A time travel tale is difficult to pull off. A heist tale? Sometimes as difficult as an actual heist itself.

Writer James Aquilone and artist Zac Atkinson asked, “Why not both?” That’s the task they tackle in their comic book The Omega Eleven – The Merlin Job from Monstrous Books, now on Kickstarter. In The Merlin Job, the time-traveling Doctor Omega travels to the age of Merlin and Camelot to pilfer the Philosopher’s Stone from the famous wizard. From there, a breakneck tale of swords and time-hopping ensues. From the look of the preview pages for the book on The Omega Eleven Kickstarter page, this book looks to be a fun, wild ride.

(And to add to the enticement to pledge to the campaign, Monstrous Books is offering issue #2 of their horror comic Monstrous into the mix!)

I spoke with James Aquilone and Zac Atkinson recently about the idea behind The Omega Eleven, the pulpy influences behind the book, their favorite time travel and heist yarns, and why they chose to write a tale about the good doctor.



FreakSugar: Before we get into the book and Kickstarter itself, what can you tell us about how you both became involved with The Omega Eleven? Do you have any personal connection to Doctor Omega?

James Aquilone: Zac Atkinson, who I’ve worked with on several of my other projects, pitched me this idea of Doctor Omega and a team of other public domain characters coming together to pull off an impossible heist. He showed me a bunch of illustrations he had done for the characters and they were amazing. I loved the idea of the impossible heist and gathering up a team of thieves, so I jumped on the chance to work on the project and we got to work. I actually wasn’t familiar with Doctor Omega before this.

Zac Atkinson: I, at first, wanted to do a Justice League of sorts with classic pulp characters. In my public domain research, I found Doctor Omega and his theorized connection to a certain time lord. The idea of someone traveling through time to assemble classic literary heroes seemed like the perfect way to bring them together, and when the heist idea came about it became more about rogues than heroes.

I hit up James because I knew it was right up his alley. I liked all the projects he was working on and knew he shared my love for old pulp characters. I got a lot of ideas but no focus and I knew James could make sense of them.



FS: For folks not familiar with the character, who is Doctor Omega? What are his roots and what makes him a compelling character for you to work on?

JA: Doctor Omega is kind of an obscure character, but he’s believed to have inspired Doctor Who and there many similarities besides the name. Doctor Omega was introduced in a 1906 novel by French writer Arnould Galopin. I think it was only recently translated into English.

FS: On to the story itself, what is the conceit of The Omega Eleven – The Merlin Job?

JA: The Merlin Job is the first issue of a five-issue series. In this issue, Omega and his companion, The Artful Dodger, travel to Camelot to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Merlin. And this triggers the events in the series.



FS: The story of Merlin and Camelot is fertile ground for a good era-hopping yarn. How did you land on that age?

JA: I’ve always been a fan of King Arthur stories, especially the movie Excalibur. When I started writing the story, I asked myself where would I go if I had a time machine. So Camelot, it was.

FS: From seeing the early art on the pre-launch page, the look of the book is lively and fun. What has the collaboration process been like between the two of you?

JA: I’ve worked with Zac on most of my recent books. He colored most of the stories in my Kolchak 50th anniversary, illustrated stories in the Shakespeare Unleashed comic and Monstrous magazine, and did about half of the illustrations in the Dead Detectives Society anthology. For The Omega Eleven, the collaboration has been very easy and a lot of fun. Zac came to this already with a ton of ideas and artwork. And it all blew me away. It’s been a blast coming up with ideas for characters and stories.



FS: This book has been described as leaning into the pulpy sci-fi tradition. What appeals to you about that genre? What have been discussions like when discussing the tone and look of the comic?

JA: I grew up in the golden age of pulpy sci-fi with the original Star Wars trilogy a major part of my childhood. So how could I not be influenced by that. From Star Wars I got into Flash Gordon and the movie serials of the 1930s and 40s. Indiana Jones has also been a big influence on me, and you’ll see some nods to Indy in the comic.

I’ve left the look of the comic up to Zac.

ZA: There’s definitely some retro futurism. It’s going to be heavily influenced by worlds built by the likes of H.G Wells and Jules Verne but through the lens of a cartoonist who liked his Looney Tunes growing up. Thankfully James nails the humor.



FS: Since we’re talking a time-traveling protagonist, what are your favorite time travel romps? Or your favorite heist stories?

JA: I love Back to the Future and Doctor Who. But a big influence on this series was Time Bandits which was a 1981 Terry Gilliam movie about a group of thieves who steal treasures throughout history.

Favorite heist movie is probably Reservoir Dogs, although you never see the heist, but that’s what’s great about it.

ZA: Can’t leave out Bill and Ted and Ocean’s Eleven!

FS: Are there any other projects you have coming down the pike you’d like to talk about?

JA: Well, this campaign already involves another project, the second issue of Monstrous magazine. The first issue launched with my Dead Detectives Society Kickstarter last year. The second issue, which has a time travel theme, contains a comic, a couple of prose short stories, and an article.

And I’ll have some very big news coming in a few months, which will involve many, many projects, but I can’t talk about that now.

ZA: I’m illustrating a book called Daughters of Django with GenSeven Comics due out later this year. I’m also coloring various projects for both Monstrous and GenSeven comics. I post random comics on my site as well, zacsart.com for updates.



FS: If you had one last pitch for the book, what would it be?

JA: The Omega Eleven is a cross between Ocean’s 11 and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by way of Doctor Who and featuring an all-star cast of fiction’s greatest thieves. How’s that?

The Omega Eleven Kickstarter is now live and has already hit its initial with 21 days left! Make sure to check out the campaign at this link and get your own copy of this unique ride like no other you’ve experienced!

From the official press release for the Kickstarter:

Monstrous Books announced today the Kickstarter campaign for THE OMEGA ELEVEN #1, the first in an epic five-issue comic book series from Bram Stoker winner James Aquilone (Kolchak: The Night Stalker – 50th Anniversary) and acclaimed artist Zac Atkinson (Young Justice, Transformers).

The five-issue series will follow time traveler Doctor Omega as he gathers history’s greatest thieves to pull off an impossible heist and save the Omniverse.

THE OMEGA ELEVEN #1 – THE MERLIN JOB follows Doctor Omega, the character who inspired Doctor Who, and his companion, 14-year-old Jack Dawkins, aka The Artful Dodger, as they travel to Camelot to steal the Philosopher’s Stone from Merlin.

The first issue of THE OMEGA ELEVEN will be available through Kickstarter, along with the third issue of the horror comic magazine MONSTROUS.

OMEGA ELEVEN co-creator Zac Atkinson has worked on such comics as Young JusticeTeen Titans, and Transformers. “THE OMEGA ELEVEN is a project I’ve been dreaming about forever!” Atkinson says. “James and I are manifesting the craziest adaptations of history’s most classic pulp heroes and thieves. It’s Doctor Who turned up to Ocean’s 11.”

Co-creator James Aquilone recently won a Bram Stoker Award, a Rondo Hatton Award, a Scribe Award, and an Imadjinn Award for his graphic novel KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER – 50TH ANNIVERSARY. “THE OMEGA ELEVEN is packed with amazing characters from just about every corner of pulpdom and beyond,” says Aquilone. “Zac’s artwork for the project has blown me away. You can see the love and care in every stroke of his pen. It’s been a blast creating this world. Readers of THE OMEGA ELEVEN are in for one wild ride through space and time.”

THE OMEGA ELEVEN features covers by Zac Atkinson (Young JusticeTransformers), J.K. Woodward (Doctor Who, Star Trek) and Dave Acosta (Terrorwar, Elvira).

The campaign also features the third issue of the horror comic magazine MONSTROUS.

To support the project, visit Kickstarter.


Monstrous is an independent publisher focused on dark fiction and action-packed stories. Owned and operated by Bram Stoker Award-winning editor and writer James Aquilone, Monstrous Books is dedicated to creating high-quality print and digital comics, graphic novels, and prose books that aim to entertain with its stories and delight with its aesthetics. Their titles include Monstrous magazine, Dead Detectives Society and Shakespeare Unleashed.

For updates, follow Monstrous Books on X/TwitterFacebook and MonstrousBooks.com.


Based out of a small town in central Illinois, Zac Atkinson is a comic book artist and cartoonist. He has worked as a comic book colorist on many mainstream titles such as DC’s Magic of ShazamTeen Titans, Young Justice, IDW’s Transformers and GI Joe.


James Aquilone is the owner of Monstrous Books, writer of the Dead Jack, Zombie Detective series, and editor of the anthologies Classic Monsters UnleashedShakespeare Unleashed, the 50th anniversary Kolchak: The Night Stalker graphic novel, and Dead Detectives Society. He has won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Graphic Novel, two Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, and a Scribe Award from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.