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War Beneath the Waves: Jim Su talks "Crozonia"

A magnificent continent forever lost underneath the waves, the legend of Atlantis is a familiar one that's been adapted for numerous comics and genre stories. DC Comics' Aquaman reigns over this sunken kingdom, and Namor wears the crown over at Marvel. But could a kingdom beneath the ocean contain itself to one small principality, or would it expand, would factions rebel?

"Crozonia," written and illustrated by Jim Su and published by Su's Beach Creative Studios, will follow an offshoot of the Lost City as it struggles to maintain its independence from Atlantis. Issue #1 of the four-issue bi-monthly series ships in April. CBR News spoke with Su about "Crozonia" and why some fans may already be familiar with the heroes of its story.

"Crozonia" is an underwater sci-fi series loosely based on Plato's mythology of Atlantis. "Atlantis was this war-mongering civilization that was highly advanced in its technology, and was struck down by the wrath of the gods and sent to the bottom of the ocean," Su told CBR. "I kind of took that mythology and ran with it. Some of the civilians of Atlantis rebel, they left and created their own civilization in Crozonia. And now Atlantis wants Crozonia back."

Key to the ongoing struggle is the Trident of Poseidon, a mystical artifact that the Crozonians relied upon to create and maintain their kingdom, but which has now been lost. "Without this relic, buildings are crumbling and they're getting to the point where they're thinking, 'Well, if Atlantis does take over, maybe we can be a stronger civilization but give up our freedom for that," Su explained. "And that is a dilemma that Crozonia is going to have to consider later on in the series."

Though this is the first time "Crozonia" will be available at comics shops through Diamond Distributors, Su has been selling issues at conventions for the last several years. He released "Crozonia" #1-3 at a rate of one issue per year, and is now completing the fourth and final installment. "As you know, it's rather difficult to maintain a regular schedule while you're doing your day job," he said. "So the series came out, but it's had a soft launch for all these years."

Su is fortunate to also work in the creative industries for his "day job," with his Beach Creative Studios providing design and illustration work for several toy companies, including Mattel and Hasbro. There is, of course, a publishing function as well. Beach CS produced the "Art of ReBoot" in 2007 for Arcana Studios, celebrating the first all-CGI television series. "I was actually a former employee of Mainframe," Su said, referring to the animation studio that created "ReBoot." DC Comics Executive Editor Dan DiDio, also a Mainframe alumn, contributed to the "Art of ReBoot." The project was successful enough for Su to pursue further licenses, and he is hoping to make an announcement soon regarding an adaptation of a Cartoon Network series.

For "Crozonia," though, Su hopes the national distribution will expand his audience beyond those fans who attend conventions. "I know the reader response has been good just as far as what I've been doing selling at conventions," he said. "Since I was only doing one issue a year, I'd set up at WizardWorld Chicago in Artists' Alley, and then the next year the same familiar faces would show up and pick up another book. I did that for three years in a row, and then I missed a con. There was actually a little girl that came up to me t and said, 'I was looking for you last year, and also yesterday, and finally I found you!' So she bought the latest issue and crossed 'Crozonia' off her list.

"Independent comic books may not make too much money, but they're definitely worth it for those kinds of moments. I hope I can make a lot more readership now that I'm going through Diamond."

"Crozonia" #1 goes on sale in April.

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