O Men issue notes

O MEN ISSUE 2.8 NOTES

These notes will contain spoilers, so please don’t read ‘em until you’ve read issue 2.8!

Overall:
This was a funny old issue, as I knew it would probably be off-putting to new readers, but it’s an issue that had to happen, i.e. explaining tons of things about what tons of characters have been up to. However, I’ve always felt that The O Men should be an Invisibles-style series, where readers can immerse themselves into the various storylines and re-read stuff so that it makes sense. It’s all there if you want it!

Cover
I did this yeeears ago. Don’t think I ever finished it, first time round! So it’s a pic that sprawled over about 6 or 7 years.

Pages 2 and 3
So here we have ‘what happened to Miss Scarlet’ and it takes us back to the end of O Men issue 27. We’re also getting a bit of info about Jeopardy – part of my plan to wrap as many characters up as I can. They all have li’l stories to them! Of course, Miss Scarlet’s story is far from over.

Final panel – “where’d Seraph go?” Timewise, she’s currently with the Vicious Circle II in the ‘Ashcan’ issue’s short story (a.k.a. issue 7.O).

Page 4
Here we catch up with Stuart. He’s been travelling through space, exploring his powers ever since he ran out on Grace in issue 2.3.

Pages 5 and 6
I always knew that Rob and Stu were transported into space by Seraph (in issue 27). I hated the idea of them being there for years though (which isn’t practical anyway), so luckily I came up with the idea of time being different there (thanks, ‘Interstellar’.)

Page 7 and 8
All the timing makes sense to me here, but lord only knows if it makes sense to any readers. This all takes place just after issue 2.6. I gave Rob a checked shirt (at the last minute) just to try and show he’s at a different time.

Page 11 – 13
Even if people find this issue a bit overwhelming/confusing, hopefully fun/odd scenes like this win them back over! Re the ‘superhero’ page – Abby’s superhuman name really was going to be ‘Glaze’, before I thought better of it.

Page 15
Does this scene feel similar to anyone? Maybe take a look at issue 1…?

Page 19
I really, really couldn’t remember how long Grace’s hair was supposed to be. Originally, I drew it all a lot shorter, but I figured some time has gone by since we last saw her. So I did a lot of re-drawing and used a bit of artistic licence to re-grow it – as Grace really should have long hair. And maybe her shorter hair in issues 2.2 to 2.7 shows that this isn’t the real Grace.

Page 20
Bang! And now, hopefully, we can head into more linear storytelling from next issue onwards!

 

O MEN ISSUE 2.9 NOTES

These notes will contain spoilers, so please don’t read ‘em until you’ve read issue 2.9!

