Like Clockwork: Sean O’Reilly on Clockwork Girl, Arcana, and More
Sean O’Reilly’s world is full of comic books. He reads comic books, writes comic books, and even edits and publishes comic books. His publishing company, Arcana Studios, is the largest comic book publisher in Canada, and it releases both his and other people’s works. His graphic novel Clockwork Girl, which he made with Kevin Hanna and Grant Bond, was published by HarperCollins this year, and an animated movie version of it will soon be released, starring the voice talents of Alexa Vega, Jesse McCartney, Ann Moss, Jeffrey Tambor, and Brad Garrett. O’Reilly talked to GraphicNovelReporter about his history in comic books, the steps of creating Clockwork Girl, and what we can expect from Arcana Studios in the future.
How did Clockwork Girl get started?
With degrees in biology and technology, this was a story I've lived and gone through as my studies in tissue gave way to studies on tablets…from mice to, well…mice. Kevin and I put this together as early as 2006 and each day we live with this project…it's been quite the journey.
What do you want readers to take away from Clockwork Girl?
To enjoy a coming-of-age story in a pleasant, faraway land. Something fantastical and imaginative yet relatable.
What was the process of making it?
The book was crafted by myself and Kevin Hanna and drawn by Grant Bond. The movie has been an entirely different production and a steep learning curve for all. CG animation is growing in leaps and bounds and even during our production we've seen a huge change in the industry with regard to animated productions. Overall, the preproduction process of a movie is quite similar to a graphic novel, and because we are in the middle of the production as well, we've been able to keep the characters and storylines.
Do you picture this book being for any age group, or do you have a specific audience in mind?
Overall, I truly believe it's a “four quadrant” book appealing to the young, old, male, and female. Its reading level is targeted toward a reader starting at eight years of age, though.
If you hadn’t met Kevin Hanna, do you think Clockwork Girl would have become a graphic novel?
No way. Even though I'm the publisher and cocreator, he was obviously critical to this and it simply wouldn't have existed without him.
Can you tell us about the movie?
It's a stereoscopic 3D animated feature directed by Kevin with voices from a fantastic cast. Animation is complete and we're in the final stages of production.
Let’s talk about Arcana. What do we have to look forward to from the company?
We have been putting out five graphic novels per month since 2009 and this library of over 150 graphic novels published makes us one of the largest publishers of graphic novels in the world. There are few that have the breadth, depth, and diversity that we have and we are very proud of this. Moving forward, we have some great announcements coming out and we'll be sure to keep people updated. We are also going to be announcing the Arcanaverse very soon….
What other writing have you done?
I also wrote The Gwaii, The Hope Virus, numerous Kade graphic novels, Continuum, Mighty Mighty Monsters, and a couple more projects in development. I'm busy with the business and trying not to let it get in the way of the writing, but it can be tough.
How did you get involved in comic books, as a reader, writer, and publisher?
As a reader, my first books were the Marvel Transformers limited series and Secret Wars. I simply loved those books and it started to get me involved. Where I was hooked, though, was X-Men #207, a copy that my mom bought for me from Toys ’R’ Us. Odd, I know. Alas, it was that book that completed my transformation and since then I have been involved in comic books in one way or another. As a writer, I wrote Kade and was looking for a publisher. After not hearing from Image (no disrespect, guys) for a couple months, I built my own company and have been publishing comics since 2004.
Are you currently working on anything?
Quite a few projects, but Pixies, Kade, and The Gwaii are my current focus. I have short films coming out for all three.-- Danica Davidson