Indie Comics Showcase #39

Hello friends and readers, welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase. The weekly blog where we try and bring you the most excellent Indie Comics Campaigns from across the web, as well as interviews with their creators. We have some truly outstanding crowd funding campaigns for you to learn about, enjoy, and hopefully support by making a pledge. If you would like to show your support, please remember that every little bit counts. From the single dollar pledges to the ten dollar, and higher.

Let’s get into these comics!

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The Lost Kids
by Felipe Cagno

Lost Kids is a throwback to classic RPGs and the Goonies! When a group of five teenagers is mysteriously transported to a world filled with magic and airships their only clue to return home is to find a mythical lost city – the city of Samarkand.

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

John: Felipe my friend, I hope you have been well. Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. You have had a number of very successful Indie Comics Campaigns, from 321: Fast Comics, The Few and Cursed, Too Good To be True, but, today we will be talking about The Lost Kids Seeking Samarkand which is a two part action, fantasy, and adventure comic. Before we get started, could you please share with our readers a little bit about yourself.

Felipe: I wanted to start by thanking you for the opportunity of this interview, I appreciate it. I’ve always wanted to make a living telling stories. Growing up I was inspired by comics, films, TV, games and I knew I wanted to be part of that experience and impart my own stories to people all over the world. I went to film school in Brazil then moved to LA for five years where I got a master’s degree in film as well and where I started writing and learning how to write screenplays. 

The Lost Kids is actually my lab project started at Chapman University. I must’ve re-written that story a dozen times from scratch, it was the lengthiest project I’ve ever written because I was learning scriptwriting through that experience. I’ve sent it to screenplay competitions, had two different teachers guide me through the process and then went on to develop it as a graphic novel after two creative execs in Hollywood enjoyed the story but suggested a different medium for it because of cost.

John: Without Spoilers, what can you tell us about The Lost Kids Seeking Samarkand? How it came to be? What happened in book 1? How it lead into book 2?

Felipe: Book 2 is a direct continuation of the first, I literally split one full story in two parts, it is not a sequel. This is a very personal story that sort of grew up with me since middle-school. I was always a shy kid growing up and every time we went on a field trip I’d imagine my whole class mysteriously traveling to a fantasy world. My favorite games were always RPGs so everything is connected and the Lost Kids is the result.

In book 1 we get to meet the Lost Kids at school, in their regular element, until this mysterious crystal ball of sorts shoots light everywhere and next thing these kids know they are in a place that is not on Earth. As they are trying to figure out what happened one of them is mistaken for a long-lost princess and off to a grand adventure they go. They meet villains, allies and book 1 finishes in The City of Mages – Mitani.

Book 2 picks it up right there. 

John: What was your main source of Inspiration when working on for The Lost Kids Seeking Samarkand?

Felipe: There were many sources but key among them definitely the Final Fantasy game series, especially the old ones for SNES like IV and VI, for the setting and background. I’ve also been heavily influenced by The Goonies, I just love the story structure of a coming-of-age story where a group of friends, kids, set out on an adventure, then have to grow up, mature, without losing that curiosity, innocence and sense of humor. That’s my kind of story.

Eventually I also went back to the 80’s cartoon Dungeons & Dragons and classic novels like Peter Pan or Golden Compass.

John: Share a bit about your creative process with our readers.

Felipe: It’s a pretty straightforward process as far as scripting. I usually start with an idea, whatever that maybe, then I look for a theme I want to discuss through the characters then I move on to structuring the whole story as a Beat Sheet. Once I have that in good shape I move on to an outline – about five pages long with no dialogue – and only then I start my first draft.

By the time I start writing the actual script I’ve already re-written the story multiple times changing characters, moving scenes here and there, figuring out every single dramatic beat in the story, etc. I highly recommend reading Save the Cat by Blake Snyder as far as creative process.

One thing I didn’t learn anywhere and sort of stumbled upon is listening to the right movie soundtrack for whatever it is I’m writing. If I’m scripting the Lost Kids I will listen to RPG games soundtracks, the Lord of the Rings score, Game of Thrones, etc. When I’m working on The Few and Cursed it’s a lot of western soundtracks mixed up with some horror / genre music.

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

Felipe: I’ve touched on some of the games and films that influenced the Lost Kids but in a general way I’d say Spielberg has been a huge influence, I love his films, watch them over and over again, I really like how elegant his camerawork and narrative are. Mind you I have a background in film so that’s where I draw most of my influences. I’m always watching movies or reading comics and books in whatever genre I’m working on at the time.

I really got into westerns after doing issue #1 of The Few and Cursed. The artist Fabiano was crazy about them and wanted to do a western book so I gave it a shot. Once I started watching the classics I couldn’t stop. I’m heavily influenced as well by some recent non-superhero comics books like East of West, Birthright, Saga and anything Brian K. Vaughan writes. I grew up on superheroes and only for the past ten or so years I got into other types of comics.

I will say this: if you want to write, you have to read a lot, as much as you can.

John: What are your hopes for The Lost Kids Seeking Samarkand and for the future?

Felipe: I’d love to see as many of my stories as possible jump to other mediums. I’m stoked to be handling art direction and design for a The Few and Cursed board game by Rock Manor Games due to hit Kickstarter in the next couple of months – that’s really exciting. I’d love to do something similar with the Lost Kids. I’ve been also flirting with Hollywood for a couple of projects based on some of my comics, hopefully something will happen in that front sooner than later. 

Bottomline is I hope my stories, my characters, my voice reach as big an audience as possible and that includes translating them to games, videogames, toys, films, TV and so forth. That’s my biggest hope.

John: Do you have any advice, any words of encouragement for any of our readers who one day hope to launch their own Indie Comic?

Felipe: Just go ahead and do it. It’s a big market out there and there’s room for everyone and every voice. Study the craft – whether that’s writing, penciling, inking, coloring – whatever it is study hard until you feel ready to deliver something up to the standards of whatever it is you like that’s being published out there. Working in comics is easy, just go ahead and make your own. Put it on Kickstarter, launch it as a webseries, don’t wait for a publisher to give you shot, just take your shot yourself.

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

Felipe: I’d love to invite readers to come check out The Lost Kids on Kickstarter right now! And if that’s not really your brand of whisky then come on over to The Few and Cursed online store on BackerKit, I’m sure something there will catch your eye.

And thank you, John, for the opportunity one more time. It’s been a pleasure!

John: Well Felipe, thank  you once again for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns. I hope to see you once again, either at Florida Supercon, or another convention.

Felipe: Sounds good, I really hope to make it to Florida Supercon this year again.

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

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Downcast
by Clint Stoker

Blue-collar teens use the power of gravity to fight against a corrupt city for their father’s life. As Joanne and her brother Jax are on the run from a corrupt government when the power to control gravity falls into their hands. With their father held captive and sentenced to death, can they use this legendary and incredibly powerful weapon to save him before it’s too late?

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

John: Clint welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. Today will be talking about your indie comic ‘Downcast’. Can you tell our readers what Downcast is about?

Clint: Downcast is about a brother and sister that work in a floating city. By chance, they get the power to control gravity for a day. They use the power to fight against their government, and try to save their father from death in prison. It’s kind of like Star Wars meets The Fugitive.

John: Does this story have any special meaning to you?

Clint: I like the idea of regular people getting massive amounts of power. What does power do to people? How can they control themselves? I also really wanted to explore that relationship between siblings. My brothers and sister mean a lot to me, and I see the way my kids interact with each other. There is a level of honesty that you get between siblings that no other relationship has. Exploring themes like this and then Downcast is just good escapism as well. I wanted to make it the comic that I had felt I was missing. A lot of heart, and a lot of fun.

John: This is your first indie comics Campaign. Can you tell us why you felt that the comic book format was the best way to tell your story? 

Clint: Yes! I have written and published 2 novels. They were challenging and really fun to write, but novels are a creative compromise. Comics have always been my highest writing aspiration, but comics take a creative team to make, and in most cases a wad of cash. Comics, as a medium, is my favorite way to consume stories. I love the visual nature of it, and the mechanics of telling a story. I can’t tell you how tired I get of writing “he said” in fiction. The mechanics of writing is clunky in novels, but in comics you pair dialogue with beautiful art. Comics is the perfect ‘show, don’t tell’ medium.

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

Clint: Because I come from writing long-form prose, I think there is a distinctive influence there. At one point, Scott Snyder was my favorite comics writer, I’ve really enjoyed some of Curtis J. Wiebe’s comics, and both of those writers came from prose before comics. As for the more traditional comics writers that have influence on my writing, Chuck Dixon. He’s a master of plot-driven story-telling and I try to emulate that in my own work.

John: Tell us a bit about your creative process. What’s it like?

Clint: I try not to get too bogged-down in writing formulas, but outlining is important to my writing process. When I get the initial idea for a story, I try to focus on why that idea was so enticing in the first place, and make sure that doesn’t get lost in the revisions. I write in full-script. I want to see the dialogue and feel the pacing. I revise and send pages to the artist, Ignacio, where he has veto power. He will take my script and change page layouts when needed, add pages, take pages away, etc… though I write in full script, he has a lot of freedom to change. Once the art if finished, I go back and re-write the script to fit the next page layouts for the letterer. Writing for comics has to be very flexible, so it changes all of the time, but ultimately the end result is so much better as a result.

John: What are your hopes for Downcast and for the future?

Clint: Downcast has a lot of storytelling potential. Ideally, I’d like to write 3 installments – big 50+ page books So at least 150 pages of story. If that kind of story arch is well received, I’ll do another story arch – and then a third. In total, I think nine of these 50+ page issues would give me a lot of satisfaction, and give readers a healthy body of work to go back to. At this point crowd-funding is the way to go, but if my audience is up for the ride, I’m open to working with a publisher to get the nine thick issues out.

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

Clint: Just a sincere ‘thank you’. The success of Downcast has already been phenomenal. So I have to thank all of the early backers who have believed in the story, and a thank you to everyone who has been spreading the word.

John: Clint, thank you once again for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future campaigns.

Clint: Thank you so much!

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

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The Soul of The Sea
by Roddy McCance 

I was suppose to interview Roddy but neither of us really had the time and since there are only eight days left of the campaign, I wanted to give it a mention this week. Roddy has been a supporter of mine for a while now and I think his book The Soul of The Sea is just absolutely gorgeous and the story is enthralling. Please, if you could be so kind as to visit the campaign site here we would greatly appreciate it. The campaign is fully funded but there are still a few cool stretch goals to unlock. If you’re a fan of spine shilling Maritime Horror you do not want to miss out on this just absolutely masterpiece. Here’s the description from the creators themselves.

What is The Soul Of The Sea?

The Soul Of The Sea Issue #1 is a horror comic series set in a rural Ireland. It explores themes regarding isolation, community life and religion. Welcome to the Kickstarter for Issue #1 – a 32 page stapled comic book.

“A man travels to a remote Irish island inhabited by a group of Monks to help a sick boy in their community and to find closure about his own son, who died at sea when the fishing boat The Soul Of The Sea capsized two years before. The secrets he finds on the island are as deep as the ocean and in order to survive he must confront his own faith, his demons and an island full of devout monks, who are not what they seem.”

The Soul Of The Sea is a comic book inspired by stories by Michelle Paver, Susan Hill, Edgar Allen Poe, M.R James and more. We want to keep the tradition going, but we also want to turn it on it’s head, combining the classic ghost story with folk horror and forge our own creation. This is a comic that broods with menace, not one that is full of blood and gore. We want to explore grief, rural life and religion in our story and their connection to each other. The best horror stories in my opinion are the ones that are deeply connected to our own emotions, fears and desires and of course the best horror stories send that cold chill down your spine when you know something isn’t right.

We have created the series because of our love of folk horrorghosts and stories that send shivers down your spine. Donna A. Black uses a combination of photographspaintingtraditional comic art and digital painting to tell the story. A unique story-telling experience that will make your hairs stand on end. 

 

That’s it for this week! No go and do what I’ve been telling you to do… SUPPORT INDIE COMICS!

 


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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!