Indie Comics Showcase #57

 

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!

 

Every little bit counts, from the single dollar pledges to the fifty 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. Take a few minutes this new comic book day and check them out, visit their campaigns. And in the meantime, I thank you all for being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase!

 

Let’s jump in!

 


Englewood
by Micah Curtis

 

Corruption and Chicago are two words that go hand in hand. So what happens when a disgraced MMA champion stands up to the cycle of crime in his hometown? Enter the Windy City with Elijah Wallace, former MMA heavyweight champion of the world, martial arts teacher, and masked vigilante known as “The Saint of Englewood.” Witness the origin of a man willing to challenge the murder capitol of the world, whose story shows how a hero is born in blood.
 

Micah Curtis is a former video game journalist who has appeared on Blistered Thumbs, Techraptor, SuperNerdLand, and Truthrevolt, and now, when he isn’t writing biting commentary for Bleeding Fool, he focuses on creating biting Youtube content where he comments on the nerd subculture, politics, and the growing intersection between the two. After spending so much time commenting on them, now Micah is embarking on creating his own comics.

 

Chris Braly: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Englewood? Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.

 

Micah Curtis: An undefeated MMA heavyweight champion who ends his career in disgrace decides to go home to Chicago and become a philanthropist. In an encounter with one of Chicago’s nastiest gangs, he is forever changed by tragedy and decides to take the fight back to the streets that spawned this chaos.

 

CB: Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to tell this story?

MC:  There’s a couple different elements. The first was knowing a lot of people from the Englewood area of Chicago who suffered due to the gang violence. Another was reading the Chicago issue of Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke. I wanted to create a comic that has a lot of shades of grey and ask the question of what it takes to break the corruption of a place like Chicago.   

 
 

CB: What do you think is unique about Englewood among today’s comics?

MC: It’s not trying to be cute or some sort of “slice of life” story. I don’t want to mire the audience in the minutiae of my characters’ day unless it drives the plot. I want to give the gritty action of yesteryear with a modern presentation. This is a comic for those who loves runs like Frank Miller’s Daredevil, Chuck Dixon’s Batman, Priest’s Black Panther and Deathstroke, etc.  

 

CB: What made you decide that sequential art was the best way to tell this story?

MC:   Very good question. I settled on a comic because I think that Chicago as a city is so visually arresting that I don’t want it to be simply words. Could I have made it a book? Sure, but I would rather have a comic with an artist that has a great sense of flow. Brian Martinez is masterful at that. Brian discovered comics when his mother would buy him bundles of tattered and torn books, 10 for $1. Growing up in poverty, it was an affordable hobby for him at the time. Ever since, he’s wanted to tell stories through pictures. 

 

CB: You’ve been a fan, critic, and commented on modern comics for a long time via your YouTube channel and some of your articles on this website? How is that influencing this project?

MC: It definitely shows me what not to do! In all seriousness though I have been able to gauge what people are looking for in comics these days. People miss the old days where not every character was smarmy, and where you could take the story seriously. There’s no desire to be meta here. I’m not winking and nodding at the camera. I have no desire to be “ironic.”  I want to tell a story that makes people excited, makes them happy, and makes them proud to own the book. When they read it, I want them to feel what the character is feeling.

There are no sermons, no political speeches, etc. Just a great street level comic.

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

MC:  For me this story flows pretty quickly once I can get into the character’s headspace. I’d say this book maybe took me a day or two total to script. The real task has been organization. Making sure my art team is on point, making sure that goals are set, that the audience is informed, etc. Plus I’ve been busting my butt trying to make appearances on livestreams and such. But anyway, creatively it’s just been trying to bring a gritty city to life, and establish a new character that people will fall in love with. Any time that I put pen to paper, I want to immerse people in a story. I want them to be able to feel the impacts, smell the dank streets, and so on so forth. If I can’t pull that off well enough, I don’t consider my work to be a success. 

 

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

MC: Planning leads to success. I’d recommend to anyone for their very first project to have the cover finished, have at least a couple pages colored, and have pencils and inks done for at least four more. The reason I say this is that there are very few people who can get away with having a bit of a barebones campaign and still hit their goals. Doug Tennaple can do it, Ethan van Sciver can do it. Micah Curtis? Not so much. You need to be able to show exactly what people are getting. Character profiles work as well. I’d also suggest putting yourself out there on YouTube. Do some videos on stuff that you find interesting. These days, people invest fiscally in the product but emotionally in the creators. Let them invest in you.

 

 

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

MC:  All that’s really left to say is that if you want a really good comic that’s not going to disappoint, written by a writer who appreciates everyone who supports his work, then you’re going to want to back this comic. My goal is to bring back interesting superheroes in an interesting world that you want to continue to read about. I want to hook people for the next ten years or more. On top of that, I love comic books. I want to keep working in comics for the foreseeable future. So you don’t have to worry about backing this book and then me jetting to write some novel or something. I’m not going anywhere.

