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The O.C.T. crew

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Last summer, the creative team behind the hit comic book O.C.T.: Occult Crimes Taskforce -- artist Tony Shasteen, writer David Atchison, and co-writer/actor Rosario Dawson -- visited Charlotte's Heroes Comic Book Convention. And this weekend, the trio pays a repeat visit to the popular con (www.heroesonline.com).

The process for creating an issue of the O.C.T. starts with Atchison crafting a story with Dawson, a writing partner known more for acting than scripting. "I normally do the writing as far as plot and action, and she normally takes the reigns during the dialogue part," says Atchison. "It's actually a fun process because beyond her being a celebrity she's a hard worker."

Although she's new to the comic book writing game, Dawson -- who was introduced to comics by her uncle (and O.C.T. collaborator) Gus Vasquez -- feels her big-screen experience improves her written work. "I've learned over the past 12 years how a scene works," says Dawson. "I can't help it; as an actor I'm always wondering, 'What's the motivation?'"

After the script is finished, Shasteen illustrates the story using a style that's photorealistic without appearing stiff or static. "It's something I struggle with on a regular basis," he says. "If there's any secret, it's just that I keep telling myself over and over as I draw to stay loose and try to keep a lot of movement in the work."

Up next for the O.C.T.? The team is at work on another mini-series and a trade paperback collection of the first series is currently in stores. Dimension Films also recently acquired movie rights to the property, so a movie is on the way -- which the team hopes can translate into increased comic sales. "I'm really looking forward to introducing my movie fans to the comic," says Dawson.

For more info, visit www.myspace.com/sophiaortizoct.

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