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!
by Isaac Fox
Follow the misadventures of an alcoholic spaceship captain and his hologram sidekick. Together, they explore a universe filled with dark secrets, space pirates, magic, and monsters. After the murder of his beloved, a wandering space cowboy spirals down a road of depression and alcoholism. A horrific discovery aboard a derelict freighter forces his return to abandoned responsibilities as he is confronted by demons both old and new.
John Lemus: Welcome to Bleeding Fool’s Indie Comics Showcase, Isaac. Before we discuss your campaign, tell our readers a little bit about yourself .
Isaac Fox: I’m a comic book writer based out of Jacksonville, Florida. I started writing around junior high. Mostly just small stories for my own enjoyment. From there, I got into writing and making these short games with an RPG maker. What really inspired me was Toonami back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. That’s when we kinda started getting anime in the states. I was used to cartoons being sorta campy or tools to market toys, but these shows were different. They really stood out to me and inspired me to learn from them.
John: What can you tell us about CREMISI without spoiling anything?
Isaac: Issue 4 picks up right where issue 3 left off, but it does so in such a way it’s a great place to jump into the series. After a brief encounter with space pirates, our protagonist Shay hunts down rumors of a genius starship mechanic in order to get his ship fixed up. He ends up meeting the fiery-tempered Renee who turns out to be capable of living up to the rumors. However, her attitude leaves a lot to be desired. The planet this issue takes place on lies on the very edge of space controlled by Earth’s government, making it a haven for criminals. Shay quickly learns this seemingly peaceful frontier town has a dark underbelly. It isn’t long before Shay gets pulled into a feud between Renee and the local mob. With his ship still down for repairs, Shay’s got nowhere to run this time.
John: Can you tell us a little bit about how CREMISI ISSUE 4 came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?
Isaac: Every character within the realm of Cremisi contains a small part of myself. While some have more than others, this helps shape who they are. For example, Shay holds my depression and PTSD. In issue 4 we introduce Renee who holds a great deal of my anger and distrust. Every main character in Cremisi is struggling with a mental affliction. It’s my aim to present characters struggling with these afflictions to help people who may also be suffering from them have a chance to see that these things do not define them and that they can be beaten. As for the story of issue 4, I needed a background which would ultimately help enforce Renee’s anger and mistrust of those around her. She needed to exist in a world where a reader could easily understand why she is the way she is. Will she grow over time and be able to move past this? Only time will tell.
John: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?
Isaac: The first comics I ever got to read were some issues of Batman and Xmen back in the mid 90’s.
John: What are some of the comics that have made the biggest impact on you?
Isaac: Coming from a background with both comics and manga, they’ve both had a great impact on me. In the comic world, “White Christmas” was a big one for me. Paul Dini stands out to me as one of the greatest comic writers of all time. In “White Christmas,” he proves this. A touching moment with an otherwise cold-blooded villain gives us a brief reprieve from the fist-to-face action of Batman and creates a moment of both solace and sympathy. It’s simply beautiful. While it might be a bit typical, “The Killing Joke” is a personal favorite and really taught me a lot about how a villain should be portrayed. The Joker’s rant in this book is twisted, dark… but somehow, it makes perfect sense.
Alan Moore is certainly a legendary name, but from this book I learned a lot about making a “good” villain. I think a proper villain is one who the reader will stop for a second and think “You know, he’s got a point.” In recent times, Saga has been a big inspiration. B.K.Vaughan is a master at conveying wisdom while still sounding like a normal guy, rather than some ancient mystic. In the manga world, Kentaro Miura is a master of subverting expectations. His work in “Berserk” still leaves me breathless. Takahito Ito’s Outlaw Star is the one that inspired me to start writing. Strong female characters, a fantastically fun universe with a dark undertone, deep wisdom wrapped up in gun-slinging fun, and a small taste of mecha just for flavor.
John: What about Cremisi made it a story you wanted to tell?
Isaac: Issue 4 is one of the issues I’m the most excited about. We get to meet Renee who I’ve been anxiously waiting to introduce since issue 1. Renee is a massively important part of the main story and comes with her own demons and story to tell. She brings in a nice opposite to Shay. Where he takes nothing seriously, Renee is almost always serious and focuses on getting work done before anything else. Issue 4 is the product of some of the greatest achievements of life to date. Getting to work with Eric Chen for his debut cover has been an astounding experience. Through this, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredibly talented people in the industry.
John: What are some of the things that have served as a source of Inspiration when working on CREMISI ISSUE 4? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?
Isaac: My biggest inspiration came from the 90’s era of anime and manga. Especially Toonami. Growing up for me was, well, unpleasant. Toonami offered an escape from that unpleasantry. Suddenly, I was in a world where justice actually existed and the good guys would win, often with fantastic flair. For me, the most inspiring work I’ve ever witnessed was Outlaw Star. I grew up on westerns and got really into space travel later on. Seeing a space-western, which combined the two genres, was like a dream come true. In the same vein, Cowboy Bebop and Trigun struck me as absolute masterpieces. I realize these are often the more popular of the three, but Outlaw Star will always stand out as my all time favorite.
John: ISAAC, you have rather unique style in your writing and art. Can you tell us a bit about you developed them?
Isaac: My writing style takes inspiration from 90’s anime and manga primarily. I’ve also learned a great deal from reading the works of truly astonishing english writers like Paul Dini, B.K. Vaughan, Alan Moore, and Rick Remender. I tend to gravitate towards the story-telling techniques of Japanese writers like Hirohiko Araki and Kentaro Miura. I developed my writing in college where I studied journalism. I got lucky in that I had a professor who emphasized telling a compelling, but truthful, story. Our lead artist, Sayako Rush, worked with me for a while to develop our style. I wanted to stick with a more manga look but maintain some western elements. A sort of hybrid blend which could appeal to both comic lovers and manga lovers alike. We started with full color, but the process turned out to be time-consuming and expensive for our budget at the time. After a late night of brainstorming, something which should have been obvious finally came to mind. The title of the book is Cremisi, which is crimson in Italian. Why not just use variations of red as the only color? It was definitely one of those “why didn’t I think of that earlier” situations.
John: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
Isaac: My process has actually changed and grown quite a bit. Originally, I studied a script guide I found from Dark Horse comics and started modeling my own scripts after it. I had to custom tailor them a bit to suit Sayako. However, my process changed a little while ago when I read Hirohiko Araki’s “Manga in Theory and Practice.” It helped me shape a more solid base for how I form my characters. Everything from thinking about what type of coffee they prefer to which eye they’re dominant with were things Araki suggested. This really helped me bring my characters to life and improve how they interact in the world they live in.
John: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?
Isaac: Anime like Outlaw Star, Trigun, and Cowboy Bebop have played a huge inspirational role for me. Gundam in its various iterations has also helped me to look at life in space in a particular way. Shonen like Yu Yu Hakusho helped me understand the dynamic of a good fight scene and how the balance of power should play out. Granted, there are tropes within these genres which can easily be overplayed. On the western side of things, Avatar the Last Airbender was actually a huge inspiration. The characters in that show are written so incredibly well that by the end of the show you feel like you personally know them.
CB: You’ve been doing this for a bit now. What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
IF: I’ve learned more from our current campaign than any other. There’s a lot to crowdfunding a book that all these “gurus” never tell you. This time, I decided to work with professionals like Eric Chen, Anna Zhuo, and Jason Hehir. They all helped me create a more professional looking campaign, something more in line with guys like Brian Pulido and Dan Mendoza. Those guys live crowdfunding and they’re probably two of the best at it. I’ve learned having the right names attached can make or break you. Tossing in a couple naughy covers is also a huge boost, though I’ll admit I was reluctant to do so. I’d still consider myself a novice in this whole thing, but I’ve succeeded every time I’ve set out on the seas of Kickstarter. I suppose that says something. Thanks to the advice and help of people like Eric Chen and Anna Zhuo, I’m inching closer and closer to doing this for a living.
Issue 4 leads directly into issue 5, which we’ve already got in the works. I hope to incorporate issue 4 into a volume ending with issue 5 once that’s completed. In the future, I’ll be making issue 4 available on Comixology. I’ll also be bringing the book to conventions around Florida once it’s safe to do so.
John: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
Isaac: Issue 4 is our first time exploring variant covers. We have Artgerm Collectible’s member Eric Chen’s debut cover homaging the classic anime/manga Akira. We’ve also got crossover covers with Danger Zone One and Foxy and Wolfy: Chaos -- each with both naughty and nice options. We’re adding stretch goals as our campaign continues so there’s sure to be something to suit everyone’s taste.
by Phillip Diaz
THE LOST PAGES is a 60 page fully colored Graphic Novel The first book in an epic connected universe of new Heroes. When a mystical book finds its way into the hands of a homeless man, stories lost to time of Heroes from different eras, backgrounds and genres are revealed. Destined to one day come together and write the end of the world.
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indiec Comics Showcase, Phillip! Please tell our readers your elevator pitch for your latest project Lost Pages. Briefly tell our readers what they can look for with this book.
Phillip Diaz: The Lost Pages is the first story in the Zaid Comics connected universe of heroes. It follows The Hobo and his magical book, within it are tales lost to time of heroes from around the world that all protect man from evil and the unjust. As he speaks the word of the book, the listeners and readers will get a glimpse into the lives of these heroes that will one day come together to write the end of the world, the end of the book. Each Hero’s tale is illustrated by a different master artist in a separate style that holds true to the theme of that character, All of our fans can expect lots of action from this vast world.
