-page, full-color, no ads, $1.99 zero issue teaser, to introduce our book. Then Omega Paradox will continue as a regular 22 page, full color comic, in 3-4 issue story arcs, priced at $2.99. Each issue will have a regular painted cover and a variant. It will be published as a bi-monthly comic from Moonstone [Books].

BF: How did you hook up with your collaborator Ian Ng? What makes him a good fit for Omega Paradox? How does he complement your artistic style?

SPARACIO: I have known Ian for about six years. We met at San Diego Comic Con and immediately hit it off. Two years ago I decided the time was right to start working on a creator-owned book. I had already spoken with Joe Gentile, publisher of Moonstone Comics about being the publisher of my creator-owned comic book and he had agreed. I had some concept art and two paintings of a character named Solarra. She was kind of a Sheena Queen of the Jungle in outer space. Yes, a fairly simplistic idea, but I was sort of ready to run with it. Sort of. Well, I am glad that I didn’t.

Enter my wife Susan. She was helping me at my booth and was talking with Ian, while I was talking with some fans. After those fans had left, Sue suggested that Ian and I work on a basic plot outline and develop my Solarra character. It turned out that Ian was a chemical engineer and an aspiring writer, who loved comics and science fiction. Even though Ian had not had anything printed, because Sue’s intuition is pretty good and my past friendship with Ian, I decided to give it a go. We hashed out some ideas at the con and over dinner. Then we did more - much more - talking on the phone (as Ian lives in Los Angeles and I live in Florida) and everything started clicking. Omega Paradox began taking shape.

What makes Ian a great fit for Omega Paradox is the fact that he has a scientific background, is very, very bright,  and understands that comics are a visual medium, so he is not heavy handed with his dialogue and he is a terrific writer. We also work really, really well together, bouncing ideas off of each other for both story and art. Ian is a great guy, a bright new talent and a wonderful partner.

BF: What can you tell us about the plot of Omega Paradox?

SPARACIO: I promise not to give away too much here, but I do want to hook our audience. In an advanced, space-faring galaxy, a mysterious man brings a group of aliens together to find a powerful artifact before it falls into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, they are not alone. And are they the right hands? Omega Paradox follows the adventures of five unlikely teammates, facing the perils of worlds beyond their imagination ... and each other. Will they find the artifact in time and can they deal with what it may unleash?

BF: You’ve done a lot of work with Moonstone recently. What are some of the benefits of working with or for a smaller publisher over Marvel or DC?

SPARACIO: Well the biggest benefit is that Joe Gentile and Moonstone are giving Ian and myself the opportunity to do our own book. Marvel and D.C. just aren’t doing many creator-owned comic books, if any, anymore.

               

BF: What about Moonstone in particular drew you to them as the publisher of your creator-owned work?

SPARACIO: As you mentioned, over the past few years I have done a lot of work with Moonstone. I helped launch the new Captain Action with Fabian Nicieza, in which I completed a five-issue run as cover painter and interior sequential artist. Then I worked on the graphic novel, Battle for L.A. with C.J. Henderson with Joe being editor on both of those projects, plus countless covers. During all of those projects, Joe and I developed a great working relationship and friendship. I felt that he was somebody I could trust with my creator-owned property and that Moonstone was a great fit. I think it will be a great business relationship and both Ian and I are very excited.

BF: In Battle for L.A., you provided stunning black and white pencil illustrations to accompany C.J. Henderson’s prose. How does that style of visual storytelling differ from the sequential art found in Omega Paradox?

SPARACIO: Basically, you could say I was illustrating a short novel by creating a pencil drawing that described the action on a page of story for Battle for L.A. and thank you for your kind words in regard to my artwork on Battle for L.A. With Omega Paradox, I am back to traditional sequential story telling. As much as I had fun working with C.J., I am having a blast doing the sequential pages for Omega Paradox with Ian.

BF: Can you please give us a rundown of the cast featured on the cover? There are some very intriguing characters staring balefully at the audience?

SPARACIO: Starting at the top is Malice, the team’s medic. In the second row on the left is Solarra (yes, the same “Sheena in Space”, with an overhaul). She is the team’s hunter/tracker; the blue-skinned alien is Julian, the team’s strategist. In the lower row on the left, we have Grinder, the team’s mechanic and techie, and finally we have Gemma, the team’s pilot.

BF: How would you characterize the overall tone of Omega Paradox?

SPARACIO: Omega Paradox will have a dark tone to it, after all it is a story about the prevention of the end of the universe as we know it.

BF: What were some of your inspirations when creating the world of Omega Paradox?

SPARACIO: Some of my inspirations when I began creating Omega Paradox with Ian were Star Wars, Alien and believe it or not, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Although we are dealing with advanced, space-faring alien races, Ian and I decided to give Omega Paradox a "hi-tech - lo-tech" approach. That’s why in the first sequence of pages from the zero issue, we have aliens in a library reading books and Julian is showing Gemma a holographic image of their target. Solarra carries a laser gun, but still wields a knife. We like the juxtaposition and I think it makes for interesting visuals as well.

BF: Who do you look to for artistic inspiration?

SPARACIO: My artistic inspirations are extremely varied. As far as my painted covers go, I look to Norman Rockwell, J.C. Leyendeker, Coles Phillips, Howard Pyle, N.C.Wyeth, George Petty, Gil Elvgren, Alberto Vargas, Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo. As for my interior sequential artwork, my major influences are Will Eisner, Lou Fine, Reed Crandell, Mac Raboy, Alex Schomburg, Hal Foster, Alex Raymond, Jack Kirby, Russ Heath, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Herb Trimpe, Marie Severin, Marshall Rogers, Mike Golden, Paul Gulacy, Jim Starlin, Alex Saviuk, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, John Byrne, Esteban Maroto, Ramon Torrents, John Bolton, George Perez and Berni Wrightson.

BF: What will surprise us most about Omega Paradox?

SPARACIO: I think what will surprise people the most is the high quality of the story and artwork of Omega Paradox. Hopefully, they’ll see that they don’t have to always go to the “big two” to get quality comics. Omega Paradox offers a whole new, exciting universe and not a re-hashing of the "same old, same old". I really believe if people give Omega Paradox a chance, they will see that it’s going to be a fun ride and return for more.

Omega Paradox #0 is published this July from Moonstone Books priced $1.99.

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