Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
After wowing us with Five Fists of Science, shocking us with Our Love Is Real and winning over the mainstream with Wolverine & The X-Men and S.W.O.R.D., Kansas City comics creator Steven Sanders is going back to square one with a simple idea: Create a whole new world.
Sanders is doing so with his elaborate mixed-media book Symbiosis, now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. He describes Symbiosis as “exploring a world where all technology is powered by biological engines that are deeply linked to humans,” told through a series of texts and illustrations.
We get links a lot of Kickstarter projects, but very rarely do I see one that seems quite as magical as Goldtiger, by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton. Well, I say Adams and Broxton, but there is another conceptual level to this project. The book is presented as if a high-end archival edition of a legendary lost newspaper strip by a pair of fictional creators, Antonio Barreti and Louis Shaeffer, with the story of their descent into dysfunction and madness affecting the contents of the strip accompanying it.
It’s a post-modern conceit that allows Adams and Broxton to both produce a fun homage to their favorite vintage newspaper adventure strips, and wryly comment on the psychological damage producing comics has all-too-often wreaked upon the writers and artists of the form. Most of all, though, it’s some great-looking comics: Broxton has provided us with some exclusive examples from the work in progress, and they’re all gorgeous.
To add a further level of intrigue to this story, “Jimmy Broxton” is also a fictional character of sorts, a persona created by the veteran inker James Hodgkins as he entered a new phase as his career as an illustrator rather than a finisher. Broxton dazzled me with his work on DC’s Knight and Squire miniseries: as fine a storyteller as he is a stylist, and producing multiple memorable character designs to boot. Guy Adams is a comparative newcomer to comics, but an author of a multitude of both novels and non-fiction. Their partnership was midwifed by Liam Sharp, who hired them both to work together for his digital comics publisher Madefire. Obviously, creative sparks flew. When I spoke to them both recently about Goldtiger, I realized they’ve became quite the double act …
Does everybody remember Mongoose Publishing’s Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a range of Judge Dredd miniatures? I can’t think of many comics-based crowd-sourcing campaigns that reached their initial target so quickly and outstripped that original target by so much (after originally seeking $2,000, they finally ended at $101,457, allowing for multiple stretch goals). Well, now Mongoose is fundraising for another miniatures-RPG based on a classic 2000AD property Rogue Trooper. Again, they’ve quickly shot past their first target of £6,000 in just one week, allowing for another ambitious program of stretch goals to roll out.
Clearly Mongoose is tapping into something big with these campaigns, there’s a demand for these products that has probably gone unnoticed by non-gamers for years.
In July, I wrote about Joel Meadows attempting to obtain funding for a book commemorating the 20th anniversary of his legendary fanzine Tripwire. Unfortunately, that attempt failed, possibly due to potential backers being wary of the relatively-unstoried British crowd-sourcing website Unbound. Meadows is nothing if not persistent — he’s rejigged the book’s content and layout, and relaunched as a Kickstarter campaign, now for the title’s 21st anniversary.
As I said back then, over that 21 years, Meadows established himself as one of the best comics interviewers in the business, which is probably why the list of people who’ve agreed to talk to Tripwire reads as a who’s-who of the artform’s A-list (Grant Morrison was a columnist for the magazine at one point, and Alan Moore and Mike Mignola both have long associations with the title). He’s also clearly adept at persuading the biggest and best artists in comics to contribute new work and covers for his books. Some of this can now be seen this time at a new Tumblr he’s started to show examples of what will be included in the book, alongside sample features and spreads. Perhaps moving to the more established funding platform will help Meadows finally get this book into print. And do check out the video, where Joel shows off the most impressive chops at reading from an idiot board since Brando on the set of Donner’s Superman.
As he promised Monday in his interview with ROBOT 6’s Tim O’Shea, Smallville writer Bryan Q. Miller has launched the Kickstarter campaign for Earthward, his all-ages graphic novel collaboration with artist Marcio Takara. Only hours into the drive, the project is already $5,401 toward its $30,000 goal.
“From inception, it was always intended to be all-ages, in a sense that I wanted it to live in a space where 7-year-olds could enjoy it, as well as 35-year-olds,” Miller told ROBOT 6. “Often, all-ages winds up meaning “watered down for child consumption.” That isn’t the case with Earthward.”
The Black Coat creator Ben Lichius hopes to see his Colonial super-spy ride again, with some help from Kickstarter. If the name sounds familiar, that’s probably because The Black Coat has appeared in a pair of miniseries and a 52-page special dating back to 2006 and featuring the talents of such artists as Francesco Francavilla, Gabriel Hardman and Dean Kotz.
In a nutshell, The Black Coat is about Nathaniel Finch, a New York City newspaper editor and budding scientist who, in the days before the American Revolution, dons a mask to protect the Colonies from the British — and the forces of the occult. And now, Finch is back in a 66-page graphic novel called The Blackest Dye, from Lichius, Kotz and colorist Diego Rodriguez, which picks up where the 2009 miniseries Or Give Me Death left off. “The new book promises lots of twists and turns, backstabbing, sword fights, New York in flames, new mysterious monsters,” Lichius promises. “… and, oh yeah, George Washington!”
Creators Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore and Seth Peck have launched a Kickstarter campaign forBad Karma, a 200-page anthology featuring comic-book stories, prose and illustrations by those four and their collaborators.
The assembled talent is impressive indeed, working on five main stories: “Middleton” by Grecian and Phil Hester; “Chaos Agent” by Haun and Mike Tisserand; “Old Dog” by Moore and Christopher Mitten; “Hellbent” by Peck and Tigh Walker; and “The Ninth Life of Solomon Gunn” written by Grecian, Haun, Moore and Peck, and illustrated by Haun. These strips, all stylistically different and set in various time periods, all threaten to coalesce into a larger narrative: “Each of these concepts is separate from one another, designed to stand on their own, but there are subtle threads that run through each. One of these threads is the presence of the Kraken Corporation, a mysterious organization whose activities play a part (whether large or small) in each story.”
Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le, the duo behind the Batman: Nightwing fan film that made the rounds over the summer, are now hoping expand upon the adventures of Dick Grayson with a three-part web series called, appropriately enough, Nightwing: The Series. To that end, they’ve teamed with Las Vegas’ MG Studio, which is providing the production facility and some of the resources for the project. However, Shepherd and Le need money for costumes, props and location shoots — and they’ve taken to Kickstarter in hopes of raising $20,000.
Just five days in to their 60-day campaign, they’re almost halfway toward their goal. To encourage pledge, they’re offering such incentives as the series soundtrack, posters, limited-edition T-shirts and a Batarang prop. Of course, with merchandise like that, they may be pushing their luck with Warner Bros.’ legal department.
You can watch the Nightwing: The Series teaser below, and visit the Kickstarter page to see the pitch video.
After working behind the scenes and delivering one of the signature parts of superhero comics, the coloring studio Hi-Fi is stepping out from the shadows to write, draw and, yes, color, comics of its own and show them to the world. Titled Untold Tales, this 150-page collection brings together both current and former members of the Hi-Fi crew, including Flash co-writer/colorist Brian Buccellato and A-list Marvel colorist Jason Keith. And they’re looking to Kickstarter to make it happen.
With an ambitious fundraising goal of $59,000, Hi-Fi founder (and colorist) Brian Miller’s intent with Untold Tales is to show off the caliber of talent under the Hi-Fi umbrella in a variety of different styles and genre. On the book’s Kickstarter page they’re already showing off samples of the work produced for the anthology, and plan to publish the book in January.
Ryan North’s (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) Kickstarter for his illustrated prose book, To Be or Not To Be is way past being fully funded with 24 days still to go, so this isn’t a plea for action so much as it is a public service announcement. Because, dude …
North is putting together something that he can’t call Choose-Your-Own-Adventure for legal reasons, but totally is, only it’s for grown-ups, based on Hamlet, allows you to play as various characters including the ghost, and is illustrated by an insane line-up of artists like Kate Beaton, Chip Zdarsky, Chris Hastings, David Malki, Dustin Harbin, Jim Zubkavich, Kazu Kibuishi, Ray Fawkes, Vera Brosgol. … Seriously, I’m going to embarrass myself by leaving someone awesome out and the list is loooong. Check out the Kickstarter page for the full scoop.
$15 gets you a PDF copy, but $20 gets U.S. residents the PDF and a paperback copy too. Backers outside the U.S. are asked for a $30 pledge to cover shipping costs. And of course there are other goodies for pledging more.
As they teased back in September, Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn, Womanthology) and her husband Ray Dillon (Servant of the Bones, The Last Unicorn) have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a graphic-novel adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
“The original story is one of the most beautiful, inspired things I have ever read, and I hope to convey that beauty to the best of my abilities into this graphic novel,” De Liz writes on the project’s Kickstarter page. “I also intend to further explore Peter Pan and Captain Hook’s backstory by adapting parts from J.M Barrie’s The Little White Bird ( prequel to Peter and Wendy) and a little known informations given by Barrie about Jas. Hook into the story.”
They’re seeking a rather sizable amount — $48,000 — to fund production of the first of three planned volumes, which will be released by IDW Publishing. Pledge incentives range from a copy of the 90-page Peter Pan: The Companion Guide to signed editions to an appearance as a background character in one or more panels. Just a day into the campaign, they’ve already raised $6,424.
More than three decades after his death, Golden Age cartoonist Fletcher Hanks has developed a bit of a cult following, bolstered significantly by Fantagraphics Books’ archive collections I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! and You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation! The former features on its cover the delightfully named Stardust the Super Wizard, an alien who comes to Earth determined to fight crime using a vast array of powers — among them, near-invulnerability, flight, super-strength, “retarding rays” and the ability to alter his size and shape — that tended to change as the story required.
Stardust, who lapsed into the public domain, has made appearances in Image Comics’ Next Issue Project, Savage Dragon and, in reimagined form, a couple of webcomics. But the Super Wizard isn’t quite finished yet: Jarez Zichek has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund “a hand-painted metal figurine of one of the most bizarre and unique super heroes of the Golden Age of Comics!”
Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are no strangers to creator-owned work — or using Kickstarter to get their projects off the ground. The longtime Jonah Hex scribes are once again turning to the crowd-funding site to raise funds to publish a unique split-book graphic novel called Sex and Violence. Planned as the first volume in a series, the 64-page adult graphic novel has each writer penning his own story about “crime, lust and redemption.”
In the first story “Pornland, Oregon,” Gray partners with artist Jimmy Broxton to follow a grieving grandfather who turns Portland’s Internet-porn community upside down looking for answers and revenge. The second story, by Palmiotti and longtime collaborator Juan SantaCruz, is titled “Girl in a Storm” and follows a New York City cop who becomes an unlikely voyeur when a lesbian couple moves into her neighborhood.
I’m both amused and creeped out by Edwin Vasquez’s Kickstarter campaign for The Werewolf of NYC, his 32-page comic (the first issue in a planned miniseries) about the aforementioned lycanthrope terrorizing the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. I’m intrigued by the art and premise — “Outcast Albert Shaw (Werewolf) violently lashes out while wandering the streets, taking drastic measures to bring meaning to his life” — but it’s the video that gets me.
So many of these Kickstarter projects feature the creators staring unblinking into the camera as they talk aimlessly about their plans. But not Vasquez; he dons a frightening werewolf mask and shows off his moves to some funky ’50s tune (I think he works in a nod to “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”). And then he breaks in with the creepy distorted voice to explain the details of the campaign. But really what Kickstarter needs is more werewolf dancing …
With eight days to go, Vasquez is $1,860 toward his $3,000 goal. Pledge incentives include stickers, buttons, an exclusive T-shirt, a silkscreen accordion book and original art.
With just nine days to go, collaborators Cody Walker (Keeping the World Strange: A Planetary Guide), RG Valerius and Allen Byrns are in the home stretch of their Kickstarter campaign for Noir City #1, the debut of “an intertwining tale” involving mysterious characters, culminating in “resolution of the great mystery of who murdered The Miracle, the hero of a forgotten age.”
While co-writers Walker and Valerius are wanting to keep details of the story rather … mysterious– “The issue introduces readers, in true noir fashion, to a lost soul who finds himself thrust on the fringe of a mystery that he knows nothing about and no one around him can even recall that it exists” — you can get a sense of the central characters on the comic’s website and on the Kickstarter page, which also provides a look at Byrns’ rather Templesmith-esque art. The campaign is $3,135 toward its $4,500 goal, which will go toward the production and printing of the 28-page full-color first issue.
Pledge rewards range from access to exclusive digital content and a “Vote Noir” poster to participation in a Skype RPG game and original sketches. The campaign ends Nov. 7.