Again, I was worried this issue might be a little off-putting as it’s quite ‘dense’ with a lot going on, plus also we have the Spandex crossover, which I didn’t necessarily have to do, but hopefully people will see it as a nice ‘touch’ – and hopefully it aligns the O Men/Spandex universes a bit. With this issue, I add ANOTHER character to the ever-bulging team (ooer). You know, when I put O Men on hiatus, and when I re-introduced the team in Spandex, I really had no idea how few issues I had left of O Men to wrap things up. I saw the final O Men issues as an endless sea of pages, but there really is so much to cram in. I don’t regret introducing Safe, but if I had the time again and if it didn’t mess up continuity, I’d probably leave him til later.
But hopefully, this is the issue where everything starts to calm down a bit (so to speak), storylines settle down a bit and become a little bit more linear with the big twist at the end.
I actually censored myself a lot in this issue. Originally, Anathema’s thought captions contained some quite disparaging things about Liberty, the Spandex leader. Some fairly homophobic put-downs. I thought, yes, this is what that bitch would say! She is so offensive! I then started wondering if it would get a negative reaction from readers (reactions suffered by quite a few comics in recent times) and I thought I’ll just defend it by saying that it’s a complete beeyatch who is saying these things. But I thought ‘would she say these things?’ When you read issue 2.10 and get more insight into her character – I’m not sure she actually would be so homophobic. So I cut this down to just the one homophobic slur, not related to Liberty!
Cover
When I started drawing these final issues, I had a bit of a blank about Grace’s hair-length and I drew it quite short. But I’ve always seen her as having longer hair and I figure time has gone by a bit, so I changed it quite a lot. You can still see some of the shorter hair in this cover.
Page one
Back when I was in the early stages of writing The O Men, this was a page I always wanted to do. I always had this thought of a ‘sharky superhero’ attacking people in a pool – and so here we have it!
Page three
You remember Safe, don’t you? He was part of the early very-PC gay super-duo, Safe and Sound. Sound was killed by Anathema in issue 1.27 and Safe lost an arm!
Page four
So yes, if you haven’t twigged, this issue crosses over with Spandex issue 5, an issue where alllll Spandex’s heroes and villains clash (while six of the Spandex team have been kidnapped).
Page six
I kind of see the Insect League as a Marauders-style team (from the X-Men). They’re not as nasty but may have clone bodies.
Page 8
Panel 6
Spot the Kate Bush reference?  😉
Page 10
So if you hadn’t noticed, here’s a little bit of trivia – Doctor O’s butler Alfred Pathe is the brother of Spandex’s butler Arthur Pathe!
Page 15
I really struggled with the pic of Grace holding the gun to her chin – I felt awkward asking friends to pose! And then, lo and behold, the very day before this issue goes on sale, there was the perfect one on The 100 TV show! Ah well.
Page 19
Little bit of a Tori reference here, to the lyrics of Unrepentant Geraldines.
Note that Anathema has her markings around her eyes/mouths in her astral form, but not in the physical body that Stuart makes for her.
O MEN ISSUE 2.10 NOTES
I’m ending the series, and this is one of the ‘big issues’. There are a few characters who really needed an explanation and an origin – I’m not a big fan of series which leave readers dangling. And in a funny way, most of the answers and clues have already been revealed at various points in the series – this just consolidates them (with the addition of ‘Isabelle’). I really wanted to have fun with this issue and try a different art style for each time period. It was a challenging issue, because everything needs to be right and I needed to avoid clashing with something that has appeared before. There was actually one plothole that came up – something that goes against logic, I won’t say what, so I worked out how to retcon it a bit in an upcoming issue. I actually like ‘problems’ like that – it’s fun coming up with a way to resolve them, and sometimes the solution makes the story stronger.
Cover
This was quite simple to do, but it did leave me with a problem – I didn’t want anyone waiting for Book Five to see it as it’s one big fat spoiler!
Page 1
For the first few pages – the Anathema/Isabelle/curse sequences – it’s all pencilled, no inks. A lot of people describe my style as ‘simple’ – and I guess it is, but I can go very ‘sketchy’ when I want to!
Page 2
These first few pages developed a lot towards the end. I kind of started saying to myself ‘is it obvious what’s happening here?’ – ‘is it clear that that is so-and-so, so I kept adding bits of dialogue just to make sure it was clear. ‘Is it clear that it’s Anathama in these pages?’
A lot of this story also goes back to good ol’ Spandex! Eagle-eyed Span-fans may recognise Isabelle from those issues – especially issue 6. You don’t have to have read the Spandex issues as Isabelle will develop in The O Men, but hopefully some people got an ‘ooooh!’ from her appearance.
Page 3 onwards
Eagle-eyed readers may notice that some characters are not included in this issue as part of Anathema’s ‘trial’. I kind of just wanted to keep it to the core characters and people who have been directly affected by Anathema, so Safe and Shine are not involved. I could have put a line in about it, but there was no way to do it without it being clunky, and there was so much going on as it is. I kind of just wanted it to be a casual fact.
Page 4
Is this weird? I don’t know. I kind of want to convey that the O Men are ‘seeing’ Anathema’s past/flashback. Hopefully it works.
Page 5
It’s amazing the kind of research that goes into these comics. Like working out when the word ‘cunny’ was invented and seeing if it works in this time period.
Page 9
I’d have loved to have run so much of this issue without some of the dialogue, but I really wanted to make it obvious what is happening. Identifying Anathama/Anna and Doctor O/Adam is essential and I wanted to make it completely obvious whenever they appear. Otherwise, a lot of panels would have been more dialogue-free.
Page 10
And now we know why Anathema has those marks around her eyes.
Page 11
Again, these top panels would have been dialogue-free but I didn’t want people to think Anna somehow survived being burnt at the stake and then gone on to live in medieval London. Originally, the first panel was dialogue-free and the second just had Grace saying ‘Go on’.
I used a brush pen for the plague panels.
Page 13
So here, Miss Scarlet starts to question the name Isabelle, which was Perception’s real name (from PSI-SQUAD).
Panel 3
Recognise this place?
Panel 5
Mr Cushing? Where have we heard that before?
Page 15
Final panel: Blackie??
Page 17
All this – all the Jack the Ripper/Nazi/witch stuff was alluded to in issue 1.21 – now I’m just wrapping it up together. I originally wanted Anathama to be Mary Jane Kelly, Jack’s final victim, as she is so iconic, but I figured Annie Chapman probably tied in more, name-wise.
Page 20
Again, I was like, will people tie this in with that UK Ultra Knights/Victrix scene from O Men 1.12? I added in extra dialogue/notes just to make it clear.
Page 23
Originally it was going to be Rob who pushed Anathama down the stairs. But it had to be Miss Scarlet really, didn’t it…
Page 26
We’ve had so many ‘thoughts’ from Anathema posing as Grace in issue 2.9, so now we see Grace’s thoughts.
Lower panels: Originally, I was going to do a little vignette with Kelly here, but I felt Anathema should have the ending. Kelly’s scenes will crop up in a later issue.
Page 27
David the baby is Asylum. Hopefully readers connected the dots, but it’s not terribly obvious.
Final panel: A street near where I work!

O MEN ISSUE 2.11 NOTES

Now we really are into more linear storytelling, and things have settled down a lot (apart from all the action, of course!). It’s time to sit back, strap yourself in and enjoy this two-part action story.
As always, towards the end there were lots of fiddles and little changes (it’s amazing what you can miss when you draw an issue all out of sequence), but nowhere near as many as on the previous issue (which took weeks of revisions – maybe because it was more of a canon-heavy issue). And in fact, I signed it off for Comixology and print maybe earlier than I normally would have (I would probably have dithered on things for another week or so). I guess it feels like a more ‘urgent’, less in-the-details issue.
Cover
I worked on a cover for this issue for about 6 months – and then realised it just wasn’t working. Take a look. I wanted it based on an Avengers Age of Ultron cover – a huge fight-y thing – the main characters are colour and the minor villains are black and white. It was just taking ages, fiddling around getting positions right, drawing guns properly and it just wasn’t working. Then I took a step back and decided I just didn’t like it, and I felt it doesn’t represent the O Men series very well!! So I completely scrapped it (I used it as the cast-list page instead) and kind of went for something more generic – something more interesting and better drawn (a lot based on photos I’d collected, and also coloured in a way I’d seen a Love and Rockets cover being coloured). I wanted to put everyone in circles but that made the images quite small and I wanted to really show the images. A final element was to have most of the characters coming out of their panels. Fact fans: the image of Shine is the first thing I drew on my new ipad pro!
o11 cover
Page 1
The writing in the book in the final panel was pretty much the final thing I did for this issue.
Page 2
Panel 2: Kelly has her back to us here and it’s an image I play with in other panels in this issue.
Panel 3: So now you can see that the Seraph-as-a-villain storyline was a bit of a red herring.
The title: I was trying to think of a title for this story (and titles are often quite hard to think up) and I just saw a sign-post, ‘Danger of Death’, and I thought, “that’s it – that’s the name of this two-parter”.
Originally, I had envisioned a page of the O Men preparing themselves for the battle – particularly focusing on Rob and Abby, but I decided to dive straight into the action.
Page 3
So I don’t know if it’s obvious, but these frame-less/Vicious Circle panels take place during a previous Vicious Circle meeting – similar to the one that took place in the O Men Aschan.
Nonna – you know, I hate the fact she has similar hair to Miss Scarlet, as it is a bit confusing, but really Nonna has a streak of white hair and Miss Scarlet has streaks of red – so it all makes sense in colour!
Nonna was just a crazy invention I made up very early on, playing on the word Nonagenarian.
Page 7
At the top I was going to have Abby making a comment about ‘death by social media’ but I decided it was a bit of overkill.
Page 8
I think my car drawings have improved??
Page 13
Shine’s T-shirt quote is from Tori Amos’s Crucify. Not a ‘classic’ line, but a line I like in the song.
Page 14
After I finished the issue, it kind of struck me how violent it is… Sorry.
Page 20
You know me – I’m no good at drawing buildings, so I was dreading this final panel – hoping I’d get it right. I don’t think it turned out too badly!
Issue 2.12
Cover
I really wanted something almost black and white – lots of shadows, muted colours. If you look at it, it does foreshadow a bit who doesn’t survive the issue.
Page 1
My handwriting sucks… And all of Kelly’s diary entries were originally hand-written, but it was just taking ages and ages to tidy it up, so I resorted to a font I created myself instead.
Page 3
I wonder how many readers noticed how awful Starman is and how bad his actions towards Seraph are. It was actually a lot worse in the original O Men run that I created at university – I didn’t really go into it a huge amount in this run.
Page 7 and 8
The final panel is a reference to the issue of Walking Dead where Michonne gets her revenge on the Governor, and she references that on the next page.
Page 14
In case you’d forgotten, Frenzy (who’d had his brains blown out but was resurrected by Anathema) was sent after Jeremy by Miss Scarlet in issue 1.27.
Page 22
Spandex are at the funeral here, along with some of the members of the new O Men team that came together at the start of volume two.
Issue 3.1
