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Sean O'Reilly: Striking Platinum With Arcana

A sampler of Arcana Studios' output...
Comic conventions provide a golden opportunity to check out smaller publishers and find books you might not have ordinarily picked up at your local comics shop.

At WonderCon this year, we stumbled back over Arcana Studios, which has launched a variety of titles over the years, and just announced a deal for an animated film based on publisher Sean O'Reilly's creation The Clockwork Girl.

In between then and now, Arcana Studios teamed with Catastrophic Comics to produce the first ever comic book based on The Greatest American Hero. The news leaked out over the weekend. On Thursday, July 24 at Comic-Con, O'Reilly joins William Katt, Robert Culp, Connie Sellecca and the Catastrophic Crew (including me, Fanboy Planet Editor-in-Chief Derek McCaw) to answer questions about the upcoming book.

Last month, O'Reilly took some time out of his schedule to talk about all his comics-related dayjobs...

Derek McCaw: What got you into comics in the first place?

Sean O'Reilly: I started doing websites with a guy named Ramses Melendez, a long time ago. At Comic-Con in 2003, we hung out. I did this website, he did some pages of the Kade comic. Six pages turned into an issue, one issue turned into many more years later.

Derek McCaw: You've had three mini-series with Kade?

Sean O'Reilly: Yeah, three, and we're doing a fourth one right now.

Derek McCaw: But it's not just about Kade, who is billed as a "Gothic Demon Hunter." What inspired you to create a character with that kind of description?

Sean O'Reilly: I created him long before I met Ramses and the six pages were done. It had kind of a dark overtone, influenced I guess by almost like Krull, something along those lines. I liked the dark, I liked the character, I liked the demon hunting, and then maybe Highlander would be the closest thing to it.

Derek McCaw: A lot of Biblical influence, fantasy running through it - did you play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons as a kid?

Sean O'Reilly: That's in there for sure. Some of my Catholic school - I went to private school for elementary.

Will this be Arcana's multi-media breakthrough?
Derek McCaw: Again, though, Arcana isn't just about Kade. You've expanded to publishing a wide variety of stuff. I don't think you could even define what Arcana's attitude is. You have a silly, cartoony vampire book, you have The Clockwork Girl, which you co-wrote. It's very different from Kade. What's the Arcana "mission," if there is a mission?

Sean O'Reilly: Well, I'll rip a line off from someone else. It's kind of like HBO. Just make good content. B. Clay Moore said that about Image Comics, and I like to say the same thing about me. I don't really pigeon hole myself into an art style or a genre. I just like good books. I've done manga books, I've done all ages books, I've done licensed books and I've done original IPs (Intellectual Property). Everything in between.

If it looks good and it reads well, then I like it.

Derek McCaw: You had done Dragon's Lair. Wasn't that originally associated with CrossGen?

Sean O'Reilly: That was originally MV Creations through Image, I believe. Then it was picked up by CrossGen. And then CrossGen, um, went through some transformations.

Derek McCaw: Right. Swallowed into the Earth. Were you involved then?

Sean O'Reilly: No, that was Val Staples. He's been my champion behind Dragon's Lair as well as maybe another project we're doing.

Derek McCaw: Why'd you go into self-publishing? Why didn't you go with Kade to Image in the first place?

Sean O'Reilly: At the time, I didn't really know who the publishers were. The two I'd seen online, and still talk to a lot, were Josh Blaylock with Devil's Due and Val Staples with MV Creations. I absolutely love what those guys are doing.

But I didn't even know anything about the submission process. So when I went to Comic-Con, the truth is it's so crazy I don't know if it helped me, either. I just started meeting people who were in self-publishing, and they were the guys I admired, so I fell into that route.

It seemed at the time to be the easier thing to do. (laughs)

Derek McCaw: You've got the title of Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Arcana Studios, but we're actually doing this interview from the shiny offices of Platinum. How did that connection come about?

Sean O'Reilly: I ran into the Platinum guys at the New York Comic-Con last year. They needed a position to be filled. So I've been consulting with Platinum as a publisher and on the animation side as well.

Derek McCaw: You have an animation background besides you liked Dragon's Lair?

Sean O'Reilly: I've loved animation forever, and I've done some work for Spike TV and Disney. The pre-production process for a comic book is quite similar to animation. Going through it, I'm really enjoying it a lot, and that's where I'm focusing my new skill sets.

Fanboy Planet Rule #1:
When you have Greg Horn art, you run it!
Derek McCaw: Where's the dividing line between Platinum and Arcana?

Sean O'Reilly: In terms of editorially, we have a phenomenal staff at Platinum. They really deal with the creators. My job is more the meat processing, I guess you'd say. I deal with the distributors, getting book deals with publishers, things like that.

At Arcana, I do more of the editorial part myself.

Derek McCaw: You are keeping the two imprints separate?

Sean O'Reilly: Currently, yes.

Derek McCaw: What would be the hot Arcana book for the summer?

Sean O'Reilly: Oh, we've got a lot coming out. There's The Wingman by Jay Shore, who's a phenomenal writer. There's Penance: Trial of the Century that's coming out, with Sean Wise and Paul Guignan. Oh, I know there's lots of guys that are going to say "hey, you didn't mention my book…" There's lots of hot books coming! Dwight MacPherson might kill me if I don't mention Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Luckily, Sean will tell more tales -- come back tomorrow as he talks about his involvement with The Greatest American Hero...

Derek McCaw


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