Welcome back friends and readers to an all new Indie Comics Showcase. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2019. This installment has been in the works since before Christmas, but all four of the following campaigns are all still going and they all need your support.
Before we get started I want to thank all of you for a great 2018 and for once again being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase. I hope you’ve resolved to support some indie comics in 2019, and we aim to direct you to some excellent choices every week!
Column: Vol. 1
EXCLUSIVE variant copies of the full color graphic novel, Column: Vol. 1.
From Raw Blink Productions
Written by Timothy Edward Morris with art by Ben Harvey and colors by Andava D. Nobel. Cover by Andava and Ben Harvey with letters by Thomas F. Zahler.
Editors Mike Moore and Timothy Edward Morris
Please check out the campaign here.
Column: Vol. 1 is a full color graphic novel that is already complete and available digitally. Column’s story follows the crew of the Helcat, a US Army M1A2 Abrams main battle tank, in their adventure across the world fighting the Meta-National Transitory Pact. It is a lighthearted combat series with plenty of comedy and loads of action! As you may have guessed, it’s World War 3, but with a bit of a twist. And no, it’s not zombies… They original release is available on Comixology, but the creative team has something special going on with their latest campaign and I spoke to Timothy Morris and Mike Moore about the project earlier this week.
John: Hey there Tim and Mike, We at Bleeding Fool and Indie Comics Showcase Hope you are well. Hopefully you both had a Merry Christmas and your campaign is going well. Before we get into talking about your Indie Comic Column: Volume One, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Tim: Mike and I are two guys from southeastern PA who formed an entertainment upstart called Raw Blink Productions in 2013. At first, we weren’t 100% sure where we were going with it, but we just knew we wanted to put our talents to work to create interesting content. Tim’s writing and Mike’s music combined as the foundation for Raw Blink’s content and Column: Vol. 1 is our first endeavor. It’s been a long and difficult process, for sure.
John: Now, Can you tell us a bit about Column: Volume One?
Tim: Two civilians (Jack and Hatch) find themselves in the middle of a heated battle when their Civil Defense base is attacked by an armored PLA force. Their fight for survival takes a twist for the beautiful when the 2nd platoon of the 10th Special Missions Unit enters the explosive fray. These fiery ladies of the US Army ride into battle in the metal fury that is the Helcat; an M1A2 Abrams main battle tank. In Vol. 1, Jack and Hatch meet the crew of the Helcat: LT Hunter, SPC McMillan, CPL Adams and PFC Winters. These gorgeous ladies dazzle them with their beauty and deadliness, but they’ll need to focus and work together if they want to survive the day.
We wanted to deliver a fast paced, action-packed story with fun characters and colorful visuals. Additionally, Column Vol. 1 also features an immersive, professionally done audio component that’s available for free on our YouTube channel. Get to know the characters and hear their voices!
John: What has inspired your work on Volume One?
Tim: Column is an amalgamation of Mike’s and my love for anime, 80’s action movies and video games. We wanted to make something truly special that utilized both of our talents. The original concept for Column was creating a light novel with the intention of it being scripted out into an animation. The novel would feature original music and possibly character logs on an included CD or download code. After meeting our artist, Ben Harvey, that concept evolved into the light-hearted, action oriented graphic novel that is Column: Vol. 1, today. We kept the audio component, and even expanded it to include a professional voice cast member for each main character. If you’re at all familiar with anime dubs, you’ll recognize the voices for sure. We think it’s a pretty good first outing for a small, independent upstart like ourselves.
John: What are some of the things that have influenced your work as a creator?
Tim: As a writer, mostly movies, video games and TV. There’s a little piece of everything in there. My biggest dialogue influences were Psych and Battlefield Bad Company. As for the general feel of the universe, 80s action classics like Commando with a bit of Red Dawn. As for the way the story moves, there’s a little bit of Metal Gear Solid and Full Metal Panic! In the end it feels like it’s own thing for sure, but I definitely want to acknowledge what gave me inspiration. Hopefully fans of those IPs and their genres will connect with the characters of Column and have a lot of fun reading and listening.
Mike: For the small contributions I made to the writing, my influences were largely identical (we have very similar tastes, go figure). I suppose I’ll repeat a shout-out to the show Psych for its great execution of the buddy comedy dynamic. The soundtrack is planned to have a ton of variety, but so far has used an ’80s movie atmosphere (think Commando) and an instrumental hard rock thing (the first Need for Speed game, or maybe Liquid Tension Experiment for the two people who have any idea what that is).
John: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
Tim: Basically, I get a concept together by creating characters and a setting. Creating the characters is the long part, I try to plan out their arcs ahead of time so they have a direction to grow. I don’t see much point in telling a story if the characters aren’t interesting. After that I build a preliminary outline, with notes about what I want to happen and any specific scene ideas. I then write what I’m doing, edit it, then take a chainsaw to it, chopping out anything not needed. This is the hardest part of the process. Volume 1 would be twice as long if I didn’t cut things I otherwise thought were great, they just messed with the pacing. There’s of course countless re-edits, fixes and adjustments, and entire speech bubbles chopped from the final version. The process doesn’t really end until it’s finally put to print. I suppose the key is to just not be too much of a perfectionist while at the same time not getting too attached to elements that ultimately need to be chopped. Things I cut early on can always be recycled later as part of characterization. If I don’t limit myself, I’ll never finish because I’ll want to introduce every character and every story element all at once. It’s a chaotic process and I’ve by no means perfected it or always stick to it.
Mike: For music, I don’t really have a set process, but generally I always make computerized versions so I can listen to the piece in progress. It’s a great modern aid for assessing how something is coming and writing additional parts more easily. And in the case of synth-based music like the “80s-style” tunes, it remains entirely computerized anyway, which is convenient.
John: What are you hope for Column going into 2019?
Tim: We are really hoping to print and raise the funds so we can finish Vol. 2. The second book is fully written (save, last-second editing) and the voices are already recorded, we just did not have any budget left over to get the art done. If we can finish Vol. 2 and start selling Column at cons, we’ll be on the right track. We have so many ideas and projects waiting on the sideline, we just need to start seeing a financial return so we can really launch Raw Blink Productions into the fully functional studio it’s destined to be. Hiring more artists and delivering readers original content on the regular is our goal for 2019.
John: Is there anything you want to share with our readers before we sign off?
Tim: Might as well plug our Indiegogo campaign. It runs until January 21st and has a meager goal of just $3500. It a chance for readers to support our first print run and get an exclusive edition of Vol. 1, which includes a one-time-printed cover. We recommend choosing the $40 tier because you also get 4 exclusive poster variants that will not be printed again after this first small batch. They’re versions of our propaganda pinups by Andava – fan favorites for sure. Column is written and drawn to be fun, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed producing it.
John: Thanks guys! Our readers may also want to check out Spike’s review of the first iteration of this book here.
Creek Wilden has a secret.
To unlock it, she will have to lose the love of her life and go on a journey of self-discovery. Creek falls into depression but something within her genetic makeup awakens an ability to see a hidden society known as the Viciat. The Viciat has been around for thousands of years and they have been placed in positions of power throughout the world. Throughout the course of the epic 5-issue series you will learn their secrets, Creek’s connection to them and the underground movement known as the Julio Cross that has been setup to stop the Viciat. In Issue One, you will follow Creek’s story as she deals with the fallout of losing her first love, a peak inside the Viciat and an introduction to Octavius Farici, Creek’s mentor.
Please check out the campaign page here
John: I’m speaking with Dean Kish the creator. Before we get into talking about your indie comic ‘Tainted’, what can you tell us about yourself Dean?
Dean: I have been a comics collector and fan since I walked into our corner convenience store when I was 5 back in 1974. I remember flipping through the spinner rack and I started with DC 100-Page Giants and Marvel Team-Up. In 1978, my father got an oil engineer job in Indonesia so the whole family moved with him. But that didn’t stop me from reading comics. The English language newspaper we used to get carried Spider-Man and other comic strips. I collected those and wrote my own universe of comic heroes called OMEGA COLLECTION. And I would pick up new comics on vacation. Marvel Team-Up and Wally West Flash were my 2 go-to books growing up. I had to get everyone. Other titles followed. That was my beginning.
John: Now, tell us a bit about Tainted!
Dean: My whole life I have been a creative spirit but also a misunderstood outsider, I think. I suffer from major depressive disorder and it was misdiagnosed as other things twice in my life. The misunderstanding and stigma around mental health was the main inspiration for me writing TAINTED. I thought a comic showing my struggle but also telling an engaging story might help with awareness and especially young people who struggle. They are probably misunderstood like I was. I picked a young female protagonist to reach a wider audience and also to avoid the stigma that a man should never cry or talk about their feelings.
The story tells the tale of 16-year-old Creek Wilden, who witnesses her boyfriend die in a bus crash, throwing her into deep depression. But the trauma from the crash unlocks this second sight in her mind. Creek can now see these glowing scars on the faces of descendants of a secret society that has been hiding among us for over 3000 years, known as the Viciat. Professor Octavius Farici is sent from Rome to find Creek and help her prepare for her destiny.
John: Dean, Tainted is a very colorful, very pretty, and very well put together Indie Comic. There is also something refreshingly 90’s about it. Not so much 90’s comics but 90’s T.V. shows like Buffy and The Secret World of Alex Mack. Did either of those shows influence Tainted?
Dean: I think anytime you have a teenage girl rising up against evil, people are going to think Buffy. Buffy is a huge influence in the geek lexicon. I was a huge fan of the show and Buffy was all over my room in the 1990s when I was in college. I think there are lots of influences that will be revealed as Tainted continues. The biggest influence especially in the first issue is my own life.
John: What were some of your other influences?
Dean: Vampirella, The Skulls (movie), Teen Titans, Requiem for a Dream and the TV series Rome come to mind as other influences. But you will have to read the whole series to see where they fit in.
John: If we were to pull a bucket from your well of inspiration, what would we find?
Dean: I am inspired by good story-telling. I am influenced by comics writer masters like Marv Wolfman, Mark Gruenwald, Steve Englehart, Chris Claremont and John Byrne. But also TV and movie writers and directors. There is a plethora of great creators out there and I seem to find a new one every other day.
John: Can you tell us a bit about your own writing process?
Dean: I worked as a writer/producer in television for four years and I picked up some habits of how to develop a script. My script style is definitely influenced by film screenplays. But most importantly in TV, I learned that every show has to have a ‘bible’ that is the blueprint for the series. So I approached TAINTED the same way. It has a bible and has been designed for five 100-page volumes or five 5-issue series. I dunno if I will be able to tell all of it which is why each volume will be self-contained.
Also, the artist on Tainted is Francoise Valmoria, (Franswahz Art on Facebook), and he’s incredible.
John: Agreed! What are you hope for TAINTED going into 2019?
Dean: Feb 3rd is the date that TAINTED finishes KICKSTARTER. If we are funded I will be over the moon. It has been a long road. I hope to bring TAINTED to a couple comic conventions in 2019. And have Franswahz get started on #2. I would love to bring a new issue every 4 months or quarterly but it will all come down to finances. No matter what Franswahz and I have a personal pact to finish the series no matter what life throws at us.
John: Is there anything you want to share with our readers before we sign off?
Dean: ECLIPSE PRESS which is my company producing TAINTED will also be launching a second book on Feb 11 on Kickstarter called CLUTCH AND PRAYER. This book is a total opposite of TAINTED. It is ascifi book full of witty banter, big guns, big explosions and lots of energy. It is about two war vets turned bounty hunters, who get mixed up in a multi-world conspiracy. The book will be drawn by Argentina’s Jorge Gabotto, who is utterly incredible in his creature and world design. His biggest influence is Moebius and Valerian. The book is totally bonkers and fun!
John: Once again Dean, I want to say thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase and once again we wish you a prosperous 2019.
Click the image below to check out the campaign!
AJALA: A SERIES OF ADVENTURES
Robert Garrett & N. Steven Harris
A Change of Perspective – Special Edition
AJALA: A SERIES OF ADVENTURES is an ongoing comic book series, written by Robert Garrett, with art by N Steven Harris, colors by Walt Msonza Barna. AJALA is introduced to the C.S.C., a covert group that has been acting as Harlem’s protectors since the 1920’s. She learns that her family has a history with the C.S.C. with her great grandfather and father being one of the groups founders and her mother’s past when she was once a junior agent. AJALA is plunged into the C.S.C. as an agent in training that is sent out to ensure community safety. Through her lessons as a junior agent and her everyday life as a normal school student, AJALA will be leading a new life of adventure and discovery, and helping to protect her community from ruin.
Please check out the campaign here
John: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase Rob and Steven! Before we get into your comic, I wanted to wish you both a very happy and prosperous 2019! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Steven: Happy New Year to you too John. I am a 27 year veteran, freelance illustrator specializing in comic books and storyboards. Specifically, storyboards for tv commercials. Some of my past works include co-creating and drawing DC’s Aztek: The Ultimate Man, Deadpool Annual ‘98 (some of that story and characters were used in the first Deadpool movie) Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, X-Force, Generation X and Catwoman. Recently, some of my highlights include a run on Voltron for Dynamite Entertainment, nominated for 2 Eisner awards, won 3 Glyph Awards and a Virginia Library Association Award for Graphic Novels for Watson and Holmes, Solarman for Scout Comics and an awesome 12 issue run on DC/ Wildstorm’s Michael Cray. Also, I have another indie book that I have been neglecting called Brotherhood of the Fringe. I am also a husband and father of a 20 year old college student.
Rob: Hello, thanks for the interview, I am a 20 year veteran in the industry, a self published writer and Founder of my own studio, Xmoor Studio. Over the years I have created a variety of Comics starting with my first Book GALTOW, a Martial arts/sci fi adventure. Teaming with various artist over the years, expanding to titles such as INHERITORS, SEIZE ASYLUM, TOOL_BOI, and 12 TRIALS, and my first Novella, The HOUSE of GALES. Xmoor Studios has also produced several commissioned projects from companies such as Sotheby’s, and MMA fight corporations such as Global Proving Grounds producing a comic called Warrior Island. A major creative highpoint for my Xmoor Studios line was the Production of a film short based upon the Comic book INHERITORS which I wrote and executive produced.
John: Now, Can you tell us a bit about A Change of Perspective? I will leave this to Rob.
Rob: The title of the next story arc in effect reveals the focus of the book, AJALA has been an introduction of a character for the first four issues just getting established, just the wonderment of being a young lady that is coming into her own, testing out this hero thing. With A Change of Perspective, we want to showcase some of the repercussions of accepting the mantle of what the cost would be in becoming a hero.
Steven: AJALA is not just a teen. Running around learning how to fight crime. She comes from a family who people know, who they have accepted as leaders, whether they wanted that title of not. As we delve into her past, we learn to understand that be are trying to mold he, control her inheritance of a community that has place expectations upon their family. Hence the title of the story, Ajala must take a different ideal of her world viewpoint.
John: What has inspired your work on A Change of Perspective? What inspired me was, pretty much, what has inspired me to do independent comics and that is telling and drawing stories featuring Black characters doing cool stuff.
Rob: What inspires me for the project? Keeping the world of Ajala going, we haven’t scratched the surface of the story of this young lady, her world, this new Harlem, and her family. The world of the C.S.C. has so many layers. I can see a host of concepts and characters that we need to develop. The ideal of our own society not waiting on anyone, and standing up to move our rights and agenda forwards. I want that to be our mission statement for AJALA.
John: What are some of the things that have influenced your work as creators? History, current events, animation, movies, sci-fi operas, other comic book artists and illustrators.
Rob: I am a person, one that has become intensely aware of the importance of community and our place in the world of arts and media. The creative process touches so many aspects, it touches, or angers, we are a passionate, creative race, and we need to have our representation in the comic field, not just on racial images but just to say, yes we are here also.
John: Robert, Can you tell us a bit about your writing and creative process?
Rob: I’ve been writing since the 5th grade, I had a group of friends, we grew up in some rough area, so to stay out of trouble, we all got together after school and would just create characters for hours and hours, I was the designated writer surrounded by artist, so I just got into the mode of the universe creator. I don’t write until I can literally see the character in his world, talking, moving, interacting.., yeah I kinda read everything even encyclopedias like they were novels.
John: Steven, Can you tell us a bit about your art and creative process?
Steven: Read the script, gather reference, do some thumbnail sketches, then I do developed sketches. I enlarge the developed sketches and tape them to back of the illustration board and trace the sketch with a blue line pencil. After the sketch is traced, I finish the lines with a .3 to .5 mechanical B lead pencil.
John: What are you hopes for A Change of Perspective 2019?
Steven: Oh wow! A successful Kickstarter, a Netflix deal, a lucrative publishing deal to create our own books and peace and love.
John: Is there anything you want to share with our readers before we sign off?
Steven: Please support or Kickstarter, Ajala: A Change of Perspective, and check us out on our social media platforms. We have a Facebook page for Ajala called Ajala: A Series of Adventures and you can find me, N Steven Harris on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and LinkedIn using my name. I also have a website at www.nstevenwork.com.
John: Once again Rob and Steven I want to say thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase and once again wish you the best of luck on your campaign as well as a very happy and prosperous 2019.
Click the image below to check out their campaign!
William Messner-Loebs is a prominent award-winning comic book author and artist who lives here in Michigan, who has been not only an inspiration but a significant encouragement and collaborator with other artists. However, due to bad luck, he found himself and his wife homeless. Working with friends in Detroit Tradecraft, Michael Marcus pulled together various comics creators for this benefit book to raise awareness of homelessness and help Bill and his wife find their way back into a home. Now you can help too by backing this book via their Indiegogo campaign.
BF: Michael, tell me about yourself and what your experience in comics has been.
MM: My name is Michael Marcus, and I’m a member of Detroit Tradecraft. I’d been publishing anthologies since 2007 with Hamtramck Idea Men’s IF-X books. Since then, I’ve done a variety of comics and writing projects including HARD RAIN and the self-published ONE-PUNCH and a few board games and card games.
BF: Cool! What inspired you to start this Indiegogo campaign?
MM: William Messner-Loebs and his wife Nadine are wonderful people, and thanks to medical problems and weather-related calamities, they have found themselves homeless. Because he has been so important to those of us who make comics as a local talent and general inspiration, we put together this anthology comic book as a way to raise money for him.
Bill and Nadine are the inspiration; without them, there would be game projects that would have never gotten made. When I told my friends in Detroit Tradecraft, they agreed that we should do this project, and I just sort of took lead.
BF: A great cause to be sure. Tell me a little bit about the book itself.
MM: The book is a variety of stories by multiple creators along with supplementary art; each story looks at homelessness from a different perspective, and the book itself is the primary perk for the campaign. High donors can get their names on a special Thank-You page, and one particularly generous donor bought the highest premium, which includes the amazing artwork that serves as the cover.
BF: Tell me about the production and some more about your creative team
MM: On this project, I’m merely the editor, doing my best to bring in the content we needed as quickly as possible; within Detroit Tradecraft, Marco Evans contributed a story, while C. Patrick Jackson and Gerald “Teon” Walker provided some much-needed artwork. I am extremely grateful to Bill Bryan for the cover, Tom Orzechowski for the logo, and wonderful stories from David Branstetter, Anthony Zicari, Brent Bowman, Nick Gibson, and J.R. Mounts.
BF: Tremendous! Tell me how the campaign is going so far?
MM: With our campaign half-way over, we’re almost to 50% of the goal. At this point, we can easily print the books and get them out to people–that said, the more we bring in, the more money we can get to Bill and Nadine. While I’m proud of the book and the work we did on this, it’s not about us. It’s about a great creator who needs our help. Each of us are one bad month away from homelessness–let’s look after our friends.
BF: I couldn’t agree more. Click the link below to check out the Benefit Book for William Messner-Loebs and consider helping this team out!
That’s it for this installment! Please take the time to check out each of the campaigns above and drop them a few bucks! And in the meantime, support indie comics!!!
Follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics!