Love ain’t just in the air: ‘Fresh Romance’ heads to print

The romance comic anthology returns with a new Kickstarter and publisher, Oni Press.

Fresh Romance, the romance comic anthology that raised more than $50,000 via crowdfunding last year, returns to Kickstarter today to raise funds for a print collection.

The collection, which will be published by Oni Press, will include all the stories that appeared in the digital anthology thus far in a 6×9 paperback format — or hardcover “if we hit our goal early in the campaign,” the project page reads. In addition, series editor Janelle Asselin is making sure the original creators receive a piece of the reward:

With these talented creators on board, Fresh Romance forges a new future for romance comics with modern characters, stories and a wide array of genres. These stories are all creator-owned and the creators have been paid a page rate for their work already thanks to our previous Kickstarter, which covered the cost of producing six issues. The primary use for the funds raised from this Kickstarter is the cost of printing and distributing the physical book. Anything we earn above and beyond the goal will go to creating more FRESH ROMANCE comics.

Still, paying creators fairly is a cornerstone of the Rosy Press business model; we wouldn’t exist without the hard work of creators, so we firmly believe they should be compensated fairly and retain control over their work. So when we hit our goal and for every $10,000 we go over our goal, every single creator whose work is included in this collection will get a one-time bonus of 2x their page rate.

Here’s a rundown of the comics that have appeared in the anthology; “Beauties” and “The Ruby Equation” were my favorites:

  • School Spirit by Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Amanda Scurti, and Taylor Esposito. School Spirit is the story of four teens embroiled in keeping their love lives secret from everyone around them. It’s never quite that simple, though, and complications for this group include bigoted parents and witch-y powers!
  • Ruined is an historical romance by Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, and Ryan Ferrier featuring a couple entering a loveless marriage at the prompting of society and their families. The future looks bleak for Andrew and Catherine, but there’s more to each of them than either one knows. (Just chapter 1 — 60 pages of story — will be included)
  • The Ruby Equation stars a cynical matchmaker from another dimension who has to learn to believe in love for real! But is a coffee shop the right place to learn lessons of love? Written by Sarah Kuhn, drawn by Sally Jane Thompson, colored by Savanna Ganucheau, and lettered by Steve Wands.
  • Beauties by Marguerite Bennett, Trungles, and Rachel Deering takes readers to a lush fantasy world where the beautiful are beastly and the beasts are beautiful — and true love can be either.

The print edition will feature a cover by Kevin Wada, which you can check out below:

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For more information or to pledge, check out the Kickstarter page.

New graphic novel answers the question, ‘What if only Black people had superpowers?’

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph launch a Kickstarter to bring ‘Black’ to life.

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph have teamed up to create a new graphic novel called Black: “In a world that already fears and hates them – what if only Black people had superpowers?” They’re looking to raise a little under $30,000 via Kickstarter to bring it to life.

Here’s a description of the story:

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

“With Black, we’re looking to tell a great story, but we’re also purposefully challenging the pop culture status quo, which is dominated by a White male aesthetic,” Osajyefo said in a press release. “Black tackles the very real and palpable issue of race, which is at the forefront in America and around the world. We are trying to confront the issue of race head-on by creating a world in which only Black people are superheroes — and the Black superhero trope isn’t subtly cast under a label of mutant, inhuman, or meta-whatever. It is also both thrilling and liberating to create the superheroes we’ve always wanted to see — and, frankly, be — outside of the entrenched publishing system.”

If funded through the Kickstarter campaign, Black will be available digitally to backers as DRM-free PDFs in monthly installments, starting in mid-2016. The limited edition print run of the six-chapter Black graphic novel is due out late in 2016. The campaign runs through Feb. 29. For more information, check out the Kickstarter page, their web site or this Washington Post article.

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Help Don Perlin

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Artists unite for ‘shiny and chrome’ Fury Road Fan Zine

Furiosa and the crew ride again in a new fanzine collecting fan art based on “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

One of the things I find fun about Tumblr is seeing how much influence pop culture has on the many artists I follow. For instance, “black suit” Daredevil was all the rage when the Netflix series debuted, while Mad Men tribute pieces had their day when the series ended. And let’s not even get into Donald Trump. But the one thing that’s really made a huge impact — I still see new images in my feed to this day — is George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

It’s no surprise, especially considering how the movie resonated with audiences. Two fans, Megan and Kera, also noticed all this fan art, and they’ve recruited about 80 artists to contribute their pieces to Fury Road Fan Zine. The project is currently looking for funding on Kickstarter so they can print up 220 copies for backers.

Although they loved the movie, they write on their Kickstarter page about their one disappointment:

But we were incredibly disappointed at the lack of merchandise available. Where’s our Bloodbag masks? Where’s our Valkyrie crow feather jackets? Where’s our Furiosa action figures?

(Really — where are the Furiosa action figures? That seems like something someone should start a petition about … oh, they did).

Megan and Kera plan to donate any extra money from the project to an as-yet-undecided women’s shelter. You can find a complete list of contributors, which includes comic artist Kris Anka, right here.

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Get a ringside seat for the ‘Muscle Temple’ comics anthology

Help drop-kickstart a new wrestling-themed comics anthology featuring Box Brown, Zac Gorman and more.

Comics and wrestling have been tag-team partners for years, whether you’re talking about comics starring wrestlers, wrestlers writing comics or even comic heroes fighting super villains in the ring. It’s no surprise that wrestling counts many comic creators among its fans, and several of those creators have come together to create Muscle Temple, an anthology of wrestling comics.

Spearheaded by Frank Gibson, the anthology features enough creators to fill a battle royal, including names from webcomics, alt.comix and animation. Together they will publish a “60ish” page, two-color comic featuring “funny and weird short comics and goofy illustrations about our love and passion … PRO WRESTLING!” The roster includes Box Brown (creator of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, one of the best wrestling-themed comics in recent memory), Zac Gorman (creator of the wonderful Magical Game Time), Jimmy Chang (whose Secret Item World webcomic I’ve been binge-reading over the last few days), Rosemary Travale (The Champ), Sam Alden, Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden of the now-defunct The Devastator, and many more.

They’re currently looking for funding via Kickstarter, with prizes that include limited edition prints, T-shirts and your very own stop-motion puppet by Rosemary Travale — and of course the book itself, which can be yours for $15 plus postage. Check out some art below, or visit their Tumblr to see more.

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