Indie Comics Showcase #33

 

Welcome Back Friends and Readers to Indie Comics Showcase! Last week’s Indie Comics Showcase Community Special Edition was such a success, and I’ve had enough requests for features that I was able to carry it over into a second week. Remember this and the last installments are different from my usual ones, as they feature, not just comics that are either currently being crowdfunded or have campaigns that are about to launch, but comics that are available for purchase at a number of online market places right now.

I’ve got three, VERY different projects for us to look at this week, so let’s just get right to it.

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Heirs of Isildur: Tales From Nocturnia

John: Matt & Steph, 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 Heirs of Isildur Spinoff, Tales From Nocturnia, which will launch on Kickstarter this April. Before we get started, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Matt: Thanks John for having us. My name is Matt Knowles and I am the writer, creator, and musician behind Heirs Of Isildur (where Steampunk Comics and Metal Collide!). I am a lifelong musician and songwriter. I got really disenchanted with the whole music industry and it’s business model (or lack thereof) about a decade ago and stepped away from writing all together. When I decided it was time to take another stab at it I knew I was going to go about it a different way. Indie Music, indie writing (and eventually indie comics) was what appealed to me and I haven’t looked back since.

Steph: I’m Steph Cannon and I’m a comic Writer and creator as well as Editor and Creative Consultant on Matt’s series Heirs of Isildur. I’ve wanted to be a writer since around the age of ten, when I submitted a short story to a writing contest from the local newspaper, and took first place. After many years of putting my dreams on hold to raise my kids, I finally was able to dive head first into the indie comics world in 2017 and wrote my one page comic, Boot Hill, which was chosen as a finalist with the Ghost City Comics Competition. Since then I’ve had a few stories published in several anthologies. Most recently, I’ve also had a three issue mini series (Hexed) picked up with Alterna Comics that will be co written by Matt and I, due out next year.

John: What can you tell us about Insymmetry Creations?

Steph:  InSymmetry Creations, LLC is the creative content home for anything and everything Matt and I do. We like to call it our “umbrella company” because it encompasses everything that we do, both collectively and individually.  

Matt: Yeah, Steph and I were both well on our way to creating content before we met, but admittedly struggling a little bit to get over that next hurdle. Once we realized that we were more than just ‘random acquaintances that happened to meet on facebook’ it became organically easy to include each other in our titles.

The first integration was when I asked her to come support Heirs of Isildur at Aethertopia 2018 (steampunk festival). There was no one I trusted more with my brand than her. From there we start writing together (the ‘Hard to Fathom’ one pager was our first joint story), and ever since then we’ve known we are a stronger together than separate. This is why we operate under the name Insymmetry Creations, LLC now so that people have a single place they can go to to get info about all of our titles and appearances, current and upcoming.

John: What can you tell us about Tales From Nocturnia? 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?

Matt: In Heirs of Isildur we get to experience time travel, but not in the typical fashion. We see individuals being brought from their timeline into the realm of Mykal Isildur, the main character. What we DON’T get to see is the aftermath of those individuals leaving their own timeline. 

In issue #6 of Heirs we get to see a medieval kingdom that loses all of their leadership. Their king makes their way into the Heirs storyline through a time travel portal. His exit from the kingdom happens just after the death of his right hand man and also his queen, leaving the kingdom leaderless and directionless.

When drawing the art for the issue (and associated animated lyric video) our artist Javi Laparra did some amazing things, so much so that it had Steph and I pondering ‘I wonder what’s going on in the world of THAT character?’ And from there, ‘Tales From Nocturnia’ was born.

The ‘Nocturnia’ story focuses on the remaining members of that kingdom doing what the can to reassemble the shattered pieces of their leadership,  the struggles and battles of those vying to fill the power vacuum, and their efforts to do so in time to fend of an impending attack from the forces of darkness.

Steph: We’re really excited to tell a story that is still Heirs related, but is set in an entirely different setting and with different characters. Fans of Heirs can jump in and will feel a sense of familiarity, while those new to the series, or who haven’t yet read Heirs, can still settle in with Nocturnia and not feel lost. I also think many readers will be able to identify and sympathize with our main character, which is going to be a lot of fun.

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

Steph: As far as comics go, Watchmen was my first big influence in knowing I wanted to write comics. After devouring as many Batman and Superman comics as I could when I was younger, suddenly there was this story that depicted heroes in a completely different light. It was the first time I really realized that comics aren’t a one size fits all medium. If we’re talking specific writers, Jeph Loeb by far has been my biggest influence.

Matt: My influences are a mixed bag. I don’t come from the comics world and truthfully I am out on an odd little island when it comes to what influences me. Creative metal music that drags you into their universe, fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings that are so much more than just images on a screen, those are the kinds of things that impact me the most. I will say that one of the most hilarious things that I was impacted by was ‘Doomstar Requiem’ from the show Metalocalypse. The show itself, and the band Dethklok was completely irreverent, and the way that they pulled off a musical like that (ed. note: I hate musicals) just showed me that with creativity you can pull off anything you set your mind to.

If I *HAD* to list comic influences, I am the guy that goes to comic shows and digs through the dollar bins for obscure titles on minor publishers that may have been lost in the shuffle, looking to resurrect some part of these stories that someone spent countless hours creating. Those are the hidden gems I let speak to me.

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

Matt: I will use anything as inspiration and I try not to limit the creation process. I live by google docs and google sheets and keep them up and active on all my digital devices at all times so that I can have ready access to capture ideas.

As for putting a story together, once I have the initial concept understood, the next thing I want to know is “where am I ultimately going?” If I know the climax / end points, I can then work backwards to make sure that we have the appropriate build to those points.

Steph: I live for inspiration. Depending on the genre I’m writing in, I’ll immerse myself in TV shows, movies, and books related to what I’m writing at the time. You never know when a certain scene, or line of dialogue, will spark your creativity. As far as actual story writing goes, I often will use index cards to break down my beats, or scenes, and lay them out so I can figure out the flow of my story. Once I have that, I can form a cohesive outline, and then finally onto actual script writing. I’ve done this several times now with comic writing and it’s helped immensely.

John: What are your hopes for Tales From Nocturnia and for 2019?

Steph:  Our main goal is to have a successful and fruitful Kickstarter campaign for Nocturnia. We feel that this will be a way to get that story into as many hands as possible, which is always what we want for all of our content. The sky is really the limit for the rest of 2019. We already have scheduled many different conventions and various appearances on both coasts over the next few months, with more to follow as we seek out as many opportunities as we can.  
 
Matt: I’d say to continue exceeding our own expectations. When we first started planning out our path together, we said ‘we’ll start hitting conventions in 2019’. Almost immediately we got some great opportunities in 2018. We then said we wanted to average one appearance a month for 2019 (12 total), and it’s looking like we will exceed that in just the first half of 2019.

We want to get our titles out there into as many hands as possible and in as many ways as we can. Obviously the more market penetration we have, the more of a chance we can continue to do the things we want to do (writing, creating, appearing, etc…). Moreso, we really believe in our stories and the more hands they are in, the better a chance of them having an impact on someone out there.

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

Matt: We are really excited about everything that we have going on in 2019 and into 2020. We hope that your readers will give us a chance and come along for the ride. You can check out our ongoing series, ‘Heirs Of Isildur’, that is about to release its 10th independently funded issue at the end of March, at www.heirsofisildur.com or ‘heirsofisildur’ on any social media platform. It’s where steampunk, comics, and metal collide so there is something for everyone! We hope they’ll check out the ‘Tales From Nocturnia’ kickstarter as well starting April 2nd. On into next year we hope they will follow us over to Alterna Comics when we release the Adventure Horror mini-series ‘Hexed’. You can also check out InSymmetry Creations for news on all these titles and more at Insym of Facebook and InsymCreations on Twitter.

Steph:  We also have a lot of upcoming appearances at various shows and conventions, both individually and together, including Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Spooky Empire in Orlando, and WonderCon in Anaheim, just to name a few. We’d love to meet anyone who is interested in learning more about what we do, or are already invested readers and fans of any of our content. Don’t be afraid to come say hi, you can’t miss us, we’ll be the ones dressed in head to toe Steampunk!  

John: Well Matt & Steph it was great getting to know you and talking about Tales From Nocturnia. So thank you once again. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

Matt & Steph: Thanks and we hope to talk to you again and maybe meet you out on the road someday!

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Earth AM
by Hollow Harbor

Earth A.M. (After Mutation) is a sci-fi war graphic novel that pits four factions of humanity against each other in a campaign of survival and domination. The team that created EARTH A.M. #1 now brings you the 120-page, full color graphic novel, where the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance. Co-creators Sam Rayburn and Josh Barbeau introduce a dystopian, sci-fi future that features art by Alan Gallo (Aegisteel), colors by Paul Little (Morning Glories), and letters by Ed Dukeshire (Hulk, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers).  I spoke to the creators, Josh and Sam about their newest Kickstarter.

John/BF: Josh, Sam, welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I hope you guys have been well. Today we shall be discussing your latest collaborative project Earth AM or Earth After Mutation: A Sci-Fi War Graphic Novel, which is now live on Kick Starter. before we get started can you tell us a bit about yourselves.

Sam: Josh has loved comics since he was in junior high, and has pursued that passion ever since. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two daughters.

Josh: Sam is a lifelong learner and educator who strives to use media and literature as a way to build community with readers.

In addition to storytelling, Sam is a volunteer for several local non-profits and enjoys bringing comic books to new audiences across the country.

John: What can you tell us about Hollow Harbor Comics?

Sam: We founded Hollow Harbor in 2015 as a way to establish a community-oriented comics company here in the midwest. Our focus is on telling character-driven stories that connect with people regardless of genre. Comics are a great way to bring people together and celebrate what makes society strong and we try to share that with our readers in every story we tell.

Josh: I echo what Sam said, and I would add that we try to make every comic book a total experience for the reader. We try to deliver heart and beauty on each and every page.

John: What can you tell us about Earth After Mutation: A Sci-Fi War Graphic Novel? How it started, what are some of the things that have inspired you to create the world of Earth After Mutation, & where the characters have been, and where the story is headed?

Sam: Earth After Mutation (Earth A.M.) really began as a project Josh and I started back in high school when we were designing our own roleplaying game. As the worldbuilding evolved, we realized it would make an excellent backdrop for a comic series that focuses on the large-scale impact of war in a science fiction setting.

Josh: As for the characters, each character is unique in their background and experience, but the common theme between them is dealing with consequences. When these characters make decisions, those decisions have a worldwide ripple effect. We want to delve into the haunting nature of those consequences.

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

Sam: Josh and I have been telling stories together for a long time. I love working collaboratively because the process of building on each others’ ideas really seems to elevate the story. We’ve received a lot of praise in Earth A.M. reviews for our dialogue and I think that’s a natural result of creating the story as a team.

Josh: In terms of the mechanics, Sam and I do a lot of outlining. We try to nail down “the moments,” whether those are decision moments or consequence moments. We then try to figure out which issue in the arc a moment makes the most sense, story-wise. As we’re doing that, we’re figuring out character arcs and relationship arcs. After that, we write some parts separately to inject some of that scene improvisation and individual energy. Then we write together and align for consistency. At that point, we work together with our editor Josh Sellers to make everything crisp.

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

Sam: I read constantly and am pulling inspiration from fiction and non-fiction alike. Comics are a great medium in that they are also very visual, so pulling cues from film and television is another great way to communicate with your art team. Specifically to this story, we first started building the world in the early days of HALO and long nights spent gaming with friends.

Josh: The board game Risk and the newer version, Risk: Legacy, have also been hugely influential to this story. When you play Risk, everybody has the same goal, but the different strategies and personalities make playing the game so memorable. That’s a question we try and ask constantly throughout Earth A.M.: Is war a zero sum game?

John: What are your hopes for Earth After Mutation and for 2019?

Sam: Readers have responded really well to this story and our hope is to bring them the entire first arc as soon as possible, hence the Kickstarter. 2019 will let us continue to build on our current titles and expand into some new content areas.

Josh: My hope for Earth A.M. is the same as any other story I want to tell, which is that I hope that the readers feel connected to the characters and the story. If readers set the book down and feel like they have learned something about themselves, that’s ultimately the biggest win you could ask for.

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

Sam: At Hollow Harbor, we’re not just about telling our own stories – we’re about building a supportive community where creators have the freedom to tell quality stories and connect with readers. We really value the relationships we have in the comics community and hope to continue to be in a position to help artists and writers bring their characters to life.

Josh: Exactly. We talk about comics, character, and community on a daily basis. That’s the mantra we live by, and we hope you’ll join us for the ride.

John: Well guys, it was great getting to know you and talking about Earth After Mutation: A Sci-Fi War Graphic Novel. So thank you once again. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

Sam: We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. You can find us @hollowharbor on all major social platforms. We hope you’ll check us out.

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

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Kid Intense

by Vincent Morris

This is the story of Richard Kane after he found what’s called the Eldron Crystal, and he gets amazing powers from it, and becomes the newest superhero ‘Kid Intense’. I spoke with Vincent Morris, the creator, about the series of comics. You can find all of Vincent’s collected works here.

John: Vincent, welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I hope you have been well. Today we shall be discussing your Indie Comics Project Kid Intense, which can be found at lulu.com. Before we get started can you tell us a bit about yourselves.

Vincent: I was born and raised in Buffalo NY and now I live in Poughkeepsie NY. I started drawing since I was a little kid. My favorite comic book hero is Superman. I even live Superboy as well. I was born in 08/08/78.

John: What can you tell us about Kid Intense? How it started, what are some of the things that have inspired you to create the world of Kid Intense, & where the characters have been, and where the story is headed?

Vincent: Kid Intense is about a teen-ager named Richard Kane who was given powers from space diamond and became Kid Intense and he protects innocent lives in the city of Eastburg from evil doers. He even takes on racism, pollution, terrorism among other things that makes Kid Intense a symbol of peace

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

Vincent: It all started when Kid Intense was suppose to be a movie script, but changed it to a comic book hero, and his original suit was blue and red, but that’s Superman’s colors so his suit is purple and light blue with a big yellow I on his chest.

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

Vincent: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Schuster,  and even Curt swan influence me to be a comic book artist, and I draw old school and they inspire me to not give up.

John: What are you hopes for Kid Intense and for 2019?

Vincent: Do more Kid Intense comics in a quarterly matter and hope to have a Kid Intense movie which I written off the ground.

 

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

Vincent: Yes, I also hope to plan on indie crossover with other heroes and in the future, mainstream heroes as well which will be cool.

John: Well Vincent, it was great getting to know you and talking about Kid Intense. So thank you once again. We wish you the best on your comic.

Vincent: Thank you for having me. Stay Intense!!

You can find all of Vincent’s collected works here.

 

That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!

 


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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