Atomika was first published in 2005 and ran, on and off, for 12 issues. Set in an alternative universe in which Communist Russia rose to rule the world with it’s own superhero-god, the self-titled Atomika, it’s co-creator, Sal Abbinanti, is now collecting the whole series together in one hardback omnibus edition with a whole host of extras as well as an enviable list of featured artists that supported the original series and contributes to this new edition too. I got the chance to talk with Sal ahead of today’s Atomika: God is Red launch:
Olly MacNamee: Your new Kickstarter campaign aims to collect the original Atomika series in a new hardback omnibus. A story set in a world in which the Soviet Union took control of the globe. Buut now their nation’s hero is having doubts? For those unfamiliar with the story of this god-level super being, where does that lead him in this series?
Sal Abbinanti: Atomika is the son of Mother Russia the God of the 20th century (technology) Russia is an enormous country honey combed with many Mythological Gods and spirits that have resided there for centuries. They are now dying due to their lack of worship by the people of Russia. These Gods want to challenge Atomika for the worship of her people.
OM: It would unfair to simply sum up Atomika as just a Russian Superman counterpart. There is far more mythological resonance with the character. He is a literal god created by the Russian Communist State as yet another tool in their control over their populace. But one with a ton more menace that Superman. What research underpins this series? What other influences might readers want to seek out?
SA: Atomika is an extension to the Mythology of Russian Gods and Deities. He is Mother Russia’s second son, with her first being the revolution. The State has told the people of Russia that all other religion has been out lawed and that the “state is now your God. All other Gods have been deemed counter productive to the State. Other influences?- Like Thor has its blue prints in Green Mythology, Atomika follows Russian Mythology with a modern spin.
OM: And what are the major themes you and your writing partner, Andrew Dabb, explore in this alternative universe series?
SA: Following Atomika’s journey through the different regions and God based on folklore throughout Russia. How a God has all the short comings and weakness based on vanity and power that everyone does. Atomika stumbles and is victorious many times .
OM: This is a sweeping large scale epic with artwork, layouts and huge splash pages to match. What artistic influences did you draw upon? I did read that German Expressionism had some part to play in the forging of this series, but what else?
SA: Many films of expressionism from Germany and Russia had a huge influence on me when I laid the book out, right from the start. Mix in there my worship of classic Marvel artists Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Gene Colan and Alex Nino.
OM: While there will be a lot of fans with previous experience of the comics, what extras will you be offering in this new Kickstarter campaign to entice them into backing this new omnibus edition?
SA: We have pledge tiers ranging from a digital edition to a signed print edition, and original artwork by me. We have a tier with a collectible trading card set featuring Atomika covers by classic Silver Age artists including Claudio Castellini, Ernie Chan, Gene Colan, Gary Gianni, Alex Nino, John Romita Sr., and Sanjulian to tiers featuring limited edition 7×10 prints showcasing artwork by many of the most celebrated artists in the industry including Alex Ross, Glen Fabry, Michael Turner, Darwyn Cooke, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Tim Bradstreet.
OM: And, what of the all-important stretch goals?
SA: Stay tuned we’ll be revealing those throughout the campaign. Trust me you’re going to be blown away!
OM: Finally, then, Sal; more and more comic book creators seem to be turning to self-publishing via crowdfunding campaigns like this one. What are the benefits to you the creator and what advise would you give to anyone thinking of crowdfunding their own comic book or graphic novel?
SA: It’s the ultimate for an Indie creator to be able to interact directly with the Comic fan. Their feedback is direct and tremendously useful. It’s brutally honest and from the heart, if they don’t like it your gonna hear it. Order fulfillment is paramount, too many campaigns do not take into consideration how important knowing and planning ahead of time a timely delivery and updating your supporters is. I love it and am eternally grateful for all the support!
You can check out the Kickstarter campaign, that’s now live, here.