So again, a really, really challenging issue, in more ways than one. Doctor O’s side of events. And again, I want to avoid fucking something up/contradicting something that has gone before – because when you spend 18 years doing a comic, some things get forgotten – and there have been 35 issues to re-examine and re-absorb.
Also, it’s challenging artistically, because, as you all know, I hate drawing backgrounds, and there’s a lot of ‘building’ going on here. I think I managed okay, but towards the end there were a couple of panels where I probably should have added ‘more’ and I think I just couldn’t draw any more – it was a lot of work!
But then again, this turned out to be quite a ‘simple’ issue – a straight-forward Q&A style which I found quite interesting (if you could ask anything of someone who you’ve known for a long while, who you never really trusted, and who pretty much knows everything, what would you ask?).
I’d also – and bear with me, this is relevant – watched Mr Robot, just before planning this issue, and a lot of that show seeped into the way this issue looks – the smaller characters in the panels.
Frontispiece
On the printed and digital issue (I think), I added a biiiiig Q&O title page – like something out of the old Love and Rockets comics. I took it out of the final printed book for space reasons.
Page 1
Rob is still holding Kelly’s diary.
Page 2
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Girl VII is named after a St Etienne song, and the idea always was that the number in her name related to whichever upgraded version she was on.
Page 4
I wrote this scene ages ago – Doctor O rebuilding the Institute – and then I saw Magneto and Jean Grey doing something similar at the end of X-Men Apocalypse!
Page 5
Cushing was just a random element I squeezed into the O Men early on as a little mystery. I had no idea who he was when I invented him for the first O Men issues, but he came together for these final issues.
Page 10
Panel 4
I can sort of relate to this… I mean, I haven’t killed anyone, but I’ve worked at my job for 20 years – and you do forget people – you forget who’s come and gone, you forget who’s who, who knows who. It’s odd.
Page 11
Panel 3
Round and round in circles – this is one of the many reasons why the book is called the ‘O’ Men.
Page 12
Panel 6
I started sowing seeds for this quite early on in the series.
Page 14
Panel 5
The Children – first mentioned in issue 22.
Page 16
Panel 6
It took me ages to decide on the spelling of Zeros. I do think ‘Zeroes’ looks better but apparently it’s ‘Zeros’. Like ‘Euro’, ‘Euros’.
Page 17
Panel 3
Remember this from the very start of the O Men?
Page 18
Panel 2
My final revenge on Dr O – he regrets doing this.
Page 19
Panel 3
A huge weight has been lifted – Dr O was a huge weight really. For me, he came to symbolise depression and apathy. He felt like a very ‘heavy’ character.
Page 20
Panel 4
Recognise these from the cover of Book 5?
Page 21
Panel 1
Some readers were a bit miffed at me for killing Kelly – but I feel like she died doing what she enjoyed – being a hero. And I find that this is a fitting tribute for her.
I forgot to say – there’s a scene in issue 20, where Anathama triggers Rob’s time-travel powers, it’s page 12, panel 1… Rob visits me! Originally, I was going to kill Grace near the end of the series – it felt natural – but then it felt right that Kelly should die instead. In that issue 20 panel, I’m apologising to the reader/Rob for killing Grace, but eventually it became Kelly.
Page 24
No readers complained to me about this scene – I wondered if they would as it’s so violent. You just have to remember how fucking evil Anathema was – what awful things she did to people. I think justice was served.
Issue 3.2
This was one of the hardest things I’ve EVER written, mainly because I love Miss Scarlet and I wanted to do her justice, plus this story leads into a lot of future stories and I wanted to get the groundwork right… Plus, I really had about 10 to 20 different ways of doing all this, and I had to pick the right one – and time was running out to pick the right version.
It didn’t help that I had a bit of a tight deadline on this issue. I started the final O Men issues almost 2 years before releasing anything – but that time soon disappears! When I actually submitted the first new issue to Comixology, I hadn’t even written this issue or decided on the some of the elements of the story! That was a bit scary!! Issue 3.1 and 3.3 didn’t ‘scare’ me so much, because they have an easy page layout to work with (6 regular panels per page on 3.1 and 8 regular panels per page on 3.3), but this was a more normal/creative issue, where anything could happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew a lot of the elements of this story, but I needed to tie it all together.
