Comic book creator Omar Mora published his top-selling comic series “The Unearthians,” a few years back. A sci-fi narrative where two best friends are abducted and transported into an underground base somewhere on Earth, the comic is now being developed as a television series. We caught up with Mora at San Diego Comic-Con where he was promoting his latest graphic novel, “Ancient Explorers” – which was available for the first time at the event.
You’re wearing many hats these days, sir! But which one fits you best?
Well. The most I like is writing and acting. Both arts take me to places that make me forget reality, and it’s not that reality is bad, but from time to time having fictional or fantasy trips is necessary. Telling stories and being part of them gives me great satisfaction and fulfils me .
Where did this journey begin?
Back in New York City. After the events of 911 my life changed. I started doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. Being an actor and filmmaker was one of them. So I decided to make them happen. Fast-forward time and here I am doing what I like and what satisfies me in life. I first took acting classes in New York City. Then when I moved to Los Angeles I continued taking acting courses and also started going to writing workshops. I have been practicing both for several years. I wrote two feature films, 30 Days with My Brother and Inside The Circle, wrote a comic book series called The Unearthians and now the novel/comic hybrid Ancient Explorers: The Lost City of Peru. The entertainment business is a tough one, but I love it tough.
And you’ve clearly always had an interest in sci-fi and fantasy?
Science fiction fascinates me. It is a genre that transports you to unimaginable and fantastic worlds. When you tell science fiction and fantasy stories there are no limits. You let the imagination run without limits. And it is something incredible, necessary and healthy. We live in a world where stressful things always happen and science fiction narratives, even for a few hours, help you fight that. I don’t know if it’s scientifically proven but I think that each one of us needs a little fantasy in our lives.
What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Many short films. My first short film was called One Normal Day. I wrote a web series called Illegal. Also I wrote one of my first short films called A Busy Mind. That one was distributed by PBS. It was cool seeing it on TV. I definitely learned a lot with them.
How much did attending Comic-Con do for your previous years? Was it worthwhile on a professional level?
I’ve been going to San Diego Comic Con for several years now. And it always fun. Each year brings different experiences and a lot of networking. At Comic Con I took many workshops on how to write comics, how to distribute them and marketing. I have learned a lot at San Diego Comic Con. In 2019 I was at my first panel and it was an incredible experience. At SDCC 2019 I released my first comic book called The Unearthians. And this year 2022 is my first year as an exhibitor and I am going to release Ancient Explorers. Comic Con has definitely been a school for me.
Were you able to network a lot there?
Make some good connections? Yes, as mentioned in the previous question. Many of my connections in the world of comic books were at SDCC. Many artists and writers who gave me many good advices, artists who had more experiences than me and definitely helped me. And I hope I keep meeting more and more. It’s a cool community.
And is it a good place for artists to set up a table and make some coin?
Possibly. The world of independent comic books is difficult and financially challenging. Whenever you go to SDCC a lot is invested, financially speaking; the hotel, the convention fee, comics, marketing, etc, etc, etc. But it is what has to be done to succeed and continue to grow as a storyteller.
I know you’ve got a TV series in the works based on one of your properties – is that something that came about off-the-back of those comic-con appearances?
SDCC 2019 definitely helped a lot. It was where I launched the comic and had a great exposure. At Los Angeles Comic-Con in 2019 the comic was chosen as one of the convention’s top 10 independent comic books. That helped me a lot in getting representation for the IP and starting development for the live-action adaptation. So comic-con appearances are very important to us independent comic creators.
How far along is the show?
There’s still a lot to go. There are many pieces that have to fit together, like a puzzle, for the series to be a reality. But we are working on it and working hard. We’ll make it happen.
Any ideas for casting? Or even a dream cast?
Yes. We have several actors in mind. But we can’t reveal the names yet.
And are you thinking TV series for this latest graphic novel?
Yes. I would like to adopt Ancient Explorers: The Lost City of Peru for television. It has many elements that I know the public will like. It is a story with a lot of adventure and science fiction. And the characters are very interesting. I hope one day to adapt it for TV.
How does it differ from previous work?
This story is more of an Indian Jones or The Goonies adventure type. It’s completely different to The Unearthians which is more Marvel or DC type… a lot of action with sci-fi. And the movies I’ve written like 30 Days with My Brother and Inside The Circle are totally different.
What do you usually get up to while in San Diego, outside of Comic-Con?
I love visiting the GasLamp Quarter. There is so much to do and many great restaurants. The energy is incredible! I love SDCC!