Indie Comics Showcase #178: Hollow Girl, Necroblivion & Xanatopia


 

 

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!

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN XANATOPIA
by DC Horn

Check out the crowdfunding campaign page here!

 

Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, DC. Give us the elevator pitch for Once Upon a Time in Xanatopia!

DC Horn: PALADIN 55187, Nora Victorious is a monster executing, magic wielding, cyborg free falling into the machinations of fate… for better or for worse! Our first issue contains 21 story pages in black & white (an ode to classic samurai movies) and that is the start of Nora’s adventure.

 

CB: So where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to self-publishing it?

DC: Once Upon A Time In Xanatopia was originally a dueling card game inspired by JRPGs. I loved the worldbuilding we had done and the backstories I’d created so much that we shifted the project to pursue a possible narrative. Somewhere along the way… we accidentally made a comic book! We were so busy, lost in the fun of making this comic, that we forget one day we had to publish it. So this first volume, Issues 1-4 are actually almost complete. But for now, we are starting with Issue 1.

 

CB: What sort of comic readers do you think will get the most out of this story?

DC: I like to believe that the comic is suitable for all ages. Once Upon A Time In Xanatopia is an eclectic melting pot of inspirations. We have fantasy/magic, sci-fi/cyborgs, monsters and gore, all mixed in a contemporary modern world. So there is a little something for everyone in there. But for simplification, its a modern fantasy adventure. A few of my personal influences for this project include the movie “The Sword of Doom”, and games like  “Final Fantasy 7” & “Xenogears.”

 

 

CB: What can you tell me about your creative process?

DC: To be honest, I’m kind of making this all up as I go! I developed a story arc, then started sub dividing this arc into smaller pieces… each arc into issues, issues into pages, pages into panels, all the while keeping basic story structures in mind. That’s over-simplifying a complicated process, but it all starts with an idea or destination. Our job then is to figure out how to get there as smoothly as possible.

CB: Tell me about your creative team that contributed to this project.

DC: I work with the best team in the world! On issue 1 in particular,  we have Miriam Nassereddine as the lead artist, David Swanson is the letterer and cover artist. Arundhati Subhedar is the editor. And I can sing praises for these people all day long, but honestly, their work speaks for itself and I’m forever fortunate to have worked with them.

 

 

CB: So how does your production workflow work with this team?

DC: As the writer of the project I am forever the procrastinator. I turn written pages in at the last minute… always. I sit around with the story in my head on repeat until its crunch time and then I frantically type out a script. Miriam and David on the other hand are like clock work with a page every couple of days. Volume 1 of “Once Upon A Time In Xanatopia” is four issues. We are finishing the fourth issue now, and Miriam is actually working on the beginning of volume 2 with issue 5.

 

CB: What have you been learning from self-publishing through this process?

DC: I’m still learning SO MUCH everyday. I think one of the most important things I’ve learn so far though is that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. A lot of people and other creators are caring and genuinely mean their best.

 

CB: It makes sense to seek the counsel of other creators. Can you tell me are there more plans beyond this book?

DC: Yeah. We are going to be releasing volume 1 of Once Upon A Time In Xanatopia issue by issue. We are working on volume 2.  We are offering digital versions of the comic as well as print. And we have a couple variant covers, posters, and an advertising option. We are starting humble and hope to build as we go. We also have another little project I’ve been calling “Dynasty Pop Presents” coming soon; its two short/silly/bizarre horror stories. We just started the concept work on an awesome series (untitled at the moment) with giant kaiju gods and people with gravity magic.

 

 

 

CB: Thanks for speaking with me, DC. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

DC: I just hope you can check out our campaign. If you can’t support it, no worries, but share it. Sharing is caring… and caring is free. Making these comics has been the pleasure of lifetime. I hope you enjoy them too.

CB: Best of luck!

 

Check out the crowdfunding campaign page here!

 

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NECROBLIVION
by Chris M. Cantrell

 

Grab a copy of this comic here!

 

Chris Braly: Welcome to this week’s Indie Comics Showcase, Chris. Hit me with the elevator pitch for Necroblivion! Cool name.

Chris Cantrell: Of course ~ Necromancer and part-time treasure hunter Umbra, along with her unwitting companion Ximm (He’s…the weirdo in her hair.), spend their days much like any adventurer worth their gold would. By day they dive deep into temples and tombs looking for riches and by night they test the patience of the local bartender while they try to drink each other under the table.

Oh, and there might be the threat of the world coming to an end. You know how it is.

CB: Where did the idea for this comic originate and made you decide to publish it independently? 

CC: It started off from my desire to try my hand at a manga comic.  I knew I wanted to do a story about two people who would be bouncing off of each other as much as they did the environment.  Then I thought it would be even more tense if the two were somehow stuck together.  Next thing I know, I sketched out a woman with a face in her hair and it just clicked.

I’ve been self-publishing for decades now because I can’t stand someone getting in the way of the stories I want to tell.  Publishing it myself frees me to share what I envision and not what the market trend is.

CB: Well said. So what type of comic readers is this suited for and who is it aimed at? I’m guess it’s for a mature audience.

CC: The series is recommended for adults over the age of 18 due to nudity, occasional violence and mature subjects. Anyone who enjoys an apocalyptic medieval style adventure with demons, magic and the like should enjoy the comics.

CB: Explain your style and creative process to me. And are you the sole creator on this series?

CC: Writing, lettering, inking – it’s all just me. My style has traditionally been more cartoonish in nature (Simpsons, Family Guy) which developed from a long history of reading newspaper strips like Garfield, Peanuts, etc.  After finally making the leap to digital with a Wacom tablet, I’ve found more courage to step outside of those genres and try new styles like this manga. My brain tends to work in phases so I’ll start by sitting down and writing a bunch of chapters.  Then I sketch everything out and tweak any timing issues.  After I’m satisfied with the setup, it’s inked and lettered and saved to the server.

CB: What lessons are you learning from self-publishing through this process?

CC: I think that it’s important to offer fans multiple way to access your work aside from printed volumes.  I’ve been surprised at the strong response this title has seen with it’s digital version.

 

 

CB: Any plans beyond this book? 

CC: Absolutely.  I’ve got nearly the entire series mapped out at this point and have started on a rough framework for the next arc.  I won’t be running out of ideas any time soon. One pleasant side effect of this book’s creation is that I have been able to compile and offer a companion sketch book.

CB: Cool. Before we conclude the interview, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

CC: Just that I’m grateful for the continued support of readers who fund my work (and others like me).  Buying into an unknown series is a huge risk and for a reader to make that leap means a lot.  Thank you.

CB: Thanks Chris

 

Grab a copy of this comic here!

 

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HOLLOW GIRL
by Luke Cooper

Check out Hollow Girl here!

 

Chris Braly: Welcome to this week’s Indie Comics Showcase, Luke. Give us your elevator pitch for Hollow Girl!

Luke Cooper: HOLLOW GIRL is a series of graphic novels about a vigilante-medium. A girl who allows herself to be a vessel for the vengeful dead, she wears a mask to represent the faces of those she serves. The art is black and white to give it a noir-ish feel and each book is around 48 pages.

 

Hollow Girl Trailer

 

CB: Nice. What spawned the idea for Hollow Girl and compelled you to self-publish?

LC: HOLLOW GIRL is basically a slasher movie role-reversal. Instead of having a bad guy in a mask killing teenage girls, we have a teenage girl in a mask killing bad guys. The original idea was the all too familiar male creator’s flawed stab at a bad girl comic – a typical cross between female empowerment and exploitation – but as the character was developed, things got rapidly darker, sending the series in a more psychological direction. I think this was because I gave her a mask, which dehumanized her and added a sense of mystery.

CB: What sort of comic book readers will get the most out of this?

LC: I think readers who enjoy dark anti-heroes and ’90s action movies will enjoy HOLLOW GIRL, which you could call a blend of action and horror. Think THE CROW meets Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN. I have always hoped that HOLLOW GIRL would appeal to female readers with a dark side, but guys who like girls that scare the crap out of them will love it too.

 

 

CB: Looks like you are the sole creator, correct? What can you share about your style and creative process?

LC: I am a one-man show, which means that there’s no one to wait for and no one else to blame. I draw in a non-traditional way – photography and digital inks. It came from a desire to make horror comics more relatable, but now I just love working that way. The photo shoots are so much fun to do – they make me feel like a director. The reason the comics are black and white is because, back when I first started, I was aiming to keep printing costs down for my publisher, so I developed a style that felt complete even without colours, hence the heavy greyscale shading and solid blacks.

 

CB: Wow. What’s your production workflow like? 

LC: I start out by writing a brief plot outline, which I then start fleshing out with extra notes including pieces of dialogue and action scenes. This then gets turned into a script. Because I edit as I go, I might only need a first draft, but a second or third might become necessary if later plot developments necessitate them. Next comes the photo shoots, which required taking the script and pulling out the dialogue to give myself a shot list. When the photo reference has been assembled, I create collages on the page to ink over. I letter before I start inking so that I know the layout is correct before I get into the most painstaking part of creating the art. Sometimes this might mean editing the dialogue to make it fit better, or simply because it reads wrong on the page. Bare inks completed, I get rid of the photos and start adding layers of shading.

CB: I appreciate the detail there. So what can you tell me about your experience with self-publishing?

LC: I have learnt that you have to make comics for the love of it, not with the goal of making money. It’s hard to get known as an indie creator. There are a lot of people vying for attention, and there’s little hope of beating the big two. Don’t focus on that movie deal, just have fun.

 

CB: Are there any plans beyond this series? Where do things stand?

LC: Because of some drama with previous publishers, we are reprinting the whole series of HOLLOW GIRL from the beginning. The last book published was book 10 with 11 on its way to the printers. The series was originally planned to be 12 issues, but working with Markosia – the new publisher – has inspired me to keep going. At the moment, I am working on the art for book 15, and it’s scripted all the way up to 18 with another couple plotted out beyond that.

CB: Sounds good, Luke. Good luck with this series!

 

Books 1-10 of HOLLOW GIRL are available now from markosia.com

Check out Hollow Girl here!

 

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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!

 

 

 


 


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