Cover
This was actually based on a shot from an old movie. I was slightly concerned that some people might recognise it and call me a ‘fraud’, but my answer to that is that a lot of O Men imagery is based on other images – it’s the whole point really. The O Men became about inspiration and ideas and that is explored in this issue.
Page 1
I’ve had this idea for a looooong time! Finally got to do it.
Page 2
Also, this idea has been me for years – showing a scene where the characters are getting ready to become the characters.
Yes, that’s me on this page!
I added a thing in about Stu getting more lines, because, let’s face it, he doesn’t do as much as other people in this series.
Page 3
Originally Red wakes up and says something fairly obscene/sweary, but I toned it down to try and get these pages previewed on Comixology (they don’t show pages with mature elements).
Panels 3 to 5
The picture in the background here is similar to the one in the bedroom in issue 1.15 – the issue about Red/Kamikaze.
Panel 6
Molly and Red referenced this ages ago – in issue 20 I think – that maybe one day they’d be friends watching a Leonardo DiCaprio movie.
Page 4 panel 1
So now we know that time has moved on a bit since the last issue.
Panel 6
I had this idea that the Insect League are kind of like the Marauders – with the whole cloning thing. It would explain how I could bring back characters who died – like Arachnid and Mistress Web (I liked them so I don’t know why I killed them off).
Page 5
One of the joys of self-publishing – using song lyrics willy-nilly… Lots of red-related songs here. We have Prince here, plus UB40, 99 Red Balloons, and the gorgeous Scarlet Town by Gillian Welch.
Page 6
Finishing it off with the Lady in Red.
This is an area of Canary Wharf that I go through all the time when going to the cinema!
Page 9
The implication here is that all of the Vicious Circle gals had hidden beauty spots – similar to Miss Scarlet’s.
Page 11
Panels 8 and 9
My gosh, I’ve had these scenes in my head since the very start of the series.
Page 12
Panels 2 to 4
This is one of the many things that I showed in the series but didn’t fully explain it at the time. So it’s often all there if you look between the lines.
Page 15
Panel 2
I liked this idea – that Miss S thought she was kind-of a vampire – but how can she be if a vampire didn’t attack her? When I first drew an O Men series, back when I was 20, I did a whole issue where Red was kidnapped (by ‘God’, an insane villain) and she finds all this out.
Pages 17 and 18
I have to admit, I was pretty fatigued when I drew these pages – pretty much out of juice, so maybe they could have done with a bit more oomph, a bit more thrown in, but hopefully there’s enough here.
So here, the implication is that a powerful being has been trapped and watching/reading all these things, and her powers are influencing other people. This is pretty much what most of the TV/movie/book/comic references in the series link into. I think the idea developed in itself – I enjoyed ‘copying’ images for covers and throwing in references to other media, and I started to think, ‘well, what is the reason for this?’ It kind of worked its way into the story.
From quite early on, I knew that a ‘person in a room’ would be responsible for all this, but i wasn’t sure who – sometimes it was me.
So we have Kill Bill – a huge influence for me, and you see it in a lot of Miss Scarlet – the X-Men, because the O Men name and set-up was influenced by them – we have extracts from things Izzy wrote, which became part of the story – Alien was a big part of the Vicious Circle storyline Stu reveal – Jane Austen and Akira are in the Malice storyline, Sixth Sense is referenced by Rob in issue 20 I think – and Tori Amos is all over this series.
izzy herself is a reference to Izzy in Love and Rockets – kind-of a meta character herself.
Page 17
Isabelle (the new version) – well she wasn’t part of this story until I wrote Spandex. It all kind of tied together. Subconsciously, I thought “I’ll call that character Isabelle, because it’s linked to O Men – I wonder if anyone will notice”.
Page 21
I used to think this myself – does the world exist behind me? This was tied in with my very early ‘God’ character – my insane villain. He was going to pursue all this in my early version of The O Men.
Page 23
‘Making People think their whole past was something else’ – Doctor O & Anathama?
Page 26
Beauty marks/moles – another meaning of ‘O’ Men.
Page 27
I just had this idea, early on, that Miss S would lose her powers. It was an instinct. I felt like she needed a break.
Page 29
Really struggled to fit everything into this issue – and really wanted to keep the pagecount down!

