Indie Comics Showcase #137: Cobalt, Havoc, & Heavens Decoded

 

 

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!

 

Cobalt: Thrashing About
by Jake Adams

 

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Cobalt: Thrashing About – briefly tell our readers the pitch.

Jake Adams: Cobalt is the launch pad for Superheroes in the world of Cyberpunk. In COBALT we follow the character Jesse Jensen trying to not only find his way as a the vigilante Cobalt, but now as the sole guardian of his little brother Isaac, we’re watching this twenty-something young man take on the gangs and criminal underbelly of Atlanta, GA, while also trying to balance being the responsible provider for his twelve-year-old, hormonal, kid brother. So we’re mixing the superhero/vigilante genre with the backdrop of a cyberpunk, neo-noir world. Making it a little darker, more gritty, but still exciting and action-packed.

 

 

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: I had an amputation take place in 2013 after a factory accident, losing four fingers on my left hand, and became what is known as the “limb-different community” (amputees and those born with congenital limb disfigurements). After a bit, a couple friends and I within this community wanted to make characters for kids growing up with limb differences they could essentially relate to on a level they couldn’t with mainstream characters. Very few characters are amputees and those that are, somehow, are only side characters. So, we created Super-Abled Comics, which you can still get on etsy.com, which was my first taste of creating a comic. Cobalt being my titular character for that anthology.

I decided to crowdfund this comic, because I believed this character could do more than serve a niche audience. Though I loved bringing the kids something they could enjoy and identify with I thought there are obstacles and choices to be seen made by Jesse and these characters that everyone could potentially relate to on one level or another. That made me want to go beyond on a specific audience and try on a wider scale.

 

 

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

JA: If you enjoy comics such as Daredevil, MoonKnight, the BatFamily; shows/movies like Batman Beyond, Blade Runner, Bloodshot then this will be right up your alley. We aren’t going as far as Alita: Battle Angel, but we are stepping into Deus Ex and CyberPunk 2077 territory with capes and masks.

 

 

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: TaleEnd Studio’s one and only member is myself. All talent outside of writing Cobalt is outsourced to other indie artists. The interior artist for Thrashing About is Erwin J. Arroza. He is a Filipino artist, living in the Philippines, so everything has been done over Facebook Messenger and Google Drive. He’s an amazing artist, I’m very blessed to have had him come on this project. He was an art director where he lives until he decided he wanted to spend more time with his family and found he could still find work the indie circuit. The cover art is done by Max Bertolini he’s an artist who has done cover work for Heavy Metal Magazine and Dark Horse Comics. When I saw his talent and how gripping his covers were I reached out and was lucky enough to have him do a couple pieces for me. The letterist/letter-er-er-er? I brought back from the 7page origin story in Super-Abled Comics. His name is Shawn Lee and he’s with an indie comic studio out in San Diego knows as the “Accidental Aliens”. He did good work on the bubble and boxes; if it ain’t broke, ya know.

 

 

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

JA: More of a pastime for me. Between working my real job, and other obligations outside of work it’s just whenever I can find time to sit and write, or hire an artist to do an art piece which I’ll use down the line on a campaign. It’s steady, but I have to have a quiet room with no interruptions. My ADD doesn’t allow for anything outside of the task at hand. No t.v., games, or music. Just pen and paper. It might take a few pages to get the different elements down, but after that it just kind of flows once you get in that headspace.

 

 

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

JA: It’s all about the grind and promoting after you get to a certain point. I wanted to have the sequential art completed before I launched the campaign on Indiegogo. As a first time creator coming into the indie circuit and starting to get my brand out there I knew I would have to show potential backers and those that would help promote me that something was already completed. Being able to say you have such-and-such completed or 85% of the work done definitely helps sway the audience to support you. Coming to the table empty handed and asking others to fill your cup without any evidence that you’re working on the project just doesn’t sit right with me.

