Indie Comic Showcase #89 Lucent, Elysian Fields, Hybrid Sons of Gods

 

 

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, or 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, sharing or tweeting about these projects to your friends and followers is helpful too. 

 

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!

 

The Lucent
by Michael Brancroft

THE LUCENT is an ongoing fantasy series set in a world not too dissimilar from our own, but where nothing is as it seems. It’s a place where ancient shadow societies, hiding in plain sight, train a select few to tap into mysterious abilities, to fight secret wars for control of the future.

Check out the campaign page here!

 

 

Chris Braly: Thanks for joining us this week, Michael. Briefly tell our readers about The Lucent: Waking Dream.

 

Michael Bancroft:  WAKING DREAM is the first book in THE LUCENT series. In this volume, we meet ELLA FORSYTHE, a young woman who from the outside appears to be living an unremarkable life, except every night in her dreams, she’s visited by DAMON SPECTOR, an enigmatic young man who’s teaching her things she never thought possible. However when the barrier between dreams and reality begins to blur, she’s thrust into the middle of a conflict that turns everything she knows upside down.

THE LUCENT weaves mystery, suspense, super-powered action, and romance together in a world where our myths and legends come to life. If you enjoy stories that bend reality like The Matrix, and that re-imagine history like The Highlander, or games like Assassin’s Creed, then you should consider backing THE LUCENT.

 

CB: How did you come up with this idea – was it from a dream?

 

MB:  It might sound cliche, but yes, the premise for my story came directly from my dreams. Throughout my 20s, my sleep patterns were a bit crazy, and the end result of that was a series of pretty intense lucid dreams. It was in these dreams I began to realize that through practice and concentration, I could learn how to do certain things better, like fly, for example, or manipulate my surroundings. Over time, it got to the point where I could do pretty much anything I wanted. It really was like being Neo in The Matrix, and because the experience was such a big part of my life for such a long time, it never really left me. Even after my sleep patterns became more regular, and the lucid dreams became less and less frequent, I still found myself daydreaming of that experience. That’s really how The Lucent was born.

 

CB: Fascinating! Tell us a little more about the world of The Lucent

 

MB:  One of the most exciting elements to The Lucent for me is how it weaves real historical figures as well as many of the myths and legends we’re all familiar with directly into the story. Imagine a world like the one we know, but where ancient, secret societies, hiding in plain sight, have been pulling the strings for millennia. In this first book, we’ll only get a glimpse of all that, but as the story continues, and our protagonist steps deeper and deeper into this secret world, more and more of that mystery will be revealed. And like any good mystery, it ends with all the pieces of the puzzle that have been laid out along the way finally snapping into place in meaningful and unexpected ways.  Ultimately though, I’d call it a morality tale, with themes of individuality, freedom and authority at its core. When readers do finally turn the last page of The Lucent, on top of feeling entertained and fulfilled, I’d like them to be left pondering things like what really matters in life, and is our society actually set up to value and promote those things.

 

 

 

CB: Tell us about any previous comic work you’ve done and how you’ve brought your experience to this project and it all you came together.

 

MB:  People are often surprised that The Lucent is my first comic work. I take that as a compliment. In reality though, I’m just a guy who’s been drawing his whole life, and I have a decent history of selling my artwork commercially. Specifically, I’ve had some pretty good success with designing and selling t-shirts. I also self-published a skate magazine for a couple of years back in my late 20s, so I’m definitely bringing my graphic design and press skills to the equation. Back to comics though, compiling all of these skills together in order to turn this dream into a reality required close to a decade of on and off study, not to mention copious amounts of trial and error, and I’m still going through that process to this day.

 

 

CB: Do you have a creative team or any other creators contributing to this book?

 

MB:  I’m one of those crazy people who think they can make a fully realized comic book all by himself. So the only team is me and my very understanding family (who graciously put up with my insane work hours). First I write it, then I plot out the pages, then ink, colour and finally letter it. Doing it that way really keeps the cost down I can tell you!

 

 

CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding that you’ve learned?

 

MB:  The biggest piece of advice I can give is to check out Comicsgate if you haven’t already. As far as crowdfunding comic books, no one’s doing it better. Or at the very least, learn from CG’s successes and failures. Through sheer trial and error, mixed with the most enthusiastic base of buying readers out there, we’ve learned that crowdfunding is more about promotion and marketing than it is about just making an awesome book.

 

 

Start networking and building that buzz right now! Make genuine connections with potential fans and fellow creators. For me, my own Youtube channel has been my primary method of convincing potential readers to invest in my project, with appearing on other Youtube channels coming in a close second. Backers have to trust that you’re going to come through on what you’re promising, so be as transparent as possible whenever you’re out there promoting your book. Also having a lot of it already completed BEFORE you launch your campaign helps too, especially for first timers.

 

CB: What are you learning through this process of crowdfunding and creating?

 

MB:  People warned me beforehand that the moment you hit the GO LIVE button, your whole life is going to change. I thought they were just being hyperbolic. How wrong I was. I imagine that crowdfunding is a lot like being a politician campaigning for an election. It just kind of takes over your life. You’ve really got to be out there on social media every day, posting updates, live-streaming, interacting with fans and potential potential backers. It’s a real battle to keep yourself and your project in front of people’s eyes.

 

 

That’s been the biggest challenge for me, because I usually operate on a pretty strict daily schedule of drawing, but while all this is going on, there’s just not much time left for doing the actual work of putting the book together. I just have to continuously remind myself that the campaign is only 60 days, and all the work in the world won’t amount to much if no one knows you’re doing it. Thankfully though, I’ve learned that I love live-streaming. I love hanging out with really cool people in that setting. Every day I’m making new friends, new connections, and when the stars align, finding new backers. 

 

CB: What else do you want our readers to know about the campaign?

 

MB:  I’m a big proponent of under promising and over delivering, so any backer of The Lucent: Waking Dream should expect to be pleasantly surprised when their book arrives. I’ve already unlocked a free 8.25”x11.5” full-colour glossy print for every backer, and I have more stretch goals planned for the second month of this campaign. I truly believe I have a very special story to tell with this book and the books still to come, so building excitement for all that as well as trust from existing and potential backers is my number one focus right now. I can’t wait to share The Lucent with all of you!

 

THE LUCENT: Waking Dream Official Trailer

 

CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Michael! Good luck!

MB:  Thank you so much Chris, it’s so cool you’ve given me this opportunity to pitch my book to your readers, I’m truly humbled. 

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

 

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Elysian Fields
by Michael Oden

 
Achilles fought with a fiery rage for glory during his short life when he arrived in the underworld and reunited with his beloved comrade Patroclus, he thought he could finally spend eternity enjoying the things he missed out on in life. This was not the case, after a momentary reunion the Best of the Greeks was ferried away to an amphitheater where he was to fight alongside other heroes of his world: Herakles and Theseus, for the God Hades to regain his dominion over the underworld. With the world’s pantheons expanding, and past pantheons crumbling, Hades is willing to grant Achilles his greatest desire.
 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase, Michael. Tell our readers your ‘elevator pitch’ for your project Elysian Fields

 

Michael Oden:  It tells the story of Achilles in life, in death he was finally free until a mysterious calling took him from his peace and he is forced to fight as a champion for Hades in a tournament that crowns the ruler of the underworld every thousand years. The story focuses on this tournament between all the pantheons in the world to crown their respective “God of Death” as the ruler of the Underworld. Each pantheon is represented by a team of heroes and/ or monsters to fight on their behalf. Achilles is ripped from his reunion with his beloved comrade Patroclus to fight in this tournament, and in return, he will be granted his greatest desire

 

 

CB: How did you come up with this creative idea?

 

MO:  Mythology has always been a massive part of my life. When I was growing up my dad would read me this beautifully illustrated, kid’s edition of The Iliad and the Odyssey, and I was obsessed with the Iliad. I was obsessed with Achilles. When I would play with my friends I would be trying to recreate my favorite parts of the book playing my favorite hero.

 

In middle school and high school is where this concept really started to come into fruition though. Being the nerd I am, I became very involved in my Latin class and participated in Latin Certamins (competitions where you and your classmates would participate against other schools to showcase your knowledge of Greco Roman history and myth, and Latin grammar), and so I bonded with a bunch of similarly minded kids and we would get into small little debates and conversations about which characters from myth would win against each other in a fight. This carried on through High School and as my knowledge of other myths and stories expanded, so to did this idea in the back of my mind. However, I always had an issue figuring out a way to weave it together in a cohesive narrative, and then there was Fate.

 

 

About 2 or 3 years ago I was hanging out with one of my best friends, Will, who was one of the chief people I would have these debates with, and he told me about an anime called Fate/Zero. This show had mages summoning heroic spirits of old to fight for the acquisition of an omnipotent wish-granting device called a Holy Grail. Seeing figures like Gilgamesh, Arthur, and Iskandar (the Persian name for Alexander the Great) clash was like reliving these fun little conversations that forged a good deal of my friendships growing up, but more importantly, it provided a way for it to work: a tournament. So the wheels started to turn in my head about how to make the concept my own. Then after hitting a set back on a pitch for an animated series of The Shadow to Conde Naste, I was talking to a buddy of mine and I started to actually flush out the concept, and everything came into place. I started writing my plot outline and script the very next day

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

MO:  Oh man, honestly so much. This is my first book and as a result, it has been nonstop learning since day one. It’s hard to pin down all of what I have learned but I will say the most important things are things like making sure you have interior art of your book before you launch, build up hype before you launch, and set your flex goal for something you can easily attain that covers most if not all of your base costs. Hitting In Demand on IndieGoGo is far more important than a maximized profit margin of a campaign as it gives you a chance to have your campaign run for as long as you want. 

 

CB: Tell us about any previous comic work you’ve done and how you’ve brought your experience to this project and it all you came together.

MO:  As I said this is the first book that I have made, but I am no stranger to comics. For years I have been a freelance writer for several sites from Moviepilot, to Heroic Hollywood, and finally Up Your Geek where I currently write all sorts of content. My love of comics has been a driving factor in my life since I was a kid, so I have a lot to say about the subject and have done a lot of research on both the history and business side of the industry. 

 

CB: Tell us a bit about your creative team and what other creators that have contributed to this?

 

MO: So our creative team is a nice little triumvirate with me doing the writing, Marcelo Oliveira Costa doing ALL the art (pencils, inks, and colors), and Luke Stone (Hybrids: Sons of Gods) doing the lettering. Finding Marcelo was honestly the best luck I could have asked for. I had gotten this script together but the guy that I had initially picked up as my artist, while very talented, felt completely out of his element on the book and so I was taking a look at some freelance sites, and that’s where I found Marcelo. I reached out and between his page rate being super reasonable (I have paid for this all out of pocket) and his genuine enthusiasm about the project, I chose him as our artist and without him, Elysian Fields wouldn’t exist.

 

Then I hit another MASSIVE stroke of luck with Luke. I was getting started with the Indie community and Luke reached out to me and in no small way kind of took me under his wing. He linked me up with an AWESOME printer, Hero and Villain Design, and gave me all sorts of valuable advice, but more importantly, he became my letterer and agreed to help me get the book ready for publishing. All of what he did accelerated my production timeline from an October release to July. He has been invaluable as an industry veteran, having successfully funded 5 campaigns of his own.

 

 

As for other creators that have contributed to the project, it’s a long list. Jim O’Riley (Mongo Risen) provided a beautiful pinup that comes with any Deluxe physical tier of the book. Rob Andersin (Catdad and Supermom) and Varian Grant ( are both advocates of the Indie Comics Community as well as creators themselves and have each had me on their respective shows to promote my book. Other creators like Dave Brink (Perfect 10), Steven Kok (Terralympus), Scott Weldon (Harland Buck: Freesword), Marvin Wynn (The Edge), Alfred Paige (CHESS), and Ted Lehman (Door Kickers) have been super supportive in helping me not only promote the book but setting me up with interviews with several industry Youtubers and podcasts.

 

CB: What advice would you share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding that you’ve learned?

 

MO:  The biggest things are 1. promote your series a LOT before launch to ensure a boom at launch. It takes a lot of the stress off right away. 2. Set your goal for something that you can reasonably attain that’s as close to covering costs as you can. Don’t worry about hitting profits, worry about fully getting your campaign funded on the platform. On IGG this qualifies you for In-Demand which will give you an almost unlimited timeline to sell your book. 3. LISTEN! You are going to be approached by lots of people in the Industry with lots of advice about your book and campaign. Set aside your personal pride and listen to these people they have learned from their success and, arguably more important, their failures, listen to what they say because a lot of the ones who will reach out genuinely want you to succeed. 

 

 

CB: Tell us a little more about the story. Do you have an ending in mind? What do you hope readers will take away from this tale?

MO:  The core theme of this story in regards to Achilles is the conflict between the person we want to be vs the person we have been in the past. We see Achilles in this story as this person who regrets the life of glory he pursued. While it may have been momentary, he was reunited with Patroclus and was enjoying this life of peace with the person he loves. The promise Hades gives him allows for a chance that both he and Patroclus may live again together and he can have that chance to live a life free of war. However, as Achilles progresses in this tournament and faces these heroes from around the world, the hound of glory starts to turn its ugly head, and Achilles begins to struggle with what he wants at the end. I do have an ending in mind, and as for what I hope for people to take away from this, I am honestly not sure. I don’t want to say too much because it will spoil the direction the ending will take as it’s kind of an either-or scenario, but I also don’t want to push something that will make someone see my book only one way. The beauty of all this is going to see what each individual person takes away from that, and while I have certainly had my own takeaways writing this book, I don’t want those to influence another person’s view of the narrative. 

 

Elysian Fields on IndieGoGo

 

CB: What else can you share about the project or the campaign? And do you have any final words for our readers?

MO:  What I can say about the current campaign is we have recently added an original art perk tier, where you get the original art of Luke’s Enkidu drawing he did during our live stream. It comes with both a signed copy of Elysian Fields Zero Issue and the O’Riley Pinup. As for the future of this project, we are already at work on our next installment and that it is going to be a BIG upgrade going from a single issue story to a square-bound collection of 3-5 issues of main story with a side story focused on one of our side characters and we are also planning some ambitious variants done by some big names (cannot disclose until things are finalized). Thank you guys for all your support and I hope to be sending everyone their Secret Perk for supporting  Elysian Fields this week!

 

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

MO: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me! I am super grateful for the opportunity!

 

 

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

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Hybrids: The Sons of Gods
by Luke Stone

 

There are no magic hammers or vats of toxic chemicals that produce these heroes. Rather, the origin of our HYBRIDS can find it’s roots in several major religions. The book of Genesis talks about a monumental event in the 6th chapter when it recounts the “Sons of God” coming to Earth and finding the daughters of men to be attractive. These attractions lead to unholy unions that produce a human/angel HYBRID called the Nephilim.

Check out the campaign page here!

 

 

Chris Braly: Hellow Luke! Tell us about your crowdfunding project Hybrids: Sons of Gods. Briefly tell our readers what it’s about and give us some background on it.

 

Luke Stone:  It could be best described as Nephilim, Greek gods, and genetic experimentation. Like the “Book of Enoch” meets “Taken” in a fast paced action/adventure superhero book. Hybrids is an adventure story set around the advent of a new super human species.  It includes theories surrounding the biblical NEPHILIM and ANCIENT ALIENS set against a fast paced rescue attempt.  

This series will appeal to you if you like the following:

  • Superheroes
  • Obscure History
  • Greek Mythology
  • Nephilim
  • Conspiracy Theories
  • Religious Lore
  • Movies like “Taken”

 

 

CB: I like all that stuff! How did you come up with this creative idea?

LS:  I had a couple of friends who liked to talk about some obscure things from the Bible and history. We would often talk about Genesis chapter 6 and the nephilim. We noticed how these things overlapped with other theories like ancient aliens not actually being extraterrestrial. It all got this idea for a story spinning.  It became the basis for the world behind this story.  

 

 

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

LS:  I’ve grown along the way as a natural progression. You can see that from issue 1 to issue 5. I get in my art and my writing, but crowdfunding has helped me take a very complex world and introduce it quickly to new readers.  I’ve also learned that people support a creator as much as they do the creation. I hear people say, “I let my work speak for itself”. Well, I will also speak for my work! There are a lot of great projects out there. Not many people are gonna just help promote out of the goodness of their hearts. You have to believe in your project and let the world know about it. 

 

 

CB: How did this project come together? Do you have previous comics experience?

LS:  Hybrids 1-5 represents about 5 years of artistic effort. Previous to the first issue of this comic, I had three other published books under my belt. One that was entirely traditional, another was a blend of traditional and digital element, and then one that was entirely digital. I picked up techniques and for better along the way. In fact, issue 1 to issue 5 allows the readers to take that journey of progress with me. I also had an opportunity to work closely with other creators and learn from their experience.

 

 

CB: Who is your creative team?

 

LS: Chuck Pineau is my editor and basically just provided a proof read for the earlier issues. However, he has been highly involved with the newer stuff. In fact, the Saraphina #0 issue which is a dive into a new character you meet in issue 5, tells a raw story of mental health and he really helped me capture that.

 

Antonio Alvarez and Brian Dawson both helped by providing panel layouts for me starting on issue 2. I needed help producing faster as I was working on several titles at a time. They really helped me break out of some creative ruts and sped things up. Patrick Gama joined in issue 1 and has been with me the entire journey.  His colors have improved along with my art and he is as responsible for the look and feel of this world as I am. 

 

CB: Any advice you can share with other indie creators doing crowdfunding based on what you’ve learned?

 

LS:  Get advice from people who’ve run successful campaigns. Change the campaign often. You are allowed to make changes and make updates to the story or even change the video. Once you get good feedback, don’t save it for the next campaign. I had 9 days left on a Kickstarter and had already met my funding goal. I got some feedback that was really good about my video and decided to update the video to address the points made, and I wound up bringing in another $1k and increased the video watch through.  

 

Finally, hustle everyday. Don’t just sit there and expect people to find your work. You have to present it to them. 

 

 

CB: That’s good advice. Let’s jump back to the story before we wrap up. Since some of this has biblical influences, has your own personal faith informed the story in any way? What do you hope readers will take away from this tale?

 

LS:  Hybrids isn’t a “faith-based” story exactly. It is however written from my particular world view. The first priority is to entertain. My hope is also to give people an opportunity to talk about things like faith and see situations played out where Christians, atheists, and others can have respectful interactions and conversations.  I want to provide some examples of faith-led people that don’t fall into a the cheesy tropes so often found in material with a faith lean. In fact, Chuck Pineau really helps to keep that stuff authentic. He is an agnostic and really helps me gauge the scenes that include those elements for authenticity. 

 

 

Crowd Funding Teaser 2

 

CB: Excellent. Any final words for our readers?

 

LS:  This campaign marks the end of the first story arc. There are a few really exclusive items you can get. Later this year we will package everything with some extras for a trade release along side of a Hybrids RPG being developed by Nick Tockert. The collectibles and floppies are going to eventually be replaced by the trade and we will move into the new story arc “Love Lost” starting in the winter. We have huge plans to expand the universe and the characters themselves. 

I like to leave with this. Be good to each other and have fun! Allow comics to bring us together rather than tear us apart. Try and leave the wood pile a little higher than you found it! 

CB: A good word to end on. Thanks for chatting with us! Good luck and we are rooting for you!

LS: Thanks for giving me the chance to talk about my project!

 

Check out the campaign page here!

 

And that’s it for this installment! Support these indie comics!!!

 


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John Lemus

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