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INDIE SPOTLIGHT #016 – THE BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY

By Robin Jones

Indie Spotlight Header
Welcome back to the Inter-Comics Indie Spotlight, this column aims to make you, the readers, aware of cool indie/crowd funded comic book creators and projects!

Following the trend of having writer/artist duos, this time around we have the writer and artist of the steampunk, paranormal comic The Boston Metaphysical Society, Madeleine Holly-Rosing and Emily Hu. Recently nominated for a Geekie Award, the series follows Hunter and O’Sullivan, paranormal investigators for the BMS, a group created by some of the Victorian era’s greatest minds to investigate the strange, ghostly and ghastly goings on in Boston, Mass. This series is a must read for fans of the X-Files!

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Me: Where did the inspiration for the Boston Metaphysical Society come from?

Madeleine: It was a combination of my love of history and the scifi, supernatural and fantasy genres. I didn’t realize that by combining them I would get steampunk. J

Me: How fun is it to take established historical characters such as Tesla, Edison and Houdini, and drop them into this world of paranormal investigation and time and space monsters?

Madeleine: It’s been a lot of fun. Obviously since this is fiction none of the characters are probably anywhere close to who they were in real life, but I do try to keep their relationships thematically accurate. Like the fact that Tesla and Edison were in constant conflict and that Edison tried to steal some of Granville’s patents. In case you didn’t know, Granville Woods existed during that same time period and knew Bell and Edison. (He was an engineer whose most famous invention was the Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph.) It’s a blast to be able to see how these characters react in the world I’ve created.

Emily: I love it! It’s always fun to have actual historical characters to reference off of, as well as look into their actual lives, and then see how Madeleine has worked them seamlessly into this world.

Me: What sets BMS apart from other supernatural ensemble comics like BRDP?

Madeleine: Quite a bit, actually. First BMS is not a government organization. It’s just Samuel, Granville and Caitlin. And though Caitlin has some supernatural abilities, no else does. Samuel lives by his wits and instincts while Granville is a man of science though not the “hide in the lab” kind of guy. They see “The Shifter” as a threat to Boston and not the world as a whole…at least not yet. There is a reason “The Shifter” is in Boston which will not be revealed until the 6th issue.

Emily: I’ll be honest- I have not read BRDP. However I have read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which is another supernatural ensemble comic and I love both very much. For BMS I think one of the most interesting things is that the main character has nothing to lose–he has already lost. So we are following his journey to redemption, which may or may not be morally sound.

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Me: If you could sell BMS in a single sentence, what would you say?

Madeleine: The story is about an ex-Pinkerton detective and his spirit photographer partner who battle supernatural forces in late 1800’s Boston.

Me: Which artists/writers have most influenced you in bringing BMS to life?

Madeleine: I have been a big reader all my life, but I came to comics late. My brother was a big superhero fan so I thought that’s all there was growing up. It wasn’t until I started adapting BMS from the TV pilot I wrote while at UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting that I discovered that there was so much more out there. Which means my main influences were SciFi novel writers such as Lois McMaster Bujold, John Scalzi, C.J. Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Arthur C. Clarke, etc. and not comic book writers.

Emily: Eduardo Risso has always been a huge influence on me in everything artistically. I always look to his books for guidance and inspiration. Other such artists are Tomer Hanuka and Josh Middleton.

Me: Do you have time to still read comics? If so, which comics regularly appear on your pull list?

Madeleine: Yes. I review comics for Fanboy Comics (and the occasional novel). I usually review indies, but I’ve been having fun reviewing the TERMINATOR SALVATION: THE FINAL BATTLE series. I love to read so I try get some pages in before I go to bed every night.

Emily: I do! But far less than I used to in regards to American comics, because I was a huge fan of DC pre-new 52. Right now the only comic I regularly read is All New Ghost Rider by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore.

Me: What can we expect from your future issues of BMS? Are you planning to further expand the story past the initial 6 issue run?

Madeleine: I hope to. I have a short comic series mapped out that focuses on Granville and another on Caitlin. But due to the financial burden of producing a comic, I’ll be writing BMS novels first.

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Me: You have a kickstarter running at the moment for Issue 5, what’s been the draw and greatest aspect of using crowd funding like kickstarter?

Madeleine: Running a Kickstarter is a time sucker and since it’s only me running it I barely have time to eat let alone do any writing. It’s very hard unless you are a famous person so you have to try and prepare as much as possible before you launch to make it a little easier on yourself. But even then you can make mistakes and it doesn’t work out. This is the third Kickstarter I’ve run. The first failed, but I learned a lot from it. The second one was fully funded in under 48 hours, but this one has been tough. I have a feeling that I launched it at a bad time of year, i.e. end of summer. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m still hopeful though.

Me: What’s your favorite aspect of making comics?

Madeleine: Writing them then seeing Emily making my vision come to life. She’s awesome.

Emily: I love setting pacing, especially in big impact moment scenes, when the reader is about to find out something shocking. It’s very rewarding to finally get to the “pay off” of the page, so to speak.

Me: Hypothetical question now… Mulder and Scully are tasked with tracking down “the Stalker”, would they beat Hunter and O’Sullivan to the punch?

Madeleine: I would think so. They would have better technology at their disposal and probably better investigative skills just because of the advances made in criminology.

The kickstarter finishes on September 12th and you can donate to it here. You can check out all the previous issues and entries to the series at the BMS website here. you can also follow Madeleine on twitter here. Finally, Madeleine is appearing at the following conventions: Rose City (Portland) (Sept. 20-21), Long Beach Comic and Horror Con( Sept. 27 and 28), APE (Oct. 4 and 5) and the San Diego Comic Fest (Oct. 17-19)

Until next time

Rob Jones is an honourary Yorkie, but for the life of him, he can’t understand why. He writes articles, is attempting to write comics and his life ambition is to own a solid gold Donkey… For more comic news, reviews and the odd bit of sense, follow Robin on twitter @Hulksmash1985

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Posted on September 11th, 2014
Category: INDIE SPOTLIGHT, PREVIEWS & UPCOMING RELEASES
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INDIE SPOTLIGHT #011 – THE FITZROY

By Robin Jones

Indie Spotlight Header
Welcome back to the Inter-Comics Indie Spotlight, this column aims to make you, the readers, aware of cool indie/crowd funded comic book creators and projects!

This time around we have James J Heath, producer of Indie film The Fitzroy talking about it’s tie in anthology comic! With odd ball characters and the finest tea, six different writers and artists bring us  an alternative 1950’s Britain, with the world is covered in a poisonous gas, but society, fueled by tea and a stiff upper lip, is continuing to struggle on through these short and darkly funny stories.

TheFitzroyComic
Me: Where did the idea/inspiration for The Fitzroy come from?

James: Lots of different places really. Andrew wanted to write a film that we would want to see and would really enjoy, so everything we love is thrown in there: rundown seaside resorts, British sitcoms, strange characters and of course tea.

One of the things Andrew wanted to do with the film is compress society down and see how it might cope after the end of the world. How would people interact with each other? How would society continue? Could it?

A hotel submarine seemed a perfect location for that. It forces all these different characters, who wouldn’t normally interact, to live on top of each other. Hopefully that’s where a lot of the humour in the film comes from.

The comic has allowed us to expand the world out beyond the submarine. Doing six short stories lets us see how other aspects of society are coping… or not, in many cases.

Me: What sets this apart from other end of the world comic series?

James: In many ways, this isn’t an end of the world story. Yes the world has been destroyed by ‘the event’ and is now covered in a poisonous gas. There’s very, very few survivors left, but those still alive are just trying to continue on with life as normal. There are still holidays to go on, tax to be collected, neighbours to keep up with and tea to be drunk. The end of the world is actually very mundane. As the Hotel Inspector in the film would say, ‘society doesn’t end just because the world is destroyed – there are rules.’

Me: If you could sell The Fitzroy in one sentence, what would it be?

James: The world might be destroyed and covered in poisonous gas but that’s no reason to panic, have a cup of tea.

Me: Which artists and writers have influenced you the most in creating The Fitzroy?

James: Because the comic is six short stories by six different artists that’s very hard to answer. As they are based on the world of the film we very much said to the artists and writers ‘this is the world, interpret it as you like.’ It’s been fascinating to see how the stories work individually and as a collection and they really do. I guess each artist and writer has been inspired by a multitude of different stories.

For the film my big influences are the work of Terry Gilliam, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Emir Kusturica. The other major influence I guess is classic British sitcoms – stuff like Dads Army, Fawlty Towers and Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.

Me: Do you read/have time to read comics, and if so what comics are regular appearances on your pull list?

James: Sadly not as much as we would like. As a kid Andrew used to read a lot of stuff like the Beano and Dandy, but haven’t recently. James read a lot of the Frank Miller material and Watchmen – though Liam has a lot of classic comics and original prints.

Producing the comic with Dead Canary Comics has really opened our eyes to all the wonderful stuff out there and we’ve got a feeling a new addiction might be brewing. At the moment we’re loving ‘Sex Criminals’ – it’s as awesome as the name implies – and of course the other Dead Canary Comics like Frogman and Trained Medic are brilliant – one of the main reasons we wanted to work with them.

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Me: What made you want to use a crowd funding platform like Kickstarter?

James: Well we raised the budget for the film through Kickstarter – it’s quite a niche film and as first time filmmakers we stood very little chance of getting it funded through traditional methods. People really seemed to take to the concept on Kickstarter – the support has been amazing. We’ve really enjoyed having that direct connection to an audience and sharing all the ups and downs with them.

When we came to producing funding for the comic, it seemed natural to use Kickstarter. It’s how we became acquainted through Dead Canary Comics too, as Matt backed The Fitzroy and James backed both their Frogman comics. That allowed us to see what was possible with a comic on the platform. That’s also one of the other thing we love about Kickstarter – it allows you to connect with other creative people and team up to create something entirely new. We would never have been able to create this comic without them. It really is an exciting time for both creators and the audience.

Me:  What can we expect in future issues of The Fitzroy?

James: Ohhh you’ll just have to wait and see. Characters popping up from the film? Longer stories? Serialised stories? Different types of stories – horrors, thrillers? The possibilities really are endless in this world. We definitely want to see how a milkman and possibly a postman coping with his rounds.

Me: What’s your favourite aspect of making comics?

James: This is our first one, and it’s been a real eye opener. Making films, especially at this budget, you’re constantly thinking ‘can we do that?’. The answer is usually ‘no we can’t afford it’ and then you have to rework the story to fit in to what you can do, in the time, and with the money. There’s so many practical restrictions to making a film but with a comic literally anything is possible. It’s incredibly liberating and exciting.

There have been so many great stories that we developed for this comic due to the free nature of being able to do what we couldn’t in the film. Hopefully we’ll get to explore them in future editions. In many ways we’re quite lucky that we had The Fitzroy film first, as one of the things we found working with DCC was the film had already set the rules and the world this takes place in – when you have the rules that can be ironically quite liberating as you’re not constantly questioning what’s possible once something is established.

One of our favourite things is seeing the artwork come through from the different artists and see how they are interpreting the world we created.

Me: Hypothetical now, who would be the worst comic book characters to have aboard The Fitzroy sub and why?

James: Ha ha, great question, love it.

Hmmmm. Well the Hulk wouldn’t be a great guest – tight metal space and once he sees the quality of the service I can’t see him staying calm for very long.

But probably the worst guest to have would be a Banshee – that’s just going to echo something awful and really mess up the sonar. Not to mention, stopping us from hearing the tunes of our onboard band!

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You can check out the comic’s kickstarter campaign here and get all the latest info from The Fitzroy comic and film at the official twitter and facebook pages. The comic recently smashed through it’s £5K stretch goal, so it’s going strong!

Until next time.

Rob Jones is an honourary Yorkie, but for the life of him, he can’t understand why. He writes articles, is attempting to write comics and his life ambition is to own a solid gold Donkey… For more comic news, reviews and the odd bit of sense, follow Robin on twitter @Hulksmash1985

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Posted on July 29th, 2014
Category: INDIE SPOTLIGHT, PREVIEWS & UPCOMING RELEASES, REVIEWS
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INDIE SPOTLIGHT #007 – STU PERRINS!

By Robin Jones

Indie Spotlight Header
Welcome back to the Inter-Comics Indie Spotlight, this column aims to make you, the readers, aware of cool indie/crowd funded comic book creators and projects!

This time around we have British comic writer Stu Perrins. Stu has written many different comics over the years, with titles including Mercury, Harvey Spig, Tales from a Lonely Planet, Imperials and others.

Tales From a Lonely Planet
Rob:
 Can you give us an overview of the work you’ve been doing?

Stu: I created my first comic when i was about 9, which was a blatant Transformers rip-off called ‘Droid Squad’. I can’t remember much about it other than the big reveal at the end was that America had been secretly ruled by a series of cyborg presidents, and there was a time travel sub plot in there somewhere too. I used to get my Mum to photocopy it for me at work and then I’d give it out to the kids on my street.

But if you’re talking about things I’ve written that have been read by people other than the kids on my estate, then the first thing I wrote that anyone really took any notice of was a sci-fi / superhero tale called ‘Mercury’ which I self published with the artist Matt White. We launched that at MCM a few years ago and got some nice reviews and some very encouraging feedback. Since then I’ve had stories published in ‘Boredom Relief’, ‘Ashcan Oddities.’, ‘Hallowscream’ and ‘SPOD!: Oddities from Space’. I’ve also written ‘Avalon’ for ‘Red Leaf Comics’ amongst other stuff and of course there’s the ongoing ‘Harvey Spig’ saga.

Me:  Where did the ideas for Harvey Spig come from?

Stu: Since i was a kid I’ve loved two things. 1) that typically British stuff upper lip hero and 2) OTT monster stories. So Harvey Spig is my open love letter to those two genres. I’m also incredibly lucky to have Mr Nick Gonzo as my Spig co-creator, not only does he like the bat shit crazy ideas I come with but he also actively encourages me to push things in as many insane directions as possible, so that sort of support and creative belief is invaluable. Every comic writer needs a Nick Gonzo in their life.

Stu Perrins artwork

Me: What comics did you read growing up?

Stu: Like pretty much everyone my age the first comic I read obsessively was The Beano, but that all changed one day when on the way home from school my Mum brought the nine year old me a copy of 2000AD and the rest, as the cliche goes is history.

Me:  Which creator has most influenced your work?

Stu: That’s an impossible question to answer really, there are so many creators I admire including the likes of Robert Kirkman, Mark Millar and Grant Morrison so you could say they have influenced me greatly. Having said that Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Terry Gilliam are huge inspirations to me, especially Terry Gilliam, that man is a genius as afar as I’m concerned.

Me: Where can we find your comics?

Stu: I’ve got a bunch of stuff available on drivethrucomics.com and comicsy. Check out my twitter, I can barely go 5 minutes without pimping something I’ve written or that I’m working on. A good starting point is either one of both of these frankly awesome FREE comics – Harvey Spig in “The Dead of Night and Stories from beyond sleep

Me: What projects/comics do you have lined up for the future?

Stu: Loads of stuff! Amongst other projects I’m currently writing the last part of  ’Prime’ which is a 4 part story capes and capers epic which I’m working on with Israel Huretas. The stuff that Israel is coming up with is jaw droppingly awesome- just wait ’till you see it – one day that guy will be working for the big two, you mark my words. There’s also a something called ‘The Dark Shadow Apocalypse’ with I’m working on with  Saad Azim that I can’t really say too much about because i don’t really want to give too much away but its probably one of the most ambitious things I’ve ever written. I’m also currently co-writing a horror/sci-fi one shot called ‘Infected’ with I  A Austin, which I’m really enjoying doing having never co-written with anyone before, and Mr Austin is such an awesome writer that I’m really enjoying collaborating with him on this. I’m also in the process of putting together what I hope will become an ongoing anthology called ‘Clockwork Goat Presents’ , which contains all sorts of awesome. And as well as all that I’ve got strips in forthcoming issues of FutureQuake and The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel and of course there’s more Harvey Spig – including an all new adventure for FCB day called ‘Happy Birthday Harvey Spig.’

Me: What’s the best part of crow funding your projects?

Stu: It’s a great feeling having a group of people pushing forward and supporting a common cause.

Prime #1 Cover

Me: Do you have regular artists you use or do you prefer using different artists to achieve a different perspective on your writing?

Stu: I’m very lucky to have worked with a bunch of awesome artists. Working with the likes of Israel Huertas, Nick Gonzo, Vince Hunt, Brian Burke and others is a genuine joy. Each artist I’ve worked with has brought something new and exciting to the table.

Me: Do you have any more crowd funding campaigns starting soon?

Stu: Not at the moment, but anything can happen. Watch this space!

So please, check out Stu’s work on DriveThruComics right here and you can catch him on twitter right here!

See you all next time!

For more comic views and reviews follow Robin on Twitter at @Hulksmash1985

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Posted on May 10th, 2014
Category: Blog, INDIE SPOTLIGHT, REVIEWS
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INDIE SPOTLIGHT #006 – VANGUARD BY DAN BUTCHER

By Robin Jones

Indie Spotlight Header
Written by Dan Butcher
Art by Dan Butcher

Welcome back to the Inter-Comics Indie Spotlight, this column aims to make you, the readers, aware of cool indie/crowd funded comic book creators and projects!

We have an awesome, pulse pounding, British action/adventure webcomic for you this time around in the shape of Vanguard from writer/artist Dan Butcher! The Vanguard team are a group of meta-humans, working for the British Government in covert ops around the globe, the art is punchy, gritty and realistic and the story is engaging and full of depth! This is for fans of superhero team ups, like JLA, the Avengers or the Unity team! I was lucky enough to speak to Dan about his work!

Me: What was the inspiration behind Vanguard? Where did the idea come from?

Dan: The idea for Vanguard came to me when I was working on something completely different. I found as I worked up a back story to that tale, it became apparent that it wasn’t something I wanted to skip over, but actually explore further.

Me: Vanguard is a classic superhero/meta human team up, did you want to add your own twists to this flavour by having them as a military response team rather than an independent group?

Dan: Well, I wanted the Vanguard to be endorsed by and work for the Government. That being the case, in reality they’d operate with and alongside the Military. You’d have several departments handling their publicity, media image, and their deployment in the field. In the comic, these roles are filled by several characters (McPhaidon, John Hatcher, General Phelps). In regards to the chosen candidates for ‘super powers’, if the Government were going to pick out half a dozen people to give these abilities to, I’d imagine they’d pick people from Law Enforcement/Military or someone with a proven record of following orders. I’ve done my best to research elements within the story, to the point where I was asked if I’d ever served in the Military. Nope, just read a lot of books, watched documentaries… and 80’s action films. Littered through the first two issues are numerous references to ‘Predator’. See if you can spot them all.

Vanguard Billboard Banner
Me: Which comics do you read yourself and which creators have had the most influence on your work?

Dan: Comics I read at the moment? I have a standing order for just one, which is ‘Invincible’, by Robert Kirkman, Corey Walker and Ryan Ottley. The writing on this comic is excellent. Constantly moving forward, always changing with twists and turns every issue. As much as I love the classic superheroes, Batman, Spider-Man, etc., the idea that they never change/grow bugged me more as I grew older and my tastes changed. In regards to the art, Ryan’s work is amazing. Detailed, explosive and dynamic. His style has influenced me greatly, these past few years. I’m sure some of his influence can be seen in my work.

Comics that have influenced me? I’ll mention some of the ones that had particular influence on me as a younger reader: Marshall Law, Judge Dredd/2000AD, Dragon’s Claws and Action Force/G.I.Joe. These titles either focus on a team of characters or are set in a dystopian future, similar to Vanguard.

Certainly a lot of the elements/ideas within Vanguard have their roots within some of the aforementioned titles. Public Spirit from Marshall Law, for instance. He’s the World’s number one superhero, who behind closed doors, is a drug fuelled ego-manic and murder. He certainly went some way to inspire MaXtreme in Vanguard.

Me: If you could describe Vanguard using one sentence, what would you say?

Dan: That, is a hard one. Maybe – ‘In a bleak, dystopian future, a team of disparate government endorsed superheroes battle to foil a Machiavellian scheme bent on Global domination’?

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Me: So, why a webcomic?

Dan: It was/is the best medium to tell the story. The comic is free to read and anyone with a web connection can get at it. Webcomics are a bit of a double edged sword. Anyone can make one, but with no quality control, anything can and does get posted up. Fortunately, I receive great editorial input from Gary Cohen, a chap I met on Twitter, who writes the excellent Mallville Rules. He has tempered and harnessed the content and storytelling, making the overall read feel ‘tighter’ and more focused.

Me: Do you have any other projects lined up for the future?

Dan: I have several. It’s getting harder and harder to not to add another project to what I’m already doing. I often over work myself and burn out. I’ve tried to limit the amount of projects I commit to because of it. That said, I often provide artwork to webcomics and/or creators that I like/admire.

Me: Has the idea of crowd funding a printed edition of Vanguard ever crossed your mind? I understand Vol 1 is available to buy?

Dan: Yep, the trade paperback of Vanguard, which includes issues one-five can be bought online HERE

I’ve not considered doing a crowd funding edition. One of my problems is that I’m a creative, not a business man. I’m more at home punching out the artwork than selling it. A situation that I need to address, because the bills can’t be paid otherwise!

Me: Hypopthetical now, if the Vanguard team had to take on the Unity team from Valliant Comics, who would win?

Dan: Ha ha! I can’t say I’m not familiar with the Unity team. Readers will be able to tell that the Vanguard can pack a punch, but put them up against heavy hitters like the JLA or the Avengers and they’d struggle!

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So, to read Dan’s Vanguard web series, just follow this link and it’ll take you to the start of the series! You can follow Dan’s exploits on twitter right here and there’s also a facebook page here for all your Vanguard needs!

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Posted on April 26th, 2014
Category: INDIE SPOTLIGHT, PREVIEWS & UPCOMING RELEASES
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INDIE SPOTLIGHT #005 – SPLIT BY JOHN RODRIGUEZ & MIRA MORTAL!

By Robin Jones

Indie Spotlight Header
Welcome back to the Inter-Comics Indie Spotlight, this column aims to make you, the readers, aware of cool indie/crowd funded comic book creators and projects!

Stepping up to the plate this time around, we have a Graphic Novella, Split from John Rodriguez or JAR and Mira Mortal. What Mira and JAR do is evoke  a dark, tense, psychological story which sends a shiver along your spine and leaves a dark mark against your soul. A horrifying story of tragedy and coping, Split is currently up on Kickstarter and needs your backing! We were lucky enough to speak to JAR and Mira about Split.

Split Cover
Me: Where did the idea and the inspiration for Split come from?

JAR: I can speak of what inspired me for the art. When Mira and I where first talking about what kind of story we wanted to work on, my first reaction was “dark.” I had just finished an 8 page comic for a Catholic publication at the time and wanted something very different to work on. I tried to make the art a bit claustrophobic, like the weight of the world is getting to the mother.

Mira: The story itself is a couple of years old, so I’m removed a bit from the exact moment of inspiration, but I can still talk about the general thinking behind it. I worked under an assumption that we are a product of our own situations, but how our lives progress beyond that depends on our ability to deny, accept, change, or transcend these situations–and failing all of these, there’s the point where everything becomes too much. SPLIT supposes that not all the horrible things that people do in reaction to their situations are motivated by being bad or evil. It’s kind of become this popular thing to recognize that nobody sees themselves as the villain in their own story, and SPLIT is an extension of that. I wish I could speak more specifically about the book, but it isn’t out yet!

Me:  Does the book carry a message? There’s a clear Mental Health awareness vibe running through it, was that something you wanted to raise awareness of?

JAR: I didn’t have a message, but I felt a big responsibility to make sure that I delivered the story to the reader as best I could. I want the reader to feel sympathy for the characters and then conflicted toward the end. If it brings more awareness to mental health issues, even better.

Mira:  Messages are a funny thing. Readers might find a message that wasn’t intended, or miss the one that was supposed to be there, so I don’t write to preach or to convey messages, necessarily, but to serve a story. Hopefully. That being said, I do think mental illness is a serious issue. It carries a social stigma that is difficult to overcome, and the mental health community could always use more resources to give aid and raise awareness.

Split Page 19.1
Me: Can you describe Split in a single sentence?

Mira: ”How much can a heart break before the mind decides to follow?” We used this line in our trailer, but although it’s a question, I think it sums up what this story answers for the characters.

JAR: Normal people breaking under the consequences of good intentions.

Me: Which artists have most influenced the art, style and tone of the book?

JAR:  I’ve always liked the heavy blacks and high-contrast approach of Mike Mignola, and the sketchy look that Sam Keith uses. I used a combination of these approaches with SPLIT. I’m also a huge fan of work by Ben Templesmith and Menton3.

Mira: For writing it, I suppose my long history with the work of Stephen King and David Lynch made me feel okay going to a pretty dark place.

Me: Which comics do you read yourself?

JAR: Currently I’m reading Abe Sapien, Superior Spider-Man, a few X-men titles, and Jupiter’s Legacy. I’ve also always been a Green Lantern fan.

Mira: I’m all over the map, but I’m rather loyal to Top Cow: Think Tank, Artifacts, Aphrodite IX, Wanted, a bit of Witchblade. Older favorites like Sin City, a lot of Alan Moore’s work, Transmetropolitan. Loved Locke & Key. Wormwood. Chew, The Walking Dead (though I’m far from caught up), The Wake, Kevin Mellon’s work. And there’s really good dark material like Abattoir, Bedlam, Killing Pickman, and Wolves of Summer. On the flip side, I read the Adventure Time comic pretty regularly. I’m fairly obsessed with that property because it strikes exactly the right balance of weird, creative, and hilarious. I’m going to stop, because I could go on for awhile.

Split Page 19.2
Me: You have a kickstarter running for Split, what do you feel is the best element of Crowd Funding a project like this?

JAR:  I think that, especially a book like this, would be a hard sell for a publisher. Crowd-sourcing gives creators like us a chance to make books we love, and not feel like we have to tone something down, or change the ending to appeal to a larger audience. Drawing for me is a labor of love and, whether it’s printed or just available digitally, it makes me happy to have the opportunity to tell stories to an audience who wants to read them. No matter how small the audience is.

Mira: This one would probably be a hard publishing sell based on the format alone. I love the idea that we can produce something specifically for those that are interested in it, and that it doesn’t necessarily require a publisher to get a book printed. It does, in fact, take a village to make a comic. ;)

Me: What projects do you have lined up for the future, could we expect the story laid down in Split to be expanded upon, or maybe some more background revealed in the future?

Mira: I see SPLIT as done, but we have talked about putting some extras in the book like backstory notes and some early sketches if the book gets funded.

JAR: I also see SPLIT as a completed book. We have quite a bit of stories that are currently in their infancy stage. I’m currently working on a mini-series with Action Lab comics which will hopefully be completed by the end of 2014. Then Mira and I plan to be full steam on a new project.

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You can check out the Split kickstarter page right HERE and check JAR and Mira out on Twitter by clicking on their names. If you want to check out more of their work, then head to Mira’s website HERE and JAR’s website HERE. The kickstarter for Split runs until May 3rd, so plenty of time to make some pledges!

See you all next time.

For more comic views and reviews follow Robin on Twitter at @Hulksmash1985

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Posted on April 16th, 2014
Category: INDIE SPOTLIGHT, PREVIEWS & UPCOMING RELEASES, REVIEWS
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INDIE SPOTLIGHT #003 – DOC UNKNOWN

By Robin Jones

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Welcome back to the Inter-Comics Indie Spotlight, this column aims to make you, the readers, aware of cool indie/crowd funded comic book creators and projects!

This time around, we bring you the newest lord of the strange, master of the weird and Doctor of…something…. Doc Unknown! It’s a pulpy, supernatural action/adventure series about a man chosen by fate to battle the forces of evil during World War II. It’s for fans of Batman: The Animated Series, Hellboy, and Planetary. I’ll be speaking to writer Fabian Rangel Jr. Artist duties are provided by Ryan Cody. If you like art Mignola-esque then this is the tale for you!

Me: Where did the inspiration/idea for Doc Unknown come from?

Fabian: I wanted to do one last comic before giving up on them, and so the basic idea was to do a one that combined everything I love about comics into one series. So I needed a central character that would be the vehicle for showing all of this strange stuff (monsters, ghosts, mobsters, magic, ninjas, vampires etc) and I figured it could take place during WW2. I wanted it to have a Batman:The Animated Series vibe, but with a heavier focus on supernatural stuff. “Doc Unknown” to me, was a name that illustrated that to readers without them even having to read a panel haha

Me: I feel a BRPD vibe to the comic, is that something you’re going for or do you have something different up your sleeve?

Fabian: Oh, yeah, totally. The Mignolaverse is a huge influence. But like I said, I wanted it to feel more like BTAS, or something you would see in Planetary. It’s different for different readers. Some people have compared it to Iron Fist or Indiana Jones, there’s also some Nevermen in there, some Astro City. Lots of influences.

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Me: Which comics do you read and which creators have most influenced your work?

Fabian: I read creator owned books from Dark Horse (Mignolaverse, The Goon,) and Image (Five Ghosts, Manhattan Projects, Saga) and a few other pubs. But yeah, all creator-owned. As far as creators, I’m influenced by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Eric Powell, Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, RobertKirkman and BKV.

Me: You seem to be consistently reaching stretch goals, what’s your reaction to all the support you’re receiving for Doc Unknown?

Fabian: It’s flattering, and honestly, a little unbelievable. I’m lucky to have as many supporters and friends as I do. I think we (artist Ryan Cody and I) hit our goal and beyond because we’ve shown ourselves to be a creative team who delivers. I’m beyond happy that we are able to do this comic on our own thanks to ComiXology and Kickstarter.

Me: Doc Unknown is also appearing in Five Ghosts from Image Comics, how did that come about?

Fabian: I had been reading the book and really digging it, I met Frank and we talked about how FG and Doc were in the same frequency, so we just talked about it and it happened. We figured each other’s fans would dig both books. Just seemed like a no-brainer.

Me: Which artists have most heavily influenced the style, tone and feel of the book?

Fabian: You’d have to ask Ryan Cody about that, but on my end I can say I picked Ryan for this project because his art reminded me of Oeming, DarwynCooke and Mignola rolled into one, but with his own spin. I even see some Kirby.

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Me: What projects do you have lined up for the future? Can we expect more Doc Unknown stories will we be seeing something different from yourself?

Fabian: Right now the plan is to do a Volume 3 of Doc Unknown, and end it with that. I have some new stories I’m itching to do, I know Ryan and I will be working on one or two of them. I’m going to have some short comics in some upcoming titles, but that stuff hasn’t been announced yet. I will for sure be doing a KS for Volume 3 in the Fall, and plan on doing another Kickstarter for one of the new ideas about a year from now. Planning ahead!

Me: What’s the best aspect about crowd funding your title?

Fabian: Reaching an audience I wouldn’t normally be able to get on my own. And of course, not having to go into debt to make the comics I want to make.

Me: Hypothetical question now, who would win in a poker game, John Constantine or Doc Unknown?

Fabian: Constantine. He knows magic and shit.

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Doc Unknown has until April 9th and is already $3000 past it’s goal, so get in there and help it reach some awesome stretch goals! You can follow Fabian on twitter: @FabianRangelJr and Ryan on twitter: @ryancody and Fabian will be at ECCC next week, table P-01! Don’t forget to check out the the link to Doc Volume 2 on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2005492660/doc-unknown-winter-of-the-damned-and-others-graphi?ref=live

See you all next time!

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Posted on March 25th, 2014
Category: INDIE SPOTLIGHT, PREVIEWS & UPCOMING RELEASES
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