Indie Comics Showcase #163: Pet Human, Future Primitive & The Company Men



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!


The Company Men: Dead, White & Blue
by Lee Byron Carver

Check out the campaign here!

Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Lee. Can you tell our readers your elevator pitch for The Company Men: Dead, White & Blue?

Lee Byron Carver: A group of CIA run metahuman mercenaries composed of the world’s first superhero, a rookie speedster, an ex-hitman heat elemental, a walking ice age and a teleporting assassin for hire have to stop a terrorist attack that could spark World War 3. The problem is, no-one else wants them to succeed! Sold out by their own government, abandoned and outnumbered in a hostile warzone, the team has to save their jobs, save themselves and save the world in the next 24 hours!



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

LBC: THE COMPANY MEN is one of many scripts I’ve written over the years. This story was inspired by media like Body of Lies, Suicide Squad, Strikeback and Homeland. It was written on a rainy Christmas camping trip many years ago. I always intended to draw and publish the comic myself, not so much for profit, just to have it out there. After witnessing the rise of CG and indie comic crowdfunding via Ya Boi Zack and then the wider CG community, I saw a platform selling to an audience of like minded people who wanted quality comics devoid of agenda. I knew I could provide that. From the scripts I’d completed I chose THE COMPANY MEN, for it’s colourful and bombastic characters and tone, to be my flagship title.



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

LBC: Fans of the media mentioned above, fans of gritty, hardcore, action packed media. Fans of paramilitary fare, fans of anti-heroes and criminal characters with hearts of gold. Fans of superhuman spycraft, subterfuge and shades of gray storytelling. Fans that aren’t squeamish!



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?

LBC: I’ve been fortunate to have an incredibly talented team working on this book, from Celso Mazine on art, working traditionally in pencil and ink, to Dijjo Lima, a Marvel alum on colours, together with Stephen Kok, creator of Transhuman and Terralympus, to name a few titles, on letters. I scouted these guys online or got recommendations from other creators to corral them onto this project. Stephen lettered some coloured pages to ‘show me what they’d look like’ and scored himself the lettering job! We’ve also got alternate covers by fellow Aussies, the incredibly talented Barton Brothers as well as the legendary Renzo Rodriguez, and incredible pin ups by B00tyjuice, Dean James, JaRo, Barbusco, Dax Martian, Six Scale Combat and BoobDanArt to name a few!



CB: What a team! So what’s your workflow like? 

LBC: I am an artist as well as a writer, so I always wrote my scripts for myself. Most of my scripts are almost completely dialogue since I already know everything else that is happening on the page. I had to rewrite the whole script for an artist to translate it to the comic page. My scripts have a lot of freedom in them. Despite the language barrier, Celso has come back with dozens of great ideas that I’ve given the blessing to incorporate. The first issue ends with a huge, savage metahuman battle. In the script I’ve written something like “big 5 page fight scene here”. Celso more than doubled the page count and came up with lots of creative ways for the characters to use their powers.



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

LBC: With the crowdfunding game, you only get out of it what you put in. Build your platform, be seen, be present, never stop hustling, or as The Quaff, creator of Shotgun Samurai says, A.B.S: Always Be Shilling. Crowdfunding is a powerful platform, but one that’s being flooded with content. You need to stand out, you need to be seen. Above all, you need eyes on your project. It’s a numbers game, more ‘eyes on’ equals more sales. I’ve got a sell-through rate of about 4%. That means one out of every twenty-five people that looked at my campaign backed it. Those are really good numbers, better than I thought I would get on my first project.



CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and are there more stories to tell?

LBC: I often say I have more IPs than I have years left in my life! I’ll be telling stories until I’m in the ground, be it comics or more novels. There are twelve issues of THE COMPANY MEN already written. This story, titled DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE is 180 pages long, split up into three 60 page issues. The next COMPANY MEN story is titled ‘Heart of Darkness’, and is followed by ‘Cold War’ and then ‘Insurgent’, each story totalling 180 pages each. I’ve also penned a three issue mini series called COMPANY MEN: BLACK, consisting of Black Ops, Black Site and Black Bag, stand alone stories where temporary teams of COMPANY MEN are assembled to handle the very worst, off the books missions where failure equals death. These issues are being used as an opportunity to highlight some characters from other creators as well as some of my own that will spin off into other (already written) titles. I’m working on a street level vigilante superhero comic with Dean James, artist on The Embrace with Michael Oden. It’s called ‘The Sinner’ and will debut in 2022. I’m also working on a pulp comic anthology with a range of CG artists, short stories detailing the crime fighting habits of a supernatural mystery man throughout the early 20th century that should also be available in 2022.




