Indie Comics Showcase – Early Edition!

 

Hey there friends and readers! Welcome to a surprise Early Edition of Indie Comics Showcase. Because of the Valentines Day, I was not able to do a regular edition with the standard interviews, so to make up for that and to shed some light on many more fantastic campaigns – one in particular which is almost over, we’re doing this today. I hope you enjoy this installment and that you’ll consider backing one or more of these Indie Comics!

Thank you!


RED RANGE: PIRATES OF FIREWORLD
by Keith Lansdale & Jok

RED RANGE: THE PIRATES OF FIREWORLD is a NEW comic book written by Keith Lansdale and illustrated by Jok, with standard and a few variant covers done by an amazing international group of artists, including Jok (Argentina), Russell Mark Olson (UK), N. Steven Harris (USA), Ramón Pérez (Spain), Christopher Schenck (USA) Aleksandar Bozic (Serbia), Dalibor Talajic (Croatia)

I spoke with publisher Drew Ford, artist Jok, and Keith Lansdale, the writer who recently brought you X-Files and Creepy stories, about “Pirates of Fireworld” his latest take on the historical and somewhat steampunk world his father (Joe R. Lansdale) and the late Sam Glanzman created back in 1999.

JOHN: Drew, Keith, Jok, I hope you guys are well. Thank you for being on and welcome to Indie Comics Showcase. Tonight we will be talking about your Indie Comic Red Range: Pirates of Fire World. Before we get into the comic, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourselves?

DREW: I’m the owner and publisher at It’s Alive! where my mission statement is “Saving the history of comics one book at a time.”  I am known for my reprint collections, but I will be adding more new books -like Red Range: PFW- to my publishing schedule, such as Airboy by Chuck Dixon and The Bozz Chronicles by David Michelinie & Bret Blevins.  Before launching my own imprint, I worked as an editor at Dover Publications, where I was responsible for over forty comic book collections, two of which were nominated for Eisner Awards.  When I’m not publishing other people’s comics, I’m writing a few of my own.  An original graphic novel that I wrote entitled ‘Steam‘ will be published soon by Dark Horse. 

KEITH: I’ve been knocking around the written word in first one form and then another. Originally a journalist, I shifted into writing comics, and later into writing film and TV scripts.

JOK: I´m an established pro from Argentina, my work´s been published in USA, UK, Italy, France, Spain, China and South America. I also run a studio specializing in Sequential art and Illustration (since 2001). I usually pencil, ink and color my own work.

JOHN: What can you tell us about Red Range: Pirates of Fire World? How it started, what are some of the things that have influenced your work on it, & where it’s going?

DREW: 20 years ago, Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Glanzman published a graphic novel entitled Red Range: A Wild Western Adventure.  The story introduces us to Caleb Range, an African American cowboy who loses his family during a violent attack by a post Civil War KKK group.  While trying to outrun and outsmart the Klan, Caleb meets Turon, a young boy who lost his family in a similar fashion.  As the Klan searches for the two, Caleb attempts to protect Turon from any harm.  Then, near the end of the book, they fall down into a deeper layer of the Earth.  We are teased with relics from different civilizations and time periods, and a few dinosaurs, but not much else.  There was also a promise at the end of the graphic novel, that the next story was coming soon.  It took a while, but after all these years, Red Range is back thanks to Joe’s son Keith and artist Jok!  

JOK: Pirates of Fire World is an exciting adventure, full of really cool elements I never thought I´d see together: cowboys, pirates, dinosaurs, steampunk tech and the Hollow Earth. I’m a big fan of genre fusion and playing with all these characters, landscapes and props is really stimulating. The challenge was to make all this work together, in a believable but exciting atmosphere. Of course, previous work done by Mr. Glanzman is also a big influence on this book. I know Keith has plans for upcoming stories, and I look forward to continue developing this exuberant world.

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

KEITH: My father, Joe R. Lansdale created the original Red Range 20 years ago as a chance for him to play with a story involving lost worlds, racism, and vigilantes who fight or justice. And Dad was also my largest influence, encouraging the creative seed inside me and always a teacher when it comes to understanding the written word.

