Indie Comics Showcase #32: An Indie Comics Community Special

 

Hey There friends and readers. Welcome to a Special Community Installment of Indie Comics Showcase. Every once in a while I put a call out to my Followers on Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone has a project they would like to have featured on Indie Comics Showcase. The comics I am featuring today are all from members of the Indie Comics Showcase Community. I truly hope you enjoy today’s special installment and when the time comes, you can show these fine people your support.

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Alien Summer

Jeremy Kahn is an avid reader of manga/comics and lover of anime, Alien Summer was born from this love. It’s a comic that takes inspiration from all the things he enjoys and likes talking about with others. Currently, Alien Summer is completely drawn out, colored and lettered. However, the printing costs remain and he could use a bit of help in getting it printed. 

I spoke with Jeremy recently about his project.

BF: Jeremy, hey. I hope that you are well. Thank you for being on and welcome to Indie Comics Showcase. Tonight we will be talking about your Indie Comic Alien Summer. Before we get into the comic, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

JK: Hi John. I’m doing great. Thanks for having me. I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design back in 2013 and since then I’ve mainly worked as a colorist having done work for a variety of clients over the years. Right now, my main client is American Mythology who I do a lot of coloring for on their kid titles such as their Casper, Pink Panther, and Three Stooges comics. I also recently did some coloring work for a Kickstarter that ended in November called LUCHA.

BF: What can you tell us about Alien Summer? How it started, what are some of the things that have influenced your work on it, & where it’s going?

JK: Alien Summer is a 28 page, full color, comic that revolves around Earth finding out about the existence of aliens. As a result, a treaty is formed that allows for the export and import of goods. Earth’s biggest exports happen to be their pop-culture and entertainment. Aliens just love Earth’s imagination. They love it so much that they decide to come live on Earth to experience Earth life. My story follows the adventures of one alien, Lunatia, as she comes to Earth as part of an exchange program to spend the summer with a host family. The main problem that arises is that all her knowledge of Earth comes from movies, comics, games, and manga. Thus, her knowledge is a bit skewed.

Alien Summer came about in a time when I needed a comic to sell at a con appearance that I was scheduled to make in one month. There were certain circumstances that led me to not having anything to sell so I needed to come up with something fast. I wound up re-writing an old fanfic I wrote into a mini-comic to sell at the con. That wound up selling great. So, great that I went back and expanded on the mini making it a 28-page comic which is the current issue 1 I’m looking to fund a print run for.

As for influence, I poured a lot of my love for comics, manga, and anime into the story. The references in the comic do lean a bit more to the manga and anime side of things due to the original fanfic being a mash-up of Rumiko Takahashi’s Urusei Yatsura as well as Saki Hasemi and Kentaro Yabuki’s To-Love Ru (it was a very weird fanfic).

For future storylines, Lunatia will be learning a lot about the reality of Earth life. Also, there will be more alien characters showing up to cause trouble. I have plans for a rival character, for instance, based on the typical manga rival trope.

BF: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

JK: I tend to start all my stories thinking about the type of characters I want to write about. Once I think of an interesting character I play-act as him/her and see where that takes me. Sometimes I even insert my character into an already established world and play them off another property’s character just so I can see how my character would react in certain circumstances. Using an already established IP helps sometimes as a lot of the heavy thinking has been done with how the world the character inhabits works. You can focus on making your character and fleshing them out.

BF: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?

JK: Fred Wolf would have to be a big one. Growing up in the 90s, a lot of the animated shows I watched Fred Wolf had some hand in them. I wanted to approach my comic with a Saturday morning like writing style. I wanted it to be episodic in nature and have a sliding lapse of time (basically a seemingly never-ending summer). I also wanted it to be colorful and bright like those shows. Tom Cook would be another influence. He worked on a lot of shows I loved growing up and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet him at cons a few times.

BF: What are you hopes for Alien Summer and for 2019?

JK: I just hope people enjoy Alien Summer as much as I enjoyed making it. I got a con appearance lined up for June, so hope to see some fans there.

BF: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?

JK: I’d like to give a quick shout out to my awesome art team who I couldn’t have made this without. Lime Robertson did a superb job on the interior pencils and inks. Tracy Yardley did an amazing job on the main cover and Rura Kano also did an amazing job on the alternative cover. A big thanks to Ian Flynn for editing the comic. Also, Natalie Jane did a stellar job with the lettering.

BF: Well Jeremy it was great getting to know you and talking about Alien Summer. So thank you once again. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

JK: Thank you as well. It was a pleasure getting a chance to talk with you too. Hopefully, we can chat again sometime. Hope you have a great rest of your week.

Please visit the campaign site here.

 

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The Expositioner

Matthew Rhys started his own indie publisher Ideal Comics in 2006. They’ve been creating superhero, horror, and comedy comics, all set in one shared universe, ever since; but this ‘The Expositioner’ is their very first attempt at crowd funding. The Expositioner tells the tale of one of the first characters they created. Matthew Rhys is the writer, and the art team is Rico Cobos on pencils and Barry Tetz on inks and colors! Learn more at their campaign site here. I spoke with Matthew this past week to discuss the comic.

BF: Mathew hey there, thank you for being a part of and welcome to Indie Comics Showcase. Today we will be talking about your Indie Comic The Expositioner: Vox Populi Issue 1 of 2. Before we get started, can you tell us a bit about yourself, or selves as you may be sharing the questions with your team?

MR: I’m a middle aged father of two and husband of one. I live in Western Nebraska, and have been reading comics since the early 1990’s. I was a huge fan of Batman under Denny O’Neil, and that stable really inspired me to write. I have been at it, writing superhero fiction since high school. Along the way I was a staff writer for the online fan magazine Fanzing. Outside of comics, I am a Youth Worker and have been for 15 years; and have a keen interest in music and Celtic studies.

BF: What can you tell us about Ideal Comics?

MR: Back in 2005, my buddy Chris Lawton and I were trying to break into mainstream comics—sending out the query letters, finessing the pitches– “collecting rejection letters” we called it. During all this, we were each building a stable of original characters to pitch at indie publishers. We would run our proposals by each other, and started to notice similar themes and concepts. We decided to build a shared universe, and after a while decided to try our hand at self-publishing. We took it to the webcomic world at first, but have been in print, too, hitting the local con circuit. Barry Tetz came along with us in 2006, and became a partner in 2014 or so. He actually relocated here to the High Plains from the Pacific NW to make comics with us. Still an honor. And we have recently be joined by Rico Cobos. Rico started his web and print comic “The Warehouse: Fables from Vacation Land” a few years back, and when he learned that we were making comics in our town, and he jumped right into our little community. Just recently, we all agreed to fold “The Warehouse” into our universe; and Rico and I have started the webcomic “Joe Jobs,” which is also in continuity.

As a shared universe we have done a lot of work building the alternate history of our world. We have a single, fixed timeline; and every story fits into it, whether they are wacky comedy, horror, or deep Sci-fi. Our motto is “Everything great about Comics” and we strive to live up to that.

BF: What can you tell us about The Expositioner? How it started, what are some of the things that have influenced your work on it, & where it’s going? Also how you came up with the character and name?

MR: Expositioner (Ex for short) is a Veteran, a former MP who was drummed out of the Army with a less than honorable discharge. Desperate and broken, he took a job as a licensed super-hero for a security consulting firm called Reamus Corp. He worked there several years until he uncovered a conspiracy plot and was thrown out again, and this time the law was sent after him. Ex went on the lam, and operates in his town as an outlaw street detective, part Philip Marlowe, part Green Hornet.

Ex got his start as the lead in one of those first stories that shaped the Ideal Comics universe. The story, “October Leaves” was one of Chris’s stories, and while that project got shelved for a later time, we have referred to it in webcomics, and now in Vox Populi. Chris and I are both big fans of the America detective genre, the hard-boiled tough guys; and that forms a lot of the bones for Ex’s character. His name was a bit of a joke. In the first draft, Chris wanted the Character to evoke the feeling of both the cliches of a private eye’s internal narration and the parlor room scene; but could feel out the right name. He put “Expositioner” in the script as a placeholder. I told him to leave it!

As to where we see Ex going, we hope into the homes of people all over! That said, we have several stories on the docket for Ex, so we would like to see an Ex project every year!

BF: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?

MR: I mentioned Batman earlier, and I should really expand that to American super-hero comics. They are our modern mythology, something I have been talking about for decades! As to writing inspirations, I would have to repeat O’Neil, and add Chuck Dixon, Roy Thomas, Ron Fortier, James Robinson, and Neil Gaiman to the list, plus CS Lewis, Bram Stoker, Tolkien. These guys all have not only inspired me to take storytelling seriously, but to take time to look at the big picture, see how small stories affect the big story.

It may sound pretentious; but I don’t just like stories, I believe in stories. The stories we tell explain the undefinable truths about our humanity. That is important work.

BF: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

MR: As a writer, my creative process is a little bifurcated. That is, I have two very distinct modes. Sometimes I think of a story—almost as if it is just given to me—and it is fully formed, a complete tale with beginning middle and end; and I am but carried along by the muses. Other times it is a slog. In cases of the later, I find that if I write down all the things I know and file all the things I don’t know in the back of my mind, the answers as often as not present themselves in time.

I think the strongest part of my process is defining my characters thoroughly. When I know who these people really are, it is a simple thing to know how they will respond to what ever I throw at them!

BF: What are you hopes for The Expositioner and for 2019?

MR: Well, we are crowdfunding the first issue of the miniseries, which we expect to be a two-parter. I would love to see this whole story completed this year, as it is going to have a dynamite climax, and I just can’t wait for people to see it. We’ve talked about making that a stretch goal, but we will see if that happens. Got to get it funded, first!

BF: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?

MR: If your readers are curious, on our ComixCentral shop we have two Expositioner mini-comics for sale. If you follow me on Twitter, they might even find a coupon to get them for free! 

BF: Well Mathew it was great getting to know you and talking about The Expositioner. So thank you once again. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

MR: Thanks a ton, John!

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

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Dream Angel

Jennifer and Jeffrey Wyatt are the faces behind Dream Angel, Techwarrior, and Hillbilly Hoot Comic Books. As the faces behind the books, they’re passionate about equality and diversity. They also actively encourage both in everything they do, even their kid-friendly books. No swearing, sex scenes, or extremely graphic violence in their books. Dream Angel is their fantasy comic book series aimed at young girls which also includes collectible soft action figures. I interviewed the couple recently to talk about their work.

BF: Thank you for being a part of and welcome to Indie Comics Showcase. Your comic Dream Angel was created in Primarily in Daz Studio. It’s nice to meet some fellow Dazoholics. Before we get started, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Jeff: Well, We’re been married almost 2 years, but have known each other 5 years. She had been doing the book for a few years when I met her. I was at first a fan, then a friend, and eventually more :-). I co-write the scripts with Jen. I also assist her with the art here and there.

Jen:  I’ve been working on Dream Angel for about 6 years. Yeah, I do all the art. I started out all by myself, but when Jeff became a part of my life, He started helping out more. I published my first issue of Dream Angel back in 2007, and the first issue of TechWarrior in 2017. I was good at telling stories, so I decided to make it part of my art.  

BF: Apart from Daz Studio, what other software do you use?

Jen:  Well, I use  Bryce, Carrara, Hexagon, Photoshop, Gimp, and Comic Life. There might be others from time to time but these tend to be the regular ones apart from Daz. I did start out using Poser, but found Daz to be easier to use for my needs.

BF: What can you tell us about Dream Angel? How it started, what are some of the things that have inspired you to create it, where the story has been & where it’s going?

Jeff: The story is an interesting take in my opinion. We pick up with our Heroine right after graduating high school, and learns that her enemies have figured out her secret identity and captured her father. So, She has to deal with that and her life as a Superheroine and a person are never quite the same. She has been dealing with escalating threats ever since and struggling to protect her now very vulnerable family. As for where it is going, we are building up to a big climax with Issue #30. Currently there are 25 available issues. 

Jen:  It started with the Princess of Power mini comic called Adventure of the Blue Diamond and costumes I made by hand for Barbie. The first story I wrote earned 2nd place at the county fair, the first Barbie costume for the character Katrilina (inspired by Katra) won first place but was stolen. I didn’t come back to Dream Angel until college when a friend caught me drawing a Sailor Moon fan comic I use for drawing practice and asked me to draw for the school paper. Well, naturally I couldn’t use Sailor Moon, so Dream Angel got the job. When that fizzled after one issue of the paper was printed,  I tried my hand at making the story a short novel. It got to contract level with a publisher before they changed hands and decided it was “anime in novel format” and “experimental fiction.” Two years of rejections for a hand drawn and even early Poser rendered with photoshopped hair and clothes comic book later, I decided to simply self publish and prove those that rejected me wrong.

BF: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?

Jeff: I’ve read comics and novels since I was young. Playing video games and watching Saturday (and weekday) cartoons growing up really influenced my imagination. Specifically to affecting how I work with Jen on the books and dolls? Well I’ve had a good work ethic pounded into me by my parents, I’ve drawn on all the shows and books I’ve read in the past to be like “oh, we could do this like that story i remember”. Probably for both of us the filmation shows, He-Man, She-Ra, Bravestarr. Also anime like Sailor Moon and etc….

Jen:  That Princess of Power mini comic had the largest influence in starting Dream Angel. So, She-ra, Sailor Moon, and He-man definitely take the top of the list. I didn’t formally become interested in comics until high school when a neighbor gave me Death of Superman, but there’s a long list of cartoons and old movies that had a hand in how Dream Angel has been written. Even books like Animorphs have had an influence in one way or another.

BF: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

Jeff: Well we both carry notebooks on us so when an idea strikes us we can write it down right away. Sometimes just watching a show will give us an idea, or we can just be out and about. 

Jen:   Writing the script is hard to describe, really. When inspiration hits, I simply write without worrying about it making a lot of sense at the time. Sometimes, the plush action  figures help with the writing by acting  as a visual aid for the scene. When enough is written to make a book, I recopy it by hand (this helps catch typos) and cut it apart so every sentence is separate. 

I then make a “plan book” which is plastic page protectors with blank paper inside in a clear report cover to make them into a book. I tape the sentences to the page protectors first so I can get the panel groupings the way I might want. Then, I go over the story to make sure it makes sense – simple editing, really. Since it’s taped by sentence, I can “cut” sentences or even move them easily. When I’m happy with that, I transfer the taped sentences from the page protectors to the paper and sometimes do sketches to guide rendering later. 

With the plan book finished,  I  retype it in the computer and copy that to comic life. In comic life, I create the layout for the pages and setup the dialogue balloons, making any further changes that might be needed. 

With that file prepared, all that’s left is rendering each panel image in DAZ Studio. Those all get file names by book, page and panel. Comic life is very helpful with its drag-and-drop features for panels, balloons and images. 

BF: What are you hopes for Dream Angel and for 2019?

Jeff: You know, TV series, Movie deal, the works! j/k. In all seriousness, We want Dream Angel to be read and loved by many people as possible. We hope that in 2019, many people check out the Dream Angel Series and love the characters as much as we do. 

Jen:   I’d love seeing Dream Angel become the next Sailor Moon. I love seeing people enjoy the stories and hugging the character plushies I make. Having her take off and fly is a fond dream.

BF: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?

Jeff: Well, we do make plush dolls for every character in all the books, but Jen can tell you more about that than me.

Jen:   The characters in the books all have plush action figures I make by hand. Originally, they were designed as a visual aid when I was hand drawing the comic books, but when I shared pictures of them online people wanted to buy them. This, they’ve gone from 5″ tall with a chibi like appearance and made of felt, to 10″ with a chibi like appearance and made of different materials, to the most recent of mostly 11″ and 12″ tall with a more realistic appearance. These more realistic figures have wire and inside the body and magnets in their hands for “holding” things like weapons, that are also plush with magnets inside. 

Asking “which came first, the plush figure or the character?” depends on the character. The character spider Bitsy was actually inspired by the fabric used to make the plush and a real spider. The plush spider technically came first in this case. The faux fur used is pink at the root and white at the top and the real spider is known as Portia. The real spider is quite small and uses a variety of traps to catch its prey, including music. 

On the other hand, the dragon mage Ryu character came before the plush. The original sketch was based off an ad for a resin statue of a dragon long before the plush was created. 

BF: Well Jeff & Jen, it was great getting to know you and talking about Dream Angel. So thank you once again.

Jeff: Thank you for having us, and please everyone check our store out at http://www.dreamangelsparadise.com, or our Facebook group, on Twitter I’m @orielandgeorge & Jen is @teikounosenshi. You can also find our books on Indyplanet.

Jen:   You’re welcome. Please, check out the links and enjoy the books!

 

 

That’s it for this special edition of ICS! Support indie comics!!!


 

If you are an Indie Comics Creator and would like to be featured on a future installment, you can either contact me @Indie_Comics on twitter or contact@bleedingfool.com

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