Indie Comics Showcase 21: Lets Back Some Indie Comics!

Hey there , I hope everyone has been well and is having a wonderful week. Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase. I want to apologize for the delays lately. We try to publish each week in time for New Comic Book Day, but things happen. However, going into 2019 I want to try something different. I want to try and provide a better experience for you, our readers. I will touch upon that a little more at a later date. Every week I try and select what I feel are the top Indie Comic crowd-funding campaigns and creators to interview and I feel as if I have a mighty fine selection for you all today.

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The first feature in today’s installment should be a familiar name and face as he is a member of our Indie Comics Fam, Bradley Golden .We’ve covered two of his previous comics on here before. The first one being Timmy Lala’s Ice Cream, and the second one being Mississippi Zombie. Today we will be talking about a number of things, including his latest Indie Comic campaign, which is for Leave On The Light. If you follow us on Twitter you would have seen a couple of teaser images being shared for a few weeks now. But fear not we have posted them for you here.

Like Timmy Lala’s Ice Cream, Leave On The Lights has some of the best establishing shots and creative paneling I’ve seen in any comic, period. You can forget about finding anything remotely close to this in any mainstream comic. That last line could get me into some real trouble as I have some friends who still work in mainstream comics. If you read this, sorry guys. Espero que me puedan perdonar.

Bradley Golden’s Leave On The Light

In a small town near New York an undead serial killer has begun claiming the lives of the children using the city’s electrical system.

You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here 

John: Hey, Bradley! I hope you’ve been well. Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, we are happy to host another of your amazing campaigns. Earlier in the year we covered Timmy Lala’s Ice Cream, which is now known as Cold Blood, which is an awesome book, one of my top Indie Comics of 2018 for sure, and then with Mississippi Zombie, which sadly did not meet its funding goal, but I do hope to see it again. Today we’re talking about your most recent master craft comic, Leave On The Lights

But before we get on with the show, I was hoping you could tell us a bit about yourself for our readers who may not be familiar with your work.

Bradley: I’m Bradley Golden, creator and co-writer of LEAVE ON THE LIGHT. I’m also co-writing EXCITING COMICS, HORROR COMICS, MANGAZINE and upcoming WHIZ COMICS for Antarctic Press.

John:  Cool! Now, can you tell us about Leave On The Lights, what it’s about, how it came to be? I’ve been sharing the early pages for a few weeks now, but would like to go back a bit further if possible.

Bradley: This book came about four years ago. I was watching a movie about a murderer who was put to death and would use people bodies to go from one person to another imitating them until he killed his prey. I thought I would love to see someone do something similar in the comic space.

John:  You have had a number of campaigns on KickStarter, along with your share of successes and campaigns that did not quite reach their goal. What have you learned from the campaigns that did not make it?

Bradley: Well one, you should aim at a low goal with any product that is new or not yet proven. That was – and is – the problem with a lot of kickstarters these days. We set the goal a bit too high for a new series.

John:  We’ve talked a bit via Twitter DMs and Facebook, tossed around a couple of ideas, some of which I hope still make it into an issue of Mississippi Zombie. Can you share with our readers a bit about your creative process.

Bradley: Sure, I usually start out by brainstorming the plots and outlines. After that I talk it over with the artist and get the characters design laid out. Then me and artist proceed to the plots and see what angels and size panels are best used for the situation of the page. Once that is done for all the issue I go into full script mode. So you can say a mix between “Marvel style” and full script.

John:  As a fan and a  creator, what have some of your influences been, what has inspired you most over the years?

Bradley:  John Carpenter, Wes Craven and old B horror movies.

John: What are your hopes for not just Leave On The Lights, but the Indie Comics Community in general, going into 2019 and beyond.

Bradley: I’m hoping more people. Become more aware of the cool stories being told in the indie scene other than image, boom studios, and others. And marvel comics and DC comics are not the only ones with great content.

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

Bradley: Yeah what you all don’t know is LEAVE ON THE LIGHT has been option for a independent MO i.e. by Spirit rider Production. So getting this book at the kickstarter level is a really big investment.

John:  Brother, it’s always a pleasure talking with you. Thank you again for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase and for always including me in your tweets. I would not have the following I do now without people like you, so thank you.

Again, be sure to check out Bradley’s Kickstarter campaign here 

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Our second feature in this week’s installment of ICS is Is’nana The Were-Spider by Greg Anderson Elysse, This series is one of the most original ones I have come across. It’s so cool and I love all of the characters. They have such great style. This series is a bit of an Alternative History Comic and this most recent issue features one of my favorite historical figures in John Henry. 

