Second volume of ‘Fresh Romance’ hits Kickstarter

New volume includes comics by Sally Jane Thompson, Cecil Castellucci and more.

The romance comics anthology Fresh Romance returned to Kickstarter this week, courtesy of the book’s new publisher Emet Comics.

Maytal Gilboa, CEO of Emet Comics, emailed backers of the first volume (of which I am one) on International Women’s Day to announce the new volume. “Fresh Romance was a romance anthology founded by Janelle Assellin in 2015 as a way to promote female and LGBT creators, and to showcase diverse stories about love,” she said. “Fresh Romance Volume 1 was a huge success, being published by Oni Press, and selling over 3,000 copies to devoted readers. When Janelle retired last year, she gave us her blessing to continue the series, and we’re doing everything in our power to make good on the promises that were made to everyone who rooted for this series to succeed.”

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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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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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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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Teenagers quest for porn in ‘Smutt & Jeff’

Kody Chamberlain, Gavin Guidry, K. Michael Russell and Rob Guillory seek support to publish a new comic about one boy’s mission to find porn. Pre-internet, of course.

It’s a rite of passage that every teenage boy likely went through in the 1980s, before the internet made it so easy — seeing your first porn magazine. Now Kody Chamberlain, Gavin Guidry, K. Michael Russell and Rob Guillory are looking to bring one such teen’s mission to life in Smutt & Jeff. And they’ve turned to Kickstarter to help make it happen for Jeff.

“Jeff is a typical teenaged boy spending the last week of summer vacation stressed about high school,” their website reads. “It’s a very familiar feeling of being a boy unprepared for the journey into a man’s world. After being mocked and ridiculed, Jeff is determined to find and steal the one item he’s told will transform any boy into a real man: His very first porno magazine.”

Check out some of Guillory’s character designs below; the Chew artist will also provide covers:

Character designs by Rob Guillory
Character designs by Rob Guillory

They plan for Smutt & Jeff to be a five-issue series, and they’re offering copies of the issues, cameos in the book and creative workshops to backer. See more on Kickstarter, and check out a preview of the book below:

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Mike Dawson’s ‘Sad-Boy’ zine satirizes 90s autobiographical comics

The ‘Rules For Dating My Daughter’ creator returns with an old-school zine satirizing autobiographical cartooning.

Rules For Dating My Daughter” creator Mike Dawson has gone old school with a new ‘zine about “lonely navel-gazing mopey sad-boys.” And he’s using Kickstarter to fund it.

“Sad-Boy Comix and Stories” satirizes 1990s-style autobiographical cartooning. “Read comics about Sad-Boys adventures on e-Bay, first dates, and his experiences tabling at SPX (the Small Press Expo), all the while making the case that comics don’t have to be limited to infantile stories about grown men in tights punching each other – they can be about real world concerns, like being twenty two years old and liking to look at porn magazines and R. Crumb drawings,” the Kickstarter page reads.

Here’s a sample of what to expect:

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On the rewards front, in addition to the book itself you can pledge $200 for your own “Sad-Boy” style portrait. “Let me lovingly render you in your lonely ‘Eightball’ comics-reading glory, no extra charge for obsessive cross-hatching and beads of sweat,” Dawson writes. The campaign has surpassed its goal, so you know the zine will eventually arrive in your mailbox later this year.

‘Stray’ kickstarts a new bi-monthly series

Writer Vito Delsante and artist Sean Izaakse raise money to publish a new series starring their independent superhero creation.

The team behind the independent superhero comic “Stray” returned this month with a new Kickstarter for a new ongoing series, and a new, additional artist for their first arc. With their Kickstarter funded in a couple of days, now they’re adding several additional stretch goals to the campaign.

Writer Vito Delsante and artist Sean Izaakse funded a “Stray” miniseries through Kickstarter back in 2013, which eventually ended up at Action Lab Entertainment. 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 the “Actionverse” crossover series with Molly Danger and Midnight Tiger. It’s kind of to “Nightwing” what “Invincible” is to “Superboy” — and I mean that in a good way.

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.

According to their Kickstarter page: “We are starting a new era for ‘Stray’ as it makes the jump from mini-series to a bi-monthly ongoing at Action Lab Entertainment. When last we saw Rodney, he was one of the heroes saving the world in ‘Actionverse.’ As a result of those events, he has decided to do more for the common man, to leave the ‘superheroing’ to the heroes with super powers. But, things don’t go as he planned as he is pulled into a grand cosmic conspiracy that involves the first girl he ever kissed and a hostile alien force known only as The Intolerance.”

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Read more about the book and their stretch goals on Kickstarter. In addition to the campaign, Delsante and Izaakse have also created a shirt featuring the character to benefit the StubbyDog organization.

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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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