Merry Apocalypsemas: “Omen” by Wessel & Penfold

Hey gang. Been a good while. I’ll have a proper Catching Up post later this weekend. Right now tho, my semi-yearly Christmas Gift of Comics to YOU. And pretty topical, seeing as it’s the End of the World and all.

“Omen” is a story that saw print in Overload #1, put together by my friend, and the editor of Discharged, Martin Conaghan. He had asked for it kinda at the last minute, but I jumped at the chance because I’d actually been trying to tell this story for 5 years now. Of course, when “Omen” began life, it was as a 48-page (or 96 -page, depending) graphic novella that was meant to be the Be All End All Kaiju Story, a true apocalyptic story of giant monsters destroying the world on December 21, 2012, encompassing Godzilla tropes and Ragnarok, with some potent commentary on a certain right-wing doomsday cult masquerading as a news channel.

Early signs were encouraging: one of the first people who approached me after talking about it on Millarworld ended up becoming one of my best friends in this crazy ol’ world of comics, Hadron Colliderscope founder Michael Vincent Bramley. Another artist who initially approached me was Jeff Simpson, who of course draws that KEEPER comic I ramble on about sometimes. However, the best sign was from someone I already knew online from LiveJournal, and tho he had done some acclaimed work, he hadn’t quite become FAMOUS yet, as both Crossed and Neonomicon were still a little ways off…

Original sketch of the Creature by Jacen Burrows

I kindly asked Jacen if he could design the Creature as I knew he wouldn’t do the book as he was exclusive to Avatar Press (and still is), but he more than graciously took my suggestion of “Cthulhu type horror mixed with the Wolf Fenrir, and, well, the results speak for themselves. Now he draws for Alan Moore and helped create a mega-selling franchise. Ah, I knew him when…

In any event, nobody ever took the bait, the idea languished for a good long while, but I still had this sketch and wanted to get it done, somehow, eventually. Late last year, then, Rachel Deering, creator/writer of the “lesbian werewolf epic” Anathema, asked for stories for a horror anthology she was planning to do. I submitted “Omen,” then almost immediately she said she was cancelling it due to… whatever reason that I can’t remember. She’s since resurrected that idea (I think), but I guess she forgot to say something to me.

Which is OK, since Martin, for whom I already had a story planned for Overload #2, asked if I could get him something quick for #1. I finally got to write “Omen,” and did it in a weekend, distilling what was a graphic novella into 6 pages, truly ramping up the insanity of the certain cable news propaganda channel, but not so unbelievable. I think. Steve (Moon) Penfold drew it in his own crazy way, and it was good. Someone else started to letter it, but then he had a death in the family, so lettering fell into the ever-capable hands of (TA-DA!) KEEPER letterer Jim Campbell, and of course he rocked it.

Mind you, had I known that 2000AD / Judge Dredd veteran Gordon Rennie was ALSO going to do a “criticism of right wing politics using horror tropes” story, I’d not have submitted “Omen,” but as it stands, seems like there’s a bit of a theme running in Overload #1!

But, it is what it is, and what it is, is 6 pages written by me, drawn by Simon Penfold, lettered by Jim Campbell, edited by Martin Conaghan, with special thanks to Jacen Burrows.

Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy your holidays, or Doomsday, or whatever you’re celebrating today, tomorrow, next week.

“Omen.” Thank you.

(click to embiggen)


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