Comic Confidential #15- Sean O’Reilly
Sean O’Reilly is the head honcho/founder/ C.E.O behind Arcana Studios. He started his company with just one comic that has now grown into hundreds. It’s a big year for Arcana. They are releasing a slew of new titles, announced a new partnership with a Hollywood production company, released their first mega cross-over event and last but not least, they’re releasing my new comic series FLEE. It was the first comic project I ever got the greenlight on from a publisher. My first big “break” so to speak. It’s taken forever to get released, and I’ve released two comic series since the start of this project, but Sean and the folks at Arcana have really stuck by me. I recently had a chance to talk with Sean about the company, its future and all things Arcana related. and here is what he had to say…
What was the first comic you ever read and why did you fall in love with comics?
The first comic I ever really focused and read was Secret Wars, which still is a huge inspiration to me as it represents that moment of utter shock and amazement. I initially fell in love with comics from the toys and TV shows as a kid, and then fell in love with the extension in comics where dual story lines are present changing the entire world they live in. There’s also a dual story in the way the writer tells and the way the artist shows the story. Together, they create the beautiful medium of a comic book.
Raph- How did you get into the comic industry?
Sean- In 2004 I realized a dream that I have always had. So I started writing and I eventually self-published my first title, Kade, which would go on to be a flagship book in the Arcana library. I kept writing, kept publishing and eventually contacted people with like minded ideas and Arcana was born.
Arcana has been growing every year. You recently formed a partnership with a production company. Can you tell us about any up and coming Arcana comics being turned into a film soon?
We’ve just finished production on The Clockwork Girl and we’re very excited for that. Currently in pre-production is one of our titles Kagagi, which follows 16 year old Matthew Carver as he inherits an ancient power and becomes Kagagi. Kagagi has a broadcaster on board for 13 episodes of 22 minutes (an entire real season) and we are very excited to be producing this first hand. We have also partnered with Benderspink, Gene Simmons and a group for producing a slate of animated films. More information to come definitely…
You’ve worked in publishing and in film. Which is more cut throat and harder to navigate? Do you see yourself working more behind the scenes in film?
Film is definitely harder to navigate. But I’ve also got many more years experience in publishing, so it comes a bit easier to me. Film is just so much wider scale, and just a much bigger stage than publishing. Erik has been instrumental in getting the publishing arm of Arcana to stand on it’s own legs. I do see myself working more behind the scenes in film in the future, and taking a smaller role in publishing, but I’ll never leave it behind altogether.
Everyone is always saying digital will kill the printed page. How has the rise of digital comics affected Arcana and do you ever see a time when it will take over print?
Arcana has fully embraced the digital age, making nearly all our titles available digitally. Which I think is something that has to happen, since that’s the way the world is moving. Print will never truly die. Consider records, they don’t sell anywhere near what CD’s do (and even now, CD’s don’t sell that well), but the die hards and the collectors that go out of their way to own the vinyl, will be present in this industry as well. Even I enjoy the feeling of having the actual comic in my hands as opposed to downloaded onto my iPad.
Raph- How did the idea for Intrinsic come about? Is there an sequel Intrinsic mini-series on the horizon as well?
Intrinsic is a company wide crossover event that started as an excuse for a bunch of us writers to work on one book together. When a being known only as “The End” starts threatening the Arcanaverse, you gotta call in the big guns. It’s a very ambitious project, and quite unprecedented. It’s our first company wide crossover event and it borrows elements from each characters own mini-universe. There are whispers and rumours of there being an Intrinsic sequel. We’re talking about it, but nothing has been completely confirmed yet.
Raph- You’ve had your hand in many projects over the years and I know its like asking you who your favorite child is, but what is the project you’ve been most proud of and why? It can be more than one.
Sean- That is a really tough question to answer. I am very passionate about all the projects that I start, otherwise what is the point of starting one? One of the project that has been quite dear to my heart is The Clockwork Girl. I think it stems from the message that the story tells; No matter how different two people are, they can still be friends. Which is a message I try to instill into my own children, and a message that I would like to believe transcends comic book characters. And of course, Kade will always have a place in this category, because Kade was the title that started everything. Without Kade, there could be no Arcana. So thanks to Kade and he’s going to be taking some new ‘first steps’ this year!
Raph- What advice would you give for up and coming comic creators?
Sean- Write. Write, write and then write some more. So many times have I seen people come up with an idea, and get really excited for it, and then just drop the project altogether because they lost interest. Have the passion, have the drive, and write more than you thought you could. Do not be discouraged or intimidated by the size of the industry. I know that a lot of people think that they have the next “big” idea, but that shouldn’t be your goal. Your goal shouldn’t be to make the next Superman or Spiderman, your goal should be to create your own universe, and have your own, original characters. Don’t hold yourself to a standard that was set 70+ years ago, set your own. If you think you’ve got an idea that would make a great comic, then pursue it.
Raph- What can we look forward to at Arcana in the coming months? *cough* Flee *cough*
Sean- Haha. Yes, Flee is a project that will be coming out in the next few months and we are VERY excited for this unique title with an incredible premise. We also have tons of digital releases coming out every week. John Henry the graphic novel is expected to be released soon, and with the publishing schedule we have set for the next year, expect many books to be released. We’ll also have booths at the upcoming Cincinnati Comic Expo, and New York Comic Con, so if you’re in the neighborhood for either of those, definitely come by and say hello.
Raph– What projects outside of Arcana are you working on?
Sean- Mighty Mighty Monsters went into production earlier this year (based on the series of books I created/wrote) but outside of that, it’s literally Arcana 24/7.
Arcana Comics App: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/arcana-comics/id389756922?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2
Follow my book Flee on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Fleecomics It’s coming soon to comixology on August 29th.