Indie Comics Showcase #20

Welcome back dear readers to Indie Comics Showcase. I hope everyone had a good, safe, and happy Thanksgiving. For this week’s installment I wanted to cover four very different, and very special indie comic campaigns and their wonderful creators.

 

Doug Hopkins’ Robot Western: The Comic Book Series

Follow the incredible sci-fi adventure of a young boy robot throughout a wild untamed frontier!

Check out the Indigogo page here!

John: Hey There Doug Hopkins, I hope you are doing very well. First I want to say thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase Today. I’m super glad to have you on. Your Indie Comic Series, Robot Western looks amazing. The concept is a bit nostalgic, taking me back to classic cartoons like Brave Starr & Silver Hawks, and shows like The Wild Wild West.

 Doug: It is a pleasure to be a part of Indie Comics Showcase. Thank you kindly for your interest about Robot Western and for your encouraging words. We defiantly have the same taste in cartoons. Couldn’t get enough of Brave Starr.

John: Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

 Doug: Well, first and foremost I am a family man. My very supportive wife, Darlene, and I have been together for 28 years and have raised three awesome children together; Max, Danielle and Ian. I work in Northern Canada, in the tar sands, but my passion has always been writing and illustrating. It has been since a very young age. But I have been blessed with employment which has funded my passions thus far.

John: Can you tell us a little bit about how Robot Western came to be?

Doug: Robot Western stems from my childhood experiences. ‘Rusty’, the main character in the comic, is basically me. I grew up in the furthest eastern Canadian province named ‘Newfoundland & Labrador’. Born in a small quiet fishing town, situated on the banks of the cold North Atlantic Ocean, I am living proof that isolation and boredom fuels imagination. Like Rusty, I grew up naïve to the outside world; not only because of remoteness but also largely to the fact that I only wanted to live in my imagination. I saved my paper route money to buy a super 8mm camera that my best friends and I would use to make amateur sci-fi movies in the woods and around the rocky shore line. It was not until I graduated high school and moved to “the big city” that I got a taste of the real world, and just like Rusty when he left his home for the first time, did the real adventure began. Robot Western came from discovering who I was and how I could defeat, seemly, the invincible obstacles of life. Also, I was fooling around with a 3D software one day and created a robot in cowboy boots. I thought it was so cool!

John: You are the Publisher, Author, & Illustrator on Robot Western, can you tell us a bit about your writing and illustrating process, as well as your experience as a publisher?

Doug: I am the Publisher and Author but most of the illustrating credit goes to Shipeng Lee (Penciler/Inker) and Aleksandr Dochkin (Colorist). My main contribution to the illustrating is the designing. I design all the characters, environments, etc and I do some line art but it is Shipeng and Aleksandr who breath such colorful life into my ideas. My creative process is odd I think, compared to others. I design first and write later. When I’m designing a new character, it’s like his/her life flashes before me and the story just naturally unfolds in my head as if it has already happened and I am just then hearing about it. When I finish a character design, his/her backstory and future aspirations are clear to me and then I start writing that stuff down. As for my experiences as a Publisher, I try not to get weighted down by the day in day out business end of things. You must take time to run the business but don’t let it overshadow your passion for creating. I am a published author/illustrator of children’s literature and did not fully appreciate the work load of the company who first published me. Now I have such an admiration for them and the challenges they face in such a competitive industry.

John: Can you tell us a bit about what some of your influences and inspirations have been while working on Robot Western?

Doug: I have always been a huge fan of sci-fi. You mentioned the Robot Western concept to be a bit nostalgic, which is certainly true. I grew up being influenced by 70’s and 80’s sci-fi; Buck Rogers, Disney’s The Black Hole and Tron, and of course Star Wars. My childhood was heavily influenced by Star Wars; especially the droids. There wasn’t much available to me but the little Star Wars I did experience changed my life. “Less Is More” they say. If I could visit another world, only second to the Robot Western world, is the Star Wars universe. Having said that, a lot of my inspiration, while I continue to develop this comic book series, has been, well, observation. I am a people watcher and people from all over the world work in the Canadian tar sands. From Russia to China, from Australia to Africa, I have had the pleasure to meet such a diverse cast of characters. And, this might sound weird, but I see robot faces in everything. It could be a distinct design in a marble floor tile or even a shadow cast by some random object, but they pop out at me and then their story begins to reveal itself as I put that face to paper.

John: What are your hopes for Robot Western?

Doug: Oh man! I have such high hopes for Robot Western. It has always been my main goal to adapt the comic for animation. I feel like it is crying out to be animated. 2D traditional animation to be specific. I should mention that I am a collector of 70’s and 80’s action figures and toys, so another personal goal of mine is to have the characters of Robot Western in my collection as action figures. It’s great to have goals and to dream but for now I am loving every experience this series is sharing with me and I will continue with Rusty on his journey to see what incredible secrets the untamed frontier will reveal to us.

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

Doug: I sure would. Mostly, I need to give a wholehearted thank you to those who have supported me and the Robot Western project. If you are not familiar with the Robot Western series, then please check it out. You won’t be sorry as the amount of work my teams puts into it is astounding. And now for the shameless plug. We presently have an Indiegogo campaign running which you can check out here. Also, to know more, please visit our website at www.robotwestern.com.

John: Once again I would like to say thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase.

Doug: The pleasure is all mine. You do fine work. I am grateful ‘Indie Comics Showcase’ gives a voice to people like me and our comic book projects. I commend you for your efforts.

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Drew Moss’ Chase The Moon

Chase the Moon is a 100-page graphic novel about two crazy kids in love in the middle of an all-out, citywide monster gang war!

Please check out the campaign here

John: Hey there Drew, I hope you are doing great today! Your Indie Graphic Novel, Chase The Moon is fangtastic. I’m a huge horror fan, and am particularly fond of Werewolves. So of course, Chase The Moon got my attention right away. It’s a great project that you are doing along with Bob Frantz and Kevin Cuffe. I covered Metal Shark Bro earlier this year which is how I original found out about Chase The Moon. So I’m super glad to feature you guys this week.

Drew: Great to be here and I appreciate your time and support.

John: Can you tell us a bit about how yourself and how you came to work with Bob and Kevin?

Drew: Well, I am an illustrator from south eastern VA.  I have done work for Oni Press, Dark Horse comic, IDW, Image Comics, and more.  I met Bobby in a “meet up” group he ran for comic creators. He was a local radio personality and we hit off instantly.  We attended many cons together and had many misadventures. Kevin I met through my LCS Heroes and VIllains. The owner RIch told him to talk to me because Kevin wanted to a comic writer.  Kevin approached me and we have been friends ever since. He goes to every con with me. He is my Con Wife, HAHA.

John: Can you tell us a bit about how Chase The Moon came to be?

Drew: Chase the Moon was something they were working on and came to me when it was in its infancy.  They told me what it was about and I liked it but thought it needed something. They worked on it and built into the fine idea it is now.  They originally had another artist attached and that fell through and they were looking for a new artist when I asked them if I could read it again.  I remember the first draft needed work and holes needed to be filled but I read the new draft and I immediately knew I wanted to do it. I asked them if I could do it.  I will never forget Kevin’s face and response. “Really?” from then on I was the artist and the best part since we are friends they let me help develop ideas and I appreciate that.  I love those guys

John: It looks like the world of Chase The Moon is inhabited by multiple Magical Creatures, can you tell us a bit about those?

Drew: I can tell you about some, there are the Glampires, a sort glam rock new wave ambiguous gang of vampires.  Think David Bowie, Boy George, Dead or Alive , and Poison! The Lunatics are a werewolf gang and the focus of the first graphic novel a surly gang but also have a lot of love for each other.  They are a pack Wrappers D-Lite are a mummy gang ran by a pharaoh.  Totally inspired by 80s hip hop! The dockside raiders are a Fish creature gang and the designs on them are going to great! There are The Hex, a witch gang that runs the other gangs.  They are the leaders. And there so many more from zombies to animal people, to ghouls and ghosts.  It will be a fun ride.

John: From looking at the art, which is phenomenal by the way, it appears that there are different kinds of Werewolves, some that look closer to the original Wolfman, and some that look like more modern Werewolves. Is that the case?

