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!
Nephilim Squadron Vol 1
by Melvin Allen
Check out the Indiegogo here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Melvin! Hit me with the elevator pitch for Nephilim Squadron!
Melvin Allen: Nephilim Squadron is an 80-page, full color science-fantasy graphic novel that takes place in the 28th century. The story focuses on the personal journey of a clone fighter pilot’s desire for a soul while trying to penetrate the scheming of a planetary dictator. All of this happens while human civilization clashes with horrifying aliens in a struggle for survival! In a nutshell, Nephilim Squadron is Top Gun meets Heavy Metal Magazine, or like Avatar, but with testosterone!
CB: Where did the idea for this comic come from, and made you decide to self-publish it?
MA: I’ve had the idea for this rolling around in my head since I was a teenager. And it stemmed from the desire to create stories combined with my compulsion to draw, and then to integrate parts of my favorite shows, and some comics, into the concept. I suppose it’s most directly influenced by the show Robotech, with a bit of Black Sheep Squadron, and sequential storytelling works such as American Flagg!, The Incal, The Technopriests, and Crying Freeman. It took some time to get this going mostly because I didn’t have the resources to self-publish, and partially because I was not satisfied by my skill level. Although I did work on it off and on over the years, and even made a first version of it, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon crowdfunding that I went full bore with the process.
CB: What kind of comic readers is this comic best suited for?
MA: This comic is intended for fans of science fiction, action, political intrigue, and satire comics. The recommended age demographic would be 17 years and up
CB: Describe a bit about your creative process for me.
MA: I try to project a sense of dynamism and excitement in my art style. For me, it’s probably most important that the reader gets the sense of my characters being alive, and that the environment is interesting to the eye. I typically use a brush pen for close and medium organic subjects, and technical pens for technical stuff! As far as how my methods developed goes, it was an accumulation of schooling and learning on jobs. But recently I can say that for specifically comics inking, I soaked in a great deal of knowledge from the book, The Art of Comic Book Inking from Steve Rude and Gary Martin.
CB: You’re doing this all by yourself. Can you tell me what your production workflow is like?
MA: I started with the synopsis, then broke that down into detailed descriptions of each issue page by page. Then I assemble dialogue from various notes, and work that into a script with detailed panel descriptions. From there, I create thumbnails, then on to blue line pencil on paper. I ink over that with physical brushes and pens after which I color the pages in Photoshop. The book has about 35 pages to go before I send it to an editor.
CB: What have you been learning through this process?
MA: The first greatest lesson I learned from self-publishing and crowdfunding is to have all, or as much as possible, the work done before an official launch. The second most important lesson for a solo creator like myself is to assemble a team first, and maybe be less of a solo creator. Establishing the foundation of the first lesson reduces stress and agitation. And ensuring a team based on the second lesson would ideally reduce production time (and stress and agitation)
CB: Do you have plans for more stories in this universe?
MA: There are 3 more volumes of Nephilim Squadron planned, and each is shorter than Volume 1 so production and fulfillment time will shorter. After Volume 1 ships, I have plans for smaller comic book projects before returning to Nephilim Squadron. These will be costumed hero stories and are not connected to Nephilim Squadron. Stay tuned for more news about Arc Welder, and a project that is currently codenamed Sedona!
CB: Any special features in this book or campaign you’d like to highlight?
MA: I’m currently offering the first issue (grayscale) of the story on the campaign site. It’s 36 story pages and ships immediately for only $12 with free shipping (U.S. Only)! This sans-color book is a throwback to the old Viz Comics edition of manga I enjoyed in the 80’s. It was the main book on my first campaign and served as a preview for the full color, 80-page edition that will be ready to ship this spring.
CB: Anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?
MA: I would like to thank you, Chris, for the opportunity to tell you all about my passion project. Being able to do this and find inspiration in like-minded people keeps me going as a serious creator. Support your friendly neighborhood smaller creators!
CB: Thanks for sharing it with us, Melvin!
Check out the Indiegogo here!
Shotgun Samurai Legends
by ‘The Quaff’
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase! What’s the pitch for Shotgun Samurai Legends?
The Quaff: It’s the follow up to the hit graphic novel Shotgun Samurai! What darkness lies in the past of our Shotgun Wielding Samurai?
CB: Where did the idea for this comic come from?
TQ: Shotgun Samurai started off as a joke amongst my college friends, but then I decided to actually make the thing. Shotgun Samurai is a unique beast, publishers didn’t know the gold that was laid out in front of them, so I went the self publishing route.
CB: What kind of comic reader is going to enjoy this the most?
TQ: This is an action/adventure manga-esque book with a similar tone to old samurai and western films. Target age is males from 13-35.
CB: What made you go with the comics genre for this tale?
TQ: I had a story to tell, and comics was the one medium where I could do it all on my own. I’ve always drawn comics for my friends growing up, but Shotgun Samurai was the first one that I took seriously. I’ve learned whatever I can from youtube videos about the comic creation process to make sure my product is up to standards.
CB: Who is your creative team on this project?
TQ: Shotgun Samurai Legends is headed by Me (The Quaff), I have a co-writer (M. Bello) and it features two other artists: Jose Garcia and Felzbug. I wanted to feature my favorite artists in indie comics in this book, and I made sure to write according to their strengths!
CB: So how far along is the book?
TQ: The book is about 70% complete upon launch. I have the last 14 pages written out, then next I go to thumbnails and then I will draw the final pages of the book. Once they come back from the colorist, I will add the letters myself and get everything ready for print! Then comes the fun part, fulfillment!
CB: This isn’t your first rodeo. Share a bit about what you’ve been learning from self-publishing.
TQ: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how invaluable having a network is. I’ve learned so much from other people in the indie comics community, I couldn’t have been as successful as I am without their help!
CB: What are your plans beyond this book? More stories you’re hoping to tell?
TQ: There are plenty more. After this, I will continue with Volume 2, and as I move forward I will be produce Legends Vol 2 and so on.
CB: That’s great. Good luck to you guys!
Check out the campaign here!
Sidekick For Hire
by Kristian Herrera
Check out the campaign here!
CB: Welcome to this week’s Indie Comics Showcase, Kristian! What’s the pitch for Sidekick for Hire?
KH: A story about a Sidekick that gets hired by millionaire vigilantes but sucks at the job and gets the heroes hurt, or worse, killed
CB: What was the inspiration for this comic?
KH: I was talking with friends about why there aren’t any real-life heroes. The reason being it’s super dangerous and dumb. If we tried it, we could be at most work for hire sidekicks bc we are broke! And I didn’t want to wait around for publishers and I felt confident in my ability self-publish!
CB: Who is this comic aimed at?
KH: It’s definitely aimed for an older demographic that likes dark comedy and darker themes in comics. For people who are fans of Kick-Ass and Invincible!
CB: Tell me a little bit about how you developed your creative process.
KH: I’ve mostly learned as I go. The best process for me is to start with a one sentence outline and then expand that outline to a paragraph, then how the issue will go, then outline each page of the issue. After that, I will officially write the script and rewrite it a few more times before I send it to editor and my collaborators
CB: Who are some of your team members on this project?
KH: We are actually from all around the world! Rick Alves as been the artist and my collaborator since day one to this final issue. Jimmy Greenhalgh has been doing an amazing job on coloring. Then the final piece is Toben Racicot who letters and helps make my comic look even more professional! We actually all met online through Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. Never in person funny enough!
CB: Wow! So how does that work for your production workflow?
For most projects I don’t like to start sharing it until I have some color on pages. When it comes to crowdfunding, I try to make sure that the whole series is finished, except for some extras in the comic, before the campaign so people know it’s done and they don’t have to wait as long!
CB: What are some lessons you’ve learned through crowdfunding and self-publishing?
KH: It’s a marathon. It’s never as fast as you want it to be so patience is incredible important. The other important thing I’ve learned is asking other creators what they have done because they tend to give advice to stop you from making the same mistakes!
CB: Does this wrap up the series or are there more stories to tell?
KH: After this final issue of Sidekick For Hire, I wi be making more comics. I can really talk about them yet but the art is already being worked on so hopefully we can show off more this year!
CB: Any special features in this campaign we should know about?
KH: I think the most special perk, or extra, for Sidekick For Hire (besides the final issue itself) is the Collectors Box. It’s a limited item that allows new and old fans to hold all the single issues in a high-quality box on their shelf while still looking really nice.
CB: Sounds good! Anything else you want to share with our readers before we wrap this up?
KH: I hope you all can join us with this final chapter. I tried to keep costs down because this was never about making money from comics, it’s about telling a story that means something to us. So thank you to everyone who has supported so far! We can’t wait to finish this journey with you all!
Check out the campaign 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!