Alonzo Washington, creator of Omega 7 Comics, a series of independent comic books featuring black superheroes, discussed life, comic books, and what it means to be the largest independent African-American comic book publisher.
ZT: Growing up, who were your influences?
ZT: As an independent publisher, what was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
AW: My first obstacle was getting the down payment to publish my first comic book. I had access to the media, so during my speaking engagements, I mentioned my comic book. Surprisingly, I received a good number of pre-orders, and with that money, and the money I had saved up, I used as down payment to get my first set of comic books published. I used Bruce Lee’s concept, “Using no way as a way, having no limitation as limitation,” and doors opened.
ZT: What was the worse advice given to you?
AW: My teacher once told me, “You should focus more on something attainable, something that you can actually make a living out of.” Boy, was she wrong.
ZT: Your comic books are very unique. What is it that makes you different?
AW: I am a comic book fan, an activist, and I am not afraid to address controversial issues. I also do anti-crime work like solving crimes and calling for peace and unity within the black community.
ZT: You have persevered as an independent publisher, what is your secret?
AW: Never giving up.
ZT: What is the meaning behind Omega 7?
AW: Omega means the end and 7 is the number for perfection. Omega 7 Comics represents a positive image of African-Americans, and an iconic symbol that can’t be defamed or scandalized.
ZT: Which one of your characters have resonated the best with the public, and why?
AW: Omega Man, probably because I did an action-figure of him.
ZT: With over 800,000 sales, how does it feel being the largest independent African-American comic book publisher?
AW: I like it, but as an independent publisher, I know it’s only so much that I can do. Right now i'm looking to expand my brand, to a point where my characters can have their own video games and animation movies. But in order to get that worldwide exposure, I need to plug into the system, in a way I feel comfortable with.
ZT: What advice would you give an aspiring artist trying to break into the comic book world?
AW: Increase your writing and illustration skills, and develop your characters. Find a unique way to market your product. Figure out a way to make people pay attention to what you are doing. Make your stuff resonate in the press and social media. Promote, promote, promote! That’s the key to success — making people talk about what it is that you’re doing. If you do that and stay disciplined, you should be able to break in.
ZT: 100 years from now, when people say Alonzo Washington, what will they say?
AW: He was a rebel, an activist, and a comic book creator that made a difference.
ZT: How can people get in contact with you, and how can they purchase your comic books and action figures?
ZT: Thanks for a great interview Mr. Washington.
AW: Thank you.
ZT: In conclusion, I want to end this Q&A session with Mel Blanc’s famous catchphrase, “That’s All Folks!” Thanks again for reading another Through The Wire article, and always remember that (P) Positive, (E) Energy, (A) Always, (C) Creates, (E) Elevation (PEACE).