San Antonio-based writers Kerry Valderrama and C.M. Bratton and artists Christopher Allen and Lee Duhig have teamed up to create comic series O.B.E. (Out of Body Experience), set to be released on Wednesday, April 28th via Antarctic Press, creators of the acclaimed Warrior Nun series on Netflix.
O.B.E.: Out of Body Experience is a dystopian thriller set in the near-future where the entire population can astral project. This ability has caused worldwide decimation unlike any seen before. As civilization struggles to combat the addiction to OBE-ing, or astral projection, a haunted detective must work with a lonely social worker to catch an elusive killer who has learned how to hunt from the astral plane. I chatted with writer Kerry Valderrama about this intriguing new limited series coming out this week from Antarctic Press and asked her about the origins of the story.
“Back when I was 15, I got extremely interested in the idea of astral projection and started to do research. Over time, I thought it would nice to set a detective story in a world where everyone can astral project. Ten years later, I met C.M. Bratton and we started collaborating on other projects. In 2011, we wrote up a treatment, then kind of tucked it away until 2017 when we began working on a feature film script.” Kerry continued “We entered it into some script competitions and won a few, and then we were approached to turn it into a pilot script, which was also successful in script competitions. During that time, I met Lee Duhig who was coloring for Marvel and we spoke about O.B.E. Having previously published a short run comic based on the film, “Sanitarium”, which both C.M. and myself wrote, I was also interested in a visual representation of O.B.E. to further expand the IP. Lee then brought on fellow Marvel artist Christopher Allen, the amazing penciler for the comic and through that, O.B.E. as print media was born.”
CB: What sort of genre fans do you hope this appeals to?
KV: Anyone into detective stories, unusual settings, dystopian worlds, sci-fi, murder mysteries, mismatched team-ups, and a diverse cast will really enjoy digging into the extensive worldbuilding and developed characters that inform the impetus for the plot.
CB: Love it. Tell me a little about your talented creative team.
KV: Lee Duhig has been working in comics for over 25 years and has worked with every major publisher, from Marvel to D.C. to more. Christopher Allen is also extremely talented, and has drawn for Marvel as well as for his own comic series. Myself as a director, producer, and writer who has worked on several award-winning projects. C.M. Braton my writing partner, has published 30 books and loves the sci-fi and fantasy genres.
CB: Solid pedigrees all around. With so many creatives involved, what’s the workflow been like?
KV: C.M. and I work together at Alamo City Studios on the writing side, then we send the finished script to the artists. After that, we meet with the artists to discuss general ideas. Chris brings in sketches for characters, which we discuss. Lee offers samples of how he wants to approach coloring, particularly the astral plane. Then we create a plan for getting pages done and go from there. So we worked semi-remotely even before Covid.
CB: How does this mesh with your previous comic work and how does this differ from your television experience?
KV: “Sanitarium” was a limited series based on the movie of the same name, and C.M. also has a solo comic based on the book, “Plan B: Zombie“. Both Lee and Chris have worked on numerous comic projects for decades. This is different from television primarily in that we are an active part of the visual process. We say what we’re looking for and then get to give feedback on the results. We have also gotten ideas on the story from the artists, and that’s been pretty exciting as well.
CB: Tell me how you connected with Antarctic.
KV: Lee had sent O.B.E over to Antarctic and they agreed to publish.
CB: What has that partnership been like?
KV: Antarctic has been such a great resource and we are so excited to be working with them, as we are also big fans of everything they publish.
CB: Any plans for O.B.E. beyond this series? Are there more stories to tell?
KV: This bleak, philosophical, action-packed detective story explores how humanity faces extinction and yet refuses to bow down, while also evolving to thrive in a new society based between this world and the next. We have several more stories to tell and hope we get the opportunity to share them, because there’s so much to dig into.