Issue 3.3
Again, a really challenging story, but not as challenging as 3.2. It was scary to write it (I didn’t want to miss anything out), but the script just grew organically. I knew quite early on that the ‘frame’ of the story would be Astral’s story, but I had to make sure I got everything in there that I wanted to get in there. It was frustrating because it took a very long time for me to ‘lock’ the script down and I didn’t feel relaxed with it until I did (because having to insert a new panel will throw all the rest of it off).
Cover
Astral looking transparent with the Earth in her eye as a pupil – because one of the meanings of ‘O’ in the O Men is that it’s the globe – we’re all O Men. The whole series is about circles – things going in circles, reincarnation, behaviour patterns etc.
Page 1
Panel 1
Mistress Mind became Malice – she was also Grace’s original superhero name back when I was making comics in my teens.
Panel 2
This is Trevor McDonald – a real news-reader from the 80s/90s.
Panel 3
Casey is the name of my partner’s nephew.
Panels 4 to 6
You guys know I hate drawing cars – but I’d seen panels like this in Love and Rockets comics and I thought – well this isn’t amazingly detailed but it works.
Title
I’d done a few variations on time titles – 24 hours, 12 months… I really wanted to do more and build up, but i guess I ran out of issues! I kind of wanted to keep the title a secret in promotion for the issue as I wondered if it would give away what this story is all about. I really wanted it to be a surprise, that we go from the start of PSI-SQUAD to the far future.
Page 2
Panel 2
I thought a lot about what Denise would be wearing as a coma victim – would she have a face mask or not? Ah well, she has one now.
Panel 4
Pathe!
Panel 5
This is a photo/pic from the very first issue of O Men.
Panel 6
This was something referenced in issue 1.8, I think – Astral being unable to help with the washing-up.
Page 4
Panel 8
Again, Madame Xenophobia was referenced in an earlier issue.
Page 9
Panel 2
Lost was mentioned frequently throughout the O Men series.
Panel 3
The lyrics on Shine’s t-shirt are from Tori Amos’s Icicle song.
Panel 8
That’s the infamous Castle fight – where Stuart was killed.
Page 10
Panel 1, 2 and 8
So, remember – Spiral committed suicide. Spiral was one of my earliest characters that I invented – in my mid-teens. He has hypnotism powers – like Cyclops but with hypnotism.
Panel 6
The ‘murder’ of Isabelle/Perception.
Panel 7
Inferno exploded. I always tinkered with the idea of bringing him back – maybe even making him Asylum or putting him in Asylum’s head – but in the end I just left him… for now?
Page 11
Panel 1
Mary/Shine told everyone she had lost her powers…
Panel 2
After I wrote issue 2.10, the one about Anathema’s origins, it made me wonder why Doctor O didn’t recognise her when he met her in issue 0. That’s pretty much why I included this scene here – and the scene on page 13 with Ruth and Dr O.
Panel 7
Mike, Jackie, Casper – these were Stephanie’s flatmates shown in issue 0.
Page 13
Panel 8
Thundercats, Transformers and He Man posters on the wall – I love drawing bedroom wall posters!
Page 14
Panel 6 and 7
Miss Scarlet! Killing the Hound! I guess I could have brought the Hound back but I just didn’t have a place for her in the story.
Panel 8
Brainstorm!
Page 15
Panel 2
This happened in issue 1.
Panel 3
This happened in issue 2.
Panel 4
This happened in issue 3.
Panels 5 to 7
I love the scenes between Grace and Ruth. I kind of wanted to address here how Grace found out about Ruth/the UK Ultra Knights’ involvement with Victrix/Anathema (because it never really came to light in the series), and show that Grace discovered it at this point, but it was too clunky.
Panel 8
This is where Molly, after being paid by Dr O, manipulates the O Men.
Page 16
Panel 2
From issue 11.
Panel 4
Mary on her travels.
Panels 7 and 8
From issue 17. Strange was the ‘new Goth boyfriend’ referred to in issue 4. He has more hair here!
Page 17
Panel 2
From issue 18.
Panel 3
From issue 21
Panel 4
From issue 23
Panel 5
From issue 27
Panel 7
Spandex!
Panel 8
Grace, possessed by Anathema, hooks up with Marcus from the Thought Police. I liked Marcus and it was a shame I couldn’t do more with him.
Page 18
