Indie Comics Showcase #104: Wild Souls, Only Death Can Save Us & Sword of Justice

 

 

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!

 

Woodland Creatures: Wild Souls Volume 2

by Cristina Roswell

 

Long story short: US Army general thinks lycanthropes (werewolves) are dangerous to humans and should be forced to serve in the Army as a way to control them. Christopher tries to rebut that argument while attempting to stop Callie from actually proving that lycanthropes (or at the very least she) are a danger.

Check out this comic on Kickstarter!

 

John: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase again. I’m looking forward to chatting about your newest volume of  WOODLAND CREATURES!

Cristina: So am I! Thank you for letting me ramble about my story, we authors love these things.

 

 

John: For those readers who missed you the last time you appeared on Indie Comics Showcase with me, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Cristina: Getting the boring stuff out of the way, I agree! Lol. Okay, so… I’m a published Urban Fantasy author, I have so far published 4 novels (including the paperback version of Woodland Creatures) and I am from Spain although I have been living in Scotland for the past 7 years. My “muggle” job is in a shop and, as well as writing, I love watching movies, listening to music, attending comic cons and collecting statues and 1/6 figures!

 

 

John: What can you tell us about WOODLAND CREATURES?

Cristina: Woodland Creatures tells the story of an explosive relationship, that of Callie, a 25 y/o killer with self-control issues and her partner Christopher, a 35 y/o veteran who suffers from PTSD and has to constantly clean up Callie’s mess (aka kills!). Callie and Chris are lycanthropes but not the way you know them; instead of turning into wolves, they each have a wolf companion (amaroq, from the Inuit mythology) that they can mentally control. As well as dealing with their million and one personal issues, they’ll also have to stop the US Army from weaponizing their kind.

 

 

John: Can you tell us a little bit about how WOODLAND CREATURES came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?

Cristina: I started writing Woodland Creatures on a blog as a way of introducing myself to potential readers and creating a fan base before I published my first paperback novel (that I was writing at the same time). But more and more readers started following the story and upon seeing the success I thought I would have to also turn that one into a book. So after publishing my first novel, I went back to Woodland Creatures. I published it as a paperback novel in 2015 but only in Spanish (my mother tongue).

Readers loved it and they kept saying how visual it was, that it would make a great movie or tv series, so since I also wanted to reach a wider audience I decided to join the two things, try turning it into a graphic novel and offering it also in English. And here we are…

 

 

John: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?

Cristina: the first comics I remember reading were some Disney ones that my uncle used to read when he was young, they were part of a collection we had in Spain called Don Miki, which was published in the 70s and 80s. I read it when I was about 12-14 probably (so in the 90s). I think they were different stories featuring several Disney characters.

I also remember really liking a series called Goomer created by a Spanish team, it was about an astronaut that arrives in an inhabited alien planet and becomes part of the society as the only human there (he even has an alien girlfriend). Also really liked the Asterix comics.

John: What are some of the comics that have made the biggest impact on you?

Cristina: I have only really got back into comics recently so I don’t know that many. But I think one of my favourites is the SAGA graphic novel series. Also really like Isola and I’m currently reading book two of Y: the last man.

 

John: What does WOODLAND CREATURES mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

Cristina: Woodland Creatures covers SO MANY different themes that it is actually difficult to say what about it makes it a story I want to tell. It’s about the wilder nature that is present in everybody, about the fight between the good and evil inside each of us, the struggle between reason and instinct. It is not only a story about a different type of werewolves but about the actual characters that are part of it, about how sometimes it feels like everything goes in order to achieve a purpose, about how humans can also be wolves, metaphorically too.

It is also about the will to break out from society and its rules, to become freer and be our real selves instead of giving up our desires to meet what others expect of us. It might not look it from the outside but Woodland Creatures is actually full of very profound themes.

John: What are some of the things that have served as a source of Inspiration when working on WOODLAND CREATURES? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?

Cristina: Music is always very important for me when I write, I like listening to songs that remind me of scenes or the characters or that help me develop some parts. I usually have a Spotify playlist for every book I write. For Woodland Creatures the playlist is mainly full of songs by Of Monsters and Men and Bastille.

 

 

John: Cristina: , you a have rather unique style in your writing and art. Can you tell us a bit about you developed them?

Cristina: I cannot take credit for the art as that’s all the work of TomásAira, an amazing Argentinian artist that has worked with great talents such as Garth Ennis and also worked for many important comic companies like Dark Horse or Boom! Studios.

As for the writing, my readers say that my style is very visual, that they can almost see the story developing in their mind like a movie. Obviously with a graphic novel you don’t need to use your imagination, but when it comes to traditional novels I suppose it is a good thing that readers can easily see everything in their minds. There’s really no big secrets about the development, my writing is pretty simple, nothing too elaborated, and I try to be as descriptive as possible without making it boring with too many details. I find it quite easy to put myself in someone else’s place, which I guess helps when you have to write from different characters’ points of view.

Dialogues are another part that my readers say I’m good at, and I include a lot of them as I think it helps the story flow. Humour, usually sarcastic, is also a big part of my writing.

 

 

John: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

Cristina: Okay. Lets see… I sit down in front of the computer and open a Word document. I stare at the blank page. I stare some more. I write a paragraph and then delete it. I stare at the page. Write another paragraph, a second one. Delete part of it. I check Facebook.

I go back to the page and re-read. I tell myself that at this pace I will need to upgrade my computer before I can finish the book, so I decide to write whatever comes to mind and not worry about how rubbish it sounds. I write a few pages, check Facebook, get a cup of tea, decide that the house needs cleaned. Go back to my computer and forget about what I said before, read what’s written, hate it, delete it, start over. Here and there I find bits that I like which motivate me to keep writing but it’s like a dance, a few steps forward and a few backwards.

Oh, forgot about the research, research and some more research. Also a lot of thinking about what to write. The actual writing is a very small part of the process, lol.

 

 

John: Ha! That’s great. Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?

Cristina: Just to keep your eyes open for upcoming news regarding a certain production company’s interest in Woodland Creatures. Things are moving forward! 😉

John: Thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck on this and all future projects.

Cristina: Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of it! It has been a very interesting interview that I have really enjoyed

 

 

Check out Woodland Creatures: Wild Souls on Kickstarter Now!

 

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ONLY DEATH CAN SAVE US
by Russ Leach

With a vast cosmic backdrop framing a fledgling friendship, a dramatic chase and confrontation takes centre stage. This world runs deep with cosmic and ancient mythologies constantly crossing streams, focusing on the titanic struggle between order and chaos !

Check the Indiegogo campaign page!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Only Death Can Save Us – Briefly tell our readers what’s up.

Russ Leach: “Only Death Can Save Us” is a Bronze Age inspired, cosmic, fantasy romp, bringing together action and pathos as the ancient elemental know as ‘Death’ leaps from his ethereal retirement to help a young soul protect her loved ones, her
world… and even existence itself!

With a vast cosmic backdrop framing a fledgling friendship, a dramatic chase and confrontation takes centre stage. This world runs deep with cosmic and ancient mythologies constantly crossing streams, focusing on the titanic struggle between order and chaos !

 

CB: The book looks very reminiscent of the bronze age of comics, my favorite era. Where did the idea for this book originate?

RL: My main inspiration were the comics I grew up with… bronze age. The stories were deep and wild and yet at the same time a little cheesy. The writers and editors were never afraid to use long words or concepts that were complex, but at once easy to pick up and fun to read. Throw in some bombastic 90’s Marvel and Image appreciation as well and my art emerges from the other end of that mix!

Cosmic Thanos and Fantastic Four stories with Galactus, Surfer, Overmind, The negative zone added to all the great scifi of the time, like original Star Trek, Dr Who, reruns of Time Tunnel and of course Star Wars, all funnels into the creative soup. Also from a more personal perspective, I am completely enthralled by the connections between quantum theory, physics, astronomy and the more esoteric theories about existence, mind and consciousness. The narrative that we may live in a natural, digital reality and that consciousness itself may be the real base of all reality is a heady concept. That all has it’s part to play in the world this book inhabits!

 

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team. What do they bring to the project?

RL: I am the the sum total of the art team on the story! Pencils, inks and colors are by me. I do have some fantastic guest art in the form of beautiful black and white prints by Mike Emeritz, Renzo Rodrigas, Amrit Birdi and Rob Willis. Also Mike Summers has produced fantastic colors on the cover.

 

 

I wanted to produce a retro, bronze age feel to the whole thing and keep the art as focused as possible, which is why I wear so many production hats. For this first book I will also be doing the lettering. I do appreciate that lettering is something that many creators get wrong. Lettering is a specific design skill and although I wouldn’t credit myself up there with the top industry letterers, I do have a long design and production career that I believe gives me the tools to produce a professional outcome.

 

 

On dialogue I have Rik Hoskin helping my fledgling writing career out. He has a list as long as your arm of mainstream credits and high quality projects. He has taken my script and polished it with some great dialogue and excellent content suggestions.

 

Editing the book is Ex, Ex, Marvel editor Tim Quinn, who has so much experience and knowledge in publishing and promotion that I can’t list it all here. He has my complete trust and he will tell me if I get things wrong and correct them!

 

CB: What kind of comic fans do you this this comic will appeal to the most?

RL: Fans that appreciate all kinds of comics! From Kirby to Mignola. It’s all ages in it’s presentation, but as I mentioned earlier, just as bronze age stories never spoke down to their audience neither does this book. It has a scifi/fantasy base but explores adult themes as well – it’s just without anything too extreme. The target for the final product is high quality in terms of content and presentation. My aim is to entertain, but just as important is the attempt to earn a place in readers collections!

 

 

CB: Is this your first attempt at crowdfunding? What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

RL: Yes it is my first stab. The first thing I’m learning is that it’s hard work! You have to give it everything to build confidence in your potential audience and you absolutely must bring your A-game to the product. No phoning it in for a page rate! Respect for the reader/consumer is THE most important aspect. I do feel that my career to date has helped to build a lot of the skills necessary to take a project to fulfillment. That said, I have a huge amount still to learn and I am constantly amazed by the support of other creatives and comic book lovers.

 

I think connecting directly with your audience is the way to go. My ComicBookBlackBelt Youtube channel is where I’m doing that and you can see me produce art for the book as well as previous publications I’ve been involved with in the past. On top of that the act of crowdfunding is in itself a more personal route to product development and audience participation. I think that a crowdfunded book is the equivalent to a cinema premiere and that you can then release a network premiere later on. So a crowdfunded book should be a premium product for those willing to invest in it and if it proves to be popular then perhaps it can be distributed more widely later on and by a publisher, but without the extras and the added content from the original product launch. That should be a special event for those willing to trust in your work!

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Russ! Any last words for our readers?

RL: Thanks for taking an interest. As I mentioned previously I am incredibly thankful to all the backers so far and to the support I’ve found out there in the indie environment.
I am committed to producing the work of my life for this book and providing the best comic book entertainment I can to the audience!

 

 

Only Death Can Save Us - Trailer - A bronzeage inspired cosmic romp... the way comics used to be!

Learn more at onlydeathcansaveus.com and read an 8-page preview then visit the Indiegogo campaign page!

 

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SWORD OF JUSTICE

By Silvio Spotti 

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Check out this project now on Kickstarter

 

John: Welcome back to and thank you once again for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase, Silvio! 

Silvio : Thank you so much for having me.

John: Before we get started can you catch us up to how and what has changed since we had you on the last we had you on?

 

 

Silvio : A lot has changed! When I was here the last time I started working with TOP SECRET PRESS. And I’m happy to say that I made the right choice and I’m finally working with publishers who value me and the work I’m doing in my book Sword Of Justice. I would like to emphasize how quick  my editors were to deliver all the Sword Of Justice # 1 books in the midst of a pandemic. I believe that we did the revisions, printed the book and delivered it in a record time. And then Sword Of Justice is my debut book as a writer.

John: Without Spoilers, what can you tell us about SWORD OF JUSTICE? Where it’s been, where it’s going, and your plans for the future?

Silvio : The first Idea for Sword of Justice was in the 90’s. That is why I kept the name. Sword of Justice is about an post- apocalyptical earth, ravaged by violence, pestilence. You have at the same time people living in a moon base with technology and on earth a civilization that is back to the middle ages. Brenna, will join forces with Muriel the mage and Tanet the Warrior, trying to put down false prophets that are enslaving people on earth.

 

 

John: We’ve last had you on for the first installment of SWORD OF JUSTICE, can you tell us how that went?

Silvio : We been funded. And now the second issue is Live on Kickstarter. Backer can have issue #1, #2 , products from Sword Of Justice and a lot of other Digital comics from TOP SECRET PRESS.

John: What was the most challenging part about your last campaign?

Silvio :The most challenging part of the campaign, is always to promote the campaign itself, while it is happening and to continue writing and drawing the book, so that it comes out on the correct date. 

You can say that it is a job of about 14 hours a day.

 

John: What are some of the things you learned in your last campaign?

Silvio : I had to learn how to to do the lettering on my book. So, when the pages go to my colorist Veronica Lopez, she can read the pages. When the pages come back from the colorisng process

they are ready for a beta reader that works with us to fix typos.

 

 

John: Can you tell us a little bit about how tackled this campaign as compared to your previous one or ones?

Silvio: My editor John Taylor helped me a lot. So, this time Iwas not promoting the book all by myself, having to promote the magazine for 14 hours. My colorist shared links and was  very cooperative

 in this regard. An interesting fact happens in Indie comics campaigns. The artists that we eventually invite to make a cover art or some art, do not share the link or talk about the work they have done, as it is  done for an indie magazine. They only do this when they work for Marvel or DC.

 

John: Is there anything did in this or the last campaign that you feel you could do better next time around?

Silvio :I always believe I can improve my artistic skills. The artist who is satisfied with his art ends up stopping in time and becoming obsolete.

John: Media wise, is there anything that you are consuming while working on this project?

Silvio : Books, movies and TV series with comic books are always present.

John: Has anything changed in your process between comics?

Silvio : I always asked myself, how could John Byrne could write, do lettering and all that magnificent art on his books. Always sounded like a lot of tasks to do.

  I’m having to figure out my way to do it.

John: Is there anything you want to do that you have not been able to, yet?

Silvio : Yes, I have a lot of books inside of my head. They want to live, they must come to life. 

John: What are your feelings about the current state of Indie Comics, and have they changed since you started?

Silvio: The campaigns changed the way you do indie comics. Right now as we speak is the only way for a lot of indie books to survive

 

John: What are your hopes for SWORD OF JUSTICE for the future?

Silvio :  Fund our second campaign that is live right now at  Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2GDGfxj  Then book #3 and a lot of ideas that I can’t share yet.

 

John: Is there anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?

Silvio: I have this strange feeling that the future of comics is  in the campaign websites, or any other way in which the reader can buy  comic books and receive them at their door step. The reader still likes to collect printed books. They read digital comic books. But They like to collect. I Know that. I’m one of you. I do that. No, I don’t think that comic books are dead. No they have changed. It is an adaptation to survive.  If we see publishers failing to sell magazines with the characters that have a film industry behind them, it’s because the world has changed, people have changed the way they do things. And if you don’t realize  that you’re doing something wrong,  and immediately change the way you do things, make and sell your product, your books, your movies, your comics. Your product is bound to disappear. And we don’t want that.

John: Glad to have you back, Silvio. Good luck!

Silvio: It is always a pleasure to talk to you guys. Thank you so much.

 

Check out this project now on Kickstarter

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That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!

 


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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