 

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

MC: Always a pleasure!  

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

 

 

ANASAZI
by Matt Bryan

Two tribes, Malecite and Anasazi, are separated by a river, Fisterra. A forbidden crossing of this boundary leads to a bloody massacre, and two orphaned Anasazi children, Ebere and Xenia, are taken in by the Malecite. But divisions within the tribe sow bitter conflict and a mythical and monstrous enemy looms on the horizon.

Chris Braly: Thanks for chatting with me Matt. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.

Matt Bryan: Anasazi is a nearly wordless 212 page, 8″ x 8.5″ full-color cloth-bound graphic novel. Its a story of war, assimilation, and cultural divisions on a colorful alien planet that combines elements of science fiction, fantasy, mythology, world history, and horror.


Chris: Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to tell this story?

Matt: I’d had a general idea for a short story about two factions that kill each other, each believing that the other group had taken their children. I tend to like stories without happy endings or even resolution, so of course the kids were just out playing together and the adults went to war for nothing.

Anasazi’s co-creator Mike Mccubbin and I took a trip to the grand canyon and the surrounding areas and while there learned of the European naming of the Native American Anasazi people (now called Ancestral Puebloans).  European settlers had taken the name the Navajo had given them for this group, a word that translates, roughly, to  “ancient enemy.” That really gave my vague idea some inspiration and direction.

 

Chris: Tell us more about this unique language created for this book. How did you come up with this idea?

Matt: I’d done some short comics with invented language, but the symbols were just stand-ins really, and didn’t have any rhyme or reason.  It was Mike that took that idea to it’s fullest and actually built words in a way that makes sense. There are some diagrams in our appendix zine that explain the language mechanics in more detail.

Chris: What made you decide that sequential art was the best way to tell this story?

Matt: I’d toyed with the idea of making that original kernel of story an animation, or even a short film, but for me comics are usually the way to go.  Mike and I created a graphic novel titled Book of Da that we published in 2013 and this story seemed like the next big project we should do.

Chris: What kind of backgrounds do you or Mike Mccubbins bring to this kind of project? Have you ever done anything like this before?

Matt: We’ve both made a number of comics at this point.  This is our third graphic novel that we’ve worked on together, but we’ve each done zines, anthologies, and more recently a quarterly sci-fi comics magazine. Additionally, I draw some freelance stories here and there.

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

Matt: It’s a very collaborative process for us and a satisfying one. As far as the Kickstarter we’re doing everything ourselves, save the printing of the books.  We’re making all of the rewards and doing all of the leg work involved from setting up the campaign to mailing things out.  It’s a lot of work but both of us tend to like the DIY approach.

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

Matt: Oh, boy.  It’s hard to say because what works for one person may not for another.  I guess my major points would be 1) See your project through.  It’s never going to be “perfect” so don’t nitpick it to an early demise.  And 2) don’t be afraid to stick your neck out. Honestly, I’m not a very social person, but you have to put yourself out there and talk to people if you want your project to be seen.

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

Matt: As of right now the book is 95% completed and we’ve surpassed 50% of our campaign goal so we’re very close to seeing this thing realized.  I encourage everyone to please check out the Kickstarter and tell your friends, enemies, distant relatives etc.  We’ve put a lot of work into this project and I think there are many people out there who will enjoy it.

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


Matt: Thanks, Chris! I appreciate it!

Back this crowdfunding campaign here!

 

 

Strangelove: I Want to be Chrome
by Brenden Swan

A killer robot is looking for love, and she’s set her sights on Robin.

Stories of beings with artificial intelligence, falling in love with their masters, have been a long standing staple in science fiction. I feel it’s one of the more relatable of the premises, as finding love in the real world, can sometime seem impossible. When you manufacture something that is meant to serve and love someone, and it becomes self aware. It has to discover if what it feels is real, or just part of their programming. What happens when it decides that it’s real and then learns that it is unrequited? To find the answers to these questions one has to delve deep into Strangelove: I Want To be Chrome. The only way to do so is by showing support and backing it on Indie Gogo. I was able to interview it’s creator Brenden Swan and learned more about him and the creation of Strangelove. I hope you enjoy. 

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here, This Project Has Been Fully Funded and is In Demand.

John Lemus: Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase, Brendan. Let’s chat about your indie comic Strangelove: I Want to Be Chrome.

Brenden Swan: Thanks a bunch, it’s a pleasure to talk about my comics during this recent surge of upcoming indie talent.

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

Brenden: I’m just a guy that likes to draw, with a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 poster over my workstation, and David Bowie records on my shelf. Recently, besides making a comic called Strangelove, I’ve also decided I’m finally going to learn Japanese.  I’ve been doing the AJATT method (all Japanese all the time), which means trying to read/watch more things in Japanese than English each day.

