Indie Comics Showcase #162: Northern Blood, Pirate Queen, & Rokan


 

 

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!

 

NORTHERN BLOOD
by Jason Michalski & Antonio Rojo

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Jason and Antonio. Briefly tell our readers about Northern Blood!

Antonio Rojo: Nazis have stolen an ancient Viking treasure, and the dead have risen to take it back!

Jason Michalski: Yes! Northern Blood is a fast-paced action/horror story set in Nazi-occupied Norway during the winter of 1942. Undead Viking warriors rise from the grave to massacre the Nazis responsible for ransacking the tomb they swore to protect!

 

CB: What was the genesis for this project, where did the idea for this comic come from?

JM: I’ve always been a fan of WW2 movies, war comics, video games like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Wolfenstein, and Dungeons & Dragons-style tabletop games. I knew I wanted to mash these ideas together into a fast-paced, action comic book, but I wasn’t sure how it would work unit I read Cemetery Beach by Warren Ellis & Jason Howard. I thought Cemetery Beach is a brilliant example of applying non-stop “Run & Gun” video game-style pacing to a comic book. Jason Howard’s work on that comic blew me away and inspired me to sit down and put it all together.

AR: Our love for the Nazis, pardon, our passion for killing nazis! The truth is every time we make a comic; the Nazis inevitably show up. We love how WW2 gives us a large canvas for adventure stories. WW2 movies like the Dirty Dozen and Kelly’s Heroes were a significant influence, so were George Romero’s B-Movies, and the comics of the 1980s/1990s we grew up reading.

 

CB: What kind of comic fans are you expecting to reach? Who do you think this book will entertain the most?

JM: I feel like fans of Skyrim, Wolfenstein, D&D, and zombie movies are going to eat this up. I was listening to a lot of metal when writing the script, and I think it shows because I get many people on Twitter telling me it looks “Metal as Fuck,” which I think is fantastic! Overall, I think anyone who likes straight-up, fun comic books that allow you to escape the world for an hour will like this.

AR: I think we are making a comic that will appeal to everyone interested in these types of stories. There are also some hidden gems that our generation will appreciate that are nods to the comics and movies we love.

 

 

CB: What inspired this tale? Is it a one-and-done or are there more stories to tell?

JM: The inspiration was pretty simple. We wanted to make a kick-ass comic book with cool images of undead warriors chopping up the Nazis during WW2! I believe people will feel the comic ends satisfyingly, but there is room for future stories. We are discussing a 48-page prequel that would be titled NORTHERN BLOOD: ORIGINS. Origins would delve deeper into the history of the Vikings and their leader.

AR: When we make a comic book, we always think about how it could fit in with the other characters we’ve created. If we chose to do that, Northern Blood could easily fit into the universe we made in our first published work: GANDHI: LA BESTIA INTERIOR.

 

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? How did you guys connect?

JM: Northern Blood artist Antonio Rojo and I have been working together for ten years. We’re more like twins who share the same brain when it comes to making comics at this point. Antonio is responsible for the character design, artwork, inking, and overall book design. The cover colorist, DC Alonso, is a long-time comic book veteran who has worked for DC, Marvel, Aftershock, Dark Horse, and many other comic book companies. DC is a friend of Antonio’s who wanted to color the cover for us. It blew my mind that we got a heavy hitter on the book’s cover. I’m a big fan of his work!

AR: About ten years ago, Jason contacted me to letter a book, and we became more than friends; we became brothers. I think good people can connect immediately. I’ve worked with other writers, and the relationship was good, but it never went beyond work-for-hire. When you have what Jason and I have, it is easy to think about making comics together. I usually receive a full script from Jason, and I either work on blocks of scenes or a few pages at a time. Sometimes I show him the blue pencils, something very loose, and then deliver the final look with the inked pages. Sometimes I’ll make story suggestions, and Jason never gives me any problems because I’m 6’9,” and he’s only 5′ 6″.

 

CB: Is this your first time publishing your own comic? If not, tell us what you’ve been learning through the process?

JM: Antonio Rojo & I have another creator-owned comic book called Gandhi: La Bestia Interior published by Panini Comics Espana in 2019. Gandhi taught me a lot about the industry and how important it is to connect directly with your audience. Publishers give you a distribution platform, but getting the book in front of people is all up to you. I thought it was enough to have your book on a comic book store shelf, and people will find it, but obviously, that’s not how it works when you’re first starting in any industry. With Northern Blood, I’m trying to build relationships by getting out there and talking with people who love comic books just as much as I do.

AR: Gandhi was my first creator-owned comic book. Back then, I felt like I was a beginner. I was responsible for pencils, inks, graystones, lettering, and the book’s design, but at a poor level. I felt like Jason’s script was better than my skills. Years later, while making Northern Blood, I feel more capable; I think we are at the same level for the first time, and as a result, we are creating a professional comic book!

 

CB: Thanks for chatting Joe! Good luck with Northern Blood!

JM: Thanks, Chris! We always appreciate the support!

AR: Thanks for everything, Chris!

 

Northern Blood Indiegogo Campaign Video #2

 

Check out the campaign here!

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PIRATE QUEEN 2
by Mandy Summers & Clint Hilinski

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Pirate Queen 2, your latest swashbuckling sequel with Mandy Summers.

