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Patience, in all things | This is the truth behind webcomic creation


It was a few days after an uneventful brainstorming session with a mutual friend that I approached Colin with the concept of Folklore.

He said he liked the idea, so on July 31, 2012, I began writing what would be the plot for the very first issue. The exact time I started was around 11:58 PM, and the only reason I know that is because Google Docs are a godsend with timestamps.

On March 1, 2016, we uploaded our very first page of Folklore to Tapastic — a hub for webcomics that served as our main ‘website’ until a friend and supporter helped us create our own. Folklore’s first issue had actually gone live a month earlier but was only available on Patreon for people who wanted to support us. We didn’t know indie platforms for web distribution existed yet. Patreon just kind of seemed like an ok place to start.

On May 11, 2018, Folklore’s creators, Adam Ma (myself) and Colin Tan Wei, finally met face to face for the first time. Together we sold Folklore’s first volume at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. We have been on this journey for almost six years and had never once before been in the same room (let alone province) as each other. It was a thrilling experience.

This is the truth behind webcomic creation.

It’s a long story. People often ask for advice on making a comic, and it’s hard not to reflexively spout out a lot of the same stuff. If you want the condensed version:

Start working on it now.

Don’t stop working on it.

Get lots of critique and criticism.

Don’t be afraid to show off your work and market yourself.

Never give up.

I’d call this kind of advice ‘the easy stuff’. It’s time-honored because it’s true, and it works, and don’t get me wrong these points are super important. But you’ve probably heard it all before. It’s the kind of inspirational advice that can just as easily be delivered to you from the poster of a kitten hanging off a tree.

Colin and I have learned a lot over the past few years, but the most profound lessons have mostly come from making mistakes. There’s a lot we could impart from our failures. For this post I’d really like to just focus on one:

Being Patient

As an independent creator, you’re responsible for a lot of things, and it’s easy to grow impatient when you’re watching other indie creators flourish. You want to get in on the excitement of seeing a project completed — but it’s also very easy to be intimidated when you consider that a single artist often doesn’t simply update their comic.

As an independent creator, you’re responsible for more than just finding a proper platform for your work. Advertising your comic, planning merchandise, securing a table for cons, engaging your fans, regularly updating your crowdfunding sites (like Patreon or Kickstarter), and connecting with other creators all eat into time otherwise spent developing your actual comic. But these things are also essential to help grow your audience in the long run.



A writer and artist team (like us) can divide the work more evenly between two bodies, but this often comes with the perceived notion of needing to work faster as a result. A writer who has already completed their script can put a lot of pressure on an artist to complete their work just as quickly. Likewise, an illustrator may feel like they need to finish panels they don’t fully understand or agree with.

We solve this by constantly checking in with each other at every step of the creative process, as well as pushing release dates back if we need to.

Deadlines are self-imposed, and while it’s important to stick to them you should never feel obligated to place a release date over the quality of your work.

This isn’t the gaming industry after all. Our readers are our only investors, and we owe them the highest quality we can produce.

Few comics explode in growth overnight, however, those that find success often do so because of the obvious time and care that’s been invested in their creation. You may not be ready to share any part of your comic during the first year of its development. There may be elements of the world you’re unsure of or a character design that simply feels weak. It’s ok to take time to refine these things.

In fact, here’s a list of things you can (and should) work on before your comic is ready to be shown to the world:

Do you have a website, and will you be using mirror sites?

Are you comfortable with your character design, and are your characters easy to identify? How often do you want to release updates?

What happens if you get sick, or need a break? Do you have a buffer?

Do you have a goal planned for the year in terms of audience growth?

What social media networks can you use to draw some extra attention to your work? How often will you use them?

Delaying your comic’s release for a proper website, or so that you can have a release buffer may feel awful. There’s nothing worse than holding onto completed work you want to share. But if it means seeing your work properly grow and flourish, it’s a sacrifice you must be willing to make.

Of course, being patient also means knowing when to take a break.

Creating a comic is hard work, and it’s a fact that many indie creators can’t afford to work on their project full time. Myself included. Combined with the stress of a regular day job it can be difficult to juggle your paycheck and personal goals. When the stress of working on your comic starts to feel like a second job you may feel tempted to just push through it — but there’s a better solution.

Take a break. Step back.

via GIPHY

If you read comics regularly then you know better than anyone else how easy it is to tell when an artist or writer has been stretched too thin. Some may complain at the lack of updates, but at the end of the day, no one will enjoy a story that feels published at the expense of your creative health or wellbeing.

So go out there and plan your dream comic. Outline a plot, share the idea with friends and peers. Set your release schedule and figure out how you plan on interacting with readers. Make exhausting trips across the country to sell your work at a convention you’re not entirely sure will be a success.

But no matter what you do, just be patient. Your work will only flourish when you give it the time it deserves.

Featured: a couple of nerds (left, Colin Tan Wei, right, Adam Ma)

Adam Ma is the writer/creator of Folklore, a post-apocalyptic superhuman webcomic about monsters, responsibility, and the delicate balance of preserving fact from fiction.


You can support Folklore via their ComixCentral store here

Enjoy regular updates at http://folklorecomic.com/

Be sure to only follow Adam on Twitter if you enjoy Star Wars, peanut butter cups, and dogs. @4thGingerbread







 

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Crowdfunding Roundup – June, 2018



EPIC MISADVENTURES OF DEATHBAG: HOLIER THAN THOU EDITION

By Julio A. Guerra

Julio was one of the first indy comic book creators I met face to face and he set a pretty high bar for all those I would meet after him. He was humble, energetic, and eager to share knowledge about the world of indy publishing. Deathbag was his tentpole character and had stretched through 2 issues at the time when I met him. Now he’s onto his 4th issue which will be collected in this TPB. I even had the privilege to guest write a story for this edition.

PLOT :

“Deathbag is a grim reaper who deals with everyday human life such as going the movies, going to see his favorite heavy metal band, going grocery shopping, and more.”

WHAT THEY NEED :

As of now, Julio is about 30% there from a goal of $3k. He needs a boost to help him reach his goal.

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :

I think what drew me to Deathbag first was his design and I liked how he shared a lot of the same frustrations I did. The books are some fun, quick flip through that will get you a few quality chuckles.

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »


The Fist

By Jordan Kroeger

Hmmm… “The FIST, a comic series with 130+ pages of a guy punching people” Why not!

Besides the straightforward pitch, I admired how The FIST nailed an indy feel for a synthwave comic. The comic is full of pastel neon colors with some great combinations that splash off the page. It’s a comic that I want to hold in my hands while I blast Perturbator or Carpenter Brut through my headphones.

PLOT :

A man (who punches) and his wife (who’s a spaceship)are on the run from the EVIL SPACE ARMY. Over-the-top ridiculous fights ensue.

WHAT THEY NEED :

$3,600 and they’re about a third there. This will all go to collecting previous issues of The FIST

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :

Because it looks too much freakin’ fun! If you’re a fan of the art like I am, there are many rewards that feature prints and pin-ups from the comic.

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »


Electric Alice

By Amara

I really had to dig for this one and I’m glad I did. Amara’s art style is going to be beautiful for this SciFi retelling of Alice In Wonderland. This is also her first graphic novel that she’s done entirely by herself — so all the more reason to back this project.

PLOT :

Alice is curious, and she has always been curious. An ambitious but inexperienced pilot, she signs up for a solo flight into unexplored space, stubbornly ignoring repeated warnings by her peers of the dangers of her expedition. She successfully arrives just beyond the furthest known boundaries of the galaxy, only to be snared by the gravity of a massive black abyss. Terrible wonders await Alice on her journey. Follow her through the rabbit hole and find out for yourself.

WHAT THEY NEED :

$2,000, which is quite a modest goal for a graphic novel that will be printed. “Electric Alice will be a fully illustrated, perfect bound softcover graphic novel. The interior artwork will be created using traditional media, such as watercolor and ink, and hand-lettered.”

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :

If you weren’t sold by the art, Amara also teases that this isn’t the same Alice in Wonderland we’re used to, “You may meet some faces that seem familiar, but do not trust that you know their story, and be prepared for something completely alien.”

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »


Thank you for checking out the Crowdfunding Roundup – May 2018  |  by Anthony Cleveland



After decades of lurking the backroom of his beloved comic shop, Anthony Cleveland released his first comic Silver Skin issue #0 in 2017. He spends most of his time tweaking his upcoming projects, reading an unhealthy amount of horror shorts, and slaving away at his day jobs.

Twitter & IG @ant_cleveland







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THE FRONTERA: FLASH OF DAWN | CXC Featured Kickstarter

 

CXC Featured Kickstarter!

STAR CROSS COMICS PRESENTS THE FRONTERA: FLASH OF DAWN KICKSTARTER!

Star Cross Comics, publisher of The Last Dragoon, Propaganda Press, and the Spirits of Valor are proud to present the new sci-fi western comic series, FRONTERA: FLASH OF DAWN! Frontera exists in a time where we have freed ourselves from enslavement by an alien species and are now at the highest echelon in the Universe. We follow the exploits of a young woman, Makota, and her journey in that Universe.

Frontera: Flash of Dawn is written by A.J. Kinkade, pencils by Myk Emmshin, colors by Everardo Orozco, letters by Erek Foster, cover pencils by Carlos Gomez, and edits are by Laurie Foster. Frontera: Flash of Dawn is Part 1 of a total of 10 books, and will also have spin-offs for other characters in the Frontera-verse.

“I have been wanting to create something like this for years.” Kinkade says, “I love science fiction and comics. I could also definitely see this adapted into a Netflix or movie series.”

This will be Kinkade’s first comic writing credit, but he hopes that it will not be his last.

“I have always enjoyed comics, since I was a little kid. Kinkade says. “I remember seeing and reading the first one, an Iron Man comic; I bought it because he was fighting with the Hulk underwater on the cover. The TV series is why I became a comic fan.”

Kinkade points to movies such as 5th Element, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy and TV series such as LEXX and Babylon 5 as influences, as well as comics such as Starstruck, Grim Jack, and Howard Chaykin’s AMERICAN FLAGG! “I just love great sci-fi. Kinkade says.