My actual process is usually just letting an idea roll around in my head a few days until I have a few beats or ideas that I like, and then start hammering out the pages. Sometimes those ideas stick, sometimes they change, but once the story starts to have a little life, it tells itself. I just have to make sure it stays on track.

JOK: For me, I like to give the script two detailed reads and then start sketching. I work very quick, little thumbnails stating narrative flow and composition (paying no attention to art at this stage). Then I jump into pencils (which are quite rough) taking good care of figure and prop details. I still use paper for pencils and inks (I like to use pens and old school brushes). Color, though, is purely digital (I usually work with a flat color assistant).

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

KEITH: Again, I’ll say my father. But the love I’ve always had of a good story. Be it a book, a movie, or a comic. There’s little moments when I get to certain beats of a story that I fall back onto a plethora of good examples of stories told well, and I try to find my own voice from within.

JOK: Argentina has a very rich tradition in comic-book media. Artists like Quique Alcatena and Eduardo Risso really impressed me as a kid, and continue impressing me today. Some other big influences come from North American artists such as Mike Mignola, John Buscema and Frank Miller. I´ve always been attracted to genres like Crime-Stories, Horror and Heroic Fantasy, and I believe it reflects into my work. Also, I consider writers like Umberto Eco, Thomas Harris, Ray Bradbury, Issac Asimov and Michael Crichton to have (hopefully!) a big influence on my narrative style.

JOHN: What are you hopes for Red Range: Pirates of Fire World and for 2019?

DREW: I hope there is enough interest in Red Range: PFW to continue telling more Red Range stories in the near future!

KEITH: I hope it gets to live beyond the pages that have been written. It’s always an honor to be able to pick up something Dad started and feel like I added something to it.

JOK: Really look forward to developing this book, and hope readers have as much fun as I did working on it. Also, it´d be great to keep working on the next story right after “Pirates of Fireworld”. There are so many great adventures still to tell!

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

DREW: Just want to thank anyone who has already backed this campaign.  For those who haven’t, if you like cowboys, vigilantes, pirates, and/or dinosaurs, this one just might be for you!  Give it a look!

KEITH: Pirates of Fireworld is a fun ride, and I hope there’s enough support to keep the story going.

JOK: I´m really thankful for this opportunity. I feel this book will allow me to unleash my full potential as a storyteller. The audience is invited to check out my Facebook and Instagram to know more about Red Range and it’s creative process. Last but not least, I´d like to publicly thank our Kickstarter backers.

JOHN: Well guys it was great getting to know you all and talking about Red Range: Pirates of Fire World. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

DREW: Thanks, John!

KEITH: Thank you for your time and be well.

JOK: Thanks so much, John!  Also, a big thank you to Bleeding Fool readers for their time and attention.

The campaign ends this Wednesday, so please visit their Kickstarter page today!

           

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ERAFLUX :
Keeping the Peace

The campaign is on to produce the prequel story to kick off the next year of art, writing, and world-building! Eraflux is a space fantasy saga that pits a new era of ideals against the old era of tradition. For those caught in this conflict, will they abandon the past or forge a new future? For this project, I interviewed Dana Harris aka Lotusware, the creator of Eraflux.

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JOHN: Dana, 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 ERAFLUX: Keeping The Peace. Before we get into the comic, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

DANA: Yeah for sure, John—thanks for the opportunity to chat!  I’m from a small island province on the  east coast of Canada where I’ve drifting in and out of the creative world for about 15 years.  I played around with indie game development, music, graphic design, but I’ve always been “drawn” to illustration.  Aside from that, I garden in the summer, watch movies in the winter, and cook & bake all through the year!

JOHN: What can you tell us about ERAFLUX: Keeping The Peace? How it started, what are some of the things that have influenced your work on it, & where it’s going?

DANA: ERAFLUX itself started off as a combination of a bunch of different stories I’ve worked off. Eventually I settling on it becoming an indie game—which never got past a prototype.

After years of it collecting dust, I settled on telling the story in the form of a graphic novel—posting pages weekly.  But it wasn’t until I was scheduled to make an appearance at an expo for the end of March that I saw an opportunity to release the first part of the saga as “Keeping the Peace”!

As far as where it’s going, my hope is I can avoid forcing my readers through the same old space opera story and instead shift the focus on the characters and the themes that drive heroes to be villainous and villains to be heroic—highlighting the fine line between doing good and doing evil—how each truly believes they are doing what’s right.

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

DANA: This is a project of love for me, so if I’m not feeling into it, I’ll jump ahead a few pages or work on something unrelated—I want to make sure I put in 100% of my ability and care into each page.

I start off with writing the plot points out to make sure I have something that at least resembles a satisfying arc. I then whip up a “screenplay” and treat it as though it was a movie—I find it helps me envision scenes, locations, and treat each drawing of the comic like important stills from that movie.

Then it begins with thumbnails, and sketching.  I put on a pot of coffee and start to traditionally ink everything—I love the authentic feel and flow of it all—scan and then color.  The whole process takes me about 10 hours a page. And 10 cups of coffee!

The workflow has me doing thumbnails 4 weeks ahead, pencils 3 weeks ahead, inks 2 weeks, and colors being dropped in the week up until the page gets posted for Monday.

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

DANA: Growing up I’ve always been drawn into other worlds—and so I’m pulling in a lot of inspiration from games like Phantasy Star, which is the perfect mix of fantasy and science fiction, and movies like Star Wars—Battlestar Galactica, TV shows that blur the line betwern allies and enemies—I love uneasy alliances!

I take a lot of inspiration from real life as well.  The world we live in is so fantastic—it’s best and it’s worst—I can pull from history, politics, landscapes, creatures.  It just takes a few tweaks to make it seem out of this world.

JOHN: What are you hopes for ERAFLUX: Keeping The Peace and for 2019?

DANA: Hoping its going to be well-received in March—and moreso when the whole project wraps up next year!  The struggle is always going to building a fanbase and grow readership but I think as long as I keep on schedule and deliver a quality story then the fans will come!  

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

DANA: Yeah, for sure!  I’ll plug my Instagram/Twitter (@eraflux) where I post a bunch of concept art and make announcements—and if anyone wants to read the ERAFLUX saga so far, they can head to www.lotusware.net which will get them started.

For the next four weeks, my Kickstarter campaign will be up and running so send some love it’s way— and if ERAFLUX isn’t your thing, get out there and discover the amazing worlds that indie artists are creating out there!

JOHN: Well Dana it was great getting to know you and talking about ERAFLUX: Keeping The Peace. So thank you once again. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

DANA: it’s been a pleasure—thanks for the chance for the chat!  I had a good time and we’ll have to do this again!

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

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Probl-o-Matic Collection

Probl-o-Matic is the story of Greg and his friends who are far more interesting than him. Observe the nose-bleed peaks, mundane tundra, and horrific valleys of his daily life as he fails to talk to girls, navigates imaginary friendship with his best frienemy, and steals time from his coworker whose wife may or may not believe they are gay for each other.

An Indiegogo campaign is underway to print a full, up-to-date volume of this hit web series, compiling over 300 strips – check out the campaign page here.

 

John: I’m speaking with George Alexopoulos about his Probl-o-Matic Collection which is a compilation of over 300 strips from his hit web comic. Before we get into, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

George: I’ve enjoyed writing and drawing stories since Kindergarten. My first Graphic Novel, Artist’s Block, was completed in 2004 and was published on my website. Following that, I won 3rd place in Tokyopop’s Rising Stars of Manga competition and was awarded with publication of my second book, Go With Grace, which was released in 2006.

Original English Manga (OEL) movement took a huge hit around the recession in 2007, and many publishers downsized or went out of business. Since then, I’ve been self-publishing and concentrating on my day job as a freelance illustrator & game developer.

John: What can you tell us about Probl-o-Matic? How it started, what are some of the things that have influenced your work on it, & where it’s going?

George: Probl-o-Matic is a traditional 4-panel comic strip that I’ve been drawing in my spare time for about 10 years. It was conceived as an exercise to keep my skills fresh while I was working as a printmaker at a reproduction art shop, and slowly took on a life of its own. I was inspired by books like Azumanga Daioh! Which featured vertical orientation for its contents, which fit beautifully into the types of books I want to print.

I used myself as a stand-in for the main character, Gregory Alexander, who eventually became his own person – along with the rest of the cast. The series is about everyday problems and relationships, told through eccentric personalities who often clash with one another. It’s a sort of I Love Lucy episodic sitcom, told as manga. I intend to continue writing and drawing this strip for as long as I’m interested. I want to keep developing the characters, making them more versatile, so they can portray any scenarios I want to throw at them.

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

George: Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes, for certain. Osamu Tezuka and Masami Tsuda are huge influences for my pacing. Artistically, I adore illustrators like Gustave Dore, Takehiko Inoue, and Akihiko Yoshida. Comedically speaking, I recently found that my sense of humor comes from series like I Love Lucy and cartoons like Daria. I love watching quirky personalities clash and conspire against each other.

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

George: I suppose it goes something like Concept > Script > Sketch > Finished Art. For concepts, I try to always carry paper or my laptop everywhere I go. That way, in case something funny or interesting happens, or I get a good idea for a story, I’m able to jot the ideas down and develop them later. I compare this step to fishing in a rowboat: Sometimes I sit there with the line in the water, waiting, and nothing comes. Other times, the fish are jumping out of the water and I can’t catch them fast enough.

Once the ideas are recorded, I start shaping them into a script. This is a bit like molding wet clay: I add content, take it away, experiment, and get a rough idea what the story should look like, how it should be paced. Once I decide on that, I’m able to move on to a sketch (AKA thumbnails).

During the sketch phase, I move characters around their virtual space and try to balance them out with lines of dialogue, so everything fits together nicely. I think about composition here; not only for the strip on its own, but also how it will sit on a page with other strips when it’s collected in a book.

Drawing the strip is fairly straightforward once all these steps are completed. The only trouble is, as I get older, finding spare time to do it.

John: What are you hopes for Probl-o-Matic and for 2019?

George: My first goal is to make sure the Probl-o-Matic Collection is the best book I’ve ever published. The IndieGoGo campaign runs until March 4th, and the volume should begin shipping this June. After that, my plans will depend whether or not this campaign succeeds. If it does well, I’d like to resume drawing at least 3 strips per week for as long as the budget allows.

I’d also like to launch campaigns for my undrawn graphic novel and indie game scripts. I’ve written and completed several of these, but as I get older, it becomes less and less likely that I’ll find time to produce them as proper graphic novels. In the short term, I’d like to at least publish these stories as illustrated screenplays, or perhaps even visual novels for smartphones – if a budget can be secured and I find the right teammates to work on them with me.

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

George: You bet. Many indie creators work for little more than the love of their craft, so please support us however you can! Consider donating to our Patreons, buying our books and merch, by writing encouraging e-mails, and especially sharing your favorite work with everyone you know. I often think if readers got together and offered a dollar per month to their favorite creators, many of us could afford to do the work full time and give you even more of the comics you enjoy.

You can find me on Twitter @GPrime85  and my website is StudioNJ.com

John: Absolutely, I hope all our readers will support indie creators, George! Once again, thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. We wish you the best of luck on your campaign.

George: Thanks for the invitation!

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

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Amelia Sky Issue #3
The Monster Within Tells You

Michael Gutierrez reviewed the first two issues of this series earlier this month for Bleeding Fool, and now the comic’s creator, Jermaine Boyd, is crowdfunding the third issue, a 22-page, color washed comic book continuing Amelia’s haunting journey of self-discovery while surviving a post-alien invaded Earth. I spoke with Jermaine earlier this week about his campaign and the comic.

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

JERMAINE: First off thank you so much for having me on. It’s amazing to finally be honored on the showcase. What can I tell you about Amelia? Wow, there’s a lot and I mean a lot to tell.  The idea for Amelia Sky is very old. When I was young and first found my calling as a writer.  I had so many ideas.  But creating a superheroine was at the forefront.