CB: Thanks for chatting with me ~ good luck!

LBC: Thanks for your time and for providing this spotlight to indie creators!


Check out the campaign here!




Future Primitive
by Kevin Gunstone


Check out the campaign page here!


Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Future Primitive Mag – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.

Kevin Gunstone: Good question… It’s a story and concept not easily explained in a sentence! Future Primitive is a hi-octane, widescreen, science fantasy about warring Neanderthals and Australopiths and features Kulkan, the last neanderthal king. It’s a spectacular epic of invented myth, legends, strange technology, and a brutal struggle for survival on a radically different Earth!



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?

KG: I had the idea for Future Primitive soon after I started to write again. I’d written comics before – for publishers like Marvel, Image, and Antarctic Press – but took a 7-year break to DJ House music. Quite simply, it’s a story I’ve always wanted to tell. A story that would stretch my imagination and synthesize ideas, influences and visuals that have always interested me.

Why Neanderthals? Well, why not?! I’d read an article linking the rise of Neanderthals on Earth to the Geminga supernova explosion some 300,000 years – casually implying the radiation mutated them – and the idea snowballed from there.

Future Primitive was first published by Markosia a few years back and we wanted to produce a sequel. But, for the time spent creating it – esp. for Boban – it wasn’t viable. So we renegotiated the publishing rights and felt that by crowdfunding we could continue the story and ensure everyone got paid something for their amazing work.



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

KG: Firstly, my prime audience is always myself. I can only write comics I’d want to buy and read, rather than creating them because I think they’d appeal to a commercial trend. I just hope that enough other people want to read the story too, as I have quite esoteric tastes!  

I think, however, that Future Primitive would entertain readers who like big, imaginative ideas and spectacular artwork with an eye for detail. If you like the work of Kirby, Jodorowsky, and 70s mags like First Kingdom, Warren’s 1984/94, and early Heavy Metal then I believe this is the comic 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?

KG: The artist on Future Primitive is Slobodan Jovanovic, aka Boban, who lives in Serbia. Once I’d written the outline I scoured Deviant Art, found Boban’s page, and knew his style was perfect for the story. So I messaged him, sent the outline, and he started the character designs before even replying – a fantastic sign!

Since then Boban has been outstanding. He’s a brilliant artist who eschews publicity and it’s a huge shame that he isn’t better known. But he’s brought life to a fantastical – I hope, unique – world, and squeezes incredible detail into every panel. We share similar tastes too, which makes (creative) life easier when discuss story influences and references.

The colourist, Stefan Mrkonjic, also lives in Serbia and he’s a friend of Boban’s. The feel of Future Primitive is all-important, and Stefan’s dark, rich, and golden colours give the story an evocative tone. Patrick Foster, the letterer, and designer is someone I’ve known for a scary number of years. He’s a professor of design in Canada and gives the series a stylish and classy look.  He’s always busy and we’re delighted he’s part of the team – in an ideal world I’d clone him.  



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

KG: I’m a terrible creature of habit. I get up later than I should and write emails and indulge my addiction to project management apps in the morning. Later, with my dog walked, I get stuck in. If writing, rather than promoting Future Primitive, I take the PC offline and close all mobile devices so I can focus – it’s like turning off the digital white noise! I normally finish around 7pm but write most weekday nights too. I never listen to music during the day but find writing on the tablet, with a background soundtrack of weird electronica, is when I’m at my most imaginative (I think). 



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

KG: The most important lesson for me is realising the importance of community. I find this difficult as I’m friendly but can be quite a hermit! After all, even when I DJed I’d be behind the decks all on my own. But in crowdfunding you need allies, supporters, and backers who all want to see the project succeed and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

My creative time is limited until the campaign ends, so in the new year I’m looking forward to fulfilling all the perk rewards, planning the second issue of Future Primitive, and further developing the numerous other ideas which have taken a back seat for the last couple of months.



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

KG: There’s many more Future Primitive stories to tell and the first storyline, which runs for three issues, sets up Kulkan’s adventures as he explores the wider world and continent of Ultima Pangea.   

My purpose in writing the story was to incorporate ideas and concepts that have always fascinated me, and which have been used, partly, in comics before. But instead present them in a way that’s different and feels new. I’ve always preferred comics, books, films and music that’s immersive and takes me out of the everyday and that’s what we’ve tried to achieve here. Whether we’ve succeeded or not is for the reader to decide… 



CB: Tell me about your imprint, Studio Azoth. Are there any other projects in the works you care to mention? 

KG: Once Boban and myself decided to launch Future Primitive I felt that we needed an identity, which is why we set up Studio Azoth. As I’m not so egotistical that I wanted to call it “Gunstone Comics”! In alchemy, Azoth is the unknown element that excites and stimulates the imagination, so I thought it was apt – good symbolism too!

As for the future we’re developing several new projects. One of them is a superhero book set in ancient Greece, the other a mind bending 1960’s retro sci-fi adventure. Another project I would love to do is called Zep Tepi, which is a geopolitical thriller set on an alternate Earth which mixes my interest in electronic music and a lost Egyptian golden age. Yep, it’s complicated idea! The art on Zep Tepi is by the brilliant Italian artist Alessandro Scacchia but Ale is painstaking in his work, so that may take a while. But I know the result will be worth waiting for…


Future Primitive Mag#1 trailer


CB: Thanks for chatting with me today, and good luck to you!

KG: No, thank you! It’s been a pleasure to talk about the mag and our plans for it.


Check out the campaign page here!




Pet Human
by David Guy Levy

Grab a copy of Pet Human here!


John Lemus: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, David, and thank you for coming on to discuss your latest indie comic, Pet Human. First, tell me a little bit about yourself.

David Guy Levy:  Thanks so much for the chance to talk about it! I’m a filmmaker and comic creator based in LA, originally from NY. Many people are familiar with my film Would You Rather, With Jeffrey Combs and Brittany Snow.



JL: Very cool! So how did you get into comics and then come to work in them?

DGL: I found I had many ideas that worked better as comics, and I’ve always read and enjoyed them. My last book was called Back to Back to the Future, and I fell in love with a story many years ago called Cornboy, and made it my mission to get it made. I learned how to produce a comic script, look for artists and writers, and the editing and publishing process through that experience. It gave me the confidence to then create books based on my own stories. The rest is history.



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

DGL: Tell us something original. Don’t imitate. Be unique.


JL: Solid philosophy. Okay. Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about Pet Human?

DGL: It’s the story of Buster, a pet human who was adopted to a loving couple named Blorg and Pruni. He may not know much, such as how the world he lives in works or why things are the way they are, but he knows one thing for sure: he’s safe and he is loved.



JL: How did you come up with story?

DGL: I was hanging with my dog, Buster, and stoned… and thought about how life must be through his eyes. Loved, dependent on humans, not over thinking why or how. I then imagined what that would be like if Humans were bred on an alien planet, without a sense of their history on earth or where they come from. What life would be like through those eyes. And then I couldn’t let the idea go.



JL: Can you tell us a bit about your style and your creative process?

DGL: I worked on the idea in a writing group for some time. In this case my ego didn’t get in my way and I felt comfortable bringing on a collaborator to help me game theory the day to day stuff a little. That was Steffen Schlachtenhaufen who I’ve worked with on films before. I then went over the work we did and formatted it so I could bring it to the right artist. I was inspired by Moebius and Maurice Sendak, so I looked for artists who made similar stuff. Mostly surfing Instagram. Then I came across Alex Heywood and sent him the script. He loved it and 2 1/2 years later, it was drawn. Then it’s all about learning all the different Adobe software you need to create the files that are needed for delivery. Then figuring out how to use Kickstarter to launch the title.



JL: What does the future hold for Pet Human?

DGL: I’ve started writing the second book with Steffen and it’s almost done. It will be the second part to the story we’ve created. Then in the future more one offs in this universe. Alex will start drawing Book 2 in January.


JL: What do you want your readers to take away from (Pet Human)?

DGL: That life is about relationships. Companionship. And love.

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

DGL: I hope you appreciate what we tried to do. It was all us, no other companies giving support or advice. So if you love independent storytelling and people who make their own way, then this is who we are.


Grab a copy of Pet Human 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!


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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!