Indie Comics Showcase #47: Late Edition!

 

Hello friends and readers, welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase. The weekly blog where we try and bring you our pics of the top Indie Comics from across the web, as well as interviews with their creators. We have some truly outstanding crowd funding campaigns this week for you to learn about, enjoy, and hopefully support by making a pledge!

Remember that every little bit counts, from the single dollar pledges to the ten dollar, and of course the higher ones. Some of these campaigns have got some great higher tiers which add even more value by offering stuff you can’t get anywhere else. Thank you all for being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase! Let’s jump in!

 


Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury the Graphic Novel

Two journeys collide as brother battles sister with the fate of their city and family legacy at stake.

Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury was created and written by John Hervey, with pencils by Rod Luper and Diego Bernard covers by Greg Horn, inks by Arne Starr and Chuck Drost, colors by Robert Hawkins and Beezzz Studios and letters by Marco Della Verde. I’ve interviewed the creator and one of the pencillers below.

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

John: Rod, Welcome and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. Today I would like to talk about Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury your indie graphic novel.

Rod: Hey I thank you for this opportunity, this help for us, indie comic book, creators are so important.

John H: My name is John Hervey and I love comics. Sounds like the beginning of an AA meeting or something. The first published project I worked on was as co-writer on Troubleman, which was a three-issue mini-series created by my friend Chuck Drost and was like Men in Black meets Mobius. Troubleman was published by Image under the Motown Machineworks banner in 1996. In 2003 I formed my own comic book company, Beyond Time, and in 2004 published the first issues of the Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury mini-series.  

John: Rod what can you tell us about yourself?

Rod: Well, is a long story, we have time? Hahaha.

In a resume, I work with art for more than 20 years, I did everything already, Comic Books, Book Illustration, Concept Art for movie and video games, I drew cartoons, worked a little bit with animation too, anything that I could learn to keep me busy working in art I did.

With John, on Black Tiger Project, I think we have been working on this for more than 15 years, doing the series little by little and now we will finally put all the stories together in one big Graphic Novel.

John H. It’s a superhero story, but it’s also a human story of a family’s inability to reconcile disparate generations and cultures, culminating with two journeys colliding as brother battles sister with the fate of their city and family legacy at stake. I intentionally started the series at this point when a lot of change is happening with the Black Tiger mantle and the world around it. This current series leads to a new Black Tiger, unlike any wielder of the power before, and we look to tell of her many adventures. We will also tell stories of the prior welders… building a tapestry that I think the readers will enjoy watching come together.

John: Without Spoilers, what can you tell us about Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury? Where it’s been, where it’s going, and your plans for the future?

Rod: I think John can answer this question better than me. 🙂

John H: Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury will always be near and dear to my heart, because it marked the first place I had to swallow my fear in order to enter the murky waters of independent comic book publishing. It was also in the search for a penciller for this story that I met Rod, who has become a lot more than art collaborator… he’s a friend. I believe this is a story that resonates with all of us. Everyone has the challenge of honoring the old traditions while receiving the new. We all have the challenge of navigating our families and finding our own places therein.

John: What does Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

Rod: Well, for me is a reunion of many years of effort and dedication plus, that to see all the story like this, will be very fun to read cos, even myself, I just read in text format, when John sent me. I’m dreaming to seat in my couch and read it as a comic book format.

And I think people will have a lot of fun on this book, who doesn’t like, Kung Fu, Mafia, Monsters, Killers, and a beautiful heroic girl?

John H: You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. I’m constantly reading and it’s not just comic books and graphic novel (though I do read a lot the aforementioned)… I read biographies, self-improvement books, articles on all kinds of subjects, devotionals, the Bible… anything that piques my interest. In terms of shows I love fiction… I want to be entertained and enjoy seeing how larger production houses bring entertainment to the masses. 

John: What are some of the things that have served as a source of Inspiration when working on for? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?

Rod: Well, I use to read a lot, nowadays, I’m preferring to read scientific books but, Back when I drew Black Tiger, I read a lot of Samurais, and watched a lot of movies like that too, to get in the vibe of the book.

Sometimes I use to listen to some good rock’s n roll and some cool podcast too.

John H: As a writer, I love the process of taking an idea, giving structure to that idea through writing and then working with artists who are able to not just bring form to those ideas, but take it to another level by applying their graphical acumen and style. At its best, comics combine great writing with beautiful art; the reader gets to participate as the characters and situations come to life in his/her mind. For me, comics have always been an interactive experience in that way. Without the fuse of the reader’s imagination all that creative fuel in the books is inert. 

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

Rod: Well, back when I drew Black Tiger, it was really simple, pencil and paper and that´s it.

Now, I sketch the pages in my IpadPro ( Thanks to John), then I printed it out in a 11×17 inch cheap paper and I clean up the page in a Opaline 90gr paper, then I scan it and send it to my inker digitally.

John H: As soon as I could read I was into comics. Comics actually helped me develop my vocabulary when I was younger. I remember back in the day when comics were available at drug stores and newsstands. I would go with my mom to the store, and she would usually let me pick up a couple of comic books. One day, I picked up the Mighty Avengers #184; it was the perfect mixture of art and story. I didn’t know who George Perez and John Byrne were nor that their art alone was worth buying the book (for a whopping $0.40!). It’s been years since I read Avengers #184 (so I hope it holds up), but the story courtesy of David Michelinie was good, and in combination with the aforementioned artists, I was hooked. I closed the book, looked at my mom and boldly proclaimed to her “I’m now a comic book collector.” She said, “OK, baby.” I proceeded to open the comic book and read it again, having no idea that comics would still be a passion of mine so many years later. In the 80s and 90s a number of John Byrne’s runs, including on FF, Superman and She-Hulk as well as George Perez and Marc Wolfman’s runs on the Teen Titans, Wonder Woman and Crisis on Infinite Earths affected not only my desire to write comic books but opened my mind to the limitless reaches of creativity in doing so.

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

Rod: Ow man, there are so many. From Tod Macfarlane back when I start to some contemporary painters.

In comics, for a few years,  I have been studying the work of Travis Charest, Mike Mignola, Sergio Toppi, Sean Gordon Murphy, Adam Huges, and Olivier Coipel.

John H: As soon as I could read I was into comics. Comics actually helped me develop my vocabulary when I was younger. I remember back in the day when comics were available at drug stores and newsstands. I would go with my mom to the store, and she would usually let me pick up a couple of comic books. One day, I picked up the Mighty Avengers #184; it was the perfect mixture of art and story. I didn’t know who George Perez and John Byrne were nor that their art alone was worth buying the book (for a whopping $0.40!). It’s been years since I read Avengers #184 (so I hope it holds up), but the story courtesy of David Michelinie was good, and in combination with the aforementioned artists, I was hooked. I closed the book, looked at my mom and boldly proclaimed to her “I’m now a comic book collector.” She said, “OK, baby.” I proceeded to open the comic book and read it again, having no idea that comics would still be a passion of mine so many years later. In the 80s and 90s a number of John Byrne’s runs, including on FF, Superman and She-Hulk as well as George Perez and Marc Wolfman’s runs on the Teen Titans, Wonder Woman and Crisis on Infinite Earths affected not only my desire to write comic books but opened my mind to the limitless reaches of creativity in doing so. 

John: What do you hope tto accomplish with Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury?

Rod: Well for me, I hope people really dig on the art and story and that we could be the chance to bring to the audience more and more stories from this universe. I was even talking with John a few weeks ago how cool would be to make a Black Tiger Story showing his old grampa in the Samurai era. I would love to draw something like that.

John H: Black Tiger populates a very rich universe and my hope is to build enough of a fanbase to be able to deliver Black Tiger stories consistently on a periodic basis.

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

Rod: I would like to thank you again for this interview, to  thank all people to help us to arrive until here, family friends and an especially thanks for all the backers on Kickstarter on this campaign, in the end, we do comic books to tell stories that could entertain the audience and make them happy.

And I would like to tell to all younger artists out there that, the comic book market is not easy but, is one of the most fun and cool market to work on.

So don’t give up and work hard my friend, work hard to get your place in the sunshine.

John H: The way to effect change in the comic book industry is to vote with your dollars. Support independent comics!

John: Once again Rod, 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.

Rod: Hey is very nice to hear those words, I really appreciate it.

John H: Black Tiger populates a very rich universe and my hope is to build enough of a fanbase to be able to deliver Black Tiger stories consistently on a periodic basis, starting with the successful of the graphic novel Kickstarter Campaign (http://bit.ly/BlackTigerGN), which ends June 30th at 6PM PST.

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 


Of Time and Space:
The Lunar Rise #1

by Larry Holder

“A Universe Born of Chaos, A World Covered in Darkness, A War for Salvation”. The world of “Ines” sits at the centre of the universe. Millenia after the great Dragi saved the world from and ancient evil, a remnant returns to decimate the world once again. As the war progresses poorly, “Onixia”, a young “Angelous” soldier, is thrown headfirst into a quest to save the world from certain doom. Chris Braly has interviewed the creator, Larry Holder, below.

Chris Braly: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Of Time and Space: The Lunar Rise #1? Briefly tell our readers what it’s about.

Larry Holder: My comic takes place on the first world in the centre of the universe, “Ines”, and the rise of an evil from before time existed. The peoples of the world must band together to stop it before it destroys all life. The story is primarily told through a character named “Onixia”, a member of an angel like race called the “Angelous” that rule the world.  

CB: What inspired you to produce this comic? And can you let us in on who or what inspired you?

LH: Originally I wanted this story to be an animated movie about 18 years ago when I was taking animation, I drafted a 5 movie arch. It was born out of my love for classic myth and legend and modern works of fiction like Dune, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and JRPG video games. I didn’t quite work out in the animation field so I put it on hold. Around 2007 I got involved with a group called “Planet X Fiction”, that was the first time I considered this could be a comic of sorts and started planning around that idea. The group sort of fell apart quickly in 2008 and the project went on stasis again.  Years later, in 2015, I had run into people making indie comics through conventions, notably Larry Higgins, author of “Nyobi”, and the idea of self published work came back to me. I thought “I’ll just write it as a novel”, and I worked on that version off and on till about 2017 when I completed the first draft of “The Lunar Rise”. I still wasn’t really satisfied with just text and wanted to get some illustrations done for the book, but put it to the side for the time being. At the end of 2017, ComicsGate hit big and the indie comic market seemed to explode overnight. I decided I need to go back and make this thing a visual work like I always wanted, the time seemed right. 

CB: What made you decide sequential art, or a comic book was the best way to tell this story?

LH: It’s the closest thing making a movie as you can get in a visual medium but it offers complete control of the final product. To quote my book “The First Tale of the Universe: Making “Of Time and Space”(which is a perk in the campaign), “a comic can be a small production, typically 3 to 5 people at the most, sometimes in rare cases a single person. A comic is creator driven from start to finish and offers the greatest amount of control in a format that seamlessly blends both visual and written work.” I really wanted to make sure the final product exactly matched the thoughts in my head that created it, it seemed the perfect medium.

CB: Tell us about your creative teams – how did you come together?

LH: I had done several designs over the years myself but I’m not a great artist. As I was writing the script for issue 1, I started looking for artists to do concept art for the project. I contracted 4 artists to do concepts, David Coates, André Boulard, Daswhox and Kelly Wass. David did the initial design for Onixia which set the tone for the visual language. André did a poster design and the bulk of the main character designs. Daswhox did a poster design and Kelly worked on some creature designs. David and André I got in contact through Larry Higgins since they both worked on Nyobi with him. Daswhox and Kelly I found on Facebook while searching comic artist groups. Once the script was done I had Nicole Raymonde edit it, she had previously edited a few local books, notably the Nyobi comics. Finally my sequential artist, Rob Cannon, I contacted through Kevin Roditeli, after I saw the work he did for him on his comic, “Glaxial”. Rob’s work had the movement, energy and technique I wanted for the visual style of the book. Working with him has been a dream come true.  

CB: What has the creative process been like? What tasks are you handling in this campaign?

LH: It has been a learning experience the whole way. I didn’t have much issue on the writing, since I had been working so long on the story, but I did ask a lot of advice from Larry Higgins about the formatting of the script. Luckily all the artists I’ve worked with on this are solid professionals, they all kept me in the loop of the process, sending me drafts to approve and delivering the work in a timely manor. When it comes to running the campaign promotion I’m pretty much handling that myself. I’ve had great mentors on how to get it set up and how to run the campaign. Listening to people like Richard Meyer and Ethan Van Sciver and talking directly to people like Benjamin Henderson, Doug TenNapel and Edwin Boyette really helped me a lot in this process.

CB: Can you tell us what stage is the project is in currently?

LH: Right now the script is finalized and the 48 page layout is done. There are 14 pages completed and mostly lettered. The art on the inside is black and white and will most likely stay like that unless certain goals can be met.

CB: What else can you share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?

LH: I really hope they back this project, especially if they are fans of fantasy and sci-fi genres. In the end I want to build this world out and make a new universe for people to enjoy and discuss. In this age where the classic genre franchises are being remade to be subversive, bleak and post modernist, I hope this will be a return to the fun and imaginative tales of the pre millennium decades. I’m not saying this is 100% a throw back, it has elements that can be considered post modern, but it’s certainly not a political piece, its pure escapism and fiction. What I can say for sure is this is only the beginning and I will continue to provide many more tales in this universe till its planned end.

CB: Thanks for chatting with us Larry! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

LH: Thank you for taking the time to interview me and I hope your readers are interested enough to back my project and make this comic a reality to enjoy. 

Visit the Campaign Page here!


Chris spoke again to Vince Brusio, a former editor for PREVIEWSworld.com, and a 21+ year veteran in the comic book industry that started E-Comix to make the books he always wanted to read: kickass comics with no apologies. Launched in 2012, E-Comix now publishes its flagship title Pussycats, both in print and digitally on Comixology. Pussycats regularly appears in Diamond Comic’s “Top 50 Small Press Comics” charts. Chris Braly recently interviewed Vince (they spoke once before last year about a previous project), and Vince discussed this new Eat Death, Or Get Naked Pussycats project that opens the Pussycats universe!

Chris Braly: Good to speak with you again Vince! Hope you’re well! Tell our readers about this fourth series in the Pussycats universe!

Vince Brusio:  This series is a Molotov cocktail! It’s a plot device that opens the door to a million and one future characters for the Pussycats universe. Mother Superior and her Pussycats have fled Earth because their disinformation campaign against the Deep State went down like the World Trade Center. Everyone’s running for cover. As a last ditch effort to save herself and the girls, the nun’s on the run, and  she contemplates using alien technology…which is forbidden. Eat Death, Or Get Naked is our Crisis On Infinite Earths!

CB: You’ve been successful with Kickstarter crowdfunding in the past, Vince. What do you attribute that success to, and what do you recommend for other independent creatives who are crowdfunding?

VB:  I’ve been blessed that appealing to half of the population is still a winning business model. As long as people still have the ability to love the opposite sex (or, just love sex in general), Pussycats will always appeal to readers. My advice for other creatives that are crowdfunding? If you want to make a product that sells, learn what sells. Making books is fun, but selling the book means doing your homework. Learn what sells. Find and analyze empirical data that proves something sells. Then ask yourself if you think you can have fun doing what makes money.

CB: Tell us about your creative team – who’s doing what and how did you and your team come together?

VB:  The E-Comix family formed when Production Manager, Matt Barham, formed a bond in blood with me in 2012. The first Pussycats artist, Mats Engesten, did two licensed comic books with us initially for death metal bands Dying Fetus and Autopsy. Both bands used our licensed comic books to package with their merchandise for their album tours. Afterwards, Mats illustrated Pussycats #0, but then moved on to do more higher profile metal comics and various projects. In 2014, I  snatched up our current artist, Ivica Sretenovic, and he’s been drawing the book since Volume 1 was solicited in the PREVIEWS comic shop catalog. Mats came back to do our third series, The End Of Everything, because Ivica had to sort out some family issues. Ivica’s back full time now, though, and Eat Death Or Get Naked is his best work because this is where he finally got to go “cosmic.” Except for one special lady, the models we’ve been hiring since our second series (Sex, Drugs,  & The Impossible) have been switched out to make room for Tori Duke as Cowgirl Cathy, Sarah Shellhorn as Schoolgirl Suzie, Jen Seidel as Nurse Nancy, and Robin Miller as Mother Superior. That “one” special lady I mentioned before is Kristy Ann. She’s been with us since the second series to be the cover model for Powerhouse Pam, and she’s proof that God loves Pussycats.

CB: There are some very alluring photo covers for almost ALL of the Pussycats comics. Who is the photographer and how do you select the cover models?

