Indie Comics Showcase #62

 

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!

 

 

Deborah Daring
Series Finale and Graphic Novel

By Robbie Mack

The exciting conclusion to the 6-part Deborah Daring Detective series from Vigilante Comix. 

Please Visit The Campaign Site here.

 

John Lemus: Welcome Rob, and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. Let’s discuss your Indie Comic Series Deborah Daring which is now in it’s final days of the campaign.

Robbie Mack:​ My pleasure John. Glad to be part of the showcase.

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

RM: I’m 48, happily married and a proud father to a 19 year old son. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but I work in industrial engineering and construction, which takes me all over Canada. I am a life-long comics fan and back in 2015 I decided to create a comic book series. I love drawing comic characters and I worked very briefly in my early 20s at an animation studio, so I initially tried to do the art myself. However, I quickly realized that if I wanted to keep my day job, I wouldn’t have time to produce a comic series in any regular sort of schedule. So I decided to just do the writing and hire an illustrator and colorist to create the art for me.

JL: Without revealing any important spoilers, what can you tell us about Deborah Daring? 

RM: Deborah Daring is the story about a perky paralegal with a military background and a taste for trouble. Deb started moonlighting as a private investigator, because she was getting bored to death with her work at the office. Her investigations hadn’t been very exciting until recently, when she took on a strange case from a mystery client. Now she’s got all the intrigue and excitement she can handle! 

The first six-issue series basically covers Deb’s journey to becoming a hard-boiled private detective. I have plans for a second series that will show Deb evolve into an elite operative for a secret organization called The Order. If that series goes well, I’d like to produce a third and final series where Deb realizes that The Order is not all it pretends to be and she attempts to thwart a global criminal conspiracy.

Now that the first series is complete I will submit it to Comixology for digital distribution. I will also submit it to Diamond Comic Distributors and/or Amazon for print distribution, or try to get it distributed by a major publisher.

JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how Deborah Daring came to be?

RM: The whole concept first started as a joke with my wife. We thought it would be fun for me to create a comic character inspired by her. She wanted her character to be tough and sexy, but left the rest to me. So I eventually came up with the idea of her being a private detective. She is an HR administrator in real life and I wanted to tie a similar job into the story line, so I decided that a paralegal (lawyer’s assistant). I thought the skill set of that job would help her solve cases. Then I figured if she was going to be tough, she needed a backstory that supported this, so I decided to make her an ex-soldier. Once I got that far, the rest of the story just seemed to fall into place and her character took on a life of her own.

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

RM: Star Wars, Spider-Man and Micronauts.

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

RM: Other than the ones I just mentioned, I’d have to add Spawn, Youngblood and Wildcats.  When the Image guys left Marvel it blew my mind and when I saw the production quality of their comics it made me think that anything was possible.

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

RM: It is the culmination of a lot of hard work, but more importantly, it has opened my eyes to what I can accomplish in the medium of comics. Yes, the story may have started as a spoof on my wife, but it has grown into a real emotional journey. In many ways, Deb is like a lot of us… she has a traumatic past that she still wrestles with, she is unfulfilled at her day job and she craves excitement. Unlike a lot of us, she actually gets to excise her demons by going on a crazy adventure where she does extremely dangerous things like fight gangsters and get in car chases!

JL: What are some of the things that get your creative juices flowing when working on  Deborah Daring? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work? 

RM: I really enjoy reading indie comics and watching action movies. They definitely inspire me to various degrees, but I try not to emulate any one comic or movie too closely. However, listening to music and imagining it to be the soundtrack to a movie made from my comics really gets me in the zone when I’m writing. Chris Cornell is currently one of my favorite singers to listen to. His music is very ‘moody’ and his voice can be haunting.

JL: Let’s get into you creative process. What does it look like?

RM: I usually like to let an idea percolate for a while before writing a story around it, and I will frequently refine a story over time. (I’ve actually written the general story-lines for three other comic series, plus a novel.) You can’t force ‘good writing’, but sometimes inspiration can hit you like a bolt from the blue! (I once wrote a three page synopsis on my phone during a 4 hour flight.) I usually write the premise of a comic issue/series, then a synopsis, then a bullet-point plot script. I may also try and find some reference images off the web to clarify a setting. At that point I share it with an artist and he/she will draw some rough layouts. I review them and ask for edits as required. Then, after the pages are inked and colored, I will put in all the word bubbles and dialogue. 

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

RM: I love movies that show extensive character development, like the metamorphosis of Neo in the Matrix. He goes from an unassuming nerd in the beginning to an infinitely powerful demi-god at the end. I also like movies that reveal a character’s true nature by exploring his/her past experiences through flashbacks, like American History X. You really see Edward Norton’s character differently by the end of that movie. 

JL: What are your hopes for Deborah Daring for the future?

RM: I want to write two more story arcs that see her character fully blossom to become an elite operative who thwarts a global criminal conspiracy.

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

RM: Writing and publishing Deborah Daring has been one of the best experiences of my life. Bringing her character to life and watching her journey progress has been so rewarding. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed working with artists from around the world. The internet and social media open up so many possibilities to collaborate. Kickstarter has been instrumental in allowing me to fund this passion project and it has also allowed me to pursue other comic projects. You can find out more about them by checking out my website at: vigilantecomix.com

JL: Once again Rob, thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck on this campaign and all future projects.

RM: Thanks John. I really appreciate being interviewed by you and I’m thankful for the exposure this showcase will bring.

 

               

 

SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES:
The Lunchroom Under the Arch
by Craig Hurd-McKenney

Lovecraft meets Queer Love in Victorian England: An original 100-page horror Graphic Novel

Please visit the campaign site here.

 

 

John Lemus: Craig , thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I am happy to be discussing your indie comic  SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES: The Lunchroom Under the Arch.

Craig Hurd-McKenney: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk with you. I’m excited to be chatting about it.

 

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

CHM: I’m originally from Texas, and I currently live in Seattle. I’ve written for a long time, having worked in numerous genres. I’ve been a music reporter for MTV and a freelance technical writer & instructional designer for other companies. I have about eight books and numerous zines published under my Headless Shakespeare Press banner. I’m a Xeric Grant recipient for THE BRONTES: INFERNAL ANGRIA (released *finally* in December 2018 & coming soon to Previews) and an Ignatz nominee for my anthology, STALAGMITE #2.

JL: Without Spoilers, what can you tell us about  SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES: The Lunchroom Under the Arch? Where it’s been, where it’s going, and your plans for the future?

CHM: That is tough because there are plenty of spoilers to be had. The three main characters from the first volume are back, Prescott, Delilah and the Comtesse. Prescott Mayfair is an American, a gay psychic hiding from law enforcement. Being gay was illegal in Victorian England, and the first book shows that by using the Oscar Wilde trial as its backdrop. Delilah Quinton is also an American, a black choral performer raised by her church in New York City. She is from the South, and she has escaped its racial cruelty. An up-and-comer on the global stage, she is able to enter wealthy spaces because she has cache; race is more about social status in Victorian England than it is about skin color. She struggles with that, as she sees more & more income disparity for other people of color. The Comtesse is a woman of wealth and privilege, and she has a tough exterior that Prescott & Delilah have managed to break a tiny bit. Her story really is the story of Volume 1, and that is heavily into spoiler territory. I hope you all will pick up Volume 1, available on my website and through the new Kickstarter campaign.

At the end of Volume 1, the three friends have settled into a normal routine. But Victorian England, and the demonic forces on the loose, don’t like routine. So things get messy fast in Volume 2. We’ve got Prescott struggling with his opium addiction and Delilah struggling with guilt from her actions in the first volume. The Comtesse is simply enjoying her shop, and her newfound love life. After her experiences in Volume 1, she is just ready to live.

JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES: The Lunchroom Under the Arch came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?

CHM: : It was actually the first story in the series, but I needed to tell the backstory found in Volume 1: The Rat King of Bedlam in order to introduce the characters and the events in Victorian England (and the world) which affect their lives. Since that time, “Lunchroom” has taken on a whole new theme that I’m very pleased with. It’s always about being open to rewriting, pivoting, when you need to do so. The series originally didn’t have Delilah, and I was challenged on that by a colleague: why is the book so white? And so I had to deconstruct some of my Victorian cliches in order to build out the cast that looks like my own life, and like the real world. The story is so much better off for that work.

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

CHM: : Oh, gosh, I remember exactly. It was Uncanny X-Men 178. I had loved Super Friends and had a rando comic or two, like World’s Finest, but this was the issue that set it all off for me. I remember the level of lingering dread that built across that issue. It was stunning. And Storm was so unlike anyone I’d ever known. She might even by subconsciously an influence on the Comtesse.

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

CHM: Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol is a huge influence on me. The characters he brought together, and the diversity represented within that, was (and still is) hugely comforting. He also is the master of the cliffhanger, and that architecture of lingering dread is present, too. I also really love Katie Skelly’s work, where she has these sexy, badass women doing amazing things. Richard Sala is another “spooky” creator whom I love. His stuff is a wonderful blend of 50s horror movies, underground spy rings and secrets to die for. One last creator I’d point to is Ezra Claytan Daniels. His work is incredible. Please get BTTM FDRS and Upgrade Soul. They are both fantastic books.

JL: What does SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES: The Lunchroom Under the Arch mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

CHM: We forget that all of the experiences the LGBTQ community lives have been lived before. So, I want to remind us that complacency doesn’t help the cause. We have to fight to live our lives, and then continue to fight to live them. It’s my goal that we worry for the characters (I love them terribly much), but that it is still a hopeful book. I’m over cynicism, and that means getting involved in our lives & fighting injustice no matter where it appears. Right now, I’d say that can be found largely with our trans siblings of color. We need to be talking more about, and fighting against, the murder of trans folk of color.

 

 

JL: What are some of the things that get your creative juices flowing when working on SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES: The Lunchroom Under the Arch? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work? Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

CHM: I do heavy research. I also don’t have stories fully fleshed out when I begin. I have bits of dialogue, character moments, that I build around. Sometimes I can write in a linear fashion, but most times it is a journey without a map. For SSD, one of the biggest inspirations can be found in the novel Affinity by Sarah Waters. It’s such an eye-opening, fresh take on Victorian gothic. I also am a huge fan of the way Armistead Maupin weaves storylines together in the TALE OF THE CITY series. Those two are assuredly proto-dna for Some Strange.

 

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

CHM: World events, really. I’m inspired by real life and the need for social change. Historically, LGBTQ political progress has been pretty much confined to the last fifteen years or so. And that is under attack now. So that weighs heavily on my mind and my work. I also scour weird news sites, and those always provide a level of lurking horror for me.

JL: What are your hopes for SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES: The Lunchroom Under the Arch for the future?

CHM: I hope that people find characters that look like them, talk like them. I am introducing a few new characters beyond the original trio with this one, and they will win your heart over just like Prescott, Delilah and the Comtesse. My ultimate goal is to provide some scares, sure, but also to raise the stakes because those scares are happening to characters you worry about. And then we head into Volume 3, The Demon Bride, and Volume 4, the Hunter in the Hedge Maze, which I hope will keep people coming back for more.

 

 

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

CHM: I’m so appreciative of all the feedback and love shown for the book so far. Readers make the work happen, and I will always be grateful for all of you.

JL: Once again Craig , 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.

CHM: Thank you for letting me share my work with you. It’s been a pleasure.

 

Please visit the campaign site here.

 

GALACTIC RODENTS OF MAYHEM
by Gilbert Deltrez

GALACTIC RODENTS of MAYHEM is an off the rails, edge-of-your-seat, deep space sci-fi adventure, featuring your soon-to-be FUR-AVORITE capybara bounty hunters! After a hefty $100 million bounty is suddenly put on their heads, BASH, RIPPLE, & MONA-LISA embark on a deadly cat-and-mouse game of survival that pits them against the menacing DARK RAIDER!

Check out the campaign page here!

 

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

Gilbert Deltrez: Think TMNT meets Star Wars, but with capybara bounty hunters! A Saturday morning cartoon on roids and jam packed into a 100+ page graphic novel! GALACTIC RODENTS OF MAYHEM, centers around a hefty $100 million bounty that is suddenly put on the heads of BASH, RIPPLE, & MONA-LISA, thrusting them into a deadly cat & mouse game of survival against the menacing DARK RAIDER! The graphic novel is fast-paced and adrenaline-filled, with a big chunk of the book being a full-on chase. GROM will definitely be something special. I particularly wanted to write something I thought would be fun to read. Speaking of fun, you should definitely hear our theme song

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

GD: Well, considering the political subversion pervading the current landscape of mainstream comics, I wanted to challenge myself to create something fun, edgy, and with a meaningful message. Storytelling after all, is about projecting a message that your readers can connect with. So with GROM, I channeled back to my childhood, recalling where the real fun for me started, and that was with the TMNT, G.I. Joe and Saturday morning cartoons of the 80’s and 90’s. That epoch really resonated with me as being really fun. Especially considering video games. Stuff like Star Fox and Battletoads, to name a few. From that point on I knew the project had to be fully anthropomorphic. Something that could retain its grit! (I’m looking at you Star Wars!) So then it was a matter of finding the right animal, and when Sebastian (Co-Creator of GROM) suggested capybaras right out of the gate, I was confused. I sadly had never heard of what a capybara was. Sebastian sold me on this line, he basically told me that capybaras were the most “chill” animal in the world, because they got along with various animal species, from monkeys, turtles, birds, anteaters, and even crocodiles! Mind blown! Not only that, but they are the largest rodent in the world, and semi-aquatic, holding their breath for up to 5 minutes underwater. Plus they are graceful swimmers. I was so convinced from that moment on that boom: GROM was born. Trust and believe that GROM would not be what it is, it simply wouldn’t manifest into the story it has become, without them being capybaras. 
 
 
CB: This isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve also crowdfunded other projects, ‘Lair’ and ‘Pistolera’ is that correct? What worked best in those campaigns and what did you learn from them that you’re applying to this campaign?
 
GD: With those projects, my mission was to showcase my storytelling chops. I needed complete stories for readers to gauge my work. Initially, GROM was supposed to be 40 pages, but after taking everything in, there was no way to compact such an epic storyline into that amount of pages. I then told myself, that I will write GROM naturally and organically, letting the story breathe through my fingers, and when it felt right, where I can stop it, I will. And that’s how it became over 104 pages. Would I ever crowdfund a 104+ page book? I don’t think so, unless of course we are talking about continuing the next GROM story. So if I learned anything from LAIR & PISTOLERA, it’s to have closure within your book. I mean you can shut all the doors, but leave a window open just in case, so you can jump back in to continuing the story. 
 
 
CB: Tell me more about the Galactic Rodents of Mayhem volume 1. Is it like a trade of several single issues? Could a publisher break it into single issues? Was that the intent?
 
GD: GROM Volume 1 is intended to be digested as a full story experience. We want complete immersion. The dimensions of the book are bigger than your standard comic book. My idea is to think of GROM volume 1 as having access to the complete first season of a TV show, or watching the first complete movie. I’m a binge session kinda guy, and I want to transfer that experience into my comic book stories. Can it be broken up into single floppies, sure, but that’s not my intention. I’m not a fan of the monthly ongoing, because I could never remained gripped enough. Once you get the next issue, you have to reread the prior issue, and it’s never an ebb and flow of smooth transitional storytelling. I envision GROM as a trilogy, each book 100+ pages, and the 4th one being a prequel, showing how BASH, RIPPLE, and MONA-LISA learned the ways of the bounty hunter trade from their father-like mentor, GAN-GON the gecko. 
 
 
 
CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators that you’ve learned?
GD: Advice? Hmmm. Be ready to fail a few times before you get into a great rhythm if you are impatient. Otherwise, take your time, and overall, be open and receptive to the comic book community. There’s many great projects out there that fail simply because they can’t get interested eyes on these books that would probably be supported instantly if comic fans knew they existed. 
 
 
CB: There’s several samples showing off some strong artwork featured on the campaign page. Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators have contributed to this volume?
 
GD: The creative team here are all forces of nature in their respective craft, myself included as a writer. I had the pleasure of scouting Sebastian Navas off of DeviantArt. We then joined up on LAIR, and now GROM, where I’m hoping we can have a lot of art for him to create. Our colorist Tiago Barsa is not a newcomer. He’s worked on a plethora of comic book projects, many crowdfunding. Few & the Cursed, one of his lates projects along with LAIR. The same goes for our letterer Deyvison Manes. He has a litany of clients for whom he has provided excellent lettering services for. He’s worked with me on LAIR, and his latest projects are One-eyed Jack & GROM. 
 
 
CB: What else can you share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?
GD: I kindly ask everyone reading this to please consider backing GROM. It’s a project unlike anything you will experience. It will tug on those nostalgia heartstrings pretty tight, while offering up a new and abundantly cool universe for you to get lost in and experience. I want to connect with all my readers, and the best way to do this is through crowdfunding this book. I’m writing this from the heart. The soul. There’s no rushed writing to fit in deadlines, or any agenda or propaganda banter I need to push in your faces here. Just a raw story, inspired by the fun and cool stuff that came before it and influenced the GROM creative team. We hope you can support us to create this book for you. I know the goal is steep, but trust me it is not unreasonable. The finances will go to compensating our overly talented creative team, and producing over 100 pages of pro-quality art, and also to printing a modest number of books. In full transparency, shipping of the books was not included, and something I am willing to do out-of-pocket to assure this book gets funded and into your hands. 
 
 
CB: Thanks for chatting with us Gilbert! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
 
GD: I am truly grateful for having the opportunity to share GROM on Bleeding Fool! Thank you, and thank you all for taking the time out to get to know more about GROM! Please consider joining #TEAMGROM!
 
 

GALACTIC RODENTS OF MAYHEM - OPENING CRAWL!

 

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CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S FEATURED BOOKS!

+ DEBORAH DARING

+ SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES

+ GALACTIC RODENTS OF MAYHEM

That’s it for this installment everyone! Remember, 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