Indie Comics Showcase #205: Succubusted 2, In Hell & Home Free: Desert Green

 

 

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!

 

Home Free: Desert Green
by John Kratky

 

Check out the campaign here.

Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, John. What’s the synopsis for your latest project ‘Home Free: Desert Green’?

John Kratky: Sara is on the run to Mexico, not only from crimes she committed, but from a past she does not want to face.  As the world around her crumbles directly because of a man she was involved with 10 years prior, she has no choice but to face who she is to understand where she is going.

 

CB: Where did the idea for this comic come from, and made you decide to self-publish it?

JK: Michelle (the artist on Home Free) and I were looking for a shorter project to jump into crowdfunding with, and we decided to revisit Sara, a character from our graphic novel The Black Wall.  we originally envisioned a 3 issue story, but quickly realized it was a bit bigger than that and expanded to 5.

I’ve been self-publishing my work since 2006.  Even if other opportunities come my way, I don’t think there is any reason to not continue doing it.  Self-publishing is the ultimate ownership of your work.  It really is up to you whether you will be successful or not.

 

 

CB: What kind of comic reader is this best suited for?

JK: Anybody who is interested in a good mix of drama, crime, & action.  We call our comics “dramatic crime fiction”, as they aren’t necessarily hard-boiled, classic noir plots.  This elements are there, but we expand on them into the modern landscape.  Also, fans of black and white comics really need to look at Michelle’s work.  She is great.

 

CB: Tell me a bit about your creative process, John.

JK: My influences come from all over.  I read comics, fiction, & non-fiction works.  I’m a film nerd and love to watch movies from all eras.  I love putting music on the sets the mood for what I’m writing.  I’m interested in people and why they make the decisions in life that they do.  We are what we eat and I feel like my style comes out of all of that. 

I dead are always small sparks the blossom into raging fires.  I always start with a character, or just a smidge of a plot and just keep writing about it all until somethings develops.  Then I get into the story.

 

 

CB: Who is on your creative team?

JK: Michelle Lodge is a fantastic artist who jumps back and forth between the worlds of noir and light children’s comics.  She is talented and hardworking and i hope that the stories we create together will get her wider recognition because she deserves it.  Whatever isn’t written in words, is on the faces of the characters that she draws, and walks within the environment & atmosphere she creates.

Eduardo Camacho is the letterer on the project, another longtime collaborator.  He always comes up with fonts and balloons that blend well within the pages.  He’s also very reliable and professional.  I’ve worked on many projects with him and plan to work on many more with him.

 

 

CB: What’s your production workflow like?

JK: I really like to have all of the writing complete before anything is ever drawn.  Something I write in issue 5 may change something written in issue 1.  I don’t write the story as I go.  That being said, before we release the last 2 issues next year, I guarantee I will be rewriting them somewhat.  Everything important is there and wrapped up though.  I might go back and just expand on some ideas.

 

CB: What is probably the biggest thing you’ve learned through the crowdfunding process?

JK: Marketing.  I think that is the biggest thing any of us can learn.  It is an important skill if you want success in comics.

 

 

CB: Are there more stories to tell beyond this book? What’s next?

JK: Always.  I’m wrapping up another project with a different artist.  I plan to crowdfund some old projects into print.  I have a few scripts ready, but they are long and before I tackle them, I know I have to get more readers, so I may try for a few graphic novellas in the crime and horror genres before I jump into anything really big.

I have been writing short stories that take place within the Home Fee universe, but that aren’t necessarily directly connected to the story.  So far I have “4 Days with May”, and with the new campaign I am releasing “Inheritor of the Dead’.  It is about a man who cleans up crime scenes, but also steals valuable items from the dead for some cash on the side.  Well, the particular item he finds in this story gets him into a world of trouble.

 

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

JK: If you are looking for something a little different than the norm, check out Home Free.  Although it is a pretty grounded story, we don’t shy away from the more pulpy aspects of the genre.  You’ll have fun, you’ll go deep with the characters, and you’ll feel the suspense of the action.

Check out the campaign here.

 

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In Hell
by Pablo Rincon

Check out the campaign here.

Chris Braly: Welcome to ICS, Pablo. Hit me with the elevator pitch for (Christine) ‘In Hell’.

Pablo Ritcon: “Six teenagers you know very well…Meet THE GRAND UNKNOWN (and a clown) IN HELL.”

 

CB: What led to your decision to self-publish IN HELL?

PR: This comic started in my mind around the concept of a killer wizard that would cast as spell, allowing him to own the souls of his victims as slaves in hell, once he died. A very dark thought indeed, the sort of idea that pops into your mind by itself. I thought that would be the start of a very strange, eternal family that would need to adapt to living together in this new dimension. The idea of a such group having adventures in Hell seemed like a very intense, fantastical story to me. Some time after that I rewatched “The Breakfast Club” and was again deeply moved by the group of youths in that movie, what a beautiful group of souls.

I decided to tweak my story and have a similar group of archetypical teenagers be at the center of it. I wanted to create a really powerful tale of kids going beyond their limits, beyond the human, and evolving into truly new creatures. Instead of a story where the status quo and the traditional sense of morality is affirmed, this comic will push the characters far beyond, and take the reader into a new space, and, more importantly, motivations alien to most. The ambitions of wizards…On the formal side of things, I aim to bridge fantasy/horror with the complexity of “fine art” and create a graphic novel where ever page is a proper painting, capable of rewarding the attentive reader with layered revelations.

 

 

CB: Can you describe the sort of reader this comic is best suited for or aimed at?

PR: A comic set in Hell is sure to feature at some point any and every sort of evil deed/event imaginable. The journey will be an unfettered one. The first chapter features explicit violent and sexual content, so kids should abstain. I will say though, that the story will be one of human triumph, not debasement, so any objectionable situation featured in it is but a step towards a life-affirming vision. I hope to reach readers that want more out of their fiction, way way more than mere “entertainment”.

I hope to collaborate with such readers (for an author is nothing without a reader) and manifest a truly new vision, a truly new, exciting, frightening story. TLDR: adults who like art (as opposed to entertainment) and are hungry for fantasy/horror tales that are complex, violent, sincere and sexy.

 

 

CB: Tell me a little bit about your style and creative process.

PR: I lay out the story. Starting from a very basic art to a set of events, then break down what will happen in each spread (I consider a spread a single piece). I often decide first that “someone should say something here” and draw the dialog balloon along with the rough sketch, only to later find the actual words. I like to have a general idea of where I´m going but also enjoy the thrill of discovering it. Many of the ideas in this story are a continuation of previously developed themes and concepts from my past works. I have a thing for Milton´s “Paradise Lost” and consider all my works unofficial sequels to that legendary poem.

I produce a double page a week more or less. I try to do images that are very dense (mechanically) since I don´t draw particularly fast, so I prefer to do plan something layered since I´m going to spend some time drawing it proper. The first chapter of the story is finished, and will be available for backers the moment the campaign successfully ends. The rest of the story is planned out with varying degrees of detail, I am very excited about it.

 

 

CB: Are you the solo creator, or do you have other talent contributing to this project?

PR: I work alone, but my significant other is at the heart of my worlds, irl, in dreams and fiction. I could do the same thing Dali used to do, and sign my pieces with her name also, but I don´t really sign what I do (it´s a bother having to reserve a spot for that on every composition)

 

 

CB: What are you learning from self-publishing through the crowdfunding process?

PR: I have learned that the saying “if you build them, they will come” is false. Having spent so much time developing my craft and ideas, I find myself almost completely alone in life, and struggling to promote my work. I will persevere though, forever. The technical aspect of production (including offset printing and digital distribution etc is something I understand well at this point)

 

CB: Any plans beyond this book?

PR: This story is a pretty long one. I have a pretty solid idea of what happens in the first “volume” (composed of around six chapters like the one I will release). But I enjoy most dreaming about what would happen in the second book. I want to do a story that becomes more and more fantastical as it goes on.

 

 

CB: Any special features in with this campaign you’d like to highlight?

PR: I offer people the change to fund the production of the second chapter and receive weekly updates until it´s finished. I think it could be really fun and intriguing to find stuff to share every week that is mysterious and cool yet doesn´t spoil what happens. I think of it as walking along with my readers in tow, like the pied piper of Hamelin.

 

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with me, Pablo. Any final words before we sign off?

PR: My two past books “Secret Reunion In Carfax Lodge” and “(Not) Freak Squeal” are included in some of the reward tiers. I am very proud of both of them, and want to invite people to get them as well, they won´t regret it. I like to describe them as “the strangest you will ever see DRACULA be”. They are love stories between artificial werewolves in the far distant future, mixed with virtual battles, identity theft and terraforming, a really crazy mix.

Check out the campaign here.

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Succubusted 2
by Isaac Fox

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, Isaac! Tell us the elevator pitch for your latest Succubusted comic!

Isaac Fox: Federal Officer Liam J. White and his newly appointed partner, Rita the succubus, have been tasked with an easy assignment – arrest a demon who’s overstayed his travel visa. Unfortunately for Liam, nothing is easy with a lusty succubus following you around. Rita has a habit of making everything, and everyone, around her hard. With the foreplay out of the way in issue 1, it’s time to get tied up in SuccuBUSTED! #2.

 

 

CB: Tell me what inspired this comic series for you.

IF: I always wanted to do a story about Succubi. They can offer a sort of fun, sexy antihero element through a focal lens of particular facets of human society and behavior. I took a lot of inspiration from Darkstalkers and fun ecchi like Monster Musume and High School DxD. With most of my series being darker and more serious, I thought it would be nice offer readers a breast of fresh air. Our company brings terrific indie books to life so publishing it ourselves was a no brainer.

 

 

CB: This is an adults only comic for sure, isn’t it?

IF: You definitely need to be 18 or older for SuccuBUSTED! due to its nudity and raunchy humor. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys ecchi anime/manga, sexy artwork, or beautiful women being total badasses and owning it, SuccuBUSTED! is for you.

 

CB: How do you develop your characters in this universe?

IF: When I work on new characters I tend to create long spreadsheets breaking down every attribute and personality quirk of that character. What hand they use to eat, their favorite colors and foods – everything. This keeps me on track when putting them to paper and helps our artists really bring out the true color of the character.

 

 

CB: Who is on your creative team, Isaac?

IF: Mitsu-Blinger is our book’s lead artist. She is an amazing artist who really blends eastern and western styles together to create her own visual experience. A character like Rita the succubus was perfectly suited for Mitsu as she’s amazing at making characters who are that cute and quirky kind of sexy. The book’s colorist, Krius, is new to our team but has extensive experience working on books like Danger Zone One. His coloring is superb – capable of making characters look vivid and captivating.

 

 

CB: With so many moving parts, what’s your production workflow like?

IF: I work pretty much nonstop. Our group believes we owe it to our backers and readers to never stop trying to outdo ourselves and make things even better for them. If someone’s going to take the time, and money, to back our book, we owe them our very best. Usually, I’ll write a book and edit it a few times myself before my editors look at it. From there, it goes to the art team in a cycle of progress, review, edit, finalize. SuccuBUSTED! #2 is totally complete and ready to be summoned to your home! Book #3 is even close to finished already!

 

 

CB: This isn’t your first rodeo. Tell me what you’re learning from self-publishing through this process.0

IF: There’s a great deal of lessons I’ve learned ranging from unpleasant to joyful. What I’ve learned most is the value of adaptability and listening to your readers. If they want more of element X or factor Y, learn to adapt to those tastes to put a smile on as many faces as possible. If we can make someone’s day just a little bit better in some way, then we’re doing our job.

 

CB: Is there more to come beyond this book?

IF: SuccuBUSTED! #3 is mostly done already and we plan on releasing it next year. We’ve also got Pure Intent #2 and Cremisi #5 coming in 2023. I can also (finally!) announce a brand new series set in a WW1 style high-fantasy following a squad of completely underqualified soldiers and the missions they get thrown into. This book is an ecchi series mixing sexy fun with a military elements. Plus it has a special guest appearance by Erik Braa! (League of Legends Draven, Velkoz, Jax, and so many more amazing roles in gaming)

 

 

CB: Thanks again for bringing this to our readers’ attention, Isaac. Anything else before we sign off?

IF: I want to say thank you to our readers and fans. We hit the #1 spot on Kickstarter for comics by popularity on day 1 and, as of the time of this writing, we still hold this title. For this, my team and I are grateful to the point of tears. We’ll do everything in our power to reward that faith! (and lust)!

 

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 one opinionated, based geek. I try to steer this tiny ship and can often be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several fellow "comic book nerds." Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly. My preferred adjectives are brilliant/beautiful.

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON