Welcome back to another installment of Indie Comics Showcase, the weekly blog where we signal boost a few truly independent comics that are currently crowdfunding their projects, crowdsourcing their funding in some way, or just completely self-publishing on their own. Every little bit of support for these creators matters, from a single dollar pledge to the twenty-five dollar bundle, and of course the higher tiers are usually fun too! Even if you can’t back a campaign or buy a book, you can share or tweet about these projects to your friends and followers.
MAINFRAME IS WATCHING
By Annas Eskander & Timothy Green II
A cyberpunk comic series set in a 23rd century world of bio-implants and intrusive surveillance.
On Indie Comics Showcase, we interview the creators, show off some art, and tell you how you can check out the product for yourself. Below 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!
John: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase! Thanks for being a part of ICS Annas and Timothy. I’m so happy to be discussing your Indie Comic EYVA ISSUE 1: MAINFRAME IS WATCHING with you today!
Annas: Thank you, John, for inviting us to be a part of Indie Comics Showcase..
Timothy: Yes, thank you for having us.
John: Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Annas: Well, I’m a fashion designer by trade. I’ve been working in the fashion industry for 15 years, so I’m familiar with developing CADs using Adobe Illustrator. As well as fashion, I’ve always had an interest in creative writing and attended the Metropolitan Film School in London, back in 2012, to get back into writing screenplays for film and TV.
Timothy: I’ve worked in the comic book industry for over 15 years now. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse comics. I got my start with DC doing books like Rush City, Red Hood, and Swamp Thing. I then jumped over to Dark Horse to work on Aeon Flux before Doing the Star-Lord Annihilation Conquest series. I feel very lucky to have been able to draw so many characters I grew up with.
John: Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about EYVA?
Annas: EYVA is set in a post-apocalyptic 23rd century where social media becomes an intrusive governing body as a countermeasure to cyber and bio-terrorism. Mainframe’s policies don’t allow much room for individual thought, expression or goals. This is where Eyva comes in. As a bio-engineer, she’s got her own agenda in the lab and this comes into direct conflict with Mainframe and its pursuit of technological supremacy.
John: Can you tell us a little bit about how EYVA ISSUE 1: MAINFRAME IS WATCHING came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?
Annas: I spent part of my teenage years living in Saudi Arabia. It was the early Nineties so it was a really restrictive environment. Sci-fi and writing provided a liberating form of escapism, which challenged the social restrictions without risk of being arrested. I studied at an international school whereby the educational system was all about parroting and regurgitating the text books, so thinking for yourself was frowned upon and was counterproductive.
Timothy: Anytime I can work on a sci-fi book I take it. Annas approached me with a completed script and an idea of how she wanted the world to look. After a few months of sketches we found our look.
John: What are some of the first Comics you remember reading?
Annas: The Crow, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Tokyo Ghost, Aeonflux, Saga, God Complex: Dogma.
Timothy: When I was about 8 years old my grandmother bought me a subscription to Hulk and Spider-Man. Each month I’d get an issue in the mail- that eventually lead to a large collection of anything I could get my hands on.
John: What are some of the Comics that have made the biggest impact on you?
Annas: Definitely The Crow and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. They’re dark and there’s a lot of internal emotional conflict coming through the illustration. The Crow especially, as I found I could really relate to it.
Timothy: When I first saw Arzak I was blown away. My style before that was heavily inspired by McFarlane. Then I came across Akira and Hard Boiled. It was a whole new world of comics I was unfamiliar with at the time.
John: What does this comic mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?
Annas: For me, it’s about how groups with different life philosophies are at war with one another. How the more powerful groups impose their will on others for survival and supremacy. It’s about finding your own moral compass in the darkness and fighting back against the constraints that you are put in.
Timothy: I’ve always been drawn to futuristic dystopian stories. I like the idea of people coming together to fight for a better world. I love the movie Equilibrium. This book has a similar feel of fighting against the odds.
John: What are some of the things that have served as a source of Inspiration when working on EYVA ISSUE 1: MAINFRAME IS WATCHING? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?
Annas: Blade Runner, Tron, Aeon Flux (Animation series by Peter Chung), Back to the Future, Fight Club and Gattaca… The music that helped inspire the comic is Acolyte by Delphic.
Timothy: Blade Runner, Aeon Flux, and The Incal. As for music, I always have The Crystal Method on.
John: You have a rather unique style in your writing and art. Can you tell us a bit about how you developed them?
Annas: From a literary perspective, I grew up reading Jane Austen, Bronte, Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Stephen King. In terms of style, I think that came from personal life experience. I was born in Baghdad and left for the UK when I was three years old. I’ve always lived with a feeling of displacement, especially being in Riyadh during the Gulf War. The last time I was in Iraq was in 1992… the whole totalitarian regime thing stuck with me, especially being hauled into an interrogation room on the Syrian/Iraqi border. Let’s just say the UK passports didn’t go down too well with them but we managed to get through the intimidation tactics unscathed.
Timothy: I’m inspired by so many different artists from Manga, Anime, European comics, video game design, and superhero comics. When all those things come together it creates a different look.
John: Tell us a bit about your creative process. Let’s get into that.
Annas: I’m always taking elements from personal experiences and then running wild with them. With EYVA, it was my experience with totalitarian regimes and the heavy restrictions that were placed on women in Saudi Arabia while I was there. I then brainstorm scenarios of the most entertaining storylines and what would provide the most emotionally dramatic scene. In terms of creative direction, I’m always collecting imagery from Google image search, Pinterest and Shutterstock. I’ll have a visual in my head for a world, costume or gadget and then I’ll go in search of imagery that best reflects this. This is then put together on an inspirational moodboard for Timothy to develop further into our own ideas. I have even given him a colour palette inspired by Zaha Hadid’s paintings, which was later adapted.
Timothy: For this project Annas already had an idea of what she was looking for. I spent a while doing tons of sketches using her references combined with my own ideas and after a bit of back forth we found the look we wanted for the series.
John: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?
Annas: I lost my husband about six years ago to a rare spinal brain tumor. Without going into too much detail, it’s your life experiences that shape who you become and the choices you make having to deal with them… (she says as she knocks back another margarita…) Working on the comic really helped with the loss… the creativity is a constructive process that provides a healthy distraction. That’s why The Crow has always been really influential for me.
Timothy: Moebius and Otomo Katsuhiro are two of my biggest influences. Though a lot of my influences are outside of comics. Doug Chiang and Koji Morimoto are always a source of inspiration for me.
John: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
Annas: I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us on the Indiegogo campaign so far. We know we still have some way to go before we meet the target, but every little counts for something. Both Timothy and I are really itching to start on the second issue, so we’d seriously be grateful for the support.
Timothy: The comic book industry is a very different world today. We are very fortunate to be able to get our ideas directly to the reader. I’m very grateful for all the support. I hope that everyone enjoys the book as much as we enjoyed working on it.
Visit the Evya Campaign on IndieGOGO.
by Odunze Oguguo (a.k.a. WhytManga)
John: Odunze, thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase to chat about your Indie Manga APPLE BLACK!
You can purchase your copy of Apple Black here.
It’s Just Another Day
By BluRaven C. Houvener
John: Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase! Tell our readers a bout yourself!
BluRaven: My mind always goes blank when I’m asked that haha. Michigan raised. I’ve been writing n’ Drawing for as far back as I can remember. I grew up in an artistic household as it was with my father being a Recording artist and surrealist painter and my Ma actively illustrating what came to mind so I got bitten pretty early by the art bug. Sadly I didn’t inherit the musical talent…or the patience to hone any musical ability haha, but I love me some comics! With my father’s passing back in 2013, I’m also head of his recording label Zedikiah Records which handles all his titles!
John: Without spoiling anything, what can you tell us about IT’S JUST ANOTHER DAY?
BluRaven: It’s Just another day tells a relatable tale in our modern society of a family down on its luck. Failing health. Uncertain living arrangements. It’s a crap shoot for em. The story is told from the perspective of Jake, a teenager who has more on his plate than someone should at his age but is still left with no choice but to carry on and cling to the things that deliver an escape like love, fun, friends, etc…
John: Can you tell us a little bit about how IT’S JUST ANOTHER DAY came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?
BluRaven: It’s Just another day is something of a loose autobiography. Jake and the events surrounding him are pulled directly from my experiences growing up, musician dad dying of cancer, eviction after eviction, lackluster love life, ya’ know. Back in high school I used to keep journals just to get things out of my head, and the story ended up pretty interesting to look back on. Fast forward a few years to my first laptop and internet connection. Perusing the net one day I stumbled across Sabrina Online, the first webcomic I’d ever seen. Wasn’t even aware of Webcomics until then. I was already sitting on a few chapters of IJad I’d drawn for shits n’ giggles and decided to slap em online. As time went on I learned and honed my craft, completed the web run of IJad, and have since published two issues with more on the way! The rest is history.
John: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?
BluRaven: I was lucky growing up in the 90s when every corner store had that spinney rack of comics. I read X-men, Batman, even one offs like James Bond Jr and Crash Dummies. Those solidified my love of the medium. I also got to sneak a peak of my Dad’s old Heavy Metal Mags, even a Crumb title or two. Mostly Fritz the Cat.
John: What are some of the comics that have made the biggest impact on you?
BluRaven: It’s funny, I grew up mostly on superhero comics(of course), then I was introduced to Spawn in 1997 cause of the Spawn blitz that was happening that year with the HBO cartoon and movie hitting theaters. My mind was blown cause it was so graphic and dark, something I really wasn’t used to especially in a pseudo Superhero title. Heavy Metal obviously had similar themes but none of the stories I’d ever read in there were about superhero like characters. The biggie in relation to It’s Just another day though would have to be Daniel Clowes tale of teenage angst…Ghost World. Never before had I seen a comic that told such a slice of life tale with such intrigue(keep in mind I wouldn’t start reading Archie Comics for another few years at that point). From there I was off the the races! More Clowes titles, Charles Burns, I’m madly in love with Fiona Staples work, especially her work on the Archie reboot.
John: What made It’s Just Another Day a story you wanted to tell?
BluRaven: So much of it comes down to the fact it’s a tale I want to tell. I’ve had conversations with people who have read the story and found its events relatable. My hope is that people can find enjoyment in the stories antics, but even more so the story finds its way into the hands of someone during a rough time and it can help get them through as other titles had for me back when. Plus in a way all the hard stuff was worth it since I got a good story out of it haha.
John: BluRaven, you a have rather unique style in your writing and art. Can you tell us a bit about you developed them?
BluRaven: Thank you! I’m completely self taught outside of the stray illustration class. I never got much out of those outside of Figure Illustration. Sadly I don’t have a eureka moment to speak of, just years of practice and then trying something and discovering that it can be done is the basis of my drawing and writing. The drive to get it done helps a lot. I had a lot of fire driving me when I drew my first Jake pic in 12th grade art. I wanted to do something that couldn’t be looked down on as “comic art”, a phrase said with much disdain by my teacher at the time.
John: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
BluRaven: I’m bad haha, I know I should do outlines n’ all that but I so rarely do. I know the story I want to tell and I know how to get where I want to go so I just sit down and get to it. I knock out the drawing first. When it comes to art I’m still traditional with a pencil and ink…usually a marker set. Once pencil’s and ink’s are all done I scan em in to my computer where I knock out the rest digitally(layout, text, effects and so on). I like to use Paint.net because of how user friendly it is, you can do all the same stuff you can in Photoshop but it’s so much more straight forward. This method may not be for everyone but I’ve found it works the best for me. If I can have like a’ nice cup of coffee or tea on the side to sip on that puts me right in the zone since I used to do so much of my drawing and brainstorming at the coffee shop haha.
John: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?
BluRaven: Life is the best influencer, it really is. Everyday has so many little tidbits that can be used for something grander! Art, music, it all adds to that tapestry. I’ve read some great comics over the years, like I’ve mentioned, seen some stellar films(High Fidelity will always stand as a personal favorite and strong inspiration for IJad), and both in the mainstream and underground scenes listened to some killer jams! I know I’m rambling but it’s so hard to pin down a single thing haha.
John: What are your hopes for IT’S JUST ANOTHER DAY for the future?
BluRaven: Since the webcomic run ended last June I’ve since published two of a planned 12 comic series for It’s Just another day and gotten them out into stores and sold at Conventions. I want to continue that as I get more issues out. Got the soundtrack I want to get out as both a compliment to the comic, but also a continued honor to my departed father, Nicodemus. I’m currently working on the sequel to It’s Just another day, called The Year of Reflection which updates every Wednesday on my site bchcomix.com. It’s been such a great ride so far and I’m far from done with it. I’ve got so many stories I want to tell with these characters even beyond the sequel. Directions no one will see coming. It’s going to be wild!
John: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?
BluRaven: As far as comic stuff goes, hit up bchcomix.com for links to my comics, some downloadable zines, and links to where you can purchase copies of It’s Just another day and other BCH Comix Titles! On a personal note we all know 2020 has been an ordeal in more ways than one. I won’t speak on the details, but I will say look out for one another and be safe. A lot of people are hurting right now. Show them some love.
John: Once again BluRaven, I would like to say thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future projects.
BluRaven: I thank you greatly for this chance, it has been great sitting here talking to you. That’s been the drawback of Quarantine, haven’t been able to talk shop with many people haha. Peace to you and all, and long live the underground!
Get a copy of It’s Just Another Day Here!
This last one almost slipped by us!
by Larry Higgins
The Indiegogo campaign for Nyobi: Birthright ends in two days and it just hit our radar so we didn’t have time to conduct a proper interview with the creator Larry Higgins. It’s his most ambitious outing to date, presenting his two-part miniseries Nyobi in full color from cover to cover for the very first time!
Check out the campaign page here!
Here’s the story:
Nyobi: Birthright takes readers on a whirlwind journey through turbulent times as Nyobi defends a young woman from the hostility of a spiteful, ignorant mob looking to strip her of her rights. Tensions heat up in a extremely complex situation of the debates surrounding G-Noms, and it is now up to Nyobi to try and sort it out.
Before developing her powers, Nyobi was performing in all-girl J-pop supergroup The Geisha Dolls. At age 16, during a meet-and-greet at the Mega Plex mall in Tokyo, Nyobi’s powers manifested while she was being mobbed by a large group of fans. A ring of light flashed in front of everyone’s eyes and she was gone. She reappeared at the back of the building, and quickly realized her life was about to change forever.
The media ran nuts with the story. Everyone had their theories as to what happened. ICON Entertainment tried to explain it as a special effect; a stunt. However, one week later, Nyobi appeared on My-Tube and exposed her true nature as a G-Nom to the world…