Indie Comics Showcase #126: Black Blossom, Shark of War, Shadowbinders

 

 

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!

 

Black Blossom
by Evan David

   

 

Check out the campaign page here!

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

Evan David: So, the Black Blossom is an all ages superhero comic that takes itself seriously. I try to use a writing style inspired by Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spiderman, and a tone similar to Bruce Timm’s Justice League Unlimited Animated series. Michi Hidaka is our main character, she’s a female pacific islander protagonist who dons a super-suit with powers and abilities that are kind of a mix of Venom and Ironman.

It’s a love letter to fun family friendly superhero fare like Batman and Superman the Animated Series and the Justice League shows. It’s fun, it’s peppy, it’s got a lot of classic Superhero action and some cool sci-fi concepts that I hope will strike people as different and fresh.

 

CB: Is this your first adventure in crowdfunding? How did you first get into this and what led to working with Star Cross Comics?

ED: I’ve had a Patreon for a while, which has been incredibly helpful in keeping projects going, but yeah, this is my first time doing a one and done crowdfunding thing with Kickstarter. I’ve loved comic books since I was a little kid, and I always thought about being a part of making them. A few years ago I was tossing and turning in bed with ideas in my head for some other Christian comic books, I really think God was giving me a desire and passion right then and there to get up and start doing this stuff. The very next day I set out to find some investors and started producing comic books.

 

CB: Where did the idea for Black Blossom originate?

ED: The idea started with my wife. She’s a tough little lady from Hawaii, but she’s TERRIFIED of lizards. I thought It’d be fun to have this tough protagonist who fights giant monsters, but runs at the sight of a gecko. The character’s gender and ethnicity are also inspired by my wife, but Black Blossom’s personality is much more like my own. That probably comes from wanting to write a quippy character like Spiderman. Her powerset is based on an obscure Superboy villain from the 90’s, who is coincidentally also a Hawaii native, “the Silver Sword.” My favorite character is Superman, so I really wanted a character who could fly and had super strength as well.

 

As far as the story arc goes, I’m a Christian, I really believe what the Bible says is true, and I really wanted to create some excellent media with Christianity as it’s foundation, without falling into the tropes that a lot of other Christian based fiction falls into. Specifically tropes that sacrifice the story for the message. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Bible’s message is literally the most important thing you could ever hear in the universe, but you can go to Church for a sermon, you come to a comic for a story. There’s a message in the Black Blossom, but it comes in with subtlety and nuance, and I think it comes out of a story that flows organically. I want things to be character driven.

 

That said, a fun concept I wanted to explore was doing science fiction from a Creation based worldview as opposed to evolution. Suppose the creation narrative of the Bible is true, what real world consequences would that have on the classic Sci-Fi Superhero tropes? Aliens, other dimensions, super powers, and the more mystical elements of the genre? We explore that in these issues and will continue to explore that throughout the series.

 

 

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

ED: If you’re only into Vertigo or Black Label stuff, this isn’t for you haha. This is fun, pop-corn superhero stuff, but it does have an edge to it. I’m telling you I really tried to take a page out of Brian Michael Bendis’ book, especially his stuff about young characters like Ultimate Spiderman and Young Justice. So yeah, I think if you’re into stuff like Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Batgirl, things like that, you’ll really enjoy this.

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team / other creators that have contributed to this?

ED: So it all started with me drawing the comic myself, which, let’s just say, didn’t look great. I met a few artists here and there, but Brian Dawson really came to the rescue in Issues 2-4. He was really into the story and did a fantastic job, he’s probably the fastest artist I’ve ever worked with, and he just NAILED the style I was looking for. Or current main artist is Adrian Iglesias, who I met through Fiverr (which by the way is like the best service for comic related work), and he’s just absolutely SLAYING the art. His style’s very similar to Brian’s so hopefully It’ll be a pretty seamless transition when you read through the issues. Adrian recently went back and redrew Issue #1 which was previously drawn by me. This Kickstarter is the very first time Issue #1 will be available with the all new art. Another HUGE help to the project has been my colorist Corinn, my very own sister! She’s a graphic design artist, and she’s always been a big supporter of my creative work, and she’s doing a bang up job coloring, saving me a ton of extra work. She’s been working for pats on the back, so one of our Kickstarter stretch goals is to get her some cash for all her hard work.

 

 

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

ED: Honestly, I feel I’m just the worst at being able to promote my own stuff effectively. It’s been such an amazing thing to have Joe Spicer and Star Cross give me a hand with the Kickstarter stuff and get the word out, because I honestly don’t think I would have gotten much traction on my own. It’s been really cool to see the project funded by people I’ve never met, and I’m excited to see how people will react to the series.

 

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Evan. The book looks great. Any final words?

ED: Thanks to anyone and everyone who has followed the project through the years, and I hope you’ll take advantage of Kickstarter to get some awesome swag! You can follow further developments by following me on Patreon! Thanks so much for your time!

 

Check out the campaign page for Black Blossom here!

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SHADOWBINDERS
by Thom & Kambrea Pratt

Steampunk! Fantasy! Romantic Comedy?!

Mia White was an ordinary high school girl with ordinary high school problems. That all changed the day she was given her grandfather’s mysterious journal and an even more mysterious antique ring — one that transports her to another world!

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

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

Kambrea Pratt: A girl from our world inherits a magic ring that transports her to a magical, fantasy world. There she meets a young, arrogant mage named Crimson Rhen and his crew aboard his airship The True North. Hilarity and Adventure ensue.

 

CB: I’ve been a subscriber to your Youtube channel Clownfish TV for a while, so I know you guys are comics and media savvy, but is this your first attempt at crowdfunding?

KP: It’s actually not our first attempt at crowdfunding. We’ve done this before. We come from comics and webcomics and webcomics have been crowdfunding projects since before official crowdfunding platforms started. This isn’t a new thing. I don’t know why people keep saying it is.

Thom Pratt: Webcomics creators used to do presales of print versions of their books in the early to mid 2000s via PayPal. We crowdfunded our first book way back in 2011 or 2012. Back then, crowdfunding was viewed as “amateur hour.” If you couldn’t get a publisher to pick up your stuff, you simply weren’t “good enough” to work in comics. Fast forward to today and companies like Boom are using crowdfunding to move millions of dollars in comics. 

CB: Where did the idea for Shadowbinders originate?

KP: Kneon/Thom had an idea for a comic called Shadowbinders for years--before we even met. He never did anything with it. I had an idea for a story and some of his characters and The True North airship fit into my story, so I adopted them in, with some changes. I also used his original “Shadowbinders” title. He was mad at me for years and I didn’t even know it.   

 
TP: I wasn’t that mad. But I was protective of my ideas. The new story works and connects with readers in ways I don’t think the original would have. The original was pretty dark. 

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

KP: I think it will entertain a lot of different kinds of fans. It was designed to be multiple genres in one.  Plus the two main characters are very much like Kneon and myself, people who like our dynamics will probably like these two. It’s inspired by things like Final Fantasy, Howl’s Moving Castle, Star Dust, Inuyasha, Last Exile and more.

TP: We want to make comics for more general audiences. Even for people who don’t usually read comics. Not hardcore superhero fans, but not Tumblr either. It feels like something that could have existed in the 80s or 90s.

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative arrangement. How does a husband and wife team work this out?

TP: Kam mostly writes and I mostly draw, but sometimes jobs overlap. We kick story ideas around between us, and Kam had helped with colors in the past. Going forward, we’ll probably have to hire a colorist as we’re both much busier than we were when we did the webcomic.

 

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

TP: Crowdfunding and direct-to-consumer will be the way forward for many comics creators. Even the corporate owners of Marvel and DC seem less and less interested in comic books, and if either one pulls the plug… many comic shops might not be far behind.

 
The funny thing is seeing the perception of crowdfunding change within the mainstream comic book industry. There was so much shade being thrown at creators who crowdfunded, both back in the webcomic days and more recently with CG. Now the mainstream wants to crow about it when they are literally the last ones to the party.

 

 

CB: Will there be further adventures in this universe? What do you have planned after this?

KP: Oh, this is just the beginning. There are more books planned. Also a prequel that’s a self contained book. Then we have ideas for at least two other projects. We will likely have to hire artists and help for the prequel and other stories.

 

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CB: Thanks for chatting with us guys! We’re big fans of Clownfish TV here at Bleeding Fool, so we wish you good luck – we are really rooting for you! Any final words?

TP:  Thanks! Support indie comics creators when you can. Most of the creativity is going to come out of the indie scene and not corporate comics.

 

Check out the campaign page here!

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SHARK of WAR: 3
by Ben Lacy

Defeated And Near Death, The Shark of War Seeks Help From His Only Friend – A Nine Year Old Boy!

Check out the campaign page here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Shark of War 3. Briefly tell our readers what’s up.

Ben Lacy: Shark of War is Jaws meets Robocop. It’s Jaws if the shark were the hero and it’s Robocop if the cop were a shark. In issue 2, the Shark of War got his butt kicked by an enhanced swarm of piranha built by his co-creator and nemesis, Dr. Brooke Douglas. Near death, the only person willing to help him is the nine year old boy he’d saved in issue 1. Meanwhile, Dr. Douglas and Coastal Cartel leader Lobo Tiburon are using her weapons to conquer underworld rivals and have even decided they no longer have to fear the U.S. Military – something they attempt to prove in dramatic fashion.

 

 

CB: This isn’t your first adventure in crowdfunding. We’ve featured this series before. How did you first get into this and how did it lead to this?

BL: I’d always wanted to do a comic book, but it’s hard for someone who’s totally unknown to break in at a traditional publisher. So when I heard that crowdfunding comic books was becoming popular on Kickstarter, I began looking into it and found ComixLaunch.com which helped teach me how to set up a Kickstarter and plugged me into a community of fellow creators who offered me guidance.

 

CB: Where did you first come up with idea for Shark of War?

BL: It was after The Meg came out. I wasn’t really impressed with the story, but was shocked at how popular the movie was. I decided maybe I could do something different. My original idea was a short story about a shark wearing a jetpack called Jetpack Shark. As I thought about it more, I realized it would be a great comic book and titled it Shark of War as a play on Man of War.

 

 

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

BL: Anybody who likes the Punisher or Judge Dredd but thinks they’d be even cooler if they were a 25 foot long Great White Shark. Anybody who likes darkly humorous comics like The Boys. More generally, fans of sci-fi and horror comics. As an engineer in my day job, I go to a lot of effort to put some real science in the over the top sci-fi and the digital version of each issue has a Science of The Shark of War feature explaining some of the concepts – such as how the shark converts the bodies of those he eats into fuel for his jet engines.

 

CB: Does this campaign give backers access to the previous issues as well?

BL: Definitely. I have a digital catchup tier of all 3 issues and I have multiple hard copy catch up tiers depending on what covers you want. I also have an add-ons section (Kickstarter’s new feature) where people can buy single back issues and variant covers.

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team / other creators that have contributed to this?

BL: I do all the art and writing. Nikki Powers has been the letterer on each issue and has created a distinct style for the shark and his onboard A.I. so you can easily distinguish their thoughts from those of the human characters.

For the first time, I’ve brought in outside cover artists. Mahoney’s artist Brian Dawson did an awesome leaping shark cover while popular pinup artist Gregbo Watson did a stunning cover of Shark of War’s heroine Marisa Aguado with the Shark of War lurking in the background.

 

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

BL: How important it is to build and stay in touch with your audience. You really have to be able to market both your book and yourself to crowd fund. I’m also hopefully becoming a little bit better artist and writer with each issue.

CB: Thanks for chatting with us again, Ben. Anything else you’d like to mention before we sign off?

BL: Yes, please back Shark of War issues 1-3 at SharkofWar.BitingComics.com. There’s a link there that will allow you to read all of issue 1 FREE. I also have the coolest early backer rewards (real shark teeth fossils). And as with all of my campaigns, there’ll be a lot of cool bonus features and extras for all my backers.

 

Check out the Shark of War campaign page here!

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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