Smash Pages Q&A: Ekstrom & Brownfield on Imminent Press and ‘Terminal’

Two members of the newly formed collective discuss their current Kickstarter campaign as it nears its completion date.

In January, a new comics imprint, Imminent Press, took to Kickstarter to raise funds to bring their graphic novel anthology, titled Terminal, to life. The campaign failed.

But more importantly, they didn’t give up.

The second time’s the charm, as they dusted themselves off and retooled their project and campaign. Now with less than a week left, they’ve hit their funding goal for the first issue of a Terminal miniseries, with hopes that they can earn enough to publish the second issue as well. Contributors to the project include a mix of veteran and emerging comic and webcomic creators, along with several names you might recognize from the comic press — one of whom is even our former boss.

I spoke with two members of their “board,” Steve Ekstrom and Troy Brownfield, about Imminent Press, Terminal, their Kickstarter campaign and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: David Pepose on ‘Spencer & Locke,’ gritty crime and imaginary friends

“What if this imaginary friend wasn’t so benign?”

Debuting in comic shops tomorrow, David Pepose and Jorge Santiago Jr.’s Spencer & Locke imagines a world where Calvin and Hobbes went on to join the police force and take down bad guys. But when Sophie Jenkins — you remember Susie, right? — turns up dead in back alley, well … that’s where the story begins.

Published by Action Labs Entertainment, Spencer & Locke is a four-issue miniseries written by Pepose, whose name comics fans might recognize from his reviews at Newsarama, with art by Santiago (Curse of the Eel), colorist Jasen Smith and letterer Colin Bell.

On the eve of the book’s debut, I spoke with Pepose about the secret origins of the project.

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Birdcage Bottom benefit backs ACLU

Publisher/distributor J.T. Yost shares more on his current fundraiser.

Birdcage Bottom Books, which publishes minicomics and distributes for other small presses and individuals, is running a fundraiser through the month of February: 50% of the sales of selected comics will go to the ACLU. This is a great opportunity to pick up minicomics by rising and accomplished creators such as Glynis Fawkes, Whit Taylor, Hazel Newlevant, Kevin Budnik, and Jonathan Baylis, and help a great cause at the same time.

I checked in with J.T. Yost, who runs Birdcage Bottom and publishes his own comics there, to find out more about the fundraiser—and ask for some personal recommendations!

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Smash Pages Q&A: Fabian Rangel Jr. on ‘Blood Brothers’

The prolific writer of ‘Doc Unknown’ talks about his newest Kickstarter campaign for a graphic novel with artist Javier Caba.

Fabian Rangel Jr. has been building up a strong portfolio of comics work over the last few years, both as a self publisher and for various companies. In addition to working with places like Stela and Black Mask Studios, he’s taken crowdfunding to heart, and recently kicked off his fifth campaign to fund a new graphic novel called Blood Brothers.

Rangel is working with artist Javier Caba, letterer Ryan Ferrier and editor Jim Gibbons on the new supernatural/pulp story, which features two brothers solving mysteries in a city populated by monsters from myth and fantasy. Oh, and one of the brothers is a glow-in-the-dark luchador, which was enough to win me over.

I spoke to Rangel about the project, the appeal of Kickstarter and the recently formed Two Headed Press, an imprint he helped found with Ferrier, Chris Sebela, Ed Brisson, Curt Pires and Tini Howard.

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Ray-Anthony Height and Vito Delsante reunite for the return of Midnight Tiger

Announced at the recent Long Beach Comic-Con, artist Ray-Anthony Height and writer Vito Delsante revealed that the two will be teaming up to bring back Height’s superhero creation Midnight Tiger. The character’s comic book series was initially self-published before attracting the attention of Action Lab Entertainment, resulting in the publication of three issues in 2014.

Height and Delsante previously worked together on the Actionverse mini-series, which brought together a number of Action Lab’s creator-owned superhero series into one big collaborative story, including Height’s Midnight Tiger and Delsante’s Stray.

I reached out to both creators to find out more about the upcoming return of Midnight Tiger.

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Interview | 5 Minutes with Emi Gennis

The creator talks about her SPX debut from last year, “Baseline Boulevard,” and more in an interview from last year’s show.

Emi Gennis does short comics on fascinating topics, usually quirky stories from history. I first discovered her work when I picked up her minicomic on trepanation (warning: includes graphic images of people drilling holes in their skulls) at TCAF last year. Her other work includes The Radium Girls, about women who were exposed to radium while working in a watch factory in the 1930s; and Franz Reichelt: The Flying Tailor, the story of a man who invented a parachute suit and died testing it on himself. The latter is one of Gennis’s comic adaptations of stories from Wikipedia’s list of unusual deaths.

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Interview | Sophia Foster-Dimino

Multiple Ignatz Award winner Sophia Foster-Dimino says Small Press Expo is “like a summer camp for cartoonists.”

With Small Press Expo just over a month away, I thought it would be a good time to post this interview, which was done at last year’s SPX.

Sophia Foster-Dimino

Sophia Foster-Dimino was one-third of the reason that women creators swept the 2015 Ignatz Awards: She won three out of the nine awards, taking the Outstanding Series award for Sex Fantasy, Outstanding Minicomic for Sex Fantasy #4, and the Promising New Talent Award. I spoke to her on the exhibit floor the day after the Harveys.

Can you tell us a bit about Sex Fantasy?

Sex Fantasy is a series that I have been doing for about two years now. They are small format zines, 4 x 4 inches. The first three were kind of like a stream of consciousness explanation of different ideas, and then the next three, 4 through 6, have been more structured narratives. I’m trying to explore things in this series that I wouldn’t want to tackle in a larger book. Like kind of a safer space to play around with new ideas in a small format.

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Delsante & Izaaske return to Kickstarter to give you more ‘Stray’

The duo discuss how the Kickstarter campaign is going, what to expect from the series, some news on back-ups and more.

After funding a miniseries featuring their independent superhero character in 2013, Stray co-creators Vito Delsante and Sean Izaakse returned to Kickstarter this month to raise money for an ongoing series. They reached their goal fairly quickly, which is when the real work began.

The story focuses on Rodney Weller, the former teen sidekick to the superhero known as Doberman. When his mentor is killed, Rodney returns to action after five years to solve the murder as Stray. In addition to the miniseries, Stray also appeared in Action Lab‘s Actionverse crossover series with Molly Danger and Midnight Tiger. Joining the creative team for the first arc is artist Phil Cho. As the first arc takes place in both the past and present, Cho will draw the flashback sequences while Izaakse will draw the present-day story.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Wade von Grawbadger

Over the years Wade von Grawbadger has made a name for himself by bringing out the best of whoever’s work he happens to be inking. The Eisner, Harvey and Inkwell award-winning artist/inker’s most recent work includes Batman/Superman with Robson Rocha and Astro City with Gary Chaloner. Always of note, though, is his work with Stuart Immonen. The duo have worked together on New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, All-New Captain America and Star Wars, just to name a few titles, and as von Grawbadger describes below, their tight collaboration has helped the inker become more versatile. The duo will work together again on the upcoming Empress, written by Mark Millar.

A year ago you were reintroduced to the awesomeness that is Matthew Clark. What makes his art so great?

There is a life and character to his art that is infectious to me. Many can draw a cool face, but Matthew’s have the depth of thought behind them. Subtle information about the personality is evoked that many can’t quite accomplish … and it’s cool! He also has a great graphic sense; his use of blacks really crank up the drama.

What do you most enjoy about inking the recent issue of Astro City?

Inking over Gary Chaloner was great fun, mostly because it was a challenge for me. He’s out of my usual wheelhouse, forcing me to stretch and use inking muscles I don’t often use. His characters have so much life to them. It was simply a lot of fun.

How gratifying is it to be inking Star Wars prior to the film’s release?

How do you quantify something like that? To be in the conversation when one of the more heralded films in a long time is about to hit the scene is an honor, to say the least. There are so many people getting attention for their work on Star Wars-related books right now, I can only say that I am extremely proud to be among them!

A few days ago you ran some of your work from 2009. How has your work evolved over the years?

Thanks in no small part to Stuart Immonen, I have become more versatile. He changes his approach often to fit how he sees a particular project. So if you look at Ultimate Spider-Man, Next Wave and Star Wars, you will see a strikingly different take on each. This forces me to keep up! We have long email conversations about ideas for the the take on a given project, and then it’s an evolution. I may think I know what he means but don’t, and make adjustments based on his suggestions, or I may do something slightly different that he feels fit the situation and he adjusts. Other changes have come as tools or inks change or are discontinued. It’s a never-ending battle to keep current!

Anything we should discuss that I neglected to ask?

I recently did part of issue 28 of Batman/Superman over Robson Rocha that’s due out in January that was a blast. Intense detail and fun figure work. I love that sort of style and don’t get to do it that often. Check it out!

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