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!
Path of the Pale Rider
by Laurie Calcaterra
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase Laurie. Give me your elevator pitch for Path of the Pale Rider.
Laurie Calcaterra: Path of the Pale Rider follows Jude St. Clair through the apocalypse while he looks for clues as to why the dead no longer die. We join him 10 years into the chaos where he and his horse travel the country exploring crazy conspiracy theories and looking for people who might lead him to the unbelievable truth. In this world, the body dies, but the soul stays trapped in the decaying body. He desperately wants to put things back to the way they were before, but his path is fraught with crumbling infrastructure, untrustworthy sources, and demented undead. Can he survive long enough to find the truth?
CB: So where did the idea for this comic come from, Laurie? How did it come together?
LC: I am a life long martial artist, having started training in Filipino martial arts in 1997. I got involved with fight choreography in 2016 with Coattail Collective, a Detroit based production company. I had my first experience writing a short film in 2017 with Catfish-ing and went on to write a Spy Action web series called “The Agency” for the same production company. From there, I decided to expand my body of work and started Path of the Pale Rider in 2018, but due to the nature of the material, decided to switch medium from film to comic book. I have always loved comic books, having read DC, Marvel, and Image comics. When I originally wrote the script, my husband read it and immediately said, “This is a comic book. Let’s find and artist and take it to Kickstarter.” So we did! It’s been a process learning the ins and outs of self-publishing, crowd funding, and social media.
CB: What kind of readers would you say this is most suited for?
LC: If you enjoy reading East of West, The Walking Dead, or Spread, this comic is for you. Or in movie terms, I Am Legend, Mad Max Fury Road, or 28 Days Later. It’s a Western Apocalypse with Zombies, Horror, Action and horror. If you enjoy those types of entertainment, this is for you!
CB: Tell us about your creative process, and how you developed it and work with your creative team.
LC: My script is actually formatted for screen, but that works well to translate to comic medium. I typically write the start and the end and go back to fill in the character development that needs to happen along the way. Marco and I work great together as a team. When we tackle an episode, we first start by reading the script together. I make sure to point out all the important details that need to be in the issue. Then Marco does his art thing and sketches out 2 to 3 versions of a page for a section and then we review and discuss what’s working or exciting visually. From there he does a more final pencil rendering of each page and we fine tune, making sure script details are all there. He is very good and typically there are only small changes that need to be made at this point. Then he inks the page, sends it to myself and I add the text and background noise. We go back through the pages one by one to make sure everything is perfect and we are happy.
CB: Tell me a little more about Marco, your artist.
LC: Marco Defillo is the head of art department for this project. Marco has always loved drawing from an early age and was influenced by Saturday morning cartoons the like of Justice League Unlimited and Dragon Ball Z. Cartoons naturally led to movies, manga, and comic books. He loves that stories can take you to a different world for a time. He is influenced by Eiichiro Oda’s ”One”, Hiromu Arakawa’s ”FullMetal Alchemist”, Frank Miller’s ”Batman: Year One”, The Amazing Alex Ross, Mike Mignola’s ”Hell Boy” and the amazing art of Greg Capullo. He graduated Kansas City Art Institute in 2020 with a BFA and is looking forward to building his art career with Illustration and character design.
CB: How far along is the book? I notice many of these pages are still uncolored. Is it going to remain a black and white comic?
LC: So far we have completed 8 pages of the comic book and have mapped out the remaining pages of the first issue. It will be 24 pages, black and white unless we can hit some stretch goals, where we can then go back and color the issue.
As far as the story goes, I have written a total of 13 issues for the first arc or season and have started into the second arc. I believe I have about 3 issues drafted. When we get funded for the first issue, everything will start rolling. We would like to turn out multiple issues in one year if possible. The sooner we can get people reading, the better. Issue #8 will blow your mind.
CB: Are you learning anything from this self-publishing effort, or anything about crowdfunding through this process?
LC: I have learned a ton! I started out researching successful Kickstarter campaigns and reviewed their backing levels, learning what people want. I then had to find an artist that would fit not only the style for the project, but whom had time in their schedule to create the project with a deadline in mind. Nothing worse than creating a successful Kickstarter and then not being able to follow through. Also the amount of time it takes to create a following for the project. My recommendation is to start working on your social media platforms immediately so people can follow along with your journey and then create a buzz right before your campaign goes live so your project is on everyone’s mind.
CB: Have you looked at the project beyond this book? Do you have any more stories to tell in this universe?
LC: So the plan is to get this issue out there and start on the next one, then the next. Again, I would love to get people lost in the world and chomping at the bit for the next one. Every episode gets progressively crazier. If this series takes off, I would love to explore having my web series also turned into a comic series. That one has lots of fights and twists. Think Mission Impossible meets 24.
I would love to see Path of the Pale Rider get picked up as either a Live Action or an Animated series like Castlevania on Netflix. To me, that platform seems to be the right fit for the tone of this project. I would love to see Jude St. Clair on his horse, in the wasteland. Badass.