GREG ANDERSON ELYSEE

Is’nana The Were-Spider: The Ballads of Rawhead & John Henry

 

Is’nana the Were-Spider returns in a double feature! Featuring Rawhead & Bloody Bones, and folk legend John Henry!

Please check out the Kickstarter Campaign here!

John: Hey Greg, I hope you are well. Thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase Today.

Greg: Thanks for having me!

John: Before we get into the thick of it I want to say congratulations! Is’nana The Were-Spider: The Ballads of Rawhead & John Henry has been fully funded with sixteen days on the campaign. This is your third successful campaign with Is’nana, that is amazing.  

Greg: Thank you, man. I appreciate it. It continues to be quite the journey.

John: What can you tell our readers about yourself? 

Greg: On top of being a comic writer, I’m also a film production educator and I also model on the side. Everything I do is to raise money for my book production and also to inspire a lot of youth.

John: Nice. Can you tell us a bit about your character Is’nana the Were-Spider? 

Greg: Is’nana the Were-Spider is my creator owned comic. It’s a coming of age, horror fantasy book about the son of Anansi the Spider, the African and Caribbean god of stories. Is’nana is his pacifist son who has to stop these chaotic creatures that he accidentally released into our world and now he works with his father, attempting to bond with Anansi while figuring out his own place in the world.

John: What inspired you to create Is’nana the Were-Spider? 

Greg: Well I used to ask a lot of people if they knew much about black gods or folklore characters. Many people, even black people, can’t name you 5 or even 3. But we’re educated on European myths and fairytales and can name so many. I felt knowledge of a lot of ‘black myths were dying, so Is’nana represents reclaiming the roots and continuing our stories. So as the series goes on, he’ll be meeting and interacting with various deities, spiritual figures, heroes, monsters, and so on from various black cultural stories.

John: Are those some of the things that have influenced your work on Is’nana the Were-Spider? 

Greg: It’s influenced by black culture, stories, mythology and spirituality. I love learning about various faiths and heroes, and as I continue to learn, my mind starts to work on modernizing or having fun with them. I’m influenced and driven by wanting to prove that we have awesome mythology just as cool and diverse as Greeks and Norse. And I love seeing my black audience, especially black children, excited for the book.

John: Tell me a little about your writing process.

Greg: A lot of it starts from research. I’m always online and shopping for more and more books on Black mythology, spirituality, faith, folklore, etc. It’s one of my favorite past times and self care periods. I also like to jot down characters I learn about and allow my mind to play around with concepts and figure out how they can benefit Is’nana in some way. After making out the general plot outline and writing out some scenes, I’ll eventually piece them together. I also never really write in order, it keeps me from being bored and I love editing and figuring out the pacing. Eventually I’ll have a draft, I’ll send it out to some close friends whose opinions I trust. I’ll take criticisms, fix up another draft, etc. I tend to have 3 or more drafts until I’m fully satisfied.

John: What are your hopes for the future Is’nana the Were-Spider? 

Greg: I’m hoping to be able to make more money to release more of these books. Each day, I seem to gain a new reader, each convention builds more of an audience. I want to use Is’nana as a channel to educate or interest more people in Black stories and culture. Maybe in the near future after getting more volumes out, an animated series would be amazing to continue the mission.

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

Greg: Be sure to check out the campaign to catch up with Is’nana and check us out! It’d be wonderful to have you on board on this journey. And also, please keep an eye out for my next creator owned series with Evoluzione Publishing called Marassa. We’re launching a Kickstarter for that very soon. It’s a sci-fi fantasy book mixing Black culture with futuristic space pirates. It’s bound to be zany, kooky fun!

John: Once again Greg, I want to say thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase. I encourage you to check out Greg’s Kickstarter campaign page here!

Greg: Thank you for having me, man!

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Mine To Avenge: Book Of Layla #1

In a time of technological marvels, an ancient evil rises.

Be sure to visit the Mine to Avenge crowdfunding page here!

John: Marcel, Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, I hope you are well, and I am very happy to have you on today’s installment. Before I get to the interview, let me start by saying “congratulations!” Your indie comic Mine To Avenge: Book Of Layla #1 is Fully Funded with ten days left!

Marcel: Thank you so much. Also, thank you for having me!

John: You’re a writer and also a publisher. Your company Evoluzione publishes several indie comics. Can you tell us a bit about how that came to be?  

Marcel: I started Evoluzione Publishing to put out titles from creators that I really liked. After doing it for awhile I thought that if the company only does creator owned work that we wouldn’t have any value. I started to write comics to give my company some IP. 

John: What else can you tell us about yourself?

Marcel: I am a San Diego native. I first started reading comics when I was 8 years old. My first comic was Evil Ernie. My favorite comic writer is probably Brian K Vaughan or Grant Morrison. My favorite comic team is Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips.

John: You’ve had a number of successful Indie Comic crowdfunding campaigns, and a few that did not met their funding goal. Can you tell us what you’ve learned from the ones that don’t meet their funding and how you usually handle them? How do you prepare for future campaigns.

Marcel: The things I’ve learned from failure is that you have to promote ahead of time. My first Kickstarter was a cold drop and we missed the goal by a few hundred. My second failure taught me that some creators don’t have it in them to hustle. My third failure taught me that people will only support for so long while waiting for other products. The way I now prepare for crowdfunding is meeting with the creative to talk to them what I expect from them and ask them if there is anything that that need from me to be successful. I also have a Evoluzione mailing list to help market our products months in advance.

John: As I previously mentioned, you have had a number of campaigns, each one really different. Your current campaign is for Mine To Avenge: The Book Of Layla, which is being done by Robert Jeffrey II, who is a good friend of Indie Comics Showcase, along with Matteo Illuminati. Can you tell us a bit about that project and how it’s different from your past ones?

Marcel: Mine To Avenge: The Book Of Layla is cyberpunk horror about a group that fights a secret society of ancient evil. From a reader standpoint Robert brings a unique voice that we don’t currently have at our company. Another thing is that Matteo’s style is different from the cartoony house style that we tend to have. From a creative standpoint is it vastly different from our other creator owned projects. Normally, I approve a pitch then allow the writer to bring me a finished product. With this, I had the pitch then I sent Robert, Matteo’s work. I was involved in every step of the way. It more like a Vertigo process than Image. A lot of our new projects will be done in this method. 

John: Can you tell us a bit about your workflow? What have some of your influences been over the years you’ve been a comic fan, and as a comic publisher?

Marcel: My ideas as a creator come from music. I may hear a line in a song then craft a story from that. My comic PoM came from a Britney Spears song call Piece Of Me. My comic Delilah Blast come from Do Something by Britney Spears and Science by System Of A Down. As a publisher I am hugely influenced by Karen Berger. I really look up to what see did with Vertigo and strive to do the same. Dark Horse’s series of miniseries is also something I have modeled Evoluzione after.  I am also really influenced by Vault Comics, their books are designed really, really well. 

John: What are your hopes for the future of Mine To Avenge and Evoluzione?

Marcel:I would like to see Mine To Avenge to have an epic 60 issue run. For Evoluzione, I would like to be a Top 5 publisher in American Comics. I want to be a household name. It would be cool to have some of our series translated into other mediums. 

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

Marcel: Yes, please be on the lookout for Evoluzione. We have a lot of good books lined up for 2019. 

John: Once again Marcel, I want to say thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase.

Visit The Campaign Site Here

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Our next one is a double feature as it pertains to two comics JuanPool and Charger. The art on both was done by our friend Troy Torres. Charger was written by Wes Collins who is a recent addition to our Indie Comics Fam. I really like Charger because it’s a back to basics approach on Super Hero Comics. The kind that I wish DC & Marvel Comics and other mainstream comic companies would start doing again. The last mainstream comic that I feel successfully did this was Spidey, but that’s a story for another day. JuanPool is also the first non-Crowdfunded Indie Comic I’ve covered, but I’m including because I would like to see a cross over one day in the future, but I digress.

Please Checkout The Campaign For Charger Here

JuanPool & Charger

John: Wes, Troy. How are you guys? Thanks for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase.

Wes: Hey, thanks for having me featured here! Great to be here to chat!

Troy:No problem, thanks for reaching out to me. I’m productive these days, always working on something. Keeping busy helps my life go by smooth.

John: Troy, you are the creator of JuanPool, a great comic by the way, which is currently available via ComixCentral. Now you are working as the artist on your second Indie Comic, CHARGER, along with Wes Collins who is the creator and writer.

Troy: Correctamundo!

John: Wes, CHARGER is your first Indie Comics, Correct?

Wes: That’s right! Working on others as well as this ongoing, though so more to come.

John: What can you guys tell us about yourselves?

Wes: Well I grew up in the Toronto area a nerdy kid with a love of fantasy, sci fi, and superheroes that never stopped even when I grew older. I always wanted to be like the superheroes I read like Superman, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Batman, Robin, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Cyclops, etc. and that led me to health and fitness as well as doing a lot of charity work. As for my career, I always wanted to write comics as well as be in a rock band and be a professional wrestler. The music career didn’t pan out, and I wasn’t a very good wrestler; so that’s where we find ourselves today.

Troy: I’m 37, a single dad and really brand new in the indie comic scene. I’d dare say I’m far more rookie than pro, even though I do get a kick out of being called one. Mostly I’d say I’m your average everyday guy that needed a life change and was fortunate enough to share art at a point the industry needed shaking up.

John: Can you guys tell us a bit about CHARGER?

Wes: Charger is a back-to-basics teen superhero affair – but with a alt-rock twist; Spider-Man meets Mean Girls set to Green Day. It’s the story of a kid, Matt McCutchin, the son of a champion race car driver and a rising Hollywood starlet who lost his dad some eight years previously. When we meet him, he’s a teenager, his mother pulled a Lindsay Lohan, they’re living in suburban squalor, and the two have an antagonistic relationship with each other. Matt’s life in school isn’t much better, having his own bullies and being the social outcast with his only two friends, Rachel and Mike, and their band as an escape. When he gets into a fight with the bullies a freak accident occurs where he’s put into a coma for several months. Coming out of it he quickly realizes he had developed electric based superpowers. After training with them and using them to take revenge on the bullies as well as wreak havoc on the various “popular” social cliques, he witnesses an accident that resembles how his own father died and he sets out to investigate. Shortly thereafter he’s contacted by a super genius who somehow knows everything about him, what he can do, and has an underground lair that would make the Batcave look like a blanket fort! The man, “Jax” Jackson, agrees to help Matt and even designs him a suit! 

Taking to the streets as a blur of lightning, this mystery hero gets the attention of media mogul Jim Mercer, head of Mercury Industries, who takes the hero now called Charger and turns him into an overnight celebrity. Within days Charger goes from a guy stopping bank robbers and street hoods to a Justin Bieber-type sensation, much to the adulation of the people who use to torment and bully him – and to the absolute disgust of the people he considered his friends. But there are darker secrets that come with the celebrity life, and Matt’s gotta learn not to become blinded by the fame and fortune if he’s going to get out of it alive!

Troy: Totally! Charger is a teenage superhero for the modern age. I’d describe him as an Electric Superman meets Ultimate Spider-Man. I’ve only been part of Team Charger officially for a couple months, but every script and back story I receive paints him more and more as modern take of the classic superhero story.

John: Troy, What inspired to create JuanPool?

Troy: JuanPool was created as a meme to poke fun at what was labeled forced diversity in current industry comics. He’s overweight bisexual and non white making him more diverse in fact than the current cast of top name characters.

I made a world and urgency for him so he could be a legitimate hero rather than a throw away gag.

John: Wes, what inspired you to create CHARGER?

Wes: Charger came about when I was in freshman year of high school. I was sitting in the library on lunch one day and I saw over in the corner by the computers was a small shelf that was dedicated to comics. I saw the usual characters there like Spider-Man and Batman, but then I spotted a whole slew of books about a character called Invincible. I was fourteen at the time and outside of the Big Two and Spawn, I had zero idea there were other non Marvel or DC superhero books on the market so I picked it up and was hooked from the start. It was once I saw that you didn’t need DC or Marvel to make superheroes or superhero worlds that I began in earnest making my own characters. My first creation was actually a character called Arachnid, who was this Blade/Spider-Man hybrid, a no-nonsense bounty hunter type, with Charger coming later after a few weeks in summer camp when I started telling stories with a friend I had met there. Years later, when I went to college, there was a course that specialized in comics that was taught by an indie comics Illustrator named Willow Dawson and she asked us to do a 10 page script, so I pulled that old power fantasy out of mothballs and began refining it until he became something completely different.

John: Wes, what are some of the things that have influenced your work on CHARGER?

Wes: In terms of comic book characters, Invincible and the original run of Ultimate Spider-Man were my biggest influences that went into how I wrote the character, the school life, the day-to-day, but I also borrowed from Smallville and how a young Clark Kent had to wrestle with a secret which I always enjoyed a great deal. Outside of superheroes, I grew up playing in bands and music was a massive influence on me as a teenager so alternative rock, punk, emo, post-hardcore, pop punk, the Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Rise Against, Distillers, Dropkick Murphys, Senses Fail, style of music always cropped up and just bleed into the storytelling aspects. Another influence on me was the Manga by Harold Sakuishi, BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, which was about a young kid joining a rock band and the band against all odds becoming successful. The interpersonal relationships between the band members, the conflicts, the highs, the lows, even the teen romance, really struck a chord (pardon the pun,) with me as well.

John: Troy, What are some of the things that have influenced your work on CHARGER?

Troy: Honestly I like to draw inspiration from action movie scenes. As I read the scripts Wes sends me, in my head the play out that way. The sheer force in which the main antagonist fights, and at the high altitude they fight creates shots of intense angle frames and close ups.

John: Troy, can you tell us a bit about your drawing process?

Troy:  I use a mix of hand drawn characters, live photos and 3D models to create a page.

When creating a page for Charger I typically read the script a few times through to get a sense of my layout. Believe it or not, because I produce at a quick rate I tend to have Wes Okay each each panel as I proceed.

John: Troy, I know you are a tattoo artist as well as an illustrator, can you tell us a bit about your art process?

Troy:  I’ve been a practicing artist my whole life if that makes sense, so by now I produce art at a faster than typically rate, therefore a lot of my art is created on the fly, including tattoo designs. I always draw with the client present, to have the back and forth I have with writers and creators. I find an organic line of communication leads to solid designs. As for my personal projects I’ll admit with my active imagination I tend to draw most ideas that pop in there leading to setbacks on bigger endeavors.

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

Wes: When I write a story, I try to look at it for three things: What is the one thing I want to see visually jump out at me on the page? What is the character going through at present? And what is the villain if there is one at all? I always want Matt’s real life to have as much impact on the story as Charger punching someone, or getting punched, through a building. It was a trope that Stan Lee introduced to comics that truly is a gift that keeps on giving. If you lean too far to the interpersonal stuff it becomes slice of life but if you lean too much into action then your audience is just going to see two things slugging it out, which if they wanted that they could turn on the PS4 and play Mortal Kombat or Injustice for that. With that said, I always want a villain who can present a challenge to the hero and where you can see elements of the protagonist in them to see where Matt could have gone had he done Z instead of X.

John: What are your hopes for the future CHARGER?

Wes: Oh man there are so many stories I have left to tell for Charger, several villains, concepts I have talked about previously on livestreams; I’ve written enough plots to last a good 50+ issues or more! I hope the crowdfunding campaign is successful and from there someone will pick it up for ongoing, have Troy on the book as long as possible, and just keep adding to the lore and the mythology. When you spend thirteen years with a character you just have such a wealth of stories that you want to put out there.

Troy:  I’d love to see this series go on to a monthly gig, and not just to keep my job (ha ha), but because I think it’s a great Indy alternative to some popular mainstream books. It’s well written and hopefully it’s art is well received. Fixing a hurting industry starts with creating great stories. I think Wes has done that, and I proudly help bring it to life.

John: Once again guys, I want to same thank you for being on Indie Comics Showcase. 

Wes: Once again, happy to reply and happy to see people taking interest in the book!

Troy: Anytime. It was my pleasure!

Please Checkout The Campaign For Charger Here

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Lastly we have a special feature from Indiegogo called

A laugh-out-loud, all-ages adventure about a Hero Wannabe, an Enigmatic Sidekick VS a Crumbling Cad.

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here

Comics should be fun. They used to be, do you remember? They were an escape, a respite from real life. They were filled with stories of Good Guy beats up on Bad Guy wrecking half the city in the process; imaginative characters, cool gadgets, crazy costumes & monologuing. Those were the days. Days recaptured in The Miscellaneous Adventures of STYKMAN™. An all-ages, laugh-out-loud comic series about a wannabe “hero” trying to follow in the footsteps of the Legendary Capt. BUCK NEKID (ret.)™.

In a new and expanded 48-page story, STYKMAN has been captured by the villainous General SOD the Dirt Clod™ in an attempt to exact revenge on any “hero” attempting to claim the mantle of The Legendary Capt. BUCK NEKID (ret.)™. It will take every zany thought and incredibly stupid scheme for our emaciated egotist to escape the evil clutches of this Crumbling Curmudgeon. Will our hero escape?  Will Sod Succeed? Will AL finish his high stakes game of Skiddly Piddly with Uncle Dicky coming to the rescue? Only you can help answer those questions.

This will be the first issue in an ongoing, full color, laugh-out-series series. I have some amazing and incredibly silly stories that I never got to tell. Your pledge will help finally bring those stories to life.

Check out the Indiegogo page here and consider backing this crowdfund comic!

 

That’s it for this installment! Support 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!