Indie Comics Showcase is our 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 money only pledge to the twenty dollar bundle, and of course the higher tiers are usually fun too! Even if you can’t back a campaign or buy a book, share or tweet a link to 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!
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome to Indie Comics Showcase! Tell us about your latest project, Kids & Monsters.
Adam Lawson: Troubled teens from the crumbling town of Lovelock get sucked into an ancient war between Monsters and Beasts that mirrors their parents’ looming divorce.
The teens begin to see cracks in the earth and soon discover two worlds, the one they know and the World Within. Red Beasts crawl out of the cracks and start to rip the two worlds apart, bringing misery to both.
The trio ventures into the World Within, seeking help and uncover MONSTERS who have sworn to protect the bond between the two worlds. The monsters live inside keeps, which to the others look like backpacks. Each Monster is a reflection of the teen who finds them. Some might find a monstrous alchemist and others a raging ogre. However, to find a monster, one must overcome weaknesses inside themselves.
Was that too much of an elevator pitch?
CB: It was perfect! Tell our readers how this project came about.
AL: Two years ago, I was playing an RPG game with my niece and nephew, and the story of the game evolved into a tale where teens found monsters in their backpacks that helped them fight a mystical war.
CB: What kind of comic fans do you expect this comic will entertain the most? Is it all-ages?
AL: It is all-ages regarding content, but it deals with some strong themes like divorce and its impact on the teenagers in the home. I think this would work for fans of Scales & Scoundrels, Bigfoot Bill, and Klaw.
CB: Let’s get into the creative and production side a little. Tell us a bit about the creatives that are contributing to this project?
AL: I do the layouts, lettering, and story. I draw my book as I write it and then send it to an artist with real skill. In this case, it is Maxi Dall’o, whose art I have followed for the last year. I wrote this book for him to draw it. I wouldn’t have done it if he had passed on it. He draws his characters with such strong emotion, and his monster designs are incredible. I brought on Mike Spicer of Murder Falcon and Extremity fame for colors. One of my favorites in the business. He transforms pages with his colors. They feel organic and hand-painted, which works really well with Maxi’s lines.
CB: How did you hook up with Maxi and Mike?
AL: I saw Maxi’s work on Twitter from “Jack Irons,” and I was immediately hooked. He reminded me of Daniel Warren Johnson (I think the best in the biz right now). From that moment on, I have kept trying to work with him. He did a short story for me before this, something I always do now before venturing into an entire book with a new artist, and his creative instincts and mine align. I have known Mike Spicer’s work for years as I am a big Daniel Warren Johnson fan, and Mike colors his books. I teamed him up with Maxi on the short and new then their styles of art were meant to be.
CB: You’ve got a proven crowdfunding track record. What have you been learning from crowdfunding over time?
AL: That printing overseas is awesome for price and quality, but brutal when it comes to delivery. That finding an artist who is truly passionate about the story is essential because the time commitment is so great they have to love it as much as you do.
CB: Insightful. Tell me about Gifted Rebels – why did you decide to start it and what is its role?
AL: Gifted Rebels is my publishing company and represents what happens after the campaign ends. I want to keep my books and board games in print and to be able to grow an audience beyond the first wave of hype with the campaign. My business partner and I have crafted a really epic Shopify store and have a fulfillment warehouse, so the machine can spin without us being hands-on. We have acquired our first book, HAMMER, from Kill Journal artist Jason Crager and plan to bring more into the family. Those who have launched campaigns, but don’t have a long-term strategy for their book. We will be very selective and interested in crafting games around indie titles too.
CB: What is your purpose for telling this particular story and what are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?
AL: I try to tell stories that have a beating heart, and this one is about being a kid in the middle of a divorce. Where you have no control over the outcome and your world is on the verge of destruction, and you don’t know if there is anything on the other side of it. I feel like it is a very real story for many of us, and indeed, all of us know someone who has been affected by divorce.
This is just volume 1 in the storyline and there will at least be one more book. There are MANY more stories to tell. I have three other graphic novels and two board games in various stages of production that will roll out after this.
CB: Thanks for chatting with us, Adam! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
AL: I really appreciate you taking the time. It is rad people like you that help make indie books possible
Check out the campaign here!
Check out the campaign here!
Chris Braly: Welcome back to Indie Comics Showcase, Casey! Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Quintara Stone: The Immortal Templar.
Casey Bowker: Quintara Stone: The Immortal Templar is Highlander meets Moon Knight as a female Knights Templar from The Crusades must battle demons throughout history.
Chris: Where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to you and Ray crowdfunding it?
Casey: Ray has had the idea for the comic since the 90s and never found a way to bring it to comic book form. He actually pitched me on the idea and I thought it was fantastic. We did some retooling of things, like changing the gender of Colin into Quintara and fleshed out the origins more but overall its Ray’s original story. We went to crowdfund the project because its a space where indie creators can really flourish and connect to fans around the globe.
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? How did you and Ray come to work together?
Casey: Ray and I are both from the Western NY area and knew a lot of the same creatives out this way. We got to chatting about our love for toys and comics and from there the discussions about The Immortal Templar came up. It just naturally progressed to collaboration and its been a great partnership along the way.
Chris: What kind of comic readers is this story geared towards. Who do you think this will entertain the most?
Casey: I think people who are a fans of franchises like The Last Guard, Batman, National Treasure and the CW’s ‘Arrow’ will enjoy the book. We do a lot of switching between Quinn’s past and present. So, if you like history, adventure, and some bloody demon violence then you’re going to be a fan!
Chris: You’ve got a couple of active campaigns going on right now. What are you learning from crowdfunding this process?
Casey: Its an emotional rollercoaster, but a fun one that I keep getting back on. Crowdfunding offers you an opportunity to connect with people you’d never be able to going to a con or just selling your comic in a store. Its great to get that feedback from someone on the other side of the globe and know you have an audience outside of just your friends and family.
Chris: Is this book a one and done? Or are there more stories to tell? What’s your future plans for Immortal Templar?
Casey: Ray and I have many more stories to tell with Quintara Stone. We’re going to chop the story up into 3 issues arcs so that readers can easily jump into the story without feeling too lost. We really hope people dig on her adventures throughout time and we’re happy to take them along for the ride!
Chris: Thanks for chatting with us again, Casey! Good luck and we are rooting for you!
Casey: Always appreciate you guys giving indie creators a space to showcase their projects. Thanks again for chatting with me.
Check out the campaign here!
Check out the campaign here.
Chris Braly: Tell our readers your elevator pitch for Only Death Can Save Us. Can you tell our readers the pitch and get them caught up on the story so far?
Russ Leach: Following on from the roller coaster events of the award winning first book, Dee and Chrissy return from their travels in the beyond. Only to encounter an even deeper cosmic secret, battle a resurgent evil and solve the mystery of millions of missing human souls!
CB: Congrats on the awards for Indy Volt’s Best Graphic Novel and Best Inker! Let’s go back to the beginning, Russ. Where did the idea for this comic come from, and what led to crowdfund it?
RL: It’s a continuation of the story from book one. Both books are deeply inspired by my love of all things “bronze age comics”. So, artistically there is a lot of stuff inspired by artists like Buscema, Kirby, Steranko, Ditko, Adams, Sinnott and Palmer. On top of that is the story, following in the foot steps of Marvel cosmic fantasy that you might have read in Lee’s Fantastic Four or Starlin’s sci-fi stories.
Crowdfunding was a no-brainer really. It’s very much an all-ages book that I wasn’t sure fitted into the current pigeon holing of modern comics publishing. That said, I have had some interest from different publishers now that it’s out there.
CB: Book one hit its goal pretty easily and you got the books out in great shape. Will you do things any differently with this campaign?
RL: I was very fortunate to get some solid advice from other creators about the crowdfunding aspect of the project. I am forever grateful for that help. Moving forward in book two I think it’s “more of the same”. Do the things that worked as well as possible – so communication, transparency and most importantly getting the book to backers in good order. The new challenge comes in both retaining backers from the first campaign and encouraging new backers for the second. To do this I’ve added rewards for “book one” backers and a “catchup tier” with both books for “new backers”. That first campaign was definitely trial by fire but I had great support!
CB: Let’s get into that production side a little. Tell us about your creative team.
RL: Rik Hoskin returns, but this time we are full on co-writers. We have a sort of “writers room” system where I have an idea of the complete arc of the story (books 1-3 and 4-6) we discuss it, I supply story beats and visual clues and then he writes the plot “Marvel Style”. Eric Weathers “king of lettering”, is on board and has already lettered the first third of the book. Matthew Seaborne is a very talented inker who has joined the team to do some of the backup “lore” pages. I’m also using several flatters this time as well to speed production.
CB: Did production on this book begin before fulfilment on the last one? What is your workflow with your team like?
RL: The story was being developed prior to fulfilment but no art. At present the workflow is pretty tight. I have intermediate deadlines set throughout the schedule for all aspects of production so I can keep abreast of where everything is at.
CB: I see new backers can get caught up and back for both books. What are your plans beyond this book? Are there more stories to tell?
RL: Response so far has been great and that’s really the driving aspect of any answer for me. If people like what I’m doing – I’ll make more! I have a story arc for the first 3 books, then a further set of three (books 4,5 and 6) and then I have an idea for how to open it up into a longer running series. But it really is all down to if I can entertain a big enough audience. It’s ALL about the readers and the fantastic support I receive from them!!
CB: Thanks for chatting with me again, Russ! Book one was great. Hope you continue to succeed!
RL: Thanks for the opportunity to talk about the book. Thanks also for backing book one, really glad you enjoyed it – there’s more of everything in the book 2!!
Check out the campaign here.
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!