CB: What makes this project unique? Are there any special features in this book?
LC: Special features?! Why YES! We have a couple extra things going on besides the comic book. First off, since I come from production, I decided early on that for every episode we release, there will be a short film that goes along with it. The comic book follows our Protagonist’s viewpoint, but what if we explored more of the world? That way the reader can understand how the world works, or experience the chaos.
THESE ARE GOING TO BE INTERACTIVE – where the readers can join the Facebook Group, get details, film their own portion and send them into me. I will edit everything together and the final film will be available first on the Kickstarter, then on social media and YouTube. How fun to be a part of the story. The second thing I have added to every episode is a riddle. Something to solve. All the riddles lead you to…. Somewhere. Ultimately there will be additional content available for the people who are able to solve the riddles. I have lots of things planned, but I’m not going to spoil it. The first riddle is easy, but going forward, they will get difficult.
CB: Anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?
LC: I am inspired by lots of comic book, sci-fi and fantasy culture. My favorite is to find a story that is so well developed that you get sucked in. That is what I aim to do here. There will be lots of extra content, you can find a way to follow with our social media. We are currently on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Let’s have fun.
CB: Thanks Laurie. I recommend our readers also check out your website here.
Check out the campaign page here!
Heretics of the Fathomless Realms
by Dorian L. Alexander
Check out the crowdfunding campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase! Hit me with the elevator pitch for Heretics of the Fathomless Realms.
Dorian L. Alexander: Heretics is an emotionally charged action/adventure comic chock full of strange creatures, high stakes hijinks, and rousing interpersonal drama. It features the roguish wizards El and Im, buoyed by an expansive cast of charmingly unconventional characters, as they explore the boundlessly fantastic and dangerous Fathomless Realms in pursuit of truth, magic, and a lil’ mischief.
The first issue of Heretics follows the roguish wizards El and Im as they rekindle their ancient friendship by stealing a magical cactus from the powerful Church of Sylisstrene. The comic is 24 pages, in full color, with 6 pages of additional material including an extra mini-comic.
CB: Very cool, Dorian. Where did the idea come from, and what led you to self-publish?
DA: Jeremy (the artist) and I initially came up with the idea during an urban exploration trip to Seattle. Enchanted with the city, we began to improv a number of different characters, including the roguish wizards featured in the comic, traveling through a neon fantasy world. We spent about a year figuring out what sort of medium we wanted to use to capture these characters (originally we were thinking of some sort of interactive scavenger hunt installed throughout the city) before deciding it’d be a comic. Our first thought was to try and pitch it to a big-name publisher.
However, as we started working on it, we realized how important the theme of community was to the overarching plot of the series and decided that we would crowd-fund its production instead.
CB: This sounds a like its own genre to some degree. Who would you say this is aimed at? What sort of comic reader will get the most enjoyment from this?
DA: Fans of shows like Adventure Time, Castlevania, Over the Garden Wall, Gravity Falls, Rick and Morty, Breaking Bad or Quantum Leap. Anyone that enjoyed The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth. Fans of comics like Saga, Isola, The Sandman, Don’t Go Without Me, Monstress, Deadly Class, ODY-C, East of West, or Fables. Fans of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Old Westerns, Psychedelia, or Horror. People familiar with the works of H. P. Lovecraft or traditional occult practices. And anyone that loves a good story, magic, strong world-building, experimental comics, or queer characters.
CB: That’s a pretty wide swath of readers. Can you tell me a little about how you developed your style and the creative process?
DA: Jeremy calls the comic’s style “magic deep space noir.” On Kickstarter, we call what we do “neon fantasy.” For me, this description captures the scintillating, psychedelic nature of the art as well as the seamier side of its thematic content. There was a brief moment when we thought we might go in a slightly more cartoony direction (and there are definitely still elements of that inclination evident in there), but this style basically emerged straight from the get go.
CB: Give a quick shout out to your creative team on this project.
DA: I am the writer and creator, along with artist and creator Jeremy Raab. Our colorist is Gabriel Fischer and our letterer is Rus Wooton.
CB: So what’s your production workflow like?
DA: Jeremy and I like to call it our “weekly argument.” A lot of writers and artists have a bit of distance from each other, but we’re constantly looking over each others’ shoulders. We’ve gotten into a pretty good rhythm now that we’re working on issue #2, but there are definitely still moments when we (mostly) playfully threaten each other with bodily harm trying to squish our separate visions together.
CB: Are you learning anything from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
DA: That I hate social media. It’s an unfortunate necessity of getting your name out there, but having to constantly shout about your project to anyone who’ll listen is exhausting for me personally. I’ve also learned more about CMYK color formats, business banking fees, and graphic design than I ever wanted to know.
CB: Any plans beyond this book?
DA: Heretics is meant to be a long running series and we’re slowly but surely working towards what we hope to be a consistent bi-monthly release of the comic via Kickstarter. The next several story arcs have been fully plotted out and our goal is to have the entire first arc (seven issues) published in 2023. This first arc is mainly about El and Im questing after the perfect piece of décor for the study of their interdimensional lake house, a journey of escalating misadventure that shows the wizards’ complicated relationship with each other, their lovers, and the various worlds they explore. This arc leads directly into subsequent arcs, where the wizards must face the unintended consequences of these earlier misadventures, requiring them to recognize and rely upon their communities rather than just their own individual talents.
CB: Any unique aspects of this book you’d like to mention?
DA: I really like the way older comics were more attentive to the power of back material, especially Alan Moore’s stuff. Because of that our comic has some back material I think is really neat – bonus mini comics, spells you can do at home, that sort of stuff.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Dorian. Any final words?
DA: For us, Heretics is about manifesting the magic in the mundane. We believe that fantasy doesn’t just have to be about talking swords and slaying dragons (although there certainly is some of that in our work). Instead, we want to recognize the magic that exists in our daily lives, communities, and relationships and rely on that magic to explore queer and other non-traditional experiences. We want to place front and center the kind of principles, people, and powers that are usually dismissed as heretical because we see them as the true source of magic in our lives. We hope that that resonates with people and that they’ll want to become heretics too.
Check out the crowdfunding campaign page here!
Silver Sun / Sol de Plata
by Luigiman & Jonh Curcio
Check out the crowdfunding page here
Chris Braly: Welcome to ICS, Jonh. Can you tell me about your latest comic Silver Sun?
Jonh Curcio: Sol de plata (Silver Sun) is the story of our national hero, born from a myth that tells: when the country needs it most, a silver soldier appears to save the day. Sun is the silver soldier of our days. In his mind he is programmed only to serve and protect the nation, but his past haunts him, because he doesn’t know who he is or where he came from. He saved us, but he cannot save himself.
CB: What made you and your team decide to self-publish it?
JC: This comic is a fusion between what I have been developing since I was a child in the ’90s, when I created the character, with Luigiman’s ideas and the modernization that we gave him with the creative team. We wanted to have a “flagship” hero for our publisher and we felt that Sun (among all the characters we own) had the potential to accomplish that task and capture a wide audience for our newly launched publisher. The volume has a total of 180 pages in full color.
CB: Tell me who this book is aimed at? What sort of audience is going to enjoy this the most?
JC: It is aimed at an audience of the classic superhero genre, such as DC or Marvel readers, since they were our main influences. The fact that the character is radicalized in Argentina does not prevent his reading and understanding, since except for the real settings where the story takes place and his obvious clothing, we do not make any apology to our country, nor are there customs that cannot be easily understood. In fact, we have a subplot where several superheroes, from four real publishers from different South American countries, come together for the first time creating what we call: the South American Union, the first Latin American supergroup of heroes.
CB: How did you guys develop your creative approach to this?
JC: Both Luigiman and I are cartoonists, but we are not as good as these artists, that is why we prefer to put ourselves in the role of editor and take advantage of all the talent that exists, offering a quality product, in full color and that has nothing to envy the other publishers. We believe that our project is what differentiates us from others, that is why we bet on Latin American talent. We have been in this role for five years now, and have published a total of fourteen comics spread over five titles.
CB: How far along is the book?
JC: The book is complete, since it includes the first six issues of the Silver Sun series. The only things we still need to finish are the internal designs of some editorial columns, things like the index or the extras pages, things that won’t take us more than a month to finish.
For the regular series, we had a production flow of between three and four months, but we were delayed by different situations outside the editorial, such as the endless inflationary debacles in Argentina or the recent pandemic.
CB: What’s been your biggest takeaway from self-publishing? And are there more stories you want to tell in this universe?
JC: Learn We have learned a lot, since we have launched ourselves as editors without any specialization or knowledge. The truth is that we may have been wrong at times, but I think there were more times that we have been right, with the different decisions we have made. We have full confidence that our products are of quality and that they will surely fulfill the objective of entertaining the reader. We have four more titles from the UMC universe waiting their turn and this is Sun’s first story arc, we have more planned for the character.
CB: Before we close out this edition of Indie Comics Showcase, do you want to mention any special features in this book?
JC: Yes, as an alternative to the book, we offer the possibility of buying the comics separately, in case you are nostalgic fans of the comic book format like us. The other luxury option is the possibility of not only acquiring the tome, but also a spectacular polymer clay sculpture, plus a cloth mask and a GIFT keychain!!!
I would also like to clarify that if anyone has already had the opportunity to read one of our comics and “suffered” the translation from Spanish to English, they should stay calm because on this occasion we have commissioned a new translation from a professional translator so that they can enjoy of the comic in the best possible way.
CB: Thanks Jonh. Good luck with the comic campaign!
Check out the crowdfunding page here
And visit their official website here.
That’s it for this installment. If you’re a creator ramping up your own campaign or have a comic available for purchase online and you want to be featured in our weekly column, click here. And follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics and reach out to them for more eyes on YOUR crowdfunding comic project. Until next time, support indie comics!