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 Quinn Howard
Beneath the mother’s sphere, deep within the forests of Myrath, Hecate’s witches work their strange magic under the cover of night.
Check out the campaign for Tadhya here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase Quinn! Briefly tell our readers what Tadhya Exordium is about and give us some background on it.
Quinn Howard: Tadhya Exordium is a fantasy/horror story about the machinations of a witches coven revolving around a noble-born girl named Tadhya. I’m a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft, the sense of terror arising from mystery that he was able to capture in his stories was something that I hoped to recreate for Tadhya.
CB: Have you done any previous work in comics or art?
QH: This will be the first comic that I have worked on but I have been a comic fan my whole life. Sandman by Neil Gaiman was highly influential for me and so was the work of Rick Remender and also recently, Marjorie Liu. I started working on the story for Tadhya three years ago, initially, I didn’t realize it would be a comic. It wasn’t until I made some connections in the indie comic industry that I realized it could work well as a graphic novel.
CB: What type of readers do you think will enjoy Tadhya, or perhaps most like about it?
QH: The story revolves around a girl named Tadhya, who unbeknownst to her was created by a coven of witches who called themselves, “The Daughters of Hecate.” The Coven is lead by a woman who calls herself “Mothher Silas” the character is quite mysterious and you don’t know exactly what her real agenda is. Tadhya was created and raised as a noble girl in a town called Elden for sixteen years while the witches watched from afar. Elden is a mining town and just one part of a much larger kingdom called Myrath. Myrath is currently ruled by King Gwydion who employs the dreaded Ashmakers, essentially “witch hunters” whose job is to stamp out any remnants of the “old ways” that is to say pagan ways of worship.
The Ashmakers are sent out to do their work by the Church of the Divinity, royally endorsed, The Divinity is the fastest-growing religion in the Kingdom. There’s also gods and goddesses like Balor, and Hecate as well as nature spirits such as the Tuatha. There are also dark entities called Fomori which are typically bound into another plane but at the start of our story, something is happening which is freeing them. The type of readers that would enjoy Tadhya are readers that enjoy complex yet subtle storytelling placed in a dark fairytale setting where magic exists. And of course, fans of horror should get a kick out of it.
CB: I see artist Mike S. Miller has also provided a variant cover for the book. Tell me a little about your creative team and any other creators that have contributed and let’s get into how you brought this team together.
QH: I met Mike completely by chance. For several years I have covered George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books on my Youtube Channel, Quinn’s Ideas. Mike drew the comic adaptations for Martin’s Hedge Knight series as well as all the covers for the A Song of Ice and Fire Comic. I ended up visiting one of Mike’s streams one day and we became friends. Mike has been invaluable to me on this project and has offered his experience in any way he could to help. Mike also introduced me to Matthew Weldon, the primary artist on this book, and also to Caanan White who drew our most popular variant cover. Also, Jean-Francois Beaulieu who just recently colored the book Middlewest for Image Comics has done all of our coloring.
CB: That’s a great beginning! Let’s chat the campaign. Which tier do you think is the best deal?
QH: Tadhya Exordium is the first of three volumes, once each campaign is finished I hope to combine the three into one big omnibus. In all honesty, I think the book is priced pretty fairly at $15 for a 48-page paperback copy. The signed Paperback for $30 is also great! If you wanna go bigger the Early Bird Special offers an Audiobook, Ebook, All Three Hardcover Variants Signed, and All Three Metal Print Variants for $250.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
QH: Thanks for having me, it’s been awesome! I just want to say thanks to everyone that has backed Tadhya, I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
by Nick Macari & Kris Morron
A fierce heroine in a loud and powerful, in-your-face-raw, adventure on the mean streets of Fear City!
Check out PEERLESS on Kickstarter!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Peerless. Briefly tell our readers what’s up.
Nick Macari: Blackout 1977 New York City; A Wing Chun master fights her way through NYC’s toughest gangs to stop the execution of her lover at the hands of an occult martial arts clan hell-bent on stealing her secret ancient martial art technique. We took Walter Hill’s 79 cult classic THE WARRIORS and turned it into a SHAW BROTHERS Kung Fu story.
CB: You’ve worked in comics before and even video games. What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
NM: I’ve actually been consulting on crowdfunding in comic and games for a few years now. While I’ve been a part of crowdfunds many times, this is the first time doing my own, and I am absolutely floored by how much work it is. I’ve been at my computer at 8am and leave my computer around 2am, every day since launch. The amount of work is insane. Just another example of how truly hard creator owned comics are.
CB: What does Peerless mean to you? Tell us about how you’ve brought your experience to this project.