Panel 1 and 2
From issue 2.1
Panel 3
The returning O Men were the good samaritans who helped Kelly out after issue 2.4. You see a blurred image of them in issue 2.6.
Panel 4
From issue 2.6
Panel 5
Asylum and Astral are watching the Lost finale.
Panel 6
From issue 2.7
Panel 7
From issue 2.8
Panel 8
From issue 2.10.
Page 19
Panel 2 onwards
I wanted to show this at the end of issue 2.12 but it just wouldn’t fit/fit in. I wanted to show Kelly’s assertive side.
Panel 6
From issue 2.12.
Panel 7
I wanted to show this kiss in the issue but I didn’t want to divert the story.
Panel 8
Kelly’s last stand in issue 2.12.
Page 20
Panel 1
From issue 2.12
Panel 2
From the end of issue 2.12. Some of the events in this issue aren’t ‘obvious’ and you kind-of need to have a great memory, otherwise I guess it’s probably a bit confusing.
Panel 3
From issue 3.1
Panel 4
Just after the events of issue 3.1.
Page 22
Panel 2
So you should recognise everyone here – Gem is back, Safe is there. Safe suffered a lot from too much else going on. I’m sure I could have done more interesting things with him.
Panel 3
Purity! She’s been in my head for ages!!! There was this huge O Men storyline where she rebelled against being straight-laced, cut her hair off, changed her identity.
Page 23
Panel 5
Ms Fantastic from Spandex. Horrible woman!!!
Panel 6
And after this panel, we’re into the ‘future’ – we’ve caught up with the events of the last issue.
Panel 8
Ah, Traveller… She was quite a big character from my teens, although she was called Time Mistress (a name which hadn’t aged well, so I changed it). More on her later…
Page 24
Panel 8
I’d love to explore Rob’s time travel adventures in a separate comic one day.
Page 25
Panel 2
I liked that Rob-Anathema thing from issue 17, so I thought I’d bring him back.
Panel 4
Strange… I really didn’t know what to do with him or who he was. I had ideas… It could have tied in with Spandex. But he definitely had a sister called Lily who could control nature, so I am glad I finally brought her into the series.
Panel 5
Strange/Lily and The O Men versus The Wild Pack.
Panel 7
I struggled a litlte bit with the 100 years aspect of this story and how Astral’s family would have aged. In the early drafts, I realised I hadn’t aged the family along enough.
Page 26
Panel 2
Who to ask? Miss Scarlet.
Panels 3 and 4
So this is the latest Vicious Circle. Vixen (Kelly and Rob’s mom) was supposed to be in the team and also Beelzebub (looking cool in a suit), but I decided to go with my Castle idea instead (he’d possessed Stuart’s android body). I also had really enjoyed a pic of Cushing I had done, so I decided to throw him into this team instead of Beelzebub. Eclipse is here – now crippled.
Page 27
Panel 1
The Vicious Circle expel the O Men from their Institute.
Panel 5
Here’s a big thing – so the reason Traveler made Rob disappear is because she is Abby and Rob’s daughter from an alternate future, all grown up. Their powers interacted and caused Rob’s disappearance. Vortex was Rob and Abby’s son. So they both die here – adults and children. Vortex and Traveler are not seen again in the story.
Panel 6
I didn’t want Miss Scarlet to appear much in this story. Here the implication is that she has received her powers back now that Scarlet has died. The earlier impllcation was that Miss S stored her powers in Scarlet (with the eye glints in issue 3.2).
Panel 8
I am pretty sure this is the final panel I drew of this issue (and of the series), apart from a couple of re-drawings of characters later on, and one or two months of checking and correcting. I remember the surge of adrenaline I got when I drew the panel, the realisation of ‘that’s it!” I can start to relax!
Page 28
Panel 1
Spandex and the USAviors join the fight. There was supposed to be a new USAviors team but I hadn’t planned it out in time and didn’t want to ‘force it’. I drew some of these panels in Rome!
Panel 5
Safe could have been fun! Here he becomes the new Union Jack. CJ – or Calamity Jane – was a character I invented a long time ago. Sparrow was a last minute invention – originally, Icarus was going to be Seraph’s final son – but it didn’t work out time-wise in the 100 years story.
Panel 6
I almost messed up Astral’s family timings, so I switched things here. Astral’s husband is now dead and you can see his new wife on the left, Casey (now bald) has his wife next to him, a grown-up Joseph is now with his wife, and you probably can’t tell, but she’s grasping her pregnant belly.
Panel 7
Originally, CJ was going to be Asylum’s sister, but obviously not here. Or maybe they were??
Page 29
Panel 1
I like to think that’s Miss Scarlet there, but it’s probably Abby.
Panel 5
You know, if I hadn’t done that final page of this issue, this is probably how the team would have died.
Panel 8
Again, this is where you probably need an ‘O Men degree’/very good memory to get all the references. Here we catch up with Brainstorm/Colin and Peri. Peri is dying.
Page 30
Panel 1
The implication here is that Colin and Peri just lived in a rain forest across the globe. Colin disperses/dies in grief.
Panel 2
…And his powers go to his cousin. I quite liked this lady – i wish there was more I could do with her.
Panel 3
The reporter here is my friend Charlotte who has been badgering me to put her in a comic for years!
Panel 7
The idea here is that Safe’s boyfriend is now Union Jack. We also have the new Brainstorm here and a female Underdog (originally from USAviors). The guy on the right is Gem’s son, Diamond, and Asylum’s daughter is on the left. Icarus is also on the settee.
Page 31
Panel 3
I’d sent the final O Men book to the printers, but something was bugging me… Where was the threat/danger here? People were getting powers but are they all good people? This really bugged me so I stopped the printer from printing and I added this panel (originally it was just another shot of Astral helping a powered person).
Panel 6
So this is Denise’s great-grand-daughter – the daughter of Casey’s son. She now has her own son.
Page 33
Panel 1/2
Originally, the O Men were just going to die… but I couldn’t do it!
Panel 4
This is Icarus here as the headmaster.
Panel 5
I love the fact that Kelly is here at the end. People were annoyed at me for killing her off, but for me, her legacy lives on.
The ending: It’s a huge change in my ‘universe’, but it was just where I was headed. A direction I want to explore as a comic-writer/artist. So in a world of superheroes, there would be a lot of super-trouble, right? Well there is. Originally, I added a lot of the ‘history’ of this new world (a lot of wars, a lot of battles), but then I felt that this isn’t part of the O Men’s story, it’s part of the Zeros story, so I took that all out. But I went too far – I took all the threat out – there were no threats at all, and that’s just ridiculous. I had sent my final PDF to the printer, and this really bugged me and annoyed me, so I asked the printer to hold off from printing and I updated page 27 panel 3 and page 28 panel 3 to suggest an element of threat and danger. Plus also, I hadn’t actually figured out what would happen to the ongoing O Men team, and initially I suggested that they had split up and I hated that idea – so I made that last minute change too, to suggest the team were still helping people around the world. I actually risked missing my print date to make those changes (I wanted copies of the book ready for Thought Bubble 2016) but it all turned out fine, thank goodness.
The final page: This might confuse people… You have to read between the lines a bit. Grace mentions in the issue that they need help and they know who to turn to. She’s referring to Miss Scarlet. When some of the team are then seen to die, Miss Scarlet is helping out, creating illusions. Didn’t she lose her powers? She did, but it was implied that she gave her powers to her daughter (a star appeared in Red’s eye when she lost her powers, and the star appeared in Scarlet’s eye at the end of issue 3.2. When Scarlet dies in 3.3, the star reappears in Miss Scarlet’s eye, hinting that her powers have returned. So basically, in my mind, those O Men at the end of the series have survived. Rob doesn’t age, Abby’s powers help her to not age, Debris doesn’t age and created a body for Grace, Shine’s powers stop her from ageing, and maybe she heals Molly – or maybe Molly’s powers keep her alive. But then again, if you want them to all be illusions created by Miss Scarlet, then that is up to you!
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