A Happy Indie Comics Showcase Thanksgiving

Hey there and welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase. Since it is the day before Thanksgiving I thought I would say Thank You to BleedingFool.com and all of my fellow Bleeding Fools, for the opportunity they’ve given me and the platform to promote all these creators. And also Thank You to all of the creators I’ve had the privilege to cover this year and for their time and generosity. Most of all Thank You to all of my amazing followers and readers for being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Aaron Dowen: Paradigm Issue #1

The first comic book in the Catalyst Comics Universe.

The protagonist, Ben Fallow, has suffered loss, doesn’t have a great relationship with his family, and holds onto a powerful secret about his past. He is constantly trying to do what he thinks is right, seemingly a way to regain the innocence torn away from him. He has a great job, friends, even a lady in his life… but his childhood still haunts him; replaying in his mind over and over again. As the story unfolds, we will discover that the past is a hard thing to keep locked away. The end of issue one throws a curveball into what may have seemed like a casual story. Soon, Ben will have to make a decision; to either tear himself away from his responsibility, or to become the hero the city so desperately needs. This is one of those comics that you will keep coming back to as Catalyst Comics Studio grows and you realize how intertwined this universe really is. Welcome to the story of Ben Fallow, the hero soon-to-be known as Paradigm!

BF: Aaron, I hope well. I am doing well, glad to have the opportunity to share a bit more about what we are doing. Before we get into Paradigm, can you tell us a bit about Catalyst Comics Studio and It’s Universe of Original Characters came to be?

AD: Catalyst Comics Studio came to be as a brainchild from myself and a friend at the time who had both been, what I call “closet writing”, superhero scripts. While he has since moved away from doing anything with comics, there was a point where we both  obsessed over the question of what motivates someone with superpowers to use them for good, instead of personal gain. It is a concept I want to make sure is explored in every original hero I present. You know, “catalyst” is something that causes change without itself being changed… that was the inspiration behind the name for the studio. Now I am privileged to have Matt Sotello, the illustrator for Paradigm, as a partner and co-owner of Catalyst. He has done an amazing job of continuously pushing himself to learn and grow in his skills, and he isn’t just all talk.

As far as the universe of characters, there are a few major things to know. In this reality, humanity has begun hyper-evolving, resulting in the manifestation of superpowers in some. It has been happening for quite some time, but only recently on a larger scale. As you will find out across all of the stories, a secretive group called the “Council of Elders” has been tracking those with powers, and even using some for their own domination. The Council has really taken on a figure of their own, and I love exploring different ways to use them. Paradigm, or Ben Fallow, is just getting his feet wet in this first story arc as far as discovering this group exists. Tilt, our second character to develop, has had ties with them for years. For Silhouette, well… I can’t share too much about her, because she is a spoiler. You can discover more about her if you check out the short story I wrote called Silhouette: Shadow Games, which is available on Amazon. Shift was a concept character that we decided to mess around with and his story is kind of just starting to come together. 

BF: Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

AD: Well, I live in North Carolina with my wife and child, and I have been writing since I was in middle school. The comic book medium is still a newer place for me, as far as writing. I had the privilege of someone reading a script and giving me a chance to write and develop characters for them, and my first published comic book came out a couple of weeks ago at North Carolina Comic Con, called The Red Wasp. The second book I wrote for them, Shadowclaw, is scheduled to come out in January at Greensboro Comic Con. I have a few other things that I am working on that I cannot really share anything about yet. What else? I have a Masters of Education, and I work for a newspaper, a proper setting for a comic book writer if I do say so myself. 

BF: How did Paradigm come to be?

AD: I grew up watching and reading Spider-Man, plus Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond were big when I was a kid. The heroes that I gravitated toward were typically sarcastic and witty. I love fun banter, especially in the middle of a fight or argument. As far as creating Paradigm, I think a lot of my personality bled into that process. 

I really wanted to explore a superhero origin from the ground level, where instead of a flashback and boom you have a hero; you actually get to sit in the passenger seat for the experience. So, with Paradigm, you are meeting Ben Fallow first, and discover the events that force him into his destiny. He is the only character I wrote in a non-traditional fashion. He is also the first concept I had for a character, so of course he means a lot to me. It is interesting, creating worlds and characters… because the only way to truly make them matter, is to make them real in your mind. I’ve said it to people before, I know what Ben is up to on a normal day to day basis. I think of him like a real person.

