Indie Comics Showcase #200: Kor-drath, Six-Gun Gorilla, & Captain So-So & Mister Maybe


 

 

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!

Kor-Drath: The Reckoning
by Andy Smith

Check out the Indiegogo page here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell me the elevator pitch for Kor-Drath: The Reckoning!!

Andy Smith: After our hero, Kor-Drath’s tribe the Red Lions was slaughtered by powerful undead that turns out to be their nemesis tribe, he and his companion the Sorceress Adryana from the Black Eagles sister Tribe set out to avenge those responsible for the massacre. Their quest shows that there is more than meets the eye as enemies from ancient undead to demons reveal themselves to the star-crossed lovers. What can these two hope to do against such odds as they find they are but pawns in a much more dangerous game.

 

Kor-Drath: the Reckoning trailer 2!

 

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

AS: My buddy Dennis (Turner) and I were traveling to a convention when a discussion came up about my new project. I thought after two years on 1stMAN a change of direction was needed away from the superhero genre. Kor-Drath came about as we realized each other’s strengths. I like drawing fantastic big strong men as
well as beautiful women. Why not marry that with Dennis’ strength in the Sword and Sorcery genre. Dennis’ background of playing Dungeons and Dragon, Pathfinder, 7th Sea, Earth Dawn, and many more since 1984, plus his extensive fantasy novel reading and it seemed to be a natural fit. We figured out during our conversation why not find an inventive way to merge the world of comics with Roleplaying.

 

 

CB: What comics audience is this aimed at, geared towards?

AS: It is geared to teens and up who enjoy the sword and sorcery genre with big battles, interesting cultures, and magic that works differently than most. The world-building is key as we start in one small section of a much larger land called the Shattered Reach. Strange and exotic cultures, as well as new and powerful creatures, will capture one’s imagination!

 

 

CB: How about a shout-out to your creative team on this project?

AS: Sure thing! My co-creator/ writer is Dennis Turner who I met a few years ago while he was helping a friend at their local comic shop, we share a love for a lot of the same comic books and movies, and see a lot of things the same way and became quick friends. He’s a life-long comic book fan like myself and as mentioned earlier a huge Dungeons and Dragons player who has written many campaigns as well as an expert in a lot of the other RPG games and fantasy novels. He brings a unique perspective to the story and has a lot of great ideas. My letterer as always is the supremely talented Steve Dutro who has lettered all my books and designed my logos. The colorist hasn’t been decided as of this time. I want to make sure I get the right person for this project and am considering a few different people.

 

 

CB: Is the book ready to go to print? If not, what is its current status? And also, tell me a bit about your production workflow.

AS: Nope, with this being a new property I have been spending time on designs for the characters and there is a lot of world-building that Dennis has been doing. And then promoting the campaign which as you know can almost be a full-time job. The book is estimated to ship in November next year which I’m intentionally padding with the hope of fulfilling early. I don’t like working right up until a deadline, that causes undo stress and with the lack of hair I already have I don’t need any more stress. Dennis is working on another draft of the script as we want to make sure it’s as tight a story as it can be. We have a unique workflow in the sense that after Dennis writes a chunk of pages I’ll give them a read and then we’ll go over them at my place page by page tightening things up and tweaking stuff where needed. The first chunk is finalized so I’m starting on interior pages now.

 

 

CB: This isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve been working in the comics industry for years and even produced the popular “Drawing Dynamic Comics” guide that I know many artists rely on. Tell me how you got your start and some of the highlights of your career, then tell me why you decided to get into the indie crowdfunding game.

AS: I went to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Art and in my third year, I met Bart Sears, who was teaching there that year. He was working for DC Comics at the time on Justice League Europe, a book I bought monthly, and I was a big fan. Long story short we struck up a friendship as he wasn’t my teacher and he mentored me during that third year. In the Spring of my third year, 1991, he must have thought my art samples were ready and invited me to go up to DC’s offices with him while he dropped off pages. I met with a few editors who all had positive feedback on my work and gave me some notes and said to work up new samples and come back. I did that about two weeks later and got my first job for DC Comics. I’ve had a great career working on some of my favorite characters like Aquaman, Green Lantern, X-men, and Superman to name a few. I made the switch to crowdfunding a few years ago as I wasn’t getting any younger and wanted to try doing my own stuff. I saw some of the success a few of my friends were having and gave it shot. I’m glad I did as each campaign I do is growing and I’ve met some great creators in this crowdfunding community we have.

 

 

CB: You’ve had some notable success with indie crowdfunding already. What are you learning, and what would you say is the most rewarding aspect – and your biggest challenge?

AS: The biggest thing I’ve learned with crowdfunding is…it’s a lot of work! HA! Seriously, I am almost a one-man army here. I set up the campaigns, promote them and handle the bulk of the work while working with the colorist and letterer. This new project is different in the fact that Dennis is involved so he is helping out with some stuff besides the creation of the book. The best thing I’ve learned is what an asset YouTube is to interact with your audience. It is very personal as when you’re streaming you need to be your authentic self which the fans will know if you’re not. I’ve always been like an open book and love talking to people and meeting some of the online fans at cons over the past year.

 

 

CB: Let’s get back to the book. What’s your purpose for telling this story and what are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell in the Kor-Drath universe?

AS: Like all the stories I do I want to create a fun-looking book that will entertain and give the reader some escapism and something that I hope they enjoy and that they will come back to and re-read. After working on 1stMAN for two years I wanted to go in a different direction for my next campaign. I’ve always had a love for characters like Tarzan and Conan and about a decade ago did a Red Sonja/Claw mini-series and a Claw mini-series after that, which was my first time drawing fantasy stories like that. I loved it and always wanted to get back to it. Dennis has created a rather vast world for the Kor-Drath universe and his initial outline is very expansive. I joked and said to him it’s awesome but what chunk of this is our first story. The world that is being created is very detailed and while this book will just scratch the surface there are a lot more stories that can be told. This book like 1stMAN will be a stand-alone story as well.

 

 

CB: The campaign ends today! And is so close to $60k in funding, a very good page rate! What’s something unique you want readers to check out before the active campaign ends?

AS: My favorite perk besides the actual book is the Black White and Raw Edition which is an oversized 80-page hardcover that will show all the art in its original form scanned from the actual pages since I draw traditionally. It’s my version of an Artist-Edition. It’ll contain the whole story, the covers, Budd Root’s cover, character designs, etc. Also, Budd Root’s variant cover is also a thing of beauty so if you like the voluptuous women Budd draws then that cover is for you!

CB: It looks great Andy! Looking forward to that artist’s edition.

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

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Adventures of Captain So-So & Mister Maybe
by Adam Tupper

Check out the comic here!

 

Chris Braly: Briefly tell us the elevator pitch for your comic (what’s it about?)

Adam Tupper: Captain So-So and Mister Maybe is a six-chapter full-colour “superhero sitcom” about two slacker heroes committed to the business of helping people…so long as it doesn’t conflict with bingeing their latest favourite tv show. It also stars Superiora, an overworked and underappreciated heroine; a team of female and female-identifed heroes known as the Super Star League; a group of quirky hero trainees affectionately known as the Super-Losers; and The Excellence, one of the world’s most popular heroes who may or may not be a total douchebag. It’s a story about friendship, action, adventure, pop culture references, a lot of jokes, breaking the fourth wall, silly situations…and robots…a LOT of robots.

 

Making SoSo and Maybe

 

CB: Tell me the origins of this comic. How long have you been working on it?

AT: The initial idea for Captain So-So and Mister Maybe came about 20 years ago when I was in university. It was a sub-story in a comic made for a weekly student newspaper. I resurrected the idea at the end of 2020 during the pandemic as a full comic series. Despite loving and collecting comics in various degrees for over 35 years, I’d never done my own actual comic book completely on my own. This was the perfect opportunity to tell a finished story conceived by me, tailored to both my personality and today’s society, and do every part of the comic book process myself. We all know how challenging it is to make and produce your own comic book…and now I know from first-hand experience!

 

 

CB: Who is it aimed at?

