Interview - Tom Kolega

Tom Kolega is a burgeoning comic book creator whose book Book I: Shadows of the Past is the first in his Contra Alliance Trilogy. The work is set in the future where global strife threatens humanity (doesn't it always) and NATO is more powerful. Their Counter-Revolutionary (CONTRA) strike force is fighting a war on a global front against The Revolution. Of course, in tracking the terrorists it becomes readily apparent to CONTRA that there are supernatural and/or extraterrestrial presences behind the chaos. He was kind enough to digitally sit down and answer some questions I had about his work, the future of Contra Alliance and his future as a creator in general.

Omnicomic: How did you get from LOKEY Innovative Apparel (a clothing line) to Contra Alliance?

Tom Kolega: Creating independently and building something from vision is the only connection. Much happened in between the two projects. Having the will to follow through on an idea is harder than most people think.

Omnicomic: The Contra Alliance website for the work mentions you came up with the universe in the weeks following September 11. In what ways did that day "influence your creative mind" as you put it?

Kolega: The attacks were so horrible and effective it influenced me to creatively think two things when envisioning Contra Alliance. One, the cyclical nature of war and violence on Earth--it always returns in one form or another (Shadows of the Past). Two, floating in the vast nothingness of space, what if a peaceful, utopian civilization discovered and looked down on would they perceive our human status quo on Earth (Nerrial, the Starforce and its Emissaries).

Omnicomic: The title character in Shadows of the Pas, Troy, seems to be a former military man himself, discharged for reasons described in the book. Is it right to say that he's really the title character? Does the Contra Alliance universe sort of run through him in a sense?

Kolega: The Contra Alliance universe is composed of dozens of characters. Troy McBride (Battlestar) is indeed the main character; the Luke Skywalker or Aragorn of this trilogy.

Omnicomic: The story seems to be influenced by the Island of Dr. Moreau (with the genetic experiments). Was that intentional?

Kolega: I've never read or watched the Island of Dr. Moreau, so unintentional. The Revolution needed an army composed of something more than mercenaries and limited Nezdeth warriors (though in the thousands). The genetic experiments they created were done so to add to their militaristic force and lethality; more of this is shown/uncovered in Book II: Blue Star.

Omnicomic: Can you explain a little bit about the three teams that are central in the story (Blue Team, Gray Team and Black Team)?

Kolega: The teams are NATO's answer to The Revolution. Each team is a company of the Counter-Revolutionary (CONTRA) battalion and color coded for reference internally to command. Seven officers run each team with fifty Special Forces operators.

Omnicomic: What's it like working with Joe Benitez?

Kolega: Joe is a very intelligent artist who understands how to make a character or scene come together to maximum effect. I enjoyed working with him very much. His dedication to doing a great job made "Discover the Universe" a smashing success. Being an old fan of comic books, watching him progress through the creative process was cool.

Omnicomic: What other mediums can fans expect to see the Contra Alliance story play out?

Kolega: I'm working hard on getting Shadows in the Past into wide distribution. Once achieved--or simultaneous to that--my goal is to establish a comic title (motion, online, or traditional) and an animated series. The ultimate objective is a live action motion picture. Several early efforts are underway with the latter including a movie adaptation synopsis covering the entire trilogy.

Omnicomic: With your experience in military/defense, can you foresee a future where Contra Alliance really becomes a reality? That is, is it possible that we could be faced with a Revolution and the political alignments you describe?

Kolega: The Revolution as described in Contra Alliance is purely fiction given its sci-fi nature. However, I would say that certain geopolitical developments could or are transpiring: Resource Wars; challenges to American preeminence; a superpower in China; tensions in Asia and South America, etc.

Omnicomic: Do you have a convention schedule lined up where interested fans can meet you and check out your work in person?

Kolega: I'm hoping to have a table at this years Los Angeles Festival of Books and share a table at the San Diego Comic Con.

Omnicomic: Anything you want to plug while you have the floor?

Kolega: Contra Alliance has unlimited potential with proper production backing. My interest is in seeing the project through to its utmost potential. I'm actively seeking interested parties to collaborate with in developing the universe through expanded mediums and taking this trilogy to the next level at an accelerated rate.

Book I: Shadows of the Past is available at Amazon and other retailers. Kolega is actively seeking partners to help expand the universe, so if you're a publisher, movie studio or even blogger, then check out his Interested Parties page for more details about how you can be a part of the Contra Alliance.