Indie Comics Showcase #146: Night Stars, 1stMAN & Heel Turn!


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 Tim Lattie

Check out the Night Stars campaign page here!

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Night Stars. Briefly give us the pitch.

Tim Lattie: It’s the story of 3 kids taking aboard a flying saucer, when they’re on their the saucer morphs around them giving them these suits that make them look like aliens but the saucer is actually a time machine that takes them back in time to Roswell in 1947…they’re the Roswell aliens! From there it’s their journey throughout time dealing with histories mystery’s. They knock Amelia Earhart’s plane out of the sky, one falls in love with Anne Frank and they get a yeti as a pet. It’s a genre jumping adventure spanning all of history.


Night Stars from DeCheser Media on Vimeo.


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?

TL: It came to me looking at a Van Gogh painting by the same name. I had it hanging in my old apartment and for whatever reason looking at that image one day everything clicked. So as you’re reading the book keep an eye out there are hidden Van Gogh paintings all over. Plus I’ve also always loved conspiracies and history. Combine those with classic 80’s and 90’s adventure style fun and you have Night Stars!


CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?

TL: I think it far reaching, If you love mystery and exploration as well learning about myth and legends all wrapped in a Goonies/Monster Squad style package, this is for you. I don’t have any agenda, nor did I set out to go after any specific group. I just sat down and wrote what I found to be fun, “What would I want to read?”


CB: This isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve been working in comics for a while. Tell us some of your favorite projects and how you broke into the biz.

TL: I broke in how most did in the early 2000’s by going to conventions and showing editors my work. From that i was fortunate enough to land gigs on projects flike G.I.Joe, TMNT, WWE and Plants vs Zombies. But I’m most known for my work on Ghostbusters where I was able to do not only the comics but also work on the Ghostbuster World video game! I’ve also been able to worked outside of comics on projects with K-Swiss, the NBA and even did art for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. If you look closely you can see my posters all around the film and even my Ghostbusters originals framed and hanging in Brodie’s comic shop! Currently I am working with legendary writer Chuck Dixon on a web-comic called Go Monster Go! for Arkhaven which is about a group of teens hot rod racers living in the late 60’s who in each episode run into all kinds of paranormal adventures from haunted cars to werewolves. There’s also a heavy dose of fun Easter eggs from Chuck’s work and my own hidden throughout. It’s a blast to do and FREE to read


CB: Very cool. Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. Who is your creative team that have contributed to Night Stars?

TL: Besides Chuck on Go Monster Go! it’s all done in-house. Writing, pencils, letters and colors. So the art chores are done by myself and a very talented young lady named Sydney Smith, who I met a few years ago at a convention and she’s been helping me out ever since. The Ashoka to my Anakin. (It’s unfortunate one day she’ll have to battle me once I’ve fully turn to the dark side.)

CB: So what’s the workflow like? How do you like to work?

TL: I usually wake up and work out or do some cardio, just to get moving. Then knock out any errands I have for the day. I like to have a nice clean slate and be clear headed. You don’t need your mind cluttered thinking about the grocery list. After all that then it’s time to just sit down and draw. I think there’s a certain level of God given talent but creativity is also a muscle. The more you use it the easier it gets. You also want to get out of your own way, let the creative process happen naturally. A certain level of distraction can be beneficial so if I can find some type of documentary on YouTube, I’ll have that on in the background. I also listen to all kinds of music so Spotify is a must over here.


CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and what are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?

TL: My goal is to produce something that has the same level of quality and passion as the media i grew up with. The 80’s and 90’s were the golden age in my opinion. You would sit down on Saturday morning and something like X Men would just blow your mind. YOu can go even further back with G.I.Joe and that era. They didn’t downplay the stories just because it was “A kids show” They went for it and it was glorious! So I’m coming in with the same mindset. We’re also at a place where through crowdfunding a project can retain the original artists vision.

As far as stories, there are plenty more to tell. Night Stars is about growing up while going back in time and we have all of history, myth and lore to play with. This book is just the beginning!



CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

TL: It is much appreciated! I’m excited to finally get this book out there!


Check out the Night Stars campaign page here!




1STMAN: Graphic Novel v2
by Andy Smith



Check out the 1STMAN v2 campaign page here!


Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, Andy! Let’s talk about your latest project 1st Man volume 2!

Andy Smith: Take a little bit of Spider-Man and mix in some Shazam and the cosmic stuff of Captain Marvel and that’s 1stMan. Luke Henry has to juggle college life and learn how to handle being a new superhero, all while living with his parents that know his secret. Now the mysterious Fourth World Foundation is calling on 1stMAN to help with something they concocted and have possibly lost control over.



CB: Where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?

AS: After finishing 1stMAN volume 1 my writing partner, Rob Snyder, and I started talking about what to do with the next volume and after batting around some ideas from stories we loved in our youth we came up with the premise for 1stMAN volume 2. I am trying to build my brand with Astonishing Comics and think crowdfunding is the way to go. I can interact with my fans with no middle man and get feedback on what they like.



