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!
by Ross Bampfylde
In the Starship Mayflower’s first incarnation as a cruise liner, holiday hologragher Jack finds himself amongst a deep criminal conspiracy when he unknowingly records evidence of the ship’s criminal element in a holographic recording of two tourists. What begins as a search for his missing photos leads him and his girlfriend Sarah deep into the Mayflower‘s underground business. Meanwhile, something weird is growing in the ship’s vineyards.
THE GODS FEAR ME
by Mike Murphy & Kristian Rossi
THE GODS FEAR ME: Book One is a post-invasion scifi/horror epic set hundreds of years after the fall of the human race! They invaded. We died. The Ancient Ones brought the human race to near-extinction. Now, the android Kedzie fights to reclaim our world and protect a young boy who might be the key to our salvation. This gargantuan tale is brought to you by Mike Murphy (writing) and Kristian Rossi (art).
Check out The Gods Fear Me crowdfunding campaign here!
Chris Braly: Tell me the ‘elevator pitch’ for The Gods Fear Me? Briefly tell our readers a summary of what it’s about and give us some background on it.
Mike Murphy: Ancient alien deities and androids battle across the wastelands of Earth 200 years after the fall of man! THE GODS FEAR ME focuses on Kedzie, an android on a quest for vengeance against the Puppet King, an alien god who destroyed her arm in combat. Along the way, she crosses paths with Brian, a young boy who may end up being the key to saving what’s left of mankind. Does Kedzie follow her programming, or hunt down and kill the Puppet King… this is the major throughline to the entire story.
CB: Can you let us in on what inspired you to tell this story?
MM: A lot, to be honest. Boiling it down, the main inspiration was hating Prometheus, but pulling some cool themes and concepts from it. Additionally, an interview with Frank Miller talking about why he loved Daredevil so much. He pointed out that DD is the only hero defined by what he CAN’T do. That stuck with me, and I started thinking about the lineage of disabled protagonists- Zatoichi, DD, Oracle, and so on. Kedzie CHOOSING not to replace her arm became an interesting concept I wanted to flesh out. Last but not least, I love the Rocketeer and jetpacks. Have my entire life. I needed to write a character with one, and given the size of some of the aliens Kedzie goes up against, she seemed like the natural choice.
CB: Tell us why you felt this should be told in comic book form. And are you a big fan of the medium?
MM: Lovecraft does mood and the exploration of insanity better than any of us ever will. It can be translated to film with care (Carpenter is the best at it), but I wanted to not only put my own spin on his lore but build something new from it. I wanted to SHOW these creatures and put them to work, so to speak. If the protagonist isn’t driven insane due to having a synthetic brain, what else is there to explore?
CB: What are some similar comics readers may be familiar with that will find The Gods Fear Me appealing?
MM: Ghost In The Shell, Trespasser, Richard Corben’s out of print Marvel Max Lovecraft adaptations. Anything that touches on horror, scifi, Cyberpunk, and Lovecraftian lore.
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators (if any) have contributed to this volume?
MM:My co-creator and artist on the project is Kristian Rossi. He’s an amazing illustrator, and his most noteworthy work has been for Alterna with Trespasser, and currently Voidwalker. Two amazing series. He’s a great European artist who studied under Eduardo Risso, one of my favorite artists of all time. I’m not only handling the writing but also the lettering and coloring, unless we can work out something with Kristian’s schedule- dude’s busy!
CB:How long you’ve been working on this project and at what stage is it in currently?
MM: It’s been in development for a few years. Took a stab at it for the purpose of submissions a few years ago with another artist, but it never went anywhere, and I didn’t feel the book was done cooking. I needed to mature a bit as a writer, and really put thought into what I was trying to say.
The outline for book 1 is complete, and I’m going to start banging out the script on the assumption we’re going to hit funding. Kristian is going to need a decent amount of lead time, so we’re not looking to have this in people’s hands until Spring or Summer 2020.
CB: What is the status of the Samurai and Dinosaurs graphic novel you successfully crowdfunded earlier this year? Is it ready for print and delivery?
MM: We fulfilled digital on SAMURAI last month, and the print file is off to our printer next week once we get some last-minute prepress help. We’re hoping that by late November we can start shipping. I can’t wait until everyone has their copies in their hands!
CB: Thanks for chatting with us Mike! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
MM: Thanks for the well wishes, and we’re working hard with this final week! (the campaign ends this weekend!)
Check out The Gods Fear Me crowdfunding campaign here!
Rainy Day Dreams Book 1
By Mariah Currey
Character-driven supernatural drama! Rainy Day Dreams is a queer-friendly, character-driven supernatural drama about relationships, monsters, and defeating evil with kindness (and also sometimes swords).
Please Visit The Campaign Site Here.
John Lemus: Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase, Mariah. I’m happy to be discussing your indie comic Rainy Day Dreams Book 1 with you today.
Mariah Currey: Hello John! I’m excited to be here and to have the chance to share my comic with your readers.
John: Before we get started I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about yourself .
Mariah: Sure! I’m an American artist living in the forested coast of the Pacific Northwest. I have two bachelor’s degrees. One is in Graphic Design and the other is in French. My day job is a graphic designer for a regional lifestyle magazine. I love coffee, cats, and all things spooky, witch-like, or otherwise goth. I’ve been taking mixed martial arts classes for the last year and change, so I’m a big fan of punching!
John: Without giving away too many spoilers, what can you tell us about Rainy Day Dreams Book 1?
Mariah: Book 1 collects the first five chapters of my comic, Rainy Day Dreams. Rainy Day Dreams is a queer-friendly, character-driven supernatural drama about relationships, monsters, and defeating evil with kindness (and also sometimes swords because swords are cool). The story begins with Tristin, a human girl, becoming trapped in a dimension parallel to Earth inhabited by supernatural creatures after a treasure hunt gone wrong. Unable to return home, Tristin is taken in by Mara—a grumpy, reclusive psychic with strange powers and a stranger past. The two are soon caught up in the mystery surrounding Michael, seemingly charming but cold miscontent with initially unclear motives.
As of writing this, Rainy Day Dreams has just finished its 17th chapter! A lot of the story thus far has been the building up of the relationships between the main characters and the unfurling of the world they find themselves in through the re-emergence of figures from their past, both friend and foe, and revealing their backstories to each other. Because sometimes the past refuses to stay dead, no matter how deeply you’ve buried it.
John: Can you tell us a little bit about how Rainy Day Dreams Book 1 came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?
Mariah: Rainy Day Dreams is a story that’s been sort of a constant companion for me in my life. A handful of characters and some of the early plot points were originally a collaborative project between 13 year old me and my best friend at the time. So, in classic 13 year old fashion, it was a big amalgamation of our favorite anime tropes, self-insert characters, and early teen ideas about how the world worked. The characters and plot have changed drastically since then. It’s a story that’s grown up with me in a lot of ways, but still has a lot of the core of what made that first version good.
John: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?
Mariah: My parents had a couple of classic newspaper comic book collections when I was growing up. Stuff like Calvin and Hobbs and Peanuts. My parents also would often get bring me home an Archie digest from the grocery store on days I was home sick from school. I was a big video game player as a kid (Zelda and Pokemon being my favorites) so I was really excited to discover comics drawn in the same style as the box art and cartoons I really liked. The first manga I ever read was called Miracle Girls. It was about a shojo story about psychic twins and I’m pretty sure in retrospect suffered from some bad 4Kids-esq localization.
John: What are some of the comics that have made the biggest impact on you?
Mariah: InuYasha is a big one for me. I had always enjoyed comics, but that was the first one I really loved. I don’t think I’d be as big of a comic fan or maybe even a comic creator now if I hadn’t discovered Rumiko Takahashi’s general body of work at a young age. I was also really influenced by the series Nightmares and Fairytales as well as the works of Aaron Alexovich, namely Serenity Rose and Kimmie66. The combined early influences of gothic comics and female-written shonen stories (including titles like Fullmetal Alchemist and D. Gray Man) had a really profound impact on my own stylistic development as a writer and artist.
John: What does this project mean to you, and what about it made it a story you wanted to tell?
Mariah: Like I’ve mentioned, it’s a story that’s grown up as I have. It’s really just me putting a lot of myself down on the page through these characters. My goal with making this story has always also essentially been to make the kind of content I wish I had when I was growing up. As a kid growing up in 90s and early 00s, the media landscape wasn’t exactly rich in quality female representation. As a girl who didn’t care about conforming to what anyone but myself thought a girl should be, I want to write stories about a variety of non-stereotypical women, as well as men and non-binary folks. There’s still a lot of room for men to be portrayed differently.
John: What are some of the things that get your creative juices flowing when working on Rainy Day Dreams Book 1? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?
Mariah: I’m definitely the type that always needs some kind of background noise, whether that’s tv, my favorite movies, podcasts, or my partner reading to me. The actual content of those things doesn’t really matter, I just go for my favorites. Lord of the Rings, the Phantom of the Opera, and any Disney or Disney adjacent animated musical are often in heavy background noise rotation. Music, on the other hand, is a really important part of my general creative process. I have a really huge playlist for my comic and that’s usually what I listen to when I’m in the mood for music. The music I’ve collected for the playlist has either inspired the mood for the world or the characters; they could be sung by or about the characters and help build out the world I’m trying to make.
John: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
Mariah: I’m a very visual writer. I don’t really think about my story in word as much as I do image. Usually when I start thinking out a scene or plot point it’s like an animation in my head as opposed to words on a page. My process for turning those images into actual comic pages starts with me doing a combination of thumbnails and scripts. The thumbnails are just small pages with stick figures, or really loose figure shapes, to get the blocking and motion of the scene. I work almost completely traditionally, so the next step is pencils (I use a 6H pencil on 140lbs, 9x12 Cason Watercolor paper than has been trimmed to fit in my scanner), then line inks with a variety of pens (my favorites currently are Posca pens for that good, solid black), and then finally an ink wash to tone the page (Golden acrylic ink). Then I scan each page, clean it up digitally, and then add the speech bubbles and text. I work in an every-other month schedule: one month is rough drafts and pencils and then the next month is inking and digital; this way I don’t get burnt out on any one thing.
John: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?
Mariah: As I’ve mentioned, music is a big factor and those early influential comics. Some early literary influences that have play a big part in my writing are His Dark Materials and the Abhorsen series. It’s a little tricky for me to talk about current comic influences because now that I’ve been existing online as a comic creator in a more professional sense, I consume comics differently. While I still enjoy them – for example a newer manga I really love is Ancient Magus Bride and there are all kinds of webcomics I love reading like Hemlock, Gunnerkrigg Court, UnDivine, Devil’s Candy, Transfusions and many more – I’m also reading them in a more analytical way than I used to. Seeing what they do well and what I might want to incorporate into my own work.
Outside of comics, I’m really into the story-driven cartoons that have come out during the 10s, like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Star vs. The Forces of Evil, and Over the Garden Wall. Seeing what other creators are making pushes me to want to do a better job and improve my own work. Also the animating duo SmallButera because they’re very good. Everyone should watch Baman Piderman and check out their other good, good content.
Another huge influence in my journey as a creator has been my lovely partner, Taylor Smith of Whimsy Machine Media. He’s been a very important sounding board and, in a lot of ways, editor for the last decade and a half. Rainy Day Dreams wouldn’t be what it is without him. He might love the story even more than I do!
John: What are your hopes for this project?
Mariah: Well for the moment I just hope that it funds! Ideally some day in the future I’d really like my comic to be picked up by a publisher with more distribution power than what I can do with just self-publishing. It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to walk into a big bookstore in a city I don’t live in and see a copy of my book on the shelf.
John: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
Mariah: Follow me on social media! I’m on Twitter @RainyDayMariah and Instagram @MariahCurrey_Art. Also go read my comic at my website here and share it, even if you don’t back the Kickstarter ! If you really like it, you can also donate to my Patreon. I post production process pictures, stuff from my sketchbook, and if you’re brave and go for the higher tier, some spicy NSFW art.
John: Once again Mariah , 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.
Mariah: Thank you for having me! This was both fun and surprisingly nerve-wracking! I hope to see you all in the comments section of Rainy Day Dreams. Have a wonderful rest of your day!
Check out the Rainy Day Dreams campaign page here!
Check out the following campaign pages for these outstanding projects!
Please visit the Chateau Obsidian campaign here!
Check out the The Gods Fear Me crowdfunding campaign here!
Check out the Rainy Day Dreams campaign page here!
That’s it for this installment! Please check out these projects, share them with others who appreciate independent creators, and continue to support indie comics! See you next issue!
Be sure to follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics!