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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McNamara, Hinkle slither over to Image for new edition of ‘The Rattler’

Creators Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle discuss the new edition of their crowdfunded graphic novel, coming from Image Comics in May.

Late last year Jason McNamara (The Martian Confederacy, First Moon, Continuity) and Greg Hinkle (Airboy) announced their crowdfunded horror graphic novel The Rattler had found a new home at Image Comics.

Inspired by true events from McNamara’s own life, the graphic novel will hit stores in March with a new cover and one new page. I spoke with McNamara and Hinkle about the new edition, how the Kickstarter campaign went and the potential for a sequel.

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Smash Pages: For those who don’t already know, can you share what The Rattler is about?

Jason McNamara: Ten years ago Stephen Thorn watched helplessly as Catherine, the love of his life, was kidnapped, never to be seen again. In the years since, Stephen has reinvented himself as a passionate and bitter victims rights advocate. But when Stephen receives a message that may or may not be from Catherine, he embarks on a grisly journey to be reunited with his lost love.

In a nutshell, it’s John Carpenter meets Americas Most Wanted.

Smash Pages: It’s been almost two years now since you launched the Kickstarter campaign for The Rattler. We spoke about it during the campaign, but let’s talk a little bit about what happened next. The campaign was obviously successful; how did fulfillment go? What did you learn along the way?

Greg: Jason had the campaign planned out backwards and forwards, with redundancies and contingencies. It was really something to see. By the time we finished the campaign, there was very little left for us to do aside from writing a check and uploading files to the respective printers. Jason already had the packaging and postage calculated by the time the books actually arrived.

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Jason knows exactly, but I think we got the book to our backers a couple of months ahead of schedule. It was really satisfying to connect with our backers on this book. Connecting directly to the people willing to give our story a chance was amazing.

Jason: What I hadn’t anticipated was how emotional running a Kickstarter would be. We were asking people to assign a perceived value to our work. To see it play out in real time with all the analytical tools inspired a lot of ups and downs. The middle part of the campaign, where nothing happens, was especially depressing.

I understand why campaigns offer more stretch goals, sometimes more than they can deliver, to keep excitement going. But I refused to introduce any goals that could delay fulfillment. Our campaign was very cut and dry, which is what I thought a comic book Kickstarter needed to be at that time.

Smash Pages: Would you do a Kickstarter again, if you had the right project?

Greg: I won’t rule anything out, but I’d probably only do something like this again with Jason. I like the idea of having an entire project ready before funding it, in order to get it in the hands of backers as soon as possible. But completing an entire story before even launching a campaign has the potential to stress out a relationship. If Jason and I hadn’t already known each other I don’t imagine it would’ve turned out the way it did.

Jason: I would do another one because I really valued the interactions I had with backers. I also love project managing and solving production problems, I geek out on that stuff. But to do another Kickstarter, the way I want to do it, to create the experience I want backers to have, would take at least a year of planning and pre-production before we launched. And it would all have to be self financed on the gamble that it would be worth it in the end. That’s a lot of external pressure to put on a writer/artist partnership.

Smash Pages: How did the deal with Image come about?

Jason: Within two months of the Kickstarting concluding we were completely sold out of copies and demand was increasing. So, it was clear we needed someone else to pick up the book and introduce it to a larger audience. Image was our first choice for obvious reasons; we created the book completely on our own, just the two of us and we were adamant about retaining 100 percent ownership.

After completing The Rattler Greg immediately jumped onto Airboy with the great James Robinson. Not a bad career trajectory right? Anyway, Greg enjoyed his relationship with image enough to put The Rattler in front of them and a deal was struck. We asked Joel Enos to join us as an editor and he’s been critical in preparing the new edition for print.

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Smash Pages: What will be different about the Image release compared to the Kickstarter edition?

Greg: There’s a new cover, and I got to go back and draw a deleted page that didn’t make the original cut, which was a blast. It’d been more than a few months since I’d finished The Rattler, so it was cool getting to revisit some familiar faces with more practice under my belt.

Jason: I made some small dialogue tweaks, nothing major.

Smash Pages: Jason, you mentioned plans for a sequel in a recent message to your Kickstarter backers. Do you already have a story mapped out, and if so, can you tell us in broad terms what it might look like?

Jason: Working with Greg inspired me to keep writing and creating characters for this world (editor Joel Enos and I call it the Hinkle-Verse). The next book in the series is a period piece taking place in 1993 and follows Emma, a 15 year old prodigy with a unique medical condition who becomes the target of a serial killer. Like The Rattler it has a lot of twists and turns and deals with some pretty dark situations but it will be more of a detective story. It will connect with, and compliment, The Rattler but will also be its own thing. Similar to how Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul co-exist.

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Smash Pages: For one of the prize tiers for the Kickstarter, you offered fans the chance to have dinner at your house, Jason. How did that go?

Jason: It was kind of a strange actually. We confirmed a date, sent a reminder and cooked up a feast. But they never showed up.

I hope they’re okay.

The Rattler arrives in March from Image Comics. Check out the cover for the new edition below:

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‘The Rattler’ strikes again at Image Comics

Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle’s crowdfunded graphic novel finds a new home.

Following a successful Kickstarter in 2014, Jason McNamara and Greg Hinkle’s The Rattler has slithered over to Image Comics for a “mass market” release.

Inspired by true events from McNamara’s own life, the horror graphic novel is about a guy whose fiancée vanished without a trace and, 10 years later, he starts hearing her voice.

“The story was inspired by true events that happened to me on a road trip years ago,” McNamara told me last year. “I’ve written an afterword to the graphic novel that gets more into it, but basically a female friend and I were on a road trip and had a breakdown in a rural area of California. A seemingly helpful motorist stopped and offered to tow our car. Instead, he took off with my friend and left me behind. Luckily, in the true events she was able to get away, and we were able to get help. But I always wondered: What if she didn’t get away? What if I had to live with that? That was the inspiration for The Rattler.”

The Image Comics release will have a new cover and one new page, and is due out in March. If successful, McNamara hinted to the project’s Kickstarter backers that a sequel could follow. Check out the cover for the new release below:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Dan Parent on ‘Kevin Keller’

KevinKeller_01-1nDan Parent is currently in the midst of stage of his long career where his hard work is reaping substantial reward. In addition to his great gains in the Archie Universe, Dan has a Kickstarter (Die Kitty Die) along with Fernando Ruiz that asks: “What happens when a longtime comic book character has come to the end of her run? You kill her! But how? That’s where the fun begins…”

Tim O’Shea: After a couple of years is it good to no longer be pigeonholed as the resident expert writing GLBT characters?

Dan Parent: Well, I don’t really mind. I mean, I do a lot of other work, but my work with Kevin Keller is probably my most important, so I’m happy to be pigeonholed there!

What are you most proud of in terms of your storytelling dynamics for the Archie Universe?

In addition to Kevin, my Archie/Valerie storyline was something I was proud of. And I’m happy that I’ve been allowed to take the Archie characters into more progressive territory than was allowed in the past.

Who do you regard as rising stars among the current roster of Archie creative talent?

Arch_K_A015nWell, Gisele Lagace is great, but she’s a rising star with her own webcomics.  And Fernando Ruiz is doing the best work of his career!

In what ways have you honed your storytelling skills in recent years?

More realistic dialogue, less slapsticky.

Am I right in thinking you take a great amount of effort in fostering a rapport with fans at cons. How critical has that been for your long-term success?

I have a great relationship with the fans at cons.  They give me a lot of insight about what they like and what they don’t like.  And they’re the people you want to listen to, because they’re the real fans and they know what they’re talking about.

Anything we should discuss that I neglected to ask you about?

Hmm.. you didn’t ask me…Betty or Veronica….and of course, it’s Veronica!

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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.

Continue reading “Artists unite for ‘shiny and chrome’ Fury Road Fan Zine”