John: Alright What can you tell us about Strangelove: I Want to be Chrome?

Brenden: Strangelove: I Want to be Chrome is a story about a young man named Robin who finds himself having to make an impossible decision; Does he choose his troubled yet precious relationship with his girlfriend Emi, or go with a robot girl tailored to fit his every desire?  When this robot, named Beauty No. 2, takes things to a more violent level, Robin still doesn’t know what to do.  He may find that Beauty No. 2 will make the decision for him, one way or the other, and for the sake of Robin’s life, it better not be the other.

John: Strangelove: I Want to be Chrome looks like a very lovely Anime/Manga inspired Indie Comic. It reminds me of two of the first anime I remember seeing, which were Robot Carnival and Cyborg 009. Did those or any other anime influence your work?

Brenden: Interestingly enough, being a fan of older manga, Shotaro Ishinomori, the creator of Cyborg 009, is an artist I’ve liked since I was a kid and read his Legend of Zelda comic that were featured in those Nintendo Power magazines. His characters are so simple, as if he drew them in only a few minutes.  I try to find that balance between simple and detailed in my own work.  As for Robot Carnival, I actually just saw that for the first time after launching the Strangelove campaign. Interesting batch of stories, for sure.

John: Can you tell us a bit about how Strangelove: I Want to be Chrome was conceptualized. How you came up with and fleshed out the characters and story elements?

Brenden: The ideas for my comics always come from music. Kinda strange, but this is also why I like making short stories, going about it like I’m making my own comic music video.  Strangelove’s idea came from Depeche Mode’s Dressed in Black.  Right off the bat, the song starts with, “She’s dressed in black again, and I’m falling down again, down to the floor again, I’m begging for more again.”  Just from that, I started thinking of a story about a man being beaten by a woman, but still loving her.  With sex robots becoming a recent talking point, this woman naturally became a robot herself and that’s when the story really started to develop.

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

Brenden: The first two series I really started collecting for were Batman and Ranma 1/2. The Killing Joke being my first Batman, what a comic to start on.  I also read a lot of those Archie Sonic the Hedgehog and Ninja Turtle comics.

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

Brenden: My favorite series of all time would be Hirohiko Araki’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, which is both strange and great that Jojo’s popularity growing in the west with the recent anime.  It was with Jojo where I decided I wanted to make comics myself. I used to import those from Japan, and got quite a few while over there, too, then I would redraw everything, page to page, in my cruddy lined paper notebooks.

John: What does Strangelove: I Want to be Chrome mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

Brenden: Strangelove may deal with Robin’s choice between his girlfriend and a love robot, but it doesn’t give any moral dictation into what is right or wrong.  It is merely a entertaining story that I hope readers will find thoroughly thrilling, with an ending that will stick with you.  Even though it is only a one off story, I put great care into creating the characters as if they were in a long-running series.

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

Brenden: I listened to a bunch of Isley Brothers, Ray Parker Jr., and Prince to get that spicy romantic feeling between Robin and Beauty No. 2.(Not too spicey, this comic aimed for teens and up, after all)  And with the AJATT I’ve been doing, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Japanese songs I’ve been listening to have influenced me, as well.  

 

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

Brenden: The basic one sentence jumble of inspiration always comes first, mentioned earlier.  Then I work on the characters personalities and traits.  For example, Robin is a singer, this reflects in his personality which is a little eccentric and not quite down to Earth, not working a more normal job.  This then feeds into his appearance, a suit with stripped cuffs that play into his stand out-ish nature.  And I’ll add as a final tidbit on their designs that Beauty No. 2’s outfit’s look is based on the white and orange design of both the Sega Dreamcast and Pet Shop Boys’s vinyl cover for their album Super.  After the characters are made, the story becomes easier to make as you can imagine how they’ll react in different situations.

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

Brenden: I’ve always liked comic artists that ink with a brush, such as Leiji Matsumoto, Tim Sale, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, etc.  That’s why I use a brush myself, with the help of some copic multi-liners for small details.

John: What are your hopes for Strangelove: I Want to be Chrome and for the future?

Brenden: I hope everybody who reads Strangelove really enjoys it.  The support has shown me that this is possible and I’ve already starting planning what’s in store next.  You’ll have to stay tuned for that, but for now, it’s all about Strangelove.

 

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

Brenden: Thanks to everyone who has backed Strangelove, spread the word, or otherwise helped it become a reality.  There are a lot of emerging indie creators right now, that I feel are inspiring each other and growing. Of course, this means more great comics for the readers.

John: Once again Brenden , 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.

Brenden: Many thanks, and as David Bowie once said in an Outside Outtakes Album, “As far as I’m concerned, you are all number one packet sniffers!” (Yeah, I don’t get it either…)

 
 
     

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here,

This Project Has Been Fully Funded and is In Demand.