Drew: No spoilers but the werewolf you see on page two is actually the way Holly is representing the werewolves and it drives them crazy.  On the 3rd and 4th page you see the conversation Jason and Sam, Jason’s girlfriend have about it. Hollywood misrepresenting a group of people, shocking I know. 🙂

John: Can you tell us a bit about what some of your influences and inspirations have been while working on Chase The Moon? If I were to guess one of them, it would be Skinwalkers, which actually happens to be one of my favorite movies.

Drew: Artistically I would say Bernie Wrightson and Lewis Larosa.  Themematically I keep thinking of all the old 80’s horror like the keep, american werewolf in london, the howling, Silver bullet, and many others. All the John Carpenter movies as well.  Big Trouble in Little China is one of my all time faves.

John: What are your hopes for Chase The Moon?

Drew: I hope we get funded and we make the best book we can make.  We want to expand the Chase the Moon universe and have ideas for spin offs and sequels.  My hope is to make a piece of work that people can relate to and reminisce about their youth or it becomes apart of there experience and they tell others to check out the book. I want to make people happy.

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

Drew: Yes, please check out Chase the Moon on Kickstarter.  We have a bunch of rewards that range from the book, to art, to cameos, and retailer reward that offers the book to LCS at a discount.  If it isnt something you are into please share it, maybe there is a friend or family member that would like it.

John: Once again I would like to say thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase.

Drew:Thank you for your support John and thank you to everyone that supports us.

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Sam Bowen’s Goldfinch: Volume One

Leah’s life flips around in this LGBT fantasy when she becomes the getaway driver for the city’s most infamous gang, the Goldfinch.

Please check out the campaign here

John: Welcome Sam Bowen to Indie Comics Showcase, I hope you are well. We are very glad to have you and feature your Indie Comic Goldfinch.

Sam: Thank you so much for the feature! 🙂 This is awesome!

 John: Sam, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sam: I graduated Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in 2017, alongside my partner, Ari Pluchinsky, with a BFA in illustration. I actually dabble in a lot of different areas. Aside from comics, I’ve done animation, character and concept art, and conceptual illustrations, as well as hand-making products for my Etsy shop, BowenArrowArt.

John: How did you come to work with Ari?

Sam: Ari and I were roommates all through college, and started dating our junior year. We found that our strengths and weaknesses in art complimented each other, so we decided to use our powers for good instead of evil and now make comics together! 

John: Can you tell us a bit about Goldfinch and how it came to be?

Sam: We had the main characters, Oran and Leah, long before we had the plot. One day Ari just said, “You know what would be cool? A 1920s gangster setting!” So from there we excitedly started brainstorming the plot and solidifying their character designs. Representation is also important to us, so we like to explore the lives of characters that are LGBT. We approach writing our stories where them being gay is normalized, but not the focus. Still, you can consider Goldfinch a rom-com as Oran and Leah’s slow burn romance is a main plot point.  

John: What is it about the era you set Goldfinch in that made you want to do so?

Sam:  It’s an era in history we’re both very drawn to, but we also wanted to add our own flare with the fantasy element, as we’re both avid D&D players. Goldfinch is technically a companion story to our webcomic, Woodlands, which takes place a few hundred years beforehand. We knew we wanted to keep the story in that world, and what’s cooler than mobster orcs and dwarves? 

John: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

Sam: Ari will take more of the lead in storytelling, but we will both write the script together. We’ll start with a quick outline to plot the major points in a chapter, then we jump into writing page by page. From there, we go back through and work out dialogue, deciding if jokes land and if actions are reading on the page. The usual pipeline is Ari will thumbnail and pencil, I will ink, and Ari will paint. 

John: What are your hopes for Goldfinch?

Sam: Long term, Goldfinch is set to be about 3-4 volumes in total. Ideally moving forward we will look for a literary rep to help us take it to a publisher.   

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

Sam: We hope you’re excited for Goldfinch! In the meantime, you can read our webcomic Woodlands at woodlandscomic.com, or woodlandscomic.tumblr.com, or on Webtoons.

John: Once again I would like to say thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase.

Sam: No problem, thanks for the opportunity! This was fun! 

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Bruce Patnaude’s The Wreck: Into The Breach

A recovery team finds themselves in a fight for their lives aboard a derelict terra-forming ship.

Check out their Indigogo page here!

John: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Bruce! I hope you are well. We’re very glad to have you and feature your Indie Comic The Wreck: Into The Breach.

Bruce: Thanks, I appreciate you talking with me. Also excited to share some info about the project with you and your readers. 

John: Bruce, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Bruce: Sure, this book is about the ACOR Asset Recovery Team locating the derelict terra-forming ship the ARGO.  A ship that was supposed to establish a small terra-forming colony on Titan years earlier but had been lost to the vastness of space.  Into the Breach is a cliffhanger centering around ACOR’s initial discovery and boarding of the ARGO, their encounter with a rival firm trying to retrieve a specific piece of cargo and a xeno-morph presence that has taken up residence on the ship.

John: Can you tell us a bit about The Wreck: Into The Breach and how it came to be?

Bruce: Sure, this book is about the ACOR Asset Recovery Team locating the derelict terra-forming ship the ARGO.  A ship that was supposed to establish a small terra-forming colony on Titan years earlier but had been lost to the vastness of space.  Into the Breach is a cliffhanger centering around ACOR’s initial discovery and boarding of the ARGO, their encounter with a rival firm trying to retrieve a specific piece of cargo and a xeno-morph presence that has taken up residence on the ship.

The full story of The Wreck started out as a video game pitch to a past employer. It was originally called “F.A.S.T.” and was designed to be a four-player co-op third-person shooter.  After it was rejected, I decided to turn it into a graphic novel. Work began on the story and script about 4 years ago. After much thought, I decided to slice a piece of the full story out, and introduce folks to it by offering that up as a single issue cliffhanger floppy. This is The Wreck: Into the Breach.  The 120-page graphic novel will follow after this campaign is fulfilled.

John: What I find most interesting about your comic is the unique designs on each of your characters, can you tell us a bit about what inspired them?

Bruce: The ACOR Team consists of five field members; Logan, Nikki, Sam(Samantha), Bjorn, Wil and an Operations Manager, Angelica.  The field members do all of the heavy lifting so they are usually decked out with sophisticated body armor that aids them with zero-G and hostile environment situations, they provide no super strength capabilities.  Their suits are identical in every way except for the helmets.  Each member has a unique helmet by design that helps the reader identify who is who when faces are covered.

Inspired heavily by the science fiction genre and concepts of the future of warfare where the soldier is enhanced with technology, I tried to do my own spin on what these powered exoskeletons might look like and how they would operate. This is one of the reasons the Recovery Team’s suits are body armor and not powered armor.  Some notable inspirations for me when designing came from novels such as “Armor” by John Steakly, Leviathan Wakes by James A. Corey,  video games like Gears of War, Crysis, Mass Effect and Halo, and even superheroes such as Ironman. Although not technically military, the ACOR characters were inspired by the colonial marines from “Aliens”. I enjoy all types of fiction, but sci-fi is near and dear to my heart and futuristic military-style armor and uniforms have always fascinated me.

John: Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

Bruce: I like to joke that my writing process chaotic.  First I come up with a very high-level idea. Then I sketch visual concepts of main characters, props, environments, etc.  After that, I write the ending of the story first. This gives me a clear and concise goal while writing the rest.  After that, I break down the story into pages and then script it.  Of course, once I start laying out the book into panels, all of that is subject to change.  See, chaos. lol 

John: What are your hopes for The Wreck: Into The Breach?

Bruce: My hope for this campaign is to get more folks interested in the story and want to read it in its entirety. Not only would I like to reach the $3500 goal, but more importantly, I would like to see 300-500 backers or more.  The more readers you have, the better-staying power you’ll achieve.  I love to write and draw science fiction stories and I am hoping that this will help me do it full time and that comic book and sci-fi fans will enjoy what I do.

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

Bruce: The Wreck: Into the Breach is currently running on Indiegogo. Please consider taking a look and backing, sharing, or even talking about it with others that like action filled sci-fi romps. You can follow me on Twitter at @ArtClodBruce where I would be more than happy to answer any questions or talk about the project and art, comics, and sci-fi in general.

John: Once again I would like to say thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase.

Bruce: Thanks again for having me and showcasing indie projects and developers. You’re doing good work here.

John: Thanks Bruce! Readers, be sure to check out their Indiegogo page here! And please retweet and share this page with other comic fans who support indie comics! There’s something here for everyone. And be sure to check out other indie comics on our Twitter feed at @BleedingFool or @Indie_Comics!

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John Lemus

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!

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON