Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase! All I have to say this week is “support indie comics” as I aim to direct you to some most excellent choices every week! This week is no exception!
Now let’s dive in!
Ailsa Dark: Werewolves & Bampots
by William Hazle
Inspired by old-school horror comics, AILSA DARK is a thoroughly modern and fear-filled adventure! AILSA is a sexy, late night horror hostess who presents B-movie gems like ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’, but that’s just a cover for who she really is. She secretly protects the border between our world and the supernatural Otherworld, a fear-filled realm, where myth is reality. This AILSA DARK campaign is for two full color magazine-sized comics that together deliver 72 pages of Mystery, Horror, Intrigue and Action!
Check out the Indiegogo page here!
Chris Braly: Nice to meet you William. Give our readers the ‘elevator pitch’ for Ailsa Dark: Werewolves & Bampots.
William Hazle: Ok, briefly. There are two worlds. Our world, the natural world and the Otherworld, a supernatural world where monsters and myths are real. Ailsa Dark protects the border between both worlds. Her cover is that of a late night horror hostess. Sort of… Elvira meets Van Helsing.
Chris: Love it! Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to make this comic?
William: I wanted to make comics that I would want to read. I wanted to create a comic that felt like the supernatural and horror comics I read growing up in the 70s. Old-school in its themes and ideas, but thoroughly modern in its execution. I also wanted to dive into horror in a big way and world build around the horror genre. In a nutshell, I feel that I was born to write Vampirella, and in some ways this is my take on that kind of character and world.
CB: What made you decide a comic book was the best way to tell this story?
WH: I love comics as a form of narrative and have done since I was a child. Comics are my go to entertainment. Even when I worked in the games industry, I would think in comic book terms; pacing, genre, atmosphere etc. Yeah, I just love comics and always have.
CB: I only saw your name on the crowdfunding page. Is anyone else helping bring this book to reality with you?
WH: It’s all me. I write, draw, letter, colour and design everything in this campaign! I’d previously worked on an anthology comic that I published in Scotland called Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and I would design and edit the issues, whilst contributing a story and usually the cover art. For Ailsa Dark I wanted the comic to be all my own work. I’ve been developing the ideas and themes behind the story for a few years now and wanted this comic to be unique to my take on a horror comic heroine. So for better or worse, I’m doing it all. Although, Red Bull and the occasional Whisky helps me out a wee bit.
CB: Haha! So what’s the creative process been like?
WH: It has been full on. I’m running the campaign and doing all the comics creation whilst also doing my day job lecturing in Computer Art and Games Development. I’m already recruiting bodies for my next campaign to alleviate some of the workload. Although it has been hard work, it’s also been a lot of fun and very invigorating. I’ve also meet some fun and inspiring people online as I’ve been driving the campaign on social media.
CB: Can you tell us what stage is the project is in currently?
WH: It’s now me shackled to a Wacom tablet and iMac for a few months. I’m offering two comics. One is complete and the other is fully written with some pages complete. I’m on schedule with my original project plan, so it’s looking good to be close to the campaign’s estimated delivery. The campaign is up within the next 36 hours, but it has already met its target and will be going indemand on Indiegogo. That’s the part I’m excited about because there’s the possibility of backers getting four complete books if the stretch goals are met, and that would be great haul.
CB: What kinds of comic fans do you think this comic is going to appeal to?
WH: The first issue has already garnered a few good reviews in the UK and has been compared to ’70s comics like Vampirella and the House of Hammer, which thrilled me because that’s exactly the feel I’m going for. If you’ve ever had a copy of Werewolf by Night or Ghost Rider in your hand, then you should find something to like about Ailsa Dark. I also mention Steve Gerber’s work on The Defenders as being a big influence because of its weird collection of disparate characters and often surreal quality.
CB: I think it looks great. What else can you share about the project?
WH: Firstly, thanks for that and for taking the time to chat with me and giving me the opportunity to talk to your readers, of which I’m also one. I’d say to all the Bleeding Fool readers out there, if you want thrills and chills in your funny books then check out Ailsa Dark. The first story begins in these two comics and it’s a fun, creepy and occasionally disturbing ride for the readers. The stretch goals offer two more comics; a retro 3D comic and a Tales of Mystery Special with four of my other horror stories in it.
I’ve been told there’s a Comics revolution on and I believe it. If you believe it and you want great comics for everyone, then check out Ailsa Dark.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us and I couldn’t agree more, William! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
Check out Ailsa Dark here!
Crescent City Monsters
by Newton Lilavois & Gian Carlo Bernal
When a bounty is put out on a sorcerer, he must protect those he loves
and battle the New Orleans monsters who have betrayed him.
I first covered Crescent City Monsters over a year ago, WAY back in Indie Comics Showcase #6! The comic is written by Newton Lilavois with art by Gian Carlo Bernal and is one of the most unique, and best looking comics I’ve come across, indie or otherwise, in a long time. The story is a supernatural period piece taking place in 1960’s New Orleans and it deals with the battles many of us face. Battles against monsters, both of this world, and those in the realm of the supernatural. It follows Jonas, a musician and sorcerer, who one day finds that a bounty has been out on his head. But it’s not people who are after him, no my friends and readers, it’s everything else.
I backed and received the first issue and I absolutely love it. Issues one ends on a cliff hanger which really got me existed to see what happens next. You can read the first issue for free online here. If you like you can also. become a Dream Fury Patron here. Newton Lilavois has been a long time supporter and friend of Indie Comics Showcase and has very graciously granted me an interview. One that I hope all of you enjoy.
Crescent City Monsters just exudes style. From the clothing the characters wear, the creature design, to the dialogue and action sequences. The story is also kind of personal to me as Jonas reminds me of my father. Swap the locations from New Orleans to Havana Cuba, and the run-ins’ with the police to Castro’s Personal Paramilitary Force. Yeah, my dad was the front man for a band and rode around in what I hear was a pretty bad ass motorcycle. One which he had a pretty bad accident in, and is staunchly against me getting my own. But that’s a story for another day. One day, my father was arrested for leading protests against the Castro Regime and spent several years as a political prisoner in some of the worst places imaginable.
But enough about me, let’s chat with the writer, Netwon Lilavois!
John: Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase again. It’s a great pleasure to have you with us today & discussing your hugely successful Indie Comics Series Crescent City Monsters. The campaign for the second printed issue just wrapped up, having more than doubled the initial pledge goal, so congratulations!
Newton: Thanks John. I’m happy that new and current fans came out to support the Kickstarter campaign. This campaign was ten days shorter than the previous campaign but we ended raising more money than the last time. That was a pleasant surprise.
John: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what you’re reading and watching these days for entertainment.
Newton: I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and grew up in Brooklyn, New York City. I currently live in the Boogie Down Bronx with my wife, two daughters, and a chocolate lab. Besides being a comic book creator, I’m also a computer programmer for consulting company. I don’t regularly follow sports, but when I do, I watch basketball and UFC. I’m currently watching the Boys on Amazon Prime. I’m reading Stephen King’s the Shining. I just finished listening to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard audio book. I prefer hard liquor over beer. I think Elon Musk should focus on building himself an Iron Man suit instead of going to Mars.
John: how did you get started in comics?
Newton: I started really getting into comics at the age of eleven. I loved it so much, I started to draw my own comics on folded loose leaf paper. At the same time, I also became interested in computer programming. By the time I was in high school, I stopped creating comics and focused on programming. In my last couple of years in high school I discovered that I really liked writing but because I was horrible at grammar I felt like it wasn’t something I could enjoy doing professionally. Fast forward to 2016 and I’m a computer programmer with all these stories in my head that I wanted to get out into the world. It was three things that pushed me into re-living my childhood dreams of creating comic books.
First I was really impressed with Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic book series. Just like how reading Marvel Comics made me want to create comics, Kirkman’s Walking Dead triggered that urge again. Second was the Kickstarter platform. Initially, I was backing tech projects on Kickstarter, but then noticed the comic book projects and one day I decided to back one. The first one I backed was a graphic novel called Shadoweyes by Sophie Cambell. When I read the book something resonated with me about the whole experience. I was among a few hundred people who put their trust and belief behind a creator so they could create this great book. The book I was holding in my hand didn’t need to go through any gatekeepers to get printed. All it needed was crowdsourcing from fans. The potential of crowdsourcing and creators had a strong appealed to me. Plus I loved the story. It wasn’t what I expected. I wanted to know more about who created the story so I did some digging.
That’s when I discovered Spike Trotman, the publisher of Shadoweyes. Discovering Spike was the third thing that pushed me to want to get started seriously into creating comic books. While learning more about her, I discovered she had a couple of eBooks on how to run a Kickstarter campaign. The eBooks provided enough information that made me decide that I can do this too. I can use Kickstarter to create comic books. So I started Crescent City Monsters with artist Gian Carlo Bernal as a web comic and eventually used Kickstarter to fund the printing of the second issue.
John: That’s quite a journey! What can you tell us about your project Crescent City Monsters?
Newton: Crescent City Monsters follows the story of blues musician Jonas Alexandre Atelus. Jonas is also a sorcerer deep seated in the supernatural world of New Orleans. One night he encounters monsters of New Orleans that come after him to collect a bounty put on his head. Jonas doesn’t know anything about this bounty. Life as he knows it is violently changed. The series is in black and white with grayscale artwork from artist Gian Carlo Bernal that rivals anything you’ll see from the major comic book companies. It has a supernatural noir feel to it. You can check out the first issue free online at DreamFuryComics.com
John: How did Crescent City Monsters come to be and how were the characters and story conceptualized?
Newton: For my first comic book I had a couple of ideas but ultimately, I decided on doing a zombie story, I wanted to explore the idea of someone who is turned into a zombie and loses everything. I wanted to explore how would he deal with that. How far would he go to regain his life back when there’s nothing left to fight for? Originally I was going to start the story from where the second issue starts. I realized that in order for the reader to feel the pain Jonas is going through they need to see what he lost. So, the first issue introduces everything and everyone that was important to him. You meet his family and friends. I also tried to show the reader the magic powers Jonas had and what made him special.
John: What about it made it a story you wanted to tell?
Newton: It was important for me to introduce Voodoo lore into comics in a positive light. In Crescent City Monsters, you’ll see Voodoo Loas, not only playing a major part of the story but they’ll actually be the good guys. There’s this negative stigma that Voodoo is evil black magic. I wanted to help dispel that stigma.
John: Fascinating. What are some of the things that have served as a source of inspiration when working on this?
Newton: I love dark and gritty movies and TV shows. I think they serve as indirect inspiration for my work. The most recent shows I can think of are ‘True Detective’ season three and Amazon’s ‘The Boys’.
John: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?
Newton: I have a hazy childhood memory but I believe the first comics I read were Submariner, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Ghost Rider. I can’t recall which one of of them was the very first.
The first comic book that had an impact on me was an X-Men comic where some of the team members went shopping. I think it hit me as a 12 years old comic reader that, wow, these super heroes are still human like us. They do some of the same normal things we do. I realized that when I created stories, my heroes also needed to be as human as possible also. The second was Frank Miller’s Dark Knight. It made me re-evalute what could be done with a comic book hero. Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic book series also had a big impact on me. His character development in that series was incredible. Most recently I’ve been really enjoying Jason Latour and Jason Aaron’s Southern Bastards.
John: Some great books there. Can you tell us a bit about your own creative process?
Newton: Most of my ideas come when I’m walking my dog. I formulate the direction, emotion, and perspective I want to achieve while walking my chocolate lab. The details come to me as I’m actually sitting down on my computer writing the comic book script.
John: Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for any of our readers who have hopes of putting out their own indie comics?
Newton: Grow your audience as you’re working on your comic book. Building a fan base takes a long time. Don’t wait until your story is finished to start sharing it with the world.
John: Solid advice there. Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
Newton: I hope our fans continue to enjoy the comic book Gian Carlo Bernal and I are working to create. The first three or four issues will be different from each other in terms of where people think the story is going, so I’m hoping the readers enjoy whatever we throw at them. There’s a lot of thought that goes into producing the books that Gian and I work on. When fans let us know they love the book, it feels like all the work is more than worth it. We just wrapped up a very successful Kickstarter for issue two. If you missed the Kickstarter, expect copies to be made available online at DreamFuryComics.com/shop/comic in October.
We’re then planning to have another Kickstarter for issue three at the end of the year so watch out for that.
Follow this project on twitter @DreamFuryComics.
NED, Lord of the Pit; A Comedy of Terrors
by Jim Calafiore
An average guy with enough problems already discovers a world he never knew existed. And things go straight to HELL.
Jim Calafiore is an American comic book penciller and inker, known for his work on Marvel Comics Exiles, and DC Comics’ Aquaman. I got an opportunity to speak with Jim earlier this week to discuss his current Kickstarter crowdfunding comic, NED, Lord of the Pit.
John: It’s a great pleasure to have you with us today, Jim! Before we get started, I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about yourself for those who may not be familiar with your body of work.
Jim: I’ve been working in comics for over 30 years. My biggest break was getting work at Valiant in the 90’s, then working for DC and Marvel. I’ve been lucky enough to draw just about everything, and work with some great writers. I’m probably best known for runs on AQUAMAN, EXILES, GOTHAM UNDERGROUND and SECRET SIX, but I’ve done time on DEADPOOL, BLACK PANTHER, some BAT-books.
John: Jim, how did you get started in comics?
Jim: I broke in back in the late 80’s with independent publisher Caliber Press. I always wanted to draw comics. When I got in touch with Caliber, it was probably the best bit of luck I could have. I didn’t make much there, but got to work on the craft, writing and drawing all my own stuff. And, honestly, I would’ve paid them to publish me. A lot of good people came out of there; Jim O’Barr, Guy Davis, Vince Locke, Brian Bendis, Phil Hester, Michael Lark… they published some great stuff.
John: Tell us about NED, Lord of the Pit; a comedy of terrors?
Jim: As you can guess from the title, NED is not the name of a person you’d expect to be the ruler of a Pit in the bowels of Hell. (Actually, I’m not sure I want him near the bowels of anything.) Or involved in the supernatural at all for that matter. He agrees wholeheartedly, and would prefer it not be so. But in the 144 page graphic novel, I don’t give him a choice. It’s a story of an average guy discovering that the world is so much stranger than he thought, and he and his family are way more connected to the darker, scarier side of reality than he knew. So he wants out. The darker side, it turns out, wants him out too… permanently.
I have a lot of fun with it. Ned deals with scary demons, friendly demons, stinky demons, couch-potato demons, over-sexed succubae, bickering angels, two curious police detectives, and a seriously annoying zombie roommate, among other things. The Kickstarter campaign is Vol I, the beginning of a longer story. And as weird as I can get in Vol I, I plan to get even weirder as the story goes on. Ned’s in for a ride.
John: Cool! How did this story and the characters develop?
Jim: Creators always have ideas banging around their head. This started as sort of a mental exercise I do: “who would be the person least likely to…..” Fill in the blank. Least likely to be a superhero. Least likely to save the world. Least likely to be involved with the supernatural. I thought of average-guy Ned, liked the germ of the idea, and just ran with it. It’s a fish out of water story, the best for comedy.
John: What about this made it a story you wanted to tell?
Jim: It’s not a horror story to me. That’s just the framework for a story about family, and asking some serious questions about what makes a family, and what are your responsibilities to it. The supernatural “skeleton” is what I’m hanging the story on.
John: What are some of the things that have served as a source of inspiration while working on NED, Lord of the Pit? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?
Jim: I’d say it’s influenced by Whedon’s ‘Buffy’ a lot, That was a show I avoided, thinking it was nothing I’d want to watch (especially after seeing the movie years before). Then one night, I watched a couple reruns, and was hooked. I think he created something genuinely special. And then I also watched a lot of straight horror and supernatural. I’d always watched as a kid The Omen, the Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, and some really low budget stuff that still had some fun to it, like Equinox (which was funny as hell even though it wasn’t supposed to be). I saw all those movies as a kid after school or late night on weekends. The old Hammer Horror stuff that was so campy was great. And there’s one really low budget zombie movie that always sticks with me as being so tweaked. (I’m not going to name it. I reference it in NED, and if the Kickstarter campaign is successful, I’m going to have a contest to see if anyone can guess the reference.) And of course, I grew up on the old Creepy and Eerie magazines; great stuff. I think it all sort of stews into my slightly twisted view of things.
And I should admit, while it’s not horror, it does have a warped sense of humor: In junior high, I came across A Clockwork Orange on cable; watched it about 20 times.
Music sort of blends into the story too. I listen to a lot of odd stuff. Tom Waits. The music on the video at the Kickstarter campaign is by Son of Dave, sort of warped harmonica blues.
John: What are some of your first comics you remember reading?
Jim: All superhero. The first book I ever bought for myself, or picked out for myself and my grandfather bought it, was HULK #127. The Hulk is my favorite character.
John: What are some of the comics that have made the biggest impact on you?
Jim: I grew up first on Marvel Comics. Creepy and Eerie magazines were mixed in there a lot too. The big moment for me was discovering Heavy Metal magazine in junior high, and all the European artists that had such a different way of telling a story.
In Creepy and Eerie; the black and white art was fantastic, like Estaban Moroto. Richard Corben, especially his color stuff blew me away. Regular comic stuff; Byrne was big. But I tended towards Wrightson, Barry Windsor Smith. All the European sci-fi artists: Druillet; Bilal; Caza; and most importantly MOEBIUS. He’s my god. I’m not sure how much you can see any of them in my work; don’t think my art particularly resembles on or the other. I think again it’s just a stew of influences that mix together.
European film was a big influence, especially Fellini. And probably my biggest writing influence is Philip K. Dick; have everything he ever wrote. He wasn’t caught up in hard science fiction; it was just gadgets to tell a story, usually asking the question of what it means to be human.
John: Let’s switch gears for a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
Jim: In terms of creating a story, it’s so many different ways. Sometimes I think of a fun title and just go from there. Another time I’ll see something on the news that seems like fodder for twisting to say something I want to say. Other times, I pissed off about or effected by something and need a story to get it out. And sometimes I just want to write something freeform and goofy. So it’s not one way of birthing ideas.
I try to concentrate on not using conventional devices. So many shows and books and movies are predictable just because they take the easy way out. I can always tell who “did it”, or what’s going to happen next because of lazy storytelling in lots of media. For example (and how many times have we seen this?): A guy is walking to his car; there’s no story reason to show him going to his car; he’s talking to no one, doing nothing but going to his car and getting in. Of course the damn thing is going to blow up. Lazy writing. Is it too much work to find a way to get him to that car that doesn’t telegraph to the audience that it’s going to explode when he starts it?
As for my art, I just do it. Get up in the morning, start and just keep working. It probably comes from dealing with monthly comic book deadlines.
John: When we have a creator of your caliber I like to ask, do you have any tips or words of encouragement for any of our readers who have hopes of putting out their own indie comics?
Jim: DO IT. There’s so many ways to get things out there that I never had the benefit of. Don’t worry about making money. I didn’t decide to do this for the money. Like I said with breaking in at Caliber Press, I would’ve paid them to publish me. Self-publishing is so much easier with digital, web-comics, Kickstarter. And if someone says you can’t, fuck ‘em, just do it.
John: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
Jim: Thanks for having me, and to anyone who’s taken the time to check out the interview. Please take a look at my Kickstarter (link below) and consider backing. And if you do, pass it on to your friends. It’ll only succeed because of you. I’ve got an easy link: nedlordofthepit.com which redirects to the campaign.
Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance
by Brian Christgau
Read the entire first issue FREE right here to see what you’re backing!
Chris Braly: Okay Brian. Glad to finally chat. Give me your ‘elevator pitch’ for SIX-GUN GORILLA Vol. 1 and give us some background on it.
Brian Christgau: “A very big ape with very big guns blowing very big holes in very bad people,” pretty much sums it up!
The story opens in 1849, in the Congo where our hero, named Kumba, is orphaned when a British lord out on safari butchers his troop. A kindly circus owner named Malloy wins him in a card game and raises him alongside his daughter Abigail like one of the family. Fast forward to Texas,1866, where Kumba is the star attraction of Professor Malloy’s Circus of Frontier Wonders, blasting beer kegs out of the air with custom pistols the size of Howitzer cannons. Kumba and Abigail are eager see the big cities in the East, but that’s where the Civil War is mostly being fought and Malloy wants to put as much space as possible between it and his family.
The war, however, comes to them in the form of Italian-German immigrant and Union spy Giuliano Schmidt, who is wounded and on the run from a really bad hombre by the name of Gravesend and his gang of cut-throats. When Gravesend finds out that Malloy and his circus family have been hiding Schmidt, he murders Malloy and burns the circus to the ground. Having nothing left as far as he can see, Kumba takes up his guns sets out on the vengeance trail. But what starts out as a simple revenge story twists and turns into unexpected territory.
Chris: Very cool. Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to tell this story?
Brian: One afternoon I was perusing a website devoted to old pulp heroes, since I’m a sucker for that stuff, and I stumbled across that name (Six Gun Gorilla) and had the reaction most people do, which is laughter followed by, “Y’know, that could actually be pretty bad-ass and fun if it were done right.” It was lunchtime so I drove to a nearby shopping mall – I live in Hudson Valley, which is sort of the mall capital of the world – to indulge in my favorite junk food, which is fish and chips. On the way there I was banging the HAWK THE SLAYER soundtrack, of all things, and without me trying the story just wrote itself. By the time I parked I had the whole basic plot, no lie.
It’s not often that a story emerges fully formed in my head. Usually I have to nurture and tinker with them, switching up the characters, fleshing out the plot, ditching certain choices for other, hopefully better ones. But this was a case where I just knew the entire story formed in a matter of minutes. And I felt possessed by it, like I just had to write this damn thing. As kid I was just crazy about the original KING KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG. I also loved Westerns and anything and everything Tarzan – comics, movies, the TV show – and that title just had every one of those elements in it.
Chris: So ‘Six Gun Gorilla’ is actually a character created back in the 30’s and is now in the public domain? Have you ever read any of the other stories people have created using this same character and tried to avoid retelling the same stories?
Brian: I had never read anything beyond just the name of the character, and I had already finished the scripts for all ten issues by the time another SIX-GUN came out or the original story became available to read, so I was working purely from the title alone.
The author of that other SIX-GUN GORILLA book and I have a sort of unspoken rule where we don’t talk about each other’s books. Problem is, I have a big mouth. When I got the news he was doing a project with the same name I reached out, extended the olive branch as it were, and since I was going to have a table at the New York Comic Con that year invited him to come out and have a pint of Guinness with me, but he wasn’t interested. I got the feeling he resents me because he’s a “professional” and in comes this rank amateur and upsets his apple cart. That year at the NYCC we sold over 300 issues, and actually ran out of books on the second day, but BOOM! Studios had absolutely nothing promoting his book, so maybe there’s some resentment there.
I figured there’d be enough room for both our books because they’re so fundamentally different. His is this Dystopian Sci-Fi piece about a futuristic blood sport like ROLLERBALL or THE RUNNING MAN, where the gorilla isn’t even real, just a figment of the human hero’s imagination. My Six Gun Gorilla is a Western. But then I caught wind of him dissing me on his blog, accusing me of trying to drum up controversy to promote my book, and insisted his SIX-GUN GORILLA was indeed a Western… which is funny because I found an interview he did some weeks before in which he clearly stated that is *wasn’t* a Western but a Sci-Fi story! People in glass houses, man.
Chris: Oh well. Tell me more about the volume 1 you’re raising funds for. Is it like a trade of several single issues?
Brian: It’s a trade paperback of the first six issues, all of which have been completed. If this campaign is successful I’ll be able to bankroll the final four issues and then release those in a follow-up campaign. And the wait for volume 2 shouldn’t be too long since issue #7 has already been completed and lettered.
Chris: Excellent! What has the creative process been like? What tasks are you handling for this campaign?
Brian: Man, it has just been a joy. Working on this book has made me feel like a little kid again, only now I have a real artist to turn my stick figures into characters that come alive on the page. I really believe comics are an incredibly special medium. Every art form has certain things you can only do in that art form – movies, books, music, theater – so I try to focus on those special things that only comics can give you and play those to the hilt. A gun-toting gorilla would come off as silly in a movie, but in a comic book you buy it without a problem because the medium makes it easy to suspend your disbelief.
Chris: There’s several great pin-ups and some magnificent artwork featured on the campaign page. Tell me about your creative team and what other creators have contributed to this volume?
Brian: Adrian Sibar does all of the sequential art for the book. His previous credits include BATGIRL for DC and the PLANET OF THE APES and STAR WARS books for Dark Horse, and that stuff is all great, but I have been watching him up his game on this book. His visual storytelling ability just gets better with every issue and he always invests his work with a lot of style and heart. I always believed in this project, but it wasn’t until I started to get those first pages in from Adrian that it occurred to me that we might have something special on our hands.
The cover art is by a number of artists, chief among them being the mighty Wes Huffor. He provided the cover art for the first three issues, and while the pencils and inks on that looked incredible, the colors by Derek Dow just take them to another level. Then we’ve got some other great talents on the other issues: Matt Slay, Canaan White, and Shelby Robertson. Chadwick Haverland did this photorealistic one for issue #4 that particularly blew my mind.
Chris: It all looks great! What advice would you share with other indie creators that you’ve learned?
Brian: Don’t get into comics for the money, because there isn’t any! The only reason you should be making comics is because you love the comics medium and have a story that’s just clawing at your guts trying to get out. Don’t make a comic as the vehicle for a possible movie deal, because that’s faking the funk, and people can always tell when you’re less than genuine. Be sincere and make sure your work is from the heart, because at the end of the day the finished product might be all that you’re left with.
Chris: Amen. What else can you share about the project?
Brian: If this first volume of SIX-GUN is a success, naturally it will be followed up by volume two. After that I’d love to get into what I half-jokingly refer to as the “Six-Gun Gorilla expanded universe”, where Kumba teams up in a MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-style adventure with other bizarre heroes of the Weird West like Samhain, Sledge Rhodes, The Szechuan Kid, and The Dandy. Then there’s the Phantom Vaquero who is so mysterious we never even see him! Man, I’d love to do that, although my dream project would be SIX-GUN GORILLA VS. TARZAN.
Chris: Any final words for our readers?
Brian: Sure: support indie comics! The big two and the major independents are creative wastelands now with no interesting stories to tell or compelling characters to follow. Disney, Time Warner and Sony see the comics as promotional items for the movies and Funco Pops, that’s all. It’s indie creators who are going to keep this art form alive and we can’t do that without your support. Take a look at what’s out there, find the kind of comics you want to read and vote with your dollar. And if any creator is anything less than grateful for your backing, take your dollar elsewhere.
Chris: Thanks for chatting with us Brian! Good luck! The project looks great.
Brian: Hey, thank you! The support I’ve been getting has been really touching and folks seem to be getting a big kick out of the book, and that’s all I ever wanted.
That’s it for this installment everyone! Remember, support indie comics!!!
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