Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase, the weekly blog where we signal boost a few truly independent comics that are currently crowdfunding their projects, crowdsourcing their funding in some way, or just completely self-publishing on their own. Every little bit of support for these creators matters, from a single dollar pledge to the twenty-five dollar bundle, and of course the higher tiers are usually fun too! Even if you can’t back a campaign or buy a book, you can share or tweet about these projects to your friends and followers.
Elysian Fields: Pyramid Gambit
by Michael Oden
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, Michael. Tell our readers a little about Elysian Fields: The Pyramid Gambit. Briefly tell our readers what’s up.
Michael Oden: Elysian Fields The Pyramid Gambit is our second campaign that really is the true start of the journey that is Elysian Fields. We set the stage a few months ago with the Zero issue, but now that we are actually IN The Abyssal Tournament of Champions, its time for us to crank it up to 11 and bring these heroes of myth together in this tournament of epics.
CB: Your last installment in this series was a great success, tell our readers how you first got into creating your own comics. What led to this?
MO: Honestly it was as simple as a decision. For years I have critiqued books and films of this genre that I loved, and talked about how I would handle things differently. As a result, for years I heard my friends and family ask me why I wasn’t doing these stories. With Crowdfunding being such a prominent force in the market, I just took a chance and as I stepped forward we continued to make progress, growing each step of the way.
CB: Is this a direct sequel? Will readers be able to jump in or do you recommend reading the previous installment?
MO: That’s correct, this book picks up right where the last issue left off. Achilles is in the middle of this fight with Gilgamesh as his entry to the tournament. However, I make sure to take a page to bring people who may not have read the zero issue up to speed, but I do highly recommend checking out the zero issue prior to reading. We have started to release the zero issue in installments on Webtoon to aid in this.
CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
MO: I mean there’s a massive market for fantasy and mythology out there right now. So I’d say if you like tournament books, and you like history and mythology, this book is going to blow you away.
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team / other creators that have contributed to this?
MO: We have been super fortunate in the talent that has come to bolster this book. Our main artist, Marcelo Oliveira Costa has a brilliant style reminiscent of the 90s and his art has improved leaps and bounds since the Zero Issue. However we’ve also been super fortunate to have creative talents like Kevin Sharpe, Alonso Espinoza, Scott Rosema, Joe Tolliver, Luke Stone, Tedd Lehman, and Farah Nurmaliza coming in to work on this book in some capacity or another. From variant covers, to pinups, to trading cards that are a flex goal, its been a humbling experience seeing these pros from all over the industry come in and make this book as special as it can be.
CB: What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process? What’s the biggest challenge?
MO: I’d say the biggest lessons that I have learned from all of this all stem from the same thing. You are the greatest obstacle to your own successes. Its so simple doing crowdfunding. Its hard work, but simple. Its not a complicated process outside of setting up the campaign. You go out there and promote your book, and your brand. You stay true to your promises and your deadlines. You respect your customers and thank them for their loyalty with a stellar product. It’s that simple and the only thing thay can potentially stand in the way of that successes is yourself. Did you promote your book enough? Did you fulfill your promises? The list goes on.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
MO: Thanks So Much! Elysian Fields Pyramid Gambit is Live on IGG! HELP US BREAK 10K!
Check out the campaign here!
Saving the World #3
by Dustin Oxford
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Saving the World #3… Briefly tell our readers what’s up.
Dustin Oxford: Saving the World is a super hero comic drawing inspiration from both mainstream hero comics and 90’s underground comics like Ghost World and Love and Rockets. Kierra is an awkward busty ginger who wakes up with nearly unlimited strength and Nora is a aimless college drop out who wakes up with enhanced brain activity. Together they try to balance everyday life, and the new challenge of saving the world. Hence the tag line Maximum Impact at Minimum Wage.
CB: So this is issue #3. Will readers need to grab the first few issues to know what’s up or can they jump right in?
DO: It’s best to start at the beginning, but it’s not absolutely a necessity. One of my major goals was to make each issue able to stand on its own, while also rewarding longtime readers. Very much in the vein of Golden Age comics. I am a huge fan of the condensed storytelling of the golden age, and feel every comic should work as a stand alone work. I’ll never ask a reader to buy 15 comics for one story. However, if you read the entire series a much larger picture begins to form.
CB: How did you come up with this concept?
DO: I have always been a fan Barbara Gordon as Batgirl and fascinated with the idea of an average girl becoming a super hero, however I never felt mainstream comics knew how to pull that off. I saw a great opportunity to bring the character driven tone from underground comics into a more fantastic setting. From there I actually began harvesting all the heroes I created as a kid, and fleshing them out to create a massive shared universe of heroes.
CB: Tell us a little more about the project. What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
DO: I honestly think STW has a uniquely broad appeal. I put a lot of effort to balance the fun and action of traditional hero comics with the sensibilities of the slice of life style narratives more common in underground comics. So far the reception seems to point towards some success in that aspect. Fans of DC/Marvel style comics seem to enjoy the series as much as the more counter culture folks.
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team or if there are any other creators that have contributed to this project?
DO: I’m the primary writer/artist, but with issue three I am blessed to be joined by my long time hero Jim Lawson on interiors. He’s of course best known for his decades of work on Mirage Studio’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I can not overstate how huge of an influence his work has been on me, so it’s rather inspiring to see him translate my script to the page. STW’s awesome 50’s pinup style covers are the work of my friend Illustrator Monk. He has been an invaluable collaborator on this series. Not only does he handle the cover art but he helps me with everything from logo design to the occasional layout when I fall behind. I also would be in big trouble if I left out my partner in crime, my wife Hunny. She helps me at every stage from writing to shipping. She’s my right arm and sometimes my left as well.
CB: What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
DO: I think my main take away is that crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have really opened the gates for amazing creators that previously were shut out of the industry. Is it easy? No, but if someone has the passion and drive the tools are now available. My tips to any hopeful creator would be to under promise, and over deliver, be on time, and build a reputation for being dependable. To successfully self publish you have to be equal parts artist and businessman. It’s a hard balance to maintain, but worth the effort.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Dustin! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
DO: Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!
JAWS! THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE
by Paul Jurczak
Please check out the campaign on Kickstarter.
John Lemus: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Paul. Tell us a little bit about yourself .
Paul Jurczak: Sure! I’m 44 and live in Florence, Kentucky, which is close to Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve done some small indie comics over the years, nothing that’s seen a lot of coverage. I’ve also been involved in various art shows since the late 90s, mostly in the Cincinnati area. These days, my time is spent working on art, comics, and custom action figures.
JL: Tell us about Jaws! Through the Multiverse?
PJ: It’s an anthology comic that parodies Jaws and creates a multiverse surrounding the character, similar to what Marvel and DC has done. So we know the events that took place on Earth-414 on Amity Island, when Jaws was viciously destroyed by those three hooligans. But what about the countless other versions of Jaws that exist across the multiverse? Such as when he’s a Barbarian, or a Luchador, or a crime boss, or a giant mechanical sea monster. The anthology explores those various adventures and consists of two volumes.
JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how JAWS! THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE came to be?
PJ: It initially started out as a very small concept. Iann Robinson, who is no longer involved in the project, had an interesting alternate version of the original Jaws movie, changing up the tone of the movie and recasting the main roles. I though it could make for a fun zine, just something small to print and release. From there it slowly grew into something much larger and more ambitious. I like how DC and Marvel have their own versions of a Multiverse and I thought that it would be cool to have a bunch of alternate versions of Jaws doing all sorts wacky things.
It seemed so out there that it would be a perfect fit for an underground comic. So there were several versions that I knew I definitely wanted, there had to be a MechaJaws like from Godzilla, a Conan version, a wrestling themed story, and a ninja one. One of the first pieces of art came from Iain Laurie, who did a crime version of Jaws, and I knew that we had to do something with that concept. So from those general ideas, Iann came up with several stories and I worked on recruiting artists to contribute. I didn’t want to overly stress anyone out so I decided to get them to contribute a page or two, whatever they thought that they could manage to work into their schedule. Along the way, it just kind of exploded into a large project and I knew that it was most likely going to end up being a trade paperback. So it went from a mini zine to a huge collection of artists and material.
JL: What does JAWS! THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?
PJ: Jaws is an iconic film and it has a huge fanbase. I’m a fan and I just thought it would be a fun and wacky trip to take, who doesn’t want to see Jaws turned into a Conan the Barbarian character? That’s just awesome!
JL: What are some of the things that have served as a source of Inspiration when working on JAWS! THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?
PJ: Basically any film, TV, and comic genre. Most of the ideas from myself or the other artists come from pop culture. I came up with a short erotic parody of the Superman serial comics from the 30s, so I referenced that material and tried to replicate it (it’s just way more mature than the original ha!).
JL: There is a unique style in these art styles. Can you tell us a bit about it and your creative team’s contributions?
PJ: I’m not much of a writer. Iann Robinson wrote most of the main stories, which were adapted by the artists. As far as my artistic style, I’m heavily influenced by Picasso, Cubism, Surrealism, and the underground comics from the 70s. So I’d say that those things kind of meld together into what I do.
We’ve recruited an outstanding collection of over 80 underground artists, each with their own unique styles. The cover is drawn by the legendary Ken Landgraf and colored by Harry Nordlingr. The lineup also includes work from Josh Bayer, Benjamin Marra, Adam Falp, Russell Taysom, Patrick Ian Rooks, Robin Bougie, Justin Stewart, and so many more. The purchase price for both volumes is $32 and it is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. It is fully funded and currently on its second stretch goal. The first stretch goal is a signed color print from Nick Cagnetti. If we hit $5844, then we’ll reach our second stretch goal. There will be several items added if we reach this. First, there will be a signed color print of Jaimie Filer’s MechaJaws splash page from the book. Second, the barbarian themed story titled Sword of the Shark will be colored by Maciej Palka.
JL: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
PJ: I usually do some rough page layouts to flesh out the pages. Then I’ll do sketches of each panel to get an good idea of what I’m looking for, what I’m happy with. I often use references, such as toy figure models and photo references. Then I work onto the final page, usually using brush pens.
JL: What have been some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?
PJ: As I mentioned before, Picasso and his line drawings are a major influence on me. I do a lot of Picassoeque paintings and drawings. His line drawings were also a big influence on one of my comics, along with Van Gogh who appears in the book. Outsider art and underground/indie artists also have been a big influence. I tend to gravitate towards the art that’s outside of the norm.
JL: What are your hopes for JAWS! THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE and for the future?
PJ: Well I was just hoping that the book would get funded through the Kickstarter campaign and that’s already happened. So now, I’m setting my sights on reaching the second stretch goal. Outside of that, I just hope everyone that buys the book will be happy with it. I think they will. I’ve been incredibly impressed with all of the art that’s been completed so far, it’s just outstanding.
As far as after Jaws! Through the Multiverse is finished and printed, I’m not sure at the moment. I’m kicking around some ideas for a smaller anthology book, but nothing’s set in stone at the moment.
JL: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
PJ: Yeah, the Kickstarter campaign ends on December 1st at 9:55 am EST. Please go and grab your copy. Or just share the link. Any additional help is greatly appreciated.
JL: Once again Paul, I would like to say thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck on this campaign and all future projects.
PJ: Thanks for having me!
Check out the campaign here!
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