Indie Comics Showcase #142: Emnity, Titan Mouse of Might & Ned Lord of the Pit

 

 

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!

Enmity
by Morgan Quaid

 

Check out the campaign for Emnity here!

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Chris Braly: Tell our readers about your comic project Emnity  – Briefly give our readers the pitch.

Morgan Quaid: A young woman travels a post-apocalyptic wasteland, trying to track down her deadbeat father, who happens to be Lucifer. Enmity is a post-apocalyptic adventure where angelic forces collide and a father and daughter attempt to reconcile while the cosmos burns around them.

 

 

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

MQ: I love the idea of taking a well-known cultural figure, like the Devil, and doing something different and unexpected with it. Years ago I was studying Biblical Hebrew literature and I spent a bunch of time looking at the book of Job. I was intrigued about how the devil character was portrayed in Job as “The Adversary” rather than like popular notions of the red-skinned, pitchfork wielding Devil that we see these days. At that time I was in a job I didn’t much like and I thought, man, what if the Devil just suddenly quit his job? What would be the cosmic consequences if he just stopped doing his thing? Viewing Lucifer more as an Adversary (someone who works for God and who’s job is to balance good with evil) I started playing with this idea and ended up with the resulting apocalypse.

 

The more personal result of Lucifer’s refusal to do his job is that he has a child, and that’s where the heart of the story really comes in. Who doesn’t love the idea of a sixteen-year-old girl walking around the post-apocalyptic wasteland with a makeshift spear which has a dead crow strapped to it? Add to that the larger cosmic drama of a universe starting to fall apart at the seams because one guy (albeit Lucifer) refuses to do his job, and you’ve got the makings of a great story.

As to using Kickstarter to launch the idea; I’d run a couple of smaller campaigns in the past and wanted to start growing an audience, so this seems like a nice way to do that. Plus it gave me an excuse to get a whole lot of extra artwork, music and bonus stuff done. Talk about a great excuse to get a bunch more artwork done!

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

MQ: Fans of more serious post-apocalyptic comics like East of West, but also those who like the quirkier series’ like Chew, Rumble and titles like that. There’s enough drama and world-building in Enmity to keep diehard fantasy and sci-fi fans happy, but it’s also a quick, easy read with a lot of fun and action. My hope is that readers will read through the comic at a nice, even pace, but that the characters of Daisy and Lucifer will grab their attention and the underlying philosophical ideas will linger after they’ve finished reading.

 

 

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?

MQ: So, I’ve worked with the guys from Frunz Studio for the storyboarding and artwork. First time I’ve worked with an all-inclusive studio and they’ve been great. They really took a lot of the worry out of the build process and had great suggestions to improve the finished product. I’ve also brought in a couple of other artists I’m working with on other projects, Willi Roberts and Moises May. They’ve both done variant covers for the project, and I really love their art styles; so good. Francesca D’Aniello also helped with colours and I hired several additional freelance indie artists to do stand alone artwork for the project.

For the campaign, I also got some help from a friend who runs an illustration studio called Doodles by Donut, for one of the stretch rewards which features a pug dressed up Mad Max style (Pug of the Apocalypse). My own music studio (Vanilla Groove Studios) produced a soundtrack to go along with the project and I also brought in Kathy B, a voice over artist to help out with the video work.

 

 

 

 

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

MQ: I usually start with a central premise (e.g. what if the devil stopped doing his job), then I tease that out into a one issue script. Once I’ve got that I work through the rough arc of the larger story (5 issues in this case) and start talking to the artist(s).

In this case, working with Frunz Studio, I was able to send over the script and they came back with proposed storyboards, then we moved on to page by page sketches, inks and final pages.

We go page by page and make slight changes as we go. I also do the lettering as each page comes through to see how it’s all going to work together and determine if I need to change dialogue, or imagery to fit the completed page better. I usually have music in the background while I’m working, and in this case that music was mostly what’s in the soundtrack.

Once the first issue was well underway, then I got in touch with the other artists and started building out the resources for the Kickstarter campaign and then the business side of things (yuk) starts to kick in.

 

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

MQ: From a creative side, I’ve loved this process from start to finish. The only real stress that comes up is around funding because I pay artists ahead of the crowdfunding campaign, which means I have to prioritise funds and manage everything as a business, rather than just a fun creative enterprise.

I honestly love seeing something I’ve written start to come to life. I love the surprises that come up when an artist interprets something a little differently to me, and the resulting changes to the overall story etc. This is why I create comics, to see ideas and stories come to life!

On the campaign front, I’ve learnt that, if you’re in Australia, make sure you use a US based printer as well as a local printer. Learnt that the hard way on my first campaign (printing in the US, posting to Australia, then posting out again, largely to the US). Things have gone much more smoothly since I sorted that out.
Promotion has been my big learning curve. Appearing in podcasts, sending the comic to reviewers, bugging friends and family to spread the word; like a lot of creators, none of that comes naturally to me. I’m learning how to do it in a way that doesn’t destroy my soul or alienate friends etc. but it’s definitely a work in progress.

 

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

MQ: Really this is a story I’ve been wanting to explore for years. There’s also an element of catharsis in the process, as I came out of a very religious family, studied theology for years and still owe a lot of my psychological makeup to both the positive and negative influences in that environment. However much my views might have changed over the years, the love of the early biblical stories (particularly read in Hebrew) has stuck with me and Enmity, to some degree, has come out of that love of early Hebrew literature.

The main story arc will be 5 issues, but I’m also building out a side story featuring the crow who appears in the first few pages (there’s more there than just picking at worms and squawking!). The aim is to have a graphic novel at the end of the process with a bunch of additional artwork, music and some side stories too (both written stories and comics). After that, we’ll see how it goes.

Apart from Enmity though, I’m launching 2 or 3 more comic projects in Kickstarter over the next year as well as a few projects with larger publishers! The plan is to have a nice body of work, so that backers have confidence in what they’re supporting and also they can really get their money’s worth in terms of quality content.

 

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

MQ: Thanks so much for the opportunity!

Check out the campaign for Emnity here!

 

 

 

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TITAN Mouse of Might
How The Mighty Have Fallen!

by Gary Shipman

Please visit the Titan Mouse of Might campaign here.

 

John Lemus: Thanks for joining me on Indie Comics Showcase, Gary. It’s great to be able to discuss your latest Titan Mouse of Might project with you!

Gary Shipman: Thank you John. It’s my pleasure.

 

John: Before we get started, could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Gary: Sure, I am a self taught professional artist. I have been nominated for Eisner, Harvey, and Russ Manning Awards for my work on the comic book series Pakkins’ Land. I have worked with and or been published through Alias Comics, Caliber Press, Cider Mill Press, Disney Publishing, Image Comics, and Zondervan. And have been exploring different styles of art for more than 30 years with no formal art training. I do live drawings on my YouTube channel. I’m married to my dear wife Rhoda. We have 3 great children.

 

 

John: Wow! How did you first get into comics? First as a reader, then professionally?

Gary: I saw some comics and I thought they were cool, Right then and there I was hooked. The first comic I can remember getting at a convenient store was one that had Black Panther in it, I don’t know if it was a Black Panther comic or he was featured in another comic. But it was cool. The next comic that I remember buying was an Avengers comic with Thor (in his human form) as a doctor trying to revive the dead Avengers. It was amazing. By far the most impact was X-Men, it is what made me think for the first time “I am going to be a comic book artist.”.

My first comic book work was on an indie title called Edge from SilverWolf Comics back in the 80’s.

 

 

John: Nice. What do you think is most important when working on a comic?

Gary: For me it is having the desire, if I don’t have that I don’t know.

 

John: Are there any comic creators who have inspired or influenced you, if so, how?

