Outright Geekery Q&A: Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma

Recently, an opportunity presented itself to interview the creative team behind the Image Comics series Sinergy, Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma. Michael and Taki answered our questions on a wide range of topics, from Sinergy to the Powers show on the Playstation Network, and offers some teases on upcoming projects. 

Outright Geekery: Please introduce yourselves to readers. Tell us about a little yourselves and what do you do?

M: I’m Michael Avon Oeming, the co creator of the long running POWERS and POWERS TV show for Playstation as well as writing for Marvels Thor, lots of other creator owned books, two with my wife Taki, Rapture and our latest, Sinergy.

T: I’m Taki Soma, I write, draw and color comics by day, troll the unsuspecting roofs of Portland, OR at night for reasons unknown to humans.

OG: We loved Sinergy here at Outright Geekery. What was source(s) of inspiration for the series?

M: A few things, a film called Frailty by Bill Paxton, Buffy and largely just working with Taki was a big inspiration. We pulled bits and pieces from our own lives, themes of love, relationships, family conflicts and how fun the world can be.

T: Right, we often talk about storylines and use each other as a sounding board for most projects – we came up with Sinergy mostly during a drive from Minnesota to New Jersey a long time ago.

OG: Both of you are credited as Sinergy’s creators. What was the process for creating the book like? Who had what responsibilities?

M: The story took on lots of directions and iterations. I think we really began talking about it way back in 08!

T: Yep! During that drive. Most times, one person will get a first draft going and then we just pass it along back and forth to edit, re-write, pull-hair-out until we feel it’s complete.

OG: The first story-arc ended with some interesting complications for Jess. What can folks expect to see in the next story-arc of Sinergy?

M: If we do more, we want to see more of the world on the other side and to see how Jess and Leaf deal with the fallout of the first arc.

T: If we do more, I would like to see the world made be aware of what’s happening – then see what happens to the seers, the remaining monsters and what it means to the other dimension.

OG: How did you get your “big break” into the comic industry?

M: The longer I’m in the industry, the more I feel like I’m still waiting for it! I guess for me, it was drawing Judge Dredd at DC. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times:) I wasn’t really ready for it, and it shows, and I burned out. It was a good lesson!

T: I’m working on it. I’ll let you know. Most of my previous works were anthologies and webcomics before I got to work on anything with ‘meat’. If I can get published, I went there – I think I’d still use this method if I were trying to break in right now.

OG: (For Michael) In many of your previous works, you have credits for either writing or penciling. Which do you think is harder; writing for a comic or penciling it?

M: For me it’s writing, I find it much harder. I can draw all day, but writing is tough, and it doesn’t help I work with Bendis, who is one of the best writers in comics…. but he’s also a great teacher, so that helps.

OG: (For Michael) You also have some inking credits too; in Daredevil and the Avengers. What’s it like to ink details for another artist’s image? Is there any pressure to get it “just right”?

M: I used to love it, and I still do on certain artists. I love the idea of mixing up art styles. That said, I don’t like working over tight pencils, when I ink, I like to bring something to page, so working over breakdowns or loose pencils is the best.

OG: (For Taki) What’s it like to bring that pop of color that can spring a page to life? What is the process that goes into adding color to panels and pages? What is the schedule like for a colorist?

T: Coloring came out of necessity, but I’m glad I was tossed into the deep end first – I love ‘telling a story’ with colors, I examine the emotions of the characters, figure out the environment tone and stick with those colors for that scene.

Schedule is brutal, I now appreciate colorists more than ever.

OG: (For Michael) What are your thoughts when you see Powers, on the Playstation Network, as a live-action series? How does it feel to see characters you helped create come to life?

M: It’s the best thing- it’s also the strangest thing. I hear the actors voices in my head when I draw them now… other characters like Triphammer and Simons are much more fleshed out in the show, so now I think about THEM as the real version of the characters. We are lucky that we have a show that is true to the comic and we get to be part of it. My art is all over the screen!

OG: Tell us about some of your favorite collaborations?

M: I’ve worked with Taki, Bryan Glass, and Brian Bendis for a long time now, but nothing beats working with Taki!

T: I love working with friends – whether they be lettterers, flatters, editors… but yeah, gotta go with Mike, he’s the best.

OG: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career in comics?

M: Getting to work from home is great. But simply making a living is rewarding enough.

T: What Mike said!

OG: Anything upcoming projects you want to tease our readers with? Our very own OG, Jules, asks if there’s another Beta Ray Bill story in the pipeline after Secret Wars settles down.

M: Hmm… all I can tease is more Powers and more United States of Murder Inc, nothing else is on the plate for me at the moment. Though I did start a Mice Templar daily comic on Tumblr:  http://themicetemplar.tumblr.com/page/11

T: I have a fill-in issue of Bitch Planet I’m super excited about with Kelly Sue DeConnick, and a project that’s greenlit but I’m not sure what can be public so … hey, is that a cape on that giraffe??


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