Indie Comics Showcase #66

 

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!

 

 

WAHID: WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION

By Hisham Kaine and Fredrik Mattsson

The story of Wahid plays out in a parallel world aligned with our reality. “What if Saddam Hussein had a weapon of mass destruction? What if, that weapon was a super-soldier, set loose in Iraq in the year 2015, what would happen next?” That is what creators Hisham Kain and Fredrik Mattsson are trying to tell with this story. They even created a music theme, website, social media, trailer and with your help, a “mature” comic book series.

Please Visit The Campaign Here.

 
John Lemus: Hisham, Fredrik, Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I am happy to be discussing your Indie Comic WAHID: WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION with you today.
 
Hisham Kaine: Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity!
 
Fredrik Mattsson: Thanks for having us!
 
JL: Before we get started, I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about yourself.
 
HK: I’m 33 years old. Born and raised in Sweden in a small town called Jönköping. My parents came to Sweden from Iraq, Baghdad 1985 due to the war at the time. I have loved comics, movies and games since I can remember. I watched movies or played games almost every day, which has formed me into being the one I am today. Reading comics is very important to me, it helped me improve my language skills and helped me face the world in the most difficult times of my life. I studied filmmaking in New York Film Academy, New York, in 2009. After my degree, I got depressed because of how many you need to rely on or how much money is needed to do an action movie in the likes of Robocop/Terminator which I wanted to do. After getting stability in life, an apartment and a job I gave up the idea of making movies and instead focused on writing a script for a comic book. One does not need as much money to create big action scenes, you just need a good Artist to visualize it for you. 
 
FM: I’m just your average starving artist at the age of 38, also from a small town called Norrtälje close to Stockholm who has drawn more or less since I was 3 years old. First I remember was drawing different kind of fruits, and then putting limbs and faces onto them and got my first characters. Since then it’s been designing characters every free opportunity I got, teachers probably hated what I was doing in class… I didn’t write down too much what they’ve been saying but illustrating what they were trying to get across with small figures doing stuff across the pages. In the end, I wrote my thesis on character design when I was studying game design at university, so it’s been pretty much making up characters for me.
 
 
JL: What can you tell us about WAHID: WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION? Where it’s been, where it’s going, and your plans for the future?
 
HK: The idea of WAHID is something that has been developing for several years. Three years ago I reached a point where I had to write down this story. And the spark for this was after working with integrating refugees coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan into society, and hearing their stories of war and hardship. My upbringing and life experiences played a big part as well. I spent the last three years working with my friends to create this epic story of WAHID. Right now, we are finishing the first issue. I am publishing it myself and have opened my own publishing company by the name INFIDEL COMIC, this to be fully independent and not be controlled or restricted by anyone. We have just launched a KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN. We recently completed a script for #2 that will be titled WAHID: Dawn of Evil. We are planning to release around 10 issues for Wahid. We’d like to see this character grow and reach a generation that could influence the world with new ideas.
 
 
 
 
JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how WAHID: WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?
 
HK: I watch the news every day from everywhere and asked questions as I work with refugees and have done so for the last 6 years. My heritage is from Iraq. I consider myself informed well enough to write about these things. Ricky Gervais once said, “write what you know best”. I have read comics for 24 years and watched movies since I can remember. I always dreamt about becoming a superhero, what I would do with these powers, what powers would I have or what would my origin story be like? While reading or watching what is happening around the world, I realized I needed to make a change. I cannot be a superhero in this reality, but I can create a hero that can inspire others. Writing scripts have always been a fun hobby, so that is what I started doing almost every day for three years, researching about conflicts, ISIS, politics and religion. I went deep into my research to capture details of clothes, weapons, language, behavior and so on. All this to mix my interests of fiction and non-fiction hobbies.
 
FM: For the character designs, Hisham and our helping hand M.A. had already figured out they wanted a bold and bearded guy, slightly bigger built then Cap. Steve Rogers, so I had a base to start from. For the suit, we tried a lot of different variants, some with more armour, some more undercover or military-inspired. Since we also wanted to use symbols representing the middle east into the designs, we kind of naturally eased into a more traditional superhero look for him where we could get in the green star and the red, black and white important colors of the flags in the middle east region. No white was kept though, it never looked too good, so we ditched it.
For the little secret characters in heavy armor that we haven’t shown you too much about yet, we looked somewhat at W40k Space Marines, Marvel’s Holocaust and Spawn’s Overtkill for the heavy armor designs and combined them with some reading from the book of revelation.
 
 
JL: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?
 
HK: My first was a Swedish reprint of Amazing Spiderman #98 when the Green Goblin found out Spiderman’s identity. The drama and action captivated me, and I needed to know more. I collected everything Marvel-related from thereon. A whole world opened to me and the urge to create began. 
 
FM: Well, before I really remember I read a little of everything. From Beetle Bailey, Archie, Heathcliff, Donald Duck, Tiny Toons and Superman. First that made an impact and made me start drawing a hellova more comics then I did before was TMNT, which made me go from short strips to 20 pages action stories with ninja heroes beating up bad guys and monsters.
 
JL: What are some that have made the biggest impact on you?
 
HK: I always enjoyed vigilantes like Punisher, Wolverine, Batman, Spiderman and Venom, because I could relate to injustice as I endured in my childhood. Injustice makes me most angry and those comics helped me to vent. Otherwise, as long as there is a great story, I do not mind the genre. Garth Ennis, Frank Miller or Mark Millar are huge favorites. The comic ”Preacher” made me question God’s existence, so I guess that would be the one that made the biggest impact in my life. 
 
FM: When I was 8-9 and got my first Spiderman: Web of Spiderman #29-30 and I’ve read only superheroes ever since(+90% anyway) And spinning out from that, a few years later it was my favorite superhero team the X-Men with Uncanny X-men #335 with Onslaught and #341 when Cannonball kicks the Gladiator’s behind, both illustrated by Joe Madureira and that’s when I started learning the names of my favourite artists and copying their style because I wanted to draw like them. I still look at JoeMaD a lot for inspiration.
 
 
JL: What made this a story you wanted to tell?
 
HK: ‘Wahid‘ means alone or single. He is surrounded by the danger which one can see on the cover. Iraq has endured so much in its history and I see the need for a new role model in the Middle East. One that fights against injustice, greed and intolerance. Because right now, the only ones they have are dead prophets, religious leaders or dictators that prevent the people to flourish and advance into the future. There can be no future for the Middle East until they can pursue intellectual freedom. Wahid will hopefully inspire to this thinking. This is what I would want to achieve with my story.
 
FM: Are political ideologies and religious scriptures true or false? Wahid is programmed to believe there’s only one true path, but what he sees in the world makes him start making up his own picture and doubt what’s been fed him through his indoctrination phase in a lab we see on the first page of the story.
This is very interesting to me. There are so many people around the world today that seem to have fallen deep into some ideas and never thought of swimming up to the surface for a breather and some get some perspective on how far they’ve drifted away. Wahid, as he climbs up from his bunker deep deep underground, the first thing he does is trying to find his location out in a desert, and figure out where he’s at and where he should move to get new answers.
 
JL: What are some of the things that get your creative juices flowing when working on this project? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?
 
HK: I listen to movie soundtracks via Spotify while I write. Examples are Joker, Hereditary, Space Odyssey, God Of War, Dante’s Inferno, Mandy and Terminator 1&2. I recently watched Mandy with Nicholas Cage, what a great movie! Otherwise, I just finished Preacher which I had a blast watching. I read Marvel and DC comics mostly, but I am so in love with Dark Ark and Key & Locke right now, very unique and fascinating. 
 
FM: Well, talking to Hisham gets my wheels turning. This guy’s a living library when it comes to film, tv and superhero comics and throws references at me continuously, which spark ideas for me to put down on paper. When I draw though, it depends, sometimes I need silence if I’m trying to figure out some complicated composition or advanced pose. When doodling or splashing colors around I’m either listening to some cool soundtrack or podcast featuring science, American politics or comics as a subject.
 
 
JL: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
 
HK: Most of my ideas come from conversations and discussions. That is how I get to the core of ideas. We also have people who’re helping out directly in our team that have a lot of knowledge about the middle east and experts on theology which is of great help in keeping all the facts straight. After that, I get to writing and intertwining these ideas to the main ark.
 
FM: And Hisham’s scripts aren’t very strict when it comes to where and what should fit on which and how many pages, so I have pretty much free hands coming up with suitable compositions and “page-turn cliffhangers” myself.
 
Process wise, I’m pretty stupid and try new things all the time. Right now I start off with a quite tight digital sketch which I print out on standard printing paper which I tape together for a process on the lightboard where I either tighten up the sketch further and ink, or ink directly with a dip pen (which also is stupid, because I never tried one before this…) Colours are put on digitally afterwards.
 
JL: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?
 
HK: Every story has some wisdom, regardless if it is a hero or villain it comes from. Garth Ennis work taught me to question everything. If I could question God’s existence, why not everything else.
” Uncle Ben” With great power, comes great responsibility taught me to be careful of my actions. Doctor Doom…taught me to follow no one but create my path. Besides all that, my friends, fiancée and family are a huge support in life. Considering how annoying I can be. 
 
FM: I’ll just start by dropping some names: Tetsuya Nomura (Final Fantasy character design), Joe Madureira, Chris Bachalo, Bret Blevins and Mike del Mundo and other comic artists. Named artist are some of which I look very carefully on every little stroke they’ve made as I look at their artwork. (some comics takes me a long time to read, haha) You probably can’t see anything of these influences in what I draw but nits and bits are in there, from how an added line around the eye, some slight rim lighting or how crosshatching is applied makes a lot of difference in the long run.
 
 
JL: What are your hopes for WAHID: WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION for the future?
 
HK: Awaken thoughts and inspire people to how they view the world and everything around. To finish about ten issues and then make an animated version of it. To see more Fan Art and collectables of WAHID and its´ characters. Maybe put Wahid in Mortal Kombat, he would fit right in!
 
JL: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
 
HK: Just that I’m thankful for your help and everyone who helped out with getting the word out about this project. I cannot thank you all enough. Love you all, brothers and sisters. For those who hear about this for the first time, please check us out on Instagram, Facebook and KICKSTARTER!
 
FM: Amen to that, thank you all comic book- and artist- friends who’ve been following the development and helped us reach out to more people about this project.
 
JL: Once again Hisham, Fredrik, 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.
 
HK & FM: The pleasure was ours!
 
 
 
 
     
 
 

BLACK VILLAINS WANTED
by Arthur Bellfield

Bad guys doing what they do best; lying, cheating, stealing, fighting heroes and each other.
The tagline for this book is “What if your favorite superheroes fought black villains?”

Check out the Black Villains Wanted crowdfunding campaign here!

 

 

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

Arthur Bellfield:  Black Villains Wanted is essentially about what happens when your favorite heroes fight black super villains! That’s the tagline for this series.  The deep dive of it all is that there aren’t many Marvel/DC villans of color who effect the lore and legacy of the hero characters outside of Black Panther’s rouges and to extend Black Manta. This is telling, espeically when you start looking at comics like X-Men, which is largely based off a social plight effecting the civil rights of black folks. However, Black Villains Wanted isn’t a political book like Black AF from Black Mask Studios nor is it a parody of superheroes like Anthony Piper’s Trill League. BVW despite it’s title isn’t about race at all-far from it! It’s about supervillains!

The story is centered around a millennial named Dax Damage who is a D-list villain who is stuck between two worlds or two women if you will.  His girlfriend Skye wants him to give up his bad guy dreams, and just be a regular guy. Roxy, who is the mother of his two children wants him to level up and become the biggest, baddest villain that the world has ever seen-even if he’s a bit lazy.  He possesses the ability to absorb solar energy and release it as destructive blast. The downside of this ability is that it can take hours, and sometimes days for him to absorb enough solar radiation to use within a combat situation. This puts him at a great disadvantage against the hero Convoy whose powers are funneled by solar energy also.

So, when the villainous Ra Siege shows up and others to off Convoy in exchange for unquestionable loyalty-things get interesting!

 

CB: Can you let us in on what inspired you to tell this story? Sounds like a jab at identity politics we’ve seen become more prominent in modern comics.

AB: What inspired Black Villains wanted was my childhood. Growing up I was always that token black kid who felt like he didn’t belong to any group. The black kids around me treated me differently because of some of the music and activities I liked. And, the white kids around me…well despite mutual interest I was still this poor black kid. So, I never felt like I belonged to any group….maybe all of this was in my head and no one cared haha but it did make me feel a certain way. I later in life learned to just be myself and not worry about what others think of me so much. Dax Damage represents that part of me that’s trying to figure out his place in the world…like I was..

Now, the identity politics has proven two things; The mob mentality is alive and well in America and attached to it are some deep rooted mental health issues that many of us are afraid to address. I say this because over the last year of so people have been very vocal, dismissive and disrespectful toward each other over this new religion called comicbooks-even more so than previously. Why? Because its the very creators who are at war with both the fans as well as the publishers, and each other. Everybody is right!

On any given Sunday churches across America are divided, now on any given Tuesday-our nerd population is divided over fandom!

 

For example; Comicgate has proven that by going outside of Comics and creating a vocal following via Youtube…you can get your followers to buy whatever products you’re selling including comics..Social Media influencers are the new preachers of their respected religions, and just like the beauty community is fueled by drama and fighting, nerds have decided to get in on the action. The bigger your church is the more you can monotize off of them..if thats your agenda! Publishers have been doing it for years.

 

That’s a wake up call to everyone and not just gatekeepers.

 

Create your own fandom, just remember that you don’t have to belittle or bully others to prove how awesome you are-let the work speak for itself. On the other hand the sjws have proven that there is an audience out there hungry for diverse talent and stories, however once the racial and gender swiping is done..then they can truly capitalize off of it.  I have friends on both sides and I respect their augments. I just don’t like seeing creators and fans divided….when we all want the same thing which is a good and entertaining story at the end of the day and Black Villains Wanted is just that-entertaining.

 

This isn’t a political book, its more satire riddled with truth…and the ultimate truth is the title is a red herring. I think by the end od issue#1 which is 32 pages by the way, people will understand and quickly realize that Black Villains Wanted is the book they’ve always wanted.

CB: Tell us why you felt this should be told in comic book form. And are you a big fan of the medium?

AB:  I’ve written comic books for a couple decades now starting with Battle Eulogy (Ronin Studios) and later I wrote War’s Chosen (Arcana Studios) so comics have always been in my blood. Honestly, my experiences working on my mini-series Tainted Love for Antarctic Press led me to write Black Villains Wanted. Heck, they even rejected it before seeing the pages! But, that’s another story. Like record labels the internal politics of a company can get in the way of creativity and comics reaching a larger audience.

And, before I put pen to paper I used to read every comicbook I could find…because it was my escapism. I couldn’t imagine Black Villains Wanted being told in another medium.

 

CB: What are some similar comics readers may be familiar with that will find Black Villains Wanted appealing?

AB: Wanted by Mark Miller comes to mind, as does Secret Six which to me truley represents the bad guys more so than Suicide Squad-because you get to see the villains as characters and not just as weapons. Invincible by Robert Kirkman is the biggest influence on this story style wise as well as the way I approached the story and violence. If people are a fan of any of those comics they will love BVW.

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators (if any) have contributed to this volume?

AB: Brian Brinlee who is an amazing artist was my first pick. I met him years ago at a con. He has recently worked on Lili: The Demoness which has recently grossed over 20k on kick starter. Marcelo Salazar is the cover artist, he’s worked on hundreds of indie titles including a story in Mark Miller’s Miller World annual. Chuck Pineau is a writer and editor whose comic Into the Void is an amazing read.

 

CB: How long you’ve been working on this project and at what stage is it in currently?

AB: The scripts for BVW issues 1-3 are completed. We are 75% finished with issue one. I dont believe in having fans wait, so releasing the book on time is something that I am making sure happens! Out goal is to have it 100% before the end of the kickstarter.

 

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

AB: Black Villains Wanted is a fun story that will appeal to everyone who loves a goof villain book. Dax Damage’story is basiclly the story of a nerd trying to fit in with the cool kids, and he suffers the consequences. It’s my secret origin story,  but thrown into this majestic would of bad and even badder people.

Ra Siege has handpicked a small army consisting of Queen Pain, who has the power to reshape anything into a weapon, Red Coma, an assissian with living energy guantlets, Touch who is a shapeshiter and Riots who may be the most powerful being on the planet. These characters aren’t just there to be henchmen….and readers will find out some shocking things about each of them as the story progresses. BVW will be the most talked about villain book of 2020.

 

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

AB: Thank you! This interview was fun and I hope people learned a lot.

 

 

Check out the Black Villains Wanted crowdfunding campaign here!

 

VALHALLA AWAITS
by Joshua Metzger & 

 

Valhalla Awaits is a comic series that draws heavily from the Poetic Edda and Viking and Norse mythological themes. The story follows characters Hildr and Erik and their journey through the Viking afterlife, where they encounter Norse gods, and legendary creatures.

Check out the Valhalla Awaits crowdfunding campaign here!

 

John Lemus: Marcel, Welcome back to and thank you once again for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I am happy to be discussing your latest indie comic Valhalla Awaits with you, today.

Marcel Dupree: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, John.

 

JL: You’re not only a creator, but an indie publisher that’s worked on several comics before this one. Can you catch us up to how and what has changed since we last had you on Indie Comics Showcase?

MD: We have improved our fulfillment. We are getting books out faster. I have also solidified my writing partnership with Valhalla Awaits writer Joshua Metzger. He is an extremely talented writer. 

 

 

JL: Without Spoilers, what can you tell us about Valhalla Awaits? Where it’s been, where it’s going, and your plans for the future?

MD: Valhalla Awaits is a supernatual viking adventure by Phil Buckenham, Joshua Metzger, Agenese Pozza, and Justin Birch. Phil, the artist created the series. He brought it to me. I partnered him with Joshua to develop the series. The series is about  Hildr and Erik’s journey through the Viking afterlife, where they encounter Norse gods, and legendary creatures. Phil and I decided that this should be a 5 issue mini series. If it does well we will do more. 

 

 

JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how tackle this campaign as compared to your previous ones?

MD: This one has been hard. I’m not that familiar with Indiegogo. We are reaching out via Twitter for support. It’s going pretty well.

 

JL: Have you been reading any mainstream comics recently?

MD: Yes, I’m loving House of X and Powers of X. As a hardcore X-Men fan it’s nice to see Marvel taking the X-Men seriously again. 

 

 

JL: Have you been reading any Indie Comics recently?

MD: I am reading a bunch of Image trades right now, such as Birthright, Ghosted, Nailbiter, and Excellence. 

 

 

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

MD: I am a HUGE art fan. I have been a fan of Phil’s for a few yeara. I have tried to get him on a few Evoluzione titles. I guess he wasn’t really feeling them. I hope people enjoy Valhalla Awaits so I can get more Phil art!

 

 

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

MD: I’m just overseeing the production so I don’t really have to be creative. But when I am writing I watch a lot of anime and listen to music. Each series I work on has a soundtrack/playlist. 

 

 

JL: Has anything changed in your creative process since your started crowd funding indie comics?

MD: Yes, I now have a writing partner. I am a slow/slash lazy writer but I have tons of ideas that I like to work on. In order to get all my ideas out faster I work with a partner. 

 

JL: What are your hopes for Valhalla Awaits for the future?

MD: I would like Valhalla Awaits to run for 60 issues. I think this world has a lot to explore. 

 

 

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

MD: Please check out Valhalla Awaits, the art is AMAZING! 

 

 

JL: Once again Marcel, 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.

MD: Thank you for having me, John!

 

Check out the Valhalla Awaits crowdfunding campaign here!

 

 

 
 
 

Check out the following campaign pages for these outstanding projects!

Please visit the Wahid: Weapon of Mass Destruction campaign here!

Check out the Black Villains Wanted crowdfunding campaign here!

Check out the Valhalla Awaits campaign page here!

 

 

That’s it for this week’s 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!

 

 

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