"Jackpot!" preview
Credit: Aftershock Comics
Credit: Aftershock Comics

In fiction, criminals always seem to be after the next big score - but what if a group of conmen went after the ultimate score: literally, the power of gods.

In the new AfterShock series Jackpot!, Ray Fawkes and Marco Failla have planned such a heist with five fictional genuises looking to rob blind the unseen forces that rule the universe and act as gods unto themselves.

The series debuted earlier this month, but with the series just getting rolling Newsarama talked to Fawkes about the series for people who haven't picked it up yet. Jackpot! #1 is available now, with the second issue scheduled for release May 11.

Credit: Aftershock Comics

Newsarama: Ray, what is Jackpot! about?

Ray Fawkes: Ah, well, I guess this is the part where the con-man sets up the trick without showing what’s up his sleeves. Jackpot! is a book about some very, very, smart people with very, very questionable ethics gaining access to treasure beyond the dreams of ordinary mortals. It’s sexy, it’s dark, it’s full of surprises, and it’s going to pull back the curtain on the secret workings of the universe. Whoops, I probably wasn’t supposed to say that last part.

Nrama: Who exactly are the con artists in this?

Credit: Aftershock Comics

Fawkes: They’re five geniuses, each with a talent or set of talents that sets them apart from the rest of the world. A math prodigy. An assassin. An interrogator. A magician. And a… well, until we reveal more, I’m going to say a... smartass.

Nrama: And which gods are the targets here – and what prized possessions are the con men after?

Fawkes: The gods we’re talking about are kind of “the gods behind the curtain” - that is to say, you wouldn’t know them to see them, they aren’t the gods of myth. Though it’s entirely possible that they’ve pretended to be the gods of myth in the past, to mess with people. They’re beings with a deep understanding of the inner workings of reality, and they know how to change it to their advantage.

Credit: Aftershock Comics

Our heroes aren’t after their magic shields or swords, or their barrels of gold. They’re after that knowledge itself - the true power of the Gods. They don’t want to take their stuff. They want to take their place.

Nrama: This the crime genre mixed with the idea of secret gods running things behind the scenes. How’d the idea for this come about?

Fawkes: These aren’t mythological gods, per se, but yeah, that’s pretty much what it is. The idea really came about because I wanted to write a book about criminals “thinking big” - going for the biggest possible score, and each time I scratched a prize into my notebook, I crossed it out and wrote a bigger one, until I got to “absolute power over time and space, life and death”.

Credit: Aftershock Comics

Nrama: AfterShock says this will be a monthly series – how big a story do you imagine it being?

Fawkes: As big as it can be. The original pitch bends to reality, of course, and has a “first-arc” story that starts and finishes within a set number of issues, but I could go very deep into the world that’s built along the way. Given my ideal, this series would be a few years long.

Nrama: How did you connect with Marco Failla to join you on this creator-owned series?

Credit: Aftershock Comics

Fawkes: I put my head together with the folks at AfterShock and we went through a list of names - artists we thought would do a great job with this material. Everyone agreed that Marco would be an excellent choice, and as soon as I started discussing the book with him and seeing his initial designs, I knew he’d be perfect for it. He’s right on the wavelength I was hoping for, and is building the world as much to his specifications as to mine. I love working with him.

Nrama: Put yourself in this—what item from mythology would you consider risking your neck to steal if it were real – and why? 

Fawkes: Only the one our heroes in this book are after. Why take a trinket, even a miraculous one, if you can gun for the power that created it? That’s what I’d want. Never think small. Always go for the maximum.

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