 

 

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

JA: Purpose of this story is to have fun. I don’t have an agenda, I don’t want one placed on me. I’m here to entertain, make a few exciting journeys for characters, and if I make a couple bucks during all this, cool. I enjoy entertaining others that’s what I’m trying to do with comic books and, maybe even manga. I definitely have more stories. Plenty for Cobalt and his supporting cast, and then I have two more on the backburner right now. One is mixing mythology and folklore from many different religions and nations, the other is more like The Odyssey in space with lots of creatures and scifi. All in due time. Cobalt is the focus for now.

 

 

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

JA: Hey, thanks for having me! It’s been a fun ride and I can’t wait to start up issue 2 for Cobalt!

 

 

 

 

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HAVOC
by Vault Kobold

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Havoc- Briefly tell our readers the pitch.

Vault Kobold: Havoc is a modern day noir thriller following the story of Interpol Agent Kathren Sanis as she surveys a covert organization converging in New York for sinister reasons. The cabal’s goal is to obtain the key to effectively controlling the criminal underworld and by extension, the world. Only a meddling agent and a seemingly bumbling bystander stand in their way.

 

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?

VK: I was always a fan of stories that made you think and had more beneath the surface, that was the root of the idea. Throw in a fondness for 90’s action movies with more dramatic acting and a few twists that leave you satisfied yet curious. And that’s how you get the story of Havoc. As for crowdfunding, it just made sense over more traditional methods of getting your work out there. Doesn’t hurt to be encouraged by fellow independent creators.

 

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

VK: Havoc is for anyone that enjoys a good fast boil thriller with bouts of action and a few twists.

 

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?

VK: I’m a first time creator and writer. So naturally I looked for people to go over my work and get some feedback. Enter my editor Steve Dye, who not only gave me feedback and help, but encouraged me to pursue the project. From there I found the undiscovered gem that is Archsider, Havoc’s artist and colorist. Our letterer Jaymes Reed completed the team. Without them I can’t imagine Havoc being what it is. Everyone brought more than just skills to the table, but their own small touches that added to the whole.

 

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

VK: Personally I like to have my writing done or very close to done before anything else. Normally I’ll just make a script, or for more loose ideas, create an outline before making a script. From there I’ll refine on my own before handing it over to my editor to polish. I find during scripting that slowing down and visualizing helps immensely to my process. Helps to have a great artist too.

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

VK: It is all about multitasking and focus. Focusing on one thing at a time but keeping a number of things in mind. Preparation is key but only for what you can expect. For what you can’t, you just have to manage as best you can.

 

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

VK: My purpose is simple entertainment first and foremost. So much entertainment in modern times seems to be anything but — or as if actual entertainment through escapism is just a secondary consideration at best, taking a back seat to agenda. I just want to tell stories, in the medium I love to this day, primarily to entertain. If you take a lesson from it or it provokes some sort of self reflection, all the better. That’s a happy side effect but far from the main intention. As for future plans, I have a number of scripts in the bank. There are always more stories to tell. Among them is a spiritual successor to Havoc in theme if not in returning characters.

 

 

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

VK: Thank you for your time, consideration, and interest in my first endeavour into this wonderful medium. With support from backers and a little luck, I hope to bring Havoc and much more.

 

 

 

 

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HEAVENS DECODED (Part 1 of 3)
by Orion Zulu

 

It’s 2023. An archaeologist is being escorted to Mars to analyze alien symbols when their ship makes a shocking discovery.

Please checkout the campaign site here.

 

John Lemus: Welcome to and thank you for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. I am happy to be discussing your comic Heavens Decoded: Shadows of the Ancient Architect with you today! Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

Orion Zulu:  It’s a pleasure and I’m humbled. All of this is still new to me. I was born in Boston, raised in Miami. I wanted to draw as a kid, but realized quickly I’m better as a writer. Lol. I was married once in my 20’s and we have a daughter of 27 now, even though that marriage ended when she was only 4. I’m currently re-married again and we have a 3 year old and I’m raising my two pre-teen step sons that I’ve raised since they were in diapers. 

 

John: Without giving away any spoilers, what can you tell us about the book?

Orion Zulu:  Heavens Decoded is a science-fantasy adventure that is like a cross between Indiana Jones and Green Lantern. Shadows of The Ancient Architect brings you deep inside the lives of alien civilizations and their struggles to reckon with their connected past, just as the main character Dr. Reggie Rocklin is also trying to deal with his mysterious past. 

 

 

John: How did Heavens Decoded come to be, and how were the characters and story conceptualized?

Orion:  It was a longer process than most will ever know. The character Reggie Rocklin was an idea in the early 90’s but he was not an archaeologist at the time. The other characters, namely the organization called P.R.I.S.M. were inspired by a group of the same name in a video game I used to play. I then created Colonel Morneau and Lt Foster after I decided what the purpose of P.R.I.S.M. really was and how they fit into my universe. Then came the aliens.

That took much longer to conceptualize visually, but the backbone of their history and culture was set way before I met my artist Josh Harris, who helped me design the look of the aliens. The story of this limited series was formed after three attempts at the story arc. I just wasn’t happy with what I wrote originally and then I found my voice after digging deep into who Reggie Rocklin actually was and made him tick. The story started to come together after I realized what Reggie was and should be.

 

John: What are some of the first comics you remember reading?

Orion:  My first comics that I read front to back were probably Justice League, Spider-Man, and some Conan The Barbarian and Captain Marvel books that my older brother had laying around.

 

 

John: What are some of the Comics that have made the biggest impact on you?

Orion:  I think what first impacted me was the old Detective Comics. As a kid I was blown away by the attention to character development and detail to storytelling. I was always into the more powerful characters that most kids love: Superman, Captain Marvel (Marvell) and Professor X. But something about Batman stories really pulled me in.

 

 

John: What does HEAVENS DECODED: SHADOWS OF THE ANCIENT ARCHITECT mean to you, and what about it makes it a story you want to tell? 

Orion:  It is really a story about one person’s journey to self discovery and how many of us walk through life trying to not allow our “true self” to be shown to others. Shadows of The Ancient Architect puts a magnifying glass on how we can trick ourselves into a way of thinking that we need to avoid being our true selves for the purpose of sparing others any discomfort but that in a way can still actually cause harm to others, and even ourselves.

 

John: You have a rather unique style in your writing. Can you tell us a bit about how you developed them?

Orion:  I did a lot of research on comic writing because professionally I’m a novice in the field of comic writing. I had written for myself long ago but that was working with an artist that was a close friend. But to work professionally, I knew the artist may not know me personally and needed to make sure it looked professional and well crafted. I Googled lots of sample comics from writers at the Big Two and studied their techniques, their writing jargon and terminology. How they set up scenes and environments. It was real work before writing actually was typed anywhere.

 

 

John: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

Orion:  I have a hectic home. And a wife that doesn’t seem to understand the long hours (or care for) needed in the writing process, so I had to find moments of solitude and usually stolen moments at the day job, where I could write a page here, and another page there. Sometimes they were just outlines or drafts for revision later but it was instrumental. Then after saving several documents of scripts or scenes in my laptop, when the time was right I would put it together, then re-writes and edits came after. My rule was my first real draft should be my 8th draft. I strive to make the perfect script, even though I acknowledge there is no perfect script.

 

 

John: What are your hopes for  the future of this series? 

Orion:  That it gets a huge following and they are ready for the roller-coaster ride that is Part 2 and Part 3. Readers and backers of the current Kickstarter (ends this Saturday May 22) have no idea what is coming at them soon in this series. Put your seatbelt on!

 

 

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

Orion:  Just that I want to thank YOU for having a platform like this for indie creators to share their work with the world. 

John: Once again,  thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck with this and all future projects.

Orion:  The pleasure was all mine – and please bring me back for Part 2!

 

 

Only 3 days left ~ go back it 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