This ongoing sci-fi/horror series chronicles the life of Amelia Sky, a young girl who awakens in a post-apocalyptic world with no memory of who she is or where she came from. Along with her journey of self-discovery, she unlocks extraordinary abilities within that could save humanity from extinction by an alien invasion of a species from the beginning of the universe—an ancient race berserk with a ravenous hunger for energy in all its forms—the Shriekers. Throughout her journey, Amelia will face alien and human villains, traumatizing the dormant mysterious force within to lead her to become her true self, the first superhuman the world’s ever seen.

Amelia Sky isn’t just about Amelia. It’s about all the women good and bad she meets along her journey. I don’t want to give away too much of the story because I want the reader to find out events as they happened just like the characters.  But I feel you should know that the apocalypse in this world has caused all men to become extinct.  Women now mostly inhabit the world.

My mother heavily influenced the idea for Amelia, and the many other women strong willed women that made me the man I am today.  When I was growing up finding African American superheroes was like finding Atlantis. They just didn’t exist.  I wanted to show the strong inspiring women of my world. How much they truly meant to me.  I grew up with a single mother and everyday I watched her struggle.  I wanted to give her and women like her a voice.

Growing up in a low-income household in the middle of the heartland of Illinois.  I knew I would never have the normality’s of everyday children.  My mother knew this as well. So, she flooded my world not with toys but with books.   I absolutely loved and still love science fiction.  Mary Shelly, George Orwell, and Arthur C. Clarke were some of the incredible writers that influenced me as a young writer and eventually influenced the world of Amelia Sky. 

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

JERMAINE: When I sit down and create Amelia’s world or any world for that matter.  I tend to become a hermit.  I lock myself away for weeks on in and really take in materials that ultimately help me construct everything in the story’s universe.  Amelia’s world for example deals in some very dark subject matters.  At the beginning of each one of them I pose various questions to myself.  How will the world end? How will humans handle first contact with an alien race? Are we the highest organisms on the food chain? If we were not then what would eat us? Or my favorite question of Amelia’s story, how will nano-technology effect the human race in the future? These impossible questions give way to impossible situations.

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

JERMAINE: Wow, that’s an awesome question.  I’ve taken in so many over the years. I’m going to answer this one in two parts with past and present influences.   Past influences that you’ll definitely see throughout Amelia’s story stem from my childhood.  I loved Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman and Mega Man.  These characters and their stories were my absolute favorite when I was a child.  

As for the present influences, Mass Effect, The Last of Us, and The Walking Dead heavily inspired the structure of Amelia’s world.  I’m a gigantic fan of character driven stories. There’s nothing more satisfying for me than watching a character rise and fall from beginning to their end.  This was how I was taught to write.  These types of stories I love to write.  All of them can be considered a form of a soap opera. And in my opinion writing in this form allows the audience to really feel for everything within a story from the tiniest details to the large ones.  

JOHN: What are you hopes for Amelia Sky and for 2019?

JERMAINE: I’m currently striving to get Amelia Sky to her first comic con. This has been a goal of mine since issue #1.  Unfortunately, it cost a lot to make a good first presence and as of right now my finances keep this goal just beyond my reach. But I have faith that this year will be the year Amelia makes her first appearance at a Comic Con in Missouri.  After that I have plans on producing a huge Kickstarter for late Fall. This Kickstarter will try to raise funds to produce the entire first volume of the series.   

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

JERMAINE: Yes, I wanted to say that no matter what happens at the end of the Issue #3 Kickstarter.  My passion for making Amelia Sky’s story a reality will always be a strong as the day I created her.  It will be a struggle but I will persist. I will endure; Amelia will endure just like the women that inspired her to be. 

JOHN: Well Jermaine it was great getting to know you and talking about Amelia Sky. So thank you once again. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

JERMAINE: Thank you so much, John.  And please send my thanks to everyone that makes the Indie Comic Showcase possible. 

 

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

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Thank you once again for taking some time out of your day to check out some really great Indie Comics and their creators. I hope you all had a wonderful week. And thank you all for being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase.

Support indie comics!!!


Follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics!

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