Indie Comics Showcase #119: Shadow of the Kraken, Vestri, Chicken USDA



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 Vinnie Tartamell


Check out the campaign here!


Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Shadow of the Kraken… Briefly tell our readers what’s up.

Vinnie Tartamella: Shadow of the Kraken is a classic pirate story, a tale about the darkness of man and the actions one takes to get back into the light. A hunt for treasure and power, with betrayal looming around every corner.


Shadow of the Kraken Trailer Full


CB: What did you think when infamous attorney Sidney Powell called for President Trump to “Release the Kraken” a few weeks ago to fight election fraud?

VT: I didn’t think much of it honestly lol. I first heard about it from a friend overseas and I laughed about being able to use the hashtag.


CB: What was the genesis for this project, where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?

VT: I’ve always been a big fan of history and pirates, yet I never really saw a well done comic book covering it. This story actually came together while I was writing out another project! My love for action and getting a true pirate story out there was important. This will have plenty of beautiful locations, a heroic struggle, and brutal fight scenes. Along with some great twists. The violence is visceral, it was a nasty time in history, I want to capture that in a great way. This isn’t a Disney pirate story! My other crowdfunded campaigns have been doing well, so this will add to my growing library of books! The fans and supporters are amazing!


CB: Tell us a little more about the project. What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?

VT: This project will explore the nature of a character, how far is too far. The darkness of man and if redemption is possible. There’s a hunt for treasure and power, but it’s not as clean cut as one might think. The main character, Nathaniel James Calin was once part of the Royal Navy, but you’ll find out why he decides to turn to piracy. He is pursued by a mysterious man with a vicious crew. The villain is pulling strings from the shadows and his motives will be revealed as the story continues. This is for anyone who enjoys an action packed story filled with twists & turns, big surprises, rare treasures, and gorgeous cinematic story telling.


CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. Tell us a bit about your creative team or if there are any other creators that have contributed to this project?

VT: This project much like City of Venus: Dead City, is solely created, written, drawn, inked, colored, and lettered by me. There’s a great freedom in telling a story like this, a challenge at times as well, but it is exciting and fun! I can’t wait for people to see what I have in store for them in this series!



CB: What’s the workflow like? How do you like to work?

VT: I normally write out the story, the main elements and characters. I then rough out the designs and think about the world they’ll be living in and interacting with. I enjoy the concept stage a lot. Once that’s all done, start fleshing out more of the story, other elements, side stories and details. A final draft and then on to the art pages! Breaking down a few pages at a time, tight pencils come after that, then inking, and scanning the line work to paint digitally.


CB: This isn’t your first crowdfunding project. What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

VT: I’ve learned that crowdfunding is a lot of hard work for serious creators! There’s always things to learn on every campaign, from listening to fans, to the actual fulfillment process. In almost 2 years, I’ve run 5 campaigns( this is my 6th ) fulfilling 2000+ books, helping other creators with art tips and setting them up with a great printer, its a lot of time and effort. The fans/supporters have always made it worth it! The interactions on the live-streams are a lot of fun! The excitement for what I get to create, along with the joy people get from reading my books, it’s all very rewarding!

CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
VT: Thank you! I’m happy people are eager to join the ride! I promise to make it an epic journey!


Check out the campaign here!


by Jakub Šebesta & Dylan Clarke

Check out the campaign here!


Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Vestri #2… Briefly tell our readers what’s up.

Jakub Šebesta: In issue 1 Damyn has cleared a mysterious castle in the ruins of Elven city Omrydell and stumbled across a rather suspicious crystal shard. Damyn could not comprehend what came next, an Elven woman named Elle emerges from the shard in a panic. Something has followed her to the realm of Vestri. Now our hero has to deal with this new threat whilst finding out who is this elven woman. Now how does this tie into Damyn’s past? Well you are going to have to read our upcoming issues to find out.

Dylan Clarke: Jakub summed it up pretty nicely. In issue 2 Damyn returns in the next action packed issue, where he must battle an extra-dimensional being.


CB: Can new readers get a copy of issue Vestri #1 on the campaign page too?

JS: Absolutely! We want all new readers to be able to pick up from the start of the story. One thing that is not included is the standalone ashcan that came with issue 1. But not to worry we have a whole new ashcan to go with issue 2.

DC: Yes. We have a $19 tier where we offer the physical copies of issues 1 AND 2, which of course comes with the new ashcan titled ‘Vestri: Eye of Molstein’. However if people can’t afford that tier, we also offer a digital version which is priced at $7.


CB: What was the genesis for this project, where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?

JS: In all actuality the project started as me wanting to practice sequential art I wrote up a little synopsis I have than worked with a few writers even drew a whole two issues but at the end of the day I decided that the art or story wasn’t strong enough to actually sell. Than I started working with pickles and ever since than I was sure we were onto something.

DC: As Jakub said, Damyn was a practice design to help him improve on his art which I must say improves every issue. He drew an issue 0 that’s a free web comic that some other creators wrote. Jakub wasn’t keen on issue 0 and I felt the same so issue 0 isn’t canon. I came onto the project to help out Jakub when a Czech magazine asked Jakub to do a short story for them. Jakub had about 3 folklore creatures that he wanted to use, we landed on Vodnik which gained a lot of praise by backers. Shabby loved the Vodnik story and asked me to write dialogue and narration on issue 1. We wanted to keep our partnership as we gelled together pretty well so I ended up scripting everything after issue 1. We wanted our story to be out there and make people happy and proud to read our book, crowdfunded seemed to be that perfect opportunity.



CB: Tell us a little more about the project. What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?

JS: We make the kinds of comics we want to read. That means large fantasy world’s, big fight scenes mysterious powers, different races of people (we are not stopping only with elves) If you like Conan, DnD, or the Witcher, I’m sure you’ll like our comic. Our audience is simply those who are highly entertained by loads of action.

DC: Jakub and I have a deep love for comic books that contain a lot of action but also has an actual story. Our target audience is people like us, those who have a deep love for comic books and want to be wowed by every page. Having a fantasy book is a great excuse to jam in lots of action but have an interesting story. If you love Conan, DnD, Swords and Sorcery, blood and guts then THIS IS your book.


CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. Tell us a bit about your creative team or if there are any other creators that have contributed to this project?

JS: We are a team of two, Dylan is the writer and helps me out with flatting the comic which speeds things up a lot. I take care of all things art pencils, inks, colors, lettering and I do have my say in how the plot develops.

DC: Jakub pretty much summed it up, I’m the writer/flatter and Jakub is the artist/letterer. On issue 1 we did have a letter named Kassidy Blond but Jakub has taken that role for issue 2 and onwards. We also ran a Kikcstarter for issue 1 where we had Matthew Weldon do a cover for us and he’s on board to do another Kickstarter cover for issue 2 if we ever want to try and build an audience there. I should also give a shoutout to Matthew Vealey who is distributing our books from the US when they go to print.



CB: What’s the workflow like? How do you like to work?

JS: After the script is written I draw out thumbnails where we usually change stuff around depending on what ideas for the look of the book, some panels are moved around but after that its just me going at it pencil and inking the whole book that is than flatted by Dylan. Meanwhile I draw the ashcan than come back to color and letter.

DC: We’re a team with a lot of creative ideas so we bounce ideas off each other. I do the scripts, Jakub reads through and comes to me with ideas if he has any. We usually run the scripts by a few people and they give us some feedback. That’s when Jakub kicks on and does basic layouts, we go through these and if it doesn’t flow like how we wanted then that’s when we make changes. After all that, Jakub does his pencils and inks, I try to keep up on flats but HE’S TOO FAST lol. Once the flats and ashcan are complete Jakub does the colouring and lettering.

We send out these books digitally to proof readers just in case anything could be made better.



CB: Is Incentive Comics your own imprint? Are there other comics put out under that imprint or just Vestri?

DC: I should probably answer this one lol. That name was originally meant to be a sort of placeholder, at first it was called ‘Savage Comics’ as we intended to just work solely on Vestri stories but we both agreed we can eventually offer different stories than Vestri. After our first story arc we may do a different book which at the moment is space related, then straight back doing the second story arc of Vestri, after that we may do a psychedelic horror or a superhero book and come back and do the third Vestri story arc etc.


CB: Do you have more stories to tell in this universe? How far does it go?

JS: We definitely have more stories to tell after the first arc and hopefully we get to see them come to life if we do well. Its a large world with many possibilities.

DC: MUCH more. We are crafting an entire fantasy universe, we can do anything we want lol. As long as we keep hold of our readers then Vestri is never going away!


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

DC: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to showcase our book to your audience. It always fills me with pride when people take an interest in our book. Thank you the readers too for reading through this, you are all great.


Check out the campaign here!


Chicken: USDA Rejected

by Dan Nokes

Grab a copy here!


John: Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. Before we get started I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about yourself.

Dan:  Sure!  I’m originally from Maryland living in both the DC Metro Area and Southern Maryland, and for the last two years have been residing in Richmond, Virginia.  I’ve doing comics for almost 20 years now as a writer, artist, and self publisher. 



John: What can you tell us about CHICKEN: USDA REJECTED ?

Dan:  It’s about this stuffed animal that I bring to shows as my mascot and what he does when the show ends and I go to the hotel.  It takes place on a Saturday Night after a show in Baltimore, where he goes out on a drunken bender that winds up getting him in trouble with the local police, The Secret Service, A secret corporate death cult and bad parodies of Donald Trump, Vladamir Putin and Colonel Sanders.  



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

Dan:  Sure!  Like I said, Chicken is this stuffed animal I bring to shows that I bring to cons and shows as a mascot and dress up in cosplay, and have developed a personality for as a drunken, womanizing adventurer of sorts.  Definitely not safe for kids sort of material.  I kept getting requests to do a comic based on his exploits, and wanted to both explore the Underground Comics scene of the 1960’s-early 80’s as well as funny animal strips and see what came about.  Also this marks my first full color comic.  Which is pretty exciting. 



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

Dan: Probably back in the fall of 1980.  My friend and I knew this lady on the first floor apartment of his building.  Her son just left for college, and he left behind a longbox of comics.  I remember it being a Hulk Comic most likely by Herb Trimpe.  I became hooked on Walt Simonson’s run on X-Factor, as well as John Byrne’s run on X-Men.  I think I discovered Indie, Alternative and Underground Comics in the mid-80’s when I went to my first comic store in Silver Spring with Geppi’s.  



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

Dan: I would have to say: Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, Milk & Cheese, Sandman, Preacher, Giffen, Dematteis, and Maguire’s JLA, Early Lobo, Jim Lee on X-Men, along with numerous others I can’t think of at the moment.



John: What does  CHICKEN: USDA REJECTED. mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

Dan:  I think this was the book I wanted to show how well I could perform as an artist and comedy writer.  The color component is a big factor as well.  I have done all my previous books in black and white and there are a lot of people out there that equate black and white with lower quality.  I wanted to try and flex my artistic muscles and show what I could do with a digital palette at my disposal.  

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

Dan:  Every comic I have done has a component of being a love letter/critique to a certain genre or form of storytelling I am into.  Paranormals was to Fantasy, Pistoleers was to Westerns, Adam and Eve was to post-apocalyptic, and Space Tales to Sci-Fi.  Chicken as I mentioned was to both the Crumb Era to Early American Alternative Underground Comics, and Funny Animal Stips of The Sunday Funnies.  

Basically I am self taught and learn through trial and error.  My education in my craft is a lifelong process.



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

Dan:  I start off with a concept.  Usually a twist or take on some sort of genre or trope, and try to subvert it, deconstruct it, or just add my own spin.  From there it goes to a bible that includes the basic plot and character breakdowns.  I dont usually use a script for my own work.  It’s sort of like the Marvel Method, but with me playing the part of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  I then draw all the pages.  After that I go back and add narration and dialogue digitally.  



John: What have some of your influences been over the years and how have they affected your work?

Dan:  In short order: John Byrne, Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson, John Romita Jr. Klaus Janson, Steve Dillon, Jhoen Vasquez, Jim Lee, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson, John Steinbeck, Comack McCarthy, Anne Rice,  Vincent Van Gough, and countless others that escape my brain.   




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

Dan: Yup!  Planning two Kickstarters this year.  The first is for the 10th Anniversary of ADAM  & EVE: BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE IN THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE slated to launch on February 2nd (My 45th Birthday), and the second for my 1st ever all prose novel entitled: KEVIN: OR THE LATTER DAYS OF ROMULUS AUGUSTULUS, LAST EMPEROR OF WESTERN ROME planning to launch late in 2021!  Please buy my stuff at !


John: Once again Dan, I would like to say thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck on this campaign and all future projects.

Dan:  Thanks kindly for the opportunity!  


Grab a copy here!





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



Follow Indie Comics Showcase on Twitter at @Indie_Comics and reach out to them if you want us to consider featuring YOUR crowdfunding comic project!


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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!