Kinkade plans on spinning off Frontera: Flash of Dawn into other sci-fi comics, such as one about his devil-may-care, cooler-than-cool swashbuckling character, Fess Frontera, called “The Fearslayer”, and one about the cantankerous and unruly Hannibal Lockhaven, once Frontera has taken off.

Click here to support FRONTERA: FLASH OF DAWN’s Kickstarter


Find out more about Flash of Dawn and connect with the creators here:

Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter


 





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Comic History Mysteries Episode #10 – Ninjas in Comics


Today on Comic History Mysteries we are flying Phoenix-less! Yes, today The Voice and The Janitor are discussing NINJAS!

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We’ll be talking Ninja Turtles, Indie Comics that feature Ninjas and of course a healthy helping of puns and rambling Ninja focused conversation. The Janitor delights and informs us all with his deep knowledge of Japanese culture, Ninjas in particular.








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Canada Bear #’s 1 & 2 [Review]


Canada Bear #’s 1 & 2

S & P Comics
Creator and Penciller: Paul Farris
Writer and Letterer: Sean Wilson
Inker: Carlos Azevedo
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks


After reading this, I am so, so, SO glad I saw ComixCentral on Twitter promoting this comic.

I’m even gladder I reached out about potentially reviewing it as well cause this was highly enjoyable for me. To the point it had me laughing over the goofy silliness that’s contained within the pages of these two comics. And any team that can get you laughing more than once over their comic’s events is a team that deserves an award in my humble view. I’m curious if Paul Harris and Sean Wilson have any Canadian roots or if this is just something they chose to do for the heck of it. Or perhaps out of a love for Canadian culture and admittedly, I found more amusement then I should have in the use of the word ‘Eh’ that are found throughout these first two issues. Now Canada Bear is something I probably coulda passed on to Derrick considering his love for stuff involving animals that talk and the like, but then that would have meant I wouldn’t have found so much joy within Canada Bear’s pages. Who is a legit bear who ended up changed thanks to the Canadian Government.

Even if it wasn’t something they were intending on during their (to me anyway) oddball war with the Swiss! Our furry hero can talk, fly, be super strong, and is invulnerable. Kinda like Superman but, you know, furrier and a bear! Canada Bear would be perfect as a cartoon for kids, teenagers, and adults to enjoy together as it’s not something that’s meant to be taken seriously. No, its just meant to be taken as something to enjoy. Or at least that’s how I view what Paul and Sean are doing here. The art and the coloring definitely help sell the idea of this being something for all ages to enjoy. I’m curious just how aware the Canadian Government is of what happened with our furry hero and just what exactly was in that bomb of theirs to change him like it did! Fairly certain though they now know to thoroughly check the land below them for any flight paths they take! Whoever Blue Jaw is talking too at the end of issue one is something I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out about. Though it’s bound to be amusing either way when the mystery person and Canada Bear tie into it.

Unless of course, Paul and Sean choose to make the whole thing quite seriously. And in issue two, we get to see our furry hero take on a trio of bank robbers. Whom you wouldn’t think would be able to accomplish much considering what two of them are wearing for masks! It’s amusing however with what the leader thinks of Canada Bear, amusing but also an understandable thing given his line of thinking where the big furball is concerned! I’m not necessarily sure you would see this kind of silliness in a Marvel or DC book these days, especially the lengths we would be the leader of bank robberies goes too in order to get what he thinks is a mask from a certain furball. I would love to go on and on about this title from S & P comics, but that would ultimately spoil things for you readers and that’s the last thing I want to do. As this is something that should be enjoyed by many as much as possible due to the highly amusing fun things that go on in these first two issues. Which makes me curious as to how Paul and Sean are gonna top it with the third issue!

Will the ‘Salmon’ prevail where others have tried and failed? I have no idea but I can’t wait to find out!

You can buy Canada Bear issues in the SP ComicShop right here.


Known as Rob Wrecks, and due to a love for Independent titles that was born from an earlier start of reviewing comics for InvestComics. IndieComiX came into life from that love in 2012 and has been a-rockin’ ever since! Can reach him here and read more of his reviews and more on indiecomix.net


 




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CXC Podcast Kickstarter Spotlight | Hollowed

 

Welcome to the very first of what we hope will be a regular series on the ComixCentral Podcast, it’s our Kickstarter Spotlight. Today we’re talking to Comic writer Casey Bacon Strips Bowker!

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 Casey is currently Kickstarting his Half Comic Book/Half Soundtrack/100% Adrenaline, Hollowed. We follow 2 detectives hunting down a brutal killer that hollows out its victims – A Sci-Fi Horror Comedy & Audio Experience.

Click here to learn more and support Hollowed!

Find out all the interesting details that brought this project to life, including an amazing tale of finding a briefcase full of music in a Route 66 gas station bathroom!

Hurry! This Kickstarter only has a few days left! But, you can always keep up to date with Casey and purchase copies of Hollowed after the campaign is over.

Connect with Casey

Twitter  |  dontforgetatowel.com


 


fulfill kickstarter comixcentral





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Comics History Mysteries – Nazis in Comics | Episode #9

 

Comics History Mysteries – Nazis in Comics | Episode #9

This week on Comic History Mysteries the Voice, Rambling Phoenix and of course the Janitor, have a fascinating conversation about Nazis in Comics.

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Episode #35 | Jumping from Comics to Animation with Roy Burdine

Do you have what it takes to tackle comics and animation?

Do you have the skills to handle digital and print thousands and thousands of times over? Can you love what you do, even when it means leaving work just long enough to shower? Did you love 90’s and 2000’s hero cartoons? Then you’ve got to listen to the all-around-awesomeness of the 20-year comic/animation veteran Roy Burdine.

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Roy Burdine

Roy is different from a lot of guests we’ve had before. Many comic peeps I’ve interviewed previously fell into the passion as a teenager or even later. Not Roy. He knew he wanted to be a comic artist from the beginning and never looked back. For Roy Burdine, it’s always been about constantly moving forward and adapting while staying in love with your craft no matter where the industry takes you. Trust me, he would know. He had the courage to send in his own character creation as a child and get rejected by Stan Lee himself… sort of. Either way, rejection never kept him away from the desire to live his cartoon joy full-out. This drive eventually landed him a spot working on the beloved X-men animated series in the 90’s and the rest is history.

TMNT – Roy Burdine

Roy Burdine has been through the ringer. Animation is all about deadlines and staying in the room until you get it right. Over the years, styles, settings and job titles may change but the passion never falls by the wayside. That’s the kind of steadfast love it takes to spend so much time on a project that night and day no longer exists. In this episode, we learn about the true meaning of dedication and the evolution of the artistic process. We learn what comic artists and writers can learn from animators and visa versa. Talking with Roy puts you right in the animation studio. You can feel all the hustle and excitement that comes with the job with every recorded word. His love of art is only surpassed by his admiration of story as we learn about his transitions throughout the industry. We talk about the importance of storyboarding. We talk about the value of going digital. We talk about the dangers of staying inside a box of “purity” versus the value of being multidimensional. We talk about “finding the frame” that matters the most in comics versus drawing thousands of frames for animation. Most importantly, we talk about what the internet has done for the lone creator. Indie is the new jump to lightspeed for a career at Sony, Image, or Dreamworks if you’ve got the care, wherewithal and artistic heart necessary for the journey ahead. Bottom line: Big two or no big 2- people care about indie and they are looking for you.  

AfterMen – Roy Burdine

Don’t forget to check out the links below for information on Roy Burdine  

Webcomic: www.aftermencomic.com

Webcomic Twitter: @aftermen_comic

Instagram: Royburdine

Roy Burdine IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2424570/

Twitter: @Royburdine

Facebook: Royburdineauthor





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History Mysteries #6 | Libraries and More


 On this week’s Comic History Mysteries, a heartfelt tribute to Stephen Hawking, a discussion on what makes a villain and how some can be lovable in spite of their horrible deeds, Moby Dick, of course Batman makes an appearance and eventually the boys get around to discussing how you can use your local library as a Comic Shop of sorts! Enjoy the madness!

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For more history fun with the Ramblin Phoenix’s check out his history blog: www.historicalperceptions.com


 

 





 

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Daddy’s Issues – Chapter 2: The Pregnancy Gauntlet

 

Welcome to the blog series; Daddy’s Issues, from Indie comic creator, Johnny Craft.  Come along chapter by chapter as this comic book writer explores the journey of expecting his first child and all the emotions and creative challenges that come along with it. 

Jovelyn Jade & Johnny

Daddy’s Issues – Chapter 2: The Pregnancy Gauntlet

After my appearance on the solidly entertaining ComixCentral Podcast, the idea was tossed around that I would host a Youtube show for them called “The Gauntlet”. It’s meant to be a “brutally honest” review show, for the books featured on ComixCentral, and I was to review them in the style I see fit. I was initially, very, very excited to take part in this project, though not thrilled with the idea of potential bridges that I may burn as a result. I had every intention of producing “The Gauntlet” regularly and hit releases like clockwork. I am normally very good at consistency, work rate, and hitting deadlines. Ever since my lovely Jovelyn Jade got pregnant, though, I have not had much time to be creative on any sort of consistent basis. It is one downside that I am realizing exists in the life of a creative person, who is expecting their first child.

I have the format for “The Gauntlet” set, pretty solidly, I just can’t seem to find the time to record my first episode. With any luck, now that we are into the second trimester, Jovelyn and I will be able to work together to find a nice balance, where I can remain creative but still be there for her in every way she needs me. The format for “The Gauntlet”, however, is intended to be split into four small segments: What is it? Why is it great? Why does it suck? Should you buy it? Since I can’t get around to recording my first episode of the ComixCentral Indie Comics Gauntlet, I thought I would devote this entry into mixing the two major things in my life right now: my life as a creator, and the anticipation of my future family. For your reading pleasure, here is The Pregnancy Gauntlet.



What is it?

The woman of my dreams, and I, are 12 weeks into expecting our first child. We go for our first ultrasound this week, where we get to see Babylove Craft (working title) for the very first time! Both of us are still learning and adjusting to our new circumstances, and things could be coming along a little smoother in that department, but all things considered, I think we are doing very well. I love Jovelyn and I love this baby, more than I ever thought I could love anyone or anything. We are having a baby and it’s going to be my greatest creation yet!

Why is it great?

What could be greater than falling in love with someone you have known for a very long time, whose personality is eerily similar to yours, who is stunningly gorgeous, and then reproducing with that person? What better scenario is there, for having a family? I have been in serious relationships, in the past, with a few different women. Women that I’ve told “I love you” to and actually thought that I meant it. However, since Jovelyn came into the picture, I realized that I have never actually been in love before her. I promise to devote an entire entry to this blog, talking exclusively about Jovelyn and I, but for now, the important information is simple. I am madly in love with this woman and if I’m having a baby with anyone, I couldn’t so much as dream of a better candidate than my lovely Jovelyn Jade Ross.

Why does it suck?

Okay… So… I should be really careful how I answer this question, right? I mean, the word “suck” should be danced around very carefully, in this context. Hormones are running wild and I don’t want Jovelyn to read this and stab me in my sleep. To start, the one thing that most definitely DOES SUCK about expecting your first child is the treatment you receive from those you interact with on a regular basis. I’ve gotten everything from people I haven’t spoken to since I was 12, contact me on social media to ask overly personal questions, to some even thinking I’ve been lying about the entire pregnancy as a way to promote my comic “SuperLove”, that I wrote as a direct inspiration from this situation! It’s very strange how involved people are becoming in my life, suddenly, and how invested they are in a child they will probably never meet.

I’ve also noticed that certain people in my life are treating me like suddenly I’ve just now become an adult. I’m 32 years old. I’ve traveled across the country and various places overseas. I’ve kicked an alcohol and semi-serious drug problem, without even a remote desire to return to that lifestyle. I’ve supported myself for a very long time, and I’ve never had to do anything desperate just to feed myself, or pay my bills. I feel like I’ve had a fairly solid adult experience, up until this point. Babylove is just the next chapter.

As far as the actual pregnancy itself… I would never say it “sucks”. I understand there are adjustments that I need to make, Jovelyn needs to make, and there will be emotional side effects on both ends. I will say, again it does not “suck”, but I certainly don’t find it… enjoyable, when I get made to feel like a total dickhead for certain things. I have a full-time job, a part-time job, and I freelance, so most of my free time needs to be devoted to someone else, in some capacity. With the hormones running high, Jovelyn tends to go for the jugular or drown me with sarcasm and mockery, when she feels like I’m not devoting enough time to her. I understand where she is coming from, and I do feel like I’m punching well above my weight class in the fatherhood department already, so those jabs certainly make me feel like shit.



A lot of my frustrations are self-imposed, and I do forget that from time to time. I chose the life of a comic book writer, and I also have an important management position for a family-owned business. I understand that my time is precious/limited/valued. I also understand that there are plenty of guys that look at pregnancy as a woman’s problem, and a lot of dudes take that selfish road and make their lady deal with most of the stress solo. That was never an option for me, though. I make it a point to go above and beyond, to try to take as much stress off the mother of my child, as humanly possible. My time NEEDS to be devoted to making sure Jovelyn and Babylove are healthy, first and foremost.

Unsolicited advice, hormonal wrath, and physical/mental exhaustion all certainly suck, but the pregnancy itself absolutely does not. Things seem to be going well for us, so far.

Should you buy it?

I think the best way to interpret this question in the context of this blog, would be to translate it to “Would I go back and change this if I could?”. If given the chance to stop Babylove from ever being conceived on that (none of your business) filled night, would I do it? Would I go back to having the freedom and extra money that I used to have, just mere months ago? Would I trade this whole thing, and what could be, for the opportunity to continue living the life of a creative savage with no one to let down?

Hell-tothe-mother– fuckin’ NO! I love this woman! I love this baby! I wouldn’t change a thing, for a thing!


 I’m Johnny from ComixCentral and this has been The Pregnancy Gauntlet. Be sure to Like, Subscribe, share and join us next time, when another trimester throws down… The Pregnancy Gauntlet!


 





 

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Comic History Mysteries #5 | Defining Indie

 On this week’s Comic History Mysteries, the boys are arguing about what defines Indie in all its genres; comics, film, music and… continents?

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For more history fun with the Ramblin Phoenix’s check out his history blog: www.historicalperceptions.com


 





 

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Episode #32 | The Distribution Game with Anne Bean of Emerald Comics Distro

 

Wanna know how to navigate comic distribution? Wanna know how to juggle multiple creative plates at once? Wanna learn how to create and survive a dedicated con schedule? Look no further than the one-woman-show powerhouse behind Emerald Comics Distribution, Anne G. Bean.

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Anne has only been in distribution game since the tail end of 2016, and she’s already a force to be reckoned with in the world of comics. She got to press up the wazzoooo early on starting with Seattle Vanguard. This was simply the beginnings of a rustling wind bound to be a hurricane. Anne might call it luck. I don’t disagree with luck playing a role, but I’ll never believe luck is completely responsible for any outcome in business. The press and following that has steadily grown in such a short time follow Anne because of her dedication to the profession and her clients.

Her solid understanding of comic distribution and how its morphed/shifted since the 90’s has given her more than a leg up in not just the indie comic industry but graphic storytelling as a whole. Her client care goes beyond personal introductions at cons and showing at random comic shops in and around Oregon. Her research and dedication have lead to a blueprint of distribution. She understands the necessity of its service, the path to take for success, and where the cracks have formed along the way. There’s no doubt that the future of Emerald Comics Distro is a bright one and The Comixcentral Podcast is thrilled to be a megaphone for people like Anne whose tireless heart is making comic distribution a respectable institution once again, chipping away at Diamond one comic shop at a time.


Don’t forget to check out the links below for information on Emerald Comics Distro, Anne’s upcoming panel and distribution in general.

Website: www.emeraldcomicsdistro.com

Twitter: @EmeraldDistro

Instagram: Emeraldcomicsdistro

Link to Anne’s ECCC panel on distribution coming up: https://www.emeraldcitycomiccon.com/en/Sessions/53106/Rebuilding-the-Comics-Business-from-the-Bottom-Up

Some comics distribution history for context: http://www.delusionalhonesty.com/2011/06/brief-history-of-comics-distribution.html

 






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Comic History Mysteries Episode 2: PIRATES!

 

Y’aarrrr!! On this the second episode of Comic History Mysteries, we be talking about pirates!

[podbean resource=”episode=g5wf7-893ec5″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”106″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]


Show Notes:

The Ramblin Phoenix was struck by something said in an interview with Watchman creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.  In a world like Watchman where superheroes are real, the comics would have to turn somewhere else for “fantastical” storytelling. They came the conclusion that that very well could have been pirates. This is why there is a pirate comic featured in Watchmen. The Ramblin Phoenix then goes on to explain why he is someone who can speak on the topic of pirates:

  1. His father claimed he had been captured by pirates a boy.
  2. He worked at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World.
  3. In graduate school, he took a class on pirate history

The Voice also worked a Disney, he has many excellent, but non-pirate related stories. He will share those stories if there interest on our twitter @cxcpodcast    

Not only do pirates show up in Watchman, in The Tales of the Black Freighter, but in the urban fantasy series, Mercy Thompson, where the werewolf pack relieves tension by playing a pirate video game.    

The Ramblin Phoenix goes on to note that comics are often associated with superhero stories, but while connected they are not synonymous and comics very well may have focused on pirates or other topics had circumstance been different.

He goes on to briefly talk about the history of movie pirates, and how for many years they were not at all profitable.

…The Voice really likes Muppets…which leads to Ramblin Phoenix having an ADD moment.

The discussion moves onto the Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island” and how it originated many of the classic pirate tropes.  

Also is how Robert Newton, who played Long John Silver in the Disney 1950’s version of Treasure Island, created what we think of as the pirate voice. The real pirate voice was an amalgamation of a large number of languages and dialects. But historians agree, there was a lot of swearing.  

Captain Charles Johnson 1724 book, A General History Of Pirates is considered an early collection of primary source stories about real pirates.  He then goes on define that when we think of “Pirates” we generally are thinking ‘The Golden age of Piracy,” 1650s-1730s. But that reminds the Phoenix of a story about Julius Caesar and how he dealt with pirates.

He then starts laying out the historical breakdown of the three eras of Piracy in the Golden Age. Each age is discussed in the context of a famous pirate. For the Privateer era: Sir Francis Drake. For the Buccaneer era: Captain Henry Morgan. And for the Black Flag Freebooter era: Black Beard and Black Bart.

In this discussion, we also highlight the Spanish pillaging of gold in the Americas, which is one reason those ships were attacked.

Also highlighted is the reason for the romantasiciton of pirates, in that they chose to change the rules by which they live by and create a new life, which required them to turn their backs on everything they knew before. The is followed by a discussion of the issue with the idea of buried pirate treasure.

The Princess Bride even gets a mention.

They then wrap all the way back to indie comics. Showing how indelible the idea of pirates moves from history to storytelling as compelling inspiration, highlighting some interesting pirates comic coming out France.

They then highlight pirates in modern comics, most of which are Marvel and DC tuning their characters into pirates for a story arc.

The discussion ends by highlighting the most popular comic in the world currently, which is a pirate comic- the Manga, One Piece.


If you are interested in more on pirates feel free to check out the Ramblin Phoenix’s history blog: www.historicalperceptions.com  where he has recently uploaded a new post on Port Royal Jamaica, the Pirate town so evil it was smote by God!


Sources mentioned in the Podcast:

Marcus Rediker, Villains of all Nations

Captain Charles Johnson General History of Pirates

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

Disney’s Treasure Island

Muppet Treasure Island

Nigel Mitchell, AVAST! It’s The 15 Best Pirates in Comics

https://www.cbr.com/avast-its-the-15-best-pirates-in-comics/

French Comics:

Christophe Blain, Isaac the Pirate

Clair de Lune Dread MacFarlane

The Famous French Comic Asterix

Eiichiro Oda,  One Piece







 

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Epic Misadventures of Deathbag Issue #3 “Deathbag Goes To Comic Con” [Preview]

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Now Available!

The Epic Misadventures of Deathbag Issue 3 “Deathbag Goes To Comic-Con”deathbag 3 - comixcentral

The newest issue in the Epic Misadventures of Deathbag is coming soon! What is Deathbag you say? You’re in for a treat! Deathbag deals with everyday human life such as going to a metal concert and dealing with people at the movies, but in the most hilarious way. Get a good laugh, enjoy some most excellent artwork and have a deadly good time!

Catch up on all the Deathbag fun in issues #1 & 2 (with bonus Nerd life!)


Now here’s your exclusive sneak peek!

deathbag preview comixcentral






 

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First Annual Comics of the Year Award | Winner’s Spotlights

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Indie Comic fans with a finger on the pulse… (deliberate plug to our new newsletter you can sign up to here) … won’t fail to have missed the recent ComixCentral Awards for the best Indie Comics of 2017.

Readers of all things ComixCentral will know this was a tough one! We’re still in our first year but it’s been an amazing ride and the quality and creativity coming out of our creators is truly an inspiration. We’d genuinely love to have given everyone awards but that’s not how these things work (plus these books were already Comic of the Week winners so yay everyone’s a winner anyway!).

One of the hardest things as identifying the categories and then which comics would fit into each one. This is the great thing about indie is that it refuses to be put in a box. So many comics had more than one chance as they were put into every category they could qualify for. We’re not people to limit opportunities for our creators.

We thought we couldn’t just let this moment pass without taking a more detailed look at our winners and give a little bit of insight into why they came away with the big prize in their category. We know you guys don’t do this for the prizes and awards but hey we’re one big community so we’re happy to share the reasons that we love these comics.

So we’re going to go through the categories one by one over the coming days and weeks before getting to the overall winner.


Best Sci-Fi – Folklore Issue 1

“A band of survivors travels across North America after a biological weapon turns the world’s greatest superheroes into horrifying abominations. “

Folklore was created by Random Encounter Comics made up of writer Adam Ma and Illustrator Colin Tan.


In the Sci-fi category, the votes for Folklore were pretty unanimous. The art alone was enough for us to fall in love with this book with its. The rich painterly renditions create an extra dynamic in this story and something often mimicked but rarely mastered.

Turning the superhero format on its head Folklore images and a post-apocalyptic world where superhumans aren’t all we believed they would be.

This story very efficiently sets this scene setting up how the population reacts to a self-imposed cleansing armageddon.

This introductory issue does a fantastic job of setting up the premise for the story. Folklore uses big visuals to create a sense of scale and drama which isn’t overcooked in dialogue or captions. The creators have struck a great balance here and ending this part of the story with a great hook luring you into issue 2.

Sci-fi and ‘Superhero’s are two genre’s where it’s pretty tough to say anything new and at risk of trolling an entire industry does the comic world really need more superhumans? In Folklore, we get a novel take on both and an interesting response to superhero fatigue.

Most of our prizes were awarded to single issues and in this case for issue one but you can read all the way to issue 4 on ComixCentral right now.





Best Thriller – Daughters of Knights

Next up we have the winner of “best thriller” comic.

Daughters of Knights is entirely the work of Steven Rosia and as both writer and artist, he’s been able to bring his vision for this story to life exactly how he imagined it.


Seraphine, accused of witchcraft, recalls the demon who slaughtered her companions and framed her. Daughters of Knights is a medieval horror story about a disfigured girl, slaying monsters, and an uncomfortable, unconventional attraction…

Like many of our winners, this book is a fantastic testament to Indie. Entirely creator produced and couldn’t be further from the tired formats of the big publishers. How many of them would support a strong female character driven medieval horror story?

In this first installment, Steven has managed to set the scene for things to come and build to what looks to be a thrilling series.

Issue One is a masterclass in creating a believable world, characters, and a story arc within this first 24 pages. Something many creators fail to do without getting the balance of overuse of exposition or leaving too much for the reader to fill in between the lines.

And something else specific to stronger indie creators Daughters of Knights makes no attempts to ‘borrow’ from popular tropes to gain an audience or copy particular artists. If you’ve met Steven in real life you’ll know he’s not one just to go with the crowd and that pays testament in his work. Steven has cultivated his own illustration style here which works perfectly with the tone of this story. And this is matched in his writing which perfectly captures the medieval tone without resorting to stereotyped shortcuts.

The judges enjoyed this introduction to the story and can’t wait to discover what happens to Seraphine next. Like all the others this was a particularly tough category but the strong unique story and Steven’s efforts to produce this work single-handedly, definitely gave him the edge here.





Best MysteryThe White Room of the Asylum

 ‘Best Mystery’ awarded to The White Room of the Asylum

Written By Luke Melia, Art by David Anderson, Bobby Penafiel, Kat Fajardo, Omaik Neiv, Zev Zimmerman and Vinny Smith


The White Room could have fit a number of categories as it’s a story that transcends many traditional genres but it’s a mystery that it really shines. The tale of focuses on the tape-recorded memoirs of an old man named Steve who recently committed suicide. The tapes tell of the last period of his stay at the Soraberg Asylum and his discovery of what he came to call ‘The White Room.’ The White Room is an infinite space of pure white in which the residents can create anything they can think up. Over time more residents gain access to this mysterious place. Thus begins a series of events that stretches Steve’s sanity to its limits.

This book is very much more in the realms of graphic novel stretching to over 150 pages. But Luke Melia’s story rattles along at some pace, drawing you further and further into this twisted world and the events leading up to Steve’s eventual demise (that’s not a spoiler, by the way, you know from the start what’s happened, the story still engages you in discovering what secrets the White Room holds).

What the judges liked about this book, beyond the captivating story, was the use of multiple artists, one for each chapter if the book. It’s common to have to switch artists particularly in the world of Indie when sometimes that’s enforced, but here it’s done in a way to make a truly collaborative work in a really interesting way. And with 6 different illustration styles to content with this story does a great job in managing some visual continuity across the chapters.

One thing that really works well and, a great example of the constraints of self-published indie being turned into a strength, is the use and restriction of colour. By using just black and white art to represent the white Room this book turns what could be a constraint into a really bold way to create some strong visual storytelling. The White Room itself and the view from inside the minds of the residents give an opportunity for the writer and artists alike to really go to town with some imaginative narratives.

This book represents so much of what we love about indie at ComixCentral. Things like a real freedom to tell a story without censorship (it does include some pretty adult content), a truly collaborative effort on the part of the creators, all expertly coordinated by the writer, and some really creative approaches to working within the limitations of self-publishing. And all that’s on top of an incredibly novel and creative story arc which really draws you into the life of these characters.

We asked Luke for a comment on the White Room and this is what he said,

“Creating “The White Room of the Asylum” was an interesting challenge. We’d just spent over 2 years putting together our first book, Oculus, and the goal for producing the white room was to do it quicker. Whilst the illustrators were working on Oculus, I wrote the scripts for The White Room of the Asylum, a story that I’d been wanted to write for many years.

The book was split into 6 chapters, and the idea was to have a different illustrator working on each part at the exact same time. To achieve this, we had to make sure the concept art, including every character and the various different colouring styles, was finalised and communicated to everyone involved. David Anderson, Vinny Smith, and Bobby Peñafiel did a fantastic job at getting the concept work spot on. They were then joined by Ephraim Zimmerman, Kat Fajardo and Omaik Neiv in illustrating the book.

The result is a book I am immensely proud of. I didn’t really know how well this idea would work until it all started coming together. Luckily not only did it work, but the shift in styles complemented the shifts in the story with each new chapter. We are incredibly grateful to win this award. To have our work recognised in this way goes far beyond any of the expectations we had when starting the project.”

One thing we were excited to hear as we write this is that Luke is already working on a partner story to this book. And we can’t wait to read it.


Stay tuned for more Winner’s Spotlight profiles to come!

 





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The Most Important Video-game You’ll Ever Play: A Nerd Metaphor for Success

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Competition is a beautiful thing. This is such a weird realization to hit a universal lover like myself.

As a person who does his best to appreciate as many people as possible (and fails constantly), I have realized that this truth is a fantastic relief. There’s a massive old-school misconception swimming around in the self-help ocean that is hurting people. The message that everyone can get what they desire out of life is true to a point, I guess, BUT many will not. I don’t make it my goal to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it’s not my job as an encouraging entity to present a Barney-and-Friends reality either. People will get tired. They will get weary. They will get trapped in corners by monsters that only exist in their imagination. It’s because self-help often projects an all-in, one-and-done mentality. Sure, we can talk about how people “learn from failure” and “get up and try again,” but the brain’s primary instinct is to survive. It fears actual death when the only thing really dying is perhaps the current idea of self, only to be resurrected again a moment later. We get unlimited tries until we stop breathing. My point: Life is the most important video game you’ll ever play. 

The biggest identity crisis within this type of positivity is this: everyone seems to think that each person is their own celebrity. That’s not the world we live in. Pay close attention though. I’m not saying that everyone doesn’t have value or isn’t important. I’m saying people focus on a celebrity end-game rather than thinking about what they can do to provide genuine value.

Here’s another scary thought for you — I haven’t REALLY figured out how I can provide genuine value yet either, and I’m 32. I’m crazy insecure. I worry about my age and the amount of time I have to make an impact. I worry about something I just posted at least once a day. I wonder if people are actually looking at my content. I’m learning as I go. I’m overwhelmed by the internet world and the flood of information we all have access to. As I’ve said many times before, I’m incredibly human. It’s a tired truth, but a really valuable reminder nonetheless.

Despite all of those concerns, I still love being in the trenches. Why? Because “Everybody wins” is a wonderful lie. Regardless of a person’s situation or environment, the golden truth is that each person gets to define “winning” in his/her own way.

Does the fact that everyone gets to define winning means that everybody wins? Absolutely not — you still have a chance to lose. The best news you could ever get is that life is much more like a video game than a lot of people would like to admit. Unless your body gives out on you, you can always hit the reset button. Each time you hit the reset button, you get to take everything you learned from losing a life and apply it to your brand new journey. In other words, each time you “die” in this life, you come back with upgrades.

The gift of losing exists for the same reason that human beings are mortal. A part of who we are will always love the chase at certain moments. It’s human nature to desire progress. I wish everyone in the world would put a sign on their bathroom mirrors that says, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Screw up. Fall down. Walk away. Let a business crash. Bomb in front of an intimidating audience. Have the worst day of your life. Wake up covered in mud. Realize you’re still in the game dirty as all hell, and realize that being human is the ONLY reason winning is possible in the first place.


by Chris Hendricks 

ComixCentral COO and host of the ComixCentral Podcast – Chris has reached over 100,000 people, young and old, from all walks of life throughout the US, Canada, and Europe using his music, spoken word and personal stories of transformation.

 







 

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The Owl Tribe [Review]

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Reviewed by Anthony Cleveland

the-owl-tribe-comic-book-review_-comixcentral

Writer: Lukasz Wnuczek
Illustrator:  Lukasz Wnuczek


Quick Overview: The Owl Tribe is a comic that revolves around a hunt for a beast straight out of the Native American (and Norse!) legends. It is set in the time of Viking exploration of pre-Columbian America and features fantastic characters borrowed from the lore of Native American tribes while also drawing from Norse tales.


Story

This 56-page comic is so rich and dense with world building and characterization that it feels like a sweeping epic graphic novel with a thick page count. What Lukasz Wnuczek (writer & illustrator) has done with this book is really something unique that lacks from other comics that commit to this particular length. Every panel matters and every panel sets up a pay off for our characters down the line.the-owl-tribe-comic-book-review_-comixcentral-2

The book follows several characters that are on both sides of the conflict and treats them both accordingly. It’s tough to say who is the bad guy or good guy throughout the comic. Our characters commit some pretty brutal acts, but we are shown their backstories so we can see their motivations and more often than not, give them our sympathy. This works the best in this comic when we see the motivations AFTER we think a character might be our villain.

It repeatedly makes the reader ask: Does this character’s emotional history justify their violent actions?

It’s engaging to the reader. Not only do you have an interesting conflict on the page to read, but you also have an internal conflict going on inside the reader. It’s difficult to accomplish and this Lukasz pulls it off seamlessly.

The best example of this is on the final page. It’s such a great gut punch that I will not spoil.  


Art-

There’s an earthy texture in the art that is very appropriate for this book. It feels organic and genuine. Lukasz puts this on display the strongest with his backgrounds and landscape panels. It’s an immersive feel that puts you right in the forest.

From my first glance at this book, the most eye-catching detail was in the character designs. The book’s cover features one of the more supernatural characters of the comic. This character is wearing a leather stitched mask with tribal-like paint across it. He stands with his staff and stares off into the mist. This is an eye-catching cover that makes you want to pick up the comic just to see who this guy is and what this book is about.


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RATING

This is a really unique book that shares an overlooked part of history. The comic doesn’t take sides in this conflict and instead allows the story unfold naturally by giving the right amount of information to the reader without spelling the whole saga.

The combination of earthy art and empathetic characters get this book a 5 out of 5.


Amazon: available as Kindle/paperback / extended paperback (with artbook section)


Thank you for checking out this ComixCentral Review by Contributing Author Anthony Cleveland

 






 

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BOB: Non-Union Psychic Issue #2 [Preview]

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Coming February 23, 2018 Now Available!

The Award Winning BOB: Non-Union Psychic continues with the upcoming release of BOB: Non-Union Psychic Issue #2.

First off, if you haven’t had a chance to dig into the world of BOB: Non-Union Psychic, do yourself an enjoyable and humorous favor by grabbing Issues #0 TRUE TALENT& #1“The Legend of Legros” whenever you get a minute.

BOB: Non-Union Psychic is the exciting tale of an unwilling but incredibly talented psychic, Bob Holbreck. All Bob wants is to be left alone to hone his one true love and passion for Hair Styling, but to his everlasting annoyance, his inherited psychic gifts continue to intrude themselves into his life with hilarious outcomes.

BOB: Non-Union Psychic Issue #1

I won’t give away any spoilers for issue #2, but I can tell you that the renegade psychic known as Bob Holbreck is back and appears to be falling into all kinds of trouble with a little help from his not-so-alive friends and family.

This delightful cast of characters is brought to life by the expert storytelling of Lance Lucero, his partner in crime & Comics, Adam Volle and of course the illustration stylings of Francisco Resendiz and phenomenal lettering of Kurt Hathaway. This incredible Indie Series is brought to you by Warehouse 9 Productions, Ltd.

Now here’s your exclusive sneak peek!

https://youtu.be/BmQgx72nAgI



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Subscribe to our newsletter “The Pulse” to be notified as soon as BOB issue #2 is available on ComixCentral.com

Be sure to catch up on all the excitement and laughs from Warehouse9 Productions ltd. before the new issue drops on February 23, 2018.

 


 


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How to Upload & Sell Your Comics on ComixCentral

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Step 1

Open your ComixShop.



Step 2

Add a new product.


Step 3

Fill in your Comic book details and add the PDF file so customers can purchase your digital Comicbook.


And that’s it! You’re all set.

Your Comic will now be submitted for review and will be added to our Marketplace for sale in the next few days, as long as you’ve followed our Uploading Guidelines. If there is a problem, support will contact you to sort the issue out as quickly as possible. Watch the quick tutorial video below if you’re still a little sketchy on the details;)


Welcome to ComixCentral! If you have any issues or need any assistance, check out our forums or you can contact our support email at any time.

 


 



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Crowdfunding Roundup – January 2018

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Grimwood Crossing Vol. 1 & 2

This one has been a favorite of mine ever since Conner Bartel (writer and creator) put up a free preview on reddit.com/r/comicbookcollabs. It’s a fast-paced supernatural western that entices the reader with its outstanding cover art and keeps you hooked with a suspense-filled story and jaw-dropping old school horror art.

PLOT:

“Grimwood Crossing is the biggest town in the grim old west. Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies are part of the everyday struggle for the townsfolk. That’s why Grimwood’s Sheriff also has the added job title of monster hunter. It’s a dangerous job so a replacement must always be arranged. With the help of his young, scat-talking apprentice, the Sheriff must fend off a vengeful outlaw with demonic powers.”

WHAT THEY NEED:

The goal they have set is $3,000. This will go to finishing up Vol. 2 of the series with the majority going to the creators and the rest to shipping or printing.

comixcentral kickstarter grimwood

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT:

Conner notes that isn’t the team’s first Kickstarter for the project and assures potential backers that they are a trusted creative team that delivers: “After creating 3 issues, succeeding in a previous campaign, and self-publishing the comics afterward, we have proven we are capable, trustworthy creators… And, same as last campaign, the book is 95% done already.”


Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »


Synthetics #1 

Synthetics caught my eye with its insane robot gladiator cover. A lone gladiator robot stands presenting the head of a slain robot enemy to a roaring coliseum. It’s a fantastic eye-catching cover that teases a world that doesn’t seem too far away.

http://kck.st/2D9MsdS

PLOT:

“The Synthetics #1 is a 56-page comic featuring three bizarre stories of robot life, in which we see how different robots’ lives intersected with a robot revolt on Mars.”

WHAT THEY NEED:

The set goal is $1,200. “Most of the revenue will go to pay printing and shipping costs. Anything beyond that will go to help us pay our artists.”

comixcentral kickstarter synthetics
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT:

It’s a 56-page anthology about a robot revolt on Mars! How freakin’ cool is that! Creator Julian Darius adds that he has also been involved in eight previous Kickstarters and knows how to see a project to completion.

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »


Hell Cross

Bullets. Rust. And blood.  The art speaks for itself in this gritty noir – It’s dirty, its sun-scorched, and it looks like it was drawn with a prison rigged tattoo gun. We absolutely need to see this book completed.

PLOT:

Welcome to Eden City. A place where vices and virtue coexist in their maximum splendor and freedom. A veteran NYC Metropolitan Police Detective now employed by Eden City is tasked with solving its first series of killings that are shaking the foundations of a supposedly impeccable system. Every clue suggests a reason, every proof indicates a certainty, if the blood-letting isn’t stopped, it will surely continue its course.

WHAT THEY NEED:

$1,800, but this crew is pushing on to hit their stretch goals! “The funds necessary to complete “Hell cross” graphic novel and a good foundation for future projects.”

comixcentral crowdfunding round up hell cross

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT:

Its an old school film noir updated in a gritty fantasy utopia setting. The story plus this art makes it look like a solid book that we’d love to see bagged, boarded, and on shelves!

Follow this link to learn more and support this campaign »


Thank you for checking out the Crowdfunding Roundup – January 2018  |  by Anthony Cleveland





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Episode #28 | Newton Lilavois

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Do you struggle with juggling 9 to 5 obligations with your comic creativity? Are you a new writer in need of support? Are you desperate to find inspiration for the first page of your graphic novel?

Check out this new indie comic craftsman originally hailing from Haiti. Have no fear, Newton Lilavois is here! He’s also a genuine indie comic convert who started with our generic superheroes and graduated to the world of indie comics via Walking Dead. Like I always say, need an army? Zombies got yo’ back… unless they’re… hungry…

In addition to being a tremendous supporter of the indie comic movement through Kickstarter, he also happens to be a brilliant writer originally from Haiti. It doesn’t get much more topical than that and we’re grateful to have him on The Comix Central Podcast. He talks about the creative process behind Crescent City monsters. Both the story and the interview focus on the invaluable support that comes from family and what happens when it’s taken away. It’s a zombie twist with a backdrop of Haitien mythological history. Check it out or be left out.

Crescent City Monsters Page

He doesn’t shy away from his support of other indie comics. We talk Cognition, and The Werespider (a reimagining of the African folktale Anansi).  He admits drawing inspiration from other mediums like television. He references the online program Master Class as initial support though he doesn’t always take their advice. Most importantly, Newton talks about the love of the process. Storytelling is a long arduous task. As we all know, it’s not for the faint of heart. Simply “liking” your story just isn’t in the cards. Love is the only way to survive in this business. Luckily, most of the time it’s contagious. As the most successful members of the nerd nation will tell you, learn by doing. I’m excited to see Newton’s story develop. Keep up with him at www.Dreamfurycomics.com and remember friends, you can’t finish what you don’t have the courage to start in the first place.

Love the stories you tell, because they’re gonna be with you for a long time. – Newton Lilavois

[podbean resource=”episode=btq3d-83f8a9″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”108″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Newton

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Interview with Ryan K. Lindsay

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If Ryan K. Lindsay, of recent, much-lauded BEAUTIFUL CANVAS (Black Mask) fame has learned one thing, it’s that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams.

As cheesy as that sounds, the old adage put Lindsay right where he wants to be: writing comics. But he also learned the that the only way to chase down these dreams and put them in a sleeper hold is with a mighty work ethic. “I started writing comics in the last decade but self-published my first work in 2013 (FATHERHOOD). From there, I’ve written about every damn night,” he tells me. It’s this principled nature that has brought Lindsay to his current platform of success.

Outside of his work on the critically-acclaimed BEAUTIFUL CANVAS he’s also published several other series with various “bigger” indie publishers with other projects forthcoming soon. Lindsay, while steadily pacing his way to wide notoriety, is still young and hungry enough to remember what it’s like trying to turn stories into actual, physical product for all to marvel at on the stands of comic book stores everywhere.

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Beautiful Canvas Cover

1. What is your background and history in comics? What are your main comic project(s) that you are working or have worked on?

Ryan K Lindsay: I’ve put out a few miniseries– BEAUTIFUL CANVAS with Sami Kivela through Black Mask Studios, NEGATIVE SPACE with Owen Gieni through Dark Horse Comics, HEADSPACE with Eric Zawadzki and Sebastian Piriz through IDW, CHUM with Sami Kivela through ComixTribe, and DEER EDITOR with Sami Kivela through my own imprint, Four Colour Ray Gun, that was supported by 3 successful Kickstarter campaigns. I’ve also Kickstarted 3 other one-shots, written for some anthologies, and it’s all lead up to this year where I have ETERNAL with Eric Zawadzki coming out January 31st from Black Mask Studios, and they’ll release the trade paperback collection of BEAUTIFUL CANVAS in February. And beyond that, I’m working on a secret thing or two



2. How long from start to first produced comic? Can you give a rundown on the processes and steps that happened along the way?

RKL: Oh, man, I wrote my first comic script probably around ’05 or ’06. So between that time and 2013 I put together some pitches, but my writing sucked, so nothing ever happened. And then I met my wife, I travelled, I wrote 4 unpublished novels, I became an Assistant Principal at my school for a time, I wrote online reviews, I read a tonne, and then I finally had a good story to tell – and I smartly made it a one-shot, so we could actually make it and put it out into the world in completion. That comic was FATHERHOOD and it was done with Daniel Schneider, Paulina Ganucheau, and Brandon DeStefano.

3. Where did you assemble your team(s)?

RKL: I think I found most of them via Twitter, which was an ace banter/networking site at the turn of the decade, unlike the swamp it is now. As for the specifics of tricking them into working for me, I honestly have no idea.

4. How much or how long did you “shop” around your first publication and/or your subsequent ones? Any insights?

RKL: It was a one-shot, so I always knew it would just be self-published. I did actually put it in with CHALLENGER COMICS, an online hub of people and great stories run by Ryan Ferrier. But I didn’t take the book anywhere else because I knew that’s not what this was for. This wasn’t my foot into publishing, this was my calling card for editors.

5. What did/do you find to be the hardest aspect of getting your book published and into people’s hands?

RKL: All of it, is that an okay answer? Haha! I think getting it published is hard because you’ve got to make your story clear, a sellable commodity, and be tailored for the publisher you are submitting to. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle. You really just never know. But it can help if you are a known entity, hence me making shorter comics I could share in their entirety. Then getting it into people’s hands – the hook of the book has to be strong. Has to fit into a tweet, strong. Then you just have to make people care enough to seek it out. Care about the level of craft in the art, or care about the characters, or care about you. I still have no idea how to do that, especially the last one.

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DEER EDITOR

6. Tips/advice on any aspect of comic publishing for those looking to get their indie comics published? Any sure fire tactics? Anything ESPECIALLY to avoid doing?

RKL: Make short comics. One-shots are perfect, you can probably afford to put a team together for 22 pages, or you can Kickstart at a decent fee. An editor can read them in one sitting, and you can still sell them at conventions and to stores. It’s a really good sweet spot, and if you can tell a complete story in 22 pages, you can probably do it for longer, so editors will trust your chops. Don’t make a #1 issue and send that around because building a hint of a world, and a hook, is easier than showing you can stick the landing. Also: really take yourself to task. If the story isn’t good enough, don’t publish it. Rewrite it first, or write something else, something better. You’ll usually know when it’s not good enough.

7. What’s in the works for you now?

RKL: I have two new miniseries I am writing which have homes and should hopefully be blindingly spectacular works of narrative and comics. I also have the books from Black Mask in the next two months, which I hope people have preordered. Beyond that, I have irons in the fire, but you never ever know.

They say comics will break your heart, but they never tell you how long it’ll take.

 


 




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Episode #25 | Stephen McCoy

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Will we ever run out of stories to tell? Blogger and history junky Stephen McCoy doesn’t seem to think so.

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Stephen McCoy. They tackle the use of tropes in storytelling, how comics represent our modern day mythology and the importance of using Indie comics to shine a spotlight on current social issues as seen in Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s “La Borinqueña”; a much-needed highlight on a Puerto Rican superhero giving hope and culture back to the worlds biggest tiny island in their time of need in the wake of hurricane Maria’s devastation.

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Connect with Stephen:

twitter  |  cxc profile   |   historicalperceptions.com


 

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Episode #22 | Anthony Cleveland

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Comic Creator Anthony Cleveland

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Anthony Cleveland. The incredibly fascinating Comic writer of the comic Chris calls, the #1 Horror Comic with Heart, Silver Skin.

We’re getting personal and awesome up in the Podcast this week with Comic creator Anthony Cleveland. We chat about Anthony’s creation process and you have to tune to hear how he funded his latest comic book project, Silver Skin. It’ll make you lol!
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Connect with Anthony Cleveland 

Twitter  |   Website





 

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Episode #21 | Joey Oliveira

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On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Joey Oliveira. Comic book writer, filmmaker and founder of British Comics Publishing house Afterlight Comics.

Come meet Joey Oliveira! A fascinating look what into it takes to be a Comics entrepreneur and the many lessons he’s learned along the way. Find out about his Kickstarter campaign, Comics, how to find an illustrator, the founding and running of a publishing company and so much more.
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Connect with Joey Oliveira

Twitter  |   Website





 

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Joe Francis Totti | Creator Spotlight

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Welcome to our first ever “Inktober Winner Edition” of CXC Creator Spotlight.

Today we are joined by the 2017 CXC Inktober Winner, Joe Francis Totti!

During this year’s Inktober, Joe took the road less traveled and created an entire Comic over the 31 day period. Slow rolling a terrifyingly good mini-horror, delighting his Instagram followers with every gruesome panel. It’s for this reason our selection team chose Joe as our winner and we thought you’d all enjoy getting to know this talented writer, illustrator and graphic designer as much as we did.

Let’s get to the interview!


Hello Joe! First off, congratulations on winning our first ever CXC Inktober Contest! The hundreds of entries we received from incredible artists made choosing very difficult, but your work came out on top as the clear winner this year. A truly exceptional execution of Inktober, we tip our hats sir!

Now, please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your work.

Joe: My name is Joe Francis Totti, I’m 29 years of age and based in Liverpool in the Uk, My profession is Freelance Graphic Designer, but my love, life, and passion are reserved for comics (and my wife haha). I have worked in the creative industry for the past 7 years. Only in the past few years did I puck up the courage to jump into indie comics and social media and try to find my footing in the industry. That is something I am still working on daily to find haha.

What kind of comics do you create?

Joe: So far they all seem to have a dark tone, I find myself working on Horror or Science fiction, but I like to make sure there is humour in everything I work on. It brings you out of the misery and grimness.

When did you get your start?

Joe: I like to think I’m still waiting for it haha!

What made you decide to start making comics, how did you get into it?

Joe: I have one of those personalities, I cant just enjoy something I have to be involved in the things I love, so naturally, I found myself craving the idea of making my own stories up and drawing them.


How about your graphic design career? Did you attend art school, or are you self-taught?

Joe: I studied under two amazing teachers, Alan Baker and Paul C, but even they would say University sets you deadlines and it’s your job to teach yourself.

How do the two occupations complement/ clash with each other? Do you have a favourite?

Joe: It really helps me with compositional work and understanding programs like photoshop & illustrator. So this helps with the colouring and lettering of my work and understanding the print process, but I love comics, they wipe the floor with design hahaha!

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to your success?

Joe: I like to feel like I’m yet to be successful to help me keep pushing haha (ever the pessimist haha) but I would say allowing people to work with me and not being a control freak and doing all the work myself.

What’s the one thing (tool, process, etc) that you absolutely could not live without during the creative process?

Joe: My Mac (computer not jacket) haha.

What resources do you rely on for illustration?

Joe: I love to use my little notebook and fine liners (when traditional) and my Yiynova graphics tablet when working digitally.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

Joe: I would have to say, Tony More, Rick Remender, Daniel Warren Johnson, James Harren, and Mike Spicer all masters of there craft!

Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?

Joe: Usually, a situation sparks a weird idea then I jot it down and develop it from there. Conversations are really important to the process as well, tell people about your ideas it really helps.

What does your workspace look like?


Tell us a funny story JOE!

Joe: Aha! Last year at thought bubble festival I had an opportunity to meet one of my heroes in comics, Jeff Lemire, creator of one of my favourite books Sweet tooth.  We had a conversation at my table and he said come over and say hey and I’ll draw you a quick doodle of Gus.  So I head to his table I stood there like a deer in headlights and he said: “what’s your name again so I can sign this?”  I said, Joe. The room was loud so he said “Jon?” (I thought) so I said, “With an N?” And he said “Joe with an N?” I said “I’m not sure” ….. he then said “do you know how to spell your name?” haha so I went red-cheeked and slumped away from the table embarrassed, but he gave me the drawing below. He was a great guy, gave me multiple prints and books.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years creatively?

Joe: Like most creators, I have dreams of releasing a book with image comics, but I will be happy as long as I’m still making comic books.

What do you think the big publishers could learn from the Indie scene and vice versa?

Joe: I like both for different reasons, I would say they both serve a purpose as well, but there is a real sense of levity with characters in indie comics I would love to see in the big two but, would that be destroying what I love about them? Haha tricky question.

That just about wraps it up Joe, any final thoughts?

Joe: I would love to share my projects I’ve recently been involved with. They are: The Landings, being published through Markosia. It’s a sci-fi horror, super hammy like the old cinema, a bit like (it came from beneath the sea) this is with writer Elijah James. Also a project with Matt fitch and Dead Canary Comics called “Eye in the sky”. This is part of an anthology called “Adventures in science” out next week through the Dead Canary Comics website, http://www.deadcanarycomics.com/product/adventures-in-science/  Another is Self-made hero’s The Corbyn Comic. I worked on a 3-page story in this anthology called – Lethal Corbyn III – with Chris Baker also of Dead Canary Comics. I realize I’m rambling now, but look out for my social media for news on the printing of mine and Matt Fitches Inktober comic that we will be printing in the next few months! 🙂

Lethal Corbyn III
Eye in the Sky

Awesome! This has been such a pleasure Joe! How can people find out more about you and the work you do?

Joe: You can find me @thelifeoftotti on both Instagram and Twitter thank you for all the support through Inktober.


Well, that’s it for this Creator Spotlight! Thanks so much for joining us. Make sure you follow Joe on all his social platforms, you’re gonna’ want to keep an eye on this talented guy! I think we’ll see great things from Mr. Totti! Who knows, maybe one day he’ll misspell your name at Comic-con!

Instagram  twitter


 

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Review: Project Shadow Breed #4

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Project Shadow Breed #4
Different Breed Comics/Dim Throat Comics
Written by: Justin Bartz
Art and Colors by Stefani Magicianshouse
Lettered by: Justin Birch
Story by: Josh Schneider and Justin Bartz
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks


Project Shadow Breed has been an interesting read for me so far. As one of the main things I really like about this is the fact that the main character Marrok is a Werewolf! And not necessarily a traditional kind either. But more man-made for one of those black ops type military projects. You know how it is, man playing God and all that just to get themselves a good ol’ fashioned weapon to better fight their enemies with! Yes, I’m talking about you, SinTech! You naughty fellas! I’m curious though, does Marrok get affected by the Full Moon? Making him stronger during it? Maybe a bit more feral? Or is he completely unaffected by it since this was basically a Science Experiment by folks who shouldn’t have been mucking about with things greater than them? Answers that perhaps one day, we’ll get from Justin Bartz when the time is right!

And while I enjoyed Stefani Magicianhouse’s art and colors, there were points in her art that were a little off. For example, I’ll go into the early pages of #1 where a mother is holding her (dead?) mixed little girl after a shootout occurs. I don’t know if this was done intentionally, but instead of holding the little girl in her arms, she’s holding the little girl in a way one would probably do so in a sacrificial way. And looking very stiff as well instead of actually looking like a body. Its possible this was done on purpose because the panel’s not exactly a big one but still, the whole thing looks really weird.



It’s also clear to see that the city of Seattle has a big problem. One that Marrok and his partner/mentor/friend Leroy are trying to do something about. Even if one’s a lot younger then the other but they don’t necessarily let that affect them too much! I love the friendship between these two and you nearly wanna’ climb into the pages yourself to help Marrok put a hurting on some folks after Ol’ Leroy ends up in the hospital. Ol’ Leroy’s the reason Marrok himself didn’t end up becoming anything more than a Government Black Ops pawn that probably woulda been seen as expendable at some point in the future. PSB is also a lesson in why the Government should NOT be doing business with Businessmen. Especially those who aren’t good people and will use a place like Seattle for anything they please.

The trucker villain who’s got a Van Dyke look going on (which is weird considering he’s a trucker and a villain for Marrok) is someone who is unapologetic about what he does. And you wanna just hate him for it, especially once you see what he’s got in his trailer! I honestly had expected him to be a one time character after his first appearance but was surprised he wasn’t. Which makes me look forward to seeing how much of more a pain in the ass he can be for Marrok and Leroy in the future. I’m also a little curious about if whether or not Justin and Stefani are Rick and Morty fans since in the 4th issue there’s a Scientist who has a resemblance to one of those characters. Or close to it at least! Issue 4 also gives the lovely Goddess known as ‘Red Hyena’ and she’s certainly a handful! Not to mention a bit sneaky!

I honestly hope she’s around for future issues, and armed with more armpit gas as that’s not necessarily something you see someone use a whole lot of! Has me curious about what got Justin to go for an idea like that! Near the end of the 4th issue, however, is a little jarring. I don’t know if this was intentional or what, but seeing Marrok talk with Leroy and practically pleading with him to wake up from his coma-like state and then a panel away discussing some bad business the two’s been looking into it (like I said before) pretty jarring. Though I’m curious if any more of Leroy’s old friends are gonna show up with intent to be a problem for him and Marrok. Then again, that nurse of his might cause him more trouble than any other old friends of his!

Andrews and his cohorts clearly have some bad intentions in mind and I can’t wait to see what those are. If only to see Marrok and Leroy stop them but good! As Andrews and his bunch definitely need to be stopped before they can do any kinda real serious damage!

So Justin? Bring on #5 so we can all have a howlin’ good time!


Find more great Indie Comic reviews from Rob Wrecks on indiecomix.net


 

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Episode #20 | Thom Burgess

On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Thom Burgess. Writer of dark shadowy things, creator of Ghoster, The Eyrie, Malevolents and Hallows Fell.

Let’s get creepy with Thom, find out what makes a great horror story, how to build a ghost and learn more about this terrifying and darkly beautiful comic creator from another realm. Well, the UK. BOO!
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Connect with Thom Burgess

Twitter  |   Website





 

 

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Episode #19 | Johnny Craft

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On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews writer of over 100 Comicbook scripts, Johnny Craft!

Wanna’ just bro-down about comics, wrestling, stand up comedy and more? We’ve got your back! Hang out with Chris and Johnny as they discuss navigating the world of working in comics as a professional writer.
 [podbean resource=”episode=7f4cb-7e9a32″ type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”107″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

Connect with Johnny Craft

Twitter  |  CXC Profile





 

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Episode #18 | J Francis Totti

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On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews our 2017 CXC Inktober Contest Winner!

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Join Chris and our 2017 CXCInktober Winner J Francis Totti as they delve into the comic illustrator’s creative process, work habits, the social impact and importance of “Friends” in the UK and why Joe self-identifies as a Chandler.
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Connect with J Francis Totti

Twitter   |  Instagram





 

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Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2 | Comicbook Review

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Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2

Reviewed by Rod Jenkins


Creators: Walter Barber
Ian Vannest
Andrew Zimmerman

Writer: Walter Barber

Art, Colors, Lettering: Jason Piperberg

Cover Art: Chapter 1 – Hannah Kennedy
Chapter 2 – M. Misztal


Quick hit: Champions of Hara is a mix between Fate Stay Night Anime and Eternal Champions.

Champions of Hara is a tale of a world created from chaotic energies, that is also being destroyed by those same energies. In order to keep the lifeforms of Hara viable, the Kensei (guardians of Hara) reach out to other worlds, perhaps other dimensions, to find beings who may be able to control and harness the chaotic energies of Hara and stabilize the realm, only one can claim the right to these energies, thus from what I gather, an ‘unofficial’ competition begins to see who is worthy of possessing Hara’s energy, and as a side perk, the winner gets to have the greatest desire granted.


This reviewer quickly thought. if these guardians have that kind of power, why can’t they control Hara’s energy on their own? Perhaps as the tale is told, more of Hara’s secrets will be revealed. The ‘chapters’ of Champions of Hara are quick, with timely wording and elegance provided by writer Walter Barber. These first two novellas introduce readers to the first 2 participants in the competition. It must be pointed out, that so far there has not been an actual number of participants listed, so from here, no one can be certain if there are any more beings participating.

The expertise of artist Jason Piperberg is clearly shown throughout both books, from knowledge of time settings of Earth to fantasy flora and fauna.

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Piperberg’s use of shades and colors deftly, and subtly set the emotion and pace of Barber’s writing. I give full marks to Jason for his use of digital coloring, as this reviewer is not a huge fan of the technique, Piperberg touch is not overblown, nor lacking to the lineart, instead, it’s a perfect harmonious balance.

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The only flaws of these fine books are: a page wasted for indicia, perhaps the creative team was looking for ways to stretch out the stories (each book is just 12-14 pages) This reader would’ve preferred if the legalese was placed along with the credits, the give Piperberg a page to really show off his artistic skill (perhaps with character design sketches).

The other flaw is the second page is too dark, where, readers skip by the pencil art that is on the page, you don’t see it because of the darkness of the page, a lighter gradient will fix this oversight.

Champions of Hara is all too quick of a ride, however, the substance that Baber and Piperberg give readers, is a complete joy, that has this reader and many more, eagerly waiting to see what is upcoming.

Rating 4 out 5 eyes ( Worth the price of Admission)





 

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RAGS: Creator Spotlight a Fireside Chat with Brian and Trent

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Hello readers! Today we have 2 badasses for the price of 1 Creator Spotlight!

We are delighted to have the opportunity to pick the brains of the creative team behind the jaw-dropping, action-packed, delightfully comedic and beautifully illustrated, RAGS: Prologue. If you haven’t read the first issue of this comic, stop right now, (well read this spotlight first) then, go get a copy, immediately.

“RAGS is a comic involving two military veterans and their quest for a sense of normalcy during a zombie plague that has wrecked the liberal state of California. But this isn’t a tale about Zombies. This is a tale about pants. A tale about PTSD. A tale about finding a purpose. About setting aside your own prejudice. About overcoming guilt and insanity. Things that most other authors are too afraid to tackle. Hold onto to your poopers and get your tactical onesies ready.”

So without further ado, may we present A Fireside Chat with Brian Ball and Trent Luther. Let’s do this! Oohrah!


To start, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Brian: Well my is Brian Ball, I’m a 14year Active Duty Army Veteran, currently in the San Diego National Guard. I’m the writer of RAGS, and my partner in crime in this is Trent Luther. He and I came up with the basic premise. My friend Rudy help us polish it up with the Unicorn Onesie. I’m withholding the name of my artist for the time being as I’m unsure of how he wishes to be credited.

Trent: My names Trent, I’m from Fargo North Dakota. I work at an auto salvage yard. I don’t think I really known for much.

What kind of comics do you guys like to create?

Brian: I’m actually unsure of how to answer this one, as RAGS is the first Comic I’ve actually created, from concept to what it is now. I’m not quite sure what I’d call the genre. Maybe Black Humor is the most accurate as I subtly make take jabs at lots of things.

Trent: Zombie comics I guess. Though I used to draw some dope stick figure comics that had to do with the civil war and the supernatural (Ethan Allen was my main protagonist.).


What made you decide to start making comics and get into the business?

Brian: So what got me to create? I would have to say that I’ve always enjoyed writing. That’s been my passion since I was 8years old. The military came a very close second when I was 10. But what really pushed me is that Comics now, Marvel in particular, no longer speak to me as an Individual. I see a lot of push towards inclusivity and diversity but I’m not really seeing any characters with personality. I’m half-black, ¾’s Latino and there has yet to be a character that I could really get behind. So I figured, rather than complain about it, I’d just go out there and make my own.

Trent: Brian’s ambition. He’s been a rock that waves break themselves upon this whole time.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to your success?

Brian: Right now, the biggest obstacle to success is marketing. Marketing, marketing, marketing. Some early feedback I’ve seen is that ‘Oh, it seems like another by the numbers zombie story.’ It’s not. In many ways, the zombies are a bonus.

Trent: Marketing. Marketing has been rough. Mainly lack time and funds to do so. I try to make an enticing post on Imgur and Reddit. But getting them rolling can be tough

Coffee or Tea?

Brian: Coffee. Definitely Coffee. There’s this saying amongst me and my battle buddies; “If it wasn’t for caffeine and hate I would have no reason to wake up in the morning.”. But honestly, I need about three cups of coffee just to get the old brain synapsis plodding along.

Trent: If you ain’t down with Alwazah tea you can get outta my life.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the comic realm?

Brian: My biggest inspirations are Adam Warren, the old crew from Antartic Press. Eric Johnson, if you’ve ever seen his work, he’s drawing the book for Vikings. Masamune Shiro, Kentaro Muira, Hajime Kanzaki, I read a lot of manga. Akira Toriyama for his pun-based naming structure. John Kantz and Christopher Reid for their EXCELLENT book: Legends from DarkWood. I was really sad they didn’t continue this, it was great series!

Trent: For me Todd McFarlane, Frank Miller and R.A Salvatore (I know he doesn’t do comics, fight me.) But I grew up with Spawn comics and toys and everything Drizzt.

Where the inspiration for RAGS come from? Tactical onesies? WHERE?! We love!

Brian: So the inspiration from RAGS initially grew out of a drunken night of Left4Dead2 with Trent. The initial plot we came up with was just some chick running from store to store trying to find a pair of pants while fighting off a zombie horde. And each time she found pants, she’d lose them somehow or some way and have to go find some new ones. It was funny in our heads, but after initially writing the whole thing, I knew I could tell a better story if I just changed some things, so that story evolved into what RAGS is now. The idea for the tactical onesie though, that grew out of me, being absolutely sick and tired of seeing the skin-tight spandex suits that you saw in all these female superheroes run around in. I’m sorry, but Black Widow, in that lycra she runs around in, would constantly be splitting her the backside of her pants. Also, I dislike the idea of a woman in 5-16”inch heels being able to beat up 210lb guys with just her fists. So while trying to come up with a suit that would be practical, my buddy Rudy simply suggested ‘Why not a unicorn onesie…like they have at Wal-mart.’ Then it just grew from there.

Trent: The inspiration for RAGS. That’s tough. Brian came to me one day with a small idea of a story and it just kinda evolved. Tactical onesies…It seemed like a joke at the end of our story. However, it just worked so well. Then when we got a few illustrations and it was so damn amazing seeing it on paper.

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You clearly love zombies. What made you decide to throw your talents into the zombie storytelling world?

Brian: I’m a HUGE Resident Evil Fan. I have the S.T.A.R.S logo and two of Rebecca Chambers tattooed on my arms. Since the inspiration for the story came from Left4Dead2 it was only practical that the zombies followed. But there’s a slight twist to mine, that make them much different….much more lethal than what we’re used to seeing. Creating a new plague was tough because I’m just a soldier and not much of a scientist. But I have figured out something that is very realistic and COULD come about if the right minds got together and were able to put two and two together.

Trent: To me… a Left for Dead 2. We talked a lot about it while playing an impossible to beat player made campaign. Also, Zombies fit perfectly for Regina’s main struggle in the story.

Your choice of coloring for RAGS is very unique. Could you tell us how you guys decided on this approach?

Brian: The coloring for RAGS is done that way, because I wanted people to focus on what the was important to the character, Regina. Her freckles are important, and obviously her tattoo’s, (which is a story arc I hope to explore much later.) I wanted to add to the tension by tricking the reader into focusing on things that I wanted them to focus on. I hope that makes sense. Color is going to come into play much later, I hope the audience appreciates what I have in store.

Trent: Brian’s call on that. I yes-manned cause it was a wonderful choice.

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What would you say is your ultimate goal in comics? Where do you both hope to be in 5 years creatively?

Brian: My ULTIMATE GOAL is for everyone to be Cosplaying Tactical Onesies at all the cons. If that happens, I’ve met my goal. In five years I hope to have the entire story of RAGS completed and on the shelves of bookstores. Maybe a movie deal, or a t.v. series if it gets popular enough.

Trent: Super cheesy Syfy Movie with a dank cult following.

How far are you wanting to take RAGS? What do you guys see as the “Big Picture?”

Brian: I’d really like to get RAGS into the hands of a publisher. I have a story that’s actually inclusive, diverse (being set in California gives me a wide array of characters to choose from and topics to tackle) and I KNOW with the right backing would be a huge hit. Also, having someone else handle the marketing (you’ll see me spam twitter almost daily) would be nice.

Trent: All the way. I’d like to see our idea flower into a whole series of comics.

What do you find to be the most difficult part of creating a comic?

Brian: The most difficult part I would say is getting feedback. Especially when something is good and you personally know it. Sometimes I’ll hand over a copy for a friend to read and I won’t hear back from them for months….and when I see them again I ask about it and they’ll say “Oh, it was good.” Yeah, but how good? What did you like best? What worked? What didn’t? Finding the right people help steer you in the right direction. That’s pretty tough. Thankfully I had a few people give me honest reviews and critiques, so moving forward I know exactly what how to handle things.

Trent: Picking a genre. There is a lot of criticism jumping into any kind of genre when there is so much of it all readily available. Really have to make an impression right off the bat.

Are you for sale? I say that as a joke, but not really. Would you sell RAGS to a large publisher? And on that note, would either of you consider working for the Big guys?

Brian: I would SELL RAGS ONLY to the publisher that would handle it properly. I’m tackling lots of issues in ways that I have seen or experienced that are relevant to me and so I’d like to find a publisher that would appreciate the nuances that are baked into the story. I would LOVE to work for Marvel and write Spider-Man. I kinda feel old Peter could use some fresh blood. But IDW is actually my second pick if I had a choice.

Trent: Hmm. Definitely to Image comics. Spawn and RAGS mashups all day baby. Honestly tho though that’s a tough question. IDK?

How has the response to RAGS been? And what do you think you’ve learned for your next issues?

Brian: So far (for everyone that’s taken a chance on it.) the response has been positive. Usually, my pitch is what gets people raising eyebrows. “Naked chick running around town trying to find pants during a zombie plague!” I get it, it sounds perverted. I would be a skeptic too. But usually, after I show off the script and artwork…people get it. I’m getting a lot of requests for physical copies, which I’m only sending off to those who’ve supported me on Patreon as a reward, and it sucks to say ‘I can’t right now.’ But it’s also great to know that there are people out there that want to see this on shelves!

Trent: The response has been great but I feel pretty localized. Hard to get my old, gearhead co-workers into comics. I get called a nerd a lot. Marketing. Definitely, marketing is a must. It’s hard let me tell ya.

Trent: The Patreon and Facebook. I try to post teaser albums on Imgur and Reddit under the username Niehlis. I’m normally fairly busy with the daily grind so Brian tends to knock out this stuff.

It’s been awesome getting to know you guys and learn more about the stories behind RAGS. Is there anything else we can tell the reader about you?

Brian: Anything else I wish to add? Oh yes! I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but there are a TON of Easter eggs hidden within the prologue. One might be a little obscure and I have no problem giving this one away but Regina, the main character, her face is modeled after Liz Finnegan. If you do not follow her on twitter…you’re failing at life. There are some other things that are hidden too! Most of the other tidbits we probably won’t see until we’re further along. But this comic…it’s my magnum opus and I hope those that are tired of the big two right now, give this a chance. Trust me, if you think this is JUST another Zombie story you’ve barely scratched the surface. Even though I play up tropes, like say Regina quickly getting surrounded by zombies. Well, there’s a legitimate reason for that, but again, only someone with a very discerning eye will catch on.

The other thing I’d like to say, really quick, is that I really have to give a shout out to my friend: Balam, who taught me how to write scripts. And Jim, my old Army buddy from my first unit. Joshua Foster has been helping me maintain the website/blog. Rudy Vallejo and Heaven Perez have been my local support as has Deanne Vicedo. Everyone that supports me on Patreon. Morgan Marino, Candy Dax, Grace Harney (for the edits she did for my revision.) and Elizabeth Stryker. And my biggest cheerleader Samantha Johnson. All the boys in the Quality Control Discord. Captain Frugal the youtuber for his honest review. And Zetha202, one of my favorite Deviant Art Artists who let me borrow a character of his (check him out here: https://zetha202.deviantart.com/). There are so many people to shout out too, but I know that alone is going to be about 4 pages long.


Well, that’s it for this Creator Spotlight! Thanks so much for joining us. If you’d like to learn more about Brian and Trent, connect with them, buy their products or support RAGS directly, you can find the links to all that and more below! 

ragszombie.com  |   twitter   |  teepublic.rags  |  CXC Profile  |   Patreon Rags

 Trent also posts teaser albums on Imgur and Reddit under the username Niehlis.