Indie Comics Showcase #133: Tales from the Interface, Ultra Star & HEIRS vs NOCTURNIA



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 the most fun! 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 or share this post on your social media! 


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 very best part of Indie Comics Showcase. Let’s jump in!


Tales from the Interface
by Emmanuel Filteau


Check out the campaign here!


Chris Braly: Thanks for chatting with me, Emmanuel! Tell our readers a little about Tales from the Interface.

Emmanuel Filteau: Sure! In a slowly decaying futuristic city, social class is determined by the amount of time you spend in a virtual world called: The Interface.

A dystopian megalopolis… a harsh, violent city where citizens get slaughtered at the first sign of unruliness by the Robopaxes:  Nightmarish, Lovecraftian tentacular monsters. This grimful backdrop is punctuated with a good dose of dark humour, provided by the often clueless inhabitants of the city.



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

EF: For me at least it’s definitely a grind. Building an audience on your own is extremely challenging and takes years. Each time a new book comes out, I convince a bit more people that I can be trusted to bring a good value to the table. I’m very active on social media and saw early what was possible through crowdfunding. I don’t listen to all the advice, but try to approach it in my own way.

CB: Where did the idea for Tales from the Interface originate and what made you decide sequential art was the best approach at telling these tales?

EF:  The idea was something that was in my mind for many years before I put anything on paper. I had so much to say that I tried writing it into a novel. I felt the scope was a bit scary to put into comic form. So I felt the best initial approach was to separate it into smaller stories which became the tales. I mixed in other short stories ideas I had as well. Short stories became a virtual playground for the characters. People wanted to see more of the main characters so

TFTI 3 happens entirely into the “real” world. I’ve been making comics from an early age and started putting out photocopied zines in the early 2000s. Comic is my comfort zone, there is so much I can tell better with image than only text. That’s probably why the original novel idea kind of died out.



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

EF: The story should appeal to fans of Heavy Metal, 2000AD or Geof Darrow. It has more of a European vibe than a standard superhero comic. 


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

EF:  I am a one-man team. The only external help is for proofreading and copy editing. I have review sessions with beta-readers as well.


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

EF: I learn a lot about myself, what I am trying to get out of this. I believe art is a form of communication and my comic is a big part of how I talk to the world. Crowdfunding has allowed me to connect with so many people, all over the world. It’s pretty amazing.

CB: That’s awesome, Emmanuel. Thanks for the interview! Any final words?

EF:  A big thank you to you for letting me talk about my comic. I have a big respect for people spreading love of independent comics. It’s a jungle out there, you show us the trails and lead us to treasures.

Check out Emmanuel’s campaign here!




Ultra Star: Operation Super N.O.V.A. 5
by Patrick Thomas Parnell

Check out the campaign here!



Chris Braly: Welcome back to ICS, Patrick! Give me the pitch for Ultra Star: Operation Super N.O.V.A. 5 – tell our readers the pitch.

Patrick Thomas Parnell: Ultra Star: Operation Super N.O.V.A. 5 is about a superhero team of the same name, Super N.O.V.A 5, losing their leader Ultra Star and having to find him before Earth is over run by invading alien reptiles. The super team hires a reporter who specializes in doxing super heroes secret identities to discover where he has gone off to.


Ultra Star : Operation Super N.O.V.A.


CB: Cool. Where did the idea for this comic come from?

PTP: I actually came up with this character while in Joe Kubert’s class at the Kubert School. Joe himself helped with the idea. I was working on a Captain Marvel project in his class. I remarked how I’d love to draw him one day. Joe suggested I create my own version to draw and publish.



CB: What a great experience!  Is this in line with your Johnny Phantasm books? Will it appeal to the same audience?

PTP: Yes, Ultra Star and Johnny Phantasm are happening in the same universe. Just at different times. Johnny is in the past. Ultra Star is in the very near future. Ultra Star is a classic super team story but with a contemporary twist.



CB: Let’s discuss the creative and production side a little. Are you a solo operation or is their a larger creative team on this project?

PTP: As of right now it’s created, illustrated and written by myself. I might hire some people to help me out on the way. Yet I like having my hands on the project as much as I can.



CB: Wow! So what’s the workflow like? 

PTP: Up all night, sleep all day! Ha. No, for real…busy busy busy. Riot Press is fulfilling books and toys as we speak AND I’m drawing Ultra Star and Johnny Phantasm at the same time.



CB: Johnny Phantasm was an enormous success. What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

PTP: Staying in touch with the backers and fulfillment is the key.


CB: What are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?

PTP: Riot Press is launching Johnny Phantasm: Extreme ‘93 as soon as we send out the Johnny Phantasm Action Figure. There will be another action figure coming out with ‘93, so people need to a look out for that. Then Ultra Star 2. Then Johnny Phantasm 2001. That should keep us busy for a while. We want to get more involved in toys and maybe even making a app game.



CB: Thanks for chatting with us again, Patrick! Anything else you’d like to mention?

PTP: Keep an eye out on Riot Press! We have a lot of good ideas in the works for people who love comics, collectibles and toys!


Check out the campaign here!





Heirs of Isildur vs Tales From Nocturni
by Matt Knowles & Steph Cannon

Check out the campaign here!


Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, Matt & Steph! It’s been a while since your last appearance. Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Heirs of Isildur vs Tales From Nocturnia – Briefly tell our readers the pitch for bringing these two together.

Steph Cannon: Thanks a lot Chris!

Matt Knowles: Yeah it’s been a hot minute huh? Here’s the quick pitch:

Steampunk, comics, medieval fantasy, and METAL all collide in: Heirs Of Isildur vs Tales From Nocturnia. InSymmetry Creations newest campaign brings both universes into the metal music world. It also comes with the special edition comic Heirs of Isildur: Nightmare Scenario which will answer one of the burning questions from the previous arc’s cliffhangers: After leaving main character Mykal Isildur in mortal peril, is he alive, dead, or somewhere in between?

Why did we bring them together? It was totally organic. Our first album (HEIRS OF ISILDUR The Crossroads Conundrum) was entirely integrated with that story arc. Since that time we not only created TALES FROM NOCTURNIA, we also ran three very successful kickstarters for that series. In doing so we wrote music that accompanied the campaign videos, which in turn birthed full songs. We were already working on some music for Heirs as well, so to make this album a combination of the two just made perfect sense.


HEIRS OF ISILDUR: The Perilous Prospects of Shadow's Haven (Feat. Andrew Polo & Corey Steger)


CB: Where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you deciding to crowdfund it?

MK: The Heirs of Isildur: Nightmare Scenario chapter that is included with this campaign was originally supposed to be a part of the sequel story The Perilous Prospects. That being said, we know we need to set the stage for where we’re gonna take The Perilous Prospects asap. So we broke this section out for this campaign and we are glad that we did. By doing this, we have a wild chapter that is unlike anything we’ve ever done with Heirs, and it gives us the ability to jump right into the meat of The Perilous Prospects right from the start.


SC:  It has become such an integral part of what we do that it was a no-brainer. With each campaign, we learn something new to apply to the next one. The hope is to continue an upward trend in success and overall reachability to our fanbase.

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

MK: First and foremost we hope it entertains those that have supported us so far. They’ve already put in the time and effort for us, so we hope to give them something that further expands their fandom. On top of that, this campaign has a little bit for everyone – steampunk, time-travel, medieval, fantasy, metal, it’s all there – as well as a wild and adventurous comic chapter with some killer art. We hope at least one of these appeals to the masses so they’ll take a chance on us!



CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. Tell us a bit about your creative team that has contributed to this project?

SC: On the comics end, we have both new and familiar faces for this campaign. Returning to contribute his talents again on colors is Bryan Arfel Magnaye, who most recently worked with us on Tales From Nocturnia issue #3. We actually have him to thank for recommending our newest team member, JC Fabul, who is doing pencils and inks for us. Bryan and JC both come from the Philippines, and we’re really excited to show everyone how well these two work together. We’re also fortunate to have a whole host of talented cover artists, including Renan Shody, who did our main cover art for both the comic and the album, Walter Ostlie (with the 3rd installment of his Garbage Pail Kid homages for us), and James Sims (who’ll have a very special tribute cover – more details on that soon).

MK: On the music side we’ve brought in a bunch of totally killer musicians and production personnel. In this day and age of broadband and technology, most of the recording is done remotely, so that opens up a whole wide range of those we can work with. Kyle Westin joined this time as an assistant mix engineer alongside mastering engineer Bryan Eckermann. The two have really helped to take what is created in the studio and make it shine at a pro level. Both also got to drop a guest guitar solo on the album.

Throughout the campaign we’ll unveil a wide range of guest musicians. At the time of this interview one we’ve already announced is our great friend, the late Corey Steger (original guitarist of Underoath). He was a friend of mine for over 20 years and played a major part in the first album. He was able to record some tracks (guests solos, power metal vocals) just 11 days before his passing, and we are humbled and grateful that we get to unveil the final tracks he ever recorded.



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

MK: Heavy communication, shared documents. We use google sheets exclusively for our scripts which allows us to be incredibly efficient when dealing with artists around the globe. Obviously every project starts with Steph and I, but then as the art team is determined, they are brought into our shared insanity. They see our process, and hopefully they understand the method to our madness. When you have as many irons in the fire as we do, we have to be cognizant of how we invest our time, and we expect those that work with us to respect that and do the same.

SC: With Matt and I being on opposite coasts (Florida and California respectively), we have to get creative with how our normal day operates. We’re on video chat a large part of every day, which helps with the constant communication needed to do everything that we do. If we didn’t have that, or our natural ability to work so well together, none of this would be nearly as fun as it is.

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

SC: Something we remind ourselves of daily is that both can be roller coasters, but we have to enjoy the ride. There are incredible highs and lows with crowdfunding – nothing beats the thrill of watching your backer number tick up. With that, however, is the inevitable crash when you have a not so great day dollar wise. We’ve learned that it’s all part of the deal, and we have to take it all in stride because there are points to learn from it all.

Creating is much the same. Some days we are firing on all cylinders and smashing through a script, while others feel more like a slow plod through quicksand to even get a few words out. If every day were the same, we wouldn’t grow as creators, and that’s the biggest takeaway.


MK: The other thing is: not only is every crowdfunding campaign different, but each campaign itself can have differences in effectiveness throughout the process. So many factors are involved, like: time of year, what other campaigns are also running, what is in your campaign (single issue, graphic novel, extras), and what else is going on in the world. We have conditioned ourselves to be ready to change our approach each day when we wake up, regardless of the original plan.

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

MK: Our mission statement is to ‘create characters people can relate to and universes people want to escape into’. Our immediate plans for Heirs of Isildur is to continue directly into the next story arc ‘The Perilous Prospects’, with the goal being some movement on that later this year.

SC: Oh, we will always have more stories to tell. As Matt stated, we have definite, solid plans to continue with our existing titles, as well as some new adventures in genres previously unexplored by us. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a wild ride!


CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

MK: We appreciate you taking the time and we hope you check out the campaign as well! By the time this publishes, we should have already released the first advance single ‘The Perilous Propsects of Shadow’s Haven‘, that features a musician we’ve been trying to link up with for quite some time. We hope people enjoy the campaign and we really look forward to bringing everyone collectible colored VINYL, new HEIRS, and some wicked extras. You’ll have to keep your eyes on the campaign so you don’t miss what’s coming!


Check out 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!


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 try to steer this tiny ship and can often be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several low-level, other comic book nerds. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly