Indie Comics Showcase 131: Ninja Maximo, Kamen America 3 & BEARDZZERKER

 

 

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!

 

 

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BEARDZZERKER #1

by Don Chin

HE’S A ROCK N’ ROLL RIP VAN WINKLE HEAVY METAL WARRIOR awakened to right the modern world’s wrongs!

Check out the campaign here!

 

John Lemus: Welcome back to and thank you once again for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I am happy to be discussing BEARDZZERKER #1 which is your second crowd funded indie comic series with you today.

Don Chin:  It’s good to be back, John.  Seems like it was just last week we were talking about X-Farce Reloaded, our first crowd funded project.

 

BEARDZZERKER (A parody of KEANU REEVES BRZRKR) from Parody Press Comics

 

 

JL: Hey Don! Before we get started, can you catch us up to how and what’s changed since we had you on the first time?

DC:  Well, we successfully funded X-Farce after a 60 day campaign, and it’s currently at the printer.  It should be fulfilling in April to our backers.  Besides the three variant  cover issues of the comic book, certain backers will get trading cards, ceramic X-Farce mugs, and X-Farce metal lunchboxes which we had created during the campaign after we reached our goal.

Also since I spoke to you last, I have been working on the BEARDZZERKER book production, arranging some exciting variant covers with guest characters such as Reignbow The Brute, Shi, and USAssassin and exploring new stretch goal incentives.  We have BEARDZZERKER guitar picks with his image, Die-Cut stickers of his feline pet named Cat Stevens, costume beards, and even an .Mp3 digital Heavy Metal soundtrack called “KISS MY AXE” by Laz Novak.

 

 

JL: Without giving away any spoilers, what can you tell us about BEARDZZERKER #1? 

DC:  The hero, Ed Brogan, was your typical 1980’s high-school teen who lived for playing rock music and impressing the babes.  However, he goes into a 30+ year coma after taking too much Nyquil and watching USA Network bad movie marathons.  During his sleep, the government has been downloading combat training and action movies into his brain via a computer chip implant.  So when he wakes up in 2021, he’s a shredded one-man army in his 40’s but with the mind of a teenager.  He has a weapon, a huge Axe that is also a guitar that was given to him by Genghis Khan and which is empowered by the Rock Gods like Slash and Eddie Van Halen.  The “ZZ” in BEARDZZERKER’s name and logo is a homage to ZZ Top, a great band who was known for their humongous beards. So the government asks him to try to fix the current world problems that no one else has been able to, including a Rick Astley Viral Rickroll Earworm pandemic, Killer Murder Hornet invasion, and self-absorbed millenial musicians who don’t give Metal musicians any respect.

 

 

JL: How do you tackle your stories, Don How do you keep the story fresh and interesting?

DC:  Sure.  A lot of times I get an inspiration for a story and it flows very naturally and this was the case with BEARDZZERKER #1.  Since I’m already a huge Keanu Reeves fan, (especially of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), I think as a writer it makes it more fun to imagine yourself as the hero in these weird situations and ask, “What would Keanu Do?” and often the story will write itself.  My wife Laura helped me with plotting and editing, so I really value her input and she has a really good sense of humor.  She even came up with the fictional name “Neonu Reeeves” as the co-writer of the book, which we also used in the campaign trailer.  

 

 

JL: Can you tell us a little bit about how you tackled this campaign as compared to your previous ones?

DC:  I think I have a lot more confidence having one campaign under my belt, being a relative newcomer to the crowdfunding scene.  There’s definitely a learning curve in how to market yourself and your book to consumers compared to being a publisher in the 1990’s using direct distribution methods.  I’ve been able to connect online with a lot of other different creators to network and spread the word.  In fact, we are planning a BEARDZZERKER launch party on April 1st on Michael Bancroft’s channel at 7pm PST.  https://www.youtube.com/user/SignFail. Some scheduled guests will include Bill Maus, Keith Gleason (Mighty Mascots), Mark Poulton (Graveyard Shift), Mike McMahon (USAssassin), Preston Ascevedo (Doc Salem) and Billy Tucci. (Shi).

 

 

JL: Have you been reading any mainstream comics recently?

DC:  Honestly, I haven’t read anything new from Marvel or DC in awhile, although I did pick up a recent issue of Deadpool with a Rob Liefeld cover and I like Guardians Of The Galaxy.  

 

JL: Have you been reading any Indie Comics recently?

DC:  Actually, I just read BRZRKR #1 today and enjoyed it. I’m reading THE CHENOO by Graham Nolan, which is very good.  I have a large stack of books I would like to read, and most of them are independents.  I’ve been supporting a lot of crowdfunded books this year, mainly of people I’ve met or who I’m impressed with.

 

 

JL: What are your hopes for BEARDZZERKER #1 and for the future?

DC:  I, along with artist Bill Maus, just want our readers to have an enjoyable experience that will be a fun thrill ride, with lots of action and lots of humor.  If we can make you laugh on each page, it releases good endorphins into the atmosphere and that helps makes the world a happier place.  God knows, we need a lot more happiness in the world, right?

 

 

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

DC:  I have a YouTube Channel with a lot of comic book content, indy comics creator interviews and more. Please feel free to check it out here!

 

 

JL: Thanks again, Don! Book looks great and we hope you have much success with it!

DC: Thanks, John!  I wish nothing but the best for you and the staff at Indie Comics Showcase and Bleeding Fool!

 

Check out the Bearzzerker campaign here!

 

 

 

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KAMEN AMERICA 3: 
by Mark Pelligrini & Tim Lim

 

The Kamen Corps faces off against an alliance between Vermillion Masquerade and Kamen U.N.!

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Kamen America 3 – Briefly tell our readers the pitch if they’re new to this project.

Mark Pellegrini: Kamen America follows Carly Vanders, an up-and-coming Fashionista who one day finds herself with extraordinary powers. She becomes a tokusatsu-style superhero named Kamen America initially for self-promotion, but as monsters start crawling out of the woodwork with a seemingly personal vendetta, Carly has no choice but to assemble a team of other girls who gained powers in a similarly mysterious fashion. Kamen America 3 continues the story, pitting the Kamen Corps against Vermillion Masquerade, the creator of the monsters.

 

Kamen America Volume 3 Trailer

 

CB: What was the genesis for Kamen America? Where did the idea for this superhero comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?

MP: Tim and I had originally created a one-shot character in our parody comic, Wall-Might, named Warhen. Readers really liked her, though, and gave us a lot of positive feedback. We knew we wanted to do another project after Wall-Might, one that wasn’t a satire, so we developed Warhen into Kamen America. We’d had success with crowdfunding previous books, such as Black Hops, so continuing with that medium was intuitive. We’d already begun cultivating an audience with our other books, so readers knew where to find us. Since we don’t have much of a social media presence, we had to rely on a grassroots approach to get the word out.

Tim Lim: We always have our books finished before we launch the campaigns (which we refer to as “preorders” since the book is already done and the crowdfunding capital isn’t going toward production, but rather fulfillment) so that we can fulfil them quickly and on time. The more books we get out, the more material audiences have to read and share word-of-mouth about. Each Kamen America preorder has done better than the last, so we’re rapidly gaining in readership, which is really exciting.

 

 

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

MP: Kamen America takes its inspiration from 2 genres: Japanese tokusatsu-style “henshin heroes” and the traditional American superhero. Tim draws with an anime-influenced aesthetic, but our sense of humor and approach to action and drama are definitely Western. Consequently, I think we’ve been hitting audiences who enjoy both comics and manga. From feedback alone, I know a lot of readers picked the book up expecting it to be strictly a comedy series with action elements and they were surprised to find Kamen America is infused with some heavy drama and a sense of moral sincerity.

TL: We want our books to be fun and entertaining, but don’t want them to feel hollow. So we always start developing each story by first determining the “point”, the narrative or thematic through line of the chapter, and then build the plot and character arcs around that.

 

 

CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. You and Tim decided to go hardcover and partner with Iconic Comics. Tell us a little about those decisions.

MP: Since the books are completed in advance of the crowdfunding preorders, whatever we earn in each crowdfund, we roll into the production of the next book; we’re always working one book ahead. So we take what we’ve earned and look at how we can spend it to improve the finished product or add more extras for readers to pick up. Hardcover was the next upgrade we were able to implement, likewise offering hardcover reprints of our previous installments. There are a lot of fun things we want to do in future preorders, and thankfully we keep growing and earning more with each preorder which allows us to try new things (like the soundtrack CD and the lenticular poster).

TL: Iconic Comics have been a huge factor in making all this possible. They handle 100% of our fulfillment and since they have a background in shipping and customer service, they’re very efficient and experienced in getting orders out either on or ahead of schedule. Their webstore also offers a place for overstock of Kamen America, Black Hops and other books to be available between crowdfund preorders.

 

 

CB: You guys have worked on so many projects together, are you both the same zip code? What’s the workflow like? How do you like to work?

MP: Tim splits his time between Texas and Arkansas (where I live), so sometimes we’re within driving distance of each other and sometimes not. But we can do just about all of our collaborating online. We start with a plotting session (usually over lunch if Tim’s in town) to get all our ideas for the next book on the table. I compile all of that raw creative material into a summary and send that his way. We workshop it back and forth until we like the story we’ve got. Then I segment the summary up into what I call “page breakdowns” (detailed descriptions of what happens on each page of the book; helps with pacing). We workshop that and then I write the script. After edits, Tim starts drawing, then he gets the PDF to me for notes, and that’s that.

TL: Altogether, I think we can get a full 60-page comic completed, concept to finished art, in about 2 months. Not bad, considering we both have fulltime dayjobs!

 

 

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

MP: Time tables. Getting your book out on time is vital, as are all your promises to your customers, so we’ve learned a lot about time management and scheduling to make sure what we promise is always what we deliver. We have our workflow down to a science so we intuitively know what our reasonable deadlines are before we set them for ourselves. Tim’s never waiting on me for a script and likewise I’m never idly twiddling my thumbs while he’s drawing. Kamen America 3 is up for preorder right now, but Tim’s already finished drawing the next book, Black Hops X Kamen America, and I’ve already finished scripting the next-next book, Kamen America 4. Most importantly, we learned that 2 outsiders with no professional industry connections or support can publish a book: it takes legwork, research, and a little bit of business knowledge, but it is possible.

 

 

CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and what are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?

TL: Our goal is to make Carly feel as real as possible, to give her the sort of weighted narrative substance that makes readers care about her, the choices she makes, and the consequences she suffers from those decisions. A lot of her moral dilemmas are drawn from personal experiences that we have encountered, especially concerning the overarching theme of independent, moral action versus what is acceptable — and expected — by persons of influence. We’ve got many years of story arcs plotted and planned for Kamen America, but story without substance won’t keep readers coming back. The fact that each Kamen America volume has outperformed the last tells us that we’re on the right track, but we know we can always do better. Kamen America 4, which is slated for Fall 2021, is the culmination of our first Saga and we want the payoffs to land for our readers because we built the necessary emotional and storytelling foundation. We feel confident that Kamen America 4 will feel very rewarding to readers, but also intriguing enough to bring them back again for the next Saga, which will start with Kamen America 5 in early 2022!

 

 

CB: The books have been great so far. Good luck and we are rooting for you!

MP: Thanks for having us on! Indie comics don’t have mass-media marketing budgets like corporate comics, so word-of-mouth is pretty much all we’ve got.

TL: We appreciate help in getting the message of our books out!

 

Check out the Kamen America v3 campaign here!

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NINJA MAXIMO
by Laurent Minassian

 

Check out the campaign here!

Action packed book. Explosions, 150+ body count, shootouts, sword fights. kung fu style fighting and other surprises.

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Maximo Raw – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.

Laurent Minassian: Maximo comes home and finds his parents murdered and goes out to get revenge. Action packed graphic novel with shootouts, sword fights, kung fu style fighting, 150+ body count, explosions, over the top action and more. I’m self-publishing the book which will be 8 x 11 inches (magazine size), and in black and white.

 

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?

LM: I can’t find a lot of real life (non super hero) action comics and when I do (and even if it’s super hero) , it would be a few pages of action and that’s it. I wanted to create something that’s page after page after page of action. Shootouts, fighting, explosions, etc. I also didn’t want to create a “slug-fest” where the characters are just punching and kicking each other because that would get boring. I wanted to create dynamic action. A lot of panels have a set up, the action, then the result. I wanted things to flow from one panel to another. I decided to crowd fund Maximo Raw since there is an audience that’s looking for non “big publisher” books. Crowd funding is like doing a comic book convention. People go to find familiar things along with something new and exciting.

 

 

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

LM: People who like action in movies, tv, and comic books. Who want to see over the top fighting. Do you like John Woo movies? Do you like a good revenge story with bad guys who are really bad? Do you want to see the actions scenes from movies back to back with no filler? If so, then you will like my book…..A lot!

 

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?

LM: I’m a one man band. Creator, writer, artist, promoter, and all that stuff. The book was going to original be about 40-60 pages, but then something happened, my creativity went to overdrive. All of a sudden I would get ideas of action. Sword fights, explosions, Kung Fu style fighting, and one very big action scene that I don’t think I’ve even seen in comics and that lasts well over 40 pages. Hint: VRUUU! VRUUU!!! I also designed this book so that a lot of the last panels on the pages end in a cliff hanger. Basically I want the reader to look forward to see what is going to happen on the next page. Will the hero live or die? If he dies, then what will happen next? If he lives, then how will he get out of the jam to survive? I wanted to create a lot of anticipation. Finally, I wanted the size of the book to reflect the overall vibe. The book is magazine size (8.5 x 11 inches). Because of the large page size, I want the action to be big, bold and over the top.

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

LM: This was very challenging. Because of work and family, I didn’t have a lot of time to draw. Days with go by while I drew nothing and other times I would draw for five minutes and then have to stop, so I would have difficulties getting into a groove. I constantly thought about my book though. I would always have a pen and pad and when I would get an idea, I would rough draw or write it out. If I didn’t have anything on me, I would get a scrap piece of paper and make notes.

 

CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and what are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?

LM: I just want people who like action story to be able to see it in comic book form. There is no shaky-cam or quick edits where it’s hard to see and enjoy the action like in the movies. Every panel/page I drew, you are able to see the action and take it all in. Feel every kick, punch, gunshot, explosion, etc. This series of books took me almost five years to do and was very time consuming, so for now I don’t plan on doing another book once the series is complete, but you never know.

CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Any final words about the project you’d like to add?

LM: I hope that my book far exceeds people expectations. I hope that some pages will make the reader say “Wow! That is awesome!” Also, to all the people who want to do a book (or whatever), just go out and do it. If I can, so can you.

 

Check out the Ninja Maximo 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!

 

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