Steven S. DeKnight goes all in on comics with two new graphic novel projects

‘Beneath’ will debut from Comixology in August, while ‘Hard Bargain’ from Humanoids kicks off a crowdfunding campaign today.

While Steven S. DeKnight is no stranger to comics, he’s probably best known for his TV work, on shows like Smallville, Daredevil, Spartacus and many others. But that perception could change, as DeKnight has not one but two new graphic novels coming up that were both announced today.

Now up on Kickstarter is Hard Bargain, which features artwork by Leno Carvalho and will be published by Humanoids.

Hard Bargain has been a dream 30 years in the making. An idea that sprang from my love of two-fisted, hard-boiled detective stories and matinee creature-features of days gone by,” said DeKnight. “I’m thrilled to finally have that dream realized via the incredible artwork of Leno Carvalho and the good people at Humanoids.”

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Exclusive: Clover Press brings back a popular tier for their ‘The Marvel Art of Michael Turner’ Kickstarter

The art book collects much of the work that the creator of ‘Fathom’ and co-creator of ‘Witchblade’ did for Marvel before his death in 2008.

Boutique publisher Clover Press has been working with Marvel to crowdfund high-end art books centered on some of their top artists, including David Mack, Alex Maleev, David Nakayama, Russell Dauterman and more. Their latest Kickstarter is for The Marvel Art of Michael Turner, and we’re pleased to share exclusively this morning that they’re bringing back a popular rewards tier to the campaign.

“The Ultimate,” as they billed it (AKA Tier K), included everything you’d find in previous tiers — including a slipcase edition of the hardcover book, art prints, metal trading cards, stickers, a puzzle and more. That includes everything being offered in the “Mystery” tier, so you get “get absolutely everything on the campaign (so far),” according to Clover Press.

It initially sold out in a few hours, so you’ll want to act fast if you’re interested.

“Michael Turner became a fast fan favorite, and this book is the clear evidence as to why,” said Clover Press Publisher Hank Kanalz. “We’re ecstatic to bring such a comprehensive collection of Turner’s Marvel work together in one volume.” The campaign surpassed its goal quickly, and right now is at over $160,000.

Here’s what you’ll find in the returning tier:

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Tim Bird incorporates his mother’s paintings into the stunning ‘Adrift on a Painted Sea’

Check out our exclusive preview of the new graphic novel, which Avery Hill is currently funding through Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Avery Hill Publishing, we’re happy to present a preview of Adrift on a Painted Sea, a new graphic novel by Tim Bird that also features the paintings of his mother Sue Bird. It’s currently up on Kickstarter, with a campaign that runs through June 21.

Bird is an award-winning illustrator and comic artist based in Winchester, England; his graphic novel From the City to the Sea a British Comic Award in 2015. He’s published a number of comics through Avery Hill, including The Great North Wood and Infrastructure, but this latest one may be his most personal work yet.

Adrift on a Painted Sea is about the life of Bird’s mother, who passed away during the height of COVID. She was an amateur painter who created countless works of art — botanical art, landscapes, still lifes and painting of the sea. She never sold her paintings, but would give them away to family and friends, and hang them in her own home. Bird has brilliantly combined his own comics work with her paintings to capture her life, and also showcase her incredible work.

You can find our preview below, along with more information on the graphic novel.

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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 | Luke Arnold + Chris ‘Doc’ Wyatt on ‘Essentials’

The writing duo discusses their crowdfunding project for the new graphic novel from The Lab Press.

Luke Arnold is an actor and writer best known for his roles as Long John Silver in Black Sails and INXS frontman Michael Hutchence in Never Tear Us Apart. His first novel The Last Smile in Sunder City came out in 2020 as part of the ongoing series The Fetch Phillips Archives.

Chris “Doc” Wyatt is a writer and producer whose work includes independent films like Napoleon Dynamite and Coyote, as well as animated series like Rocket and Groot, Lego Ninjago: Dragons Rising, Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and many more. He’s also written comics for Marvel, Dark Horse, 1First Comics and more.

Together, they are the writing team for Essentials, a new graphic novel coming from the newly formed The Lab Press. The story centers on 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 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. Bill Sienkiewicz provides a chilling main cover.  

The graphic novel is currently up on Kickstarter, and has already reached its goal. (Please note that the interview was conducted prior to the project’s launch). I spoke with Arnold and Wyatt about the project, working with seven different artists and what’s “Essential” in this story. My thanks to them both for their time.

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Take a look at one of the stories from the ‘Death of Comics Bookcase’ anthology

Zack Quaintance and a host of great artists are crowdfunding an anthology of stories as told by a talking bookcase.

Comics blogger Zack Quaintance left his former blog, Comics Bookcase, behind a few years ago, but now he’s circling back to finish it off in Death of Comics Bookcase, Vol. 1, which is now up on Kickstarter.

“I shut down my comics site a couple years ago to focus on creating comics,” Quaintance said. “Now, I’m dusting it off to tell the tale of the titular Bookcase’s demise. There will be blood…and bookcases…and comics. It’ll be great!”

The 48-page anthology features six stories, all written by Quaintance and featuring artwork by Anna Readman, Nick Cagnetti, Luke Horsman, PJ Holden, Pat Skott, Ryan Lee and more.

Courtesy of Quaintance, we’re pleased to share a preview of one of the stories from the anthology titled Next Door #2, a “subtle neighborhood crime short” that follows up the 2021 comic Next Door, which features art by Skott, colors by Ellie Wright and letters by Rob Jones. You can check out the preview and more information about the book below.

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Oni’s ‘Cult of the Lamb’ comic crowfunds more than $200K on its first day

The campaign will run on Kickstarter through April 11.

Earlier today Oni Press launched a Kickstarter for a new Cult of the Lamb comic, based on the video game of the same name. Within six minutes, the campaign hits its measly $10,000 goal, and a few hours later was well over $200,000 in pledges.

If you’re not familiar with Cult of the Lamb, it’s a roguelike crossed with a social simulation game — kind of like if Hades and Animal Crossing had a baby, and that baby let you run your own cult. Your character is Lamb, who begins the game being resurrected by an ancient deity and then begins gathering his followers and exploring dungeons. It’s a clever, addictive game that is both super cute and disturbing at the same time. The game’s deveklopers, Devolver Digital and Massive Monster, recently released new DLC for the game, Sins of the Flesh.

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Smash Pages Q&A | Sarah Byam on ‘Billi 99’

The writer of one of Tim Sale’s first comics projects talks about the new hardcover being crowdfunded by Clover Press.

Before Long Halloween, Superman for All Seasons or the various shades of Marvel miniseries like Hulk: Gray and Daredevil: Yellow came Billi 99, the first major comics work of Tim Sale.

The legendary artist teamed with writer Sarah Byam on the project, which was first published in black and white by Dark Horse back in 1991. The four-issue miniseries told the story of a teen vigilante, Billi Chadam, who took up her father’s sword to battle corporate greed and a corrupt government.

And now, more than 30 years later, Billi 99 is back. Clover Press is currently crowdfunding a hardcover collecting the almost 200-page story, with added color by José Villarrubia. The project has surpassed its goal by a landslide, and offers several editions and add ons in addition to the hardcover.

I spoke with Byam about the project, the addition of color, and what it means to see her and Sale’s vision for Billi 99 realized.

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Mat Groom + Kelly McMahon crowdfund a 1920s speakeasy-themed ‘Bad Blood’ card game

The campaign, which includes a comic by Groom and artist Nicoletta Baldari, launches on Kickstarter today.

When I spoke with Mat Groom a few weeks ago about the Kickstarter campaign for the second volume of Inferno Girl Red, he mentioned he was working with designer Kelly McMahon on a 1920s-themed murder mystery card game called Bad Blood. The crowdfunding campaign for the game is now live, and not only did Groom write the game, but he also wrote a tie-in comic for it.

The comic features artwork by Nicoletta Baldari and is available via one of the many tiers being offered to backers of the campaign. The comic provides some of the back story for the game, showing what life was like for Dee Dumas, the murder victim, and Joseph Field, the journalist who would wind up investigating her death (and who you play as in the card game), before the murder.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been enthralled by the mystery genre, be it film, television, literature or a good old fashion internet stalk, I love to be the detective!” said McMahon, a graphic designer and illustrator based in Los Angeles by way of Melbourne, Australia. “The romanticized glamor of the 1920s masquerades for the realities of the era. A ritzy elegant design, lavish lifestyles and devious underground happenings. There is a similar romance in moving your life to the otherside of the world, the dream sparkles but the reality is much less polished. All of this led to Bad Blood, my idea for a card game and murder mystery experience that harkens back to my love of the 1920s and my love for a good whodunnit.” 

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Smash Pages Q&A | Mat Groom returns to discuss the second ‘Inferno Girl Red’

The writer returns to the Massive-Verse for the second volume of the graphic novel series, which is currently up on Kickstarter.

Following a very successful campaign on Kickstarter for the first book back in 2021, Mat Groom, Erica D’Urso and the rest of the team have returned to crowdfund Inferno Girl Red Book Two. The new campaign is currently live.

If you aren’t familiar with Inferno Girl Red, it’s one of the many titles that make up the Massive-Verse, the collection of titles overseen by Kyle Higgins that include Radiant Black, The Dead Lucky and Rogue Sun, among others. It combines Groom’s love of tokusatsu superheroes and boarding school dramas, and it looks great thanks to D’Urso, colorist Igor Monti, letterer Becca Carey and design group For The People.

At press time, the campaign has brought in just over $45,000, which is more than halfway to its $85,000 goal. I spoke with groom about the new campaign, what he learned from the first one, how Inferno Girl Red fits into the Massive-Verse and more. He also shares a few details on his involvement with the upcoming Bad Blood playing cards/murder mystery game.

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Check out Chrissie Zullo’s variant cover for ‘Armored’ #2 [Exclusive]

The Kickstarter for the five-issue miniseries from Clover Press is now live.

Screenwriter Michael Schwartz is making his comic book writing debut with a five-issue miniseries called Armored, which is about a boy and his new best friend, a haunted suit of armor. Schwartz has teamed up with artist Ismael Hernandez and letterer Ferran Delgado on the project, which publisher Clover Press is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

“A few years ago, my entire comic book collection was stolen,” said Schwartz, who penned the screenplay for Gnome Alone. “After that I started to re-collect and revisit the thousands of books I loved — from Silver Age classics to modern era epics — and realized the potential comic books offered me for telling this ambitious and personal tale. Working with Clover has been a real pleasure as they truly understood the scope of the story and how Ismael Hernandez and I wanted this narrative to unfold for the reader.”

Each issue will feature covers and variants by different artists, and we’re pleased to debut Chrissie Zullo‘s variant cover for Armored #2, which you can see below. Her trademark whimsical style has been featured on covers for Archie Comics, the various Fables titles, Star Wars and many more, and it’s great to see it here:

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Jeff Smith will collect his college paper comic strip ‘Thorn’

A Kickstarter campaign for the strips that serve as the precursor to ‘Bone’ will launch in October.

Prior to the release of Bone as a comic book — and it eventually becoming a worldwide phenomenon — Jeff Smith had a college comic strip called Thorn. It introduced several of the characters who would eventually evolve into the ones we know and love in the Bone series, including Thorn and Phone Bone. In fact, Smith would reference many of those early strips directly in the early issues of Bone.

Thorn has never been collected in its entirety, but that will change when Cartoon Books launches a Kickstarter later this year for Thorn: The Complete College Strips.

“Talking Jeff into this book wasn’t easy, but fans have been asking us for years,” said Cartoon Books Publisher Vijaya Iyer, Smith’s partner.

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