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 Michael Oden
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for The Embrace. Briefly tell our readers what’s up.
Michael Oden: The Embrace is a Dark Superhero story in the vein of books like The Crow and Haunt. Its story delves into themes of Fatherhood, Loss and Justice as a grieving father is saved by the ghost of his son and together they work to bring his son’s killers to justice.
CB: This isn’t your first adventure in crowdfunding. We’ve featured your Elysian Fields campaigns on previous Indie Comics Showcase installments. How did you first get into this and how did it lead to doing crowdfunded comics?
MO: Well, Elysian Fields has been a fantastic experience, and crowdfunding is the true future of comics in my opinion. The Mainstream has had very little to offer of late, and the best books out there are being done in this market. The Embrace is a professional quality book and deserves nothing but the best in both its marketing and its consumer base, and I feel that The Embrace will thrive on the crowdfunding platform and that as a character will stand out as one of those properties that left its mark.
CB: Where did the idea for The Embrace originate? Is it related to Elysian Fields in any way?
MO: So I’ll tackle this question in reverse because it’s easier. The Embrace is not related to Elysian Fields at all. They don’t exactly mesh. One is an epic Tournament book for mythic heroes of legend, and the other, a supernatural superhero book.
This past year has had a lot of turbulence for me on a personal level. Without trying to go too into detail, I am going through a divorce and I have a 3-year-old son. No matter how civil you try to make things in this process, there is always going to be a lot of pain, and a lot of hurt. The Embrace was me taking that hurt, and that pain and channeling it into something positive and constructive in every sense of the word. The Embrace is first and foremost a super HERO book, and while it delves into some very dark places, there is a levity to the character routed in the fact that a great chunk of the hero’s personality is dictated by the ghost of an 8-year-old kid. He’s not some jaded character that sees the world as bleak, he’s still an optimistic child that sees the fantastical side of this and loves it.
All in all The Embrace is a story about how our children embody the best parts of ourselves, and through all of the heartache, I have endured this past year, seeing that in my son and using that to make this character has been one of the best tools I have had to move forward, and it’s my hope that it can connect to people in the same way.
CB: That’s very personal. Thanks for sharing. Let’s shift gears a little. What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will appeal to most?
MO: Well, I hope to draw from a bit of everyone, but my guess is that if you enjoyed darker takes on heroism and enjoyed a lot of the Image books from the 90s, you are going to be very happy with this book. My initial pitch was to emulate things like The Crow as much as possible, and while I did eventually shift from having the book be black and white, we have ensured through our colorist Paul Bilick that we have heavy contrast of tones in the colors and light and dark play a massive role in the visual storytelling sense.
CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team / other creators that have contributed to this?
MO : My co-creator, and line artist, Dean James, is an up and comer from Australia, and this is his first book ever being published. Honestly working with these unknown talents is something that I hope to continue as 9 Realms expands so that I can give other up-and-coming creators the chance at doing books and getting their names out there because I remember how difficult it was for me to make those first steps.
Paul Bilick is our colorist and while he’s definitely an on the rise colorist, having worked with Shane Davis on Shinobi Sasquatch, giving Paul yet another fantastic project to be on board with to add to his acclaim is just another example of what we are trying to do at 9 Realms: build our brand, while simultaneously getting new talent a chance to get noticed. I have Es Kay, who has become pretty much the letterer of choice for 9 Realms handling our lettering, and then I even brought on Lee Byron Carver, best known for his YT channel for comic reviews: Man called Kemosabee and his own book that launched recently: Company Men, as our editor. I wanted this base level team to showcase the confidence that I have in this book, and I think the results speak for themselves.
We have additionally gotten a chance to work with some other fantastic artists for variants and pinups like Jim O’Riley and Sigmund Torre, Clayton and Korey Barton, and a few more that are surprises on the horizon as we unlock future stretch goals and the like.
CB: What else are you learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
MO: It’s really hard to quantify, I think the biggest lessons I have learned are strategizing promotion, how to adequately use your prelaunch mailing lists, etc. in terms of crowdfunding. The Biggest lesson though is constant communication. Do your best to maintain deadlines and if you have to push those back, that’s fine but you HAVE to make sure that your consumers are aware! It’s a must. There are a lot of campaigns that have not stayed true to their timelines and it’s the one big thing that I feel is holding this side of the industry back. If we aren’t staying true to those promises, we have duped these people who have taken a chance on us, and as a result, we lose their confidence and support.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Michael! Good luck and we are rooting for you! Any final words?
MO: Just thanks so much for giving me this opportunity once again, and to all of you readers who haven’t checked out The Embrace yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! This is your invitation!
Check out the campaign here!
Of The Same Coin
by Michael Finnie
Check out the campaign here.
John Lemus: Welcome Michael! Thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase I’m so happy to be discussing Of the Same Coin with you today.
Michael Finnie: Hi John Thanks for taking the time, really excited to tell you about my new comic.
JL: Before we get started I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about yourself.
MF: By day I work in IT but have wanted to write since I was a really young, loving comics as a medium and seeing people I know self publishing and starting to break through and reach a really good audience, I really wanted to try my hand at this.
JL: Without getting into spoilers, what can you tell us about OTSC?
MF: Based in London, it is the tale of two opposing forces who both believe that they are the walking epitome of justice. The story plays out as a metaphorical chess match between the two, as one tries to install his own brand of vigilante justice and the other tries to use the law to stop him in his tracks.
JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how OTSC came to be, how the characters and story were conceptualized?