VB:  The photographer for the second series (Sex, Drugs, & The Impossible) and third series (The End of Everything) was Randall Lloyd. The photographer for Eat Death, Or Get Naked is Richard Ankney, and the man in charge of finishing the photos is Josh Triggs. The cover models are personally selected by me. It’s important to me that the models channel the characters’ personalities. Our fans are loyal. So many of our fans have been repeated backers on Kickstarter since day one. I show them the respect that they deserve by hiring models that could play our characters in movies. It’s the reason why we’re offering our first fan magazine (Pussycats: Private Parts) in the current Kickstarter campaign.

CB: Tell us about the creative process? How does it go from script to finished comic? And what tasks are you handling for this campaign?

VB:  Layouts for every panel are hand-picked by me. I’ve been collecting comics for 40 years. From those comics I select panels of artwork that radiate heat, heart, head games, and perspective. I send scans of those panels to Ivica, and I say “It should look like this.” Ivica renders his version of the panel, then he soaks it in gasoline. The result is toxic ice cream that tastes like whiskey. Once the art is done, I write a script to suit the panels. The tasks I handle for the campaigns are “all of the above.” We’re a small operation. If the floor needs to be swept, I sweep it. The artists draw. The designer designs. The models pose and sign autographs.  I write, edit, produce, publish, promote, pursue, prevail, and pray.

CB: What stage is the project in currently?

VB:  All four books in the series have been drawn. The covers have been selected. The scripts are finished  up to issue #4. We’re on track, as is the case every year when we get the books ready to solicit to the retailers. Basically, I’m working around the clock to balance life, family, a story, and Kickstarter campaigns. We wouldn’t have the first issue in the July PREVIEWS if I didn’t think we were in the safe zone. Everyone’s meeting their deadlines, so all four books will be solicited in PREVIEWS from July to October. Now I just have to write a good ending, and make sure I’m ready for October when we showcase the models at Hunt Valley’s Monster-Mania Con and Baltimore Comic Con. A lot of exclusive signed material has to be lined up for those shows, as well as makeup for Monster-Mania as we’re teasing the 2020 series…and Schoolgirl Suzie (Sarah Shellhorn) is getting painted to be a zombie.

CB: What audience is this comic for? Age group and what style or genres will this appeal to the most in your opinion?

 

 

VB:  Pussycats is a hard “R” rated movie. You have to be comfortable with Quentin Tarantino movies before you can approach this book. If you get offended easily, just turn around and walk away because we’re not politically correct. This is an over-sexed action/adventure story like in the vein of 70s exploitation movies. But now we’re going in the direction of Scooby Doo cartoons and The X-Files. Why? You can battle ghosts one minute, and space aliens the next. Yeah. I want to do that. So it all begins with Eat Death, Or Get Naked (and the title comes up in the book, and makes sense when you read it). We’re all about fun, lesbians, bad guys, gunplay, sex, and sexy women that don’t apologize for being beautiful. If you like over-the-top entertainment like what Garth Ennis used to do in Preacher or The Punisher, pick up Pussycats. Like Spinal Tap, this one goes to “11.”

CB: If this campaign is a success, what do you hope the future holds for Pussycats?

VB:  The Kickstarter for issue #1 still has 3 weeks to go, and we’re already past our funding goal by a couple hundred dollars. So I think we’re off to a good start. As far as the future goes, well, I’m no longer a Diamond employee so the handcuffs have been removed. I had to walk a fine line when I worked in the industry and simultaneously published Pussycats. It wasn’t easy. But now that I’m a free agent, I have a lot more elbow room in my editorial and merchandising decisions. I’m happy to say that merchandising plans are now well underway, and will start to appear in the future Kickstarters.

CB: What else can you share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?

VB:  You can go to the Kickstarter for Pussycats: Eat Death, Or Get Naked #1, and see the July PREVIEWS ad that we posted which shows the finished covers for issues #2-4 of the series. The in-store dates for those books are listed, too. A pledge to the Kickstarter is worth your time because we’ve got everything from an uncensored sketch set to signed books, prints of our models, a fan magazine, posters, convention exclusives, computer wallpaper, DRM-Free .pdf files, and more. If you want to reach out to us, check out pussycatscomics.com, or email us at info@pussycatscomics.com. On a final note: support indie comics, and please visit your local comic book shop. Retailers need our support, so show ‘em some love!

CB: Thanks Vince! Good chatting with you again!

Check out the Pussycats: Eat Death or Get Naked Campaign here!

That’s it for this installment! Please remember to 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!