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.
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!
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
I’ve outgrown most of the subgenres that I adored from my childhood. Superheroes bore me. Epic space fantasies just make me shrug and say “meh.” But for whatever reason, the ‘nostalgia tingles’ I get Kaiju genre haven’t faded for me. My nostalgia vibes were on overload with the teaser trailer for Colossal Chaos from Out of the Blue– a Kaiju anthology.
This is the fourth installment of the Out of the Blue anthology series. 57 comic creators from around the world helped put together this kaiju anthology. AmazingTales.net says, “Colossal Chaos is packed with twists on the theme, across a variety of genres. Oversized humans, gigantic space aliens, enormous city devouring monsters, behemoth insects, or just really big robots, every sci-fi trope of towering creatures is turned on its head.”
WHAT THEY NEED :
As I write this they have 20 days to go and a lot more to fund. They’re at $400 right now and have a goal set of $4,400. So there’s still a trek to go.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :
It’s a thick anthology — at 130 pages! The $50 + art rewards are awesome too. The standard trade paperback features cover art by Diego Galindo (Dynamite, Zenescope). There’s also a Kickstarter exclusive hardcover with wrap-around cover at by Kelly Williams (IDW, Dark Horse).
True crime is one of the most interesting genres I’ve seen done in the graphic novel medium, There’s classics like From Hell, Torso, Green River Killer, and My Friend Dahmer. Chester & Grace: The Adirondack Murder looks like a great addition to any true crime library.
Chester & Grace” is a story of love gone wrong. In the summer of 1906, young Chester Gillette drowned his pregnant girlfriend, Grace Brown, at Big Moose Lake in upper New York State. This is the true case that inspired Theodore Dreiser’s novel An American Tragedy and the later film “A Place in the Sun.
WHAT THEY NEED :
Their initial volume will be published in a small format (6″x9″), softcover, 92 pages, with one or two illustrations per page, and in full color. They’re really close to their goal and they only need a nudge to go over.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :
Because there needs to be more true crime comics that are done tastefully and with respect. This one looks like it does all that and adds a touch of class that is rarely seen in the genre.
The Winter Year first caught my eye with their cover. I loved the minimalist white outline of an owl with the title overlayed. As I went a little deeper into the pitch, I was hooked by the description of the desperate tundra that the characters inhabit. This one looks bleak, bloody, and somehow hopeful in the midst of it all.
“Such things were once only whispers, though Garai, this family’s provider, has now proven them to be true – leaving him with little recourse in training with his son, Eshe.
As the arms of this vicious winter wrap around Garai, he must come face to face with those who wronged him, and seek for dark truths amidst the tundra that he once called home.”
WHAT THEY NEED :
They’re about a grand and 22 days away. The budget for the comic is divided between reward fulfillment, artwork for issue 2, and Kickstarter’s fees.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :
The artwork sets the tone for the book. It’s fridged and bleak, but there’s hope. It’s great to see a series where the art perfectly matches the script. If you’re looking for a meditative, brooding winter story — back this book!
Thank you for checking out the Crowdfunding Roundup – April 12th 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.
Derek W. Lipscomb (writer/illustrator) approached ComixCentral to discuss his comic book series: The Maroon. We gave it a crack and discovered a fantastic series with genre combinations that have yet to be explored in other comics. The Maroon combines Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy with the fantastic mythology of American legends and history, all while never once pulling a single punch or tomahawk throw.
“The world I have The Maroon inhabit is a crazy mix of folklore fantasy with horror-inspired from Le Pacte de Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf),” Derek began. “ I love how that film blends lore from history and fabricates it’s own clever take on the legend of The Beast of Gévaudan. I liked the idea that in the nooks and crannies of 1850 American history, there were mythical creatures and supernatural dealings that permeated the fringes of a growing civilization.”
Derek pitched his comic to me as a simmering campfire cauldron mixed with western films, anime features, & spiced generously with Native American mythology. If I could add to Derek’s pitch, I would say this is very much like a Conan the Barbarian story taking place in the 1800s south. Like many of the classic Conan stories, they begin grounded in a somewhat familiar and historical setting and later introduce the more fantastical elements. What remains constant throughout is how we are reminded that this is a savage world these characters inhabit.
The stand out issues were #1 and #3. In each of these issues, the strengths of the series are on full display. With issue #1, we are introduced to a father and son, who we are led to believe will be the main focus of the arc. A few pages later we meet The Maroon (real name unknown), who is on the run and is being pursued by a posse. As the issue comes to a close, the three are confronted by the posse and #1 concludes with a tragic climax that sets the tone for the rest of the series.
“ While The Maroon is a blending of history with the fantastic, what I really hope comes from this experience, is the further exposure of a pocket an American-created people often blindsided by ‘grander events that pushed American History forward,’ ” Derek added.
Derek’s research into his settings must be applauded as well. Throughout he uses specific historical events as backdrops to his character’s stories. He also goes on to describe specific Native American tribe culture and incorporates their mythology into his story arcs. This shows through best in Issue #3.
By this issue, Derek fully immerses the reader with the fantasy elements of his story. #3 also sheds more light on our main character’s backstory through a brutal hallucinatory dream sequence that bleeds into reality when he comes face to face with a half-owl, half-woman beast. The fight between the two is raw, bloody, and intense. These 10 pages were the highlight of the series for me. Another high point of the issue was when tidbits of The Maroon’s backstory is revealed and he’s forced to meet his past face to face. We learn that he was once in love with a woman above his social class and was tricked by a witch to drink a potion that was promised to make her fall in love with him. The potion instead curses him for life. This was the first time we are offered a look back at who The Maroon is.
My only real critique of the book would be to have more moments like this where we can explore that character’s history. Additional issues are on the rise and I’m sure Derek does have more in store for that.
Thank you for checking out this ComixCentral Review by Contributing Author Anthony Cleveland
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.
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.
This is the book I’ve been the most excited for on this week’s Round-Up and I can’t wait to share it with you guys. The art is insane and the story is a blast. The book has the look and feel of a Skottie Young fever dream done with an old school black and white manga style. It’s cyber-punk, it’s fantasy, it’s kinetic, and it needs more love!
Thane is a crazed pervert that busts out of purgatory with some newly gained bizarre supernatural powers and hits the streets of Karst. Will Thane liven up the city with his new very NSFW party trick, or lose his mind to the same destiny that swallowed the city nearly three decades prior? You can check out the webcomic here.
WHAT THEY NEED:
This is a solo creator doing both story and art in this book. Ashley West needs $4,000 to help with all printing costs and she’s a bit ways off to get there.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT:
It’s a book that’s wholly unique but has a familiar classic indie look and soul. This story and art is the stuff that great indie comics are made of! As I write this, the book is about $3K from its goal with only 12 days to go. When I said it needs love I meant it, folks! Back this book!
Comic shops are drowning in superhero books and it can be excruciating to get your indie superhero comic noticed because of that. You need something new or unique to make the possible reader say to themselves, “Oh, that’s different. Cool!” Gunpowder Witch accomplishes this by setting the story in an alternate history that combines the Salem Witch Trials with X-Men.
Set in 17th century New England: Rebecca Bell manifests supernatural powers and she is branded as a witch. She becomes hunted by a fanatical preacher and is aided by other outcasts with their own unique powers. The fight heats up to a fiery confrontation showing that the flames of justice cannot be extinguished by hatred and intolerance.
WHAT THEY NEED:
They’re very close to their goal, and they just need one good nudge to send them over to the finish line. You don’t have to dig deep to help this comic come to hardback.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT:
This is a type of book that belongs on paper and bound in a hardback. After reading the pitch, I can’t think of a better way this story should be presented. It needs to be cracked open like a witch’s old spell book…minus the dust.
You like horror anthologies with great art? You like Cryptids (Bigfoot, Chupacabra, Mothman)? You wanna see them combined? Hell yes, you do.
FolkTales Of The Cryptids [30 pages] is a collection of 4 short horror tales each centered around a Cryptid legend. 8 Artists were paired up to bring each dark tale to life, resulting in a unique collection of short stories. (You can read one of the stories here.)
WHAT THEY NEED:
This campaign is just starting out and there is still a long way to go. Funds are going towards the Art, Colouring , and Printing.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT:
This is the crew’s 4th Kickstarter. They also have a good track record with fulfilling pledge rewards. “The risk potential for this project is fairly low as the project is 80% complete we’re just colouring the last remaining pages now then finally lettering.”
The Epic Misadventures of Deathbag Issue 3 “Deathbag Goes To Comic-Con”
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!)
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.
“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.
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 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!
Hey everyone! I’m Brian the writer and Co-Creator of RAGS. I have been asked to share my journey from drunken idea to self-publishing our first issue.
The back back way back story:
For those that didn’t know, RAGS has taken almost 3 years from drunken funny concept to release. And like most stories, this wasn’t easy.
A short history of me, I’ve been writing since I was in the fifth grade. Most of my influences were from Japanese animation very early on. Around 1989 my father took a trip to Japan and returned with some Super Nintendo games that perked my interest in everything ANIME. By the time I had reached middle school I had completely watched, on VHS, every episode of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z so when the series finally hit U.S shores, I was ahead of the curve. The importance of this is that I was very heavily inspired by the works of Akira Toriyama. More specifically, his puns. If you pay close attention to his work, you will see that nearly every character he’s created has had some sort of pun-based naming convention. As I inspired myself to write, I attempted to adopt these traits. Early on it did not work out so well, but when you’re a kid everything you do is great right?
Flash forward after graduating High School and 9/11 happens. Being the full bloodied patriot that I am, I rushed to raise my right hand to join up and participate in the war on terror. During my time in the Army, I would continue to write but nothing ever really stuck. I had fans of my writing in my unit, but I was neither fully impressed with my own finished work or I felt I had become too ambitious with the projects I wanted to complete. I attempted to self-publish a full-length novel in 2005, only to find I had been scammed by a Vanity Press and coupled with a few other incidents which we’ll skip, simply stopped writing for a number of years.
Beer, Zombies and a nude mod
On a night that was a-typical of any other night. Trent and I were having a nice fun drunken night of playing Left 4 Dead 2 and attempting to defeat a Map called Yama. This was a difficult map to beat, and on to this day, we have been very unsuccessful at completing it. Anyway, I was using a mod titled: Ravaged Zoey. This mod left one of the female characters in a certain state of undress and to his credit, Trent called me out for utilizing the mod in order to…um…enhance my gameplay. Notably, poor Zoey was left without pants. Trent demanded that I explain myself and, very drunkenly mind you, I came up with an elaborate story about how Zoey was only with the other group of survivors to find clothes and the entire campaign was her quest to locate a comfortable pair of pants. I laughed. Trent laughed. The toaster laughed. I shot the toaster. It was a good time.A few months later I had finally caught the writing bug again and yet, I could not figure out WHAT exactly it was that I should write. So as what most people do in the social media age because it’s the cool thing to do, I decided to let Facebook decide my path for me. I put out a list of old stories I could revisit and possibly give new life to some old characters. Just as the votes were coming in, Trent sent me a message:
Dude! Write a story about that chick looking for pants!
Could I? The concept was stupid, but it was funny. Well at least to us. But after a moment of contemplation, I decided: This is so stupid it just might work!!
Not long after Trent and I began brainstorming. Originally envisioned as an extremely short story the beta version of RAGS started out with an unnamed female protagonist arriving at a Wal-Mart style store, without pants and fully armed to the teeth, but of course minus the pants. She would lose them constantly as she met other survivors or zombies. Always coming out on top, but always bottomless… That had been mulled around a bit but eventually tossed on the floor due to being unable to flesh out the main character, or having a good reason why the loss of pants as a justifiable occurrence. Later, we came up with a working rough draft but decided that instead of novelizing our idea, it would be much more fun if we wrote it as a movie script.
I had never written movie scripts before, and so I went to see the one friend I knew that had. Balam, or Luis as he’s better known as has written many wonderful scripts for movies that will possibly never get made (quite unfortunate but that’s life eh?). I asked him to show how he went about putting his scripts together and after a couple hours of tutelage, I eventually got the hang of things.
Two six packs and three days later I had written the first draft of RAGS: A Zombie Shopping Spree. It was designed to be its own self-contained silly one-shot, however as we shared it around our small network of friends we kept noticing that while initially disgusted with our beginning, people generally enjoyed the story elements and humor overall. Though while the entire concept was outright dumb, they did thoroughly enjoy the journey from beginning to end. Embers underneath the fire if you will.
Next thing we did was shop the story around FB Author groups. This is where we hit out first major roadblock. Immediately the script we share was derided as sexist, misogynistic, and disgustingly vulgar. Just to name a few of the many praises lauded onto us. Our responses got us removed from group after group, until we settled into another group titled Fiction Writing. There we actually met a few authors who saw the gem hidden in the coals of our script and agreed to help us polish things. Eventually, we were kicked out of this group as well. Cie Le Vie.
Regina Ragowski: The mama Leopard
One of the main issues that plagued us, in the beginning, was that our protagonist initially didn’t have a name, personality and they lacked any real depth. We were at a loss as to what to do as we thought our current script was perfect. Nameless heroine on a quest for pants, small town mall, Jill’s Sandwiches, puns galore what was not to love? After some collaboration, we eventually decided to do what any other sane person would do, and dropped the entire thing the trash and start over again. To add depth to the character that we needed, we realized that we needed a character with a name. A name that would kinda stick. So Trent and I got drunk again and went back to L4D2 to brainstorm. Ya know. Science. It was there, as when we’re doing our best to sabotage each other’s efforts at survival that Trent had the epiphany: Dude, we should name her Regina Ragamuffin. To which I responded: Nah man, Ragowski! Like the Big Lebowski but Ragowski!
Needless to say, we think we nailed it there.
Secondly, we needed a personality type. A realistic one. Not a Mary-Sue or a typical tsundere anime girl. We needed legit real personalities to humanize and create a character that you could root for, despite their flaws. While pondering how I should go about this Liz Finnegan had tweeted out: “Get your heads out of your dickholes you WHORE REFS!”
Yeah. It was right then and there I was sold. SOOOO SOLD!
At the time too, I decided to reach out to some female battle buddies of mine from the ARMY to interview them about their input on their unique life experiences and things they had to deal with during their time in the Military. Combining all these things with our character, Regina, finally being given a name, a history and a personality that appropriately matched, all she needed was a face….
Making a Baby:
Movie treatment in hand, polished (4th or 9th time) and ready to rock we came to the conclusion that it was time to start pitching to Netflix and Amazon. Well long story short, we were rejected. Flat out. It seemed as the studio heads there didn’t believe in the subtle nuance a story about a naked woman and her quest for pants could tell and at the same time entertain an audience that wasn’t a bunch of pervs. In that moment of double rejection, we then decided: Fuck it, we’ll make it a comic!
Not knowing how to write comics scripts was another HUGE roadblock. But we took the time to read books on how to write the MARVEL way, studied how IMAGE and DC writers handled their scripts and said: Fuck that noise!
Eventually, we found a style that suited our needs and got right to work. We placed feelers out into the net and reached out to multiple artists before we got our first hit. Recommended to us by a mutual online friend who does short comic work, this artist we reached out to gave us the first real rendition of Regina.
This was great, however, the script and description we gave to them involved a tattoo to be placed on Regina’s left leg. The artist took it upon themselves to change the placement of the tattoos and at first, we were upset…
…however the look ended up growing on us so we just went with it. This same artist was also commissioned to complete 5 pages in a timely manner, however, they went radio silent for long periods of time. So, while they were silent we searched for a second artist that would be able to meet our needs and not just vanish. While we did enjoy their work, the inability to effectively collaborate and the long periods of silence eventually forced us to find another partner.
The second artist we reached out too, this time working with our third drafted script, promised to deliver pages and work on time. However, he quickly showed to us that he did not have the same passion as Trent and I had for our story and script. We fired this artist, and surprisingly they begged for a second chance. We gave it to them, however, they still failed to meet simple deadlines. 6 pages of inks took 6 months or more to receive. And knowing that we would be attempting more pages in a shorter period of time, we found this completely unacceptable and fired this person again. We never got our money or our time back.
All of this would lead us to Sasha. I had worked her before on some small things. And wanted to give her a shot at RAGS. We had the rapport. I knew her work ethic. I wanted to take a chance. So I commissioned a Regina concept from her and it turned out wonderful! Unfortunately, due to personal reasons Sasha had to focus on other things and wasn’t available to work with us. At this time, we honestly were deciding what we should do. We’d already poured in the money to artists. Set up the webpage, domain, set up the Facebook group, the Reddit page. I had just finished setting up our Patreon and T-shirt/ Merchandise store to hopefully help crowdfund our project, but I was curious as to what I could do to get this thing out of the water when there were already multiple gaping holes in our boat. We were lost and dejected and honestly felt as though we had given it a good attempt. To cut our losses and at least be proud that we tried to do something fun while most people would sit back and complain about things.
Hail Mary, or rather Hail Liz!
So as everyone knows by now, that we based Regina around Liz Finnegan’s football tweets and her face. This was initially supposed to be just another one of the many Easter eggs I had planned. As a nod to those that knew and an ‘oh that’s cool’ to those that didn’t. Well, I didn’t have official permission, so with the house around us seemingly burning down at a high rate, I decided to reach out to Liz and inform her of our intentions. The thought was if she said yes, then we’d continue. But a No would let us know that this project wasn’t meant to come to life and to move back to doing other things. I honestly did not believe I would get a response, or rather I didn’t expect to receive such a positive one from her. She enjoyed it. She was a fan. We had a reason to make this shit happen. I passed her blessing onto Trent and we felt renewed. And as if karma was rewarding us for our perseverance that’s also when we found Luigi.
Separately from this RAGS project, I had been working on something of a MARVEL Fan comic. Again, testing the waters and teaching myself the ins and outs and nuances of things of making comics just for knowledge’s sake. I had commissioned an artist, who I felt scammed me out of a potentially fun project and a beaucoup amount of money. As the animosity between us grew Luigi eventually stepped in and finished the work all the while remaining professional the entire time. Even with my demands for compensation being delivered in a cruel manner (I’m really an asshole in real life.), Luigi maintained complete utter professionalism and delivered to me this: Regina-Chan 2.0 as we called it. Everything about it was perfect. The onesie. The eyes. The freckles. The trigger discipline. It was at this time as we were completing my other side project, that I decided to throw another hail mary and put the offer out. If our previous interactions had been contentious I had doubts that he would accept anything additional that I would request.
Back on track and ready to rock, I felt the need to go back and hand Luigi a script that was worthy of his talents. This script was the first half of issue #1 that Trent and I agreed would be a good test to see how Luigi worked and see if he was a good fit for future works.
Well, needless to say, that what he sent in to us next made our jaws drop. It was at this point. This moment we knew. We immediately went all in and gave Luigi an open deadline to get things done. It was tough, there was a bunch of back and forth and loads of frustration. To this day I still think somewhere he rolls his eyes whenever he sees my email populate in his inbox. But good lord. Without Luigi, RAGS would probably still just be some pipe dream between two drunk guys and a nude mod.
The lesson here to take home is that if you believe in a project, no matter how silly or dumb it may seem. No matter what comments or putdowns that others who don’t know the intricacies of your work. You should just F.I.D.O:
Fuck It.Drive On.
Sure, we will probably never see a full return on the hours and money we’ve spent. But at the end of the day, Trent, Luigi and I will bring to the world our baby. A story about a something near and dear to me, PTSD and overcoming self-guilt. We’re bringing Trent’s great plots, outlines, and story concepts to life in a meaningful way. And hopefully, we’re bringing forward into the spotlight, the amazing talents of a man who deserves to be the lead of animation company. Even if this isn’t a success, it will be all be worth it, because, at the beginning of all this, I did get to meet the amazing person that inspired us and drove us to move onward despite the hurdles and setbacks. And with that, my bucket list is complete.
Wanna know how to handle any con the nerd nation throws at you? Wanna know how to raise a family and still make money doing comics?
Wanna know how to separate yourself from the pack when you’re at a table surrounded by hundreds, or even thousands of storytellers? Wanna learn how to juggle the art and business of collaboration? Look no further than this podcast and the sage advice of Australia’s number one indie comic universe maker Mr. Shaun Keenan.
Shaun used to go to between 20 and 30 cons or more per year as a result of his vastly successful Xtreme Champion Tournament universe and of course his very successful memorabilia platform, Comics2Movies. He’s dropped back to around 20 per year because he’s got the courage and skill set to juggle his passion for nerd culture with fatherhood. Heed this man’s ear if you want to learn how to live several successful lives at once. It’s not easy, but it is worth it, and there are lots of valuable lessons to be had along the way.
Shaun and I talk about what made his book special compared to other indie comics in a similar market and how you can work a con to your advantage by being genuine. We also learn how to set up a con table properly, how to make everything visible to your audience, and how to have a conversation and a “pitch” at the same time.
No man is an island in the world of indie comics, and Shaun has somehow managed to bring together 6 talented people who are all passionate about the Xtreme Champion Tournament universe over the last several years and beyond. He talks about how to have fun and treat comics like a business in the same blink, as well some emotional and memorable moments that can only be experienced at cons if you’ve put yourself out there for the sake of your audience.
Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, we couldn’t get through the episode without talking about the incredible support that only a significant other can provide and, of course, the importance of family. He’s our first interviewer all the way from Australia and we certainly hope he isn’t the last. We’re excited to have XCT shared on the website, and he even clued me in on some top secret opportunities that just may pop up in the near future. We’ve been promised a first glance, but I don’t want to give it all away. Taking your con experience to the next level is one thing, but hidden beneath the sage advice is that moment all indie comic creators are looking for. That moment when comics go from being a story on a page to an interactive personal experience.
The zombie sub-genre is a blast, but it’s a bit saturated with the “same old, same old.” How many zombie outbreak stories do we need? How many wasteland wandering zombie stories are there? …Well, how about a zombie story that deals with the end of the plague. We don’t have very many of those, do we? And that’s just ONE reason to back Zombies’ End!
“A living head in a bucket and his zombie daughter, who are said to hold the key to mankind’s survival, are transported by three brave soldiers through the apocalypse. As the head struggles to maintain sanity and focus, he realizes his disjointed visions are not entirely unreal and must convince mankind that the solution to this zombie horror will be more extraordinary than anyone imagines.”
WHAT THEY NEED :
FUNDRAISING STATUS: URGENT!!! 14 days to go and $6,000 to needed! Funds will go to production, printing, and shipping.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :
It sounds like a blast! A last stand / final mission type of story with a touch of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia or Sin City’s The Big Fat Kill thrown in there. Give this unique zombie story a few bucks and see how the plague finally comes to an end!
New Gore Shriek issues could be on the way if this Kickstarter is successful! For those that aren’t familiar with Gore Shriek — This was one of the best horror anthologies of the 80s and featured many creators that are now huge names in the industry. A staple of this series was its no-holds-barred horror with some darkly imaginative artists.
A horror anthology that will produce three 48 page issues in 2018.
WHAT THEY NEED :
Previous Kickstarter and a demand from Gore Shriek fans led to the idea to create subscription plans and new comics. There’s about a month to go and $19,000 to get there. A highlight of this Kickstarter is in the rewards. At just $10 you receive a digital subscription to the books for 2018. That’s a steal. And the rewards only get better and better.
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :
Old school horror anthologies are making a come back ( check out Creeps for example ). Gore Shriek needs to be back too! Who knows what other indie creators this book might launch or inspire!
I’m a sucker for historical stories in comics, especially when they’re stories that don’t get as much attention as they should. We Shall Fight Until We Win is a graphic novel anthology that takes a look at some historical women from the UK over that last 100 years and tells their stories “in colourful, illustrated snapshots – some stories are well known, some less so – all worthy of note. “
The anthology features stories from a few women from each decade: “From suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst and Sophia Duleep Singh, through the defining ‘firsts’ in politics like Nancy Astor, the first female member of Parliament, and Diane Abbott, the first black woman to hold a seat in the House of Commons, to many of the women campaigning and heading up politics today, this graphic novel brings together a mix of creators across the UK to illustrate the numerous stories from the last century.”
WHAT THEY NEED :
They’re about a month away from a goal of $11K. Funds will be going mainly to their contributors and to printing. “Both 404 Ink and BHP are publishers with numerous titles in their back catalogue and we’re comfortable with the process of creating publications and shipping worldwide between our two teams, and anticipate no problems.”
WHY YOU SHOULD BACK IT :
I’ll let them explain why-
“We wanted to create a reminder of how far women’s rights have come over a century and, conversely, where we have left to go. We’re looking back to the women who shaped our current climate or trailblazed.”
Wanna know what it takes to succeed in indie publishing? Wanna know how to really engage with a fan base, get their attention, and keep it? Wanna know how to come at this industry from a place of service and come out on top on the other side? This is the podcast for you.
It’s my distinct pleasure to interview the one and only Peter Simeti of Alterna Comics. Peter is also famous for his indie horror masterpiece The Chair, which was ultimately turned into a film not too long ago. Bottom line: this guy knows indie comics and we’ve got a front row seat to his mastery.
Peter and I talked about falling in and out of love with comics over the years. Getting into publishing was initially about giving his own stories a voice, but he kept coming across the tremendous talents of others and he just couldn’t keep the magic to himself. We talk about developing a genuine relationship with your followers and friends on social media. We talk about when and how to go for “the ask.” We also talk about what Peter looks for in a story so if you’re interested in pitching your work than this episode is definitely a can’t miss. Last but not least we talk about the cliches of the comic world and how to make your comic just a little different, even if you do insist on writing another superhero story.
Peter Simeti has already reset the chess board of publishing by bringing back newsprint.
As a marketer and creator, you can learn a lot from Peter in terms of what it means to really disrupt an industry. This is especially inspiring for someone who was on the verge of considering bankruptcy just before having a book get on the New York Times Bestseller List in 2012. It takes a long period of dedicated hard work to build a service that stands above the rest. There’s no question that Peter Simeti is breaking through the surface and I’ve got a feeling that this is still just the beginning for Alterna Comics. We’re proud to support what he’s doing for creators and fans alike and if you want to be a game changer this is the man to emulate for now and years to come.
The First Annual Comics of the Year Awards – 2017 Edition
2017 was an astounding year of firsts here at ComixCentral. When we opened the doors in March of 2017, we could have never imagined that so many incredible Comics of exceptional quality would be added to our marketplace in such a short time. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that the community we love so much has embraced us and chosen to sell their work on ComixCentral. We thank you all for joining us on this amazing journey, and we look forward to growing together for many years to come.
With that said, this year’s nominations were excruciating to choose. We love each and every comic on our site, and the competition was fierce! We’d like to thank all of you talented creators, and I hope you know how hard it was for our team to vote this year. But, as my 10th-grade gym coach once told me, “A little competition is good for the soul!” and we’ll add, great for our industry!
We can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2018! And with that… here are this year’s winners!
Comic”Skylin 001: Old Remnants
Long ago, the six nations fell victim to the ruthless tyranny of the Demon King and his Serpen. He burned all who opposed him and spared few. With little hope for liberation, nobles from each nation journeyed to an ancient floating city where they pleaded to the Spirits for help. Six warriors, one from each nation, were granted a powerful Serpen of their own, which they used to defeat the Demon King.
The White Room of the Asylum 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 beginning a series of events that stretches Steve’s sanity to its limits, offers a chance at redemption, and leaves a man too broken to fix.
Imagine an alternative gamingverse. One where TV games you’ve never heard of (yet, somehow, find oh-so familiar) are the norm. If only there was an awesome mix of comics and video games magazines to let you in on what’s going on? Thank Mr.Jump!’s ghost, it’s SMART BOMB!!
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.
Busted Knuckle Press presents: ‘Bastard Son: Murderborn’, a horror graphic novel. ORIGINS OF A SLASHER – 120+ PAGES OF BLOOD AND MADNESS! Created by Frank T. Allen & Marco “Sbrillo” Fontanili. Lettering by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. Chapter One cover by Jacen Burrows.
A band of survivors travel across North America after a biological weapon turns the world’s greatest superheroes into horrifying abominations. The first issue of Folklore’s ongoing story, collected in this easy to enjoy PDF! Purchased issues help support the ongoing creation of Folklore, but you can find all our pages for free at http://folklorecomic.com/ or support Folklore directly by visiting our Patreon at patreon.com/Folklore
Dildo Boy Origins is an XXX rated short comic which satirises the chauvinistic, adolescent male power fantasies of the superhero canon. Written, coloured, and lettered by Doktor Geraldo. Illustrated by Stefani Magician’s House. @DoktorGeraldo @MagiciansHouse In association with Digital Pastiche.
Renegade Psychic. Professional Hairstylist. This is not your usual paranormal adventure. This is about the rise of a new kind of hero. Or, rather, the reluctant rise of a hero. Meet Bob Holbreck, a talented guy who has mad hairstyling skills. He owns and operates a nice little shop in the trendy part of town. His clientele is building with loyal customers. Bob truly knows what looks good on a customer before they do. How does he do it? How does he know what to do with a head of hair? Well, Bob has other talents. There are those who may consider it a gift. Like his great-grandfather, who is at odds about Bob’s future career choice. Bob just wants to be a hairstylist and make people feel good about themselves; Gramps wants him to cash in on his psychic abilities.
In a world where vampires and demon ilk are very, very real, two agencies work to keep the world safe from the forces of darkness. Demon Eradication And Denial (DEAD LLC) is a corporate entity that charges itself with the training and employment of demon slayers – specialists in combating magical beings. Living Corpses that Bite (LC & B) is a tax exempt public entity that relies on time proven traditions to keep humanity safe from vampires. When hunting evil evolved into blue collar work, the evil had to evolve.
In the new millennia, SinTech, a private government contract corporation began developing a serum to turn ordinary soldiers into werewolves. With the backing of the US military, SinTech perfected the serum. In 2014, they created the first “wolf pack” of soldiers. What they didn’t expect to create was Marrok.
Vaughn Miller is a mild-mannered cellphone plan salesman who was bitten by a dying werewolf. Now, whenever trouble rears its ugly head, he transforms into a werewolf….IN HIS HANDS! Pursued by the evil Professor Orchid and his army of Frankensteins, Vaughn turns to his far-more-capable girlfriend Jenny Rose to get him out of this increasingly sticky situation. Madcap adventures and cartooney ultra-violence ensue! Written by Justin Heggs with art by Nick Johnson.
Marine Corps Veteran Regina Ragowski is trapped naked and alone in the town of Paso Robles during the Zombie Outbreak. In order to survive she’ll need to avoid the zombies and find food, shelter and weapons…but most importantly….a clean pair of pants.
This is the perfect episode for you. We’ve got the indie Hollywood man who does it all. Kyle Hester is an actor, producer, art director and more. He’s got plenty of credits to his name and all the humility and wisdom that comes with it. He’s a spitfire king of the road mix master who knows how to handle everything from emotional transformation to social media sorcery. He’s a tremendous storyteller with humor for days, and that’s just me getting started.
Kyle and I definitely get into the nature of Hollywood hustle but Kyle’s not your run-of-the-mill camera king. He could have gone full Hollywood like some of his counterparts but he chose to keep it indie and his advice reflects a passion for new projects that deserve to be seen. Of course, we get into his upcoming films like Preacher Six and Zombie with a Shotgun, but we also got to share in the hard times that come along with running on all four cylinders for the sake of success. We talk about everything from crowdfunding to set building. We talk mentorship and creative growth. We talk about Kyle working with his wife on Preacher Six and how it came about and of course we talk about similarities between indie film and indie comics. Hey, we even talk about Peter Simeti of Alterna Comics and Kyle’s work on the film adaptation of his horror graphic novel The Chair.
Other head nods include talk around Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America World and our mutual respect for Naomi Grossman of American Horror Story fame. She plays The Blue Nun in Preacher Six so you definitely don’t wanna miss this. He’s the most inspiring man you’ll find in indie this side of the Netherrealm.
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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
When I was a kid, my reading genre of choice was High Fantasy: J.R.R. Tolkien, David Eddings, LLoyd Alexander, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan etc.
While I still love those books, my current reading genre of choice has become Urban Fantasy: A story set in the modern world but there’s something supernatural afoot. Many of the most popular books of the last 20 years have fallen into this category: Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, and nearly everything by Neil Gaiman to name far too few examples.
Two of my favorite Urban Fantasy series is The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs. For both of these authors, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are comic books based in their universes that were written by the authors themselves. While it is not too uncommon to find a comic book adaptation of popular books (which has also happened for these two authors), it is less common to have original stories added in a different format by the original author and these stories are part of the canon of that universe.
One reason I feel that this works so well in the context of Butcher and Briggs is that they both have written quite a few short stories set in their worlds, and the comic books have the feel of an additional short story but in comic form. Both are avowed comic book fans, and Butcher even wrote a Spider-Man novel.
Both Butcher and Briggs have written multiple comic book stories set in their own literary world, but I am going to focus on 2 stories in particular.
The Dresden Files follow the story of Harry Dresden, a Chicago based private investigator who happens to also be a wizard.
Each story covers one of Harry’s cases. This way of framing the story cleverly allows for the insertion of smaller stories into the overall narrative. The Graphic Novel “Welcome to the Jungle” is set slightly before book one of the series, “Storm Front.” Yet, while it is technically a prequel to the main series, there have been short stories set earlier. This story is considered canon and, while unable to find the quote while skimming through the books, I seem to remember a character in one of the novels making a comment about “That incident at the zoo,” which was a reference to this story.
On the flip side, this comic also highlights one of the series long running gags. Harry, who is ridiculously tall, drives Volkswagen Beetle affectionately known as “The Blue Beetle.” This car in almost every book gets smashed up in one way or another and has been rebuilt using parts from other beetles, of many different colors.
The Blue Beetle is featured in the comic and is actually blue. At first, I thought this was an inking error, but then realized, this story takes place when the Beetle was actually blue and as a result of this story gets its first replacement part. It may seem like a small thing, but noticing that continuity was fun. It also shows how Butcher as the architect of this world can throw in which is essentially just an easter egg for fans paying attention and more directly connect this story to the novels.
Welcome to the Jungle itself begins with a mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo, which at first seems like an animal attack. But when Harry Dresden looks at the crime scene he knows that this is more than just an animal attack, it is something supernatural and he is given just 24 hours to figure it out.
The story is 4 issues long and is most easily purchased digitally in single issues, as a graphic novel (digitally or in print) or as a part of the Dresden Files Omnibus Vol. 1 trade paperback.
The story is well worth reading, and as previously mentioned feels like one of the Dresden Files short stories. It is a fun trip into the world of the Dresden Files and works both as a great introduction to the series as well as a fun way for fans to experience this world in a new way.
There is an ongoing joke about the cover art of The Dresden Files. On the book covers Harry is always depicted as wearing a hat. In the books, it is a point made over and over that Harry hates hats. It is fun to see this character as he is described in the books, and the only way to do that is to read the comic.
The Mercy Thompson series is about Mercy Thompson, a coyote shapeshifter who was raised by werewolves.
She works as a mechanic and lives in Washington State. In her world, the fey has recently revealed their existence and at the start of book one, “Moon Called,” the werewolves are about to reveal their existence. Mercy, though raised by the werewolves, is an outsider because she is not one. This status as a perpetual outsider lets her create friendships with not only the werewolves, but the fey, and even vampires. She is a fascinating character not because she is the most powerful (She is not.) but because she has so many connections with so many parts of the supernatural world.
According to the front matter of the graphic novel Hopcross Jilly: “The events of Hopcross Jilly occur between Mercy Thompson novels Frost Burned and Night Broken, and just after the events in Dead Heat (Alpha and Omega #4)”. (Alpha and Omega is another series set in the same world focusing on different characters, with quite a few interconnections.)
While the story of Hopcross Jilly can be read and understood without reading the books, book readers will know that due to book events, the Fey have withdrawn into “reservations,” but some fey are either being let out of the reservations or escaping and causing trouble. A book reader will know this, someone new to the story will discover this as they read.
The story uses its connections to the world very well. In the course of the mystery, Mercy goes to various friends searching for answers, book readers will love these cameos. My favorite is when she gets in touch with the fey Zee. In the books, he is a short potbellied balding man. He is also a fey wearing a glamor. In the course of the entire book series he has only dropped his glamor a couple of times, but in the comic he chooses not to have his glamor on, and he strikes a very impressive figure. It’s a great easter egg for fans.
Hopcross Jilly begins with Mercy and the Tri-Cities werewolf pack stumbling over the buried bones of dead children. These kids were clearly killed in a ritualistic way that seems to indicate fey. Yet, many want to blame the werewolves as the ones responsible. At the same time, Mercy’s step-daughter Jesse is having a tough time at school due to her father being one of the public faces of the now “out” werewolves, and this new development makes things even worse.
The story is 6 issues long and is most easily purchased as a trade paperback in either digital or physical form.
This is actually one of my favorite stories set in the Mercy Thompson world (in any format). The story is well told. Mercy and her husband Adam are legitimately interesting characters and Jesse, a character we have seen grow up in the books gets to shine in this story and shows how much she has evolved since the beginning of the series. Also, the stories villain, the Hopcross Jilly, is legitimately disturbing and that sense of creepiness has stuck with me. Needless to say, I highly recommend it!
There are other comics set in these worlds. All of The Dresden File comics are canon. The Mercy Thompson ones are canon with and Asterix.
Hopcross Jilly is unequivocally canon. However, in the case of the Mercy Thompson graphic novel Homecoming, which serves as a prequel to Moon Called, Briggs has stated that because of the comic book format she has modified some small parts of the story. In Moon Called, we learn from dialog and flashbacks how Mercy came to live in Washington State and how she became a mechanic. Homecoming is that story explicitly being told. Small details like how Mercy got her cat were modified. Briggs notes how “comic Mercy” and “book mercy” are slightly different, and this extends to the adaptations of the books into graphic novels. She again states that the changes were made to streamline the story and better “show” the story in the comic book format. To me that means aside from these slight changes to help tell the story within the medium, these are the same characters from the books.
Interestingly, All these comics are published by the same studio, Dynamite Entertainment.
Dynamite seems to specialize in these crossover properties. Currently, on their website, they are advertising a Song of Ice and Fire comic, a Robocop comic, a Xena comic and even a comic based on the Pathfinder tabletop world. While all these crossover properties are very cool, I am still struck by the fact that Butcher and Briggs wrote their comics and made their comics part of the canon of their literary worlds.
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.
On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews Julio Guerra.
In the words of Julio’s profound character Deathbag, “Grumble, grumble, grunt, grumble, grunt.” We couldn’t have said it better. With all seriousness, pop your earphones on, turn up the volume on your bluetooth speaker, tell Alexa to play it loud, however you choose to listen, listen up… we’re joined today by the hilarious and inspiring Indie comic creator, Juilo Guerra. Let’s do this.
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! 🙂
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!
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!
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!
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.
On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks interviews our 2017 CXC Inktober Contest Winner!
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.
On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks goes deep into the mind of a Comicbook superfan!
Get some insight and perspective into what makes a fan, how to find your audience and how to keep your readers happy. Chris and Rick discuss what makes a story addictive, what causes a reader to lose interest and how to capture a fan for life.
It’s market research 101. Get out your notepads comic creators!
Rick Osowksi is a self-described Computer Geek, Sports Nut, Magic: The Gathering Nerd, Solution Architect at IBM Cloud and Hobbyist-at-large. Connect with Rick and check out his Podcast using the links below:
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.
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.
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)
If ever there was a field where independent creators have it rough, it’s the comic book industry.
Completing any project can be a feat in itself but with comics, you have to have it all (as in finished comic book product) and hope that you can recoup your expenses monetarily or at least in the capital of prestige/notoriety.
So, as a way to help guide indie creators to greater heights, I talked to several different comic book stores about their ordering processes, how indie books make it to their shelves, what books seem to sell and ideas on getting indie books in stores. If you don’t already, you should fully understand the juggernaut you’re up against coming out of the gates. Out of the stores contacted the majority reported their independent/non-DC/Marvel titles sales were only 5-20%. Since Image was included in these numbers (which is essentially just a smaller version of the Big Two) it’s safe to assume the percentage for non-Image independent books drops even further. Obviously, as in any competition against established products, the uphill battle is very steep indeed. But not impossible, and this is where the owners have keener sight and advice.
1. Any Insight into why certain titles seem to take off compared to other titles? What seems to misfire?
Dave Michaels of eXpertComics: “I find what works in the indies better than anything is word of mouth. If a book is not doing well, it is probably because the fans and retailers are not spreading the word in the shops and online.
Jim Drucker of NewKadia.com: “Marketers have been trying for about 150 years to figure out what products the public will grab onto. You never know.”
Benn Ray, co-owner of Atomicbooks.com: “I think some non-DC/Marvel titles fail because many are uninspired 3rd rate DC/Marvel/Image/Dark Horse wannabe books. The publishers are simply trying to create what other publishers are already doing better, maybe in the hopes of securing a job with those publishers. Some creators seem to think “indie” is simply a step up the rung. I also think many floundering indie titles could benefit from stronger editors. Overall, crappy art, lame writing, uninspired storytelling. In many cases, you can judge a bad book by its cover.”
John Robinson, co-owner of Graham Crackers Comics: “Indie titles are just like a mainstream book. It’s like Batman except his butler is a girl! Whoa. It’s like Superman only he’s kind of a jerk. It’s like Justice League only they hate each other.”
2. How does the person responsible for ordering make their specific choice of titles and the quantity they order?
Dave Michaels: We specifically have on online subscription service. I believe we order based on what is pre-ordered mostly, and secondly, we try to order based on mainstream exposure and/or ‘hype.’”
Jim Drucker: “Based on past sales of those titles.”
Ryan Liebowitz, owner of Golden Apple: “Diamond Previews is our main catalog but we also look at emails, mailings and get many calls and visits directly from creators and publishers alike. Generally, we will look at the creative team, publisher credibility, story concept and artwork to help determine ordering levels.”
Benn Ray: “I think my filter works something like this: if the book looks like a wannabe DC/Marvel superhero book, I’m not ordering it. If it’s a hokey-looking genre book, sci-fi/ fantasy, I’m not inclined to order it. If I’ve never heard of the publisher, the writer, or the artist, it’s unlikely I’m going to take a chance on that book. If the art looks poorly computer colored, computer-generated or the story concept seems hackneyed, I’m probably not going to order it. If the art looks “manga-inspired” I’m probably going to skip the book. My store focuses on alternative/underground books, so I’m more apt to carry those. If it’s a publisher I recognize as doing quality work, if the book has artists/writers I know I have an audience for, I’m more apt to carry their book. I’d rather miss an issue or two of a new comic and have customers ask me to order it than get stuck with a really crappy book that I”m embarrassed to have on my shelves that I can’t get rid of.”
John Robinson: “Managers base their ordering on their personal tastes, number of pre-orders from customers and the current amount of buzz surrounding the title.”
3. In terms of sales does anything stand out to you as remarkable from the past few years, as far as indie publishing?
Dave Michaels: “I don’t know if this counts but I would say the resurgence of Archie and the whole relaunch of the Archie line of comics shocks me. Whoever decided to reboot the line in that way is absolutely brilliant! I think the indie market should be thinking about tapping into that fan base.
Jim Drucker: “TV shows and movies and other mass media and massive social media all contribute to sales of various titles.”
Ryan Liebowitz: “Image Comics are starting to outsell Marvel and DC titles. We also have seen much success from publishers like Black Mask, Boom!, Valiant and others on select titles.”
Benn Ray: “We’ve seen a big resurgence in interest in self-published mini-comic.”
4. Any advice or suggestions as to how someone with a self-published book would best go about getting it on comic book store shelves?
Dave Michaels: “My best advice for indie creators would be to use the times and social media as much as possible. We live in a big “convention era.” Try to get booths at cons both big and small, do panels, interact with fans. Also, the internet and social media is our best tool today. Get online make Facebook pages, do the Twitter thing, get a Kickstarter going. These are the best avenues we have today. Also, go to local comic shops and ask them to put your stuff on the shelf. There are not many stores that won’t support local content. Make friends and fans and get out there!”
Jim Drucker: “ A, have a ground-breaking idea. There is no substitute for quality and originality. No amount of great marketing can sell AND maintain sales for a lousy product. B, have a strong social media presence. If young musicians can find a worldwide audience from YouTube, aspiring writers and artists and comic book creators can to with the right product. C, have the necessary capital. Starting any new business takes a great product but it is expensive. I have seen HUNDREDS of comic books that published only one issue. Many, deservedly so. But some, I thought had some potential, but for reasons unknown to me, there was never a second or third issue. My guess is that poor early sales sapped their budget. There are countless examples of products in other industries that took YEARS to catch on. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you may not stay in business long enough to catch on.”
Ryan Liebowitz: “Self-published works that are not solicited through Diamond are very difficult to get onto shelves. Their stronghold on the industry is criminal and another distributor needs to form to help all publishers get into the hands of comic book fans.”
Benn Ray: “There is no magic bullet or quick fix or trick to this.”
John Robinson: “The thing I tell anyone that is self-publishing is to take a hard look at their own buying habits. Ask yourself some questions. Do you buy Stray Bullets every month? Are you interested in Zombie Tramp? What indie titles have gotten you to buy them faithfully month after month and what was it that got you to try them? I constantly get people that buy only Marvel/DC type books doing their own self-published book and not understanding why no one buys it. Every item in the store is fighting for your attention–what’s unique about your property? Could be just great art. Could be it fills a niche that is currently not being filled in the marketplace.”
So there you have it, folks, straight from the mouths of those who know and want to see indie, self-publishers and creators succeed.
There are certainly a few key takeaways. Even if you can’t use a hot established property such as Archie, maybe try and tap into the essence of what is attracting so much attention today both in comics and Comic related TV programming. Support other indie/self-published books. Research and explore the market. Be original, don’t clone the big Marvel/DC titles. Or if you do, put a real spin on it that no one has read before. (It’s the Justice League but they’re vampire zombies!) Lastly, and most importantly, network the hell out of yourself and your book. Without that, even the greatest of indie comic books will stay undiscovered.
*A seriously big thanks to all the people and establishments that took the time to answer my questions and help propel, if even only a small amount, the world of indie and self-published comics.
Episode #13 – Interview with Comicbook Creator and Illustrator Nick Johnson
On this weeks episode of “Adventures in Interviewing” Chris Hendricks gets behind-the-curtain access to illustration wizard Nick Johnson, the artist and co-creator of the comedy-horror series “Wolf Hands.” In a world overrun with social media creators are reminded that success lies hidden within the weeds of personal conversation and the belief that art is much more than ink on a page.
Every month we run around Kickstarter looking for stuff that really bakes our potato! And this roundup has gone up a whole.. nother.. level. Come on in and stay a while! Watch some rockin’ trailers, learn about some great comics and then put your money behind some incredible and worthy independent creator’s creations.
And with that, may we present the CXC Crowdfunding Roundup, October 1st, 2017 edition.
Charon Comics is printing for the first time their three outstanding series’: Sol Survivor #1, Skylin #1, and Tales of Charon Vol 1.
All the books are completely colored, lettered and ready to print. They’ve already secured the printer they will be using and are ready to go. Which means no risk to the backers.
Do you ever get that feeling like something is so cool – I mean, looks so badass – is SO awesome… that you have to have it in your hands? Well, we do, and the good folks at Charon Comics get it. That’s why they’re running this impressive Kickstarter Campaign to print 3 of their gorgeous titles…not to mention one of the 3 is actually 5! ANTHOLOGY! So much action, horror, fantasy, samurai stuff and chicks who kick ass all in the palm of your hands, on your shelf and ready to be poured over from cover to cover. (Just don’t bend the spine, ya’ll know these are gonna’ be collector’s items!) Ok, enough chit-chat, head over to the campaign and put your dollar down!
Two mice lost in a cursed land must avoid monstrous predators and find a way home before it’s too late to save their colony.
We have been obsessively watching Scurry for a very long time and were thrilled to find this campaign! Albeit a little late:( But you all still have a chance to get in on this incredible campaign. The art? Astounding. The story? Heart pounding good fun. Adorable level? Maximum. Scurry has it all, and Doug to boot. (His eating powers are impressive!) With only a few days left to go, you still have time to Scurry on over to Kickstarter and get your copy(ies)! Let’s help this astoundingly talented independent creator, Mac Smith continue to bring the world of Scurry to our world!
Marlon Ramos stands as one man against a society descending into hell on earth.
The Realest Bayani is an independent comic book created from the mind of Hip-Hop artist, Mark “Marvel” Teodosio. This comic book brings to life the cultural heritage of the Philippines. The Realest Bayani follows a man by the name of Marlon “Pirate” Ramos who is in fact based on Mark Marvel’s cousin who passed away not too long ago.
Although this Comic clearly has an important and personal motivation for the creators; which we appreciate and applaud, we have to say first and foremost… this Comic looks BADASS! Illustrator Shawn McArthur is absolutely crushing these pages and pinups! That said, please support this passionate team’s effort to make a social impact through their Comic with a message. “In a world of love, power & corruption a man can only stand by for so long. Marlon Ramos stands as one man against a society descending into hell on earth.” — The Realest Bayani
A meeting between the Stranger and El Diablo sheds light on what the hell is going on. Evil Goats make their way into San Pueblo.
You had me at Goatpocalypse. But seriously, wtf is happening? This is one of those campaigns that stopped us in our tracks, pulled us in and then proceeded to blow our minds with awesome art and evil goats. Sometimes you have to own things that make you go… whaaaaaaaaaaa? If you love weird, gore and total insanity, this is the Kickstarter for you! Come get your GOAT ON!