Indie Comics Showcase #132: Absolute, Skipt & Black Sun Samurai

 

 

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 Sun Samurai
by Joseph Abbott

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

 

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers about Black Sun Samurai, Joseph. Give us the elevator pitch!

Joseph Abbott: A samurai warrior, a Shinto exorcist, a noble archer and a timid geisha with astonishing powers are brought together over the death of their shogun to discover the secret of the why the sun no longer rises.

 

Black Sun #Samurai - #Kurosawa meets #Tolkien

 

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?

JA: The idea for Black Sun originally came to me while on vacation, riding the Shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo and listening to an audiobook of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. Different ideas for samurai scenes and characters were flooding my mind so I jotted them all down in my notebook.

In terms of crowdfunding, it seems to be the best way to get an indie book published these days and the best way to grow a fan base for my work. It’s fantastic comicbook fans can decide themselves what they want to read rather than a publisher making that decision for them and limiting what is available on the shelves. It’s also been fun interacting directly with the fans.

 

 

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

JA : It’s a timeless adventure story for people who like detailed fantasy world building and mythological / archetypal themes. I did so much world building i could probably turn this into an RPG, lol. But its fun even if the details are something people may only appreciate on the 3rd/4th read of the series.

 

 

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?

JA : I wanted to try a fully digital painted book and I was lucky enough to find Calvin who agreed to take on the tremendous challenge. Most comics have a penciller, inker, and colourist splitting the work between them. But in this case, Calvin had to do everything himself. We spent a lot of time going over every panel, debating the shape (you’ll see lots of golden ratios), pacing, the mood of the colouring, and every little detail. For example, he wanted the opening battle to be cloudy, grey and brooding, and I had to convince him, no, the opening pages need to be bright and colourful to contrast with the darkness that comes later when perpetual night falls. We went back and forth a lot, he’s an amazing artist, and even though I can’t draw worth a damn, I went to art school, I’m very visual, and I know the theory. So we had really productive discussions and spent way more time on every panel then I have done on any other book. We also have two awesome Variant covers by J.C. Grande and Pema Mendez who were great to work with.

 

 

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

JA : I completed the scripts for all 6 issues before I even thought about hiring an artist. I like to plan everything out in intricate detail and know exactly where everything is going. I don’t just “write by the seat of my pants”. My scripts are very focused on what needs to be on the page and uncluttered with pointless direction. I don’t complicate things with “camera angels” and such. I trust my artists to take the description and come up with the best way of showing it on the page.

I always give the artist a lot of freedom to express themselves. In terms of work flow, this time I actually provided the blank pages with panels drawn on them they way I imaged the layout, which is the first time I have done that for an artist. Then Calvin drew the sketches in the panels. Then we would debate/discuss any changes and come to an agreement on everything. Fixing pacing issues or coming up with better ways to visualize the action, or just nitpicks about how a sword looks, LOL. Then after that Calvin just went to town and did the finished paintings. So it was really straightforward.

 

 

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

JA : It’s hard. It’s damn hard. This is my second crowdfunder. My first I just threw up without any marketing and it did not reach the goal, even though the goal was pretty low. So I’m trying to market this one more, and reach as many people as I can and hopefully this is something people want to see in print and will support. I’d much rather be working on scripts than marketing, it isn’t really my forte. But that’s just the nature of the beast.

 

 

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

JA : I am trying to work through mythological themes, timeless themes. I’m trying to create something that even 20 years from now, people will still remember and love. I want to touch the archetypal. That’s why there are some, what you might call “clichés” here and there. For example the “damsel in distress”. You’ve seen that before, particularly, in this book, it references Kurosawa’s Rashomon where the thief kidnaps the girl. But don’t mistake that for lazy writing, rather, I believe there are deep universal themes and myths that human beings are attracted to and which provide meaning to our lives. The hero myth for example. But that doesn’t mean everything is predictable. There are big surprises that will blow your mind!

 

 

CB: Are there more stories to tell?

JA: Oh yes there are many more stories to tell in the realm of Shinkoku, I am already working on the script for the next book that takes place after this story with new characters and fantasy races that didn’t make it into Black Sun.

In the historical samurai genre I am also currently in the art stage of a series based on the life of female samurai Tomoe Gozen and my fave historical samurai Lord Kiso Yoshinaka.

In terms of non-samurai books, I’m working on a horror story about Napoleon, a spy drama set in 1960s Jamaica, and several realistic dinosaur stories as well as a Star Wars / Futurama parody. If I can figure out how to make this crowdfunding thing successful I have a lot of different ideas I’d like to put out there.

 

 

CB: Awesome, Joseph. Thanks for chatting with us! Best of luck to you!

JA : Thank you! I really appreciate the opportunity and I want to thank you for helping promote indie comics! It’s an amazing time for creator-owned indie books, I think we really are in a Golden Age of indie comics. I’m excited to be a part of it.

CB: I totally agree. It’s a glorious time for indies.

 

Check out the Black Sun Samurai campaign here!

 

 

_________

ABSOLUTE
by Jason Bascom

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Absolute Book 2 – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.

Jason Bascom: “The epic conclusion of a bounty hunter thrust into a war he didn’t ask for.” I believe elevator pitches should be one sentence. A lone bounty hunter seeks out the ultimate prize and by taking on a strange young woman he is unknowingly steered into a rebellion against the malicious alien Onvi overlords.

 

ABSOLUTE. book 2 Trailer

 

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?

JB: This started as just a page I drew for my brother to right. I wanted a colab we would create together. He wasn’t sure where to go with the 1st page so I just started drawing the next and so on and was writing it in my head as I went. The idea and concept came about and developed along the way. The decision to crowdfund came about from watching Dan Fraga on the Couchdoodles show and listening to him wanting to bring back Black Flag to crowdfunding and then with Covid hitting and the mainstream just becoming a dumpster fire the decision took care of itself.

 

 

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

JB: Anyone looking for fun action and a journey of trust and character development as well as science fiction fans as well as fans of Dungeons and Dragons would enjoy this story. People looking for that old school underground indie black and white vibe would get a kick out of it as well.

 

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?

JB: ABSOLUTE. is a self run machine. I do have a wonderful editor, as I recommend any creator have, but as far as the art/story/lettering/production and so on it’s all on me. There is a benefit to having that kind of control but it makes things very time consuming. lol

 

 

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

JB: Wen working on the comic itself I think what the page will contain, if it’s not a splash page, I do the layouts, usually one panel at a time since I let the story develop as I work. It might be 3 panels, could be 24. It often is spur of the moment. I lay it out digitally (I have partial black out blindness so I can’t see pencil or blue line too well) then tighten up each panel. I’ll go in and add in the crosshatching and line weight. I’ve been doing the 2nd half of book 2 with just 20% of the digital line art then printing it out and finishing it up with traditional media. After I’m done with a book I’ll then go page by page and write it, then put in the lettering. That’s when I toss things over to my editor (Shae) for her to let me know what needs fixed weather it be dialogue or even art. Once I do the fixing I’ll toss it to the printers.

 

 

CB: Your first crowdfund went great. What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

JB: Yeah it was a fun ride for sure! A key take away is probably communication and transparency, Get the know your backers, chat with them on social media and through updates. Listen to what they have to say and any suggestions they may have. I’ve made a lot of great new friends throughout this experience and I am looking forward to meeting more great new people!

 

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

JB: This story is an entity all it’s own and has become one of trust, loyalty, and overcoming the most difficult of obstacles whether they be physical or mental. Never give in no matter how difficult the task at hand may be, even if it seems impossible. After book 2 my brother has a story he’s been wanting to do for several years and then there’ll be more from my own grey matter. ABSOLUTE. will have more. A Samurai Priest story will happen, he’s a fan favorite and I’ve grown fond of him as well.

 

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with me, Jason! Good luck. We’re are rooting for you!

JB: Thank you very much! I enjoyed this and was honored you asked me to do it! Even if I saw the invite very late. lol

 

Check out the Absolute campaign here!

 

_________

 

SKIPT
by Florian Pfeiffer

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for SKIPT. 

Florian Pfeiffer: SKIPT tells sci-fi crime saga of a group of outlaws, who live their existence on the fringes of society in the future where privatization has reached absolute status In this world all aspects of life are controlled and operated by one of the five megacorps which run the world affairs under the decades-old “O.M.E.G.A. Treaty” with great effectiveness. In their attempt to find a new beginning in this hyper-documented world, the group inadvertently creates a substance that threatens the established balance of power. Needed by all parties, albeit for different purposes, this substance quickly becomes the object of desire – and the group thus the hunted.

On the run, they must now not only find a way to survive but take over! SKIPT: SEEDS OF POWER is the first book of a planned five-part saga and will also be the first-ever comic book to release a part of the artwork exclusively as NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens)! This will also include original in-story files vital for the gang, so we bridge the gap between reader and protagonists in a new way!

 

SKIPT - THE SEEDS OF POWER - official Trailer

 

CB: Is this your first adventure in crowdfunding? How did you first get into this and how did it lead to this?

FP: Yes, this is the first time I venture into the world of crowdfunding. I worked as a start-up consultant which gave me the chance to collect experience in those fields. I got some of my favorite books from crowdfunding campaigns, which led me to choose this way for this project.

CB: Where did the idea for Skipt originate?

FP: I carried this story in me for years, influenced by some of my favorite writers Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, or Neil Gaiman I always was drawn to stories that choose to take unique perspectives and blur the lines between good and evil, and you are not always sure if the protagonist is the good guy. So I wrote the story I wanted to read for years. Like all writers, I was influenced by the stories I love and the world around me. What started as an idea, became quickly a massive project to build not just a story but a world, and I love it.

 

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

FP: SKIPT is for the tech sci-fi fan and crime drama fan alike. If you like stories like the peaky blinders, blade runner, or 100 bullets, you will have a lot of fun and excitement in this world I created. I hope to entertain readers that have a taste for twists and turns and a need for explosive action. The story follows a gang that has to survive in a harsh world and they don’t hold back. I wanted to create a comic book that entertains you with action and makes you think at the same time.

 

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

FP: I am very proud of the work of my pencil and inker. Don Mark Noceda is an experienced artist that worked on a few indie projects as well Sketchcard collections by Upperdeck. He was essential for the creation of the book, and together with the colorist Bryan Arfel Magnaye and he formed the core team. Both these guys were a huge support for me and had important influences on the designs of the characters and the world alike. Together those two gave my vision of life. We have some other artists working on promotional art and stretch goals but those are under NDA at the moment. I am very happy with my team and cant wait to show the world what we have in store.

 

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

FP: I learned a lot in the past 14 months. From the beginning of the project it was clear to us we want the book to be ready to go to print before we start any campaigning. For this reason, I learned a lot about the financial aspect of creating a book, and all that comes with it. I have written comic book scripts before but never had them be produced. Seeing what an artists interpretation of my description looks like, and how it can vastly differ from mine but still have all the elements mentioned in the description in it, while other times being almost scary similar to the vision in my head, is something that I never could have imagined, – and so much fun! In general, I learned a lot about the process of creating something as a team, over a long period, and how important your team is for that. I am super grateful for the awesome team I was able to find.

 

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Any final words?

FP: Thanks for having me! We are excited to present this book as the first part of the saga to come and for SKIPT to be the first-ever comic book to have NFT content. I firmly believe this is a great new way of doing owning original art for the artist as well as the client. We are new, we are loud and we are coming to stay, but first and foremost to give our backers the best product possible with a thrilling story and beautiful art! I’m grateful to have made it so far and thank everyone that decides to join us on this amazing journey, it’s going to be quite the ride.

CB: We wish you tremendous success!

 

Check out the SKIPT 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!

 

Chris Braly

I'm a collector, a speculator, and one opinionated, based geek. My friends call me Braly, but those who know me within the hobby generally refer to me as Bralinator. I can be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several other comic book nerds. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON