Exclusive Preview | Take a look at Vince Locke’s artwork from ‘Essentials’

The graphic novel by Luke Arnold, Chris ‘Doc’ Wyatt and a host of artists will wrap up its crowdfunding campaign this week.

With less than three days left on the clock, we’re pleased to present an exclusive preview of Essentials, the graphic novel by Luke Arnold, Chris “Doc” Wyatt and a host of artists that’s currently winding down its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

Essentials is about a mathematician who predicted the end of the world but failed to prevent it. He discovers there are other survivors, but they’re trapped in alternate “dream” realities full of zombies, robots, mythical creatures and more. Each of these alternate realities will be illustrated by a different artist, including Vince Locke, Andrea Mutti, MK Perker, Brendan McCarthy, DaNi and Jason Howard, with colors by Jordie Bellaire, Brad Simpson and Wesley Wong, and lettering by DC Hopkins.

Today we’re sharing pages from Locke’s chapter, which appropriately is set in a reality filled with zombies.

“Somehow Essentials feels deeply personal but also the greatest collaboration I could hope to be a part of,” Arnold said. “I love writing novels on my own, but a comic is always going to be a group project, and it’s all about embracing and celebrating that partnership. Because what we write isn’t going to an audience, it’s going to a team of dedicated, talented artists who turn our dreams into reality. And then there’s The Lab, who have been with us the whole way, pushing to make this book as impactful as possible.”

Arnold told me when we initially talked about the project that he and Wyatt were afraid their publisher, the Lab Press, might shut them down when they suggested using different artist for each reality. But they were into it.

“The people at The Lab Press are deeply, deeply weird people,” Wyatt said. “Just hanging out with them, you’re like– these are strange people. Really. It’s a lot. But it worked great for us, because we had a strange story, and they were excited to publish it.”

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Smash Pages Q&A | Will Tempest on ‘Harsh Prospect’

The creator of the webcomic-turned-crowdfunded graphic novel discusses the science fiction/horror story, his approach to design and his work in the tabletop game space.

Will Tempest is an artist based out of Edinburgh in the UK, where he creates comics, tabletop RPGs and more in the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres. Last year he crowdfunded a print collection of his webcomic, Harsh Prospect, which is available to read on the web, on Webtoon or to purchase for download.

Harsh Prospect is a science fiction story in the vein of The Thing or Alien, as a struggling colony on an alien world discovers “a blob of goo” that proves to be more than they bargained for. The eerie setting is made even more so by Tempest’s designs; readers of Tempest’s work on Cities of Magick or Materials know that he has an eye for creative yet practical character and creature designs.

I spoke with Tempest about the project, as well as a tabletop game he’s developed with his brother. We discuss the comic, its influences, his approach to design, what I learned from crowdfunding and more. My thanks for his time.

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