Tropes Turned For An Outrageous Oberon
Feb 03, 2019
by Vince Brusio
Raised on fantasy films as a kid, writer Ryan Parrott took his love of familiar tropes and threw them against the wall in a splash of paint to create Oberon for AfterShock Comics. Fans of Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal will be thrilled to see that Parrott prances in the same playhouse that makes fantasy fiction so flamboyant, but it’s this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview in which he explains the alchemy that makes this new series nifty.
Get Oberon #1 (DEC181441) on February 6th at your local comic shop!
Vince Brusio: This looks like a book that fans of the Sandman universe would enjoy, yes? Are there many characters waiting in the wings even though we don’t see them on the cover art?
Ryan Parrott: Oh, absolutely. One of the things I admire about the Sandman series is just the creative freedom Neil gave himself in crafting that story. He would jump through time, space, and reality, and follow different characters any time he thought they were interesting — it wasn't just a story about Dream, it was a whole universe. When I first started working on Oberon, it had a similar potential for scope. So, although the first few issues let readers get to know the King of the Fairies a little, you'll soon meet a slew of characters, some new and some familiar, who will have major roles to play.
Vince Brusio: What’s your history with fantasy fiction? What previous works inspired you and maybe helped with your development of Oberon #1? Is it safe to say that you’re a big fan of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth given that Lord Oberon needs an innocent child to help him reclaim his throne?
Ryan Parrott: I mean, of course! Come on, no one wears a pair of pants like the Goblin King! But yes, I was raised on fantasy films. I adore Labyrinth, the Dark Crystal (my sister's name is actually "Kira," so that should tell you something), Willow and — for the record — Return to Oz is one of the single most terrifying movies ever. But you actually hit at something important — all of those films have a special child at the center — which is why Oberon does as well. The point of this series is to take some of the sacred tropes of the fantasy genre and hopefully... turn them on their head.
Vince Brusio: Lord Oberon. Who is he beneath the surface? Will we as readers get to look behind the mask, or is the hidden truth the carrot on the end of the stick that’s always out of our reach?
Ryan Parrott: I love villains. They're my single favorite part of nearly every story. And make no mistake, Lord Oberon is a villain. He's a self-centered, egotistical liar and manipulator... and he tells the reader how he feels about everything and everyone. I think understanding why bad people do bad things is far more interesting than simply following around some run of the mill hero. And, I'm almost sure Oberon isn't manipulating the reader. Almost.
Vince Brusio: How essential was artist Milos Slavkovic in designing the creatures in Oberon #1? What would we see behind-the–scenes as these life forms took shape?
Ryan Parrott: When I'd first envisioned "Oberon," I thought it had to be dark, moody and gritty. Sorta break free from some of the traditional fantasy. But then, when I saw Milos work, I realized, oh that's completely telegraphing the story — it had to be the exact opposite. Milos color palette is so bold and unique and his attention to detail is fantastic — this is as much his world is it is mine. Every time I send him a new character, I just can't wait to see what he's gonna come back with.
Vince Brusio: What can readers expect from this title, and why should they put it on their pull list at the comic shop?
Ryan Parrott: If you love Machiavellian characters like Richard the Third, Iago and Frank Underwood, Oberon should be right up your alley. It's a story that pulls from all the classical elements of fantasy, only weaved together by untrustworthy narrator. It will be grand in scope and maybe, if I do my job right, have you questioning your own moral compass by the very end. It's been my passion project for years, so I really hope people check it out. Thank you.