Smash Pages Q&A | ‘The Omega Eleven’ creators James Aquilone + Zac Atkinson

The duo are crowdfunding their latest collaboration, a comic about history’s greatest thieves attempting to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Merlin.

What do you do when you need to steal a powerful artifact from history’s greatest wizard? Assemble a team of history’s greatest thieves, of course. That’s the premise behind The Omega Eleven, a five-issue series by Bram Stoker Award-winning writer James Aquilone and Young Justice and Teen Titans artist Zac Atkinson.

The story follows time traveler Doctor Omega and his companion Jack Dawkins, aka The Artful Dodger, as they recruit a team to travel to Camelot to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Merlin. 

The campaign to fund the first issue of The Omega Eleven is live on Kickstarter, where it has already met its funding goal. This isn’t Aquilone’s first crowdfunding rodeo — through his publishing company Monstrous Books, he’s funded projects like the Kolchak: The Night Stalker 50th anniversary graphic novel, the prose collection Dead Detectives Society and the first issue of the pulp/horror-themed Monstrous Magazine. A new, second issue of Monstrous is a reward in this current campaign.

Aquilone was kind enough to answer my questions, and even pulled in Atkinson on some of them as well.

The Omega Eleven main cover by Zac Atkinson

Before we jump into the project, James, I was hoping you could talk about how you came to comics, both as a reader and then as a creator/editor?

JAMES: I’ve been obsessed with books since I was a baby, and comics were my first reading material. I began as a writer with prose fiction but I had always wanted to work in comics. My first project was the Kolchak 50th anniversary graphic novel, which won a Bram Stoker Award and Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award.

I know comics is only part of what you’re doing at Monstrous Books. Can you share a bit more about your approach to publishing and the types of stories you publish?

JAMES:  Monstrous came about following my successful Kickstarters in 2021 and 2022. Our projects tend to be pulpy, retro stuff, with a focus on entertainment and beautiful artwork.

Getting into the project itself, you’re using some characters that may (or may not) be familiar to readers. Can you talk about Doctor Omega and Artful Dodger, and what brings them into this particular story?

JAMES: Doctor Omega is believed to have inspired Doctor Who and there many similarities besides the name. Doctor Omega was introduced in a 1906 novel by French writer Arnould Galopin. I think it was only recently translated into English. The Artful Dodger, aka Jack Dawkins, was a character in Charles Dickens’s 1838 novel Oliver Twist. He’s a pickpocket and thief, so he comes in handy when Doctor Omega is traveling through time and stealing artifacts.

I imagine there are lots of thieves from history you could choose from for the heist. Will the characters Omega is recruiting be characters we recognize, or are they original to the story? And what can you tell us about them?

JAMES: The characters will be familiar but we’ll be tweaking them and combining them with other elements. If you know any famous thieves in fiction, they’ll probably show up at some point in the series.

The Omega Eleven variant cover by Dave Acosta

How did you and Zac Atkinson first meet, and what made him the right artist for this project?

JAMES: I think it was in 2019, and I was looking for a colorist for a comic books series I had written. The series has never been published, but I ended up hiring Zac for a bunch of my other projects. He colored most of the stories in my Kolchak 50th anniversary, illustrated stories in the Shakespeare Unleashed comic and Monstrous magazine, and did about half of the illustrations in the Dead Detectives Society anthology.

You should ask Zac what made me the right writer for the project, because Doctor Omega was originally his idea. He already had a bunch of illustrations for characters when he told me about it. 

ZAC: I knew it was right up James’s alley. I liked all the projects he was working on and shared his love for old pulp characters. I got a lot of ideas but no focus, and I knew James could make sense of them.

What can fans expect from the Kickstarter — are there any rewards you’re especially excited about?

JAMES: The campaign will have three covers — one by Zac, and the other two by Dave Acosta (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark) and J.K. Woodward (Star Trek). We’ll have plenty of original art. Zac will also do sketch covers for backers. And the other big reward is the second issue of the horror comic book magazine Monstrous, which will have a time travel theme.

The Omega Eleven variant cover by JK Woodward

Is there anything you’re working on, comics or otherwise, that you’d like to mention?

JAMES: I’ll be announcing something big in a few months. I’ve been working on this for a while now and will involve a bunch of new projects. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal much at this time. But you can visit my website for updates.

ZAC: I’m illustrating a book called Daughters of Django with GenSeven Comics due out later this year. I’m also coloring various projects for both Monstrous and Genseven comics. I  post random comics on my site as well. Head to for updates.

For more information or to back The Omega Eleven #1, visit Kickstarter.

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