Hello friends and readers, welcome back to another weekly edition of Indie Comics Showcase! It’s our weekly blog where we try and bring you our picks of some of the coolest indie comics that are going it alone and crowdfunding their projects. We interview their creators, show off some art, and tell you how you can check out the product for yourself. Once again, we have some outstanding crowdfunding campaigns this week for you to learn about, enjoy, and hopefully support by backing one or more of them!
Every little bit of support counts, from a single dollar pledge to the twenty-five dollar bundle, and of course the higher tiers are usually fun too! In fact, some of these campaigns have got some great higher tiers which add even more value by offering stuff you cannot get anywhere else.
Thanks for checking these out and for being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase. Let’s jump in!
by Mike Baron & Jordi Armengol
In the tradition of The Stars My Destination and Marvel’s the Silver Surfer, OFFWORLDER is a star-spanning science fiction saga that will keep you riveted from the first page to the very last. A prestige bound 56 page graphic novel, with gloss text pages and a laminate 110 lb cover. Written by the infamous creator of Badger and the co-creator Nexus, Mike Baron. I spoke with Mike recently about OFFWORLDER which is crowdfunding now, and has several great tiers that go as low as $10.
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Mike, can you briefly tell our readers what the OFFWORLDER story is all about?
Mike Baron: Certainly. It begins in Seventh century Scotland. Henry Gunn leads his clan in a ferocious battle with Viking invaders. But with victory in sight, he is ripped from space and time by an alien race. The Ananaki seek a champion to stop another alien race from conquering all known space. Aided by the Egyptian goddess Sa’Ra, Gunn undergoes a hideous transformation, becoming something other than human, able to move through time and space at will, yet unable to save his wife and child. The fate of civilization rests on the shoulders of a troubled demi-god. Offworlder really is a star-spanning science fiction saga that I’ve tried to write in a way that will keep you riveted from first page to last.
Chris: How did the story evolve after you took over the story from Ben Henderson?
Mike: Ben gave me a sketchy outline with a lot of high concepts. Whenever I undertake a project, I work up a complete outline. The outline is meant to entertain as much as the book. I want people to read the outline and say, “Now I want to read the book.” It’s not just a recitation of events, but a pitch for the work itself. The writer’s first duty is to entertain. Second, show don’t tell. Third, be original.
Chris: Tell us about your creative team members -- who is doing what and how did this team come together?
Mike: I had been Facebook friends with Jordi Armengol for years, and he did the cover to my horror novel, Skorpio. When I approached him about Outlander, he was game, but I was not prepared for the sheer power of his art. Jordi is at the heart of his powers. If you’ve seen the pages you know. He gave me that frisson of shock and excitement I got the first time I saw Steranko or Barry Smith. Ben has withdrawn from the comics biz, but Larry Lee Stewart saw what we had done and stepped up to run the campaign.
Chris: So what has the creative process been like? And what stage is the project is in currently?
Mike: I wrote the first two scripts, 24 pp each. Sent them to Jordi. Although he was initially contracted to only do five pages, he did the whole book. And it’s stunning. The first story is complete. And if we fulfill the crowdfunder, he will illustrate the second script. The book will be fifty-six pages, with forty-eight pages of story. We may fill the remainder with excerpts from my novels, or essays from the team or other back-matter.
Chris: What kinds of comic fans do you think this will appeal to? What are some known comics you might compare this to?
Mike: This will appeal to anyone who values story. The writer’s first duty is to entertain. My goal is to grab the reader by the throat and drag the reader into the narrative to the exclusion of all else. I know how to do that.
Chris: You ever think about more adventures with any of your most well-known creations? Nexus or Badger?
Mike: Going to see Dude this weekend. Dark Horse will publish an oversize collection of the newspaper strips next month. This was Steve Rude’s baby, and although I wrote the scripts, he rewrote them. Dark Horse also contracted for a new series which I wrote, but Steve rewrote those as well. Thus I will be publishing a separate Nexus mini-series through Splatto Comics, the first of which will appear toward the end of this year. This three issue series is like nothing you’ve ever seen and finds Nexus on a quest to rescue telepathic triplets who have been kidnapped by criminals to transmit numbers across interstellar space.
Chris: Is being independent still a better situation than working or DC or Marvel, or do you ever miss it?
Mike: I have always preferred to write my own creations, but I won’t write anything unless I feel I can grab that poor reader by the throat. As Samuel Fuller said, “If a story doesn’t give you a hard-on in the first couple of scenes, throw it in the garbage.”
Chris: I hear you have another project coming up after this, less of a fantasy adventure and more situational comedy. What can you tell us about Florida Man?
Mike: Yes, I’m currently working on Florida Man 2, about Gary Duba’s excessive search for a giant feral hog. It’s kinda like Moby Dick. When we first meet Gary, he’s having a bad day. There’s a snake in his toilet, a rabid raccoon in the yard, and his girl Krystal is in jail for getting naked at a Waffle House and licking the manager. Along with his best friend, Floyd, Gary sets out to sell his prized Barry Bonds rookie card to raise the five hundred needed for bail. That’s when things begin to get out of hand.
Bad sex. Cocaine. Transvestite hookers. Alligators. Iguanas. Serial killers. Florida Man started life as a comic book, but when I finished the final script, I realized we had an outline for a full novel. So I wrote the novel and sold it within a week. The book is a crazy ride that follows the living embodiment of every “Florida Man” story I’ve ever heard and then some. It’s full of laughs, but has heart.
Chris: Very excited for that too! I hear you’re working on a comic adaptation of that story. Anything else you can add?
Mike: There must be no limits on the human imagination.
Chris: Agreed. Thanks for chatting with us, Mike!
by Mark Pellegrini & Timothy Lim
Kamen America tells the story of Charlotte “Carly” Vanders, a seamstress from Indiana who aspires to become a fashionista someday. She pursues all possible venues to make her dream come true, including joining the USO as a costume designer, dancer, and entertainer. It’s easier said than done, however, and Carly grows more and more frustrated as her goals become seemingly unattainable and her role remains unnoticed. Then one day she gets caught up in an accident that gives her cosmic powers! I spoke with artist Tim Lim about the project.
Check out the campaign page here!
John: Tim, 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 graphic novel, Kamen America, which is still live on KickStarter.
Tim : Thank you! Mark Pellegrini and I are thrilled to be back in the crowdfunding game for what is our 9th book since 2017!
John: Before we get started can you catch us up on any changes that may have happened since we interviewed you for the for Trump’s Space Force?
Tim: Not much has changed: 2019 was a great year for us. We worked on Wall-Might: First Term, Part II, Soulfinder: Demon’s Match (I did the art and Mark was part of an editorial process to look at Doug Ernst’s initial script), and Black Hops 2: Hare Trigger. Wall-Might was optioned by Antarctic Press later that year, and at the time of this writing, Hare Trigger will be going to stores sometime in March. We are hoping that our reputation for delivering quality books on time, as promised, will continue to hold as we produce more graphic novels.
John: Without sharing any spoilers, what can you tell us about KAMEN AMERICA?
Tim : KAMEN AMERICA is a creative culmination of many ideas we fostered over the last 2 years. It has a splash of comedic elements, action that one would expect from an anime or tokusatsu show, and a definite moral message that we hope resonates with the audience as it’s something personal to us in our development as creators. KAMEN AMERICA, at its core, is the story of a girl-next-door who has big dreams. One day, she’s caught up in an accident that gives her cosmic powers and she’s overwhelmed as to what to do with them. Does she serve herself? Does she establish a brand? And what do you do when suddenly everyone wants to capitalize on her stardom and she’s given the most asinine advice antithetical to what she stands for, even if it means big bucks?
John: Can you tell us what sets KAMEN AMERICA apart from your other Indie Comics Projects? This one seems to be inspired by Japanese Tokusatsu, can you get into the specifics of that?
Tim : Tokusatsu is a genre that is the hallmark of a lot of Japanese television, with a focus on flashy characters, giant monsters, and special effects. Most notably grouped with this are kaiju and sentai shows, with some overlap inbetween (Kamen Rider and Ultraman, to name two examples). I think what separates KAMEN AMERICA from other independent titles is that even thought the visuals make it look like it is a superhero book, the things that will make it enjoyable are the elements that are not directly dependent on superheroics to work, such as character interaction, theme, and the strange situations that our protagonist find herself in. Some people really love the look of the character and have backed our book on that aesthetic alone, and we hope that they’re pleasantly surprised when they find a story that is not just a pretty face.
John: KAMEN AMERICA seems like she’s primed for a number of crossovers. Not just with some of your other projects, but the works of other creators as well. One in particular that comes to mind is Ron Z’s Patriotika. Do you know Ron, and is that something you are open to doing?
Tim: Ron and I corresponded some time ago, and I was supposed to do work for him for both Patriotika and Valkyrie Saviors. Due to some of my political associations, those collaborations fell through although I wish him the best, and he’s been very successful on his titles. For our crossovers, we will pretty much stick to working with our personal friends in the Antarctic Press sphere, namely Brian Ball, Trent Luther, Luigi Teruel on RAGS and Bill Williams and Matthew Weldon on PUNCHLINE.
John: Are you currently reading any mainstream or indie comics?
Tim: Not much. I try to support and pick up my friends’ projects, specifically PUNCHLINE, RAGS, and FLYING SPARKS, and a few isolated mainstream titles like Batman: Curse of the White Knight, but I don’t currently pick up any other ongoing titles by the mainstream. I mostly focus on finding good manga to check out.
John: Tell me KAMEN AMERICA mean to you. What about it made it a story you want to tell?
Tim: KAMEN AMERICA actually is very personal to Mark and I due to a theme that we have contended with over the last 3 years, and we managed to find an outlet for it in storytelling that I think sensible people will empathize with. One thing that I’ve stated many times is that I never pick up a book with a female protagonist that is billed as “strong and independent.” It is a cliche term that doesn’t tell me anything about the character, and I think it’s demeaning towards women. The women I’ve known in my life are strong and independent as a default, so it’s like describing a male protagonist as “an autonomous dude.” When people ask me to describe Carly Vanders, I can confidently say that she’s, above all things, kind. She is good-hearted, wholesome, and down to Earth, but she struggles with balancing her sense of purpose with her set of principles. She isn’t the brightest bulb, but she is resourceful and plucky, and I’m very excited to see if she can win over the hearts of our readers!
John: I like her already! Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
Tim: KAMEN AMERICA is 100% finished and at the printers, so you are essentially pre-ordering the book. We expect one of our most rapid fulfillments to date, taking place immediately once our funds are transferred!
John: Once again Tim , 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.
Tim: Thanks John, I look forward to it!
SHARK OF WAR #1
by Ben Lacy
It’s Jaws if the shark were the hero. It’s Robocop if the cop were a shark. After a massive bioengineered shark escapes a secret military lab, he makes himself the law of the sea. Able to fly, bullet proof, and armed with guns and teeth, he cuts a swath thru the bad guys. But the Mob and the evil scientist who created him have a plan to stop him -- make even more dangerous creatures.
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Shark of War #1? Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.
Ben Lacy: Shark of War is Jaws if the shark were the hero. It’s Robocop if the cop were a shark. When an injured great white shark is brought to a secret naval research facility, the scientists increase his intelligence, peel back his skin to install body armor, and mount jets engines on him powered by the oil his own body produces when he eats his foes.
But he escapes after an act of sabotage. Preprogrammed to enforce U.S law, he does so with maximum force, devouring wrongdoers all around the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing can stop him, until the Mob hires the scientist who created him to build even more dangerous creatures.
Chris: Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to tell this story and how long you’ve been working on this?
Ben: I’d long noticed how popular stories about sharks were, but after Jaws, I think there’s a big drop off in quality. I wondered if I could come up with something new. So I started to think about a shark who would be the POV character and wouldn’t be stuck in the water (or need random tornados).
I’m an engineer in my day job and have worked on hydrogen fuel cells and gas turbines. So I began to come up with a concept where the shark would be jet powered, and the humans he ate would be converted into the fuel for his engines. One of the extras I’m adding to the digital edition is an article about the science behind the sci-fi.
Chris: Tell us why you felt this should be told in comic book form. Are you a fan of the medium? And if so, what are your comic influences?
Ben: I originally planned this as a short story, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there would be nothing more striking than seeing a shark fly out of the water and biting someone in half.
I’ve been a fan of comic books since I was a kid. I was just getting out of college in the 80’s when so many of the now classic ‘literary’ comics began coming out like Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, and Sandman. Even traditional superhero comics were going beyond what we’d seen before with the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, Secret Wars, and even lesser known stuff such as Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme. My big influences are writers like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Peter David, and more recently, Kurt Busiek.
Chris: What are some similar comics readers may be familiar with that will find Shark of War appealing?
Ben: Beyond Jaws and Robocop, I think fans of Judge Dredd will appreciate the dark humor and offbeat hero. Fans of other loner anti-heroes such as the Punisher, early Wolverine, Lobo, and Peter David’s Gray Hulk should enjoy reading about a very shades of gray kind of hero.
Chris: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators (if any) have contributed to this volume?
Ben: I wrote it and did all of the artwork. I didn’t know any artists when I started, but I’ve always been good with computers so I’ve spent the last year or more learning about art and creating what was needed to bring my vision to life. I did finally realize that my lettering wasn’t cutting it and I brought in Nikki Powers to do the lettering. One of the critical things is to make it clear for the reader when we’re hearing the shark’s thoughts, and when we’re hearing from the artificial intelligence that’s been implanted in him to try and maintain control over him. Nikki utilized different fonts and background colors to accomplish this.
Chris: What else can you share about the project? And are you already working on the next issue?
Ben: Issue #1 of Shark of War is not just an origin story, but a cram-packed full-of-action start to his larger story. I’ve planned it as a five issue arc. I’ve finished the script for the entire five issue arc. So I hope to start in on the artwork for issue 2 as soon as the Kickstarter is over.
Chris: Thanks for chatting with us Ben! Good luck and we are rooting for you! Do you have any final words for our readers?
Ben: Thank you Chris. I’d like to ask that your readers go to SharkofWar.BitingComics.com and check out the Kickstarter. They can download a free 20 page ashcan edition to sample it. All our backers get their name in the book and a backer exclusive animated Gif. All physical backers will also get a 6”x10” art print of our the shocking last page villain reveal.
That’s it for this installment! Remember to support indie comics!!!
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