A post-apocalyptic narrative created by Siya Oum hit the racks of Phoenix Comics Wednesday as part of the Capitol Hill-based artist’s first national comic book release. Oum painstakingly forged the tale dubbed Lola out of her Capitol Hill abode through a mostly solo coloring, designing, and writing process.
“I’ve already written 18 issues,” said Oum. The Wednesday unveiling of Lola, Volume I — that includes six issues — follows the heroine as she navigates the United States after a nuclear disaster and investigates what started it all. The comic was colored in a traditional manner that takes twice as long, she said. The artist plans to release more volumes on a monthly basis, and is getting support for national distribution.
Lola’s release comes courtesy of California-based Aspen Comics. The apocalyptic storyline paints a bleak future for the planet’s environment while creating the legend of Lola and fleshing out the heroine. “It’s a more personal story,” Oum said.
Already with a deep catalog of comics to her name – she’s lost track of just how many – Oum tells CHS that all of her sequential arts have been created on the Hill – and inspired “big time” by the community. “All of it [started here].” Before launching her career on the Hill, Oum had to relocate from some warmer surroundings before digging into her new profession.
Palm trees swayed among a sticky humidity that used to surround Oum at her home on Hawaii. She said aloha and relocated to Washington for the purpose of creating and releasing her comics.
Oum’s interest in the art form dates back to elementary school when her brothers began their introduction to comics through her father. Oum discovered her passion in the colored pages of Wolverine and X-Men. “I’ve always been interested in art,” she said. And she’s never lost interest in the art contained in comic books, she said. This is what led her to the group that publishes her work today.
Aspen Comics founder Michael Turner helped catalyze her pursuits in the comics field, and his company is now where she is growing her artistic portfolio.
“I used to read WitchBlade and Image Comics,” said Oum. The artist scored her gig with Aspen Comics after persistently submitting her work. She’s now part of the team, but wouldn’t get the chance to work with Turner. “I met him, but only as a fan a couple of years before he passed. It was very emotional, and still is. I dedicated the first issue to him.”
Behind Oum’s respect for Turner is an optimistic glimmer in carrying on the comic book tradition and although Oum is enjoying success with her first national project, she says there are definitely challenges being a comic book writer. She laughed at where exactly to begin describing them while chatting with CHS.
“You have to financially find a way to support yourself,” she said. Oum works side-jobs — sometimes coloring for other comics and attending conventions — to make a living while pursuing her goal as a self-sustaining artist. But the Capitol Hill resident has a dedicated fanbase to keep her positive while pursuing her career.
“[They’re] extremely supportive,” she said. And she’ll be leaving them signed souvenirs at Pike Place Market’s Golden Age Comics during the April 9 release.
You can follow Oum on Instagram for behind-the-scenes looks on her art as well as updates on Lola’s release. Around the Hill, a few businesses have rallied around selling comics.
Last October, CHS spoke with Artful Dodger Owner, ‘Lucky’ Barnard, who spilled his plans on expanding the tattoo parlor’s tucked away comic book collection as well as sharing his connection to the local sequential arts community. Almost a year ago, Phoenix Comics brought its presence to the Hill filling a much needed gap in Capitol Hill’s burgeoning comics market, and, also, supporting local artists such Oum.
Below is a short description of Lola:
In the “Wasteland,” Lola, a young woman with a resolve fortified by a lifetime of survival on her own, must journey across the nuclear-decimated United States in order to find the family that was taken from her! As her quest for the truth begins, Lola uncovers the true inhumanity of the Apocalypse, as those who seek to hold power in a new frontier, will do so at all bloody costs — including her life!