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!
DEAD by DAWN
by Shane Chebsey
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers about Dead By Dawn Returns – Briefly give our readers the pitch.
Shane Chebsey: Dead By Dawn is a hard hitting and punchy prestige format horror anthology that gives new up and coming indie creators a platform for their work, whilst also giving established professionals the opportunity to tell stories outside of their comfort zone.
Any sub genre of horror is allowed. The only rule is that the stories must be 4 pages only. This encourages our creators to be very disciplined in their approach to storytelling.
CB: What was the genesis for this project, where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to your decision to crowdfund it?
SC: Myself and Andrew Richmond formed SCAR COMICS back in 2004 to publish the first Dead by Dawn series as we’d wanted to work together on a horror project for a while and we’d always thought it would be a great idea to combine cutting edge small press talent with experiences professionals. Back then self publishing was very different. Kickstarter wasn’t really a thing. But the book did gain quite a following on the UK con circuit.
However as we both started working on other projects like convention organising Dead By Dawn ended up on the back burner. And as life got in the way eventually SCAR COMICS was wound down too. However Andy and I continued to be good friends and worked together on various convention and podcasting projects here in the UK.
Inspired by the current huge indie comics boom, after a ten year break from publishing, we decided to come back this year to relaunch Dead By Dawn on Kickstarter as the crowd funding platform allows you to sell in advance directly to your audience.
Printing has also changed a lot in the last 10 years and it’s a lot easier now to just print however many copies you need to fulfill the Kickstarter. Before you had to print a minimum of 1000 copies to get the cost per copy down and hope you sold them all. Plus you had to find the money to do that yourself. Kickstarter allows you to get advanced sales funding to cover all of your costs. It also helps you get to know your audience better. It’s revolutionized indie comics publishing for sure.
CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
SC: Obviously horror fans will love this book. Anyone who loves The Walking Dead or the classic EC horror titles will love Dead By Dawn. However the anthology and it’s creators draw on many influences for tone and themes. This ranges from classic British horror mag “Scream” to modern pulp horror like Hellboy and the BPRD. There really is something for every type of horror fan in Dead By Dawn’s pages
CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side. Give us the rundown on all the creative teams contributing to this project?
SC: This is one of the really exciting parts of the anthology. We have a total 23 creators working on this book and they have really hit it out of the park with regards to quality.
From the professional side of things we have Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Marvel, DC and Warhammer 40k writer Dan Abnett, Animal Man and Justice League artist Steve Pugh, 2000AD and Sniper Elite artist Patrick Goddard, Spiderman Noir and Stormdogs writer David Hine, DC and 2000ad artist Jimmy Broxton and also top colour artist Matt Hollingsworth, who has coloured everything from Preacher to Daredevil and various hit Image titles.
We cast our net quite far and brought in the cream of the indie crop from the British scene to join them.
These include renowned artist Mark Stafford, the Eagle Award winning David Hitchcock, Andrew Sawyers on loan from hit Indie title “The 77” and writers like Michael Powell, Daniel Whiston and Chris McAuley. We even got the great great grand nephew of Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker on board, plus many more.
CB: Wow! That’s really is an incredible collection of writers and artists! So what is the workflow like with such a large ensemble?
SC: We started planning the relaunch of the book late last year and decided that the first issue would be invite only to ensure that we could shape the styles of the book as we wanted it to be and to ensure a consistent high quality throughout. Knowing our creators we’ll also means we have the confidence to pretty much give them total artistic freedom.
We were very lucky and got almost everyone we wanted for issue #1. We then set a script deadline for the end of June and an art deadline for before our Kickstarter campaign so that we’d have lots of art to show off to the potential backers. This worked really well as lots of our creators have other commitments and if they needed extra time we could be flexible. It also means we now have all of the work in before the campaign has ended. (We have been blown away for the quality of work coming in).
Andy and I will then prepare the book for print. I handle editing duties while Andy is a super talented creator in his own right: His day job is in magazine design, so as well as contributing the art on one of the strips, he also handles most of the lettering design and any extra colouring that needs to be done.
We set a Halloween release date so once the campaign is over we can then ensure everyone gets their books and rewards on time. Some of the rewards involve sending blank covers to artists to do sketches, so we wanted to make sure there was plenty of time to do all of that.
CB: Since this is a relaunch, what have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process and how would you advise other indie publishers?
SC: We’ve learned a lot from this process. The most interesting aspect that has evolved with Kickstarter is that there’s a really good community on there of fellow indie creators and self publishers, and for the most part it’s very supportive and helpful. We’ve made a few friends and done a lot of cross promotion with other campaigns, which has really helped us expand our potential audience.
We’ve also managed to get lots of useful advice from Kickstarter veterans.
My biggest tip to anyone looking to do a Kickstarter would be to plan a marketing strategy in advanced so that you have something interesting to post out on social media every day. I actually creators a spreadsheet planning each day of the campaign. (Including a couple of days off utilising automated posting as you have to take your mind of it sometimes. It can be all consuming and quite stressful)
Whether it’s artwork, creator news or videos. You really have to work hard to keep those pledges coming in. The mid campaign slump is no myth either… (We’ve just hit halfway and pledges have slowed down, while we are only a few hundred pounds away from being fully funded). We planned to send out our traditional media and website press releases during the campaign to try and counter that. We’ll see how that works out I guess. We are still learning.
The other main tips would be make sure you know your overseas postage costs for all of your rewards and remember to include the cost of good packaging as well as your actual production costs. These costs can really add up.
CB: All very good tips to keep in mind. Thank you for chatting with me Shane, and good luck on the campaign!
SC: Thank you for the opportunity it’s greatly appreciated. We are really exciting to bring these stories to our backers on Halloween.
Check out the campaign here!
by David Feed
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Redshift Express – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.
David Feed: The super short version is: Picture “The Fifth Element” directed by David Cronenberg. Like Leeloo goes “Multipass” and then a giant bizarre monster bursts out of her face. And well, the longer elevator pitch: Romina Jones is a thrill seeker, space pirate, trouble maker. The story begins when she starts a fight between her boyfriend and an old flame. In the middle of the chaos she ends up with a mysterious genetic key that could save humanity from a galaxy-wide plague. When all factions of the Milky Way want to kill her and destroy the key… her only escape is to board the REDSHIFT EXPRESS, the last ship out of the Milky Way before the Faster-Than-Light travel system collapses.
CB: Cool! What was the genesis for this project, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it
DF: Science-Fiction is one of my favourite genres, also after playing Supreme Commander 2, a pretty decent RTS game I wanted to create my own game. During my design studies I did a chart with different civilisations and their respective military units for a game. And so the different factions of the story were born with a very large design skeleton of military units, their stats and weapons, etc. After doing an internship in the movie Green Lantern I read a couple of sci-fi scrips and thought to myself… “Hmmm… I can do this!” So I started writing a movie script. With the emergence of the ComicsGate movement I mixed the script and game design documentation into this story.
CB: Interesting. So what kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
DF: When it comes to comics/mangas a love the French series Wake and the manga called Blame! Very futuristic, more adult oriented in the themes of the hardcore action. When it comes to movies: If you love R rated science fiction-horror films you are going to love this. The Thing, Alien, District 9 for example. Personally I love the movie Alien Covenant I just wished the story was decent and the characters were not… you know, special education level of mindless suicidal. And so if you like hardcore action and monsters but also a good story REDSHIFT EXPRESS is exactly right 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?
DF: The writer, letterer is me. My inker for Red Eyes, Christian Culicelli, helped me with the design of the monsters, characters and ships (based on my sketches of course). Finally Rafael Chrestani is the inker/artist.
CB: What’s the workflow like? How do you like to work?
