Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase, the weekly blog where we signal boost a few truly independent comic creators 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!
Speed of Light
by Marcel Dupree
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Speed of Light – briefly tell our readers the pitch.
Marcel Dupree: Its a 72 page black and white comic magazine. Its in the vein of old school mags like Heavy Metal and 2000 AD. Some of the stories are serialized.
CB: What was the genesis for this project, where did the idea for this comic come from?
MD: I am a fan of line art and anthologies. I wanted to combine the two in one project. I’ve found crowdfunding is the best way to get people excited. In the past if tried just posting an IndyPlanet or Gumroad link, only to just be ignored.
CB: Crowdfunding seems to be a great signal boost. What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
MD: If you just like great sci-fi stories and art, this is perfect for you.
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team that have contributed to this project and what is your role?
MD: Since this is an anthology we have a bunch of different teams. We have a total of 9 different creative teams. Seven of the serialized. Those seven slots belong to Corey Hardman and Jok on 72:00, John Schilm and Miguel Garcia Ruana on Marrow, Shane Morrison and Emilio Utrera on Magical Machinations, Rubyn Warren and Ronilson Freiere on Galaxy Heirs, Matt Ringel and Luis Morrocho on Veiled, Nico Rodriguez and Damon Threet on Space Blood, Adam Lawson and Maan House. With every story lettered by Roberto Megna. Anyone interested in being in a future issue can email me firstname.lastname@example.org. We have 2 open slots for one shots. My role is as editor/curator, I approve the stories and I assign artists to work on them. This is a project that I am really involved with – a passion project.
CB: You’ve done crowdfunding campaigns before. What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
MD: I have learned to not do too much. The hardest part about crowdfunding is the fulfillment part. Anything that can go wrong will. If you can hire a company to handle your fulfillment. Also market months before your campaign launches. These things tend to live or die based on the work you do beforehand.
CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and what are your plans beyond this book?
MD: I am an art guy. I just wanted to highlight artists that I think are dope. I have about 15 artists signed up to do stories. I would like this to go on forever ever after I die. But that’s a lofty goal. For now I just want to establish a good base for this
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
MD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
Check out the campaign page here!
by John Durgin
John Lemus: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase! It’s great to be able to discuss your latest indie comic project, Jöl.
John Durgin: thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about our new comic, we are really excited to bring this series to the comic world.
Lemus: Before we get started, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Durgin: My name is John Durgin and I live in a small town in NH with my wife Danielle, 7 year old son Will, 3 year old daughter Elizabeth and of course our boxer pup Izzy. My son would say I’m rude not to include her. I am really into horror as you will see with the comics I write for Livid Comics. I grew up on Goosebumps and shifted to Stephen King in 8th grade when I read IT and fell in love with adult horror.
Lemus: Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about Jöl?
Durgin: Jöl follows 8 year old William Sheldon(first name after my son). He discovers an ancient artifact known as the Kassi, which was once used by Santa to suspend time so he could deliver gifts around the world in a single night. The Kassi contains many powers, such as time travel and teleportation through dimensions. Will accidentally activates it in a fit of rage and teleports himself to a dimension between home and the North Pole. What follows is a chain of events that could change the world as we know it. Will is thrown into a battle of good vs evil where he must get the Kassi to safety and find his way home before the evil half elf Ragnar gets possession of it first. What if the most wonderful time of year lasted an eternity?
Lemus: How did you come up with story and characters for Jöl?
Durgin: The story started to develop after talking with my 7 year old son on Christmas 2019. He told me he liked Halloween more than Christmas because he liked that it was creepy. I started thinking of stories that would revolve around Christmas and be scary yet family friendly. The idea of a kid being stranded at the North Pole but on the outskirts where it wasn’t all warm and fuzzy and evil lurked in the woods got stuck in my head. Then it was a matter of finding a way to get him there and finding a story arc that fit. I wanted it to spook families but still be something that could appeal to all ages. As far as developing the look of characters, I let Joel have complete control on that. If I had anything specific in mind I would let him know, but most of the time he nailed it on the first try for any character we created.
Lemus: Tell us about how you developed your own style, and a little about your creative process.
Durgin: My style is really to mix genres that I love. I often find myself watching a movie or reading a book and thinking “what is it I love about this? What doesn’t work for me?” My stories will always have a horror element at heart, but you will generally see other elements sprinkled in from the world of sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, thriller. For my creative process, I write any ideas that pop in my head from random dreams, to seeing something in real life that gives me a spark. The note pad on my phone is full of random ideas and sometimes I try to take a few of them and fit them into a single story if I can. I write a rough outline of the whole story first, then I edit that until I’m happy with the plot. This is my first comic so I read a lot about writing in comic script form and it has absolutely been an adjustment but I feel I have the process down moving forward for other titles. Once I have the outline set, I’ll try to find good spots to end each issue of the story arc to have people wanting to come back (at least I hope they want to come back!). Pacing is something I really want to nail down for each issue.
Lemus: What do you want your readers to take away from Jöl?
Durgin: I want this to be a fun horror Christmas story the whole family can enjoy. And what I really want people to see at its core, is that beyond the horror, beyond the Christmas theme, Jöl is a story about a boy battling his inner anger issues. Something I didn’t mention about the Kassi device earlier on is that it feeds off emotion. This part of the story was so important to me as my son has some anger issues and I want to tell a story that shows a kid overcoming his own anger. There will be points early on in the series where his anger gets him into trouble, he will find himself in some dimensions and locations that he would want nothing to do with and it really throws a wrench into his situation.
