Indie Comics Showcase #139: Grave Robbers, Red Eyes & Black Tiger

 

 

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!

 

Grave Robbers
by Mark Middleton

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Thanks for chatting with me, Mark. Can you tell our readers your elevator pitch for Grave Robbers?

Mark Middleton: Grave Robbers is Jonah Hex meets Midnight Sons. Three bounty hunters with supernatural powers hunt down evil creatures not so different from themselves. In “Welcome to Hell Hole,” the Grave Robbers are hunting a killer who leaves his victims missing a body part. They’ve tracked him to a miserable, lawless town in the middle of the Arizona desert hoping to capture their bounty, but all they find is blood, outlaws, and a satanic cult.

 

 

Chris: 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?

Mark: I grew up on Western and Horror movies and for me they just seemed to fit really well together. Movies like Evil Dead, The Shootist, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Darkman. There’s definitely a lot of Raimi in Grave Robbers. But all those stories and characters over the years have inspired my writing and the characters I create. As far as crowdfunding, I’ve seen a lot of really incredible books and creators find success through Indiegogo and I know the content of my books isn’t something the mainstream is likely to publish! The main character’s name is Big Dick Murphy and might be a little too too much for them. By crowdfunding, I can take away the restrictions and censorship that I feel would hold my story back and give readers the awesome, quality book that they absolutely deserve!

 

 

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

Mark: I expect that anyone who loves a good action flick like Dredd, Tombstone, or Bone Tomahawk would like this book. If you’re a fan of comics like Hellboy, The Walking Dead, or you just enjoy some good ol’ fashioned violence, this is definitely for you!

 

 

Chris: 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?

Mark: Well, I’m the creator, writer, and letterer for the project. Passion4Drawing, who was behind the book DOOM FATE, is also behind all of the phenomenal pencils and inks (it’s like a combination of Wrightson and Madureira that I absolutely love). And Eugen Betiv from The Lost Pages and Magic Cop books is providing some of the most beautiful colors I’ve ever seen! I swear, it’s like he’s painting a bloody masterpiece on each panel!

 

 

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

Mark: Well, I usually start with an idea that evolves over time. In Grave Robber’s case, I wrote the original script about three to four years ago, but the character/story evolution took about six months before that. I like to give every character a complete backstory from birth all the way to the beginning of the story. Even minor characters you might not expect. It sounds like overkill, but I think that character needs purpose and motivation. It’s easy to just say, “Big Dick Murphy wants to fight Richart because he wants the bounty,” but at the end of the day, anyone can do that. Why does he, specifically, need to be here? Even if the reader doesn’t see it right away, it matters. And I try to flesh that out as thoroughly as I can. The hope being that it lays a solid, consistent foundation for the future of these characters.

In regards to putting this book together with Passion4Drawing, it was a ton of fun. He’s been awesome to work with. We sat down with my script and he drew really quick layouts for every page. It reminded me a lot of storyboarding for movies. You know how they sketch out a scene really quick to get a visual idea of what it’ll look like? It was kind of like that. It gave both of us a great idea of how the book was going to turn out. It’s been amazing and I can’t wait to work with him again!

 

 

Chris: Is this your first crowdfund? What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?

Mark: Yeah, it’s the first crowdfund that I’ve ever done. I’ve learned that you honestly get what you put into it. It’s not at all easy to make a comic book already, but making a successful one is all about self-marketing and getting the word out as much as you can. You have to be excited about your book, because if you’re not, then why should anyone else be? Hard work and a great attitude absolutely pays off in the end. At the end of my last 30 days, it was looking like I wasn’t going to be able to fund, but then things turned around and now I’m over that goal!

 

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

Mark: I love these characters and I have a ton of stories to tell beyond “Welcome to Hell Hole!” There are actually characters that appear in this first book, some for just a single panel, that have a future in some major comics down the road! I’m also about half of the way through a novel that I’m working on, as well as a comic that’s separate from Grave Robbers, but my main focus is getting Grave Robbers into readers’ hands!

 

Grave Robbers Trailer

 

Chris: Thanks for chatting with us, Mark The book looks great.

Mark: Thank you so much! And thank you for the interview! I’m a big fan of Bleeding Fool!

 

Check out the Grave Robbers campaign here!

 

 

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Red Eyes 2
by David Feed

Check out the campaign here!

 

Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Red Eyes 2: Obsidian Fire – briefly tell our readers the pitch.

David Feed: It’s the Dirty Dozen if it was published by Heavy Metal Magazine. For those too young for the reference; it’s a dark fantasy saga about a group of insurgents on a desperate mission to save their land from overpowered hunters that capture innocent civilians for slave labor or canon fodder.

 

 

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?

DF: I’ve been working on this story since Junior High, it was my take on popular mangas and comics of the time. It has evolved into a book, a game idea and finally with the advent of crowdfunding comics, it’s become a comic.

 

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

DF: Comic fans that like European fantasy comics like The Metabarons, The Chronicles of the Black Moon and maybe Lanfeust des Étoiles. For American readers I could imagine if you liked Planetary, you will like Red Eyes.

 

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?

DF: My main inker is Christian Culicelli, a published Italian illustrator, he introduced me to a couple of his friends. Laura Mondelli helped with the flats (she also colored our first monster manual). Alessia Sagnotti is our colorist and works for a game company in Italy. Andrea Guardino is a star Italian illustrator and he is our cover man. Finally my mom is my editor, like Gny. Sgt. Hartman (Full Metal Jacket) would say she is hard but she is fair.

 

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

DF: I wrote a book, the book is a guide for the first story arc. Then I draw one page with the important points of a single 48+ page issue. Then I draw sketches of all the pages. My inker does the inks and then I start lettering them. Meanwhile the colorists do their work and I implement everything together in a layout program (inDesign). My editor checks the process but is most active by the end when lettering is almost finished.

 

 

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

DF: A lot about printing, I printed the book on my own dozens of time and I learned about layouts for printers. I also learned A LOT of people with twitter and youtube that wanted to help and promote.

 

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

DF: My main objective is to tell a premise and demonstrate it, about higher values that lead to success or becoming a better person. My plans for the future is to start the campaign for Red Eyes 3 in August after fulfilling Red Eyes 2.

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

DF: Thank you and likewise, lots of success with your endeavors.

 

Check out the Red Eyes 2 campaign here!

 

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Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury v1
by John Hervey

Please checkout the campaign site here.

 

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

John Hervey: I would love to. BLACK TIGER: HIDDEN DRAGON Vol 1 is the sequel to our first graphic novel, BLACK TIGER: LEGACY OF FURY. In this newest installation in the BLACK TIGER saga, Assistant Defense Attorney Jenn Fong must balance her career and personal life with her blossoming power and responsibilities as Black Tiger. In order to save the city of Los Santos and restore the disgraced names of both the Fong family and the Black Tiger, Jenn must go farther, dig deeper, and face her enemies with more bone-crushing kung-fu than ever before!

 

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?

JH: The idea is a culmination of things that I loved growing up as a kid, and still love today – comic books, Hong Kong Martial Arts, crime dramas, and American gangster movies. The idea initially developed as the latest in a line of martial arts superheroes with a rich history. This particular hero is in a city at war between rival gangs and the uprising meta-humans, who are tired of being second class citizens.

In 2002, my wife, Priscilla, and I formed Beyond Time to publish this and other comic book stories that I had been writing over the years. We produced and self-published BLACK TIGER: LEGACY OF FURY in 2004. Printing comic books at that time was very costly, and distribution was not favorable for independent comic book creators, so we slowly continued to produce content as we looked at ways we may be able to better get our content out to readers. Years later, crowdfunding has provided that avenue. We initially utilized crowdfunding for a short film we produced BLACK TIGER: HUNTER HUNTED in 2014. Then, we saw that there were independent comic book creators using this platform as well.

 

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

JH: This book has bone-crushing kung fu, meta-humans, mech and a storyline for the ages. Anyone that enjoys beautiful sequential art, well-crafted stories and environments, a good adventure story, high-paced action, and character development will love this 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?

JH: I am the writer and creator of the series. I was first published in 1995 as co-writer of Motown Machinework’s Troubleman, which was a three-issue mini-series published by Image. BLACK TIGER: HIDDEN DRAGON Vol 1 features vibrant art with pencils by Rod “Super” Luper (Star Wars: Outlander), covers by Valerio Giangordano (Savage Avengers) & Eduardo Ramirez Viera (Jinnrise), colors by Vincius Townsend (G.I. Joe) & Beezzz Studios, and letters by Marco Della Verde (Achille’s Inc).

 

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

JH: Once I have built out the elements necessary to tell the story – worldbuilding, character development, plotting the story and determining the beats – I like to dive headfirst into full scripting. This helps me solidify the various intricacies of the story and world and make adjustments as necessary. I give the artist a complete script, not that it’s set in stone, but because that way the artist can see exactly where I’m coming from. With that, the artist can take my vision and develop a definitive path to potentially take what I’ve conceptualized to the next level, be it through development, layout or re-imagining. It’s akin to me providing writing and direction for a film and the artist being the cinematographer. With the high caliber of artists that I’ve been blessed to work with, I find this most efficient and satisfying.

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

JH: It is key to be an active part of the independent comic book crowdfunding community; I back a lot of projects and am impressed by how high the quality has become. This is night and day compared to the traditional comic book distribution model, in which independent comic book publishers got lost in the Diamond Previews limiting access and widespread distribution. Crowdfunding platforms have opened up greater possibilities giving creators direct access to their readers. Coverage from groups like Bleeding Fool and social media connectivity, be it through YouTube and interacting in comic book communities, are key to success.

 

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

JH: From a young age, I was always captivated by comics books. At its best, comics combine great writing with beautiful art; the reader gets to participate as the characters and situations come to life in his/her mind. Comic books are my favorite form of entertainment, and I wasn’t to tell stories that entertain and intrigue readers. With that, we have comics that are currently available on our Web reader at www.beyondtimecomics.com. THE POSSE: FUGITIVES and THE ORPHANS: FAMILY are both series that we have yet to launch crowdfunding campaigns for. Our strategy is to have all comic books produced prior to launching crowdfunding campaigns to bring the books in print, mitigating the risk for Backers. BLACK TIGER: HIDDEN DRAGON Vol 1 is the third graphic novel we are delivering with this method; the approach has been well received by Backers.

 

BLACK TIGER: HIDDEN DRAGON Vol 1 Mailing List Video

 

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

JH: Thank you, Chris, I greatly appreciate your time!

 

Please checkout the Black Tiger: Legacy of Fury campaign 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!

 

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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