Clint Hilinski: When last we saw the Pirate Queen she was face to face with her newest sworn enemy the infuriating arrogant Commandant Reylo!  The crew of the Star Raider has been captured by the Galactic Union of Imperial Federations and all seems lost!  But the Pirate Queen has survived tougher spots than this! With issue two we hit the ground running with a full throttle fire fight between the Pirate Queen and Commandant Reylo!

 

 

 

CB: You guys had tremendous success with the first issue, let’s go back to that and tell me where the idea for this comic came from?

CH: I just combined two of my favorite things, hot space babes and making respectful fun of all the sci fi movies and shows that I grew up with and love.  

 

 

CB: There’s definitely a cheesecake aspect to the artwork. what kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?

CH: Guys and girls that like cheesecake art.  There’s plenty of them out there.  Fortunately the whole world ISN’T full of no-fun prudes like the media and tv want you to believe.

 

 

CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. How much of the book is done and how do you and Mandy like to work? Also, tell me about your coloring and lettering process (mention your creative team).

CH: About 2/3rds of the book is already finished.  Mandy writes the scripts and I draw them.  Mandy really grasped the fun and adventure side of the Pirate Queen right away and then gave it her own special spark as a writer!  I couldn’t be happier with how the new stories are turning out!  I take care of the lettering and we’ve got John Brody doing the colors for us.

 

 

CB: This isn’t your first rodeo. What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process? What’s changed in your approach?

CH: Getting the word out is the biggest most important aspect of making comics.  You can slave in your room and draw a gorgeous book but if you don’t put as much work in at getting your audience to notice that book it’s all for nothing.  So interviews like this, Youtube shows, Twitter, and other social media is integral to having a successful book.

 

 

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

CH: My purpose for the Pirate Queen is to have a fun and exciting Sci Fi Fantasy Adventure!  Pirate Queen is an ongoing story and my plan is to keep it going for as long as I can, there are ALWAYS more stories to tell!  We’ve just scratched the surface with the Pirate Queen.  In 2022 we’ll be expanding the Pirate Queen Universe with the first spin off book the SLAVE GIRL FROM PLANET X!  And this will then lead into our first Big Crossover Event, SLAVE GIRL versus PIRATE QUEEN, tentatively planned for summer 2022! So big things are coming soon!

 

 

CB: Do you have any advice for other creators who’ve been inspired by your project and your success?

CH: It’s hard work and a grind, just like any other job.  And you’re working for yourself so you have to put in the work and hours, cuz nobody is going to do it for you.  If your sick or feeling lazy nobody is covering your shift.  But in the end your making comics and if that’s what you love then that is enough.

 

 

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

CH:  Thanks! Always appreciate the support from Bleeding Fool!!

 

Pirate Queen 2 Teaser Video!

 

Check out the campaign here!

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ROKAN
by Ben Jackson

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Rokan – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.

Ben Jackson: Rokan is part fantasy, part super hero, and all metal. What we want to do with this title is to have an ongoing super hero series that features super powers, and super villains, team-ups, crossovers, and everything a good comic book needs to have, but set in a fantasy backdrop and environment which lends itself really well to our creative team’s strengths.

 

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?

BJ:    The idea of Rokan is creating the perfect hybrid of philosopher-warrior. The origin story in a nutshell is a wizard apprentice is forced into learning how to fight, then finds a way to incorporate his magic abilities to augment his fighting, thus becoming a sort of super-hero in a high fantasy; sword and sandals kind of setting. We are crowdfunding because it is our first endeavor into comic books. I have experience with other kinds of writing, and my artist has experience with other kinds of art. We need to crowdfund while me make a splash and a name for ourselves in the industry.

 

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

BJ:   I’m confident that Rokan will appeal to readers of elaborate fantasy novel series, players of tabletop or role-playing fantasy video games, as well as comic book fans looking for something fresh.

 

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?

BJ:    The story, script, and letters are done by myself, Ben Jackson, adapting the story from my novel. All art is done by Max Headshroom. Max has a totally unique process. He does pencils by hand, then scans and inks them digitally, then traditionally hand paints every panel, and scans them again.

 

 

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

BJ:I outline every page with a description of how I want the panel progression to go, and what images need to go where. This has been the most enjoyable aspect for me. I’m finding I enjoy writing for the comic book medium much more than writing novels because I come up with a lot of unique ideas for telling the story with panel progression. Next Max takes this outline and draws each panel, often calling me to make suggestions or to clarify the instructions. Max often embellishes characters by giving them wardrobe upgrades that are not present in the script, or expands action scenes with his own ideas. The result is action-packed stories with rich, fully-fleshed-out characters.

 

 

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

BJ: There seems be trepidation in trusting a creative team on their first prject. Evidently many teams initiate a project and never complete it. Not only are we committed to finishing this book, but we have scripts for many subsequent issues, and stories outlined to keep the Rokan series alive for years to come.

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

BJ:   The message that I want to convey is that the greatest warriors are thoughtful and educated, and the greatest minds are strong and full of courage. The philosopher-warrior dichotomy can be a collaborative harmony, like a yin-yang. This concept is a sort of antithesis to the Athens vs Sparta mythos that casts the two ideals as oppositional and incompatible.

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with me, Ben ~ good luck!

BJ: The pleasure was all mine, Chris. Thank you for the time.

 

Check out the campaign here!

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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!

 


Chris Braly

I'm a collector, a speculator, and one opinionated, based geek. My friends call me Braly, but those who know me within the hobby generally refer to me as Bralinator. I try to steer this tiny ship and can often be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several low-level, other comic book nerds. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON