C2E2 2023: AN INTERVIEW WITH GHEZAL OMAR
Comic Book Yeti contributor Alex Breen recently corresponded with Ghezal Omar, writer of self-published comics .357 Magnum Opus and Pimp Killer, to discuss her influences that inspired Pimp Killer, along with advice for creators who are looking to self-publish their own comics.
COMIC BOOK YETI: Ghezal, thank you for joining me to discuss your latest comic, Pimp Killer. But first, can you tell us your beginnings as a comic book writer?
GHEZAL OMAR: Hi Alex, in 2020 I published my first graphic novel, .357 Magnum Opus. It was originally written as a screenplay. When I moved back to the US in 2013, I thought it would make a cool comic book so I set out my search to find an artist and editor who could help me adapt it from a screenplay into a comic book.
CBY: While the title Pimp Killer already says a lot about the story, how would you describe the comic to people who want to know more?
GO: Pimp Killer is a straightforward story about LA Jones, whose main motivation is to bring justice to those who are unable to defend themselves. She’s on the hunt for the notorious Luciano "Lucky" Strykes after he murders a young woman in Reno and the cops do nothing about it.
"...I draw a lot of inspiration from Tarantino...While the story deals with some darker subject matters, I wanted to approach it with sensitivity but also infuse it with some humor and levity to keep it entertaining."
CBY: To me, Pimp Killer and its lead, LA Jones, feel equal parts brutal and entertaining, similar to The Last Boy Scout and other Shane Black flicks from the 90s. Was there a specific tone you were looking to hit with this story? Were there any specific stories or creators you drew inspiration from when writing Pimp Killer?
GO: I draw a lot of inspiration from Tarantino. When I was in Las Vegas for a show in 2021, I was in a rideshare and the driver was telling some interesting stories so the title and storyline just clicked for me at that moment. I wanted to create a fun and powerful female protagonist who gets the job done. While the story deals with some darker subject matters, I wanted to approach it with sensitivity but also infuse it with some humor and levity to keep it entertaining.
CBY: I'm always fascinated by how a creative team is assembled. Can you share with us how you found artist Ayhan Hayrula, and Letterer/Designer, Phillip Ginn. What was the collaborative process like with this project?
GO: It’s always someone who knows someone who knows someone, right? Ayhan was introduced to me several years before so I’m glad we were able to work on this project together. He's based in Bulgaria and I met Phillip at Rose City Comic Con through another comic book creator, Dave Law, and they’ve created a Bay Area Comic Creators community. It's great to work with people abroad and local.
CBY: I first became familiar with your work with your previous comic, .357 Magnum Opus. Have you noticed any changes in your creative process or writing style between that story and Pimp Killer?
GO: I don’t think I’ve seen much change in my creative process except that I wrote Pimp Killer straight for a comic book vs as a screenplay so I was able to think more about the pages and how the story would resonate with comic book readers.
CBY: Prior to this interview, you clarified for me that Pimp Killer is a self-published comic with no crowdfunding platforms used. Can you share some tips you've learned from self-publishing your own comics?
GO: Yes, I self-publish through Artillery Network and I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. I think the one tip that I can give is to learn the process from start to finish so you can have better expectations with your creative team.
CBY: What are some of your favorite comics you've read recently?
GO: I’m really enjoying reading the A La Brava series which is a superhero universe where Latinas of different backgrounds fight against female injustices. Each origin story has an important social cause and it's written in a digestible manner for any age reader.
CBY: Are there any future projects you can tease for us?
GO: Yes, Kayden Phoenix and I just wrote Pagan Valley and we’re looking for a Fall release. I’m also working on the prequel to .357 Magnum Opus where I focus on Dylan’s backstory. I’m also not done with Pimp Killer since it will also have an origin story and some more pimp killing stories.
CBY: Where can people buy a copy of Pimp Killer and where can people find you at C2E2?
GO: Pimp Killer is available as a paperback and Kindle on Amazon, and also on my site - www.pimpkiller.com. I’m real excited about Chicago, one of my favorite cities and shows. I’ll be at Table V-04 in the Artist’s Alley.
CBY: Where can people find you on social media?
GO: On Twitter and Instagram, I can be found at @ghezalsupernova and you can also connect with me via LinkedIn.