Omar Morales: The journey of discovery has been both difficult and rewarding. I’ve had to hire and fire a lot of folks until I found the right collaborators — and I’m thrilled with the guys I have now. However, I did get ripped off a couple of times and successfully sued one guy in small claims court. The reward has been in seeing the pages come to life from my imagination, to the written word, to the beautiful sequential art, to the final page with colors and captions like ‘Boom, Pow, Crash.’ There is nothing like seeing my crude hand sketches become penciled lay-outs, then black and white inks, then fully colored and lettered pages — it’s like seeing something born five times.
Your storyline strikes me as “respectful fantasy with strong action sequences, bound together with a dutiful sense of spirituality.” It’s evident that readers will clearly see that you intend no disrespect toward any aspect of the Roman Catholic Church, or any faith for that matter. But for mere speculation, how do you feel our Pope, his Holiness, Papa Francis, will view your graphic novel’s purpose and plot?
Omar Morales: I’m sure there will be many Catholics that love it and connect with the subtext, and many that hate it and denounce it. All of that comes with the territory. Deep in my heart, this is a spiritual expression of man’s struggle for a higher meaning and a higher calling in life. The title character is constantly in conflict; some of that conflict is with the Pope himself, who is also just trying to do his best and what he feels is right. I’d love to get a reaction from Pope Francis himself; he strikes me as pretty level-headed and open-minded, and he has proven that in recent days and recent weeks. Ultimately, my guess is that Papa Francis would see my artistic expression for what it is — a fictional action-adventure story for mature readers that tries to balance dramatic tension, violence, and spirituality in a way that only a comic book can.
These are strange times. From Syria to West African countries to the streets of many American cities, and well beyond, there seems to be a certain darkness constantly spreading. What country will you next choose to send the CruZader in order to assist in the cleansing of the darkness?
Omar Morales: You know, I have many ideas for what is next, including prequels that date back to Knights Templar, so I’ll leave you with a few modern day themes. I think it would be fascinating to send the CruZader undercover to infiltrate and ultimately bring down certain institutions, such as extreme terrorist groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir. I think it would also be fascinating for him to go undercover as a Scientologist to help expose the atrocities they commit — even against their own members. The problem with these ideas is that the terrorist group Hizb ut-Tahrir happens to be Muslim, and because Scientology is seen as a religion (or a cult), people would accuse me of being anti-Islam, or anti-Scientology. In reality, what I am is pro-kick ass fiction. Personally, I take a live-and-let-live philosophy, but that doesn’t make for very exciting comics.
How can we support your project?
Omar Morales: Right now the project is raising funds via Kickstarter, a popular crowd-funding website. The premise is that people pledge money to help me bring the project to market, and in return I offer rewards of increasing value, depending on the amount pledged, from $5 all the way up to $1,000. It’s currently 50% funded with roughly 40 days and 40 nights left go. I am hoping for a strong finish and a fully funded campaign.
Hypothetical Question: You’re praying in a nearby chapel just on the outskirts of Vatican Square. The CruZader kneels in the pew before you and begins to Cross himself. You know about his challenging, but successful past defending the Faith. Do you wait to speak with him and offer thanks, or do you walk away after your prayers and leave him to his dialogue with Christ?
Omar Morales: If I was in Rome, and the CruZader was praying in front of me, I would take out my camera phone and tweet, “See, I knew the Pope had a real super soldier under his command!” Just kidding. I would honestly wait to let him finish his prayers, and then approach him respectfully to thank him for tremendous sacrifice and duty in service of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And then I would ask him to follow me on Twitter @theCruZader.
Copyright © 2013, Tony R. Rodriguez, Examiner.com