DF: I have a script, from it I do rough drafts of the pages and Rafael makes the pencils and inks from these roughs. I correct them and add the lettering.
CB: What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
DF: I’m learning a lot about unexpected issues, for example I had some contingency plans and even those goes FUBAR with Red Eyes 2. It gets very interesting and stressful but I’m learning to deal with that. I gave myself plenty of time to fulfil REDSHIFT EXPRESS for one. In general having a chill attitude and keeping an open communication with backers has been key. I hope the customers are pleased and I hope to please them for many comics to come.
CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and are there more stories to tell after this one?
DF: My purpose is to tell a really cool, exhilarating story. Non-stop action in a new sci-fi world. As I studied biology I love creating my own species of aliens and their respective civilisations. I love RTS games and so I charted all the different game-like units of these civilisations. Creating the enemies the protagonists are going to face. From tiny basic infantry alien enemies to their massive battleships.
Are there more stories? Well yes this issue of REDSHIFT EXPRESS is going to be 1 out of 3 so expect two more campaigns to come.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck!
DF: Likewise, thanks for contacting me and good luck with your endeavours!
by Robert Livingston
Check out the campaign for BITE here.
John: Thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. It’s great to be able to discuss your latest indie comic project “BITE” with you. Before we get started, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Robert: Thank you for letting me be apart of this! I’m Robert Livingston, a comic writer from NYC. I’ve been writing for6 years now with my webcomic TOM N ARTIE (started in 2018) and moved into indie books with BITE.
John: How did you get into comics? And when did you first start working in the industry?
Robert: I always loved superheroes (Spiderman, Batman, Superman) and was mostly introduced to them via cartoons. My dad used to be into comics so gave me a few books when I was younger. Sadly, the love of comics didn’t really hit till I got into my 20s! I started writing comics as a hobby while working a dayjob. Writing was always a stress reliever for me. It wasn’t until 2016 I decided I would finally start getting my work drawn by artists.
John: Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about BITE?
Robert: BITE is about three shark mutants (Warrick, Olivia and Truman) who were created by an evil organization known as DREAD to serve as super soldiers. Eventually DREAD collapsed, and the trio were left to integrate into society. The book details how they’ve adjusted to normalcy but it’s being shattered by the return of DREAD.
John: How did you come up with story?
Robert: I went through several animal-based team ideas first. Frogs, Birds, Dinosaurs and even Space Dragons at one point but I eventually settled on Sharks. Funny story with that cause originally BITE started as a joke-script me, and my editor (Mike Stevens) were writing as an edgy Street Sharks Michael Bay reboot. I started liking the concept more and more as we worked so eventually, I told him my idea for running with it straight. At first he wasn’t into it so I flew solo for a bit. After pitching it to him several more times and several watch parties of 80s/90s cartoons he came around to the idea!
John: Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
Robert: I do A LOT of late-night writing due to having a full-time job which limits my free time. I usually take notes when I can on the job (plotting story elements, character/scene ideas, etc.) and jot it into a document when I get home. I typically try to get as many words into a script as I can during the week then go over it on the weekend with my editor so we can smoothen it out.
John: What do you hope readers will take away from BITE?
Robert: I want them to feel like they went through a rollercoaster of an action movie. A satisfying beginning, action-packed scenes and growing to love the Trio. Satisfaction is what I want most from readers, for them to feel like they got their money’s worth!
John: What do you think is most important when working on a comic?
Robert: Patience and trust. As a writer I cannot stress that enough when you’re working with a team. Art takes time and usually can’t be rushed, so you got to stick with it.
John: That’s great. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?
Robert: I’d like to express my thanks for checking out this project. The readers are what fuel my drive to create, I love seeing people enjoy the work that me and my team have put together. Your feedback and comments always light up my day!
John: Once again, Robert, thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck with BITE and all future projects.
Robert: Thanks for having me!
Check out the campaign for BITE here.
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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