NM: Peerless means “unequaled”. We got the name from the protagonist, Kiara’s, most powerful move, the ‘Peerless Fist;’ a supernatural charged punch that creates a sonic bomb when delivered.
For my part on the project, I’ve leveraged all my 20+ years writing to deliver a structurally sound, engaging, and most of all entertaining story. When you watch INK MASTER on tv, the tattoo artists always talk about putting all their “tricks” into the tattoo to make it exceptional. This was our approach in Peerless. We threw in ever writing trick. The attention to detail and effort into the detail was really, 110%.
CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding that you’ve learned?
NM: At the bottom of our campaign we break down the costs associated with our project. Being active as a story consultant and editor in the indie comics community, it was really important to me that we share our finances on this project, so other creators could see the cold, hard numbers. And make no mistake, they are indeed cold and hard. So my first advice, would be to have clear expectations what you’re getting into and what you’re getting back in return.
The other overall advice I always give near everyone who’s starting out in indie comics is; START SMALL. Do the smallest possible thing you can, whether that’s a short for an anthology or a one-shot issue. The smaller you go the easier your entry into the market. Go small, then let the fans tell you to do more. We actually went against my typical advice with Peerless as it’s a larger mini-series, 8 issues. But we did this for a number a reasons which would probably be too long to discuss here… but the main reason is that we have a highly experienced team. Our experience gives us confidence to deliver a bigger project.
CB: What do you think readers most like about it most? What kind of comic fans will this entertain most?
NM: There’s a bit of backstory that I won’t get into. We don’t do exposition dumps in this series, instead, the backstory comes out throughout the series. It defines who Kiara is and ties in to the Master Theme of the story, about living with past mistakes, how you face them.
Kiara is a member of the FISTS OF FATE, five Kung Fu masters in China who fight against evil. Another member of the Fists, Kiara’s boyfriend, Malik, goes to NYC and disappears. Peerless is about Kiara returning to the South Bronx, a place she really doesn’t want to return to, to find him. She winds up Malik, but he’s behind enemy lines… the enemies being; NYC Chinese Triads, an old Fist of Fate Nemesis from China, and about 100 NYC street gangs, a la ‘The Warriors.’
Our influences to this series were; The Warriors, Big Trouble in Little China, Game of Death, Coffy and Foxy Brown. A bunch more of course, but if you liked any of those movies, you’ll love this series. It’s action packed. Meaningful. Engaging. Gorgeous. And simply, a lot of fun. Oh yeah, there’s no politics or agendas in this series. Zero. Those things are fine in comics, but it’s also fine to not have them at all. We focused on a great story and great characters and left the real world difficult stuff to… the real world.
CB: Sweet! Tell us a bit about your creative team.
NM: Kris ‘Skinny’ Morron is a professional music guy. Like orchestra music, teacher guy. I think he can play every instrument there is. In fact, this story started when Skinny was making 70’s Kung Fu inspired music for a solo album. That music is available on the kick page and a full soundtrack is part of the stretch goals. Writers have sent me comic projects in the past with music attached, and sorry fellas, they’ve always been a bit of a let down… but when I listened to Skinny’s music, I immediately thought, wow! Ok, cool.
His original vision for Peerless was full of imagination and great creative direction. He’s got natural writing and story ability. Don’t you hate those creative people who do everything!! It’s like come on man, pick a lane and leave something for the rest of us! I first saw Pablo Peppino’s work in Skies of Fire also on Kickstarter. That series is sick. Pablo puts crazy detail in his illustration and his style is super cinematic. Artists like that always make a writer look good! 🙂 I emailed him the day after I read it and was like dude, anytime you want to work together, leme know. A bunch of years later here we are.
Damian Penalba is an experienced colorist and came highly recommended by Pablo. So far he’s done a bang up job. And we’re pushing him hard, because we’re not doing normal colors with this series, we’re going for artsy fartsy designer colors which make a more emotional higher visual impact book. We think it’s working well! Oh yeah, me! Nick Macari 🙂 Writer, editor, story consultant. I’ve been writing in indie comics and games since the 90s. I teach creative writing (with a comic focus) through my websites (see the end of this interview) and two books I’ve published. I’ve also written a few novels; King Arthur prequel, ‘Excalibur: Beyond the Isle of Avalon’ (unpublished but something I’m really thinking of bring to comics), ‘Samurai Onryo’, ‘Crashing Eden’, a cyberpunk noir and my current WIP is a Horror Noir set in 1930’s NYC.
CB: Anything else you’d like to share about the project? And do you have any final words for our readers?
NM: In our Kick video I talk about passion. (It’s very hard to do a kick video by the way, especially as a writer, there’s just so much to say.) Anyway, some stuff was cut from that clip. My point was, there are some stories you’re simply ready to bleed for. In other words they’re so important, you’re willing to do whatever needs to be done to make sure they see the light of day. Peerless is bigger than the sum of its individual parts. It’s taken on a life of its own and become something even greater than we originally envisioned. I genuinely believe this series is so much fun, like when you see a movie on opening night, readers are going to physically cheer and shout when they read it.
CB: I’ll include the video below. Thanks for chatting with us, Nick!
NM: Absolutely. I appreciate you taking the time and appreciate what you do in the indie comic community. Healthy ecosystems survive through a diversity of voices and opinions.
Check out PEERLESS on Kickstarter!
And learn more about the project at PeerlessKungFuComic.com
THE MAGANIFICENT 7
by Mike S. Miller
Who are the MAGAnificent7? MAGA7 is a parody comic featuring super-heroes fighting against the leftist MELTDOWN. The SOROSIAN, a creature whose machinations threaten the world takes control of his leftist minions and merges them into a giant creature hell-bent on destroying Trump at his 2021 inauguration! DEAN CAIN sends out a distress signal to call together EL RUSHBO, STRANGE ANIMAL, THE INGRAHAMMER, DEAD HEAD, SHAP-HERO, and DOCTOR SAVAGE to come to the rescue!
Check out the MAGAnificent 7 Book on Kickstarter or Indiegogo!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your ‘elevator pitch’ for MAGAnificent 7. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.
Mike S. Miller: It’s January 2021, and Donald J. Trump is being re-inaugurated as President of the United States. The Alien creature known as the SOROSIAN can take no more of the Orange man’s winning, and unleashes the EYE of SOROSIAN, which causes all of the Democrats under his control to MELTDOWN into one giant COMMUNIZED KAIJU hellbent on destroying Trump and America! It is up to the MAGANIFICENT 7 to stop MELTDOWN in a fight for truth, justice, and the American way!
CB: This is an unabashed pro-Trump parody. Is this your first such political parody comic?
MM: It is for the sake of print publishing. I used to have a webcomic site called ‘comicstripclub.com‘ now defunct, where I had a gaming/political comic strip called ELECTRONIC TIGERS, and another weekly purely political strip, RIGHT, LEFT, CENTER (RLC), where I got my political cartooning juices going. Those were always fun as hell. Back then I intended to do a comic book akin to MAGA7, even designed some characters for it, including the INGRAHAMMER and HANNITIZER (who isn’t in MAGA7), but just never had an outlet where I thought I could publish it. But now crowdfunding is a thing, so I thought, why not? It’s an election year, let’s do it.
CB: You’ve got a rather illustrious career in comics before going independent. Tell us some of the books you worked on at the big publishers and why you eventually embarked on an indie career.
MM: I go all the way back to 1992 doing covers for Malibu’s PROTECTORS line, but that’s hardly illustrious. lol. Some highlights I would say were X-Man, Wolverine, Adventures of Superman, JLA, Hedge Knight, GIJoe vs. Transformers, Sworn Sword, Mystery Knight, WildCATS, Batman: Arkham Unhinged, Injustice, and covers for the Game of Thrones line. Tons of other stuff in between as both penciler and inker. My first foray into independent comics was actually in 1993, when I published one issue of my own title, Heart of Darkness, through CFD productions. We made no money, so I never finished the second issue.
A few years later, I did my own comic at Image called Immortal 2. That ran a few issues before it became unprofitable. I was paying my colorist more than I was making, so I dropped it. My next attempt at indies was again at Image when I partnered with Brett Burner, a magazine publisher who would handle all the business end and let me create the stories. We published Imaginaries and Lullaby at Image, and with my next project, Deal with the Devil, we decided to take ourselves independent of Image and started Alias Comics Publishing, where we launched with a dozen titles our first month, including those aforementioned plus Devil’s Keeper which were my creations, plus eight other titles by creators like Ryan Ottley, Mark Brooks, Brian Denham, Art Thibert, and others. That took a couple of years of my life, and how that all went south is another story…
I went into work-for-hire primarily at DC’s west coast branch which was previously Wildstorm, and working on the third Dunk and Egg novella adaptation, The Mystery Knight for George R. R. Martin. My Injustice work sort of petered out with Injustice 2. Around that time, I partnered with a friend who had a lot of connections and an eagerness to get into comics, and together we put together a pitch deck for BLACKLIST UNIVERSE, and he started shopping it to different financiers and media personalities. He had some very promising meetings, and we were putting together a great team, but then I started paying attention to some of what was happening on Youtube, and caught wind of a crowdfunded book called Alt-Hero which made a quarter of a million dollars. I thought that might be a viable option for funding Blacklist without selling any interest in my properties to a financial investor. Soon after that, Richard C. Meyer made six figures for his comic book, then Ethan Van Sciver did likewise. As they say, one is a fluke, two is a coincidence, three is a pattern. So I considered this a proven, workable business model, told my partner, and ran into crowdfunding full steam ahead.
CB: These are fascinating times for indie comics for sure. What would you say is the best thing, and what would you say is the worst thing about working for someone besides yourself?
MM: The best thing about it is that you don’t have to do anything but put pen and pencil to paper and do the work. It’s being a pencil jockey, I call it. Here’s your horse, ride hard and fast, and try to win. You produce a lot more work, you don’t have to worry about marketing or advertising or anything, and you get a paycheck. It’s the easiest route. The worst thing about it is you’re an employee, you’re given a script and you’re told what to do, and the paycheck is not great. You’re up against deadlines that disallow you to do your very best work while you’re trying to pay your bills. And ultimately whether you get that next gig is up to someone other than yourself. You are at the mercy of an editor or his boss whether you can feed your family next month.
CB: What other creators that have contributed to the MAGAnificint 7? What is your workflow and daily pace like?
MM: No one but me and my colorist, Teodoro Gonzalez, who I thought would be the perfect colorist for a pro-America comic like this since he’s a Venezuelan ex-pat who escaped the red menace of Socialism to freedom in this great country of ours, and can appreciate the message behind MAGA7. My workflow is haphazard. Some days I can’t even get to the drawing board! I’m kind of a one-man-show here now, so juggling all the aspects of life and business and drawing can get to be a bit overwhelming at times.
CB: You experienced what you perceived to be shadowbanning on the IGG platform recently. Can you explain what happened, how it impacted the campaign, and if that has been resolved?
MM: About three days into my campaign, someone pointed out to me that I was shadowbanned. That if you went to the ‘Explore’ function on Indiegogo, my campaign does not appear at all. Anywhere. Not even in ‘recently viewed’ if you JUST viewed it. I did a word search, and it came up fine, but for those on IGG who just went to the comics section, they would never discover the book. Given that 20% of my previous campaign sales came from discovery, that’s a huge hit to my campaign, not to mention it won’t get that last day bump because it’s won’t show up on the ‘ending soon’ section either. I have emailed numerous times to two different teams at IGG, and still to this date I have not gotten an explanation. However, I did discover that there is a particular name on my campaign that will not show up even with a word search: Kaitlin Bennett. As you know, ‘Gun Girl’ is signing comics for my campaign, and as such has her own cover and tiers on the campaign. Searching her in the comics section gives you NO results. So I suspect they have her shadowbanned, and my campaign shadowbanned as a result. I brought this up to the IGG team, still no answer.
CB: Tell us a little more about the story. What do you hope your readers will take away from this tale?
MM: I’d like them to know about it. Indiegogo is in San Francisco. They have very liberal/leftist stances that they proclaim publicly. That they have allowed right-leaning campaigns to fund on their platform doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of cancel culture. I’ve since launched MAGAnificent 7 on Kickstarter as well with an exclusive Matthew Weldon cover, and as SJW as everyone says that site is, they have not shadowbanned it. Crazy. Look, I like IGG. They’ve been good to me up until now. I am just disappointed that they cannot fix this problem, and are ignoring me hoping I won’t make a stink about it. “They are good to Comicsgate”, so the biggest voices there aren’t willing to stand on PRINCIPLE and say this is WRONG, instead they ‘simp’ for IGG and look the other way. Cancel Culture is the enemy. I don’t care if you hate the person it’s happening to, you stand up for what is RIGHT, and speak up against cancel culture in all its forms. Including shadow-banning.
CB: What else can you share about the project or the campaign? And do you have any final words for our readers?
MM: The book is FUNNY. People I have shared it with have told me they laughed out loud. Dean Cain told me he kept laughing even after he was done reading it. Do you know how hard it is to write comedy that makes people literally laugh out loud? lol. Anyway, far-left leaning people might not enjoy it, but most everyone else will bust a gut, even if you don’t care about politics it’s just a great book. And if you do care about politics, it’ll just be funnier! So give it a shot, the whole thing is done, pencils, inks, colors, and letters, and I really doubt I’ll have any reason to extend the campaign since I can’t ‘fool’ the algorithm if I don’t even show up in the ‘explore’ feature… So back it. If you care about America, back it. If you believe in MAGA, back it. If you just want to laugh your butt off, back MAGAnificent 7 today!
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck with this book!
MM: Thanks for the opportunity!
Check out the MAGAnificent 7 Book on Kickstarter or Indiegogo!
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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