 

Tales from the Streets of Guangzhou
by Michael Kelley

A reluctant vigilante known as “The American” faces a new & dangerous triad in Guangzhou, China.

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

 

This is the latest Graphic Novel from long time supporters of Indie Comics Showcase, Michael Kelley and AIC Comics. They’ve put out a lot of great content over the years and I am very glad to be showcasing their latest project and talking with Michael, as it looks awesome! The story takes place in China and is about an American, living in China, taking on the injustices committed by the local gang.

 

John: Michael, Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I am happy to be discussing your Indie Comic Tales from the Streets of Guangzhou with you today.
 

Michael: Thank you, John. I’m very excited about the launch of my new graphic novel on Indiegogo.

 

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

 

Michael: I’m originally from Philadelphia and lived in Portland, Oregon for about 15 years before my wife and I moved to China. We’ve been here for six years now, going on seven, settling in Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.

 

John: Without Spoilers, what can you tell us about Tales from the Streets of Guangzhou?

 

Michael: Tales is the story of a mysterious foreigner living in Guangzhou in southern China. Nobody really knows much about him and only know him as “The American.” He has a special ability to conjure any weapon he can imagine and a history of violence, So most keep their distance from him. But when a new triad begins to threaten the neighborhood, they turn to him for help.

 

John: Tales from the Streets of Guangzhou looks like a very cool, almost western noir inspired Indie Comic. To me, it’s a bit of Blade Runner meets The Unforgiven. Would you say that it an adequate comparison?

 

Michael: For sure. Westerns and crime noirs were a big influence on the story and the character. I was a big fan of them growing up, particularly Tombstone and The Untouchables. But I wanted to throw in modern and supernatural elements as well.

 

John: Can you tell us a bit about how Tales from the Streets of Guangzhou was conceptualized? How you came up with and fleshed out the characters and story elements?

 

Michael: I actually came up with the character years ago, before I even started officially publishing my books. He plays a pivotal role within my comic universe, connecting many of the other stories. He’ll play an important role in my series, Shexie Meiren and so I wanted to introduce him in a book of his own. It was meant to be a one-off, but it turned out to be really popular when I released it as part of a previous crowdfunding campaign. So, I decided to keep the story going, sharing the same world as Shexie since the two are closely related.

 

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

 

Michael: Spider-Man was the first book I ever read and he’s been my favorite ever since. I actually just got a PlayStation 4 and finally got to play the Spider-Man game, which is basically like living a dream.

 

 

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

 

Michael: In general, X-men have been a big part of my childhood, between the comics, animated show, and trading cards. The latter especially. I don’t remember how it started, but my grandfather and I had a tradition of going to a local comic shop when I’d stay for the weekend and picking out a new pack of X-men cards. That’s always been one of my favorite memories.

 

John: What does Tales from the Streets of Guangzhou mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

 

Michael: Tales is something of a guilty pleasure, although I don’t really feel guilty about it. From a writer’s perspective, I enjoy it because I don’t feel like I have to hold back. When writing my other titles, I censor myself to some degree. Even with a story like Shexie Meiren that has a significant amount adult themes, I’m still conscious of a line not to cross. But with Tales, there is no line. And I’m grateful to artist Allen Warner that he’s on the same page with the artwork.

 

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

 

Michael: I have different playlists that I listen to while a write, depending on the series I’m working on. For Tales, I like to listen to songs that remind me of The American. One of my favorites on that playlist is Way Down We Go by KALEO.

 

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

 

Michael: I usually start with a character when I create a new series. The character designs of my protagonists are based on friends I’ve met during my adventures in China. From there I come up with the basic plot and write up an outline of the first few issues. If it sounds good, then I’ll write a script and start thinking about which artist I’d like to pitch it to.

 

 

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

 

Michael: As I get older, I tend to prefer writers like Frank Miller, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman, who tackle more mature ideas. While I enjoy mainstream comics from Marvel and DC, I like to write stories in a similar vein.

 

John: What are your hopes for Tales from the Streets of Guangzhou and for the future?

 

Michael: This is the first series I’m writing that has no definite conclusion, which was an intentional decision on my part. The American is a wild card among my other characters and I hope for this series to feel that way to the reader, as in they’ll not know what’s coming next. 

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

 

Michael: I’d just like to remind everyone that Tales is currently live on Indiegogo and more info can be found at aiccomics.com.

 

John: We got you covered, Michael. Best of luck to you!

 

Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.

       

 

Take a peek at these campaigns!

ENGLEWOOD #1

ANASAZI

STRANGELOVE: I WANT TO BE CHROME

TALES FROM THE STREETS OF GUANGZHOU

 

 

That’s it for this installment! Consider backing these awesome looking projects and always remember to 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