Indie Comics Showcase #138: Dragon Rage, Cryptidnals & Testament

 

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!

 

Dragon Rage: Second Chance
by David Philpott

 

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Dragon Rage – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.

Dave Philpott: So, there’s a girl named Nuri who can turn into a dragon, and it’s something she’s only recently started doing. She was an orphan and a servant for the kingdom of Black Cliff; now she’s being used as a weapon of the monarchy. But while she’s protecting the people of her kingdom, she begins to learn about her past, like how she may be their biggest threat. And, her actions have awoken the King of Dragons, who has not been seen in several years, and he’s not happy…

 

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?

DP: Jimmy Reyes, the artist and co-creator of the project, came up with the basic premise. He was like, “Okay, there’s a girl, and she can turn into a dragon. And maybe she has to protect the village where she lives from the ultimate dragon.” And I took the idea and developed a world around it because I overthink everything. We decided to crowdfund because Covid became a thing. We came up with this idea March of 2020; we saw how the fear of the virus affected the industry, and we decided to go at it ourselves. Also, we wanted control over the IP.

 

CB: Let’s talk about the book’s appeal. Who is this aimed at?

DP: It should appeal to fans of fantasy, but DragonRage isn’t about elves and magic and role-playing, medieval tropes. The story has romance, politics, and family drama. Also, bloodshed, murder, butts, and dragons. So, something for the whole family.

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team that have contributed to this project.

DP: Jimmy Reyes is the principle artist, handling pencils and inks. We have a newcomer, rising superstar Jas Singh, who penciled three pages in the story. Andrew Dalhouse did the coloring. Eric Weathers handled the letters. We have a five-page back story with art by Mark Goldfine and colors by Sarah Perryman. I’m the writer. The main cover was penciled by the legendary David Finch, and we have variant covers by Jimmy Reyes and Joe Wills.

 

CB: What is the team’s workflow like?

DP: Jimmy and I talk about the broad strokes of the story, and he’ll do some preliminary sketches. I’ll come up with the overall plot of the story, you know, the 30,000-foot view, and then figure out how to break it into story chunks. I’ll write out the script and send it to Jimmy. He’ll call me at 3:00 a.m. to suggest changes, knowing I won’t remember agreeing to them. Jimmy coordinates the art and assembles it all for press. I get the finished product and handle fulfillment.

CB: What is your purpose for telling this story and what are your plans beyond this book? 

DP: Our purpose for telling any story is to take our combined love of pop culture from the ’70s through present day and create comics that look pretty and have re-readability. Our immediate plans are to publish a few more issues and collect them in a trade paperback. Then we want to put the story in the hands of networks; really, anyone interested in making a movie, TV show, or animation based on DragonRage. ‘Cause we want to see it on the screen.

 

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

DP: First, don’t do your campaign late in the year; you’ll probably take a massive tax hit the following April because you most likely won’t spend the money until after the first of the year. Second, concentrate on the brand and satisfying the backers. Under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t try to retire from what you make; invest back into your brand and make it look good enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the pro’s. Third, be flexible with your creative team. Carefully choose the hills you’re willing to die on. Make something you aren’t ashamed to show people.

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Phil! The book looks great,

DP: Wow! My grandfather was called Phil; it’s cool when people instinctively do that. We appreciate you shining light on our little love-child. Thank you for giving us a moment to show her off to everyone.

Check out the Dragon Rage: Second Chance campaign here!

DragonRage Second Chance Campaign Trailer

 

The Cryptidnals
by Ray Ramos

Check out the campaign here!

Chris Braly: Tell us about The Cryptidnals – what’s the pitch, Ray?

Ray Ramos: La Llorona, Spring-heeled Jack, Man-dog. Monstrous legends that do not exist. Defending our reality against Tulpas. The Rake. Smiledog. El Ñango. Evil manifested by humanity’s own fears. This is the CRYPTIDNALS. The Secret War of Monsters is about to begin.

 

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?

RR: I’ve worked in the industry for years, Heavy Metal Magazine and the like, and although every comicbook writer has aspirations to work for the “Big Three,” there’s no feeling in the world like publishing your OWN creation and seeing it come to life and ENJOYED by fans who legitimately want your work and can appreciate the effort you put into producing something unique. For this reason, crowdfunding was the definitive way to get it out there!

 

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

RR: This book is a horror book, but unlike anything out there. While most horror books out there showcase the human aspect ie: Humanity Vs. Monsters, The Cryptidnals showcases the monster aspect, Monsters Vs Monsters. I’ve noticed that most cryptid books focus on the humor of the idea which we steer away from and focus more on the creepy, horror aspect of monsters and make it disturbing. Although some of the monsters look human, the story is told from their point of view. We give voice to cryptids, especially to include local legends that we only know through rumor and heresay. Legends and myths that stretch back beyond when man first appeared on Earth. Not only that, but this is horror in an unsettling way. Anyone can produce a slasher story, or a “something is killing kids” book, but this is method to the madness and answers the biggest question. Why? I’m hoping that this appeals to everyone because it is a comic that has many nuances but ultimately it is a good story that has never been told before!

 

 

CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. Who are you working with on this project?

RR: My co-creator is Dario Rodriuez. He is a very soft spoken and humble artist but his work speaks for itself. He has given my words life and created a world that can exist in this reality. Dario is a renaissance man, artist, sculptor, muralist. His style is versatile and he can change it and adapt to whatever story is pitched to him. I feel very lucky that he was available when I approached him and also that he loved the story and it was right up his alley. He is channeling a lot of Wrightson, Junji Ito, and Gustave Dore in the art for this book, which is exactly what I wanted. He gives the book the perfect atmosphere that breathes life into the story, Just look at the pages! He’s pumping out GOLD! The rest of the team are refined and professional artists from 656 Comics who are based out of Juarez, MX and have been busy creating and honing their craft for many years. Oliver Lee Arce is in charge of edits and art direction and lends his Pro experience working with IDW and other publishing houses to keep us on track and his brother Dominique Arce is a beast at producing a unique and engaging media experience along with art design. This is a Dream Team of Indie Comics!

 

CB: What is 656 Comics and is this project related to your previous project Undead Border: Escape Or Die in any way?

RR: 656 is the area code for Ciudad Juarez Mexico. 656 Comics have been around for nearly 20 years and are the ONLY publishers to produce American style comics in all of Mexico and South America. They are well respected for being professional as well as consistent for producing books on a steady basis. 656 Comics is Francisco Arce, Oliver Lee Arce, Dominique Arce, Dario Rodriguez and Javier Gutierrez to name a few. I was brought on board to help them produce their first crowdfunding campaign in English, UNDEAD BORDER: ESCAPE OR DIE a year ago and we just finished fulfillment last month and the guys were anxious to hop on this project because they not only saw that it was a work of passion and quality, but because it’s right up their alley with producing books that need to be out their for fans who are wanting something that’s missing from the mainstream media.

 

CB: Wow! So what’s the workflow like?

RR: We all try to maintain the work discipline as professional as possible. We all have a love for what we do so it is easy to do so amongst all of us. The beautiful part is that we don’t see it as work. We see it as doing what we love and the workflow shows this. We all have our roles in the publishing of our books, but we fall into these positions with as much passion and gusto as if we were creating a beautiful meal for our families. It’s fun. It’s something we want to do and it helps that we ALL have each other’s backs in anything that production calls for. Everything is in house and 656 Comics moves like a well oiled machine. Respect each other. Respect the work. Respect the DEADLINE. lol!

 

CB: What else have you been learning from crowdfunding through this?

RR: Promise what you are capable of delivering and deliver what you promise. NO EXCUSES. FULFILLMENT IS KEY! We are doing this because we want everyone who does this work to realize that publishing comics is not an easy career to pursue, but if you have the knowledge and want it can be done as close to flawlessly as possible. We are lucky to have the experience on EVERY level of producing comic books and can respect the process from inception to production to delivery. This includes running presses and marketing!

 

CB: What is unique about this story and made it something you wanted to share? 

RR: Our purpose is to deliver something that has never been seen before. I can honestly say that the concepts for this book have NEVER been attempted. We are giving voice to the usual villains of any tale, the monsters. It would be awesome to see these characters come to life on the big or small screen but we are primarily focused on delivering a story through comicbooks. There are plenty of more stories to tell because the lore lends itself to more scenarios and each character could possibly carry their own book. This story is self contained but we do have more to show the readers if the response for the book is tremendous and so far it’s looking that way. The Cryptidnals universe does tie into something bigger and hopefully we garner enough backers to continue the story in all its parts and show the bigger, bigger picture!

 

The Cryptidnals Trailer

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Ray. Good luck on this project!

RR: Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our project with you fine folks at Bleeding Fool and we’ll keep making them if you keep reading them! TALK HARD!

 

Check out The Cryptidnals campaign here!

 

 

 

Testament
by Chimera

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Chimera. Tell our readers about your newest project, Testament.

Chimera: Testament is a science fantasy series focusing on a swordsman named Karl von Magnusson. The planet Karl is on is called Von, a harsh world comprised of five regions each one ruled by a king or a warlord. Karl is on a quest for revenge against his region’s King for the murder of the clan of warriors who raised Karl. Along the way, Karl learns about his lineage and the powers that he inherits.

 

 

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?

Chimera: I started the project in 2017 with the idea of blending fantasy with other elements like science fiction and post-apocalypse. The initial inspiration was a book I read in middle school called “Crispin Cross of Lead” about an orphan on the run from a royal and discovering his lineage. I took that premise and made my own world with guns, swords, motorcycles, ancient technology, and lovecraftian monsters. Vampire Hunter D and Akira were also my inspirations as well as Norse/Germanic mythology. I realized the series would require several books to tell just the first arc so crowdfunding was a no brainer. I hope to crowdfund at least 3 books with Testament so I may tell the first arc.

 

 

CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain most?
Chimera: Testament seems to be attracting fans of sword & sorcery as well as science fiction which was my intention, but it’s also a coming of age tale and hero’s journey.

 

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

Chimera: Juliano Da Silva does pencils and inks. He and I started “Testament” in late 2019 and over the course of a year we just chipped away at the art. I would edit and revise book one’s script as well. I wanted everything to be perfect before I launched. Marcos Martin does the colors and is doing a bang up job as well. Joe Ball (Death, Death, Death & Super Harem) did the main cover as well as sketch cards. Rob Willis did the variant cover and knocked it out of the park. Preston Asevedo is doing an 8-page bonus story for the main book which I’m excited about. The bonus story would be painted as we are both fans of Simon Bisley especially Bisley’s Slaine run.

 

CB: What’s the workflow like?

Chimera: I like to flesh and outline my series or at least the first few books before doing art. I want to make sure I’m 100% on doing a particular series. In the past, I have decided to put aside other projects as I didn’t think they were up to snuff. I consider myself a slow writer as I research mythology (especially for this series), flesh out the characters so they have individual personalities, then write the complete script before contacting an artist. Outlining a story is my favorite part as I play around with what I want to do and make sure the plot makes sense without having to put too much detail then I move onto writing the script.

 

 

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

Chimera: I’ve learned to just be persistent and grind as you do campaign after campaign. I am growing in backer number and money each campaign I do. So far I have fulfilled three campaigns on time without too many issues. I’ve learned to condense my storytelling. My first campaign was 80 pages and took many months to complete. Deadlines are important to me so I try to shoot for a 50-60 page count from now on.

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

Chimera: I would like to make Testament a long running series, but separated into standalone arcs. Mythology, Lovecraft, and biblical themes are interesting to me and I wanted to make an IP that has that. Yes I have three arcs planned after books 1-3. It all depends on the customers and their interest in Testament should we continue crowdfunding.

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck on this project!

Chimera: Thank you!

Testament Graphic Novel Trailer

Check out the Testament campaign here!

 


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

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