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!
by Łukasz Godlewski
Original Lovecraftian graphic novel set in northern Poland: inherited curse, primeval alien civilization, foul gods, art and… madness.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Painter – Briefly tell our readers the pitch.
Łukasz Godlewski: Painter is a story about Konrad Ostawsen, an artist on the verge of depression, who is drawn out of his stagnation by the news of an inheritance from his long-lost father. The discovery takes him into a different world presenting completely new challenges: secluded community, distant island with hidden ancient secrets…
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?
LG: About 10 years ago, I conducted comic book workshops in the Pracownia Komiksowa in Gdańsk [Poland]. During one of the classes, I asked my students to make a comic book about a mad painter. In a way, I planted the seed of an idea for my own comic book. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. After some time and a few other comic book projects, I made about 80 pages storyboard for this comic. It had to be sometime between 2015 and 2016. But life happened and I got back to it after a year. I consulted the story with my partner and she said that it isn’t good enough – thank you Unka ; ) So we talked about it, how it can be improved. And after a while I rewrote the story and started working on it. Why crowdfunding? I wanted to publish Painter. Polish comic book market is a niche. During the pandemic the publishers’ schedules went unknown. So if I’d want to work with a publisher I probably would have to wait, who knows how long. Then there was news that Kickstarter is opening itself for Eastern Europe. This was a sign ; ) The most interesting thing for me is that I can share my comic book with the whole world, not just Poland.
CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
LG: I am a fan of classic horror stories, weird fiction by authors like H.P. Lovecraft, W.H. Hodgson, or A. Blackwood. But I also like some good adventure flicks like Indiana Jones. Making this comic I wanted it to have that kind of vibe. So you can visit a small fishermen village, a secluded island which hides strange tribe and even stranger secrets and meet the father of the main protagonist who was a ship captain and an adventurer. And yes, it is a horror story – so there will be monsters ; )
CB: Do you remember your first exposure to Lovecraft? Or are you a more recent fan?
LG: Way back when I was a kid I was reading the Secret Service computer game magazine published in Poland. In a review of Alone in the dark editors of the magazine added a paragraph about inspirations and similar stuff in literature. And there he was, mysterious H.P. Lovecraft. It wasn’t easy to get his book in the 90’s in Poland. Finally I managed to get a few and I sunk into the world of weird fiction, non-Euclidean geometry and now I wait for the stars to shine right.
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? And tell us about the workflow.
LG: I had a full time job when I started working on the comic book. So I worked on it in my spare time. When I was finishing I asked Grzegorz Przybyś [Artist behind animatics for such games as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Might and Magic X. Cover artist for Batman and The Witcher comic books.] if he would be willing to make a commission cover art for me. And he said “yes”. Grzesiek worked with me before, he made the cover art for my earlier comic book about Joseph Conrad [Niesamowite opowieści Josepha Conrada/ The incredible stories of Joseph Conrad]. The title design is made by my partner in life, Unka Odya. She is also a comic book artist and graphic designer. She made Brom the comic book that was acclaimed the best comic book of 2019 in Poland according to the International Comic Books and Games Festival in Łódź [Poland].
The editor’s job fell into the hands of Kasia Kamieniarz from Słowobraz small publishing house in Poland. She also helps me with the campaign. Without her help I don’t know if I would manage to keep it going. Zvyrke – comic book artist and translator helps us with translating this book into English. And now when we reached the next stretch goal we will get the alternative cover art from the incredible Anna Helena Szymborska. She made a ton of cover art for comic books and music albums. Recently she was an illustrator for Nowa Fantastyka [New Fantastica – s-f & fantasy magazine] as well as Polish edition of Call of Cthulhu RPG. Check out the works of those artists. It will be really worth your time.
CB: What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
LG: I didn’t know that it takes so much time. There is a ton of work. We were preparing for it for a few months. It took a long time to create additional illustrations, postcards [from Paszczewo, my fishmen, or rather fishermen village ; ) ] and a bookmark for the reward tiers. I had a few original pages from my short comic book that I offered for rewards. The setup and design of the KS page took time too. When the campaign started I heard that stickers would be cool, so now we also have stickers with sea creatures. Now I’m trying to spread the word – which I think is crucial. If you have something cool and no one knows about it, then it’s all for nothing. So thank you very much for this opportunity to share my project with you.
CB: What are your plans beyond this book?
LG: For the Polish comic book market I think there are not many of those kinds of books – horror and adventure type. I always want to tell people from outside comic books that it isn’t just a medium for kids. This is one of the reasons that I make comics for more mature readers. I like to read such stories too of course. This idea was on my mind for many years so the main purpose of creating it was to get it out. Let it live, to check out if readers would like it or not and what can I learn from it. When the campaign ends, and all packages are sent, I’ll get back to my new story that I’m working on. It’s inspired by the works of Clive Barker and the ancient history of India. So far I have over 40 pages of comic book material. There is also an idea to get back to the world of Painter. But all of this takes time…
CB: Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
LG: Thank you again for this opportunity to share my comic with you.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.
VIKING WOLF Book 1
by Mark Poulton
Check out the campaign page here!
Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, Mark. Tell our readers about your latest crowdfund project, Viking Wolf.
Mark Poulton: Viking Wolf is a dark fantasy, horror series that at its core is a story of a father and his son. Prince Gunnar Rovewolf defends the Moonshire with the help of the Blood Hammer, a weapon powered by the blood of its enemies. When Gunnar’s father, King Rovewolf, is kidnapped he soon learns his father may not have been the man he believed him to be and must clean up his mess. Along the way, he uncovers the truth about the Blood Hammer’s origin.
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? Are you the one running the campaign?
MP: Viking Wolf’s roots start with one of my other creations, Graveyard Shift. Jon Malin and I have the series outlined out to Volume 12. Along the way, we will be introducing several new characters. For the most recent volume I wrote, I introduced over 30 new characters. During this Viking Wolf was a character I came up with. However, I thought he was too cool to be a supporting character and decided to keep him to myself and develop as a solo book later down the line. Around the same time, I was talking with a local artist, Matt Dalton. I commissioned him to design a Graveyard Shift t-shirt for my merch store ( www.graveyardshiftmerch.com ) and just fell in love with his artwork. I knew I needed to work with him on a book. After our meeting, I went home and wrote the script for Viking Wolf Book I and asked Matt to work on it with me. With Matt on board we recruited Renzo Rodriguez to help with the artwork and our team was set.
The decision to crowdfund it was an easy one based off the success with my other projects: Graveyard Shift, USAssassin and SeaDog. I am running this campaign and went all out to try to make this an event for the backers.
CB: I’m noticing you seem to have a lot of anthropomorphic wolves in some of your books… what kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most?
MP: I do have a lot of wolf and dog characters. In Graveyard Shift, there’s Van Helsing in Bram. USAssassin has Bazooka Dog. And SeaDog and Codename: Killswitch obviously has SeaDog. You don’t have to be a fan of anthropomorphic characters though to enjoy this book. I think it will appeal to fans of fantasy and horror comics, as well as straight forward superhero comics. My inspirations for this book are titles like Battle Chasers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Spawn and Mighty Thor.
CB: What is your purpose for telling this story?
MP: I think the main purpose of this story was exploring another genre. After the success of Graveyard Shfit, it would have been easy to make more Graveyard Shift books, but I try to make each of my projects unique. SeaDog is more lighthearted and fun. USAssassin is more nostalgic. For Viking Wolf I wanted to explore fantasy and horror. We’ll have plenty of time to explore too, as I have this mapped out at least to volume 3. I see it becoming a regular series though.
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?
MP: Matt Dalton and Renzo Rodriguez are the artists. Matt is my co-creator on Viking Wolf. He’s worked for Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics and Radical in the past mostly as an inker. This will be his first time to shine as an interior artist. Renzo is a beast! You may be familiar with his work from other crowdfunded projects like Impossible Stars and Thomas Valiant, or his many books he’s done at Zenescope. Our colorist is Dexter Weeks who I go way back. We both started our careers on the book Koni Waves back in 2006. Finally, our letterer is none other than Eric Weathers.
CB: What’s the workflow like? How do you like to work? How far along is the finished book?
MP: All of the art and colors for the book are done. The first 9 pages have been lettered. I like to get as much of the book done as possible before we launch, so the backers have less wait time on getting the completed product. Also, both Matt and I work day jobs so I feel more comfortable getting the book done before launch. You never know what real life issues can pop up and cause delays.
CB: What have you been learning from crowdfunding and creating through this process?
MP: The biggest thing I’ve learned in crowdfunding is trying to make this an event for backers. I did a livestream tailgate party before we launched Viking Wolf with the A’ht N Stuff Youtube show. I then launched live on Michael Bancroft’s channel. We had a promotion where the first 100 backers got a “Moral Compass” mini-figure and they went fast. My first backer will get something special too for being the first to back. I want to make this a special experience for everyone and am adding secret stretch goals that the backers won’t even know about until they get their packages.
CB: Any tips for first time crowdfunders? What are 1-2 big deals an indie creator like yourself try to remember or be alert to (printing tips, file prep, backer organization, etc)
MP: This is nothing you haven’t heard before but it’s so true. Create a Youtube channel and start to build an audience before you even launch. I wish I had started my channel a couple of years before I did. Also, get as much as possible done before you launch. I see a lot of first time crowdfunders having major delays and that isn’t going to lead to repeat business with their customers And remember, update your backers as much as possible. Don’t just share the successes with them, but share the setbacks. Be as transparent as possible.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us Mark! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
MP: Thanks so much! I appreciate the support!
Check out the Indiegogo campaign page for Viking Wolf here!
KNOX COUNTY COMICS #2
by Shannon Smith
Check out the Kickstarter page here!
John Lemus: Hey guys! Welcome and thanks for being a part of Indie Comics Showcase. Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Shannon Smith: Thanks for having us, I enjoy letting the word out about our comic book on Kickstarter. I’m not well known in the comic field, but in the last five years, I have worked on quite a few comics. Most of which, were with Antarctic Press. Some of the titles I’ve been involved with “ Exciting Comics, Frontier Graveyard, Mobster Graveyard, Crimson Scorpion-miniseries as well as, Leave on the Light with Bradly Golden.” Most of these I did color work on. Which brings me to my first written work in the comic field, called “Knox County”.
GeriLou: Thank you! I began my career as a graphic designer after graduating college in 2010, soon after that, I landed into the comic book field doing characters designs and creating comic book covers, which led me to becoming a colorist for many titles. Some of which are, Jungle Comics, Ninja High School, Exciting Comics, Leave on the Light, Rocky Johnson- comic adaptation, Frontier Graveyard, Mobster Graveyard, Thrilling Comics (also live on Kickstarter now), and “Knox County Comic” plus many more titles.
John: Tell me how you got into comics?
Shannon: Since an early age I have collected and enjoyed comics. I even would draw characters in my spare time. At this time I believed I wanted to be an artist in the comic field but I soon found out it was tough to break into the comic field at that time. Later in life, I decided to go back to college to get my degree in graphic design with the intention of getting into the comic field once again. I soon made connections through my friend David Furr and Ben Dunn to get some coloring work. After a couple of years I had the urge to create my one comics and comic characters which led me to the creation of, “Knox County”.
GeriLou: Following my husband’s dreams, LOL. I was or am, I guess, good at drawing and coloring. After doing a few comics for my husband’s friends and colleagues, I started getting a steady clientele in need of my coloring services.
John: Without giving spoilers away, what can you tell us about the Knox County Comics and how you created it?
Shannon: The idea for Knox County came from my youth of visiting family members in upper Nebraska. I was the first one in my family born in Texas, but my heritage derived from a small town called Niobrara in Knox County Nebraska. I decided I wanted to do a horror series of comics and I thought this would be the perfect setting for my story. Niobrara sits between the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers.
I enjoyed such movies as Halloween and Chain Saw Massacre which came out in the mid to late 70’s which is oddly enough the time period of my story. I decided to follow the formula of those movies to create the style of Knox County. So, I first created a villain to bring my characters together. In the fashion of the “Walking Dead” I decided to make the development of the characters a priority instead of focusing purely on the monsters. The teenagers in Knox County are the real stars of the series.
John: Can you tell us about your creative process a little?
Shannon: I always start with the idea which I usually get from dreams or random thoughts. Then I craft a setting for my characters and finally I develop a storyline usually beginning with a final outcome in mind.
GeriLou: I’m just the colorist 🙂 I COLOR! I can do many styles of coloring, for example Cel-shading, to anime, to very in depth realistic coloring.
John: What do you want your readers to take away from this comic?
Shannon: After you read Knox County #1, I want you to get a since of fighting back when you want to run. Our lead character had to make this decision to fight back or run and she decided to fight.
GeriLou: I would’ve RAN! lol
John: What are your hopes for the future?
Shannon: Knox County is an on going Adult Horror Adventure Comic which I intend to continue as long as the fans still want it. The characters will develop as the series continue. In the end, they will barely resemble the characters from the start of the series. Knox County’s first story arc will end at issue 4 but the future story arcs will continues past that.
John: Share with our readers some of the comics you first recall having an impact on you. And are there any comic creators who have inspired or influenced you, if so, how?
Shannon: The first comic I ever remember purchasing as a child was when I was five and it was, Tomb of Dracula #5. The series that most influenced me was the Claremont and Byrne run on the Uncanny X- men issues 108-143. Werewolf by Night has inspired my writing more than anything else. Marv Wolfman inspired me to become a better writer than I ever thought I could be.
GeriLou: I first enjoyed the series called, Gen 13 and was amazed by the works of Scott Campbell and Jim Lee. To this day they are still my favorites. The I found colorist Sabine Rich and knew we had similar talent.
John: What do you think is most important when working on a comic?
Shannon: Starting with great characters that people care about and engaging writing. I don’t like to say that the artist is secondary, but if you don’t have the other two, the art doesn’t matter.
GeriLou: To get paid! haha! But honestly, I really want the comic book fans to enjoy my work in the field.
John: Anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?
Shannon: Please check out our campaigns for both Knox County as well as Thrilling Comics and I want to thank all the supporters of our work in crowdfunding.
GeriLou: And please SHARE it with all your family and friends, and check out Shannon’s Youtube channel, he’ll have giveaways from time to time, and the crew likes to discuss all the comics they love. As for me, check out my Facebook page and Instagram! I do commissions from time to time and post whatever I’m working on there.
John: Thank you both for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck with Knox County Comic Thrilling Comics, and all future projects.
Shannon: Well thank you John it was a pleasure to be here and tell you about our little book series called Knox County.
GeriLou: Thank you for having us on your showcase. I hope you and everyone of your fans enjoy Knox County Comic and the talented people behind it!
Check out the Kickstarter page here!
That’s it for this installment! Support indie comics!!!
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