Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase! Before we get into this week’s installment, yes, John Lemus is NOT the writer this week. That lucky guy got to catch an early showing of Aquaman. His review appeared earlier today. This week you’re stuck with me, Chris Braly, covering for John this week. But our man John already selected each of these three great looking projects so had some input on this week’s edition. Come with me now as we dive right in!
Guinevere and The Divinity Factory #1
A new dark urban-fantasy story in the vein of Harry Potter and The Great Gatsby.
Chris: Before we discuss the project, you’re quite the renaissance man! Tell our readers a bit about yourself.
Preston: I produced my first movie this year. “Standoff at Sparrow Creek Lumber” was sold as the Toronto Film Festival. I’m working on my next film project, “The Bitcoin Heist” which should go into principle photography next year. I use comic books to explore movie concepts before soliciting large investments to make movies.
Chris: Nice! So give us the pitch for “Guinevere and the Divinity Factory”!
Preston: “Guinevere and the Divinity Factory” combines world elements from “Harry Potter” and “The Great Gatsby.” The likeness of the main character is based off of real world woman Juliette Kida (juliettekida.com). We just went live with Kickstarter and Indiegogo on Monday December 10. Our project combines the first issue of the comic book as well as the production of a music video featuring Julie appearing as her comic book character.
Chris: Wow! So what was the inspiration?
Preston: The story naturally evolved over time. I originally was writing a inexpensive screenplay featuring friends of mine (Julie). My daughter ended up falling in love with “The Great Gatsby” when she was 12 and was moved to tears over Gatsby’s literary death. I was moved see if I could tell a story about a Gatsby-esque figure, so I put such a character in my comic book and I found that my readers responded with great enthusiasm. That was when I decided it had to be a comic book.
Chris: So tell us a bit more what it’s about!
Preston: The theme I explore in the story is Anarchy versus Collectivism. From the original novel, Gatsby’s parties were always exercises in anarchy, as there was no authority figure present. This plays right into our exploration of magic, for what is the casting of a spell but a rejection of natural law imposed by the will of the spell caster. The villains of our story, The Divinity Factory, is a bit borg-like. They represent collectivization of humanity. The siphoning away of spiritual energy from the collective to work massive spells on a societal level, which is a metaphor for the state itself.
Chris: Sounds very cool. I’m digging the artwork on these preview pages. What can you tell us about your creative process, Preston?
Preston: This story evolved. That’s how I like to do it. I present a story which rough ideas to an audience and I then see how an audience reacts. From there, I incorporate their feedback into the next iteration. So this story has grown in remarkable and unforeseen directions from where it started.
Preston: We only went live on yesterday. Over on Kickstarter, we made a third of our $5000 goal in the first 24 hours. On Indiegogo, we don’t seem to have as much exposure. It’s interesting to see the stark difference in how those two platforms are for this campaign.
Chris: That’s interesting because I’ve seen projects succeed and fall short on both platforms. Maybe doing it simultaneously has an effect. What else would you like our readers to know?
Preston: You can check out another of my stories, White Lily, about the two deadliest female fighter pilots in history, on drivethrucomics.com as a “Pay what you want” listing.
Chris: Thanks for your time Preston and best of luck on your campaign for Guinevere and The Divinity Factory! It looks and sounds great.
Check out the Kickstarter page and the Indiegogo page for Guinevere and The Divinity Factory and the accompanying video and then consider backing this project! You can keep up with Preston’s other creative projects on Twitter @ComicsJacks!
Bad Sushi Cannon Graphic Novel
The space exploits of 3 intergalactic repo-men! Robots, beer hats, fuzzy meteors and sea cows!
Next up I want to introduce you to Bad Sushi Cannon! I interviewed the creator, Simon Mitchell, who just launched their Indiegogo campaign to help with printing costs of a trade collection of his indie comic book series, and to help cover the costs for hiring a professional letterer and colorist. They currently have over 170 pages of the series ready to compile into a graphic novel. His indie publishing company, Typo Comiks, has self published every issue of Bad Sushi Cannon for the past decade. He’s been on the comic book convention circuit and even manager to get the comics into a local comic book stores! Now he’s putting together a polished collection of the sci-fi series.
Chris: Simon, thanks for taking the time to participate in this week’s Indie Comics Showcase. Tell our readers a bit about yourself.
Simon: Thanks, I’m Simon Mitchell, and I’m a cartoonist and comic book creator from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For quite a few years now I’ve been seriously attempting to make a comic book along with my brother and some close friends. We go old school, 11 x 17 comic book board, hand inked, and a black and white look. I really like the look of what we have now, and I love showing my work to anyone willing to open up a comic book and read it!
Chris: Love it! Tell us a bit about your indie project, ‘Bad Sushi Cannon‘?
Simon: Bad Sushi Cannon is a love letter in many ways to my youth in the 1980s. Our story is set some two hundred years into the future, in a sci-fi setting ripped from the pages of Red Dwarf and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a zany world, not at all too severe or serious, and we’ve had a lot of fun drawing the little incidental alien life forms and structures that make the Galaxy come to life. The aliens and heroes are a mixed bag of classic looking slime creatures from 1950s movies, anthropomorphic characters, inanimate objects and every once in awhile a secretive cameo from the comics and cartoons that inspired me. The story follows our three heroes, Captain Fang Foley, who is a consummate liar and swindler. Eddy Wong, who is just kind of wherever he is at the moment, listless and inebriated in space for as long as the booze lasts. Lastly the female crew member Samus, who has a short fuse but is also prone to swindling others out of money or property. These three characters are intergalactic repossession men, traversing the galaxy at the behest of their crooked boss, collecting cars, space vehicles, even sometimes living beings. This current arc sees our heroes traveling to the planet Earth to pick up the last two manatees left alive. Misadventures ensue!
Chris: What was the inspiration?
Simon: As I said, my youth in the 1980s really inspired my comic. From Saturday morning cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to daily newspaper comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes, and especially a couple of magazines that I really shouldn’t have been allowed to see- namely Mad Magazine and Heavy Metal magazine. My brother had a few of those magazines as early as the 80s, but he had accrued a formidable library of Heavy Metal magazine by the mid 90s. So many talented artists and unique styles filled those pages, so it’s hard to pin down exactly whose artwork and stories really made me want to give it a serious go in creating my own work. I do have to mention that my character Fang Foley started off as a rip off of Usagi Yojimbo, the samurai rabbit from Stan Sakai’s comics of the same name. So it’s really a hodgepodge of many cartoons and comics… I hope that this fact hasn’t made my artwork too scattered and mismatched, but I grew up emulating the best I could, the things I saw around me.
Chris: I understand this is kind of a ‘family affair’. Who’s your creative team?
Simon: Yes! My brother, Matthew Mitchell, is the inker, but fellow artist Zach Shields is the driving force of our campaign and he will be a future colorist starting with Bad Sushi Cannon’s next issue.
Chris: Excellent! Tell me about more about that name, ‘Bad Sushi Cannon’
Simon: The name is meant to stick in your head. It was the weirdest title I could think of, there isn’t anything else out there that I’ve seen with a name quite like it. I slung together the coolest things I could think of, Bad… like Micheal Jackson bad, yeah, so cool. Then sushi, because it sounded exotic and somewhat exciting, and the Cannon came to me because I’d seen that on comics before. I think I used it in the wrong context though. There it is, the story of the weirdest name that you might have seen in a long time. As an aside, a girl pointed out to me that the letters of Bad Sushi Cannon can be rearranged into the phrase Abandon Such Sin. Coincidence, nothing more.
Chris: What would you say has been the biggest influence on your creative work?
Simon: The collected works of Usagi Yojimbo and the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes really influenced my want to become a creator. Stan Sakai’s books are so impressive, and the art really sneaks up on you with how detailed it is. I love the little details, and I like the oddity of anthropomorphic characters in place of just normal people. It harkens back to the days of Walt Kelly’s Pogo and Fritz the cat. Wacky cartoon drawings are more my thing, but Bill Watterson’s work is undeniable in it’s influence on me. I don’t emulate either of the work of these masters, at least not on purpose, but the line work of Sakai and the measured composition of every panel in Watterson’s comics have been what I aspire to.
Chris: All of those are great creators! Tell me a bit about your process and workflow.
Simon: My creative process is pretty much a free form drawing of rough pages, and I get the idea of story details as I go along. I love to listen to the band Thin Lizzy, and I seem to do my best when I’ve got the vocals of Phil Lynott in my ears as I scribble my lines onto the paper. Generally, the main story idea is always in my mind, I think up humorous scenes and funny dialogues while I’m at my day job, and even sometimes doodle on a napkin or takeout container when something comes to me. Most of the comic titles are also Thin Lizzy titles or have relation to Thin Lizzy titles… I guess I’m a fanatic…
Chris: Cool! How is the crowdfunding going so far?
Simon: We’ve had a lot of interest in our campaign so far!~ A few takers have even purchased our highest tier, which nets an original page, sketch, a bunch of posters, and the Graphic Novel of Bad Sushi Cannon. Right now I think we’re sitting at 22 percent of our goal, and we have until mid-January to reach it, so fingers crossed and lots of telling random people on the city bus about the Indiegogo campaign! We are confident that the artwork is strong enough, and the story engaging enough that people will fall in love with the world of Bad Sushi Cannon!
Chris: Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers before we part ways?
Simon: Because we started this journey of comic book goodness so long ago, you can see our artwork grow more confident and unique in the 170 pages, seven issues, of the graphic novel! I think that’s somewhat of a fun prospect… like looking into my very soul! Or at least my early artwork life. Thank you for considering us, and my motto is and always will be- Read a comic and smile.~
Chris: Awesome, Simon. Best of luck with Bad Sushi Cannon! Click the image below to check out their Indiegogo.
Guardians of Erloth
Writer/Creator: Chael Roberts Artist/Colors: Ryan Best Cover Art: Keith Hinman
Chael Roberts created and wrote the comic, and Ryan Best did all of the interior artist. Zenescope Comics may be familiar with some of Ryan’s previous work with them. Keith Hinman handled the cover art and Micah Myers is the letterer, a veteran of Alterna Comics. Guardians of Erloth is a 24 page comic set in the fantasy land of Erloth, in a Kingdom called Kass. It tells the story of Caius, a Guardian of Erloth, sworn to protect the King and his heirs and who serves to ensure the lines of succession continue to flourish.
I recently interviewed Chael Roberts, the creator of Guardians of Erloth.
Chris: Hello Chael, tell the readers of Bleeding Fool a bit about yourself.
Chael: Sure! I was born and raised in Minnesota. I am huge Minnesota sports enthusiast. I spent four years in the military and when I finished my enlistment I pursued my studies in business where I finished two degrees in business.
Chris: Tell us a bit about your indie project, ‘Guardians of Erloth’?
Chael: Guardians of Erloth is a 24 page fantasy comic currently on Indiegogo. I have 10 completed pages and I am looking for additional funding to help complete the book.
Chris: What was the inspiration?
Chael: My inspiration comes from multiple sources. The first being the many fantasy stories I grew up reading such as Dragonlance, Star Wars, The Mossflower series, and a variety of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese made action flicks.
Chris: What’s it about?
Chael: Guardians of Erloth, is a fantasy story set in the world of Erloth. It focuses on the rise of the main character, Caius, as he is ripped from everything he knows as a young child and sold into servitude. He begins a journey where he discovers he has magical abilities that have the capacity to be used for good or evil. This an origin story that will tell of his rise to becoming a Guardian of Erloth and the trials he faces along the way. This is a story with a hero’s journey at the very center of it.
Chris: What has influenced your work as a creator?
Chael: The biggest factors that have influenced my work as a creator have been time, reading, and writing. I was an avid reader growing up without a television in the home. As I got older I read a lot of books that I became dissatisfied with the ending or elements within. My thought was that I could have written it better. I started writing in high school and overtime I went back over my writing changing it and fine tuning. Like everything in life the more you do it the better you become.
Chris: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
Chael: My creative process is like a river, constantly in motion. I keep both a pen and paper on me or a smart phone with the sticky notes app. I am constantly living within my world and I writing down everything no matter how long or short. I wake up at night sometimes and ideas come to me. I open the phone and usually put in notes. I always go back later and reread and change things.
Chris: What’s the current status of the campaign?
Chael: Currently my campaign has about 19 days left and we are at 14%. We have 10 completed pages. We are almost 50% of the way complete with the book. All funds will go toward completing the last 14 pages of the first issue. All art is scheduled to be completed with colors and letters by late December with fulfillment to take place around April of 2019.
Chris: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?
Chael: This story came about because these characters are minor characters in a forthcoming fantasy novel. The goal has always been to tell multiple stories and have these characters appear in many different works. The MCU has proven that visually this can work. I look forward to sharing many more stories from the world of Erloth.
Chris: Indeed. We look forward to it also and wish you good luck in the campaign!
Readers can click the image below to check out your Indiegogo page.
That’s it for this edition of Indie Comics Showcase! I hope you found a project in this week’s issue that you can support and share your enthusiasm with others. John should be back to do the next installment, so in the meantime, and always ‘Support indie comics!!!’
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