Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase, the weekly blog where we signal boost a few truly independent comics that are currently crowdfunding their projects, crowdsourcing their funding in some way, or just completely self-publishing on their own. Every little bit of support for these creators matters, from a single dollar pledge to the twenty-five dollar bundle, and of course the higher tiers are usually fun too! Even if you can’t back a campaign or buy a book, you can share or tweet about these projects to your friends and followers.
On Indie Comics Showcase, we interview the creators, show off some art, and tell you how you can check out the product for yourself. Below we have some outstanding crowdfunding campaigns this week for you to learn about, enjoy, and hopefully support by backing one or more of them! Thanks for checking these out and for being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase. Let’s jump in!
by Clint Hilinski
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Blue Bombshell – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.
Clint Hilinski: The Blue Bombshell is a Superhero Sex Comedy Adventure. Like if you took the old National Lampoon’s or American Pie movies and crossed it with today’s Avengers or Justice League movies. Although hopefully a lot better than Joss Whedon’s Justice League. Hopefully. And warning/spoilers this comic does contain Adult Content and Nudity. Lots and lots of nudity. Some might call it gratuitous.
CB: What was the genesis for this project, where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?
CH: I was always a big fan of the old ‘funny’ Justice League written by Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis. The Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner era. Those books were hilarious and treated the characters in a very different way than other comics, plus that era had awesome art by Kevin Maguire, Ty Templeton, and Adam Hughes. Shortly after that some of those artists went on to do some work for Penthouse Comix which was definately more Adult, and included nudity. But it was still that light hearted irreverence that made the books fun! Blue Bombshell was hugely influence by those books and that era of fun comics.
CB: There’s a lot of cheesecake appeal to this book, which you seem to lean into. What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
CH: Guys. Straight guys. This book is for all the guys who’s maturity level topped out at around 13 years old, like mine did. That’s my target audience. Any straight guy who tells you he doesn’t like looking at a beautiful woman is probably trying to impress some blue haired sjw. I’m not trying to fool anybody. This isn’t Watchmen. It’s hot superbabes losing their clothes during battles with evil supervillains with names like the TROMBONER, and the man called TRIPOD! I’d like to think this is dick and fart jokes at it’s best!
CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. Tell us a bit about your creative team that have contributed to this project?
CH: Well, I’m writing and drawing it, I’ve got Bob Wiley for colors and Phil Connors doing the lettering. I was lucky enough to get Carl Spackler to jump on for edits. So it’s a crack squad of guys, real pros pros. Like I said, I was pretty lucky.
CB: What’s the workflow like? How do you like to work?
CH: Drawing. 8 to 10 to 12 hours of drawing. Every day. Forever. I’d like to draw faster. That would help. But yeah, mostly just drawing.
CB: What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
CH: Lots really. Every campaign you pick up something. Every other crowdfunder you talk to on Youtube shows has an idea or perk or printer you haven’t heard of yet. So every campaign you’re just getting more info and more ideas you can use to better the next campaign. This is the first campaign I’ve tried using a mailing list sign up and also the first time I tried a Secret Perk, both of those worked out really well, so you definately need to keep trying new stuff. If your not trying to gain new knowledge or build new ideas with each new campaign you’re really missing out.
CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and what are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?
CH: To bring back a little crass humor back into the readers life. Comics can be funny when you’re not trying to preach some agenda to people. Guys like sexy babes in superhero comics. Dirty jokes and gratuitous nudity are fun and hilarious. This comic is for the 13 year old that never grew up in all of us, whether your 20, 30, 40, 50 or 69. 69 dude. And I do have more stories to tell with the Blue Bombshell, we’ve gotten off to an amazing start, so I think the audience has responded loudly enough to know they’ll want more Blue Bombshell in the future!
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
CH: Thank you! Thanks for the interview! Everybody go check out Blue Bombshell! Yeah, I’m rooting for me too! And thanks for the interview!
Check out the campaign page here!
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase! Can you tell our readers your elevator pitch for Earthbound 2 and catch us up from issue #1?
Narwhal: Earthbound 1 saw Spaceman and Julia sent to Earth to recruit four deadly warriors, The Sirens of Violence. Their mission was a competition, whoever could recruit the most earned their freedom. In the case of a tie, a 5th target would be appointed: Wiz Kid, an estranged comrade of the two bounty hunters. The way headhunters recruit in Earthbound is with special weaponry called R-Types. Shoot someone with an R-type and you jack their free will. With an R-type you could shoot the President, or whoever tells the President what to do, and you could pretty easily control the country. Spaceman and Julia use the R-types in interesting and different ways. Part 2 sees a lot of action and answers as the conflict with Sirens careens towards it’s explosive climax and conclusion. Part 2 will complete the story.
CB: Where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?
Nawhal: It started as a movie script in my 20’s. I’m 35 now. I started drawing Earthbound right before I turned 30. I had a feeling that I had to start working on something big that felt important to me before I turned 30. My 20’s were spent trying to improve my writing and drawing skills. I read all the screenwriting books, and I wrote something like 17 movie scripts that were all terrible before I wrote Earthbound. But I actually liked the Earthbound script so I decided to turn it into a graphic novel. I had never started such an ambitious project before. It was so intimidating that the only way I could do it was with a SCREW IT approach. Faced with a million creative decisions right out the bat, I just said SCREW IT and went with my gut. For example with character designs, that’s why some characters look like Muppets (I say if Earthbound WAS a movie, it would be a sci fi muppet movie). In the end I actually think it helped create that energy with the comic that people respond to.
CB: Who is this comic most-suited for? Who is your audience?
Narwhal: People who like sci-fi. People who like irreverent indie. People in Europe love it. And people with an interest in storytelling/comics themselves will enjoy it because they can dissect the different tricks and techniques I use. Despite the irreverence, the art and story have solid structure, I think it’s that balance that people respond to.
CB: So you’re handling everything on this comic. What’s that like?
Narwhal: I write the script, then thumbnail a big section, during the thumbnailing phase i am open to any rewrites that arise. then I draw it, color it, and finally I letter it. The lettering phase is the final edit and I am open to change all the way up to that point. I often go back and redraw a page here and there too, tweak sequences. I work digitally on a wacom tablet. I draw pretty fast, once in a while I can do two pages a day.
CB: This isn’t your first crowdfund campaign by a long shot – what have you been learning from crowdfunding?
Narwhal: Because I do everything, that really helps with productions and fulfillment reliability. Fulfillment is the most important. If I gave advice it would be to just have a good estimation of all expenses from the beginning and don’t be intimidated out of giving it a shot. Start a youtube channel and a twitter and start interacting, and embrace the memes! #Narhwallifestyle
CB: What are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories you want to tell in this universe?
Narwhal: I have a sequel idea but I’m working on other projects at the moment. I like all my comics to be movie length scripts that end up being about 200 pages. And i try to create them so you can read them in one sitting, like a movie. I call these Narwhal Joints, that’s basically my brand. I want to do 10 of them!
Two side projects I’m interested in right now is a deliberately super low budget script I wrote that is actually meant to be a movie, not a comic, so I’m thinking about trying to make that somehow, and talking with a few people. And the other one is I wrote this 20,000 word essay on storytelling called Interactivity in Narrative Fiction, it will have about 100 illustrations and be novella length. I want to publish that next year.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us again, Narwhal!
Narwhal: Thanks Bleeding Fool. Pretty fun to talk to you guys. Appreciate ya!
Check out the campaign page here!
Beckoning of Aetherius
Please visit the campaign here.
John: Welcome! Thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase to discuss Beckoning Of Aetherius. Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Metheena: Thank you so much! I feel grateful to be a part of this. I’m Metheena. I’m a concept artist, storyboard artist, illustrator, and writer. I’ve created artworks professionally for many years for various clients and companies.
A little about me. My earliest memory of creating art was drawing around 4 years old. I remember vividly drawing on my parents bathroom garbage can with a black crayon getting frustrated at not being able to make the shapes look like something understandable. This became the habit of trying to problem solve 2D shapes, constantly trying to make the drawings look like something.
I never fit in with people growing up, so one day in 3rd grade art class, when everyone seemed to enthusiastically like one of my drawings, I was shocked. Surprised. Confused. Then filled with joy as I realized that this is the one thing that seemed to connect me with people. I’ve been at it ever since.
John: How did you get into comics and begin working on comics?
Metheena: I got into comics when I realized that I don’t have the tools to be a film director, yet I have all of these film-like ideas, and I needed a way to express them. After years of pushing back against people telling me that comics are a great way to tell a story if I don’t have the means to film direct, I finally decided to give it a try. I always loved storyboarding. I learned how to do that in college but never realized how it could be useful to me until I realized that it would work perfectly for creating comics. That’s when I started to take it seriously, and turned my screenplay that I wrote for Beckoning Of Aetherius, into a comic book format.
In terms of how I got into being a fan of comics, I remember friends always showing me Marvel comics stories. I found it all fascinating, but wasn’t really all that into it, until a friend told me about The Infinity Gauntlet story. I was in awe, bought the full comic story, and loved it. Then I got into Manga. Battle Angel Alita was my first and it became a very important story to me. I love the Alita story. Specifically the original series. I also really enjoyed the Anime. 2 episodes if I remember correctly. That style deeply affected me, and has been a part of me ever since. Some fans of the Anime have pointed out that aspects of my style resembles it. That makes sense since I used to study how to draw Alita’s eyes for months in middle school. I couldn’t get enough of it.
I decided that I needed to give it a try and create a full comic of some part of my screenplay of Beckoning Of Aetherius. I wanted to know that I at least tried. I didn’t want to have regrets later in life. If it failed or worked out, what would matter most is that I did it. I wanted to see what I was made of. I also figured that if I’m lucky, there will be enough of an audience for it that I can continue to create comics for the rest of the screenplay.
John: Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about Beckoning Of Aetherius?
Metheena: It’s really a story about what I call, The Great Metamorphosis.
It’s a story about 4 characters, 2 who are forced to go through an extreme metamorphosis that makes them question every aspect of their identity and existence. I want the audience to have to go through that metamorphosis along with them in order to question their own identity, and ask themselves how honest they’ve been about who and what they are.
This metamorphosis story is in the context of a sci-fi fantasy about what it means to be a real hero. The experience that these 2 characters go through allows them, and the audience, to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a good person, which is the essence of what makes a real hero.
John: How did you come up with story and characters for (Beckoning Of Aetherius)?
Metheena: This may sound a bit weird but I came up with the story and characters by being frustrated with my own negative life experiences. Mainly, dealing with the dishonesty of many people.
I don’t mean to sound negative but to me, at least half of the population of people seem to kind of live life in a sort of fantasy world, where they think they understand reality, but they’re really just following a variety of belief systems that does more harm than good. I know that sounds pessimistic, but I think there is a potential for great good when you are aware of overlooked problems.
I think people should be honest, not afraid to face the truths of reality, in order to evolve. From this thought, I created Methy, a woman who is dead set on her beliefs that she gained from the media, but thinks these are her own set of ideas. Sienna, a woman who understands reality quite well, but struggles to understand how to help the friends and family she cares deeply about, to see the truths before them. She wants to help them avoid the dire consequences of following false information.
Later on in the series, Uri. A male character who starts the story at the end of the journey that Methy starts. Methy’s story starts with her beginning to question what she feels is reality, while Uri’s story starts with him already knowing what that reality is, and being forced right from the start to deal with this undeniable truth. His great metamorphosis begins here. I don’t want to give away what this experience is, but it is one that I think will be a very memorable experience for all readers. In the end, we will see who will become heroes or not from this experience. The world’s future depends on it.
John: Can you tell us about your creative process and how you developed your style?
Metheena: My style is a combination of specific Anime, Disney art, and American illustrators. I’ve always loved the dramatic style of certain Anime like Battle Angel, the fluent and animated expressions of most Disney films like Tarzan, & the cinematic scenes from illustrators like Norman Rockwell, Singer Sargent, and William Bouguereau. I spent many years developing and refining this style.
My creative process is, I always start with the idea in my head, and go from there. Whether the art form is drawing, writing, painting, illustrating, storyboarding, over the years I’ve made it important for me to see the final work in my head well enough to have a very clear direction. Then comes the visual or written research to help fill in the gaps of my knowledge. I think you may have a great idea, but it can always be strengthened with research.
You may have characters arguing in a bookstore, like with Methy and Sienna. The scenes may be clear as day in your head, but you still should research what a bookstore looks like, and why it looks the way it does. You should still research what people tend to look like when they argue. What are their mannerisms? How are the people around affected by such a thing. All of this adds to a more believable story.
John: What do you want your readers to take away from (Beckoning Of Aetherius)?
Metheena: What I want them to take from this is an appreciation for humanity, and an appreciation of their true selves. The goal is to bring people together, which I think is the opposite of what most media is doing. Not all, but I think most films, TV series, and American comics over the past decade or so seem to focus on dividing people, using what I see as one sided politics.
I want readers to experience what the great films that I’ve experienced have done for me, and that’s made me learn something that I should appreciate about humanity, while also being entertained. If I can do that using comics as the art tool to do this, that will make me happy.
John: What are your hopes for (Beckoning Of Aetherius) for the future?
Metheena: I hope that I get enough backers on Kickstarter for the making of Chapter 2. If this happens, it will prove that there is a big enough audience for me to continue with creating comics for the series. There’s 15 chapters for the first big story arc. Then 15 more for the second big story arc. Then there’s 2 more. I’d like this story to go on for a long while, and that Aetherius earns a status of being one of the most meaningful stories of all time. It’s a lofty goal as you can’t control how people will feel about your art, however, I think it’s a respectable one and worth a try.
John: What do you think is most important when working on a comic?
Metheena: To me, what’s most important when working on a comic, is the same as any art in my opinion, whether that be music, writing, painting, etc. That thing is, the “feeling.” What “feeling” are you trying to convey to the audience? If you don’t know what that feeling is, you risk writing a story that feels flat. Is it joy? Sadness? Fear?
Then it’s, what is your message? What lesson do you want your readers to learn without it being too preachy? Is it a lesson on love and romantic relationships? A lesson on accepting people’s differences? A lesson about bravery, etc? Without this, your story in the end can feel empty. I think good stories should have meaning that leaves a useful mark on you even though you’re being entertained. I think that starts with the “feeling”.
John: Are there any comic creators who have inspired or influenced you, if so, how?
Metheena: Yes, creator Yukito Kishiro of Battle Angel. I’m not influenced by many comic creators though. I’m mostly inspired by Steven Spielberg and a few other film directors because of their abilities to use all aspects of our senses to convey meaningful, deep, and very vivid stories. When I first saw the film, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, I was awestruck. Especially the last parts of the film. So many great ideas like how the aliens used their ship to communicate with the humans. It was all so amazing to me.
Next are certain musicians such as Hans Zimmer, or bands like The Cure, etc. Their music sparks my imagination in wild ways, giving me so many ideas to dream up and capture with visual art or the written word. The band called, “Beach House”, has an overall sound and feel that has helped me visualize characters like Methy and Sienna more clearly. Not exactly what they sing about, but the overall sound and tone of many of their songs just connects with me in a particular way that allows me to think of various ways to present them.
For instance, the last few scenes of Chapter 1 are in the rain. A lot of Beach House’s songs remind me of a somber raining day with a sense of urgency, which I used to help inspire how I wanted to portray those scenes. Which of course is the opposite of what you think of when you think of a “Beach”, lol.
John: Where can people find you on Social Media?
Metheena: People can find me on:
Deviant Art: https://www.deviantart.com/metheena/gallery
John: Great! Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Metheena: Yes. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. This may sound cliche’, but without knowing who you truly are, you’ll fall for anything. Also, don’t forget that just because you may have a disagreement with someone, doesn’t mean you need to hate them too. We can all be friends, even with our differences. If you feel the same, then this comic series is for you. Cheers!
John: Once again, Metheena, I would like to say thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase.
Metheena: Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this. It was really fun answering these questions. Cheers!
Please visit the campaign here.
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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