Gary: Yes. Totally. John Byrne, Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Bill Watterson, Glen Keane, Jack Hamm, Arthur Adams, Tim Sale, Mike Mignola, Paul Smith, John Romita Jr., Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Bill Sienkiewicz, Neal Adams, Dave Cockrum, Sergio Aragonés, Mike Grill, George Pérez, Alex Ross, Joe Sinnott, Bernie Wrightson…etc.

They were my teachers, I studied their styles. I would watch them draw when I saw them at Comic Con’s, they inspire me even today.

 

John: Let’s get back to the book. Without giving anything away, tell us a bit about How The Mighty Have Fallen!

Gary: Pure awesomeness. Just kidding. Titan is an extraordinary mouse that has been endowed with powers beyond that of a normal mouse. He has taken on the appearance of a Dark Flyer, the mortal enemy of his kind. Titan is originally from another world were the animals are intelligent (see the Pakkins’ Land Omnibus). After triggering an explosion in his world Titan is transported to the world of man. Titan sets out on a rescue mission to save others of his kind from the evil Ryan Research Center (RRC)…And that is only volume 1 of 3.

 

 

John: Tell us the genesis for the story and characters?

Gary: From the beginning of the Pakkins’ Land saga I have had several story ideas. The first idea was going to be called “the Banana Famine” another was “Paul’s Adventure”, “Quest for Kings”, “Forgotten Dreams” and “Mouse of Might”. The latter is now a 3 parter. Volume 1 is “Titan Mouse of Might”. Volume 2 is “Titan Mouse of Might – How the Mighty Have Fallen”. Volume 3 will be “Titan Mouse of Might – Worlds Collide”. 

 

John: Pakkins’ Land was excellent. What do you want your readers to take away from this tale? And what are your hopes for its future?

Gary: It would be great if the story and art could speak something of value, something that would make the reader feel just a little better from reading it. The future is volume 3 and beyond.

John: You have a unique style too, Gary. Can you tell me about how you developed your creative process?

Gary: My style development is a combination of two things.  All the comics and animation influences I have had from my youth all balled into one. And the necessity to pay the bills. So I had to learn how to draw fast. 

 

John: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?

Gary: Be inspired. Inspire others. Whatever your hand finds to do…do it with all of your heart. Check out more on Facebook, Instagram, or the website at garyshipmanart.com!

 

John: Once again, Gary, I would like to say thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase. We wish you the best of luck with (How The Mighty Have Fallen!) and all future projects.

Gary: You are very welcome. Thank you for having me. I wish you all the best.

 

Coloring Book Fun with Titan Mouse of Might

Please visit the Titan Mouse of Might campaign here.

 

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NED, Lord of the Pit

By Jim Calafiore

 

Visit the campaign page for NED, Lord of the Pit here.

 

 

John: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Jim. Thanks for joining me to discuss your latest indie comic project!

Jim: Thanks for inviting me. I love talking comics.

 

John: Before we get started, could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Jim: I’m Jim Calafiore, and I’ve been working for over 30 years in the industry for both the big publishers and independents, and have published my own creator owned books. I’ve worked on Aquaman, Deadpool, various Bat-books, Secret Six, and LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS with Gail Simone, my first self-published book.

 

 

John: Wow! How did you first get hooked on comics?

Jim: Like most people, I started reading them as a kid. There were always books around, the usual kids books. Archie, Superman, etc. They were usually bought by my parents for me, or my friends had them lying around. I can’t explain how we get hooked on them for life as opposed to other people who can take or leave them. I was just wired to love them. The first book I ever bought for myself was HULK 127, and I was off down the serious comics-fan road.

 

 

John: How did you then break into the comics business?

Jim: It’s something I always wanted to do, but had no idea how to get in. No one I knew was into comics. I didn’t get to many cons back then. I got into the business in a sort of odd way. There used to be a free rag, COMIC SHOP NEWS, that was available at comic shops that I would pick up with my monthly books. In the back, there were ads. And there was one for a new publisher looking for artists. This was before the internet or e-mail, or at least before it was ubiquitous. I sent off some samples by snail-mail. A few weeks later, I got back the letter that would change my life really. They liked my stuff and wanted to publish me. And then… the publisher folded. Fortunately, he handed off my samples to Gary Reed, the publisher of CALIBER PRESS. This was back when there was what seemed like more open independent market. There were many distributors, and some that focused just on indies. Shops didn’t get this one huge catalog to look at where their budget was almost gone once they got through the listings of the big 2 (or 3). (There weren’t many self-publishers at the time; it wasn’t even something I was aware of.) I started working for Caliber Press right away. I made very little there, but I would’ve paid them to publish me. And I had creative freedom. A lot of great people came out of Caliber: Jim O’Barr, Guy Davis, Vince Locke, Brian Bendis, Mike Lark, Phil Hester.

 

 

John: Let’s jump into the story! Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about ‘NED, Lord of the Pit’?

Jim: It’s a supernatural-horror-comedy. A fish-out-of-water-right-into-Hell story. The main character, NED, is just an average young guy with enough problems already in his career and his love life. When he starts seeing demons wandering around the streets of New York, demons that no one else seems to see, things get really interesting. He comes to find out that his family is connected in a big way to the dark forces of Hell. And he’s connected… not in a good way. He’s dealing with demons of all sorts (parasitic demons; couch-potato demons; disconcertingly friendly demons), a zombie roommate, murderous angels, succubae, suspicious police detectives, new unexpected powers, and a seven-year-old’s birthday party. He wants none of this. He wants to get out of it. Unfortunately there are others who also want him out, permanently.

 

John: Sounds wild! How’d you come up with this story?

Jim: It started with a sort of mental exercise. “What person would be the worst person to be…” And as you can tell by the title, someone named NED should never be a Lord of the Pit. From there it was just figuring out who this guy was and how he would react to the situation; fleshing out the characters around him that would help propel the story.

 

 

John: Let’s get into your art style. What can you share about your creative process?

Jim: I can say there are two things that really shaped me creatively, both discovered about the same time as a teenager: the movie A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and HEAVY METAL magazine. If you can mash those together in your head, you’ll pretty much understand me. My writing style, no matter what the subject is definitely wrapped up in humor, and slightly warped. (Some tell me more than slightly.) As for my creative process, I don’t have any big philosophical epiphanies for that. Whether drawing or writing it’s the same. I star at point A and just work until I get to point Z, and trust my instincts along the way. I don’t over analyze it too much. I’m just making something I enjoy. Hopefully other people will too.

 

 

John: What do you think is most important when working on a comic?

Jim: This isn’t a sexy answer, but: Doing it. That simple. Sit down and work. Have work ethic and get it done. If you love doing it, why waste time. There’s nothing there if it’s not done.

 

John: What do you want your readers to take away from this comic? And what’s the future hold for this project?

Jim: That the book gets funded, and I can keep gong with it. I’ve a bunch of long term ideas for NED. After all these years, I’m back to doing my own stuff. Felt like I was on some long detour, and now I’m back on this road. That’s what’s great about crowd-funding, and people supporting your ideas. This is way more satisfying then work-for-hire. 

I want the readers to laugh and enjoy the ride. But NEDLoP is not a farce and I try to put a lot of real emotions and issues in there. Underneath the supernatural fireworks, it’s about family, and the differences between those we’re born into, and those we create around ourselves.

 

 

 

John: Where can people find you on Social Media?

Jim: I have a website, jimcalafiore.com   I’m on Facebook, and Instagram @jim_calafiore

 

John: Anything else you would like to share with our readers before we sign off?

Jim: Support the indie world, whether your a creator or a collector. It’s where the best stuff is. And of course, please check out NED, Lord of the Pit. It can only happen because of collectors. Check out everything on the crowd-funding sites. Some things won’t appeal to you, but I guarantee there’s plenty that will.

 

John: Agree 100%! Thank you for being a part of indie comics showcase, Jim. We wish you the best of luck with NED, Lord of the Pit and ny future projects.

Jim: Thanks for having me.

 

Visit the campaign page for NED, Lord of the Pit 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