MF: I really love the crime genre, Guy Ritchie and Martin Scorsese make films i really love. I also wanted to tell a story in a setting that was familiar to me. I think the whole story is conducted by the questions around morality and who decides wrong and right. The whole book pulls these passions together.
JL: What about OTSC makes it a story you want to tell?
MF: I really wanted to question about where morality comes from and which path you should chose. The story has taken an obvious position that is well known and then offered an alternative to try and get the reader to question about the shades of grey that exist between black and white.
JL: What are some of the things that have served as a source of inspiration when working on this project. Do you read anything, watch any shows, listen to music as you work?
MF: I wanted to get into the head of the characters that I created and wanted to make them as real as possible so I have given them music interests in the book. Irvine Welsh does this in Filth and it makes Bruce Robertson feel more authentic. As the main character was a fan of The Clash and the Jam I listened to them whilst writing.
JF: You a have rather unique style in your writing and art. Can you tell us a bit about you developed them?
MF: Trying to read from a wide variety of genres and authors, most likely taking inspiration from the greats. I really enjoy a story that shows rather than tells, and leaves you thinking about and talking to other fans long after its finished. With both Inception and Shutter Island I was left thinking about the ending for days.
JL: Sounds great! What are some of the first comics you remember reading? Any that have made the big impact on you?
MF: I can distinctively remember being brought Batman Year One and falling in love with the art work and the story, this was pre Batman Begins so it was a total revelation. A few years later I read preacher and this really started me on the path to collecting comics. Preacher was probably the biggest impact in terms of reading a comic that made me want to read more. Spiderman Blue and All Star Superman are also ones that really stuck with me long after reading. Blue in Green by Ram V though lives in my head rent free at all times.
JL: Cool. Thanks again for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase, Michael.
MF: Thanks for your time.
by Graham Nolan
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Alien Alamo. Briefly tell our readers what’s up.
Graham Nolan: It’s 1957 and the Russians have just launched Sputnik into orbit. The world was changing and WWII veteran Travis Houston was struggling to adapt.
All Travis wanted when he mustered out of the Marine Corps, at the end of WWll, was some peace and quiet and a safe place to raise his son, James, but the horrors he experienced in the Pacific, and the death of his wife, have left him empty and distant.
The meteor shower changed all that. Only it wasn’t a meteor shower. It was an invasion. Creatures from another world want ours, and the only thing standing between them and us is a man, a boy, and his dog. The Houstons are vastly outnumbered, but they are Texans and they have each other…so the odds might just be even.
CB: Very cool. Where did the idea for Alien Alamo originate?
GN: I wanted to do a modern version of one of my favorite tv shows, The Rifleman and mash it up with a sci-fi story because a straight western is hard to sell. Plus, I love old sci-fi movies. As the story developed I set it back in 1957 because that’s when we, as a planet began to reach for the stars. By doing that, I was also able to tie into the PTSD that WW2 veterans were dealing with (mostly unspoken).
CB: Nice. Alien Alamo seems more sci-fi than horror. Is that accurate? What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
GN: There are some horror elements, but it is clearly a sci-fi/western. I don’t specifically try to target a “fan base”. I just like to tell the kind of good stories that I would like to read, in genres that are no longer being served. My “Nolanverse” is formed around horror, sci-fi and the supernatural. Fans of two-fisted action and adventure (with heart) and great storytelling will enjoy this. There is no lecturing, virtue signaling or polemics being sold here.
CB: This isn’t your first adventure in crowdfunding. Your Chenoo project did very well last summer. What have you learned or done differently with this campaign?
GN: Yes, The Chenoo did extremely well. For Alien Alamo, I tried to streamline the perk levels. I got rid of unsuccessful attempts and products that were either expensive or difficult to ship. I think I managed to save the supporter some shipping costs with add-ons as well. The key to any successful crowdfunding campaign is getting the word out there. That is more difficult than it may seem. So for the 45 days of my campaign I am in full “marketing mode”. I’m constantly posting on my social media, I have my own and go on other YouTube shows. I send out e-mail campaigns, and individual FB messages.
CB: Tell us a bit about who you’re working with on Alien Alamo.
GN: It’s a small but talented team. I do all the writing and art. I have letterer Carlos Mangual (who lettered the Chenoo and Bane: Conquest). Gregory Wright coloring the interior (Joe Frankenstein, Bane: Conquest, The Girls of Dimension 13). Elizabeth Breitweiser colored my wrap-around cover. I also have some variant covers done by Butch Guice (colored by Dan Brown), and Aaron Lopresti.
CB: Many comic fans probably know you from your Batman work at DC Comics and maybe even The Phantom Sunday comicstrip. What first got you into comics and then the industry?
GN: I discovered comics when my 6th grade teacher brought a stack of comics in for the students to read during recess. I eventually went to the Kubert School and got my first sale to DC Comics (New Talent Showcase) when the editor, Sal Amendola (also my storytelling teacher at Kubert’s) bought to of my class assignments.
CB: Are there more stories to tell in the world of Alien Alamo? Or will you be moving on to the next story? (if moving to a different project, feel free to tease it here)
GN: All the books I am doing during this phase of my Compass Comics publishing are interconnected and are in the same universe. Even Joe Frankenstein and Monster Island are all part of this world. I’m not doing sequels so much as I am doing spin-offs. The Chenoo is connected to Alien Alamo. That may not seem apparent until the 3rd book, “The Ghosts of Matacumbe Key” comes out next year. Each book is self-contained but connects to a larger story. Old characters will appear and new ones being introduced in each book.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you! Any final words?
GN: Yes, the campaign closes this Friday @midnight so get on board now and back ALIEN ALAMO and independent comics!
Back the campaign 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!