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 Mike Baron
Legendary comics creator Mike Baron has created a riotously funny, heart-felt, and ultimately uplifting story of the quintessential Florida Man, Gary Duba, a southern redneck living in a trailer down by the swamp, but he’s got dreams, big dreams. But it seems like every time he tries to get ahead, fate deals him a low blow. Then one day he gets lucky…
Check out the campaign here!
John Lemus: Tell our readers your ‘elevator pitch’ for Florida Man. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.
Mike Baron: Florida Man tells the story of Gary Duba who is having a bad day. There’s a snake in his toilet, a rabid raccoon in his yard, and his girl Krystal’s in jail for getting naked at a Waffle Hut and licking the manager. Gary sets off with his best friend Floyd to sell his prized Barry Bonds rookie card to raise the $500 needed for bail. But things get out of hand. Road rage. Gators. Bad decisions. Gary’s life is a roller coaster of triumph and tragedy.
JL: Lol! This doesn’t sound like much of your previous work. Is this your first such straight comedy comic?
MB: I did some Clonezone comics for Dark Horse, but this is funnier.
JL: You’ve got a rather illustrious career in comics. In fact you started out on an indie publisher. Tell our readers some of the books you worked on at the big publishers and why you’ve re-emerged with an indie career.
MB: Nexus and Badger led to Marvel Comics asking me to write the Punisher, and DC asking me to write Flash. The Deadman I wrote for DC saw Kelley Jones explode into the artist he is today. Atari Force, Hawk & Dove, Star Wars and Kiss for Dark Horse, and a lot of titles for independents who are no longer with us. About ten years ago, I wrote my first decent novel. It took me thirty years to learn how to write a novel, but when I got it, I got it.
I have fifteen novels in print. Florida Man is far and away the most successful. There are now seven Biker books, featuring reformed motorcycle hoodlum Josh Pratt, are modern noir. Rhree horror novels. Banshees is about a satanic rock band that comes back from the dead. Skorpio is about a ghost who only appears under a blazing sun. Domain is the ultimate haunted house story.
JL: Those sound fascinating! What would you say is the best thing, and what would you say is the worst thing about working for someone besides yourself? Do you prefer being your own boss?
MB: Of course! I know a lot of writers who became writers because they could be their own boss. But it’s an intensely competitive field. There are two million novels published each year. How do you stand out? Excellence alone is not sufficient.
JL: What other creators that have contributed to Florida Man? Who is on your creative team and why?
MB: I first became aware of Todd Mulrooney when he was assigned to a horror short story I wrote for an anthology. Todd has a photo-realistic style that reminds me of Paul Gulacy. His women look like Dave Stevens drawings. His drawings have impact. Our colorist is Ichsan Ansori from Indonesia, a guy that Todd recruited with a postcard challenge. And then editor is Chris Braly, who has bravely stepped up to run this campaign, because I can barely operate this computer. He is doing an outstanding job!
JL: You’ve experienced some unexpected difficulties with some in the media while trying to promote this funny book. Why do you think that has been happening and what are you doing to respond to it?
MB: I was unaware of Reddit until they banned our video for reasons unrelated to me. However, I don’t hide the fact that I’m a conservative, and there are many in the media who simply cannot tolerate any difference of opinion from the ‘NARRATIVE’.
JL: That’s the rule, any press is good press! Let’s get back to Florida Man. What do you hope your readers will take away from this tale?
MB: They will be entertained. Massively. This is the funniest comic ever written. I guarantee you’ll laugh out loud. Your head may explode and your eyes may pop out of your skull, and as soon as you’re finished, you’re going to shove it into the hands of your nearest and dearest and say, “You have got to read this!”
JL: What else can you share about the project or the campaign? And do you have any final words for our readers?
MB: I have enough Florida Man material to do an ongoing series. While many of the events are inspired by real headlines, most of it rises out of Gary and his friends’ character and personalities. I studied the history of weird Florida. The novels already feature the annual Anaconda Cull, women’s pro wrestling, and multiple alien personality disorder. I can’t tell you what goes on in the first or second books because it’s a surprise, and I guarantee you will be surprised.
Check out the Florida Man campaign here!
by Natasha Kennedy
TEMPEST is fantasy adventure where three characters from three different worlds collide in an interwoven graphic novel series. TEMPEST: Volume One is the first installment in a graphic novel fantasy series. In this first volume, three characters from three different worlds collide in an interwoven adventure as they all search for purpose in the midst of tempestuous chaos. This will be a full-color 244-page book in hardcover and digital formats.
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Natasha. Let’s talk about your comic TEMPEST.
Natasha Kennedy: TEMPEST is an epic fantasy graphic novel series. Three characters from three different worlds collide in a weaving storyline. TEMPEST is about people finding purpose in chaos. I have been working on this story for ten years after meeting all kinds of unique and special people as I travelled the world in my 20’s.
CB: What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
NK: I am learning so much; specifically, I am learning that it is hard work. I do not have a huge online following; most of my experience selling books and interacting with fans has been in person at conventions and so It is really an uphill battle crowdfunding without a huge crowd behind me to start with!
I have learned that crowdfunding basically takes a lot of “little” steps. There is no big thing that is going to make it happen unless something really special happens—but that’s not usually the case. Several of my approaches have included: family and friends giving you a first boost, interacting on several different social media platforms, writing personal (and intimidating!) emails to a heck of a lot of influencers, and especially making sure my campaign looks good! I was crossing my fingers hoping for the Kickstarter “Project We Love” badge, and am super blown away I got it—but it still won’t be the secret to getting funded. The bottom line is just working steadily on it every day and not losing my drive!
CB: Tell us about your previous work and how you’ve brought your experience to this project and it all you came together.
NK: I have self-published a few other books, mostly just to gain experience before I launched TEMPEST. I did a graphic novel called “Reklas Abandon”, a children’s book series called “Where I Go When I Sleep”, and an adult coloring book story called “Maia of the Forest.” Each helped me grow in different ways, preparing me for TEMPEST which is frankly, just so much work.
TEMPEST is a pretty philosophical work, and so preparing for this series has taken so much more than putting art in a printed book and crowdfunding. I have spent a lot of time in the classics, ancient literature, dead languages, as well as arguing with philosophers in the alps, scholars in their offices, and just about anyone one the street willing to share their story with me. I spend countless hours a day pondering life’s hardest questions and it just all comes out in my writing.
CB: Tell us a little more about the story. What type of readers will enjoy it and what do you think comic book readers will most like about it?
NK: Firstly, geeks—my wonderful, wonderful geeks. Anyone who is a nut for high fantasy, unique worlds, or even cute gnomes should be pretty entertained. TEMPEST is soaked in a lot of nerdy world-building. Secondly, TEMPEST should attract readers who like their minds to be pushed, and want some compelling thought as well as a good story. What will comic book readers like most about it? Honestly, I can imagine they will like how different the book is—the layout is pretty unique, combining long-form prose with illustrations, and I have a lot of fun pushing the envelope with what a graphic novel could be. I think the other element to the book that will shine—no matter who my readers are—is the characters. I really spend so much time on these personalities, how they handle tough situations, what motivates their decisions, and what they are searching for.
CB: You’ve had successes and ‘less than successes’ crowdfunding your projects. What have you learned through this process?
NK: Yes, I have had a bit of both. I will tell you the only difference between the successful and the unsuccessful campaigns: my effort. The one campaign I never finished I launched last year, and I had hit such a bad bout of depression that I just couldn’t face the hard work it took to campaign. So a couple days in, I just stopped! I was too unmotivated to even look at the campaign! I didn’t even notice when Kickstarter named it on of the projects they loved! I definitely learned that all a campaign takes is work and motivation. I earnestly regret dropping that campaign. I did end up releasing the book, but the campaign was a dud.
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators that have contributed to this?
NK: I have a pretty small creative team: my husband—Lindsay— and I! When we first got married ten years ago, Lindsay (who is also a huge comic lover!) encouraged me to color my artwork. I had no desire to, and so he decided to color them. My first two books (Reklas Abandon and the first Where I Go When I Sleep book) were colored by him. He pushed me to be better. He got me into coloring—which now, I do all of it myself—he taught me web-skills, formatting, and Adobe, and pushed me towards excellence. He is a huge reason why TEMPEST looks half good on the campaign! He also is my go-to intellectual sparring partner. Lindsay pushes all my ideas, makes me question everything, and tells me frankly when things don’t make sense. He is the best partner in every way possible. In recent years, he is a publicist for a publishing company, so he is a huge part of helping me with marketing for TEMPEST!
Besides Lindsay, the only other member of the creative team making this happen is me. I have done all the art, coloring, writing, world-building, formatting, page design, cover design, campaign video, Kickstarter page, emails, social media presence and whatever else it has taken to do this project.
CB: Wow! That’s an incredible amount of work. What else can you share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?
NK: I’ll say this: TEMPEST is fun. It has really diverse characters, worlds, relationships, races, cultures and thought. It has a complex story that I have fine tuned for years, and it is going to be an adventure! I seriously can’t wait to get this beautiful book in the hands of my fellow humans, who like me, wander this earth searching for true beauty.
Check out the Tempest campaign here!
SINS OF THE FAE
by Buddy Lord
Awakening Gods mark a family for death, and now against all odds they must find a way to fight back. Nikki Carrowmore’s children are Sins of the Fae, they weren’t supposed to be possible, but they happened. Now awakening Gods want them dead, and have cursed the family so that magic seeking hounds can find them anywhere. Nikki has to gear up and get ready, because a world of hurt is coming her way. Can she become strong enough to protect her family?
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your ‘elevator pitch’ for Sins of the Fae. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.
Buddy Lord: Nikki’s children are deemed ‘Sins of the Fae’ by ancient sleeping Gods who want to either enslave or kill them, and they’ve marked Nikki with the curse of the ‘white stag’ to find them. What’s worse is that it seems like the person who is hunting them, could be their own father. He’s known as the Huntsman, Lord of Veridas, one of the seven Fae Highborn. To protect them, she must accept the destiny she ran away from and become what she never wanted to be – Yggdrasil’s own, a true viking witch and guardian to Earth.
This is chapter one book one of a five manuscript epic series I’ve written. Think of this as the first chapter in the Hobbit. Sins of the Fae issue one marks the moment in the lives of the Carrowmore family that they can never return from. It begins with meeting the family, understanding the problem, and then Nikki gearing up and learning magic that will protect her family and herself in the years to come.
CB: What is the “Fae”?
BL: The simplest way to think of it is that Fae consist of just about any mythological creature you can think of outside undead or lycanthrope style races. There are seven realms or worlds that are dimensionally anchored to our own ‘Earth’ and when they visit one another, thay have always had to pass through our world. It was made this way by the two ‘makers of all worlds’ – Yggdrasil and Mab. Fae are the children of Mab and humans are the children of Yggdrasil.
CB: You’ve been in this game for a while, tell us about your previous work, Buddy.
BL: I have worked under various pseudonyms my entire life as a writer of mostly poetry and some short stories. I’ve edited self published works for over 12 years, but honestly the thing I bring most to this project is passion. I love the idea of swords and sorcery, but more so I love the component of thinking what our world would be like with magic, elves, dragons etc walking around with us. I relish the thought of what madness it would wreak, and from these ruminations has come Sins of the Fae.
CB: What type of readers will enjoy Sins of the Fae and what do you think comic book readers will most like about it?
BL: This story starts domestic and contained within a family and quickly moves to something spanning centuries and across all the worlds. There are rifles that turn into Dragons, Vampires who are my version of King Arthur, werewolves locked in a lustful state of lunar withdrawal, witch-magic assisted mechas and more. This is an urban fantasy fairy tale and I think comic book readers who want a story they can grow with for years to come will love it.
CB: Who is your creative team?
BL: Xeviuss – That’s not his real name, but he will always be X do the Devious, otherwise known as my man Xeviuss. X, as I refer to him, is my artistic director, my friend, and one of the coolest guy’s you’ll ever meet. I feel fortunate to have found him in the landscape of twitter (@Xeviuss) and feel privileged that he chose my work as something to champion.
Joe Sanchez – My line artist, our conscience, and sometimes the voice of God. Joe has a camera for a brain. He sees things and tells stories with pictures that I just don’t have the ability to do. I can tell stories and write as good as anyone, but I’d be nowhere near as competent or proficient, especially in the upcoming Graphic novel, without Joe.
CB: What else can you share about the campaign?
BL: We have so much planned with stretch goals and we’d love to reach them. I have enough material for years of comic books and light novels if people enjoy and want it. Right now, we’re designing a runic decoder bookmark so that readers can follow along with the runic language we’ve created for the series. Nikki and her ilk use the ‘words of Odin’ to cast magic; and we’ve created a language for it. The bookmark allows you to follow along and see what they are saying. I want to make reading Sins of the Fae an experience that you’ll remember. I don’t want this comic book to be a flash in the pan, chew it up and spit it out story for you to digest and throw away. I wrote it to be a story that will grow with you, that will give you more every time you read it again. So if you’re looking for the next great fairy tale in the vein of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter; then look no further because I have it right here.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us Buddy! Good luck and we’re rooting for you!
BL: Thanks for giving me this chance, I really appreciate it.
Check out the Sins of the Fae campaign here!
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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