The initial story arc is a 5 issue storyline, it will have its climax and conclusion, but the world of Jöl could be so much bigger than that. We have written so many characters and backstories that they could have their own storyline. My dream would be to see this turned into a series some day whether that’s live action or animated. And don’t forget about the action figures! Some of these characters we see in future issues could be really cool figures.
Lemus: Tell me how you fist got into comics?
Durgin: I got into comics when I was about 8 years old. My parents used to buy used comics at flea markets and yard sales for me and I was obsessed with Spider-Man. I actually got lost in a grocery store as a kid because I picked up an X-men comic in the magazine isle and read the whole thing only to look up and see my mom was no longer with me. I had to have the customer service desk page my mom because I was lost! Safe to say she didn’t buy me the comic. I stopped reading comics for years, but in the last few years I got back into them when I read Joe Hill’s stuff(Locke and key, Basketful of Heads, Plunge).
I’ve always wanted to write horror. I used to write short stories when I was a kid, some awful horror movie scripts for film classes I took in school, etc. I really wanted to write a horror novel and a few years back came up with the general concept for Jöl as a novel. I got about 20 pages in when my co-creator Joel Vanpatten reached out to me and asked if I wanted to collaborate on a comic book. I realized Jöl would work much better as a comic series and pitched it to him. Since then it has expanded so much more as Joel has helped fill some plot holes and given some ideas to really expand our world into much more. We actually work together in our day job and his fine arts stuff is hanging around the office. We used to talk about art and books a lot. Once Covid hit we were working from home and as Joel would tell you, the fine art world died down a bit, he shifted gears to sequential art and we hit the ground running.
Lemus: What do you think is most important when working on a comic?
Durgin: as a writer the most important thing to me is pacing and having a true story arc from beginning to end. Make the stakes bigger each issue, leave people wanting more with great pacing. When it comes to working with an artist I think it is so important to be flexible with each other and hear each other out. Joel and I are lucky because we both work really well together and it has made the process that much easier. I tell him to go crazy with the panels and do it how he sees it, I want the artist to have a lot of control in the art style and even panel breakdown.
Lemus: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?
Durgin: We are more than half way done Jöl issue 2, and have a second title called Deadball which follows a baseball player in the early 1900s who has a deal with the devil sort of scenario. The story involves carnies, circus freaks, and some super natural horror. I can not wait for issue one of Deadball which we are shooting to release in September in time for Granite state comic con where we have a table September 18-19th!
Lemus: Thanks for being a part of this week’s Indie Comics Showcase, Durgin. We wish you the best of luck with Jöl and all future projects.
Durgin: Thank you so much for the opportunity to come on and talk about our first ever project. This might be the first time some have heard of us, but I promise it won’t be the last!
by Gustavo Soria
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Street Runners!
Gustavo Soria: “Street Runners” follows the story of Civ, a teen trying to live his best life in the decayed futuristic world of 2198. Unwillingly, he gets involved with the most dangerous motorcycle gang around, the real gangsters… The Nightstalkers and, by doing so, he revoked the peace treaty that has been around for over 15 years.
CB: Where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?
GS: Victor Farr approached me with a “killer idea” He said he loved Akira but hated the fact that the story didn’t dwell too much on the motorcycle gang stuff. Since he’s a part of a club in real life, he wanted to add all his knowledge on an adventure comic book. That’s how the project came to be, having long phone calls sharing every piece of creative input so we could produce a cool comic book.
CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
GS: This comic book is aimed at sci-fi fans. It’s a blend between the Motorcycle Club world with cyberpunk aesthetics. If you love “Alita:Battle Angel”, “Akira” and “Sons of Anarchy”, then this comic is definitely for you.
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?
GS: Victor Farr is a very creative writer, he has been doing this for several years now. Thanks to the fact that he has been on several places in the world, he has seen and experienced too much, so he can add all his previous knowledge and past experiences into any story. He always says his best ability is to transform “pain” into “art”
Antonio Diaz is a very experienced and highly skilled Peruvian artist that managed to bring every idea we had with Victor come to life. His coloring and inking skills are something you’d expect to see on a Marvel or DC book. The last member to join us for this project was Fernando Iglesias Meléndez, he was hired to help us edit the text but he managed to share some very cool and interesting ideas, we added him as a third writer. He is quite famous for posting the “Midnight Paper” on the subreddit “No sleep”.
CB: How do you like to work?
GS: Oh, it’s amazing. Even though we’re all from 4 different countries (United States, Guatemala, El Salvador and Perú) we make it work. Phone calls are our main source of communication, we have these “brainstorming sessions” where we call each other, excited about a cool new storyline we might add to this chapter or some future issues. We’re also not afraid of telling other members that their specific vision for a certain panel or certain page might not work. It’s really nice how we “clicked” with each other and adapted to different ways of working.
CB: When did you first get interested in being a creative writer?
GS: I’ve been writing since I can remember. There was nothing else I wanted to be when I grew up than to be part of the comic book industry. After college, I became a freelance comic book writer, being approached by several clients all around the world, helping them bring their vision to life, but I was still in need of coming up with something original. That’s why I self published a graphic novel last year: “The Table” (available on Amazon). With Street Runners I also feel many of my ideas and visions are coming to life.
CB: What is your purpose for telling this story? And are there more stories to tell?
GS: We wanted to create an engaging grounded story. Doesn’t matter if it’s in the distant future but the characters need to be relatable with their stories. We’re currently planning on future issues and a few spinoffs from the main story.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Gustavo! Good luck!
GS: Thanks for letting me be part of your website!
Check out the campaign here!
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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