Indie Comics Showcase #23

 

Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase! Before we get into this week’s edition, I want to thank everyone for the encouragement for my own take on Indie Comics Showcase last week and previous editions. John Lemus is currently hard at work at his day job and may not be returning until after the yuletide settles, so you’re going to have to ride with me on this adventure! I think it’s a another great issue.

Let’s dive in!

___________SAMURAI & DINOSAURS___________

First up is Samurai and Dinosaurs! An imaginative combo of two cool things that I never imagined would go together! It tells the story of some kind of time rift that has taken place in premodern Japan, and the only ones who can fix the damage this phenomenon has created are a small group of highly-specialized samurai. I recently had a chance to interview the writer, Michael Murphy, and I was eager to find out what this crazy tale is all about!

 

Chris: Mike! Tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Mike: Hey, I’m Mike Murphy- a freelance writer/artist based in Portland, Or. My wife and I have been hustling freelancers for the better part of ten years now. Most of my income is from outside comics, but that hasn’t stopped me and a handful of artists from making the submission rounds over the years (usually to no avail). So, we’ve decided to refocus our efforts, stop pitching to uninterested publishers, and sell our wares directly to the readers/customers themselves.

 
 
Chris: Tell us the origins of this project and where it got started.
 
Mike: Samurai And Dinosaurs is a 100+ page graphic novel that Sergio Calvet and I put together for submission between 2010-2012. After the usual suspects all took a pass, we just kind of let it gather dust. But, we both genuinely love this book- it’s one of our favourite things we’ve worked on together, and so I figured there’d be no better book to start our new career path off with.
 
The comic is in black and white with ink wash/digital grey tones, and by the time we finish making additions and alterations, the final product could come in around 110 pages total… maybe more- we’re not sure yet. For the campaign, we’re keeping it lean and simple since we’re new on the scene and still have a lot to prove. We’re selling digital and print versions of the book, but we do have stretch goals in mind should we reach full funding.
 
Chris: What was the inspiration for Samurai and Dinosaurs?
 
Mike: I related this story on the Kid’s Table stream recently, but the initial inspiration came from sitting through Cowboys And Aliens the movie. I wasn’t a fan, and so much of my creative career seems to be rooted in “I could do that better.” My wife and I started spitballing other mashups, and once I said Samurai And Dinosaurs, the laughter quickly died down, and we knew that we’d hit on something cool-sounding. I ran it past Sergio, and he was sending me sketches the next day.
 
I’m a big film buff in addition to loving comics, and the idea of two titans of cinema history like Akira Kurosawa and Ray Harryhausen making a film together seemed liked this amazing parallel-dimension thing that should exist but doesn’t. The story rapidly took shape from there.
 
 
Chris: What else can you tell us about the story, Mike.
 
Mike: Samurai And Dinosaurs is the story of an elite group of Samurai who are dispatched by a local government official to investigate a meteor that crashed in a forest on the outskirts of the region. It’s a road movie on paper, and the closer they get to the meteor, the more time around them breaks down. It’s part action/adventure, part bug-hunt, and part revenge tale.
 
 
Chris: What are some of your influences?
 
Mike: Outside of comics, mostly films and video games have influenced me. As I mentioned, I’m a film buff, and I’ve been playing games almost as long as I’ve been drawing and reading comics. I believe in/prefer physical media, so our home is filled with trade-paperbacks and blurays. As a writer, I’d say my biggest influences are people like Morrison, Ennis, Nolan, the Coens, and Raimi. 
 
Chris: Can you give us some insight to your creative process, Mike?
 
Mike: My creative process is all over the place. I can be scatter-brained and get lost in too many separate projects if I don’t force myself to focus. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to respect my time more, and I won’t jump into a project unless I’m sure it’s where it needs to be. There’s nothing worse than working on a project and having to scrap it or start over because you’ve come to realize it’s not good, lacking something, isn’t what you set out to make, or a combination of all three.
 
My work days are usually split between freelance work and comic work. I spend the first half of the day handling my freelance obligations and then go late into the night on scripting, lettering, or whatever else needs to get done.
 
 
Chris: Tell me a bit about your creative team.
 
Mike: The creative team is just Sergio Calvet and myself. Sergio is an amazing cartoonist/comic artist, and we’ve been working together on and off since 2005. I know he’d hate to hear me say this, but I’ve always thought of his work as “European Kirby.” Especially with his superhero stuff. His work on Samurai was such a departure from what he normally does, and I love every page of it.
 
Sergio is based in Spain, and has tons of indie and small press work to his credit. The guy is a beast in terms of output, and just how fast he can work. I’m already getting revised art from him, and we just launched a few days ago.
 
Chris: What’s the status of the campaign so far?
 
Mike: We’ve just launched, and we’re looking for customers who enjoy solid action/adventure comics. The entire book is complete, and the new content will be complete by the time the campaign ends on Feb. 11th. I’ve already posted one update, with another going up tomorrow.
 
Sergio and I are asking for $8k, and hoping people will be receptive to the book. While that may seem like a decent chunk of change, when you factor in printing, shipping, supplies, and other fees, it doesn’t leave much room for profit.
 
Chris: I think that’s an attainable goal. Anything else you want to share with our readers?
 
Mike: Hey readers- thanks for listening to me ramble, and I really do hope you’ll back Samurai And Dinosaurs on Indiegogo. Sergio and I poured our hearts into it, it’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever written, and if this campaign proves successful, I have two or three other projects I’m considering for 2019, with some great talent lined up behind them.
 
Chris: Check out the campaign hereindiegogo.com/projects/samurai-and-dinosaurs-graphic-novel#/ and follow Mike and Sergio on Twitter: 

___________ENIGMA___________

For our next crowdfunding campaign, I spoke with Kimberly Moseberry, a freelance comic book artist located in Chicago, IL. Her crowdfunded comic ‘Enigma‘ has been a passion project for this long time comic book fan.

 
Chris: Kimberly, tell Bleeding Fool’s readers a little about yourself.
 

Kimberly: I’m a freelance artist living in Chicago who enjoys reading indie comics as well as supporting them. I specialize in sci-fi and fantasy art. Oh, and I’ve been attending comic cons since I was in high school. I’ve always been a fan of noir, sci-fi, action, and post-apocalyptic stories. Working on my own comic in those genres has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life.

Chris: Cool! Tell us about the campaign for Enigma!

 
Kimberly: We’re currently running a crowdfund for issue #2 on Indiegogo. It’s a post-apocalyptic noir, thriller, sci-fi action comic and most of the perks include both issues #1 & #2. I grew up watching stuff like, Blade Runner, Mad Max, Escape from L.A. and this project is more of a love letter to these types of stories that show the strength of the human spirit . Enigma takes place in this post-apocalyptic future with two world agents James and Brooks investigating a murder among the wealthy, and their case takes them from the sky cities down into the wastelands below.
 
Chris: I’m a huge fan of every one of those movies. Sounds great. Now, this isn’t the first time you’ve tried your hand at crowdfunding, tell me about that.

 
 
Kimberly: Unfortunately, my first Indiegogo campaign did not reach it’s goal. HOWEVER! I was still able to use the money from the flexible funding to finish the comic book and have it printed. So I like to think that I used that as a learning experience which I then was able to use for issue two’s Indiegogo campaign and it has been successful and we are now fully funded!

 
Chris: Congrats! What has influenced you the most as a creator.
 
Kimberly: Definitely old ’80s and ’90s post-apocalyptic and noir films. As I said, I love movies like Mad Max, Bad Boys, Children of Men, Escape from L.A, Book of Eli and even animes like Battle Angel Alita.
 
 
Chris: Tell me about your creative team and your process.

 
Kimberly: My creative team includes myself one art and writing, then LuEllen Joy Giera is my editor. She is a published international artist, and also the founder of planetcollage.net and co-founder of the Midwest Collage Society. My colorist is Demetrius Marble, and he’s a freelance artist with over decade worth of experience, including many different comics, and cartoons. Working with him on this comic has been a great experience.
 
My creative approach begins with whatever subject that I want to write about, then I follow-up with some research, and then start producing some concept art. It takes shape from there.

 
Chris: Sounds like a solid approach and a cool project! What else would you like to share with our readers?
 
Kimberly: Please check out the project and share it, and maybe even back it if you can.

 

Chris: And here’s that link to check it out and support Enigma #2 on Indiegogo now! indiegogo.com/projects/enigma-issue-two#

And you can check out more of Kimberly’s work at her Deviant Art page: deviantart.com/ebony-chan

___________LITTLE GIRL LETHAL___________

 

For our final spotlight this week, we’re looking at Little Girl Lethal, which we briefly mentioned way back in September in ICS #12. Little Girl Lethal tells the story of the Wickedest City across endless realities & existences, of a tale in a place called Lost Peaks, where there lives a singular girl, beautiful and fierce, broken and searching, and seething with wrath and a vast lust for vengeance. For in her childhood, she was delivered into carnal bondage to be the plaything of the monsters lurking within humanity, but a Dark Ronin, an elite assassin, came & rescued her, raising her to maturation to be an incomparable killer, whose retribution will shake the foundations of her world! This is the story of Sugar Lightspeed! Created and written by Slick Jimmy with art by Whiskypaint (check out his gallery here). 

I spoke with Slick Jimmy about the project, and the campaign which ends in just a few days.

__________________

 

Chris: Tell our readers about yourself and a little more about Little Girl Lethal, Slick!

 

Jimmy: I’m college educated, well traveled, well read, and completely full of myself. I come from from a family of educators, and grew up gallivanting around and getting into trouble in the Mountain West of the USA, particularly the Utah’s Wasatch Front & Grand Staircase. Yes, I’m Mormon, or better said, a Jack Mormon.

