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!
DragonRage: The Crown Of Fire
by Jimmy Reyes
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Jimmy! Hit me with the elevator pitch for DragonRage!
Jimmy Reyes: Two kings. Life-long adversaries, locked in battle for control of the world. One is the King of the Dragons, and he is the last of his kind. One is the King of the Humans, commander of the most dangerous men and women on the planet – Dragon Masters, which are humans with the rare ability to kill dragons and seize their powers for themselves. Warriors with terrifying gifts, fighting for their land and monarchy. For hundreds of years, they have used their abilities for good, protecting the people of Xandahar. But these days, not all Dragon Masters are loyal to their King. And there are secrets in the kingdom of Xandahar; hidden magic users, rumors of a dragon still yet living, and a legendary weapon of immense power, destined only for kings… Who will wear the Crown of Fire?
CB: Cool! What led to your decision to self-publish?
JR: After working as an inker in the mainstream comic industry and not ever owning any of the properties I worked on. I decided it was to to not only own my own IP, but to show that I can draw with the best of them.
CB: Tell me the kind of reader this is aimed at.
JR: Any and all fantasy fans, classics, or anime will find this concept appealing.
CB: What can you tell me about your creative process, and who you’re working with on this?
JR: I have worked with David Finch for years now and was a fan long before that. So I can’t help but be influenced by his art-style after inking directly over his pencils. David is also doing a cover, David Philpott is writing a new comer. Veteran comic colorist Andrew Dalhouse is coloring. Master letter man Eric Weathers is lettering.
CB: What are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?
JR: Absolutely. We are hoping to make this an on-going series.
CB: It looks great! Best of luck to you.
Check out the campaign here!
Gunnar the Brawler
by Jubal Hester
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to ICS, Jubal. Tell me about Gunnar the Brawler!
Jubal Hester: Gunnar the Brawler is a sprawling tale of a desperate man on a brutal quest for revenge in the cursed outskirts of Aeon–a lawless and forgotten realm-between-realms. The series is a passion project for the creators, who drew inspiration from their love of classic adventure comics. Some of the key influences on the series include Conan the Barbarian, Flash Gordon, and Arzach by Jean Giraud (also known as Moebius). Like Gunnar the Brawler, these comics feature epic tales of adventure and heroism set in fantastical worlds. Issue #1 is 28-pages in full psychedelic and neon color.
CB: How did you develop this story?
JH: I have been developing the overall sandbox of Aeon (Aeonverse so to speak) for many years and decided to focus this series on Gunnar’s adventures and exploits. We decided to self-publish to get it initially out there while my colleague and I are busy with our Masters. Once we have more time to dedicate to a series, we will make pitches with creator-owned indie publishers.
CB: Who would you say this comic is suited for? Who is it aimed at?
JH: This is for anyone that enjoys adventure comics, especially if they are up for the stranger side of science fiction and fantasy. At it’s heart, it’s also a tragic story which can be engaging for any mature reader.
CB: Tell me how you developed your creative style.
JH: I’ve been drawing since I can remember, but didn’t really start taking things seriously till nearly a decade ago. I was introduced to Jean Giraud and the world of European comics and I became obsessed. I was in the military at the time, so I had to allocate my time properly to develop my skills. Gunnar the Brawler really represents the beginning of this process I developed and that I’m improving on continually.
CB: Who is your creative team on this project?
JH: Robert Mathison is a close friend of mine and we always have had a passion for comic books and comic book creation. Through years of loose collaboration, I showed him the early pages of the Gunnar series and he almost immediately brought them to life. Since then we’ve been continuing to work on the series when we can and are excited to share the first issue and many more over the next few years.
CB: What’s your production workflow like? And if it’s not complete, how far along is the book?
JH: First thing I really need is a good outline. I really enjoy sinking my teeth into an idea and developing the structure and beats of the story. Then I plot out scenes that I can work with which really drive my ideas for designing the pages as I build it. Then I start with rough sketches, thumbnails to establish how the panels interact on a page and then how pages work with each other. Once things are ready, I’ll tighten up the line work and then move on to inking in time. It’s all has a basic framework of progression but I leave it open so that I can correct mistakes or make changes if I get better ideas. Gunnar the Brawler issue 1 is finished and the second issue is nearly colored.
CB: What are some things you’ve been learning from self-publishing through this process?
JH: I have found great resources on actually getting the comic printed with wonderful results. Seeing the finished product after so much work is priceless. I have found crowdfunding and promotion of the book to be very challenging. Robert and I are completely unknown and have humble social media following, so getting past our normal circles and breaking into the wider space of recognition is really an uphill battle.
CB: What are your plans beyond this book?
JH: The first volume of Gunnar the Brawler will be 4 issues. After that, we have planned Gunnar the Damned for 5 issues. The whole Gunnar Saga is projected to be around 16+ issues in total. I also have a few short stories in development and another project planned all taking place inside of the Aeonverse and very much connected to the Gunnar series.
CB: Are there any special features or special perks on your campaign you’d like to mention?
JH: We have a limited edition cover for the Kickstarter available and multiple tiers for those that are interested in stickers, patches, posters and T-shirts. Two of the tiers favor those that want to remain digital or live outside the US (where shipping can get really expensive), so pledgers can get a number of items offered in full digital format. For those that are interested, we can provide signatures for the covers and also have Q&A video call at one of the higher tiers.
Check out the campaign here!
Shark of War: 1-6
by Ben Lacy
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, Ben! For the uninitiated, what is a “Shark of War”?
Ben Lacy: Shark of War is Jaws Meets Robocop. It’s Jaws if the shark were the hero. It’s Robocop if the cop were a shark. He’s an escaped US Military experiment who’s enforcing the Law of the Sea as he sees fit. Angered by the damage he’s done to their drug trafficking empire, the powerful Coastal Cartel has built the one weapon even a super powered shark fears – Killer Whales. It’s time to Cry Havoc and Let Loose The Whales of War!
CB: What inspired this book? Jaws? Sharknado?
BL: The movie, The Meg, had recently come out while the Sharknado movies were still being made. I couldn’t help but notice that these movies all had the same plot, monster shark(s) kill people and have to be stopped. I thought, what if I flipped that around and made the shark the hero, and what if there were a better way for him to get around out of water than by tornado. And the idea of a flying cyborg shark was born.
I originally planned to just write a short story, but then realized a comic book would be a much better way to go. I learned enough art to create the first 5 issue story arc and funded it on Kickstarter, then sold it at Comic Cons. Now, I’m starting a new story arc with even bigger and more complicated action, so I decided to bring in artist, David Baf Gallart, who has created some amazing images for this latest issue.
CB: What is an age appropriate gauge for these books? Who are these comics for?
BL: If you’re ok seeing a shark bite a person in half, these books are for you. Haha! Anyone who was a fan of 80’s action movies, particularly RoboCop, Total Recall, and Terminator will enjoy this book as will anyone who loves shark movies, Shark Week, or sharks in general.
CB: How do you come up with these tales? And who are you working with on these?
BL: I try to imagine a story I’d like to see and then drill down to what makes it unique and special. My focus is usually on classic sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero concepts, hopefully applied in a new way with really good execution. David Baf Gallart has been a professional artist for 16 years and has worked in advertising, video games, and multiple indie comics. Nikki Powers has lettered all my books and has worked on many indie books.
I usually start with a brief outline, then write a full script for the book. I go through it multiple times. If I’m doing the art, I’ll then break down panels for each page then do the art, panel by panel. In this case, I send the script to the artist, he sends me back a rough sketch for each page. I usually suggest some changes and then he redoes and sends back. Once we’re satisfied with the art, it goes to the letterer. Once she’s finished, I assemble the entire book for the printer as well as digital edition with a lot of bonus features.
CB: This isn’t your first rodeo in the crowdfunding game. What have you been learning from all this?
BL: I’ve really learned a ton about marketing myself and my stories. I’ve also learned the full publishing process to make a comic book beyond just imagining a story.
CB: So this is a collection of the first 6 issues. Will there be more?
BL: Yes, Shark of War will continue. This is an ongoing story. I’ve also already done a spinoff comic book (also available as part of this Kickstarter) and I have a second spinoff coming. I’m hoping to make a full universe of comics. And for this campaign, every physical backer gets a special print inspired by Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 cover series. Anyone backing over $25 gets a shark tooth fossil necklace. You can also get all the back issues, plus The Cthulhu Man #1, a new book that’s a spinoff in the same universe.
CB: Thanks for chatting with me Ben. Anything else you want to share before we sign off?
BL: Yes, please check out Shark of War 1-6 at SOW.BitingComics.com. Not only will you get a great, epic story different from anything else currently out there, but you’ll be part of launching a new sci-fi meets superhero universe.
CB: Best of luck, Ben. We’re rooting for you!
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!