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.
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!
by Will Valle
Retelling the story of ‘The Iliad’, ‘Hail Salad: The Trol-jan War’ recounts the early days of CG and the collected efforts of CG greats in t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ ̶a̶t̶t̶e̶m̶p̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶b̶a̶t̶ … the DECIMATION of whacked-out trolls, but done in the cartoon stylings you’ve come to know and love!
Check out the campaign HERE!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your ‘elevator pitch’ for Hail Salad. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.
Will Valle: The comic for Hail Salad is a loose retelling/reimagining of the ‘The Iliad’ but told through the cartoon comedy stylings of the now CG popularized Youtube cartoon of the same name. It recounts the early days of CG, the alliances forged, and the decimation of CG detractors, internet trolls, and would-be saboteurs in a title aptly titled: ‘Hail Salad: The Trol-jan War”.
CB: You’re a bit of a renaissance man, aren’t you? Comics, Youtube pop culture commentary series (Camel Moon), and now animation. What drives this creativity? Which do you like best?
WV: I’ve done a ton in the past 15 years actually. I’ve created about 10 indie flicks. Won a few film festivals for documentaries I was the sole editor on. I’ve had gallery openings for painting collections I’ve done in Greenwich CT and NYC, worked for DoubleToasted.com for years as a commentator and only recently started an interest in animation. I’m like a creative shark; always moving, and no time to slow down. I think that holds true for a lot of creative people. The ideas just keep coming. It’s like a running faucet you can’t turn off.
I don’t know if I have one particular process I enjoy over others, but if I had to choose, I’d say I always come back to comics. It’s the one mainstay throughout my life. No matter what other projects I was taking on, I always had a comic going on the back burner. And now with Hail Salad, I’ve created an IP that can be translated into a cartoon and a comic, and eventually even a video-game.
CB: What inspired this project? Tell us how it all came together.
WV: I was actually working on a comic called ‘Boots and Heels’ (that I will be launching probably sometime next year.) As I was drawing it, I was listening to EVS on CAPS on Youtube. Some of the episodes were so funny, the back and forths between the crew/cast started to remind me of early episodes of ‘Space Ghost: Coast to Coast‘. For whatever reason I felt compelled to create a simple 5 minute vignette with rough assets that I built essentially overnight, and laid-in audio from CAPS as the voices for Space Ghost, Brak, and Moltar. It was rough and terrible, but that was sort of its charm. I made the entire episode in 2 days, and then super-chatted EVS that I posted the video on Youtube.
I honestly thought people would think it was kind of lame, but to my surprise the response was overwhelmingly positive. It blew up in a mere hours. I got 400 subs overnight and now over 2000 subs in the following months. People watched that first episode so often that I had them asking me to do an Indiegogo campaign for more episodes. However, that turned out to be problematic. I decided to go ahead with it, and EVS, Cecil, and Jon Malin all supported the project, but about a week into the campaign, I received a C&D order from Warner Bros. saying that the campaign and characters were too similar to the Hannah Barbara cartoon (regardless of it being parody), and the campaign was cancelled and my IGG account was suspended. I decided then to create something wholly original that had the same spirit and feeling of a late night 90’s-2000’s Adult Swim property. Using the established personality traits of the CG crew and the built up lore generated by their time on air, I was able to pull something together relatively quickly. The Space Ghost cartoon felt like a practice run I was able to cut my teeth on for me to launch with something stronger. And that became the seemingly overnight success that turned into ‘Hail Salad’.
CB: Is the goal of the campaign to pay for the production time on the animated series? Or is this strictly for the comic book?
WV: Time in is money spent. So regardless of whatever monies are collected for the property, it all goes into the same pot at the end. Any and all money generated from the IGG campaign will go to the creation of further content, whether that be in the form of more episodes, comics, or the creation of merchandise. It all runs together for me, and I just love doing it. I’m 200% invested in every facet of creation for ‘Hail Salad’, so if I can find a way to keep it going, I’ll always be working on it.
CB: Who is helping you out on the creative team?
WV: So really no one is involved with the creation of the cartoon (outside of people allowing me to use their voices.) EVS, Malin, Cecil, and TSWG all have helped promote the cartoon and will air it as soon as it’s live. It’s a great feeling to know I have their support and to get to watch it live with the fans through their live streams. About once a month I get to premiere a new episode with everyone, and seeing how much joy it brings people becomes incredibly rewarding. Getting paid for the cartoon and comic would be great, but I wouldn’t have done it this long now (6 months) for free if it didn’t bring me so much joy creating and releasing it for others to have. As cliche as it sounds, that’s the real reward.
CB: How much of the ComicsGate philosophy will we see implemented in this series? Or is it more focused on character comedy?
WV: That’s a great question. I actually try to keep the show as apolitical as possible. I actively abstain from ever mentioning comics in any form in the cartoon. It’s about the characters. I don’t want to engage with haters over ideologies or picking sides. The point of the cartoon is to create a fun space for anyone to jump in on. You don’t need to be CG or even follow CG to appreciate and enjoy the show. Yes, there are inside jokes, but it only would enhance the episode. It’s not necessary to understand it.
In a way though, the lack of pulling punches and attempts to push the envelope comedically; by means of not caring who you offend or having a political agenda attached to a narrative, is very much the heart of what ComicsGate and the movement is. It seems especially poignant now in today’s overly PC culture where movies are being edited or stricken from streaming platforms, or people are being cancelled for having opinions that differ from the mainstream. For many, ‘Hail Salad’ seems to be a breath of fresh air, and a way to counter that rhetoric. And by that marker, you could suggest that ‘Hail Salad’ embodies the very philosophy that is CG in a sort of meta kind of way.
CB: What else can you share about the project or the campaign? And do you have any final words for our readers?
WV: I think in the end, people always vote with their wallet. CG has welcomed me in with open arms, and I’m grateful to them for that. I want to thank the top guys like EVS, Fraga, Cecil and Malin for always having my back, but mostly I want to thank the community. Who knew what was supposed to be a throwaway one-off Space Ghost homage would have turned into this? It’s surreal and exhilarating at the same time. I think my success in CG is a bit of a Cinderella story for the group. It’s something special because it’s content created by a fan, for the fans. It puts me in a unique spot, but that’s what makes the cartoon so accessible and gives it that broad appeal. There’s no crabs in a bucket mentality here. I’m not a 20 something year veteran of the comics industry.
For my entire life I’ve wanted to draw comics professionally, and ComicsGate gave me that chance when others wouldn’t. CG doesn’t care about what color you dyed your hair or look to exploit your identity in a way that makes them look good. With CG, I found an audience that can’t wait for the next episode/issue I create, and rewards me and others like me for the work I produce versus the politics you imbue. I’m very lucky to be a part of that. I’d like to give a huge shout out to Michael Bancroft, Geek Chorus, Wenger, Narwhal, and Sheila Allen for all of their help and support with the cartoon!
CHECK OUT THE HAIL SALAD! CAMPAIGN HERE!
Black & White (2nd Chance!)
by Art Thibert
Originally published by Image in 1994, Black & White were serialized across multiple titles before receiving their own series. In 2018, Thibert relaunched the characters for a remastered and expanded hardcover graphic novel, successfully crowdfunded through Indiegogo. Black & White Vol. 1 is a 54-page graphic novel and is square bound and printed on upgraded interior and cover paper.
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Thanks for chatting with me Art! Briefly get our readers caught up on who Black & White are and give us some background on it.
Art Thibert: Okay, Reed Blackett is an ex-Mi-10 agent looking for a new life, and meets brewery heiress, Whitney Sung, a beautiful, headstrong woman with a haunted past. When her family’s murderer re-enters her life, Reed knows that he must step back into a roll he had hoped to leave behind in order to save her life and her sanity.
These characters were created in a single afternoon. Pamela and I had gone to a Bruce Lee auction many years ago. On the way home, while talking about the life of Bruce Lee, the characters of Whitney and Reed just fell into our minds and they emerged as Black & White.
CB: Classic stuff. Now this isn’t your first crowdfund campaign for this comic. In fact, this project was successfully backed once before and this is just a second chance for those that missed it, right? What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
AT: True, this campaign is the Black & White Vol. 1 Second Chance campaign. After ending the first B&W campaign, people just kept contacting me and saying they did not know about the campaign & didn’t get a book. Because they seemed pretty disappointed, we decided to do the second chance campaign.
Crowd funding campaigns are tricky for me because I have trouble with time. Things always take way longer to complete than I believe they will when I’m setting things up. I’m pretty much a perfectionist, so I just can’t let even minor details go. I have to make the projects I do the very best that I can do at that moment in time.
I’m learning with every campaign – so please everyone, hang in there with me.
CB: I first heard about you when you were a heavily sought after inker. Tell our readers about some of your comics career highlights, Art.
AT: I would have to say that a highlight of my career was doing finishes over Dan Jurgens on Adventures of Superman. I mean, what an iconic character to have worked on! My next highlight was getting to work in the X-office with such greats as Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio and Rob Liefeld. Talk about a major high! The whole industry was going through a major growth spurt and the work being put out back then was innovative and amazing. It was a phenomenal time to be in comics. Trust me, the excitement during that time brought on constant feelings of newness in the industry. I still can’t believe that I got to follow Jim Lee and pencil X-Men Nos. 12 & 13. Then I hopped right onto penciling Cable No. 1 after that.
And as if those times weren’t enough, I then moved on to that little up-start company, Image Comics. That’s where I was given the opportunity to really create characters and stories. Black & White and Chrono Mechanics came out of those years.
CB: How important is this project to you?
AT: Basically, I eat, sleep, dream (about the characters) & work. Then I repeat. That should tell you what these characters mean to me. I’m very excited to bring this robot-battling dynamic duo to life!
CB: What can your fans look for from you after this campaign ends? Did I hear you’ve got some new adventures planned for Black & White?
AT: I’m working on Vol. 2 of Black & White now so I hope everyone keeps their eyes out for more of their adventures. I have many adventures planned for these two! I’m also going to put out a Vol. 2 of Oodles of Doodles & Other Stuff Too. Of course, we can’t forget all the misadventures of our Time Repairmen in Chrono Mechanics.
CB: Who, if any other creators, have contributed to this? I see Greg Cappullo did a cover. That’s awesome. Tell our readers of how that came about.
AT: TAG (Taylor Grosso) was my studio mate for this issue of Black & White. And my wife, Pamela, is always along for the ride. And to my way of thinking, no Hack Shack project would be complete without Jeff Eckleberry on letters. And wow, what to say about Greg Capullo! He’s an awesome guy. During the mid-90s he and I seemed to end up at all the same conventions, and we got to hang out and get to know one another.
We were both working on our creator-owned projects, and he would ask me about inking, and I, of course, would ask him for penciling tips. We used to have many late night conversations where we picked each other’s brains.
When I asked him to do a Black & White pinup, he agreed – as long as I did the inking. So the beautiful cover you see is from that collaboration effort. Great times!
CB: What else can you share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?
AT: Please check out the campaign. The tiers have some amazing items such as an oversize poster with a new piece of artwork that showcases Black & White in all their fighting glory. That piece is called, ‘Total ‘Bot Annihilation.’ We also have three graphic novels to choose from, and even a blast from the original campaign in the form of an amazing set of stretch goals that we brought into this campaign. Those are in the add-on section when you check out or are included in certain tiers. There’s really something for everyone.
I always want to thank the people who love comics and keep new stories and new characters alive by supporting the indie comic creators. You are the reason we drive ourselves to be better artists. Thank you.
Grab Your Second Chance at Black & White Vol 1 (Remastered) HERE!
by Justin Dutton
UNSTITCHED is a 48-page story about a T.E.D.D.Y trying to keep the dreams and imagination of a little girl safe from The Darkness, who wants to corrupt it with fear. UNSTITCHED is a blend of Rise Of The Guardians, Toy Story, and Coraline.
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Justin. Tell us what Unstitched is about?
Justin Dutton: Children have big dreams and big imaginations, unfortunately, The Darkness preys on those dreams and imagination using fear. A new T.E.D.D.Y must try to defend Eleanor and her nightlight keeping The Darkness at bay without becoming UNSTITCHED.
CB: Tell us about any previous work in comics or art and how you’ve brought your experience to this project and how it all you came together.
JD: I went to school for 3-D animation, but kinda sucked at it although I used those skills to comics. I had a few years back about 2k saved up for a comic and sadly got in a really bad car crash that ate up that money. A couple of years later I get my settlement check and try again and I tell my sister who told me to make a comic for my niece instead. I loved old Don Bluth films as a kid, so I wanted my children’s tale to have that feeling of being something a little darker so kids and adults could enjoy.
CB: Tell us a little more about the story. It’s titles “Part one of two” – What type of readers will enjoy it and what do you think comic book readers will most like about it?
JD: So UNSTITCHED Part One of Two is the first half of the tale at 48 pages which all the art is currently complete and the second half will be around 56. Those that enjoy Toy Story and Coraline will get a kick out of UNSTITCHED as I have blended the two together. Laura Rimaszombati’s art on this is so fresh, unique, and it just feels like an animated movie on-page.
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team and any other creators that have contributed to this. How did you bring this team together?
JD: Laura Rimaszombati is an amazing artist from Hungary whose style is a mix of Genndy Tartakovsky (Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack) and comic artist Skottie Young. We have the busiest and best letterer in comics with Eric Weathers to make sure everything is top-notch. I got mad luckily to get Jason Brubaker to do a killer variant cover.
CB: What else can you share about the project? Which tier do you think is the best deal? Anything unique you might be offering in this campaign?
JD: All 48 pages of art are complete already before hitting funding. We also have a Retail Bundle for LCS that gives shops 6 copies of the book 3 of each cover, 6 mini prints, and I am offering returnability buyback for the shops. The Dreamer tier which is the featured tier is the best deal as the consumer will get Laura’s cover, Brubaker’s cover, a fold-out poster, and mini print for $55. The most unique thing besides my Retail Bundle With Buyback is our higher tier Big Dreamer gives everything in the Dreamer tier plus a glow in the dark eyes custom teddy bear based on our Boogeyman villain. UNSTITCHED is All-Ages and to give back to children we even have a Children Hospital bundle were 6 books and all profits in that goes to charity.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us Justin! Good luck ~ and we are rooting for you!
JD: Thank you, I’m happy for all the support.
Check out the campaign here!
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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