Indie Comics Showcase #122: Robot Western, Torch, & Endless Moons

 

 

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!

 

Robot Western
by Doug Hopkins

On a crusade that will uncover the darkest secrets of the wild west, the true purpose of a young robot boy is revealed.

 

Please check out the campaign on KickStarter

 

John Lemus: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Doug and thank you for joining me to discuss Robot Western: The Animated Comic Book Series with me today!  

Doug Hopkins: Thank you so much for having me.  I will take any opportunity to chat about Robot Western. And I certainly appreciate Indie Comics Showcase help me do that.  

 

 

JL: Before we get started, tell us a little bit about yourself.  

DH: I am from the island of Newfoundland, Canada; the most easterly province of the country.  I grew up in a small fishing town located on the shores of the cold North Atlantic.  My childhood spanned the 70’s and 80’s and so I was fortunate to have been influenced by classics like Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica and Disney’s Tron and The Black Hole. Because of where I lived, I did not get to see much of this content but the little I did see was enough inspiration to set me on a path to create my own fantastic worlds. 

 

 

JL: Without giving away spoilers, what can you tell us about Robot Western?  

DH: Robot Western is both an ongoing sci fi comic book series and an animated comic book series. This is not a web comic or a motion comic.  It is a high production animated series that combines animation and comic book art. This is something new to animated and comic book entertainment.  The story takes place across space, on a giant planet, where the ways of the old wild west are still alive, but with one big difference, robots.  Only robots roam this untamed frontier.  In the deepest darkest parts of the west, the secrets of the planet remained silent for centuries, and now they have awoken.  Now, a young, naive boy-bot named Rusty is thrust into the middle of the chaos. The story follows his adventures across this vast mysterious frontier as he, and a band of unlikely heroes, struggle to save their world from the unknown. And if you think that is enough story – do not, because there is so much more to be revealed.  

 

 

JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how the characters and story were conceptualized?  

DH: There are a couple of answers to that.  The simplest one is that a few years ago I was attempting to learn 3D modeling, but I had a hard time modeling people. However, I could model robots as their features were more shapes than curves.  This is where our protagonist, Rusty, was born.  I found a tutorial online that instructed how to model boots, but my boots came out looking like cowboy boots. When I put the boots on Rusty, I had a young robot boy in cowboy boots and the rest is history. Secondly, the story comes from my childhood mostly as the Rusty character is largely based on myself.  Growing up in a small town, boredom fueled imagination, and I found myself naïve to the real world as I lived in the sci fi worlds I conjured up in my head.  Like Rusty, I longed for adventure and as I grew older, I discovered that reality was not like my imagined worlds but much harsher.  

 

 

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

DH: As a child, I was a huge Spider-Man fan. I devoured anything Spiderman related. I wanted to be Spider-Man so bad. This was in the late 70’s and early 80’s so there was not near as much content as there is today.  The sparsity of material made you crave anything new that was comic book related.  You would come across Star Wars comics from time to time which I also loved. Star Wars being my all-time favorite thing ever. In my late teens I discovered The Punisher, who I came to admire as a hero. As a young naïve teenager, with not much confidence, I respected the Punisher for his brand of justice against evil and standing up for the little guy.  

 

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

DH: Influence wise I would have to say Star Wars. I am and have always been a huge fan. Star Wars in whole has been my biggest inspiration in story telling. The coming of age of the unlikely hero, the battle between good and evil and the melding of technology with mystic forces are what I love to create and write about.  I have always said that Robot Western is Star Wars meets Red Redemption. I don’t take ideas from Star Wars, but I strive to create that feeling for my readers that I felt for Star Wars, especially when I was young.  

 

 

JL: What does Robot Western mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?  

DH: It is my greatest joys and fears put to paper.  It is the sum of the life I live in reality and in my imagination, intertwined.  I love escaping from reality. What’s cooler than Outlaw and Bounty Hunter robots wreaking havoc across an untamed frontier while the heroes close in for the great battle. Getting lost in the Robot Western world is more than a treat to me and I want to offer that escape to anyone who needs it.

 

 

JL: What are some of the things that have served as a source of inspiration when you’re working? Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?  

DH: Star Wars being number 1, I do watch a lot of other sci-fi and animation. Some of my favorite shows are The Expanse, Star Trek Discovery and The Mandalorian of course. One of my true passions is animated sci fi. The Iron Giant, Titan A.E. and Disney’s Treasure Planet being my favorite animated films. Most of what I read though is about history.  I am fascinated by World War I and II. I enjoy rags to riches stories about great men and woman of the past.  And reading about the history of the movie/film industry is a big past time for me. My taste in music has no boundaries. One minute I am listening to Metallica and the next minute it’s the Lion King soundtrack. I don’t listen to music when I write but I do when I go hiking with my trusty notebook.  

 

 

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

DH: I didn’t necessarily set out to develop a certain style; I don’t think anyone really does.  It mostly came about by using the resources at my disposal to try and put what I see my head down on paper. Usually whatever that looks like ends up being your style. Having said that, you do have control over how your art appears.  I like a painted look to the art, and I am a sucker for tons of detail. Our art is not the work of me alone.  I don’t consider myself an artist by any means.  My contribution to the art is mostly line art. Which in our case is the initial art so I get to layout the image as I want. I have been blessed with some incredibly talented artists that breathe life into my ideas.  

 

 

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

DH: Other artists that I know say my process is weird.  I love to hike, and when I do, I always carry a notebook with me. This is where most of my ideas come from. I like to think that the fresh air clears your mind to let in only the best of thoughts.  When I have the ideas written down, I go immediately into illustrating.  Most would continue the writing process and flesh out their ideas but when I start to form a scene by creating images, the story starts to unfold. I can hear the characters talking as I create them, their motives and desires become clearer as their faces appear. It is not a traditional process, but it works for me.  I would rather let the characters tell me their story then to make it up on my own.  

 

 

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

DH: I have drawn much inspiration from Ralph McQuarrie; nobody creates worlds like him. I also like Frank Miller’s work as I am a big fan of his use of shadow. I am of course a huge fan of George Lucas. I am very inspired by Dave Filoni’s work and his story telling talents in animation. They affect my work by showing me the incredible things that have, and are being created; and that makes me strive to be the best that I can be.  

 

 

JL: What are your hopes for Robot Western for the future?  

DH: I have big plans for Robot Western. The story is big, with may moving parts, and so I plan to have it around for a long time. I would eventually like to take it to the big screen, which would bring about a great milestone. One of my biggest goals is to develop an action figure/toy line based on the characters of the story.  I am an action figure collector and have been since I was a child. My collection spans my whole life.  It has always been a dream of mine to display figures from my own creations. I want Robot Western to be that kind of franchise.  

 

 

JL: Once again Doug, I would like to say thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck with ROBOT WESTERN and all future projects.  

DH: Thank you. It was my pleasure and it is my hope that Indie Comics Showcase will continue to grow and prosper.  

 

Please check out the campaign on KickStarter

 

 

 

_________

Torch: Reclaim The Skies

by A.J. Rojek



Checkout the campaign on KickStarter!

 

John Lemus: Thanks for being joining me on Indie Comics Showcase, A.J.!. I’m happy to be discussing Torch: Reclaim the Skies #1 with you today.

AJ Rojek: Thanks for having me!

 

 

JL: Before we get started I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about yourself.

AJ: Sure, I am the writer/creator of Torch: Reclaim the Skies. I was born and raised in North Canton, Ohio and I work full time as a podcast manager. Comics has always been a big part of my life, ever since I was little, so I’ve always wanted to be apart of that world. I blogged here and there and once produced a horror short, but never really acted on my dream. So in early 2020 I took the plunge and put my script into production. I love Batman, artisan tacos, the MCU and lo-fi hi-hop.

 

JL: Cool! What can you tell our readers about Torch: Reclaim the Skies #1?

AJ: Torch was once the best star pilot in the galaxy – a true kid prodigy – until she was put out to pasture by the military. Now older, retired and bored, she lives with her younger brother Spark, drinking away her pension. That is until one fateful trip to a bustling alien city lands the duo in hot water – reawakening Torch’s thirst for adrenaline! Not only that, this is also a richly layered story that explores Torch’s younger self and her role as a kid star pilot in the military. Past and present tie in together resulting in a shocking conclusion.

 

JL: How did Torch: Reclaim the Skies come to be? How were the characters and story conceptualized?

AJ: Torch: RTS was a script I wrote in 2017, it’s premise was “wouldn’t it be cool if the Main Character did {spoiler} just for a rush?” After I finished a draft, I shoved it into a digital drawer and never acted on it. In 2020, after a quick pow-wow with my therapist I realized I was living in a negative mental state, with a fear of failure stopping me from pursuing comics. I dusted off the script and I realized that there was a lot more to the story too – themes of depression, nostalgia and that urge to break out of a rut. A lot of which I was struggling with and related to. I rewrote the script and Torch was born!

 

 

 

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

AJ: Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. When I first read them I was blown away by the sheer depth and complexity that a comic story could hold. And the art was truly art. After reading semi-bland Peter Parkers’, it was a reawakening for me. My other influence is Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga and Y the Last Man. These comics were engaging and perfected the art of the cliffhanger. I binged these issues hard.

My influences are Neil Gaiman, Brian K. Vaughn, Christopher Paolini and anime. These things/people either stretch the boundaries of creativity or perfectly make stories accessible and “binge worthy.” Jon Judy (Swerve, The Fuhrer and the Tramp) and Danielle M. (a cool as heck teacher) also inspired me to write comics. They introduced me to Sandman and injected my comic collection with a little life.

 

 

JL: What made this a story you wanted to tell?

AJ: Torch: RTS means a lot. It’s a testament that I can do it, if only I try. I have a hesitancy to try or start anything. My love for comics finally over came my negative outlook on life. When I started this project in February, I thought to myself “I really just wanna hold a finished copy in my hand.” The fact that I’m so close to this reality has me on Cloud 9.

I want to tell this story because I don’t see any comics nowadays that explicitly explore nostalgia and its link to depression. There’s plenty of reboots that prey on people’s nostalgia, but nothing that tackles the concept itself. Nostalgia is a powerful drug and a lot of people are hooked on it. I’ve had my own struggles with depression and have at times yearned for better days of old. I think it’s something a lot of people relate to.

 

JL: What are some of the things that have served as a source of Inspiration when working on Torch: Reclaim the Skies #1, do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?

AJ: I can’t listen to anything with lyrics because I’ll get distracted, so I’ll listen to lofi. As for inspiration, I look to Saga for the sci-fi elements. BKV really didn’t give a flux as to what a sci-fi and outer space entailed so he got weird in a good way. He also is a master of the cliffhanger. Porter Robinson’s music also inspired me. His music creates a futuristic sense of awe and I wanted that translated into the book, starry cosmos and whatnot.

 

 

JL: AJ, you a have rather unique style in your writing and art. Can you tell us a bit about how you developed them and share a bit about your creative process?

AJ: The art is all Tom Hoskisson, he’s a genius in that respect. He understood the script and what I what I was trying to capture (awe and yearning). As for writing, I couldn’t tell you. I was a good student in school and my Mom drilled in my head a stellar vocabulary that helped me bullshit a lot of school papers. I guess my approach is: Is this good? Is this exciting? Do I want to binge this?

 

 

 

 

JL: What are your hopes for  Torch: Reclaim the Skies for the future?

AJ: My hope was “I hope I can make more issues.” With the blockbuster success of the Kickstarter (250% funded, Projects We Love tag), my new hope is that I will be able to deliver a good story to all these new fans.

 

JL: Anything else you want to share with us before we sign off?

AJ: To the person reading this wondering if they can do it…you’ll never know if you don’t try. Just get started. Finally, I hope you’ll consider giving my Kickstarter a look!

 

 

JL: Thanks again for being a part of indie comics showcase, AJ! We wish you the best of luck with Torch: Reclaim the Skies#1 and all future projects.

AJ: Thank you! It’s the support of the community that’s kept me afloat so far and made this all worthwhile. Thank you to everyone who’s offered me words of encouragement or praise. And thank you to all my backers!

 

 

 

_________

Endless Moons
by Tommy Jauregui

 

Please checkout the campaign on KickStarter

 

John Lemus: Thanks for joining me today, Tommy. Let’s chat about Endless Moons! First, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tommy Jauregui: Thank you for having me John! Very glad to have the space to talk about the project. I’m 28 years old and originally from Argentina, but living in Cambridge, UK while studying a one-year MBA. I have a Dalmatian back home named Shiro who I miss dearly, and fun fact about me, I have performed in many amateur musicals up until last year.

 

 

JL: So without giving too much away, tell our readers about Endless Moons!

TJ: Endless Moons follows the adventures of Dazel, a young bounty hunter who has been running away from her past for the last decade. In need of a ride from one moon to another, she joins the Cyan crew. While out on an assignment with them, something triggers which causes Dazel’s past to catch up with her.

JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how Endless Moons came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?

TJ: Endless Moons started to take a comic book shape back in 2017 while studying at UCLA, my first experience living abroad. I wanted to tell a story like Zelda but removing “the hero” out of the equation and making the girl confront the villain on her own. So, I decided to combine that with Anastasia, the animated movie from the 90s. And since I love sci-fi, I added that too. The way I like to describe it is ‘Anastasia in Space’.

 

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

TJ: Growing up I only had access to Asterix & Obelix comics, and I LOVED them. Later on, I disconnected with the medium but for the past 5/6 years I jumped back at it, so I am a bit late to the party. The once I remember the most reading are the 2014 Spider-Verse and the 2015 Mighty Thor story line.

 

 

JL: What does Endless Moons mean to you, what about it makes it a story you want to tell?

TJ: Endless Moons has been with me for a long time. What I like about it is that I get to talk about the meaning of the found family, that which is composed of friends that you make along the way in your adventures. I guess that is how I felt living in a new city by myself and what I am experiencing right now again here in Cambridge.

 

 

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

TJ: Endless Moons is inspired in big name works such as Star Wars, in terms of its scale of space and universe, but also by Legend of Zelda in terms of magic and myths. I am always reading fantasy books (currently obsessed with Discworld) and every time I sit down to write I have to listen to epic fantasy music to get my imagination going.

 

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

TJ: The amazing art style that you see is done by Nicolas Giacondino, a fellow Argentine who blows everyone away with his talent. That is why I decided to work with him, I wanted the project to have its own, unique style, and to propose something fresh to the medium.

 

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

TJ: I usually start working on the characters and what motivates them forward. Since comics are imply around 28 to 32 pages an issue, I have to be careful to not ‘lose’ to much time on worldbuilding but to focus on the story and moving characters forward.

 

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

TJ: My biggest influence lately has been Curtis Clow. He is a very successful comic book writer, with 10 Kickstarter campaigns completed. The way he creates his stories and appeals to his community is truly inspiring.

 

 

JL: What are your hopes for Endless Moons for the future?

TJ: One always has big dreams for these projects, but for now I want to focus on developing the story and delivering Kickstarter campaigns over a 6-to-8-month period, to keep momentum going and have a Volume 1 composed of 5 issues by 2023. It is a marathon not a race, especially with self-publishing, so I have to keep my energy and focus up for a long time.

 

JL: Once again TOMMY, I would like to say thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck with ENDLESS MOONS and all future projects.

TJ: Really enjoyed this, thank you for inviting me over, John! I hope people can check out Endless Moons #1!

 

 

Please checkout the campaign on KickStarter    

 

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!

 

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