Indie Comics Showcase 18: We’re Finally Legal!!

 

Hey there and welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase. For this week’s installment I have interviews with creators from three very distinct and fun comics. First we have Jamie Me. @JamieMeWrites on Twitter. Jamie has had a number of successful campaigns on Kickstarter, his currently one being The Fabled Four, which is already fully funded. Then we have Omar Morales, @TheCruZader on Twitter. Omar is another fantastic creator. He is currently funding Moon Girl, a fantastic Indie Comic which has already garnered a lot of praise, even landing on the list of Kickstarter Favorites. Lastly we have Xane from @righteouscomic talking about Righteous. Well I hope you enjoy getting to know these great people as much as I have.

Jamie Me & Co. Fabled Four

A Pixel Art Adventure Comic

A group of thirty-somethings gamble their savings on an ill-advised pixel adventure.

It’s Lord of the Rings meets The Inbetweeners!

 

John: Hello to Jamie Me. I hope your team and you are well.

Jamie: We’re all good, John thanks for giving us a chance to share our project!

——————–

John: You have had a number of successful Indie Comics projects, each new one being very different from the last. Your last was Ani Wild which was a Children’s Book, and this current one, Fabled Four is A Pixel Art Adventure Comic. Can you tell us a bit about how you come up with your ideas?

Jamie:I think that’s just who I am as a person. I’m always seeking to learn, and improve my skill set. By doing lots of different projects I’m constantly growing, and every project has taught me so much. Ani Wild gave me the opportunity to work within the kid literature realm, and help Archie Dait and P.S. Brooks encourage young readers to embrace the comic medium.

When it comes to my own ideas, they are all based on reality first and foremost. That might sound amusing when you look at Fabled Four, but underneath it all is a story that’s inspired by my local area and what it’s like to be 30 without an obvious path to success.

John: What was the inspiration behind Fabled Four, and how did the idea of doing a Pixel Comic come about?

Jamie: I think I brought it up when Luke started doing pixel art. With me writing, Jonny lettering and him doing the art we had a full team. Honestly though, Luke’s been pushing for us to do a joint project for years.

Jonny: True.

Luke: We knew we were going to make a comic, we were just unsure on the story, we bounced a fair few ideas around and eventually landed on “Fabled Four”, I am a massive fan of character design and Fabled Four gave me room to play with many ideas, so this kept me motivated and inspired.

John: The funny thing is I was actually thinking of doing a pixel comic. Something a little darker in tone with a style more reminiscent to that of games like, Slain: Back From Hell or Dead Cells  

Luke: The reason we decided on pixel art is because we wanted to base it on gaming in some way, we played with the idea of a battle-royale story before deciding on Fabled Four.

Jonny: It’s nothing that’s been seen before and with lots of inspiration from old school games, and Luke’s art skills with pixels we decided as a team to move forward with it before someone beat us to it.

Jamie: You can send us royalties John, ha ha.

John: In each of your projects you have worked with different people, some returning, some new. How do you go about picking a team?

Jamie: Usually I put out a few posts, and then I get hundreds of e-mails with portfolios. It’s amazing to see the level of interest the stories get, and START AGAIN had tons of replies because of how well-received Queen was with critics.

After you’ve worked with a lot of people like I have you start to realise that there are important things you need to look out for when choosing teams. Are they right for the job? It’s a simple question, but hard to fully know before. Gauging the enthusiasm level, and making sure artists have clear examples of their ability to do the project is a good starting point.

John: Once you have your team assembled, how is the collaboration process?

Jamie: Fabled Four is quite different as we are all co-creators, so every step of the way we have meetings about every element. It’s great that we are local!

Luke: It was much like a production line. Jamie writes the pages, I create the art and a few months later Jonny remembers he has to add the letters.

Jonny: We had to make sure we all agreed on how things would look and played out across all the pages, and if one of us wasn’t happy we would work on how to make it better with the constructive criticism from the team.

Jamie: Which was along the lines of “that looks shyte… let’s try again.”

John: Can you tell us a bit about your Writing Process? How do you go from an idea to a comic?

Jamie: Drafts. Many drafts. I build the world first, the characters and then when it’s time I start the writing process. I’m big on experience too. Wherever possible I think and feel the things I am writing about. The poisonous political discourse of Queen, the feelings of panic related to START AGAIN and the cheeky banter of IRL. That’s all inspired by reality.

Myself and Archie Dait work as a duo too. Sometimes I’m the writer, other times the editor and then we also do joint projects, so we mix it up a lot. It helps to understand every skill you have from a different perspective.

John: Can the artist on Fabled Four tell us a bit about their creation process?  

Luke: Step by step, I take the idea from the script, come up with a quick concept, stuff like character position, backgrounds and effects among other things, once we all agree on the scene, I get to work filling in details, keeping the team updated on the current page, this allows them to critique and allows me to adjust where needed, when I finish a page, we then as a team take one final look before it goes to Jonny for lettering.

Jonny: From the lettering point, we had to create a style that fit in with the art. We tried the standard lettering process, but found it didn’t fit with what we created, so with a little help from Luke we put together a pixel template using Clip Studio, and from there it was a slow process but with a little work it came together very well.

John: Do you have any other projects planned for this year or next?

Jamie: Fabled Four is the final project of the year, but next year is going to be big. I’ve got START AGAIN #2 returning in February, and then there are 2-3 more projects the rest of the year, but I’m big into surprises, so… stay tuned!

John: After all the time you have been creating Indie Comics, what would you say is the most difficult process?

Jamie: Marketing is without a doubt the hardest part. A lot of people make the mistake, in my opinion, of marketing to their fellow creators. They seek the validation of that blue-tick, who worked on a project they enjoyed from Marvel, sharing their thoughts and projects. I don’t give a flying f*ck about that stuff.



What I care about is making every single panel I put my name to the best it can be, and evolving over time to the point where my skills are recognised globally by people who read all kinds of works. I’ve found that readers respond to this relentless attitude, and they want to see the progression. When readers invest in me I invest back in them by putting back into more projects. I’m lucky that backers on platforms like Kickstarter have given me the chance to work with as many artists as I have. THANK YOU!

John: What are some of the things you have learned from the different projects you have done?

Jamie: Comics are a fantastic medium that gives you the opportunity to work with and interact with people from all over the world. I am truly lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to work with people from the UK, US, Spain, Indonesia, Canada and if you count the anthologies I was the editor on… the list is MASSIVE. It’s amazing, because you learn something new from everyone, and you get to carry it with you after. I love it.

John: Is there anything you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?

Jonny: We hope you enjoy our comic, and thank you to those who have backed so far, and anyone who has supported us with shares and feedback!

Luke: The stretch goal poster looks amazing, I have a test version up in my tool cupboard!

Jamie: Thanks for reading, and it would mean a lot to us if you’d have a read of the preview. We work hard, and want to gain readers through dedication to telling the best stories. If you think we stack up to that, and can afford, throw us a back, or a share.

It all really does help. We truly are grassroots!

 

Check out their Kickstarter page here!

 

 

____________________

Omar Morales and Co. Moon Girl Retro Futuristic Graphic Novel

A rated-PG graphic novel based on the golden age, public domain character.

This timeless Sci-Fi story is now reimagined by Omar MoralesJohn: Omar, Hey I hope your team and you are well. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Omar: Thanks for having me John. I’m an indie comics creator from the East Bay in California – near Oakland. I’m a lifelong lover of comics, scifi, and videogames – a true child of the 80s and 90s. I’ve always had a natural inclination toward writing, so making comics is a melding of talent, interest and fandom.

John: Let’s get into Moon Girl. Can you tell us a bit more about who Moon Girl is?

Omar: Moon Girl is a public domain character from the 1940s, who has mostly recently seen reincarnations by Red 5 comics in the 2000s and currently by Marvel. Back in the day, she was very two dimensional, very generic – which was common in the Golden Age boom of superheroes in the 1940s. Her origin story felt a bit incomplete to me, and I was inspired to take the basic outline and really expand on it and create my own original take on the character. In essence, she came to Earth from a race of Amazonian warrior women from the moon. I took that and ran with it, creating my own reasons for why she had to come to Earth and what this race of women were like.

John: What about Moon Girl drew your attention, what about her as a character and her stories made you want to write your own story about her?

Omar: The things that inspired me are kind of scattered. When I was a kid, I remember a kooky 1980s movie called “Amazon Women on the Moon,” and I always loved that title, and that genre of pulpy, retro-futuristic SciFi from the 40s and 50s that the move was a parody of.

John: When writing Moon Girl, apart from her original comics, what other sources did you draw inspiration from?

Omar: Today’s political climate was certainly an inspiration. But more than anything, this image below that I saw over 10 years ago just stuck in my head and stayed there until Moon Girl came around. I’d been saving this image in my iPhone for a long time, for no reason, and then when I had the chance to do a Moon Girl story for the “Not Forgotten Anthology (2017),” I built an entire subterranean moon world around the inspiration from this drawing:

John: Can you tell us a bit about the changes you made to the character, without getting into spoilers?

Omar: The changes I made were these: I made Moon Girl into a little girl, around first grade age, give or take. I wanted to show how the mantle of queen of the moon gets passed down from generation to generation. I also changed her friend “Star” into more of a caretaker, a mother-like figure instead of a friend. In the Golden Age comics she has this boyfriend called “Prince Mengu,” and I re-purposed him to be closer to Moon Girl’s age in my story. The story takes place a million years ago under the surface of the moon, and shows how technologically advanced these women were. It is very much an ancient alien story!

John: Can you tell us a bit about your Writing Process? How do you go from an idea to a comic?

Omar: My process is pretty similar from comic to comic. I let the idea germinate in my head until I know it is ripe and completely ready to commit to paper. From there, I outline every single page so that I have a rock solid structure. I allow myself a few extra blank pages, so that I can expand or contract with splash pages and two-page spreads. Then I start the business of writing, and I tend to write very quickly. There is no writer’s block because the idea is fully baked and the outline is very structured. Once the script is done, I agonize over edits for a while. Then I hire an artist and the edits continue. Then coloring and more editing and embellishing. Then letters, with at least a handful of revisions. I never truly feel that I’m done writing. Just like a movie director, there’s always one more cut you’d like to make.

John: Can the artist on Moon Girl tell us a bit about their creation process?

Omar: I have two artists on Moon Girl, Joel Cotejar on pencils and inks, and he is from the Philippines. Then there is Paul Goulart from Brazil, who does the fantastic color work to make the pages look old, stained and faded like a 1940s comic. I handle all the panel break downs and story flow in the script, then Joel pretty much has free reign on designing costumes, vehicles, atmosphere and backgrounds. I give him some visual references to get him inspired, but he takes it and runs with it. Paula is a great colorist who consistently nails my vision for color pallet without much revision. She knows the moon is supposed to look a certain way, and she knows Earth is supposed to look a certain way. They are both fantastic collaborators. I’d be remiss not to give kudos the great Renae De Liz and her husband Ray Dillon (both did Legend of Wonder Woman for DC) who did the cover art for me.

John: Where do you see yourself take Moon Girl in the future?

Omar: All the comics I do are intended as one-and-done, complete story arcs. I could never see myself doing a #1 issue of something, and then abandoning it, leaving a reader hanging. I like to give readers a complete graphic novel experience: beginning, middle and end. My stories could continue, but they don’t have to. I typically move on to the next idea by the time I finish a story. So with Moon Girl, I intend to walk away from it and move on to the next adventure. However, I will say that I believe Moon Girl has great potential to be adapted into other media because of its unique look and feel. I may pitch it to people that are in the business of gobbling up properties on speculation for future potential. Who knows what could happen, if anything.

John: Is there anything you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?

Omar: I’d like to say this to readers that are deciding whether or not to pledge Moon Girl on Kickstarter: it’s a sure bet, it’s going to happen. The pages are 80% complete, and by the time you publish this story the campaign should be approaching 80% funded. This is how I roll – I don’t put ideas out there, I put out work that has been in development for a couple of years. I recoup nothing on production expenses. I set a reasonable funding goal, with affordable pledge reward levels so that people get value for their entertainment. My long term goal is always to break even and have a ton of fun along the way – the way comics ought to be!

John: Thank You, Omar. and best of luck on the campaign. Moon Girl looks like a Wonderful Comics

Check out this Kickstarter here!

____________________________

Xane and Co. Righteous: Graphic Novel Volumes 1 & 2

A greedy corporate analyst contracts a supernatural contagion that

forces him to help others and not earn money for himself…

 

John: Xane, Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Xane: As a child, I loved comics and video games and spent the first 22 years of my adult life as a producer in the video game industry. I then went through a transformation in 2013… I had my first Ayahuasca experience, and that changed the way I looked at everything – society, work, relationships, all of existence! It was that experience that laid the foundation that I would eventually use to create RIGHTEOUS. Because before that point, I thought society worked relatively well. It appealed to our evolutionary makeup — our drive for survival, our need for competition, fear as our dominant emotion, etc… But that all changed in an instant when I got to speak to the spirit of Ayahuasca. She told me that I was being greedy, and that I didn’t love enough. Whoa.

John: Let’s get into Righteous. Can you tell us a bit more about Righteous, who the characters are, what the story is about?

Xane: A greedy corporate analyst (Daniel Price) contracts a supernatural disease that forces him to help others and not make money for himself anymore. His life begins to fall apart because these new desires are completely incompatible with our society. This highlights the origin story arc (Issues 1-5) which could best be described as a man-vs-nature (society) story. The twist is that every time Daniel helps someone, they become afflicted with the same desires – the same disease.

The second story arc begins in Volume 2 (Issues 6-10). That’s when the story shifts toward a man vs. man story, as Daniel’s main antagonist, James Vonner, is introduced. Daniel joins forces with other afflicted cohorts, and they begin scheming ways to infect the entire world with their “good” disease. The lines are blurred between what is right and wrong – and an epic story begins!

John: What inspired you to create Righteous?

Xane: It was 2016 when I started writing this series. The presidential campaign as at the forefront of my mind, and it was one of those campaigns where you got to see such different personalities vying for the role.Thanks to one of the candidates, I imagined if EVERYONE in the world woke up one day with the unwavering desire to help others, what would the world look like? Not many know this, but RIGHTEOUS started off as small, one-page stories that expressed that moment of realization from the perspectives of different people across the world the morning of the awakening. The CEO of Wal*Mart, all of congress, an office of the Red Cross, a TV news station, Poachers in Africa, etc… While this was interesting, it didn’t have much conflict. The world just became a better place – literally overnight. So I decided to create a narrative where it happened slowly — one person at a time. By allowing one unlikely protagonist to have this experience, we got to see how he was suddenly incompatible with our world – helping us realize how screwed up our society really is! By having him pass it along to others, we could watch as giving and kindness took over the world – AND how people might try to resist it…

John: When writing Righteous, what sources do you draw inspiration from?

Xane: The movies Liar, Liar and Groundhog Day for their use of the element of the supernatural. Their approach allows us to view society and life in a completely different way – a perfect platform to write a commentary while also crafting a compelling story. I also love Robert Kirkman’s’ work. He makes comics extremely digestible for anyone. His dialogue is clear and obvious. His storylines are simple yet complex. And he really pushes the envelope and breaks your perception of what a comic book or a work of fiction SHOULD do, and he does what he thinks will make the best story.

John: Can you tell us a bit about your Writing Process? How do you go from an idea to a comic?

Xane: I only write if an incredible idea strikes me. It has to be so good that I have NO CHOICE but to create it. So when this idea hit me, I wasted no time. Within two weeks of coming up with the idea, I’d already hired my illustrator and he began concepts for the main characters. I also hired an editor (Christie Yant) from the comic industry to review my scripts to make sure I was doing it right. I wasn’t. At least not at first. But I received on-the-job training from her and it made all the difference. My goal was to write a comic that had the potential to change the world, and I wanted it to be as professional and legit as possible. She was a big part of that! I couldn’t recommend hiring an editor enough for a first-timer. You’ll learn more in 20 pages then you would after writing 20 issues with no editing help.

John: Can the artist on Righteous tell us a bit about their creation process?

Joseba: About my creative process, it starts with the script. Xane gives me pretty clear instructions and references for the character expression that he wants, or the places where the action will happen. That helps me a lot. So I focus my attention on finding the right camera angles, the right poses and expressions. I want the narrative to be very clear and fluid. So that’s my main concern. When I have that nailed, I make the final art. My style has improved throughout the chapters, so now I draw a very clear and clean artline. That fits very well with the style of Righteous. And then, if Xane is happy with the artwork, the page can be coloured by Gab Contreras.

John: What has been the most challenging thing you have encountered during the creation of this project?

Xane: Surprisingly, it has gone fairly smoothly. The writing is easy when you have a solid idea. It really writes itself. The artists have done a fantastic job – they are a professional and talented bunch! I guess I’d have to say the marketing is the most difficult part. It’s not my area of expertise, and I’d much rather craft the series then try to get people to read it. I’m plugging away, but it would sure be nice if I could have hired a marketing expert like I hired that editor from the start. I know we’d be much further along and more popular by this point.

John: Where do you see yourself take Righteous in the future?

Xane: I have an outline that takes us beyond chapter 25, I have written chapter 16, and we’re in production on chapter 10. We have a long way to go, and I love it! Everyone’s dream is to be picked up for licensing in another medium, and I think this particular concept would adapt very well to the small or large screen, so that’s what I’d love to see. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep growing our audience and forging ahead and creating this series!

John: Is there anything you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?

Xane: I’d love it if they checked out our Kickstarter. Our goal with our second Kickstarter is getting Volume 2 printed (Issues 6-10) and paying the artists for their tireless efforts. If your readers would like to get in on this, I would encourage them to check it out at http://righteous-crowdfund.com  — we are offering Volume 1 (issues 1-5 – the origin story) and Volume 2 for sale in hardcopy form. There are still a few EARLY BIRD specials left on these! And then the fun stuff like getting your likeness added to the book in the form of an upcoming character, becoming a producer, an executive producer, a lifetime subscriber, and more! The Kickstarter ends on November 16, 2018, so there’s not much time left! Grab some copies while you still can.  And thank you, John, at Indie Comics Showcase for giving us this interview and precious exposure. People seem to love the comic, so hopefully your readers won’t be disappointed!

John: Thank you, you’ve been great! Best of luck on the campaign.

Xane: Thank you my friend!

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

Check out the Righteous Kickstarter page here!

 


Follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics!

John Lemus

I'm a 35 year-old Cuban who works in Hialeah, FL. I'm really into comic books and comic book culture and I have a particular fondness for independent comics. Which is why I started the Indie Comics Showcase. Follow me on Twitter @indie_comics!