AT: So-So and Maybe is a comic best suited for those who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, when pop culture and nerd culture began its meteoric rise into our mass consciousness. A lot of the references and jokes come from my experiences with pop culture growing up, and as a fan of nostalgia. However the comic is for anyone with their finger on the pulse of pop culture, anyone who enjoys finely-crafted jokes, those who think comics are far too serious and should lighten up…and of course children who can’t read yet, as the comic is very colourful and full of wacky faces.

 

 

CB: How long have you been working on your craft?

AT: I’ve been an artist since I was 5 years old, so I’ve had more than a few years to settle on my style. It’s cartoony, with comic book and anime influences. This comic series is the first time I’ve done long-form comic book storytelling which involved some research and a LOT of sketches. I also hadn’t written for comics before so there was definitely some advanced thought that went into how each chapter would be structured for a six-issue comic story with a beginning, middle, and end. Fortunately I love comics and had decades of grand examples to reference!

 

 

CB: How is production going on this book?

AT: I started by writing the whole six-chapter script and sketching the page layouts, which took about 7 months. Then I moved on to finalizing each chapter’s script before starting the physical art which is pencil/ink on paper or watercolour-based. Then the pages are scanned, formatted into a comic page, digitally cleaned, lettered, and digitally coloured. Currently the first four chapters are complete and on my patreon, with the fifth and sixth in process. It takes me about 3-5 months to complete each chapter depending on life and other art commissions or projects.

 

 

CB: What have you been learning from self-publishing / crowdfunding and creating through this process?

AT: Printing is expensive…but I already knew that. But HOLY MOLEY is IT EXPENSIVE. Outside of that, self-publishing is so challenging because you have to have 100% faith in your project and you must maintain that faith for long stretches, with little to no outside feedback. Marketing is always difficult especially when you’re in your 40s trying to break into an industry where most of the individuals involved started in their late teens/early twenties. You have to believe in yourself and in your work.

 

 

CB: Anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?

AT: My patreon is full of value. $8 a month ($11 CDN) gets you access to all my comics including those to come, a ton of behind-the-scenes info, breakdowns of the many many references found in my books, teasers and sneak peeks, and in the late fall 2022 you’ll have early access and solid discounts on brand-new merch. It’s an exciting time!

So-So and Maybe is a labour of love, sprung from decades of being a card-carrying culture nerd. It is a goofy world where people are judged on their actions and nothing else. It accepts all with a happy and welcoming wave, followed by a consensual hug if you don’t mind being touched. In a world where everything seems so serious and important, The Adventures of Captain So-So and Mister Maybe is straight-up silly superhero entertainment.

CB: Well put. Good luck, Adam!

Check out the Patreon here!

 

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SIX-GUN GORILLA Omnibus
by Brian Christgau

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Good to chat with you again Brian! You recently began a campaign to collect all of your Six-Gun Gorilla tales into a single omnibus. For the uninitiated, give me your take on Six-Gun Gorilla.

Brian Christgau: The original “Six-Gun Gorilla” was a story that first appeared in a British boy’s Pulp magazine called “Wizard” in 1939 by an uncredited author. Naturally, like anyone who hears that title, it set off a firecracker in my head and I absolutely had to read that damn story. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that the story had been out of print since its initial publication and that the only two known copies in existence were under lock and key in a museum in London.

Normally stories can take weeks, months, even years to gestate in my head before I feel like they’re ready to put on paper, but something uncanny happened in this case. After discovering that I wasn’t going to be able to read this awesome-sounding story, I decided to drown my sorrows in some fish and chips, which is my favorite junk food. On my way to the restaurant I was listening to the HAWK THE SLAYER soundtrack and the damn thing just wrote itself in my head. By the time I parked, after maybe a 20 minute drive, I had the entire saga sketched out from beginning to end.

 

 

CB: So what’s in this collection?

BC: The SIX-GUN GORILLA OMNIBUS is going to collect all of the previous issues, #1-#8, and add the brand new issues #9 and #10. This is going to be the complete “Long Days of Vengeance” saga in one volume.

 

CB: You’ve worked with several artists over the course of this series. Give a shout out to your creative team.

BC: My artist on the book from #1-#7 was Adrian Sibar, a massive talent and good friend who passed away three years ago, which is going to make any and all future achievements with SIX-GUN GORILLA bitter-sweet. Luckily my friend Preston Asevedo volunteered to finish the series and I couldn’t be working with a more amazing artist. Preston has been a great artist as long as I’ve known him, but now he’s leveled up to the point where I don’t look at his work and think, “that’s so Frazetta,” or “that’s so Bisley,” I think, “that’s so Preston.”

When Preston started turning penciled pages in, I was so awed by their beauty I was like, “Can we just print it like this?” I toyed with the idea of doing a pencils-only “artist’s edition” of issue #8, but then Ollie from 656 came in and dropped these gorgeous colors that preserve ever stroke of Preston’s line-work. I’ve just been so unbelievably lucky to work with the people I’ve worked with so far. Can’t say enough great stuff about those dudes.

 

 

CB: Previously you’ve run crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to self-publish your volumes, but you’re trying a new platform this time. Tell us what that is and how it’s going.

BC: Ah, the big question everyone has been asking! One of the things that’s frustrating about being a writer as opposed to an artist in this scene we call #Comicsgate is that I haven’t really been able to give back. If someone’s campaign is struggling to meet its funding goal, my illustrator friends can drop a cover or a some sketch cards to get them across the finish line. What am I gonna do? Write them a paragraph?

 

 

Zoop has been an unknown quantity to we smaller indie creators. It’s a crowdfunding site that is dedicated exclusively to comic books, as opposed to IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, who barely even know we exist. The people going to Zoop are going there specifically looking for indie comics. So I figured, okay, let me be the first. That way I can report my experience back to my friends and find out if this is a viable platform for us. And so far, so good!

The one thing that burns my britches is that some people refuse to use Zoop because they hired Camilla Zhang, who evidently was a pro-censorship advocate or something, I have no idea. Hey, if you don’t want to buy my book, that’s okay, but don’t not back my book because of that chick! People forget that IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, just like Twitter and YouTube, are NOT our friends. They’re platforms we use to build our brands and they could make us all disappear in a heartbeat. In an environment like that having one new platform can only be a good thing.

And there is no way they don’t know that I’m OG #Comicsgate. Do you honestly think that any company works with anyone these days without sticking a microscope up their asses and combing through their social media profiles?

 

CB: You’ve been at this for years now, what advice would you share with other indie creators that you had to learn as a crowdfunder and self-publisher?

BC: First of all, don’t get into this for the money, because there is none. Second, make sure that you are deeply, fiercely passionate about the story you’re telling because it’s impossible to make other people care about it if you don’t care about it. Also, you’re going to be spending a long time with it. Pace yourself, because this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

And don’t be afraid to ask established creators like myself for help. This scene has it’s share of snakes and shady characters like any other, but by and large it’s very open and eager to help newcomers. You can learn a lot from our successes, but especially from our blunders.

 

CB: Have any of these comics been picked up by a comic publisher, or are you sticking to self-publishing?

BC: I gave up on submitting to publishers ages ago because I know they don’t want what I’ve got, despite the fact that everyone who reads SIX-GUN GORILLA loves it, and I say that with the utmost gratitude.

I think we all know that the crowdfunding model we’re using right now is totally unsustainable and that, eventually, this scene of ours is going to morph into something else. What shape that will be. I’m hoping for something along the lines of METAL HURLANT/HEAVY METAL in the 70’s and 2000 AD on the 80’s, personally, but none of us know for sure.

 

 

CB: Anything else you’d like to mention about this omnibus campaign? It contains issues not released yet, correct? Can backers complete their collection WITHOUT backing the omnibus?

BC: Anyone who bought the previous TPB collecting issues #1-#6, don’t worry, there will be a tier for you as well. One thing I am not going to do to my readers is double dip on them. Heck, I felt shady just having one variant cover on the campaign for SIX-GUN GORILLA #8: CEMETERY WITHOUT CROSSES. I love my backers and try to treat them like the precious resource they are. Be nice to the people who are literally making your dreams come true!

 

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with me, Brian! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

BC: Thanks brother! I appreciate the support!

 

Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance OMNIBUS by Brian Christgau, Adrian Sibar & Preston Asevedo

Check out the campaign 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!

 

 


 


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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