Indie Comics Showcase #52

 

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!

 


Mari Sue
by George Alexopoulos

 

Rosemari is a “Problem-Solver” who has everything: An incredible Exo-suit with a ton of optional loadouts. A space cruiser with two floors of livable space. A crabby mentor with endless resources. Only thing is, she causes as much trouble as she solves! Join Mari as she explores an unfamiliar universe, scrutinizing mysteries that are personal, professional, societal, and existential – while doing her best not to break everything along the way!

We interviewed creator, George Alexopoulous…

 

Chris Braly: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Mari Sue? Briefly tell our readers what it’s about.

George Alexopoulos:    Rosemari is a “Problem-Solver” who has everything: An incredible Exo-suit with a ton of optional loadouts. A space cruiser with two floors of livable space. A crabby mentor with endless resources. Only thing is, she causes as much trouble as she solves! Join Mari as she explores an unfamiliar universe, scrutinizing mysteries that are personal, professional, societal, and existential – while doing her best not to break everything along the way!

 


CB: Explain what inspired you to make ‘Mari Sue’

GA:  It was one of dozens of undrawn scripts I’ve had sitting on my hard drive for years. The story is based on a joke I wrote in a gag strip, which I expanded into an independent screenplay. Anime from the 80’s and 90’s are massive influences on the tone of this world and its characters. The name itself is a play on the stereotype of the “Mary Sue” which we’ve heard plenty about. Rosemari, the heroine of this story, will have all kinds of unfair advantages during her adventures, but they usually hinder her more than help her. She’ll have to develop inner strength, resourcefulness, and train diligently to be worthy of her victories. Each battle will require her to use different strategies, and there’s no telling what the collateral damage or risks will be in each instance. She will be carefully written, with a meaningful story arc, and have deep interactions with the rest of the cast. The whole world won’t adore her and shower her with attention simply because she exists – hence the ironic title.

 

 

 

CB: This is your third campaign. I don’t think the last one was as successful as your first. What did you learn from that?

GA:  I consider every single sale of my books to be a success! Both of my first two IGG campaigns were Flexible Goals, so they didn’t have to meet their target for the orders to be fulfilled. My second project, “Bad Dreams & Other Stories,” was being assembled when I realized IndieGoGo had accidentally refunded all the orders because I had forgotten to fill out some information on the back end of my campaign. It was a silly mistake that I won’t repeat again. Since every order was refunded, I’m going to take my time with “Bad Dreams” and release it on my Etsy store when I have free time.

 

 

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

GA:  I’ll be handling every task from concept to the finished product. (Writing, illustration, etc.) Perhaps in the future I might be able to hire some help; for now it’s just me. The script and thumbnails have already been written. All that’s left to do is illustrate the pages and send it off to the printer. My goal is to render one page per day during production, totaling 8-12 hours each, using a handful of digital techniques and shortcuts. (For instance, I won’t be doing any pencils or inking. I’ll be painting everything at once.) This also means I’m going to be ignoring my penchant for perfectionism. Speed will have to overcome quality in this case, as my background stems more of a manga style: If a panel takes one second to read, only spend one hour drawing it. For five seconds, five hours. Manga-ka are expected to draw up to 18 pages per week. Even though they use assistants, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to challenge that pace if I tackle this project full-time.

 

 

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

GA:  I have almost a dozen pages of about 60 painted, including several covers for future issues. If Mari Sue becomes popular enough, there’s a lot of story left to publish. As the project nears 100% funding after only a couple of weeks, I will paint the pages while the campaign runs, so that everyone may get their copies early and we can jump right to the next campaign to continue Mari’s story.

 

 

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

GA:  One of my goals with Mari Sue is to reach for that holy grail of American comics: To create a book that both men and women enjoy equally. I feel the quality of writing in modern American comics (and film/gaming) seems a lot more like pandering to small, concentrated audiences than reaching for broad appeal. I believe manga & anime hold the key to making comics more popular here in the West. In Japan, they have stories about everything: Walking around town eating delicious food, the daily struggles of housewives, wine tasting, supernatural murder mysteries, melodramatic schoolyard romance, ridiculous slapstick comedies, and countless more genres. “Mari Sue” will blend elements of Sci-Fi, Comedy, Action, and even a bit of Romance. Most importantly, I hope Mari herself will be a funny, relatable, flawed, charming, well-rendered, versatile character that many readers will be pleased to spend lots of time with. Please look at the IndieGoGo for yourself and, if you like what you see, tell your friends about it!

 

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us, George! I know I would welcome any further insights you have on geek culture too! I personally loved your Star Wars article from some months back. Meanwhile, good luck on this campaign – we are rooting for you!

GA:  My pleasure! I wish I had more time to write articles, but it looks like I’ll be cooped up in my office all summer, drawing! I may have a surprise project to announce that I’m working on, even before Mari Sue is launched, so please look forward to that.

CB: We certainly will

 

Visit the Mari Sue campaign page here!

 

 

Blue Bastion

by T.E. Marshall

Written in USA, Drawn in Brazil- BLUE BASTION explores a Utopia run by 6 Elders + 1 King and the conflicts they face maintaining peace in a volatile world. A central theme of Blue Bastion is the use of Gauntlets much like modern-day smart phones. With all citizens wearing “Grain Gauntlets”, every one has a bit of magic at their fingertips!

Visit the campaign page here!

We interviewed writer / creator, T.E. Marshall…

 

Chris Braly: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Blue Bastion? Briefly tell our readers what it’s about.

T.E. Marshall:  Blue Bastion is a Science Fantasy drama set on a fictional planet with only one continent. On this planet, much of their culture is centered around the use of commercialized Gauntlet technology that allows citizens to tap into wireless signals known as “Sigils” to channel spell-like technology. This means everyone in Blue Bastion has a bit of magic at their fingertips, and all cars have been replaced with robotic animal mounts called Constructs!

CB: Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to make this comic?

TE: Growing up, my father and I bonded over watching Science Fiction and Fantasy Films. As a kid, I loved Star Wars and The Matrix. Then as an adult I became hooked on Marvel and Game Of Thrones. With a love for these series, and having always been creative, I decided the only path for me was to build my own fantasy world.

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

TE: Having obtained a graduate degree from UCLA film school, I am well aware it is very hard to get a film made. And with a world as rich in detail as Blue Bastion, I need to tell the story visually. This makes the comic book medium the perfect outlet, and the recent successes of independent writers such as Robert Kirkman and Rick Remender really gave me hope that I could succeed via comics.

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

TE: I have a fantastic team of artists led by Rod Luper, who is also the penciler for a recently funded comic book called Detective Dead. I met Rod last year after responding to a post he made on Reddit and I immediately clicked with him. From there, he helped me hire Inker Carlos Eduardo, Colorist Artecida, and Letterer Priscila Souza to bring the book to life. Then a few months ago I began reaching out to artists on Instagram through my page @NumOneFan, and I worked with several of them to commission some promotional posters for Blue Bastion. These artists include Kyle Petchock, Minea Juntura, Tommy Nguyen, Rob Bowyer, and Andrew Garza. My goal is for Blue Bastion to become enough of a success that I can continue hiring independent artists to help bring Blue Bastion to life in their style.

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

TE: As the writer/creator of the series, I have spent the last year and a half developing the world and characters of Blue Bastion with enough detail that I think people are going to be very pleased with the end result. Like George RR Martin, I take the “gardening” approach to writing. This basically means I put my characters first, and then let the plot form around them. But I still have an end goal in mind. And because I have designed such a richly layered world, the plot is going to bring us to some pretty incredible places. In fact, I have a world “bible” that has architectural references for all 25 states of Blue Bastion and I also worked with a costume designer to make sure each area on the map has its own wardrobe style. Because I am so detail oriented, I can be very particular when it comes to art reviews. Essentially when it comes to the process, I write the pages, and my art team draws them. Then I will often “nitpick” the fine details until everything is just right 

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

TE: Issue 1 has already been written and I have signed my team to complete it, which includes 36 pages. I funded the first three pages out of my own pocket, but to complete the remaining pages and print the book, I need some help securing additional funds which is where my Indiegogo campaign comes into play. One way or another, we are going to finish Issue 1. But if our crowdfunding campaign does not reach its goal on time, the process is just going to take a bit longer. However once we get off our feet, I can promise everyone at least 7 Volumes worth of issues. That is how much of the story I’ve plotted.

CB: What is the metallic stamp on the cover all about? Is this an original idea or have you seen this implemented before?

TE: This is something I wanted to try out. I don’t think it has been done before, but I could be wrong. Personally, I think the idea is pretty neat. Basically, one central theme of Blue Bastion is its social class structure. So I wanted to have fun with this, and I wanted people to get familiar with the way their society works. That is why for this Indiegogo campaign, depending on how much money you contribute, we’re going to give you a special Metallic Stamp on your cover of Issue 1 to symbolically represent what social class you fit into within Blue Bastion. This stamp also serves a secondary purpose- if you think this could be the next Action Comics #1, then your stamp is also going to serve as a symbol of rarity. For instance, if you claim the King perk, you are guaranteed to get a copy of Blue Bastion Issue #1 that will be truly one-of-a-kind.

CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators that you’ve learned?

TE: Well I am currently learning the hard way how important it is to have a social media presence. That is why one of my main focuses right now is on building up my Twitter Page. Numerous indie creators have told me that no matter how nice a book may look, if nobody knows who the writer is they will be hesitant to buy into the world. That is why I really appreciate everyone at Bleeding Fool for the opportunity to be featured in this week’s Indie Showcase. It is exposure like this that will help me succeed in the world of Indie Comics. 

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

TE: Much of our sample art focuses on Euclid Syfer, who is a competitor in a series of chariot races known as “The Path To Kingship”. But Euclid’s race is only one plot line of Issue 1. As I mentioned, I have developed many layers to this series so you can expect a wide variety of characters by the time all is said and done. And it is important to me that there is a character for every type of person out there. So I hope people will give me the chance to get there. It’s my dream to spawn a cinematic universe with this series!

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

TE: I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity, Chris. It really means a lot 

 

 

Visit the Blue Bastion crowdfunding campaign site here

 

Immortal Era
by Edward Davis

A post apocalyptic story that takes place 200 years in the future where humans can no longer die. 

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

Immortal Era is one of the most unique indie comics I’ve come across since Indie Comics Showcase began over a year ago. From its wholly original story, to its creative characters, all told with very gritty and gory action sequences. I got to preview the comic recently and greatly enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy the little interview I did with Edward. There are fourteen days left on this campaign and if you are anything like I am, you do not want to miss out. I recently interviewed writer/creator, Edward Davis:

John Lemus: Edward, Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I am so very happy to be discussing your Indie Comic Immortal Era with you today.  

Edward Davis: Thanks for allowing me to discuss my book.  

JL: Before we get started I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about yourself .

ED: I’m a first time author who has been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I am an avid long distance runner, and an enthusiast of indie music. I currently work as a teacher.

JL: Without giving away any spoilers, what can you tell us about Immortal Era? Where it’s been, where it’s going, and your plans for the future?

ED: Immortal Era tells the story of a post apocalyptic world 200 years in the future where humans can no longer die. The first issue introduces the world where death no longer exists. As the story progresses, our characters will learn what caused the situation, and search for a way to restore death to the world.

JL: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?

ED: The first comic I remember reading was a collected edition of the first issues of Spider-Man, including the origin in Amazing Fantasy. I picked it up at a swap meet when I was 6 and I was instantly hooked. After that, I bought a new marvel collection every month and read through so many of the great classic Marvel stories.

JL: What are some of the comics that have made the biggest impact on you?

ED: I think the book that changed everything for me was Sandman.  It was such a huge detailed story with a rich mythology.  It completely changed my perception of what a comic could be. From there, I devoured all of the great Vertigo series like Hellblazer, Swamp thing, and Preacher.  These books elevated the art of storytelling in comics and impacted how I write. 

JL: What does Immortal Era  mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

ED: This story is one I have been working on for so many years. I began it intending to write it as a book trilogy. Then I met an artist who told me it would make a good comic. From there, I have been adapting the story into graphic novel form. It’s a story that has been inside my head for so many years, I’m really excited to have the opportunity to share it with the world. I would have  hated for this story to have simply died in my head.

JL: 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?

ED: The main thing that inspires me when I work is music. When I write, I generally listen to Godspeed! You Black Emperor and other post rock bands. I find lyrics a distraction when I write and the atmospheric sound of the post rock music matches the tone I am trying to create in my book.

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

ED: I always start the writing process by writing the story on a notepad as a first person narrative. I write it from the main character, Ari’s, point of view. Once I finish the main events of the issue by hand, I go through and circle things that will make good panels in the book.  Finally, I go through and highlight dialogue that I can use in the issue.  Once that is finished, I begin typing the story in the comic script format until I have a first draft completed.  

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

ED: The first influence of this story was Jonathan Swift. I started this story 25 years ago when I was in high school after reading Gulliver’s Travels. I was intrigued by the world of Luggnagg where the people were immortal, but continued to age and suffer. I wondered how a  world like that would look in our times.  How would our world look 200 years from now if nobody died? That got me started on the story and it has just continued to grow from there. I have also always been influenced by Neil Gaiman.  His stories are always so beautifully written,  I can only wish to one day be a fraction as good as him. 

JL: What are your hopes for Immortal Era  for the future?

ED: I really hope to be able to tell this story to its conclusion.  It’s a big story that I have fully outlined. It will require at least 30 issues to finish. I would love the chance to tell it to its conclusion. 

JL: Is there anything else you want to share with our readers before we sign off?

ED: I hope they all enjoy the book!

JL: Once again Edward, 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.

ED: Thank you, John. I really appreciate the opportunity to discuss my book.

 

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

 

That’s it for this week’s installment! Please consider backing these awesome looking projects and always 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!

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON