Indie Comics Showcase #82 Red Scorpion, Rave Dragon & Bardic Fury

 
Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase! Our 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!

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Crimson Scorpion
by David Furr

 

While serving as a guide to the U.S. Special Forces on a mission to  Egypt, Professor Samuel Kocian finds himself mysteriously transformed  into the Crimson Scorpion — a mythical warrior with powers he neither  understands nor fully controls.   Ambushed by terrorists, targeted by  super assassins, and pitted against costumed crusaders, volume one of  Crimson Scorpion takes our hero on a journey of non-stop action and  adventure, all told and drawn in a classic comic book style.

The Crimson Scorpion first appeared in issues #1 through 6 of  Exciting Comics volume 2 published by Antarctic Press.  Now, for the  first time, these adventures are compiled into a single, 72 page trade  containing seven chapters covering three story arcs.  The graphic novel  features art by Joseph Olesco and Salvatore Cuffari with colors by  Shannon and Gerilou Smith, and script by David Furr.

 

Check out the campaign here!

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

David Furr:  Crimson Scorpion is a fresh look at the “every man” superhero that shows just how difficult it would be to adapt to the hero’s calling. Think about it, if you suddenly got super powers would you really know how to be a hero, even if situations demanded it? Professor Samuel Kocian definitely doesn’t.  Given powers he doesn’t understand and being forced to confront a mass of threats (such as global terrorists, super assassins and costumed vigilantes), he’s having to learn to be a hero the hard way. 
 
 
 


CB: Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to tell this story and how long you’ve been working on this?

DF: In 2018 I was working with Antarctic Press to help them get Exciting Comics off the ground.  Exciting Comics was intended for mostly public domain heroes, but also for original heroes with a classic feel.  I wanted to help them fill their lineup with some solid stories, so I started working on my own contribution.  Originally, I was going to create a spin-off character from the public domain Blue Beetle, but ended up going a different direction and creating something wholly original; the Crimson Scorpion.  Still, Crimson Scorpion was inspired by those golden age heroes like Blue Beetle, Black Terror, and many others.     

CB: Tell us why you felt this should be told in comic book form. Are you a fan of the medium? If so, what are some comics that made an impact on you?

DF: I grew up reading a lot of classic comics and basically fell in love with the media ever since.  I’ve always wanted to do visual story telling.  My childhood dream was to make movies, but as an adult I found comic books a more rewarding and practical way to realize the visual story-telling dream.

 

CB: What are some similar comics readers may be familiar with that will find Crimson Scorpion appealing?

DF: Probably the closest I could say is Spider-Man.  Like Peter Parker, Samuel Kocian is a smart, educated academic but otherwise a completely normal guy.  The big difference between Peter Parker and Samuel Kocian is that Kocian doesn’t have Parker’s confidence.  In the Spider-Man books Parker started as an awkward, unconfident teen who found his confidence when he became Spider-Man, but Kocian is uneasy with his abilities and this only adds to his uncertainty. He also doesn’t always win the confrontations.  I like this aspect of my character because I feel it keeps him relatable and adds to tension.  As the reader, you can’t be guaranteed he will always triumph over evil.

 

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

DF: The primary artist is Joseph Olesco.  I started working with Salvatore Cuffari who drew the first chapter in issue one of Exciting Comics.  Salvatore Cuffari was great to work with, and is very talented, but his schedule didn’t allow him to continue.  Joseph has also been great to work with and has retained a passion for the project.  He’s been with us every since issue two of Exciting and has contributed a total of 84 pages to the Crimson Scorpion legacy thus far with more to come.  The colorists Shannon and Gerilou Smith are longtime friends.  We’ve helped each other grow as creators.  Shannon even contributed one of the villains, Agent Chambers, who shows up in issues #3 and 4 of Exciting Comics.

 

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

DF: Our campaign is scheduled to end on April 14, so I hope everyone will check it out. Crimson Scorpion is an action based tale about ordinary people forced into superhuman conflict.  It’s light, it’s fun, and it’s fast paced.  If this sounds like the kind of super hero comic you want to read, check us out!

 

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

 
DF: Thanks for giving me an opportunity to talk about my project.
 

Learn more about this campaign here!

 

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Code 45
by Benjamin Hunting

 

Code 45 is a 5-issue graphic novel about Vanessa, a subway driver in Montreal who hears rumors that there are ‘dragons’ in the tunnels, monstrous apparitions that seemingly defy any explanation.  Her co-workers are terrified of working nights because of what they’ve seen, and so a large number of them self-medicate to get through their shifts without giving in to fear and anxiety. Gradually, it’s become impossible for them to tell what’s real, and what’s a hallucination brought on by their drug use.

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Thanks for appearing on Indie Comics Showcase! Let’s get right into it, what is Code 45 about?

Benjamin Hunting: Vanessa is a young subway driver who begins to question her sanity as she stumbles upon a hidden world of dark secrets and even darker forces deep in the subterranean tunnels of Montreal. The mysterious apparitions and malevolent monsters she encounters may or may not be real, but the blaring ‘CODE 45’ alert signaling another body found in the substations certainly is. Dragons, drugs, and the underground rave scene blend into a parallel reality as Vanessa struggles to uncover the truths buried beneath the city streets and hidden by the branches of her own family tree. CODE 45 is an urban Pan’s Labyrinth meets A Scanner Darkly on the dancefloor.

 

 

CB: Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to tell this story and how long you’ve been working on this?

BH: The story grew out of my desire to talk about mental health, explore the subjective nature of reality, and showcase Montreal, which as a city is under-represented in most media. The metro system is so unique here that tying it in with the equally-underground world of rave culture felt like a perfect fit, and also allowed me to use my own experience in the music scene as a source of inspiration. We’ve been working on the project directly for the last two years, but I’ve had the idea burning a hole in my brain for close to a decade now. The concept of how can you tell what’s real, and what’s not, and is it the same for the person standing beside you, has always been a fascinating one for me.

 

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

BH: So much of the narrative of Code 45 is strengthened by the use of a visual medium like comics. It’s one thing to describe a terrifying hallucination, a throbbing dance floor concealed in an abandoned subway tunnel, or the gradual disconnect between reality and fantasy, and it’s quite another to have an artist like Joe Ng and a colorist like Josh Perez show you exactly what all of that looks like. I am a huge fan of comics, and I realized that this story would have a much greater impact if I could show, rather than tell.

 

 

CB: What are some similar comics readers may be familiar with that will find Code 45 appealing?

BH: In terms of concept, you could find similarities between Code 45 and the work of Terry Moore (Motor Girl), Saucer Country (Paul Cornell, Ryan Kelly), and Wayward (Jim Zub, Steven Cummings).

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

BH: Our artist, Joe Ng, has worked with the Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Street Fighter franchises for publishers like Udon Entertainment and Devil’s Due Publishing. He’s also worked on a long list of video game properties (Soul Caliber, Dark Stalkers, ARMS, Overwatch). Our colorist, Josh Perez, is best known for his work on Transformers, Street Fighter, and Mega Man, while our graphic designer and letterer Angela Hodge has previously illustrated children’s books for Cornucopia Books and currently works in 3D modeling.

 

 

CB: Your Kickstarter funded pretty quickly and the book was picked up by an indie publisher. Tell us about that. Do you have a lot of KS experience?

BH: Code 45 is a first-time creator-owned project for Hodge, Ng, and myself. It was also our first Kickstarter experience. We pitched the book to Scout Comics at the end of 2019, and only looked at Kickstarter after we had signed a publishing agreement with them as a way of financing the art costs associated with the series. We had Issue 1 in the bag, and with Joe busy drawing Issue 2, I went to Kickstarter college and crammed for a month solid learning the ins and outs of how to run a campaign, with a big assist from Angela on the graphic design of the page as well as our Kickstarter rewards. It’s honestly one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done in my decade-plus career of being a writer.

 

I wish I had started my Kickstarter research six months beforehand, because the biggest challenge is building an audience that will be interested in supporting you past your friends and family. I fortunately have experience building social media followings for past writing projects outside the comics world, and I leaned heavily on Facebook advertising to help draw attention to our project. I also decided to be completely transparent about what it was like to create a comic book for the first time, and blog about the experience in my own site (http://benjaminhunting.com/category/comics/). The response to that ‘look behind the curtain’ has been overwhelmingly positive, and went a long way towards building a community around Code 45 that was willing to share the project with their own friends with the same level of passion.

 

 

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

BH: The Kickstarter ends 8 am EST on April 3 – so there is still plenty of time to snag an issue. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reception that Code 45 has had both on Kickstarter and also with the people who have reached out to us to support what we’re doing. We’re very grateful that the world is interested in hearing stories like ours about people you might not always see on the comic book page, talking about things you don’t often encounter in mainstream media, in places that aren’t usually in the spotlight.

 

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

BH: Thank you! 

Check out the campaign here!

 

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Oi! Tales of Bardic Fury: Book 3
by Daniel de Sosa

Oi! Tales of Bardic Fury is a historical fantasy comic set in Iron Age Ireland that tells the story of Bryan the bard. Before graduating from the great Bardic College in Tara, Bryan must complete a one year work placement in a tiny coastal village in the north called Oi. When he arrives, he is shocked to learn the village never heard music before. After a rocky start in his first show, Bryan eventually finds his footing in town as a performer and befriends the mysterious and chaotic townspeople including the mushroom-addled oversight of Star Seal the town druid. Bryan even starts a band with Servius the Roman slave, Aideen the hurling captain and her little sister Rhiannon the selkie. As music and songs began to spread through Oi, the villagers became happier and more prosperous.

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: What is the ‘elevator pitch’ for  Oi! TALES OF BARDIC FURY? Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.
 
Daniel de Sosa: Oi! is my historic fantasy comic about Bryan the Bard who gets sent to a town in Iron Age Ireland that never heard music before. At comic-cons I tell people it is like Scott Pilgrim meets Asterix. RIP Uderzo.
 
 
 
 
CB: Can you let us in on who or what inspired you to tell this story and how long you’ve been working on this?
 
DdS: I was inspired to tell this story because in all the fantasy fiction I read growing up, bards were always mocked and made fun of, and generally the butt of jokes. When I played D’n’D with my friends, no one ever wanted to be a bard. In real life bards were awesome. Their poems and satires had the power to make kings step down. I wanted to tell a story that did bards justice.
 
I started this writing and drawing this story in 2013 and published the first volume after successfully funding it as a Kickstarter. After foolishly signing it away with a small indie publisher that did nothing with it, it took me two years to successfully regain the rights. By the time I did, I was already working on other comic projects and was unable to get back to doing Oi, but the story and characters always stuck with me. Oi! is the story closest to my soul and I’m grateful that I was able to get back to working on it last year with Oi! Book 2: SOLSTICE. I’ve been working on this story and thinking about these characters for over 7 years now.
 
 
 
CB: Tell us why you felt this should be told in comic book form. Are you a fan of the medium?
 
DdS: I love comics and believe that comics are the most effective form of visual storytelling there is. The combination of words and pictures to tell stories has been going on for thousands of years and I’m proud to carry on the tradition by making more. Super hero comics, underground indiecomics, 4 panel instagram meme comics, manga, euro-comics, I’m a fan of all of it.
 
 

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

 
DdS:  Frank Miller, Kauru Mori and Yoshihiro Togashi are my comic idols. Love and Rockets, shonen manga like Hunter x Hunter, Otoyomegatari, Sky Doll, Bone, Elfquest and Asterix and Obelix comics are a big inspiration for the story telling and art style in Oi. If you are a fan of music and bad ass rock stars and hippy cult leader druids, as well as tabletop roleplaying games, you will be in to this comic.
 


CB
: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators (if any) have contributed to this volume?
 
DdS: I am the writer, artist, inker, letterer, and book designer. A few of my friends and webcomic artist friends help me edit. This, as well as printing in black and white allows me to keep production costs low so I can keep making new pages and telling the story. An art gallery featuring some of the best fan art Oi readers have sent in of the new Banshee Vale characters will be included in the back.
 
 
 
CB: Do readers need to have picked up the first two issues to get caught up? Are those offered on the IGG page?
 
DdS: Yes it helps if you are caught up with the story and know the characters. New readers can find Oi! Tales of Bardic Fury on Webtoons and Tapas so they can be caught up with the story. I also have the previous two volumes of the book available on my indiegogo page. Oi Volume 1 is 136 pages and Oi Book 2: SOLSTICE is 76 pages, so these are some pretty decent sized comics you’re getting.
 
 
 
CB: What else can you share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?
 
DdS: Thank you Bleeding Fool for supporting independent cartoonists like me. Times are a bit crazy right now, and I hope that my comic can offer some fun entertainment and light escapism. If you think bards are awesome, back this comic on Indiegogo!  I am grateful to everyone who supports this project and allows me to continue telling the story of Bryan the bard and appreciate it. Stay safe and healthy!

Check out the campaign here & the shop 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