CB: You’ve been doing this for a bit now. What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
PD: ABP, Always be promoting. and along with this goes networking. Making friends with other creators and more importantly with the fans. Without the fans we would be nowhere, our last book MAGIC COP would have never come out. Fortunately we had great backing for our first coic and it helped us bring together a great team for THE LOST PAGES and bring it all to the fans.
CB: You’ve already achieved a lot of comics publishing experience prior to this project with Zaid Comics. Tell us more about how Zaid came together and what some of its current projects are that you’re excited about.
PD: Well Zaid Comics always started with my brother Brandon and I. Way back in like, 2011, when we came up with THE SILHOUETTE who is now featured in THE LOST PAGES. That is when we formed zaid comics and ever since we have been developing these characters, so it is so surreal to see these heroes come to life in such high quality. What zaid comics is today is truly a dream come true and leaves us with so many possibilities in the future. Right now we are so excited to get this first Lost Pages book out to the hands of the readers and introduce you all to these new characters, but after that we are going full force with MAGIC COP 2.
Another aspect of Zaid Comics we are super excited for with working with Maria “The Wolf” Lopez. She is a great friend of mine who I’ve been wanting to work with for years. I’m happy i was able to pull her out of a hiatus and into THE LOST PAGES with our CRIMSTONE story, she has some of the best inks I’ve seen but after that we are working on an IP she has created that i will be writing under Zaid Comics. I can’t say much but all im going to say is it will be GODLY and BLOODY.
CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding after what you’ve learned?
PD: Make Friends and don’t rush. There is a whole network of creators out there that are just as excited as you to see their creations come to life. On top of that they want to help if you want to help, the rising tide lifts all ships. I’m lucky to be a part of this awesome CG network that has brought me so much support from huge creators I would never have thought I’d be rubbing elbows with and so many amazing fans. As for your work, do not rush it, take your time and develop characters. Know them fully before you let your readers know them.
CB: Let’s get back to Lost Pages. What do you think the typical comic reader is going to most like about it? What kind of comic fans is this mostly geared towards?
PD: At first i think they are going to attach to one character that stands out to them due to the art but once they dive in, the action and uniquely paced storytelling will hold their eyes to the page. This book was made to be geared to all kinds of comic fans. Each character explores a separate genre of comics and story. Take a look at the heroes, The Silhouette: all black and white comic with blood red, a ghostly vigilante with deep inner monologue. If you like horror comics then Wildcard is the hero for you exploring myths on the high seas, magic and mysticism. If you miss the intensity of 90s comics then Crimstone brings that back with a twist. Or if your love for comics ventures back to the golden age, then The Masquerade is your guy. So this book is really a love letter to comics and story telling, there’s a lot for everyone.
CB: Introduce us to the creative team and anyone who has contributed to this.
PD: Wow, well this is a super team. It’s our first time working with so many creative people. I think there are 6 creators on the main book, and if you grab that BONUS COMIC there is potential to grow even further when we hit stretch goals. First off Maxi Dall’O, the artist on the silhouette and hobo pages brings that gritty ink to the story. John Joe Ball, a super start talent with unmatched detail working on Wildcard, someone that i was amazed at when he came to me wanting to become a part of this series, he has become a true friend in all of this. Maria “the Wolf” Someone that just takes muscly badasses to a whole other level with Crimstone. And Allen Alonzo, a man that we found winning our fan art contest for our last book, he does it all including the colors on The Masquerade and has helped so much without logo work. Our 2 colorists Steve Canon and Eugene Betivu just push this art to new heights. Now with that bonus comic We have added my brother Brandon doing a short story and many more to come. Wrap that all up with SIMON BISLEY on the cover and this is my comic book dream.
CB: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?
PD: This is just the beginning. All of the supporters have made it possible for us at Zaid Comics to live our dreams, literally. These stories and characters were just dreams for us, day dreams. My brother and I would just day dream about these stories and we still do, but now we can share them with you all. And it is worth all the hard work when we see readers as excited for our comics as we are to make them. So if you are going to order one comic this month make it THE LOST PAGES, this is just the start!
CB: Thanks for chatting with us Phillip! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
PD: Thank you for your time, and the time of all of the readers! We hope to see you on Indiegogo this month!
Check out the campaign page here!
Welcome To Everville
by Aaron Dowen
Every town has its secrets, Everville is no exception. Discover a town on the cusp of discovering the truth of a seemingly random accident involving two teenagers. Abe Johnson has been having nightmares, ones that he will soon discover weren’t imaginations at all. The town is under attack by a ruthless monster who has his eyes set on Abe’s own high school. Now, he must decide to run as a coward, or rise up as a hero. Luckily for the town, the blood coursing through his veins makes all the difference. Welcome to Everville…
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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