Check out new projects from Shortbox, Craig Hurd-McKenney, Jason McNamara and more.
As crowdfunding continues to be a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors and connect directly with fans, comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. This column offers a look at recent crowdfunding comics projects that might be of interest to fans.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t start out this time by calling out a recent controversy surrounding Kickstarter, where the company has been accused of firing two employees who were part of efforts to start a union at the online crowdfunding company. I mention it in the interest of public knowledge rather than as any sort of indictment against anyone who use the forum to raise money (Particularly those I mention this week, most of whom started their projects before this even came to a head). Kickstarter is certainly not the only company to be called into question about their labor issues, and their response to the allegations of union busting can be read over at Gizmodo. There’s also a form being circulated on social media asking creators who have used Kickstarter to support the employees attempting to unionize.
Ray-Anthony Height, Vito Delsante, Éric Van Elslande and Action Lab Entertainment team up for the teenage superhero’s first ongoing series.
Ray-Anthony Height’s Midnight Tiger is looking to make a comeback at Action Lab Entertainment via an ongoing series, and the creator has recruited Stray writer Vito Delsante and artist Éric Van Elslande to help make it happen — and now they’ve turned to Kickstarter to ensure the young hero fights again.
The ‘Stray’ writer discusses his contribution to the New Brooklyn Universe.
Vito Delsante has been writing comics for years, and he’s had success with stories in comics that range from Batman Adventures to Savage Tales to Scooby Doo to Superman. But recently though Delsante has been putting out his best work in a pair of projects. One of them is Stray, the story of a retired sidekick who returns to the hero game whose new solo series from Action Labs kicks off in September.
Perhaps his biggest project, though, is The Purple Heart, which is part of the New Brooklyn Universe spearheaded by Dean Haspiel, a shared universe that also includes The Red Hook and The Brooklynite and the upcoming War Cry, which launches in the fall. The weekly webcomic that Delsante is making with Ricardo Venancio wraps up this week, and Delsante spoke about working in a shared universe, and crafting a story very different from The Red Hook about Brooklyn’s Silver Surfer-like hero.
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.
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.
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.”
Comic folks answer the question, “What do you consider to be the top five important events of 2015?”
For this year’s inaugural version of the Smash Pages End of Year Survey I had people answer the question: “What do you consider to be the top five important events of 2015?” I encouraged people to not necessarily answer the question in that manner if it didn’t strike their fancy. I cannot thank everyone enough for the participation during a busy time of year. Part 1 is here, part 2 is here part 3 is here.
These things happened, and I learned things from them I didn’t expect.
I wrote and drew a WONDER WOMAN story titled BOTH ENDS OF THE LEASH for Sensation Magazine. I’d never tried to wrap my mind around any of the comic book demigods, but the more I read about this princess, the more facets she reveals. I had some odd and, frankly, rather woo experiences trying to find a story for her, which in itself probably is what made it worth doing. The story is about animal defense, so it hit a lot of nerves, and I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from long-term fans, but none more so than the fan I didn’t know about: my older sister.
I had NO IDEA my sister was a Wonder Woman fan. She’s eight years older than I am, so I guess I missed her Underoos stage. But she’s nearly six feet tall, long black hair, green eyes… How tempted was I to make my Diana’s eyes green just for her! But the fact that I found out late in the game that my sister’s such a fan restrained me from redesigning the Princess radically. This time.
I drew an issue of a horror comic called HARROW COUNTY, written and drawn by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook. I’ve never done a straight-up ghost story. This one was about a not-entirely-lost soul, a sad, ferocious little ghost in two parts. The tricky part, the thing I had to keep reminding myself was that, no matter how bad I felt for him, I needed to keep him creepy. That’s what makes him work. Poor little sticky thing.
If that was true of HARROW COUNTY, it’s doubly true of NO MERCY, the book I’m drawing with writer Alex de Campi. She rarely pulls a punch unless it’s for effect, and has been a master class in how fast you can make things happen in a story. It’s all too easy, especially when you love worldbuilding, to get lost in creating the immersive experience, forgetting that stories are about and-then-what.
The storytellers who REALLY surprised me with the depth and deftness of their storytelling are the ones who are making the tv show STEVEN UNIVERSE. If you don’t like goofy, it’s not for you, but that story’s deep heart, complexity of imagined world, and up-close-magic-tricks of throwing down new Plot Cards have left me with my jaw on the floor. I am watching. Taking NOTES.
Dunno if I’m going to be able to get all of these things into the new FINDER story I started in DARK HORSE PRESENTS last November, but they’re all in my head, at the very least. They’ll end up in SOMETHING.
5. The Flash TV show – there’s not enough of it in a week. It’s not even a guilty pleasure. I sit and watch it with a smile from ear to ear. And while I enjoy Arrow (not caught up) and what I’ve seen of Supergirl (not caught up), I never miss Flash.
4. Conventions – I hate conventions, and that’s not a strong hate. It’s just…they’re inconvenient sometimes. But I had great experiences this year in Baltimore, NYCC and New Jersey Comic Expo. More shows are popping up (really looking forward to the 3 Rivers Comicon in May), and I hope the remain a local staple more than the overblown extravaganzas that they can become. Smaller shows are the best.
3. My comics – Stray came out this year. Line Webtoons announced that Dean Haspiel and I are working together again on the New Brooklyn Universe. Actionverse 0 just debuted and I’m writing a new all-ages comic, Action Lab: Dog of Wonder. I’m incredibly fortunate to have such opportunities and such amazing collaborators.
2. My friends’ comics – Beef With Tomato, Schmuck, Smoke, We Are Robin, Ghetto Klown, Plunder, the Bunker…working with my friends on Actionverse. As exciting as it is to see my own stuff out there, it’s just as exciting to see my friends get their work seen and recognized.
1. My kids – Unto us, a son was born this year. And while I’m still in the introduction phase with him, my daughter (who will be 3 in February) has become a huge part of my life and is dictating how I create comics in the near future…in a good way. I don’t know…it’s all new to me, but I’m enjoying the lessons.
1) Image’s Continued Creator-Owned Success
2) Diversity in Characters and Creators
3) Convention Culture Continues to Thrive
4) The Widening Embrace of Comics Content From Mainstream Media
5) Disney the Pop Culture Juggernaut: Animation, Marvel Movies, Star Wars
5. COPRA makes me giddy. I was late to the game and missed the single issues, but Bergen Press’s trades are so snazzy. Tough characters in tough stories with tough art — I’m in as long as MICHEL FIFFE continues to create the book. Pure comics power!
4. COMIC BOOK APOCALYPSE: THE GRAPHIC WORLD OF JACK KIRBY, both the amazing CSUN exhibit and the accompanying book from IDW, gave me a jolt of energy regarding the whole medium, and art in general. From his early romance comics to of course all the superheroes to his mind boggling collages, there’s a reason JACK KIRBY is THE KING. It was a true delight seeing his pages in person, and reading amazing essays about the man and his art.
3. DAVID F. WALKER taking over comics! I’ve known Dave for a few years and have always admired his work, so it’s been a true pleasure watching him finally get the credit he deserves. From SHAFT in late 2014 to this year’s CYBORG and the upcoming (as of my typing) POWER MAN AND IRON FIST (with one of my favorites artists, SANFORD GREENE), his success this year just couldn’t have happened to a more deserving creator. Good for my pal, and good for all of us comic fans!
2. MICHAEL ALLRED drawing comics is one of my favorite things each and every year. He’s making magic with DAN SLOTT on SILVER SURFER — the Marvel character (along with, I’d say, DOCTOR STRANGE) that Allred was born to draw. He’s one of the nicest and most talented guys in comics, so it’s always a joy to see work from him.
1. HEROES FOR EVERY READER! Since I was a kid, part of my love of SUPERMAN has always been that, lack of muscles and perfectly chiseled features, I kinda look like him. Big jaw, blue eyes, dark hair… it made Halloween fun growing up (as almost every pic of me was in some Underroos-based Superman costume). Identification is important to kids, to see themselves in their heroes. This is just one of the reasons why characters like MS. MARVEL, BATGIRL, MILES MORALES: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-GWEN, CYBORG, MOON GIRL, AMELIA COLE (I have to mention the hero created by ADAM P. KNAVE, NICK BROKENSHIRE, and myself here, right?), and many more having their own comic book titles is so important. We still have a long, looooong way to go, but it’s great to see some logical and, obviously, long overdue steps FINALLY being made. It’s a no-brainer and win-win for everyone!