Indie Comics Showcase #91: Littlest Umbrella 2, The 8th, & Epics of Enkidu

 

 

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!

 

Another Case for the Littlest Umbrella
by  TUG

It’s ANOTHER CASE for the LITTLEST UMBRELLA, the second comic featuring the brand new adventures of That Umbrella Guy and Little Umbrella Girl! It’s a 40-page, FULL COLOR all-ages adventure featuring the beloved Detective and his Littlest Sidekick as they endeavor to stop an ANCIENT EVIL threatening to destroy the world. 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your ‘elevator pitch’ for the The Littlest Umbrella. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.

That Umbrella Guy: Another Case for the Littlest Umbrella is a 40 page, full color, all-ages Lovecraftian adventure, with a detective and his littlest sidekick facing off against an ancient threat in an all new adventure.

 

 

CB: You’ve done this successfully with the first issue, so what are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

 

TUG: I’ve learned quite a bit, actually, from how to present a campaign to what people want to delivery and on. It amazed me what I did not know, and what folks like Keung Lee filled in the blanks on. One thing I really leaned into with both campaigns was keeping people informed; I see plenty of campaigns that do not tell their backers what is happening, and we adopted everything from tracking ID use to constant updates to truly thank backers. I also learned to expect anything. I had a pandemic hit when we were delivering – this time out, I am trying to even keep that kind of stuff in mind.

 

 

CB: You first hit the comics scene as an anonymous commentator on the state of the industry, and have talked about other similar entertainment mediums. What first inspired you to put on the That Umbrella Guy persona and speak out?

TUG: My inspiration came from seeing the state of the comic industry and what was represented by mainstream companies and the so-called professionals working for them. I saw failure – the numbers showcased it. Comic professionals, however, would ignore that and tell consumers like myself, ones that had been buying since they were children, to move on because we were wrong. The medium matters; when I see comics from childhood, I remember the positives associated with those times. The ghosts that haunt those pages. It isn’t just a story, but the environment, with my grandparents both being there and the world looking awe inspiring. I don’t want to see that medium fade away. I also talk about Due Process, because it matters. We see a LOT of people “getting cancelled” now, and I feel its my duty to speak up, because if not us, then who?

 

 

CB: Why do you feel it’s important for you, as a creator, to remain anonymous? Even after being doxxed recently by some of your critics? What motivates them?

 

TUG: Being anonymous wasn’t really about hiding my identity. I mean, sure, I wanted to keep my family out of this and I wanted my job to be left alone, but it was primarily part of the message. As a consumer speaking out, my name was irrelevant. My face did not matter. The only identity I needed was the money I was spending, because the nameless rabble companies forget makes things work. NOT the professionals, and not them. Now, as far “critics” assigning me a name and a face; that is part of silencing a person and threatening to cancel them.

 

Creators in the mainstream say their voices do not attach to their works as they insult and drive away backers, but consumers tired of the insanity should have their careers threatened because the care enough about the products they buy to speak up. THAT, to me at least, says plenty on motivations. In a way, I am glad people can know me, too. My real life works. Because it is easy to convince people that we faceless folks are ISTs and PHOBES and NAZIs. But a person with a mental health background working with abuse victims? With children? Its a lot harder to make that one stick.

 

CB: I completely understand. Let’s get back to the book. Tell us about your creative team and what other creators that have contributed to this project? 

 

TUG: S.K.Bennett is a workhorse. He does everything from helping out with making the story something that works (we are both writers on this), to doing ALL the artwork and beyond. I cannot say enough good things about him; he is an amazing talent. The first comic had amazing talents attached to it, too, and what people did really depended on the part. Some portions were entirely added so Peter Gilmore could showcase what he brings, for example; some were ideas being fleshed out, or inspired by Comicsgate, or storytime with LittleUmbrellaGirl and on.

 

Others involved a different approach with everyone contributing. That comic was an amazing experience, too, because it allowed me to find my feet and understand the process. Shout out to Keung Lee; he is an AMAZING talent and a great person to work with, and he inspired me to do this. Without him, this thing would not be what it is today. Props to Peter Gilmore for being awesome as well, and to S.K.Bennett currently. THEY deserve the highest accolades – Keung has his own book out, as does Gilmore. People should check those out, too.

 

 

CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding that you’ve learned?

TUG: My advice would be to find your voice, make sure that you connect with your audience beforehand, and plan to go full throttle. Your biggest and only guaranteed advocate is you. Had I launched a comic without a platform, I would not have been able to advertise and advocate for it. The way it is now, I can every day, to 10s of 1000s of listeners.

 

 

CB: I’m curious, is this an ongoing or more of an anthology of stories? What can readers expect?

TUG: So this current story is a 40 page story, but the idea itself is simply following a detective and his little girl as they take on cases. My daughter was 5 when we started this, and she grows a little in this; LittleUmbrellagirl being the narrator is the difference in this being a hardcore Lovecraftian horror tale and a tale that works for everyone. We see it through the eyes of a child narrator. The take away is escapism. Forgetting what is going on currently, and having fun. That is what comics should be. FUN.

 

 

 

CB: Your campaign wraps up this in just a few more days and looks like it will be another success. Congrats! Do you have any final words for our readers?

TUG: Thank you. Thank you for being patient, for overlooking the times when we are all-too-human, and for backing what we do. From my family to yours, it means the world.

 

 

Check out the campaign page for Another Case for the Littlest Umbrella here!

 

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The Epics of Enkidu
by Ahmed Amin

 

 
 
 
The Epics of Enkidu features a hero with Autism in what could be the sequel to the oldest story found in human history. Creator Ahmed Alameen is from Iraq and was inspired by his nephew to create a comic to help spread awareness about autism through a unique story. Ahmed has published novels under his pen name A. H. Amin and became a national best seller with his thriller ‘Psychs‘. He worked on motion comics before finally deciding to create something that represented a neurodiverse character in an Epic story.
 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

Chris Braly: Hello Ahmed! Tell our readers about your comic the Epics of Enkidu.

Ahmed Amin:   The Epics of Enkidu is a comic book that features a superhero who happens to be Autistic, in what could be the sequel to the oldest story ever found in human history, The Epics of Gilgamesh. It is inspired by my nephew, who is an awesome autistic kid. The story takes place in a modern setting, where Enkidu is brought back and he does not remember who he is. Being autistic, his brain works so fast, that everything around him moves too slow, which makes him acts socially odd and interacts with the world differently, but it does help him analyze everything, and it allows him to see the patterns of things; things that can happen before they happen. It can be handy when he is in danger, but not when you try to communicate with him.

CB: What are you learning through this process?

AA:  I learned that everything is possible now. Crowdfunding have opened a lot of doors that were previously closed to creative artists and made it more possible for us to reach out. Building a platform and a fan base was not easy, but once they reach back to you with positive responses you get more motivated and become more confident to bet on yourself. 

 

CB: Tell us work you’ve done leading up to this and how it all you came together.

AA:  I started a motion comic after seeing Broken Saints, which is a masterpiece of motion comics. Teaching myself how to draw, I made two episodes of that motion comic, and later published two issues of the comic, entitled “Team Genesis”, and as a novelist, it was a great transition for me to a different story telling medium, where visuals are also involved, and it was a rewarding experience that I carried along with me when I started preparing for The Epics of Enkidu.

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators that have contributed to this?

 

AA: My team consists of Felix Toress, a talented artist from Chile who I met through an artist Facebook page. He does the pencil and inking for the most parts, while I do the writing, story boarding and coloring. There is also Moacir Muniz who does our variant covers too.

The Epics of Enkidu - A hero with Autism (Now on Indiegogo)

 

CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding that you’ve learned?

AA:  I would say to start early and to be patient. For me I found the best strategy is to get to know people who are interested in what you are doing, in my case, comic book readers, autistic society, and history fans, and try to reach out to them about your idea. Get the people you know and the friends, whether virtual or in real life, to support you. Remember that it is a crowdfunding campaign, so you cannot do it by yourself. Find people who are dedicated to your work and you will have better chances.

 

 

CB: Have you got an ending already planned? And what do you hope readers will take away from this tale?

AA:  Well, the oldest version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was found in 2100 B.C., So I have more than 4000 years of history to play with, but at the same time I do not want to write something that will never end. So to answer your question, yes, I do have an ending. 

I want to raise awareness about autism through this story, and help people understand more about how it is like to be on the spectrum, and also I want to inspire the autistic community to overcome their daily challenges, and hopefully realize that they can be heroes too.

 

 

CB: What else can you share about the project or the campaign? And do you have any final words for our readers?

 

AA:  Well I’d like to let the readers know that by backing this project they will be supporting a great cause. I’ve already reached out to Autism charities from around the world and they agreed to have their information in the comic for anyone to reach out to them. So I really hope you will help us reach our goals, and to help us revive the oldest legend found in human history. 

The Epics of Enkidu - A hero with Autism (Now on Indiegogo)

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

AA: That’s very kind of you. Thank you all for the support

Check out the campaign page here!

 

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The Eighth
by Adam Lawson

The Eighth is the epic story of three teenagers who unlock a piece of ancient Sumerian armor and end up committing murder. Before they know it, they find themselves on a terrifying journey to destroy the world, with no going back. Math is the language David, our anti-hero, uses to command the living piece of armor to take different shapes, his true superpower. The armor once belonged to The Eighth Sage of the Sumerian world. The other seven were responsible for the flood that cleansed the earth four thousand years ago, an event some would like to see happen again.

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your ‘elevator pitch’ for The Eighth. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.

Adam Lawson:  The Eighth -- is the epic and painful story of teenagers, David Wells and Emma Adachi, who unlock a piece of ancient Sumerian armor, but mismanage its power and end up committing murder. Before they know it, they find themselves on a terrifying journey to change or destroy the world with no going back. At its core the story is about transformation. There is a literal one happening as they travel the world finding pieces of the armor that permanently alter David’s body, also Emma is changed to by intense training and the recovery of an ancient sword, but just as significant is the transformation on the inside. Who they’re becoming as they both see and do dark things on their pathway to doing the right thing… or so they hope. At the end will they be lovers or will they have to destroy each other?

 

 

 

CB: What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

AL:  Crowdfunding changes the creative process. The more podcasts I am on and the more feedback and reviews I get on the comic it changes the way I see it and its altered the writing for the better, which is great. I am also seeing things the fans are drawn to, which are sometimes different than what I had imagined. And since nothing is final, I can still make small changes. Love that part.

 

 

CB: Tell us about any previous comic work you’ve done and how you’ve brought your experience to this project and it all you came together.

AL:  I co-wrote an indie comic several years ago called DEAD SPEED and also did lots of layout work with it. I made a lot of mistakes and that helped prepare me for this. I think directing TV has been really helpful too. It has taught me how to tell a story with the least amount of images possible or I should say with the most important images.

 

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators that have contributed to this?

AL: So the creative team is just myself and the artist, Jorin Evers, who has been amazingly enthusiastic and has had great creative comments along the way. I create the words and story and he does the art. For the first five issues he also did the lettering, but I am doing it for the last three. Quarantine has improved my photoshop skills immensely if you can believe it. The process is: I script the pages with a pretty precise explanation of the panels and action and then Jorin translates it into rough sketches. We do a round of notes. Then he does the line work/Inking. Another round of notes and then he does the color. The more issues we’ve done, the less notes. We now know each other well and what is working for both of us. His pages are AWESOME to say the least.

 

 

CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding that you’ve learned?

AL:  The most important thing I can say is, build as big of an audience for your story as possible before you start the campaign. Network online, show your work at Cons, post to Reddit and keep a list of who has shown interest.  And then realize, you’ll never be ready and at some point just do it.

 

 

CB: Tell us a little more about the story. Do you have an ending in mind? What do you hope readers will take away from this tale?

AL: I have all 8 of the issues plotted out. 5 of them are complete and I know how it ends. I began with that when I first started two years ago. After experiencing the TV show Lost I felt like you are being cruel to your audience if you don’t start with a compelling ending in mind.

A thing to know about the story is that it is really about three characters, Atticus, David and Emma and not just David. My favorite character is Emma (and I think most readers say the same). It is their separate arcs colliding and moving alongside each other that really make it work.

 

 

Here is a bit more about the story. Math is the language David uses to command the living piece of armor to take different shapes.  Numbers are his true super power. The armor once belonged to the 8th Sage of the Sumerian world. The other seven were responsible for the flood that cleansed the earth four thousand years ago, an event certain interested parties would like to see happen again.

David, Emma, and their childhood friend Atticus leave their hometown in ruins and scramble across the world searching for the missing pieces of the armor and themselves. In time, they realize they want different things and discover they’re not only the harbingers of the end, but the ones with the power to stop. Where they choose to stand may turn them against each other.

 

CB: What else can you share about the project or the campaign? And do you have any final words for our readers?

AL:  My final words would be to back the comic now! It is an amazing ride and never before have indie comics been elevated to this level of story, art and printing quality. That is because of crowdfunding. Support creators who are taking a risk. They are making the stuff you really want to read anyways (the big 2 are a little tired). But not only is it exciting to read the comic when it shows up on your doorstep, and it is, it’s exciting to be a part of the journey. To join the community. I backed a dozen other campaigns before I did mine. Come on in. The water is warm.

 

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

AL: Thank you for this interview and letting me share. It’s awesome of you.

 

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

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That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!

 


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Chris Braly

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 can be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several other comic book nerds. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON