In the world of the Fathom comic book, the ocean is so central to the story that anything harming the ocean is an attack on all the characters.
Now the makers of Fathom are fighting back against real harm being done to oceanic wildlife, releasing a new digital comic in September that benefits clean-up efforts for the Gulf oil spill.
"Like everyone else, we saw what was happening with the Gulf of Mexico, and since Fathom is based in an underwater world, it seemed like a perfect fit for us," said Vince Hernandez, editor-in-chief at Aspen Comics. "We wanted to not only talk about the disaster in the comic, but we wanted to benefit the cause. So all proceeds raised by Aspen with this digital comic will go to the National Wildlife Federation."The 10-page charity comic, which Hernandez is writing with art by Siya Oum, will tell a story that involves the oil spill. "Without giving away too much of the story, it will center on the wildlife affected by the spill," he said. "Aspen Matthews, the main Fathom hero, shows up and takes action when she sees what's happening."
The release of the digital-only comic spearheads a digital launch by Aspen on several platforms, including ComiXology. Along with this new Fathom release, Aspen will be offering titles like Soulfire, Executive Assistant: Iris, Shrugged, Mindfield, Dellec and back-issues of the Fathom library.
"The rollout won't be every Aspen title, and different sites might have different titles. But we do plan to have the majority of our library on digital platforms. ComiXology is probably the biggest digital name that people know," he said. "Right off the bat, it will just be our back-issue library. We're exploring the possibility of releasing new titles on digital, but it won't be in the immediate rollout."
The charity comic will also feature first-time interior artist Oum, who has done pin-up and splash work for Aspen in the past. "She's done some coloring and some cover stuff, but this is her first interior drawing," Hernandez said. "This is also her first work in the Fathom universe."
Hernandez, who is co-writer on Dellec and is writing the upcoming Charismagic title for Aspen, said he's trying to make the Fathom story something that anyone can support — even if they aren't existing fans of the comic.
"I really wanted it to be a story that not only comic fans would like, but even people who don't know the property could check it out and figure out what's going on. It's very reader friendly," Hernandez said. "I wanted to focus on more of the recovery efforts, even with how we're using the money it raises. I didn't want to get into any of the controversy, but instead tell a story that's more about empowerment and helping the effort. I wanted to make sure all the sales go to a cause that's worthy."