Indie Comics Showcase #79: Golden Age Heroes, Bigfoot & Family

 

 

Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase!The weekly blog where we try to spotlight and signal boost indie comics that are currently underway with crowdfunding campaigns, are crowdsourcing their funding in some way, or just completely self-publishing on their own. 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.

 

On Indie Comics Showcase interview the 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!

 

Thanks for checking these out and for being the best part of Indie Comics Showcase. Let’s jump in!

 

DYNAMITE THOR
by Jon Del Arroz

 

Peter Thor is a no-bid demolition contractor helping with the reconstruction of Iraq. He must navigate a powder-keg situation filled with terrorists, secret cabals, and ancient monsters. Thor’s inherited the power of immunity to explosives, keeping him safe from bombs, and also giving him the uncanny ability to propel himself through the air in flight using the force of blasts! Fans of classic superhero comics and whacky indie books will love this book!

Check out the campaign page here!

 

 

Bleeding Fool: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Dynamite Thor? Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on the character.

Jon Del Arroz: The Most EXPLOSIVE superhero out there! Take Megumi from Konosuba and mix her with Superman, throw both of them into postwar Iraq with a bunch of terrorists!

 

BF: Can you let us in on what inspired you to tell this story and how long you’ve been working on this particular project?

JDA: I’ve been perusing Public Domain superheroes from the 1940s-1950s for a long time now, and Dynamite Thor has always stuck with me both because the concept of a character who’s immune to explosives is so ridiculous and makes for such great visuals, but also because someone wrote an article about him saying he wouldn’t work in modern times — I took that as a challenge. I’ve been trying to get a Dynamite Thor book going since about 2012, and fortunately last year I met artist Donald Kent who has a big passion for these classic golden age heroes for a good match! We made a new twist on the character and made him our own.

 

 

BF: What is unique about this project compared to your other crowdfund and comics projects?

JDA: This being a Golden Age character is pretty different! It’s also a big risk. So many people want new, but my goal is really to make comics great again, and that’s both in preserving and rediscovering culture of the past and creating new stories which have a real sense of heroism and fun.

 

 

BF: What are some similar comics in the mainstream that some readers may be familiar with if they don’t do a lot of indie reading?

JDA: I don’t see anything like this in the mainstream! Full-self-contained stories, characters that change and develop, you don’t get this much from modern superhero comics. Maybe the 80s you had greats like Tom DeFalco or Chuck Dixon doing this kind of work, but there’s not a lot of modern superheroes in the indie sphere at all, let alone like Dynamite Thor.

 

 

BF: Tell us a bit about your creative team. How did you and Donald Kent hook up and how does the creative process work with you guys?

JDA: I found Donald on a public domain superheroes Facebook group. We hit it off because of our interest in Golden Age comics and I pitched him a few ideas but this was the one I really wanted him to draw — and I scripted the first act of the Dynamite Thor book within a few days. He added so many cool little details I didn’t even consider into the drawings. Lots of background Easter eggs which are super fun. I always do a dialogue edit after seeing art to make it flow and match better with what’s drawn so we went from there.

 

 

BF: How did you first discover this character, and do you include any Easter eggs or homages to its creator Wright Lincoln?

JDA: Just from perusing public domain superheroes as mentioned. We have a flashback scene which references one of the original stories and one of the moments in those comics that stuck out for me because it was so fun. Doing research though — I have no idea who Wright Lincoln was! I’ve seen two credits — this book, and another book about Thor the Norse God, but that appears to be done by a different artist. I think Wright Lincoln might have been a “house pen name” for Fox Comics but haven’t been able to verify anything. A true mystery, which is what intrigues me about Dynamite Thor even more.

 

 

BF: Intriguing.  Any last words you wish to share with our readers about this project?

JDA: Yes! We’re bringing fun and have a great track record having fulfilled 5 crowdfunds in the last 2 years already. The goal is to publish quarterly graphic novels — the equivalent of monthly books — to our readers so that perform as a comic competitor in the industry. Another cool part of Dynamite Thor I wanted to mention was that my colorist is going through and restoring all of the original Dynamite Thor stories from 1951. He is digitally reconstructing the comics so they look crisp and sharp and will give readers a great experience for those classic Golden Age stories to be a companion to our new stories. I just think this is such a cool thing and haven’t seen this done before!

BF: Awesome ~ good luck with this project, Jon!  

 

 

 

Check out Dynamite Thor here!

 

Include their Twitter tags at the end of each interview

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BIGFOOT BILL 2
by Doug TenNapel

 

Continuing the epic tale of a Bigfoot who stole Poseidon’s finger to wear The Kraken and find his family, in Bigfoot Bill 2, Bill uses the Kraken to take over a motorcycle, take a short-cut through Hades and try to keep Poseidon from flooding the Earth!  Creator Doug TenNapel, who is also the creator of characters like Earthworm JimThe Neverhood and Nickelodeon’s Catscratch, has written and drawn over 20 graphic novels and he’s excited to make you fan of these great stories! 

Here’s a glimpse of this newest adventure!

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

Bleeding Fool: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for Bigfoot Bill? Briefly tell our readers who missed your first campaign what it’s about and give us some background on the character.

Doug TenNapel: Bigfoot Bill is a hero who doesn’t know it yet. The first book introduces him as just another crypto-zoological creature being held in a government facility, but he has this deep suspicion that he has a family somewhere outside in the real world. He has a heart that doesn’t seem to be present in his fellow crypto-zoological inmates. So he stole the finger of Poseidon which gives him authority over the Kraken which he wears as a super suit to break out of the Crypto-Zone.

 

BF: How long have you been developing this project?

DT: It wasn’t always going to be a comic book, I originally pitched him to Dreamworks television around 2013. The initial Kraken and finger of Poseidon powers were on him, and I had already created the Chupacabra, Judgy the unicorn, John Locke Ness and Agent Beckner characters in that pitch. But I didn’t really figure out the epic until a few years later when I decided to make the comic.

 

 

BF: Your first crowdfunding campaign for BB was a massive success! Was that the genesis for doing a new installment?

DT: I wrote that first book, I made a super arc that could make 3 books or 5 books. I didn’t just want to make a little stand-alone story probably because of all the world-building at the time with Marvel and Star Wars. Plus I had written the second script before the first book even went to print. I really loved this second script and was looking forward to making it when the Earthworm Jim graphic novel rights fell in my lap!

 

 

BF: What are some similar comics in the mainstream that some readers may be familiar with if they don’t do a lot of indie reading?

DT: There are no similar comics I’m aware of. That’s the whole point of my work is to make what I wish existed! I take a lot of inspiration from Hellboy in that you have secret agencies, odd-ball characters and a broad soap opera of a plot that involves saving the world. That’s about as close as I can think of.

 

 

BF: Where are we now in the BB story?

DT: In the first book, BFB escaped the Crypto-Zone but unleashed a mess on the streets of LA. The Mothman escaped, who is a truly evil monster. Poseidon also escaped, and he’s a Greek god who hates the humans who conspired to put him in a cage that he will flood the earth if he can get to the Pacific Ocean. We find Bigfoot Bill sleeping on Agent Beckner’s house, and his newly discovered girlfriend gets kidnapped by the General in charge of the Crypto Zone and a mysterious one-eyed bounty hunter.

 

BF: Any chance for people who missed the first installment to get caught up without having to spend $50 – $100 to get the first book?

DT: No chance. It would be cheaper for the backer and more profitable for me to make a digital PDF of the first story, but I’m committed to the hard bound books as part of the art form of my work. I mean, you could read the second book without having gotten the first book because I try to make these as stand-alone of a story as possible. But there are really important moments set up in the first book that pay off in the final book of the series years from now.

 

 

BF: Tell us a bit about your creative team. I see a beautiful cover by Sean Gordon Murphy of Batman: White Knight on the campaign page. How did you guys end up collaborating?

DT: We’ve known each other for about 15 years, I met him at a few cons and book store signings. He is a huge Earthworm Jim fan and I flat out marvel at his artwork! We talk back and forth over the phone or email just about life stuff more than comics. He knows a lot about sitting at a table and drawing from bigger things in life than just capes. I’m a big fan of his indie work, and I think every panel he draws makes me wonder what is driving him. He sent me an original page of White Knight and I keep it tacked to my art wall above my desk to keep me thinking outside of myself.

 

 

BF: You created another, very well known character some years ago, Earthworm Jim. And your campaign for that revival also was a big success. Tell us about that project and some of the new developments for EWJ.

DT: I just finished the note cards for book two of EWJ and like Bigfoot Bill, the epic can really take off once the ground work of the first book is set! The first book set the record on Indiegogo for the biggest comic raise, and I feel about as secure of a foundation as one can expect from crowd funding. It helps my team to make even better work on these second books. I’ll be writing the script for EWJ 2 in March and start drawing in April, God willing.

 

 

BF: Thanks for chatting with us again, Doug! Any last word you wish to share with our readers about this project?

DT: If you trust me with some backing, my goal is for you to open the shipping box and say, “Wow!” That’s what we’re doing.

 

Check out Bigfoot Bill 2 here!

 

 

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BLESS THIS MESS
by Mike S. Miller

 

Bless this Mess: The Comic Strip is about a family of 7 in San Diego and their hilarious misadventures in life. Mike S. Miller, who made a name for himself on DC Comics’ Injustice Gods Among us series, and his own Lonestar: Heart of a Hero, started Bless This Mess a few years ago which he initially based on his son Micah, and the angel and devil he hangs out with who give him advice and take him on misadventures. However it quickly evolved into a strip about Mike’s whole family, leaving the angel and devil sidekicks behind.

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

Bleeding Fool: Mike, welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase on Bleeding Fool. Let’s jump right in and tell us about “Bless This Mess” your latest project.

Mike S. Miller: Bless this Mess is about the misadventures of a family of 7 trying to survive coexistence. It’s Calvin and Hobbes meets 8 is Enough. How it came to be was that I was previously working on a comic strip called AFAR, which was intended to be a universal gospel story. A Calvin and Hobbes inspired comic strip telling the Gospel without words, for any audience on earth to understand. My literary agent loved it, but thought I should try and do a more ‘inclusive’ strip to try and get syndicated. There’s apparently a lot of money in syndication if you can get in with the right papers. So I devised ‘No, Micah, No’, a sort of CnH style story where my son Micah was the star (because he reminds me so much of Calvin…) and he was interacting with an angel and a devil who would play with him and get him in and out of trouble. But soon the family members started becoming more of the strip, and I quickly ditched the angel and devil bits for a straight up family comic. I had so much material to work with from all the goofy stuff that happens in our house, that I just sat down and got going.

 

BF: How long have you been developing this project?

MM: I worked on it for about a year before I got too busy doing other things. The strip was syndicated in Scandinavia, but never got traction in the USA, so I just let it slide. But not before I had 200+ strips done, and they’ve just been sitting there ever since. So unless I decide to add some strips, the whole book is already finished.

 

BF: That’s pretty cool. You’ve experienced some great success with your Lonestar comic crowdfund projects! But this is a little different. Do you expect it to have the same appeal, or is this targeted at a different audience?

MM: Totally different audience. Lonestar and Blacklist Universe titles are superheroes, they’re full color, action, adventure, etc. Bless this Mess is just a quirky little strip about my goofy family. It’s not the same target AT ALL, but it’s something that everyone who has ever had a family can relate to. So while it does have wider appeal, I think it’s a harder sell to my usual customer.

 

 

BF: Do you have any way of knowing if Bill Watterson is aware of this project or do you plan to include him in any way?

MM: Bill Watterson is kind of a hermit and I doubt he even has a computer. I met a lady once who lives in his town, and that’s a small town of about 5-6K people. She said nobody ever sees him. And he’s not interested in what other people are doing with CnH. He never wants to see it licensed as anything other than his comic strip collections. So I gotta doubt he’s got any clue Bless this Mess exists. As to including him… I wish!

 

 

BF: Calvin & Hobbes creator, Bill Watterson, said he believes a work of art should reflect the ideas and beliefs of its creator. Does that apply to “Bless This Mess” and if so, how do you think it does this?

MM: Absolutely. It’s my life, my family. Things I teach my kids, things we’ve done and experienced together. Mistakes we’ve made, ways we’ve dealt with them. And I try to make as many of the strips laugh out loud funny as possible!

 

 

BF: Tell us about some of the unique tiers for this project? You’ve got one in particular for people that actually want to READ the book and not worry about after market value or collectability. Tell us about it.

MM: My Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County books are beat to crap. Those are reader copies, and that’s what I want people to do with this book. Read it. Share it. Read it again. Dog-ear the pages they like. Heck, color pages they like if they want! I offer the ‘reader copy’ at the baseline price of $20 so it’s affordable and in line with the price you’d pay for such a book at the bookstore. I have ‘Keepsake’ and ‘Hardback’ and ‘Original Sketch’ covers for those who have differing degrees of collectability desires. Even a family pack for those who want to hand them out as gifts. And a ‘For the Kids’ tier which allows you to buy copies AT COST which I will deliver AT MY COST to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital here in San Diego. Lots of fun tiers for people to check out for every budget.

 

 

BF: Tell us a bit about your creative team. Is this a solo project or are you collaborating with others? I see Doug TenNapel is contributing a script. Tell us about that.

MM: The creative team for Bless this Mess is just me. Writing, penciling, inking, lettering. I’ll probably put it together in in-design myself too. lol. I did open up the offer to some friends to see who might like to add a page of their own ‘Bless this Mess’ stories from their families, and Doug TenNapel (Earthworm Jim) was the first to bite. He drew his comic strip live on my YouTube channel underdogmike. Matthew Weldon is also doing one, as are Kevin Sharpe, Gary Shipman, Eric Ninaltowski, and hopefully a few more. That will bump the page count up, and should be a nice bonus for readers.

 

 

BF: What are the chances we’ll see more projects like this from you?

MM: Well, if possible I’d like to finish the AFAR strip. But that all depends on how well BtM does. I have so many other projects that are more in line with my brand that I need to get done, and only so many days in a year. So we’ll have to wait and see. It would be phenomenal to get that strip done and published though, as it could be a ministry to every corner of the earth for anyone who can or can’t even read.

BF: Thanks for chatting with us again, Mike! Any last word you wish to share with our readers about this project?

MM: Just that I love this book. I had so much fun creating these strips, and while I do really wish they had taken off and been syndicated in more places, it just wasn’t meant to be. But I think what is there is special. I think everyone would find something like this in their lives. Something they can funnel their time and energy into that brings joy to themselves and those around them the way Bless this Mess has for me and my friends and family who have enjoyed it. God bless your mess!

Check out the Bless This Mess campaign page here!

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That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!

 


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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