Indie Comics Showcase #106: Pirate Queen, Clap Trap & Tilt


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 Mandy Summers & Clint Hilinski

Ava Bloodstone is the Pirate Queen! Join the crew of the Star Raider, as the PIRATE QUEEN leads you in search of treasure and riches beyond your imagination! Always trying to stay one step ahead of the evil Galactic Union of Imperial Federations! Written by MANDY SUMMERS (Super Dead, Wart The Wizard) and art by CLINT HILINSKI (Justice League, Youngblood, GI Joe, Lady Death)!! With a back up story telling the PIRATE QUEEN’s origin story, also written and drawn by CLINT HILINSKI. 60 pages of non stop ACTION!

Check out the Indiegogo Campaign Page HERE!



Chris Braly: Welcome back, Mandy! Tell our readers about your latest comic, Pirate Queen.


Mandy Summers: Pirate Queen is the ultimate sexy sci-fi adventure! The Pirate Queen (Ava Bloodstone) and her trusted crew of their ship, The Star Raider, travel the galaxy looking for treasure, booty, and action! Ava is a lot like a female Han Solo, constantly in trouble, and always on the run from the Galactic Federation of Unions. Join her in her latest quest as she encounters her greatest villain yet!




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


MS:    Thanks! The artist, Clint Hilinski, actually created Pirate Queen years ago. He brought me onto the project to create new characters, villains, and adventures for the series. I was totally floored when he asked me, because I know I can bring new life into the characters and their stories, especially Ava Bloodstone (The Pirate Queen), as we are very similar.



CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team. Who are they and what do they bring to the project?

MS:  The artist and creator of this project is Clint Hilinski. He’s worked on such titles as Justice League, Youngblood, GI Joe, and Lady Death. He’s also done Seadog and Codename Killswitch with Mark Poulton. Clint is the true power behind this book. His art is absolutely amazing and could rival even the top artists. I’m beyond grateful to be working with someone so talented.



CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?

MS: I’d say this book is definitely for adults who love comics! Although there’s no true nudity within the interior pages, the story and art remain very suggestive, fun, and entertaining!



CB: It looks a little risque, but in a fun way. Can you tell us a little more about the flavor of the book and if you can see telling further adventures with this cast of characters.


MS:    Absolutely! Pirate Queen is everything you’d want in a book such as this. Ava is constantly finding herself in trouble, getting captured, chained and tied up, leaving her to find a way to rescue herself and her friends while kicking a whole bunch of bad-guy butt along the way! She’s witty, fun, and you’re going to love the supporting cast of characters and villains. We’re geared to keep pumping out stories as long as you guys keep reading them!



CB: This isn’t your first successful crowdfunding effort. You’ve been there done that, but what are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?


MS:  First, I am so very grateful to have the opportunity to crowdfund these projects. This has been absolutely incredible and a total dream come true. I’ve met so many amazing creators, artist, writers, and supporters since I first started this adventure. I always try to stick with the motto, leave more than what you take. If you’ve had success and you’re able to help get eyes on other people’s projects, then you absolutely should, because it’s not just about my dream, it’s about putting quality, non-agenda, butt-kicking comic books into as many reader’s hands as possible.



CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

MS:  Thank you SO very much for having me!! It was a pleasure and I appreciate the opportunity!!


Check out the Indiegogo Campaign Page HERE!




by Tom Richmond & Des Devlin

For sixty years, MAD Magazine’s illustrated movie and TV parodies provided smart and silly laughs in an appealing format that was widely imitated elsewhere, but never matched.  As time passed, those same parodies became valuable cultural snapshots that were enjoyed anew by nostalgic fans, who finally got all the jokes and references they missed as kids. And thanks to reprints, the classic humor was also experienced through the fresh eyes of new readers.  


Unfortunately, MAD has published its last original parody. The magazine has switched its focus to reprinted material, and it will no longer create the defining full-length spoofs they made famous. This made us sad because these parodies are an enduring, one-of-a-kind form of American culture. This made us sad because we all grew up on those parodies. And mostly, it made us sad because they weren’t going to pay us anymore!


ClapTrap picks up where MAD left off! Check out the Indiegogo campaign here!



Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Clap Trap – Briefly tell our readers what’s up.

Tom Richmond: MAD writer Desmond Devlin and I have been principal members of “The Usual Gang of Idiots” at MAD Magazine for decades, working together on over 40 pieces, most of which were MAD’s trademark movie and TV parodies. With MAD no longer producing new content, we are creating a book full of all new movie spoofs in the “classic humorous vein”. CLAPTRAP will be a hardcover collection of 10 all-new, full color movie spoofs of both new films and classics MAD never did.



CB: The book looks great! I’ve been a fan of your work and the Mad Magazine art style for decades. You nailed it. Tell our readers about the genesis of this project.

TR: In 2019 MAD Magazine went to a primarily reprint format and stopped creating the timeless movie and TV parodies that were tentpole features for over 60 years. Desmond and I created the majority of those parodies for MAD over the last two decades. We didn’t want to see that genre die, so we decided to do them ourselves by creating a book full of them. The movie parody is a part of American pop culture. Famous actors, directors and creators like Michael J. Fox, Jerry Seinfeld, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Judd Apatow, J.J. Abrams, Quentin Tarantino, Howard Stern and many more cite seeing their film or show’s appearance in a MAD spoof as knowing they had “made it”. Generations grew up enjoying these spoofs… including Des and I! We want to see it continue, and since MAD isn’t doing them anymore we’ll just have to do them ourselves.



CB: Tell us a bit about Clap Trap’s creative team. Who are they and what do they bring to the project?

TR: Desmond has been one of MAD’s most prolific writers in the last several decades. He sold his first feature to MAD as a teenager in 1984, and since has had over 450 by-lines in the magazine. He was nominated for a Harvey Award in 2004 for his work in MAD. I started with MAD in 2000, and did my first TV parody in early 2001. Since then I’ve drawn the most movie and TV parodies in the magazine…exactly 90 of them.

Des and I have teamed up on many movie/TV parody features in MAD over the years, especially in the last decade. He brings a sharp, clever, current, and insightful wit to the classic movie spoof format, and drawing his scripts is always a treat. I bring 30 years of caricature, comics, and cartooning skills to the table. Some say we were just starting to get the hang of it.



CB: I’ve seen some of your Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker work. What are some of the other films you’re parodying in this project?

TR: We’ve already got the first parody done, and have released the two page opening splash as a sneak peek of what readers can expect. It’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”. Des and I agreed we had to do this movie, as MAD did parodies of all eight of the previous main Star Wars movies, but not this last one. We needed to finished the “spoof saga”. We are already at work on the second film parody, which we’ll reveal along with another splash page sneak peek in a week or two. We’ve got 4 other films picked out to do, but we are going to announce them as we go, so they are top secret! All are either beloved classics or cult hits that for whatever reason never got spoofed in MAD. Then we want to several new films, so we are waiting to see which ones come out and are “spoof-worthy” in the next 5-6 months.



CB: Are you a fan of Star Wars? Does that help or challenge you when you’re doing a parody of the films?

TR: One of the questions I get most often is “would you rather do a parody of a movie you loved or one you hated?” The answer is “yes.” Either way I have an interest in the film and that makes doing the spoof a lot more fun. I love “Star Wars”, but I also have no problem poking fun of it. It’s actually just as enjoyable to make fun of something you like as it is something you hate. One is done with love and the other with gleeful malice… both perspectives keep you interested and engaged.



CB: What are some other parodies readers can look forward to in Clap Trap?

TR: We’ll be doing at least ten movies, but we’ll have some stretch goals that could bring that up to as many as twelve. That’s the limit of what I think Des and I can produce in the timeframe we are planning, which is a shipping date of 4th quarter 2021. We are also going to have a few extra features that will be one or two pagers with some film related gags and humor. 100% of it will be all-new work.



CB: Are there any films you wish you could’ve done a parody of, but the timing just wasn’t quite right?

TR: In the 2000s MAD moved away from doing spoofs of dramatic, critically acclaimed films and stuck to blockbusters()with a few exceptions), so we did a lot of superhero movies, “Harry Potter”, “The Hunger Games” and the like. I would have liked to do some more dramatic fare like “No Country for Old Men”, “Birdman”. “The Wolf of Wall Street”, etc. “Joker” was a more recent one I wished we’d tackled. I’m not sure if MAD passed those up because of timing or choosing other films, but we never did them.



CB: What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

TR: We are learning that promoting your crowdsourcing campaign is harder work than writing and drawing the book! One thing Des and I are trying to emphasize is that we are not a couple of beginners trying to make a quick buck. We’ve been doing this very kind of work for decades under deadlines for one of the most famous magazines in the history of publishing. If we reach our funding goal we will get this book done and published on time. It’s what we do.



CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

TR: Thank you!


Claptrap! A Hardcover Collection of Movie Parodies in the Classic, Humorous Vein!

Check out Clap Trap’s Indiegogo campaign here!



by Aaron Dowen


Tilt is the fourth wall breaking, gritty, and self-aware superhero story that follows Patrick Eitilt; a homeless superhero in Boston. It chronicles the story of his past, and what pushed him into becoming the hero that he is today.


Check out the Kickstarter for Tilt here!



Chris Braly: What is your elevator pitch for Briefly tell our readers about Tilt (issues 1-3).
Aaron Dowen: Tilt is the fourth wall breaking, gritty, and self-aware superhero story that follows Patrick Eitilt; a homeless superhero in Boston. It chronicles the story of his past, and what pushed him into becoming the hero that he is today. His story is tied directly into the Catalyst Comics Universe, and will explore the agents of the Council of Elders; a secret organization bent on exploiting, controlling, or eliminating, hyper-evo’s. Patrick became the subject of countless experiments, each grooming him to be one of the most powerful agents of the Council. Now escaped, Patrick is dedicated to keeping his city safe, while tracking down those that manipulated him.
Within the first three issues, aside from our hero, we have met Exquisite, an African-American billionaire who has no allegiance to the Council of Elders, or heroes. We have also been introduced to Sprocket, a non-hyper-evolved woman who took up the mantle of vigilante in her city. The major villain is named Taylen, and issue 3 explores a bit of his background and who he is to Tilt.    
CB: You’ve got a notable comics related podcast too, tell our readers a little about that.
AD: Beards and Comics Podcast started as a way for Matt (the co-owner of Catalyst Comics Studio) and myself to connect with, and learn from, other creators, as well as to share a bit of our experience of getting to where we are in the year and a half since we have started publishing. It is a very honest podcast about being creators in the indie comics realm, and the struggles that we have faced, and been forced to overcome. It has become a resource for new creators to dive into and strip away the facade that tends to throw people off, and we have heard (and seen) some great success stories from creators who have learned from the episodes. New episodes drop every Thursday everywhere podcasts are found. 
CB: Where did this idea originate?
AD: Tilt was birthed out of a bunch of extra notes I had when developing another character, Paradigm. I had a set of things that just would not work for him, and when I sat down with them, Patrick (Tilt) was born. From that point, the plan had always been for him to be the character that everyone gravitated toward and fell in love with. Luckily, that seems to be exactly what has happened. Unfortunately, too many indie comics never make it past issue 1, and even less past issue 2; so, for us to be releasing issue 3 with the follow-up already being produced, it is highly encouraging.
CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
AD: There is a little something for everyone in the Tilt story. While it is a superhero story, it is also fourth-wall breaking, and has moments of drama and clarity. So much of who Tilt is as a character are playful comments about the tropes associated to superhero stories. For example, one of the things throughout the first three issues that readers find is that he will be in three different suits. This is directly because of the trope of companies always having to “freshen up” their characters look. Also, there is a bit of beefcake with Tilt. I mean, the guy is jacked, so if he is alone and talking to the reader, he probably just wouldn’t have a shirt on. Let’s face it, neither would we if we looked like him. 
Plus, for reader’s who want to see representations of powerful African-American, or female characters, Tilt has two of the best and brightest contained in its ongoing story. I created those characters to let them take their own paths, and to be prominent in the ongoing series, as well as the superhero universe as a whole.  
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team / other creators that have contributed to this? 
AD:  Matt Sotello is the co-owner of Catalyst Comics Studio, the co-host of Beards and Comics, and does all of Tilt’s main covers, as well as the character designs for this particular series. He is also an illustrator in his own right and is the main interior artist for Paradigm & Welcome To Everville.
Joe Desantos is the magic man with the illustration side of Tilt, and has been working in indie comics for over a decade. Just an absolutely fantastic and quick artist who has a clear understanding of what we want, and is willing to throw in any bit of knowledge he can to benefit in a better product. 
Ramon Amancio is the series colorist, and Tilt issue 1 was his first ever colorist gig, and he consistently blows our minds. We always joke about when he will get picked up by larger companies and to remember us. The full team on this book is just better than anything we could have hoped for while being a newer publisher.
CB: What are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
AD: The biggest thing we have learned is that no two campaigns are the same, even within the same title. This is our fourth campaign, and I get nervous about each one. Particularly when it comes to superhero stories, you never know how they will be received on a crowdfunding platform. I still feel that we at Catalyst have to push a bit harder for those stories, as opposed to a story like our horror comic, Welcome To Everville, which pretty much took on a life of its own. I encourage any indie creator to at least try it. There is a beauty in the struggle, and it makes you feel a lot closer, and more appreciative, to other creators who have done the same. The indie comics community is alive and thriving, and you can find so much support if you are willing to dive in. 
CB: What exactly is Catalyst Comics?
AD: We are an independent, small press publisher, who absolutely love creating comics, and learning how to build a business. We have been blessed by what is happening with our little company, and we live by the mantra of “Do better, be better.” One of my favorite paraphrased definitions of a catalyst is something that causes change in something else without itself undergoing any permanent change. While we feel that we are always changing, the core of who we are as creators remains the same. So, when we release podcasts, comics, or any other upcoming content, and it makes some kind of impact on someone to start their own endeavors, it truly excites us. 
We offer superhero comics, and also have another imprint called Uprising, which is where we publish anything that is not tied into the superhero universe. Under that imprint we have released the already popular Welcome To Everville, our first horror comic, and we are producing a high fantasy story, as well as a sci-fi space epic. This will also be the imprint where we can begin to publish other creators under the Catalyst Comics Studio banner. Aside from all of that, we also do graphic design, voice-over work, and project development for anyone who needs us. 
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
AD:  Thank you so much. For independent publishers, often it is difficult to find publicity, or websites willing to put out press releases, interviews, or things that help us connect with a broader audience. On behalf of everyone at Catalyst, thank you for this.

Check out the Kickstarter for Tilt here!




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!