What are some of the things that have influenced your work on Paradigm? Charm, as well as the sarcasm, really helped me capture the mentality of Ben. Also, the discovery of his past, and how it affects his outlook on opposition and stumbling blocks comes a lot from things I have experienced. Of any of the characters I have written, Paradigm is the closest to who I am as a person, or at least who I would like to be.

BF: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

AD: I keep changing my writing process… mostly to keep things fresh. However, I do have a basic format to conceptualization that I base everything off of. I start with a piece of paper, not digital, the real thing. On it I write every little thought that pops into my head for things I would like to see happen with a character or story. Then I see what things don’t make sense and I put them to the side (in case they might work for something else). I pick the major elements and start to arrange them to flow not through one story, but through a full story arc. Then I piece that down into consecutive issues. From there I do a 22 page outline… but I do not force myself to think of everything at that moment. I typically write the beginning and ending… then the plot points. Finally I begin to let the story flow out and take on it’s own personality. I love the moments when I have to erase the order of the pages because I have to take the story somewhere else. I encourage everyone to use an outline, but let the story become its own thing.

BF: What are your hopes for the future of Catalyst Comics Studios and Paradigm?

AD: The eventual goal for Catalyst Comics Studio is to become two entities: Catalyst Comics Universe, and Catalyst Comics Publishing. The CCU would remain the home for our original heroes. Catalyst Comics Publishing would be for people trying to get their comics published and distributed. We want to help other creators get their work in front of people. It is a lot of work to get things going, but Matt and I both enjoy the journey. 

For Paradigm, we are going to see quite an intense build up in his story, leading to him putting on the suit and becoming the hero he needs to be. He will start uncovering the truth behind the Council of Elders, and begin to find a way to stop him. Silhouette comes in at the end of the first arc, leading to what is going to be an insanely crazy second arc. As their stories build, so will the CCU. We have stories laid out 5 and 10 years from now, so we hope people will jump in for the long haul!

BF: Is there anything you want to share with our readers before we sign off?

AD: To everyone that has supported us on Kickstarter, or even sharing us on social media, thank you! A massive thank you to Indie Comics Showcase for allowing me to share more about what we are doing.

 

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Andrew Huerta: Sovereign

The ultimate being and an 8-year-old slave, together they set out on a quest to save the planet.

SOVEREIGN is an action-adventure epic that takes place in the year 2516 M.E. (Machine Era). A post-apocalyptic future where advanced sentient machines known as The Grey, have laid waste to most of humanity and are draining the planet of it’s Eon-Energy. But the Earth resurrects it’s champion, the destroyer and waste layer… Sovereign. But Sovereign is no hero. He is a force of nature and once the Grey is destroyed, will humans be next?

BF: Andrew, how are you? I hope well. I’m doing good

AH: John! I’m extremely busy with work stuff but I can’t complain.

BF: Before we get into Sovereign , I want to say congratulations on reaching your funding goal. Thank you, thank you. It’s awesome and I greatly appreciate it, man. Since you reached it so early on, will you be adding new stretch goals?

AH:There are 2 stretch goals I would like to hit. The first one which is set at 20k, where I will add 12 pages to SOVEREIGN #1 filled with behind the scene stuff like creator commentary, secret history, fan art and pinups. Bringing the total page count from 48 pages to a 64 page 1-Shot. The second stretch goal is set at 30k, and if we hit that I will upgrade the cover stock and interior pages to a higher quality stock and also add 8 more pages of story, bringing the total page count from 64 pages to a 72 page one-shot.

BF: Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

AH: I was born and raised in California, specifically LA and Orange county and due to growing up in Los Angeles around the 80’s and 90’s I’m also a big fan of Hip-Hop, Graffiti, Anime and Video Games. My unique background has definitely given me an interesting perspective on comic culture and the comic industry in general.

BF: Conceptually, how did Sovereign come to be?

AH:My first idea was to create a SUPERMAN analog. The only thing I had in my head at that time was SOVEREIGN needed to be crazy powerful and have an “S” on his chest. But with those 2 things attached to my character, I had the issue of SOVEREIGN being compared to SUPERMAN all the time. So over many years of trial and error I created an “S” symbol that looked nothing like an “S” but was still an “S”. And regarding SOVEREIGN himself, I based his origin and powers more off of CAPTAIN PLANET. And with all that tweaking, I think I came up with a pretty unique character.

BF: What inspired to create Sovereign?

AH:Around 2001, I felt there weren’t enough interesting and diverse characters in the Marvel and DC universe, so I decided to create my own character to add that extra spice to the comic industry. And even till this day, Sovereign is needed now more than ever.

BF: What are some of the things that have influenced your work on Sovereign?

AH:While I love comic books, I might be a bigger fan of Anime, Video Games and Graffiti. Anything that looks amazing to me has influenced my work. But the big ones like GUYVER, GOWCAIZER, NINJA SCROLL, LAMPO, BATTLE CHASERS, MATRIX and FINAL FANTASY 7 were extremely influential to the creation of SOVEREIGN.

BF: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

AH: My process is all over the place. First I come up with the characters and locations, then I figure out the characters and actual plot. Everything in between is a guessing game and I just narrow it down to whatever makes the most sense and is the most entertaining.

BF: What are your hopes for the future Sovereign?

AH: To create an ongoing epic comic book. I want SOVEREIGN to be mentioned next to other great series like Guyver, Invincible, Hell Boy, Naruto and more. And if its a big success, I would love for SOVEREIGN get turned into an Anime and also have toys and sculptures. The sky is the limit, really.

BF: Is there anything you want to share with our readers before we sign off?

AH: SOVEREIGN is now live on Indiegogo. If you haven’t backed it already, please check it out and consider it. And if you have backed it already, please share it with everyone you know, or at least with those who would appreciate it.

BF: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us and being a part of Indie Comics Showcase and if you celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving.

AH: Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone else out there. 🙂 Peace!

 

Check out their Indigogo here!

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Macho Dano: HIRO Blood of The Patriots

A 48-page full-color graphic novel featuring our original character HIRO, an undead super soldier.

Are you ready for a super-soldiering, hi-tech, big-gun-totin’, patriotic, band of brothers, 90’s throwback, In-your-face, FUN comic? Then stop your scrolling and listen up, soldier! HIRO: Blood of Patriots is the book for you. HIRO: Blood of Patriots is a story about a robot backpack that can reanimate fallen soldiers on the battlefield.  This reanimation maximizes the full brain function and physical ability of the host which gives them super strength, amazing agility, and advanced combat knowledge. HIRO = Hardware Integrated Reanimation Ordinance. The twist to the story is that the advanced A.I. in HIRO allows it to experience human emotion through the corpse host. HIRO becomes self-aware and is able to make its own decisions. Through this plot device, we’ll explore what it means for good men and women to face evil and overcome it. 

BF: Dano, how are you? I hope well.

MD: I am doing very well. 

BF: Before we get into  Hiro , can you tell us a bit about yourself?

MD: Absolutely, I am a 35-year-old geek from Virginia. In my day job. I’m a professional Mountain Bike rider if you can believe that. I do my best thinking and creating while I am out on my bike in the middle of nowhere. I love Star Wars, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Chromium comic book covers!

BF: How did you come up with Hiro? 

MD: HIRO was an idea that stemmed from a dream I had. In my dream I saw this robot, It looked kind of like the Imperial spy droid at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. the difference is that in the dream the robot was holding up a human body. It was trying to appear to be human by using this body. I pitched it to my co-creator and artist MuttMan. HIRO grew from that strange fast food fueled dream! I think the initial inspiration came from asking the question “What does it mean to be human?” When this robot absorbs the essence, memories, and emotions of the human that recently died, how would it affect and change its reality? I drew inspiration from a lot of different sources. It’s a little Pinocchio, a little Frankenstein, and a little Captain America!

BF: What are some of the things that influenced your work on HIRO: Blood of The Patriots?

MD:  I am a child of the 90’s. The decade of extreme action comics. I spent so many afternoons as a kid reading these wild stories packed full of action. When I started fleshing out HIRO, I wanted it to be a deep story with a backbone of action and adventure. Remembering those afternoons really influenced how HIRO would flow. I don’t write in a traditional way. I start with a loose story. I like to just get into a zone and let the words come out. I type it all out and don’t erase anything. once the bones are in place I come back with a different color and start filling in the gaps. Its a lot of back and forth, to make sure I don’t write myself into a corner. Once I feel like my story is solid I script it. I literally write out panels for Mutt to start to thumbnail with loose dialogue. Once he has the panels done I go back and clean up the dialogue. then it’s on the stack and on to the next page. He is usually a page or so ahead. while I am cleaning up the words. Its a variation on the Marvel method that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee used to great success! 

BF: What are your hopes for the future HIRO: Blood of Patriots?

MD: This is a comic book we are super passionate about. My hope is that we are able to expand HIRO into 2-3 more 48-page books. This story has room to grow and expand. we can go so many places and explore so much with this cast of characters. We really want to dive a lot deeper into this world where this technology exists, and explore its impact on the world and us as individuals. 

BF: Is there anything you want to share with our readers before we sign off?

MD: We want to let everyone know that each time we cross the $1000 mark on our campaign we will give away a free custom sketch from Mutt! The winner will be randomly selected from all backers that have donated ANY amount! There is a perk level for everyone so check those out. You can be in our comic in a big way, or you can buy a digital copy. Whatever the level of contribution, we appreciate our fans who’ve put their trust in us to make a great book.  THANK YOU!       

BF: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us and being a part of Indie Comics Showcase and if you celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving.

Check out Macho Dano’s Indiegogo page here!

   

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Brett McGowan: Changeling An Urban Fairy Tale

Insight into upcoming indie comic

Maeve MacKenzie may seem like an ordinary fourteen-year-old girl. She has parents, goes to school at Aberdeen High, volunteers at an animal shelter, plays video games, and goes to church on Sundays. Yeah, she seems normal, except she isn’t. Maeve is an outcast among her peers, struggles with social anxiety, she has very little confidence in herself, and can barely relate to the kids around her. Maeve has had questions about what she is throughout her life but never found answers. One day, she finally finds what she’s been searching for but it wasn’t she expected. A pucca named Gavin reveals to Maeve that she is a changeling, an abandoned fae infant that now exists between the realms of fae and man. As Maeve begins to learn more about her true heritage from Gavin she gains the confidence to come out of her shell and grow as a person, but she’ll also find herself pulled into a world that exists on the dreams and desires of humans but run by beings that are capricious, fickle, and in some cases cruel. Maeve has tried to be a good Christian girl, but what if she’s been wrong the whole time?

Writer – Brett McGowan
Line art – Victor Campan
Colors – Ginger Foxy

BF: Brett, before we get into Changeling , can you tell our readers a bit about yourself.

BM: Well my name is Brett McGowan and I live out in Washington. I am the writer for CHANGELING: AN URBAN FAIRYTALE. My interests include comic books, video games, tabletop RPGs, the Seahawks, anime, and a whole lot of of other things. I have been into comics since back when I was ten years old when I bought my first comic which was a Dark Horse Godzikla comic. After that my uncle would send my brother and me a box of Spider-Man comics every other month. My passion really kicked in when I was in high school and I discovered books like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Runaways. Making a comic has been a dream of mine ever since I was a teenager to be honest.

BF: How did you come up with Changeling?

BM: CHANGELING came from an idea I had from another comic I had, that I never really got around to doing. (I might revisit it someday, who knows) A “prototype” of Maeve was in it, although it was a very different character. I’ve always been into urban fantasy and I noticed nobody in my corner of the indie sphere was doing a comic aimed at a YA audience, so I figured why not? 

BF: What inspired to create Maeve as a character?

BM: Maeve is pulled from several different sources. There’s a bit of my own experience in high school where I struggled with depression and loneliness, my brother growing up with a disability, and my best friend growing up biracial. I made her a girl because i had this image of a faerie girl in my head, and so as to maintain a healthy distance from her so she feels like her own person.

BF: What are some of the things that have influenced your work on Changeling?

BM: Celtic folklore/mythology for one. I also went back and looked at stuff that made an impact on me when I was Maeve’s age. When I was fourteen I had just gotten into anime and was consuming it vast quantities. Stuff like Bleach, Fooly Cooly, and more recently Gintama. And again I’ve drawn upon the experiences of myself, brother, and friend.

BF: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

BM: I tend to start the individual issues with a broad summary of the story and then work out the details as I go. I find that method gives me some wiggle room while still maintaining some consistency. Oh and I also put some indie-rock on in the background. It gets me in the right headspace because of how well it fits in with the setting.

BF: What are your hopes for the future Changeling?

BM: I want CHANGELING to over Maeve’s high school years more or less. It’s also going to be part of a shared universe with my friends Matt Trinh and Dan Sacharow and their respective books MYTHICS and ADOBE KROGER. We call it the Mythoverse.

BF: Is there anything you want to share with our readers before we sign off?

BM: Just that the future of comics is Wikid 😉

BF: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us and being a part of Indie Comics Showcase and if you celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving! Check out Brett’s Patreon page for the Changeling comic here and consider backing this campaign! 

 

That’s it for this installment! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and remember to support indie comics!!!


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John Lemus

John Lemus

I'm a 35 year-old Cuban who works in Hialeah, FL. I'm really into comic books and comic book culture and I have a particular fondness for independent comics. Which is why I started the Indie Comics Showcase. Follow me on Twitter @indie_comics!