Little Girl Lethal started out as a collection of stories set in a alternate universe megalopolis called Lost Peaks. Most of these vignettes center around a character known as Sugar Lightspeed, who is an archetypal sexy schoolgirl trope. However, although I use the hooks of supa’-sexiness & ultra-violence to lure in readers, the Sugar Saga contains a far deeper narrative than the casual observer might expect. Sugar is an overpowered character, but she is also extremely damaged and flawed as well. She’s not a cardboard cutout of a cartoon. She commits terrible acts, but hopefully you’ll find her sympathetic, come to empathize with actions in catharsis, if not condoning, the havoc she wreaks.

The first episode introduces her and tells her basic origin, shows off some of mayhem she’s capable of committing, and delves into her psyche a bit. All of this will hopefully entice the reader to invest in further episodes.

 

Chris: I like this concept and the artwork looks fabulous. What can you tell me about your creative team?

 

Jimmy: It’s really all about the fabulous art of my partner, Whiskypaint, who brings all of this into vivid, sequential magnificence. Whiskypaint is as yet, an undiscovered artistic treasure, straight outta’ Vladivostok, Russia! Really an artist extraordinaire, man of mystery, Russian master of cheesecake sexy! And also part of the creativity is Zaalen “Zed” Tallis and Australian composer and all-round awesome comics enthusiast and musician.

 

This team will rock you like a seismic 10.0, baby! I’ve lived a few years now, studied storytelling, written as a avocation for decades, read and watched, traveled around the world, had my share of experiences…all of this, it informs my stories and the Lost Peaks universe. The question begs, what inspired me to write this saga? Pulp fiction, sci-fi, westerns, spy novels, noir, manga, and any number of other influences through out my life amalgamated into this world.

 

Chris: What are the details of you campaign? I see all kinds of perks and support levels on there.

 

Jimmy: Our campaign on IndieGoGo is still running to near the end of the month – ending just before New Years. You can get to versions of Episode 1, “Modest” or “Immodest.” The Modest Version is still highly risqué, but leaves a tiny bit to the imagination. The “Immodest” Version however is the Whole Damn Monty, bub (NSFW)! I’m sure folks’ imaginations can run wild all the way to amok on that as well. (Wink-Wink. Nudge-Nudge. Say No More, Eh?)

 

 

With perks you can get sexy & savage Little Girl Lethal posters & t-shirts as well. And composer Zaalen Tallis, who I mentioned earlier, has done a soundtrack for the Lost Peaks Universe & the Sugar Saga, making a limited press on vinyl, with exclusive art on the cover sleeve by Whiskypaint! That can be obtained for only $38 from Qrates.com, or you can also get it as a perk on our Indiegogo along with both versions of the book.

 

We’re still rolling to December 29th (I think?) We’ll go in-demand after it ends. Come get some Sugar, bebes’! I’d like to thank all those who have backed our project & given us support! To see so many embrace my vision is gratifying & truly humbling. We are striving to craft and deliver the highest quality book we can, both in story & art. This has been a learning experience, but quite enjoyable (for the most part.) If you like sexy fun, if you want a wild ride, if you love the grit hard and heavy, I’m your /chuckleberry/, dig?

 

Yeah, I know you do.

Chris: Tell me about some of your influences.

 

Jimmy: Pulp writers, such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, H. Rider Haggard, H.P Lovecraft, many artists but especially Frank Frazetta, Robert McGinnis, and Luis Royo, all noir films in general, Ian Fleming, old west writers such as Louis L’Amour & Zane Grey, and hard-boiled detective fiction from the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, James Elroy, Elmore Leonard, Michael Connelly, Lawrence Block, also true Crime & crime fiction of all types, pulpy masculine business like The Destroyer Series of novels & the Mack Bolan novels, manga & anime like Battleship Yamato (aka Starblazers,) Akira, Dirty Pair, Honey Cutey, Gunslinger Girl, (I mean, come on, sexy schoolgirls are an industry unto themselves in Japan,) Cyberpunk writers, but especially, Philip K. Dick & Neal Stephenson, modern cinema, Blade Runner, The Matrix, Quentin Tarantino’s crime oeuvre, and recently, John Wick.

Truthfully, there are thousands of works, books, movies, television, art that have put their indelible stamp on my mind & literary aspirations.

 

Chris: I have to ask you about your creative process. Where do you begin?

 

Jimmy: I just sit down at the keyboard &and bang out some bullshit, try to make as crazy and fun, but be as “literary” as I can. I do carry a small notebook to jot down ideas that occur to me during the day, then I put them down in the ‘puter at night. Sexy and over-the-top craziness are hallmarks of what I like to write. It might pretty niche, but you’ll never be bored with my work. Promise.

 

Chris: I think that’s all any comic reader is looking for sometimes. Thanks Slick Jimmy and good luck with the book! We look forward to your next project.

 

You’ve still got time to check out Little Girl Lethal on Indiegogo here: indiegogo.com/projects/little-girl-lethal#/

____________

And that’s it for this installment! Please take a few minutes to check out each of these crowdfunding campaigns. With the miserable state of the major publishers, it’s more important than ever to support indie comics!!!

 


Follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics!

Chris Braly

I'm a collector, a speculator, and one opinionated, based geek. My friends call me Braly, but those who know me within the hobby generally refer to me as Bralinator. I can be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several other comic book nerds. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly