Indie Comics Showcase #121: Abductables 2, Thomas Valiant, Teen Beetle & Switchline


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!


The Abductables 2
by Michael Derrick

The Abductee is BACK and this time he’s up against his deadliest enemy yet--THE REPTILIAN!

Check out the campaign here!



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

Michael Derrick: After the events of the first Abductables, in which aliens made the fatal mistake of abducting a musclebound amnesiac with a severe case of roid rage, things somehow get even crazier in the sequel! This time around it’s a full-blown space war as The Abductee must put his alien-murdering skills to the ultimate test against the deadliest threat the galaxy has ever faced--The Reptilian!


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?

MD: I originally intended for The Abductables to be a one-shot comic, but somewhere during the production I had an idea for a sequel that I just couldn’t resist. It led naturally from the events of the first book while upping the stakes and scope in a profound way that I knew readers would get a kick out of. The positive feedback I received from the first book, which was also crowdfunded, only solidified my conviction that this was a comic that needed to be made.     



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

MD: While the alien-centric subject matter will certainly appeal to sci-fi fans in particular, I’d like to think any comic fan who craves the kind of bombastic, big budget, anything-goes artistic anarchy that comics used to be known for will appreciate our humorous little high stakes space opera.



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

MD: The original two-man creative team from the first book is back in action, with the beloved Ibai Canales handling art duties and yours truly scripting and lettering the book. But whereas the first Abductables comic was black-and-white, this time Canales is gracing with full color artwork in a distinctive painterly style that suits the comic’s otherworldly subject matter perfectly.



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

MD: The full script has already been written and handed over to Canales, so now I get to sit back and enjoy watching those newly-drawn pages come in! While we tend to see eye to eye on most storytelling decisions, Canales is of course free to make any changes to panel count or composition he thinks would improve the flow of the book. One major benefit of lettering the book myself is I can finetune the dialogue to match his pages perfectly.


CB: This is a sequel, so it isn’t your first crowdfunding project. What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

MD: The one thing I can say for certain about crowdfunding is that, while it’s vital to prepare as much as possible, and promote as much as possible, there are just so many x-factors involved in how a project will be received by the public that there’s really only two things you can stay in total control of: the quality of your book and the quality of your customer service. Everything else is out of your hands, so at some point you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best! 


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

MD: Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone enjoys the comic!


Check out the campaign here!


Thomas Valiant
by R.J. Shaw


A disgraced superhero brings together a new team, in the hopes of reclaiming the title of “hero”

Check out the campaign here!


THOMAS VALIANT - Trailer (Character Introduction)


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

RJ Shaw: Here’s the dust cover pitch, “As a former soldier and a spy, Thomas Valiant was never fully trusted by his teammates in the Legion of Justice. So now, as Valiant seeks to create his own team out of misfits, mercenaries, and former villains, the Legion has decided that he and his new team are too much of a liability to leave alive.”
But when time is really short I just say that it’s 2 parts 1980’s X-Men, 1 part 1980’s Justice League of America, and 1 part Oceans 11.


CB: What was the genesis for this project, where did the idea for this comic come from, and 2) what led to you deciding to crowdfund it? 3) Where did the idea for a crossover come from?

RJ: I have a lot of stories tucked away in a closet, so I’ve always wanted to write. And I talk a lot about the traditional form of storytelling on my YouTube channel [The Fourth Age,] and about how, in part, comics are dying because current writers for the big two ignore the tested and true form of storytelling that has accompanied western civilization for more than three thousand years. And, after two years of talk, I figured it was time to put my money where my mouth is.

I tried to get a novel published in the mainstream publishing industry a few years ago and I found that, if you want to get a book out into the world, it’s all about what kind of political ideology you have. Comics are just a smaller version of that larger industry, and, at this point, that industry is broken. Self publishing is the only game in town where independent thinkers can put out a book. And crowdfunding is now one of the hottest places to self publish.


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

RJ: Definitely superhero comic fans. There are a lot of good crowdfunded books out by now, but not a lot of superhero books. I wanted to make a traditional superhero comic for all of those people that are hungry to have their heros back. I can’t give them back Batman or the X-Men, but I can create something new that will bring back the kind of story that made superhero comics great to begin with. That’s what I wanted to do, and that’s who I wrote this book for.


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

RJ: Both of my artists came to me with a hunger to tell a traditional hero story. My main artist, Renzo Rodriguez, is probably best known in crowdfunding circles for his work with Richard Myer (ya boy Zack) on “Pandemic,” “Impossible Stars,” and “The Expendables go to Hell.” His style was perfect for this project because I see his work as comparable to a young John Byrne or George Perez. And my other artist, Nik Axe, has only dabbled in comics before, but his work is so detailed and well thought out that I couldn’t let him go. If the comic industry was healthy right now, I have no doubt that these two artists would be working for Marvel or DC.


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

RJ: My work is very hands-on. I like having a full script and panel layout before we even begin the art. That way I can tell the story in two ways – through the text and the art – all at the same time. That being said, it’s not too rigid. Both of my artists have added so much to my original script with their work that I have reworked several scenes to incorporate their ideas.


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

RJ: Crowdfunding is a bit of a beast. It’s kinda like trying to steer a cow. You might want to go one way but it’ll take you in the direction it wants to go. However, it does give you a lot of information about what kind of audience is buying your book, and that’s invaluable for anyone who wants to make comics.


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

RJ: Thanks. It’s a pleasure to finally talk to people about “Thomas Valiant.”

Check out the campaign here!



by Roland Mann & John Crowther


A single campaign is for two comics, Switchline from Roland Mann and Teen Beetle from John Crowther. BOTH creators took part in this interview.



Chris Braly: Since this is a a campaign for two comics, first Roland, please tell our readers your elevator pitch for Switchblade and then John, can you tell readers about Teen Beetle. Give us the ‘elevator pitch’.


Roland Mann: Switchblade is the story of Scott Nathans, a boxer who is fed up with the inadequacies of the justice system. When the rapist of a young girl is set free because of an improper arrest, Scott can take it no longer and becomes the vigilante Switchblade…and a bit of a local hero to those around him in New Orleans.


John Crowther: Teenager Blake Northrup has stumbled upon the secret formula for Vitamin 2x — kept stashed away as a family heirloom since the 1940s. With a dash of scientific input from his best friend, they bring the formula to life, transforming Blake into crimefighting superhero, Teen Beetle. But no good deed goes unnoticed….As the TEEN BEETLE shuts down a local band of hooligans, a tyrant from the past is brought back to life, intent on capturing the secret formula for his own evil ambitions.

The comic is an all ages energy-filled ride that reads very similar to the comics I grew up with as a child in the late-70s and throughout the 1980s. Comic fans from that generation and today, who enjoy character-driven superhero stories, should all find this series equally enjoyable.



CB: What was the genesis for your projects, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?


RM: Switchblade as a concept actually stems by to my junior high days. Initially he was a bit Wolverine-ish, but as I got more into comics, he became more Daredevil-ish…with a little bit of Punisher. The Punisher aspects came because of my own frustrations with the justice system. It seemed to me that while the police were out and generally doing a good job, the system seemed to favor the criminals—to my college aged mind, that didn’t seem like “justice” to me.


JC: I decided to crowdfund because it’s where I think Switchblade can find an audience; meaning, it’s different than what the mainstream brand of comics offers today. I think fans of classic Daredevil and Batman, too, might like it as Switchblade is a non-super-powered dude who puts on a mask to help others. There’s a little blood in it, but it’s a solid PG-13 comic. I want folks of all ages and stripes to be able to read it.


As for its origins, I have always been a fan of the Golden Age of comics and public domain characters, particularly the Blue Beetle. Dell Barras, the artist on several of my earlier series (Rochelle, Turnbuckle Titans), had previously worked as an artist on Blue Beetle for DC Comics in the 1980s and felt this would be prefect opportunity to take a stab at a story based on the public domain character, Teen Beetle, and his sometime sidekick, Sparky.



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?


RM: I’m the writer, while Leonard Kirk is the penciller. This isn’t new work for Leonard, originally printed in black and white in the late 90s. Chuck Bordell and David Rowe are the inkers. The comic has been digitally remastered and then colored by Aiden Belcher. Brad Thomte is the letterer. Mike Belcher did the Kickstarter exclusive cover, and then we have variant covers by Peter Clinton (p), AJ Cassetta (i), and Nick Caponi (c); Wubba Fett (p), AJ Cassetta (i), and Roberta Conroy (c).


JC:  The creative team consists of me as the writer, with Dell Barras as artist, GeriLou Smith providing color, and Hector Negrete handling letters. I have previously worked with all three members on various titles with Antarctic Press and with Hector at Heavy Metal Magazine. All three are veterans of the comic book industry, with the Dell holding senior status, as he traces his early years back the 1970s, when he debuted as an inker on Savage Sword of Conan.



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

RM: Very assembly-line style. I’m a fan of the Marvel method, so I like to write detailed page by page plots from which the penciller can compose the page. After the pencils are complete and while inks are being done, I’ll go back in and write the script. We can generally have it being lettered and colored at the same time to help expedite the process.



JC: It’s been a fairly easy process. We created the first issue, without a set publisher in mind, over a two-year period. Typically I create stories a bit faster but, without a set deadline until we reached an agreement with Silverline Comics, we were able to produce this at a fairly easy pace. But don’t worry — the next two will come together much quicker.


CB: What have you been learning from comics and crowdfunding and creating through this process?

RM: I think one of my biggest takeaways are that comic readers and collectors STILL like comics, they just don’t like the forced agendas that many mainstream comics have. They want to have fun with their reading; they want to escape. Another one is that many have been burned by crowdfunded campaigns in the past with creators taking their money and then not delivering product. As a reader and fan myself, I can say I’m in that same boat with a few—one I pledged to in 2014 (yeah, I’m not getting THAT comic, am I?). But that’s one of the reasons I vowed to myself to never be that guy. So Silverline won’t crowdfund a comic until it is complete. That way we can deliver around 30 days after the campaign is over.


JC: I have been involved with quite a few crowdfunding projects over the years, more specifically with Squared Circle Comics, but also with several anthologies. I’ve learned that, as an independent creator, the crowdfunding platforms can be an excellent tool for reaching both broad and niche audiences. It really can even the playing field between the larger publishers and the indies if done correctly. And doing things correctly is what I’ve strived to accomplish from day one.



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

RM: Thank you so much for chatting with us. We need all the rooting we can get!


Check out this 2-Pack crowdfund page 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!