CB: What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

AS: The biggest lesson learned is talking and interacting directly with the fans. I’ve also learned how to craft perks that are more enticing and did more pre-promotion before launching the new campaign. The pre-promotion of talking about the campaign and getting the word out is as important as what you do when the campaign is live.




I think a lot of the early success is getting the word out on different creators YouTube channels and really working on my channel to build up my own following. You have to spend the time to interact and talk with your supporters. When I was growing up it was impossible to do this, we could only see the creators we loved at conventions. Now a fan can interact through social media and YouTube and think building these relationships is important and it’s fun for me to talk with them.



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?

AS: Rob Snyder, my co-writer, has been a friend of mine for over 30 years. We first met at a job I was at and found out we shared a love of comic books and liked some of the same type of comics and stories. He is a cartoonist, doing more political cartooning and strip art as well. We are very in sync with how we see comics and the type of stories we want to tell. Ilaria Fella is the colorist of the book and she is just fantastic! I was introduced to her by my buddy Bart Sears who is using her on some of his work. She has been working professionally since 2014 and has a very versatile coloring sense to meet the different needs of a project. Steve Dutro who is lettering the book is a long time friend who I met in my first year at the Joe Kubert School. We lived in the same dorm type of house in our first year and graduated together. He is my go to guy for lettering and logo design.



CB: As a Joe Kubert School grad, how did you parlay that into working in comics professionally?

AS: In my senior year of the Kubert School I met Bart Sears, who was teaching there for his first time. I showed him my work and he liked what he saw and kind of took me under his wing as I didn’t have him as a teacher. He would mentor me and when he felt I was ready took me up to DC Comics and introduced me to some editors to show my portfolio to. After a few rejections and valuable critiques I landed my first gig with DC while still attending the Kubert School. The editor was kind enough to let me finish school before starting the job.



CB: What are your plans beyond this second installment? Are there more stories to tell in this universe?

AS: Oh yes! We have this set up as a trilogy as of now. Not saying after volume 3 I wouldn’t do more 1stMAN but after wrapping up the larger story I could see moving to a different project. Time will tell!


CB: Awesome! Thanks for chatting with us again, Andy! We’re rooting for you!

AS: You’re very welcome and thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about 1stMAN! I’m so glad I can work on him and tell his story! It really is a dream come true!


Check out the 1STMAN campaign page here!



by Will Peden

Check out the Heel Turn campaign page here.


John: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase. It’s great to be able to discuss your project. Before we get started, could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Will: Thank you, John. I’m the co-creator and writer of Heel Turn. I’ve always been a fan of comics, but didn’t know about indies, always just assumed main stream was it, but due to Kickstarter I discovered indies and having previous experience writing thought I had a great story that would be awesome as a comic.



John: Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about Heel Turn?

Will: People are loving the concept and those who have previewed it love the story. It follows the life of Ethan a well liked individual who juggles his call center career and his life as an independent pro wrestler. But he also has to deal with a more sadistic side, he is truly a serial killer.



John: How did you come up with story and characters for Heel Turn?

Will: The idea came to me several years ago when I was writing my zombie novel. I jotted it down then left it on the back burner for years. Then one day I decided this story would be better told in a visual format vs the text based, so I wrote a script and plotted out a 7 book series and here we are almost done with our first campaign.



John: Can you tell us about your creative process and how you developed it?

Will: I’m still working on that. Personally I love the horror genre and due to my background I love pro wrestling. So I chose to mix the 2, as for my style I just write. I plot the general synopsis for the story per book descriptions, then I do a per page synopsis then I start at panel 1 and started writing away. I have learned a lot working with my artist Rogerio Rios even though this is his introduction into sequential art, we have developed a great chemistry.



John: What are your hopes for this comic going forward?

Will: I hope to grow a great little 7 book series that people will always remember and talk about. This is my 1st child in comics and the platform to hopefully propel my career in comics forward.



John: What are some of the first comics you remember reading, and which comics have made the biggest impact on you.

Will: Growing up, we were financially struggling alot but I have always loved the Sunday newspaper comics, peanuts and family circus were the first I remember reading. The biggest impact would have to be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I even have 2 tats on my arm of the turtles. Kevin and Peter have been a big inspiration to me. I also was fortunate enough to meet Roland Mann and following his independent career with SilverLine and reading his books have influenced me as well. I also love the stuff from Brian Pulido as well.



John: What do you think is most important when working on a comic?

Will: Don’t rush it. Let the characters speak to you, tell their story.


John: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?

Will: This comic is 100% completed and ready for print! All we need is to hit our goal on Kickstarter and as of right know we are at 66% with 1 week to go. So Help us by backing us and sharing us with the world. We have a variety of options for the digital and physical reward fans alike.



John: Thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase, Will. We wish you the best of luck with Heel Turn and all future projects!

Will: Thank you, I look forward to being interviewed again later on down the road, this was fun. 


Check out the Heel Turn campaign page here.


That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!



Follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics and reach out to them if you want us to consider featuring YOUR crowdfunding comic project!


Avatar photo

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!