H.G. Wells might have been the first, but since his book, The Time Machine, entered into the world’s consciousness, there has been no limit to the number of stories which focus on or around time travel. So if everyone has already done it before, then what separates the good stories from the bad?
Kickstarter Campaign ends on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 11:00 AM EST.
An afrofuturist comic series about The RET:CON agency, an organization tasked with saving the future from the ravages of broken time.
In a time when artificial intelligence governs the remains of a world ravaged by violent temporal ruptures, the RET:CON Agency is formed to stop reality from falling into entropy. Agent ‘4 am’ is a part of RET:CON’s elite unit, the Slingshotters, whose mission is to breach the time stream to repair the future.
The A.I. designed to analyze and direct the Slingshotters in fixing the ruptures, the RET:CON Engine, requires very unorthodox methods, alterations previously thought to result in a time catastrophe. 4am’s first mission: infiltrate the Wolfsschanze and Kill Hitler!
Time-travel is one of those great sci-fi premises. Here we have the ultimate agent of a force who will stop at nothing to see his mission completed. Someone who doesn’t see the flaws in the system. And yet, to be so blind about what the goals are, that seems to be a way to descend into madness.
But that’s not the only thing. You have those who have to manage the minds, the psyche of those who travel through time. How do you begin to put back together a mind who has seen through to other timelines? How do you ever deal with those now false memories?
It’s an interesting thought that I’m looking forward to seeing explored.
What’s cool is that you have the opportunity to potentially get a variant cover right out of the box which features art from Sean Hill, who did the 4th issue of The Gilded Age ($10 Level). 133art also provides a couple of levels for stores to get a handful of copies ($20 level for 6 copies). At the higher levels, you can get the “ultimate 133art print bundle” ($50 level). At the highest end you can get featured in a back-up story where you are a Slingshotter ($500 level)!
Full disclosure – Robert Jeffrey not only wrote for this site, but he is a good friend. But even if that wasn’t the case he would have had me at time-travel!
Seriously, though, if you’ve ever read Route 3 (and you need to!), you know that the guy can write his ass off. So what are you waiting for?
By the way, did you know that I was participating in a Kickstarter for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons focused on Love, Knights, and Enchanters? It is called Love’s Labour’s Liberated. The Kickstarter runs through the end of the month. If you are a fan of roleplaying games, give it a look!
Ancient evils… this normally lends itself to fantasy style settings, or maybe some kind of urban fantasy where there is something that will destroy all that you hold dear.
But what if there was a group who had to ensure the evil remained put down? What if you were recruited into such a group? And what if you realized that the shadow war you never belived in was very, very real?
Kickstarter Campaign ends on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 3:43 PM EST.
In a time of technological marvels, an ancient evil rises.
The little girl who escaped the demonic forces which occupied the LaLaurie New Orleans mansion on a sunny day in 1833, though, called it something else: the site of a rebirth. The little girl swore on that day that she would never be anyone else’s victim, and so began a centuries long campaign of bloody revenge. The Retribution Cabal (RC) was born, protecting only those descendants of America’s original sin.
Now on a cyberpunk stage where technological wonders leave no place for creatures of legend, the LaLauries and their denizens reappear, continuing their blood-soaked quest for obtaining ultimate power. Time will tell if the remaining members of the fractured Cabal can stand as the bulwark between humanity and the rising hordes of darkness.
Robert Jeffrey II was a regular contributor to TesseraGuild, where he talked about comics and sci-fi and Sliders (he and I have talked many times about Sliders!). I know that he eats, breathes, and everything else comics. For a long time, we’d tease him by saying “Robert, you’re are on the cusp! Just have some patience.”
Well, in my opinion, he’s no longer on the cusp. He has made it big time, and with this comic, it will only further his empire!
Since this is issue #1 of the comic book, you have the entry-level tiers: Digital ($5), Physical ($10), and then starting at $25 you can either get an alternate cover or a print. On the higher end, you can potentially get a cameo appearance in issue #2 ($100) or you can go BIG and become a character within the story for issues 2-5 ($500).
Look… if Robert writes it, I’m buying it. That’s been my attitude since I first met him. You should do yourself a favor and check it out.
Plus I’m a sucker for stories which bring that centuries old grudge to bear all over again and again and again and…
Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm is a unique overnight summer camp in rural south Georgia where youth ages 11 to 15 spend a week together learning how to work toward peace and justice. Campers enjoy games and sports, laugh with new friends from diverse backgrounds, go on field trips, learn about human rights, make a difference for others through service projects, and explore the stories of peacemakers past and present.
Our task for the day was a pair of workshop sessions with the kids to talk about How to Make a Comic. This was a part of the concept of being able to Express yourself. The kids got to sit down with C-Grimey, a DJ from Chattanooga, TN for a chance to make a rap song or sit with us talking comics.
While we have a Powerpoint Presentation which breaks down the different aspects of a comic book: from developing characters and a script to working with artists, inkers, colorists, and letterers. We talk about how the medium is great because it is so collaborative. And that same fun you get from just talking to your friends about ideas or artwork you’ve done makes it very much a shared experience.
After that, we provide the campers with some blank pages with blank panels already drawn on them. When we did the Workshop for the first time this past December we provided the kids some example one page scripts so they could practice drawing that way, but as that session rolled along, we realized the better ideas just flow out from them as they want to tell their own stories. So this time we told them that while we had some examples, they should feel free to just wing it.
From the two sessions we got:
A lesson about what to do if your friend trips over a rock (the answer is to ask the rock for help!).
A cover piece of The Green Lantern: John Stewart.
A breakdown of the helicopter scene in Suicide Squad between Harlequin and Joker.
The best tagline ever – “It’s so stupid, it might just work.”
Learning that one of the kid’s favorite movies was the Purge (remember, he’s between 11 and 12 years old)!
Deadpool was another favorite.
In addition, we had a couple of copies of Route 3 and The Gilded Age trades on hand, and it definitely warmed my heart when I saw the kids reading through during the lunch break. We ended up leaving the copies so hopefully not just the campers last week, but the others this week and next could enjoy them.
Really though, my hope is that a couple of the kids will end up pursuing their comic dreams. We told them to practice every day because a year from now they will be better than they were. Who knows, maybe I’ll be buying one of their comics before too long!
When we last left our intrepid hero, he was busy crunching numbers for the Route 3 Kickstarter, trying to find the bare minimum it would take to actually get the trade funded. And I had my number: around $4500 would get us what we wanted.
Aside from my mistake, that is what it would cost…
I didn’t notice my mistake at first. And I really must say that I had done a ton of research. I’d listened to podcasts and read blogs until I was cross-eyed, and still didn’t see it coming. Because here’s the warning that you get on every single one of those posts:
Watch out for Shipping costs.
So I did. I was a maniac about it. I was making sure to count every person at the $7 shipping charge. What I didn’t realize is how Kickstarter actually incorporates that number. My brain said:
The shipping is determined after you make your pledge selection, so it CAN’T be a part of the overall $$. It’s a separate item and is effectively collected separately.
What reality said:
No, that $7 for shipping is actually added into the total goal number. So when you were calculating your goals, you should have included that one, but you didn’t.
It seems like it probably shouldn’t matter all that much, but I didn’t realize it until I did an update to the spreadsheet once we’d gotten past the 50 backer mark – and then realized my error.
On the positive, it meant we were much more likely to hit our goal when our $25 reward level was actually worth $32 to the campaign each time. On the negative, I was now seeing that there was as much as an $800 difference. Which basically meant if we barely funded, we’d potentially be behind by $800. Of course, that was the absolute worst case scenario (and I kept reminding myself of that very fact). That was if everyone only contributed at the $25 level. The idea of that happening was highly doubtful. It would mean no one would buy any PDF only levels or any of the higher tiers… again, not realistic.
That rationale didn’t help ease my brain spinning, and I can only imagine Robert’s state of mind when I told him the “good news”:
“So after we got off the phone tonight I got curious about the overall numbers. I quickly added the 55 backers up and found that the shipping charge (the $7 or $20) that appears to be an add-on is actually contributing to the Project Fund Goal.
This obviously causes a problem because we did not factor that into our cost breakdowns. I have written Kickstarter to make sure that I am seeing this correctly. What follows is the note I submitted through their “Support” button:
“I would like to confirm whether or not the added charges for domestic and international shipping is a contributing factor to the project’s overall Funding Goal. I had been under the impression that this was not the case when we launched on Friday afternoon. Is there any way that this can be altered for a project, as our calculated costs did not assume the shipping applied to the pledge amount? We believed it was an add-on. Any assistance you can provide on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.”
Assuming that this cannot be changed for the project, it appears that our True Number should have been approximately $5625 ($775 difference).
Now, this number is based on various factors:
Digital vs. physical backers – I’m assuming 25% digital based off our current level
Potential of International vs Domestic Shipping – This is probably only going to be a handful of people, but it is something to consider
The number of people who actually chose to do a higher reward level – This would reduce the number of people we actually have to ship anything to.
And potentially people who can get their reward hand delivered – Again, reducing the number of people we actually have to ship anything to.
That’s a lot to take in. I can walk you through it if you want to talk by phone at some point. I’m sorry that I didn’t catch this as I thought we’d been as thorough as possible.”
Of course, things couldn’t be changed at that point, and Kickstarter wasn’t going to change their whole setup for little old me. So I mentally prepared myself to make up for the blunder if it came to it. As the campaign went on I tracked the updated numbers and found that for every digital only person, it brought that value down (nothing to ship), for every higher award number chosen, it brought the numbers closer together.
I said it last post – the biggest part of Kickstarter is that it changes with every new person who contributes. We’d calculated in the “have an artist draw you tier” into our numbers, but if all of them weren’t taken (I think we were limited to 10) then it would reduce the number. So there were tons of ways to get through this gaffe. And by the end, just due to the rewards taken, we ended up all good and got some Stretch Goals in for good measure!
So I suppose the lesson is to really, really try to identify the potholes where you can. And even if you think you have a handle on the costs, maybe reach out to someone who’s already done a Kickstarter. Sometimes it is the question we don’t even know to ask which end up biting us in the ass.
Here we are, at the gateway of Summer (is that a thing?). You have people everywhere casting off their high school personas and trying to take their first stabs in the “real world” (whether college is the “real world” or not is a discussion for another day). I couldn’t tell you anything about the speeches given during my graduation, but I do remember the closing line from my sister’s which was a quote from the band Semisonic “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
That stuck with me more than anything else.
This idea that an ending becomes a new beginning is a beautiful thing. It means we get a chance to close the door on something old and move onto something new. And maybe it is a chance to see that before you can begin, you must look at the end… where you are going.
I’m in the process of final fulfillment of my Kickstarter for the Gilded Age, but I’ve got all these thoughts swirling around in my head about the process over the last year or so. You see, about a year ago Robert Jeffrey II launched his Route 3 Kickstarter. He was the guinea pig for this process. And knowing that I’d be launching one of my own in the Fall, I wanted to be along for every step he took. You know, so that hopefully if we made errors, then it wouldn’t happen again the next time (a wonderful thought, if nearly impossible to anticipate everything).
Where to start is always an odd thing. You have blogs and posts out there that talk to you about certain things, but a lot of time there is very little consensus in the right way to do something (note- there are TONS of wrong ways to do it… don’t worry). But honestly, the place to begin a Kickstarter is by thinking about the very end: what is the goal and what does that equate to? Numbers, dollars, cost, shipping, taxes, fees, and so on. You really need to have a grasp on those numbers so that you can set the right goal to get to, otherwise, it doesn’t matter what you plan and publicize or whatever. If you set your goal too high you’re dead before you even get started.
That meant looking at what our costs were going to be and trying to set a slightly moving target.
Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Hill – Available for order… just click the image.
With Route 3, we started with what we knew. We knew we’d have a 108-page trade as the final product. The layout had already been done and a small print run had been completed (about 25 copies), so we knew what it looked like (and what it was like to hold in our hands). We knew that the target retail price would be about $20 each. And we wanted to not only be able to fulfill our Kickstarter order, but also have extra copies for conventions. However, we didn’t want to fill Robert’s apartment with too many copies. It needed to be… manageable.
Then it was a matter of determining what kind of prices were even available. We ran the numbers through 5 different printing companies (Kraken, Artist Express, Ready Comics, Print Ninja, and Colorwise Commercial Printing). And by running the numbers, I mean trying it out with different copies ordered. Trying to find out where the best price break might be while always being mindful of having a number that still was attainable.
Key Takeaways: From most of the places listed above, it became apparent that the price break (and therefore the question we needed to ask ourselves) happened at 500 copies. At that number, the price of each trade is around $6 to $7 whereas if we tried for fewer copies, like 200 or 250, we were in the $10+ range per book.
I wrote this to the Terminus guys as I was breaking down the numbers, and it really remained true throughout the number crunching process and into the actual campaign as well:
“What I’m really finding is Kickstarter is like having a target that keeps moving every day. Sure, you have the big target that stays the same, but everything else ends up being highly dependent on about 3 or 4 additional things which need to be factored in. It’s like – ok, you need another $1000 to get to this stretch goal, but that really means you need $1000/$32 = 32 additional backers who need stuff shipped to them and… so you put in a number and then recalculate and recalculate and…”
It means you are going to be doing iterations with your numbers. And you’ll want to factor everything in. T-shirts and buttons and prints and anything else you can think of, but each of those come with a cost, which drives your shipping up which drives your overall numbers up which drives the Kickstarter fees up.
Oh, and did you factor shipping into your numbers? No? Well, start again because you’ll need to have those in there as well.
I was coming up with numbers around $6000 for Route 3’s Kickstarter.
But I’m looking around at other Kickstarters that might be comparable and they are closers to $4000 or $5000.
My thoughts from an email to the team:
“I’m a little concerned about hitting these numbers. Maybe that’s unfounded, maybe I’m being pessimistic, but I’d love to have these numbers lower.
I also went ahead and calculated what the costs might be if we went “Bare Bones” with the rewards. Basically, we’d be doing the trade and the pdf and that is it… no prints, no additional artist stuff, and no t-shirts or stickers. This also eliminated the 10% contingency (I don’t think we should get rid of these things necessarily, but I wanted to know what our “Floor” really was).”
Doing all of that I finally got the numbers down to something closer to what I hoped might be attainable: about $4500.
And so we had our first real target… but I’d made a mistake that might have cost us…
This is part of a series of posts where I look back at the process of running a Kickstarter. The steps we took, the mistakes we made, and a bunch of other things I wish I had known.
Back in December, Robert Jeffrey and I had the opportunity to do an updated version of a workshop Terminus used to do back in the day at Libraries entitled “Wham! Zap! Pow! Writing for Comics”. Hosted by the wonderful folks at Mind Bubble, the idea was to take some early teens who might have an interest in creating stories within the comics side of things and just walk them through the process.
Basically, a bunch of the stuff I wish I had known when I first sat down to write a comic script. All that stuff you don’t think about when you are reading the latest issue of Batman. We wanted to give them a glimpse at how those 20-22 pages actually manage to get done. Really walk them through the process as best we could.
It was really cool to try to get a gauge on what they might be into, where we might find some common ground. Things I was either into or really into when I was their age (the more things change and all of that, I guess).
Video games and anime and Star Wars movies were brought up as examples of building a story and creating memorable characters. After that, we went through the creation of a comic page, taking them through some more general ideas (what’s a Panel, the difference between Dialogue and Narration, etc.), we walked through (with the use of Sean Hill’s excellent Route 3 artwork) going from Thumbnails to Pencils to Inks to Colors all the way to Letters.
But probably the best idea was the one Robert had about doing a page of thumbnails based off of a sample one-page script (we had two examples for the kids to choose from, though a couple decided to do their own thing – which was cool as well). So while I’m watching them go about trying to construct a thumbnailed page, I realized that we had plenty of time, so why not share in the fun (the Mindbubble team got in on it as well).
Let me tell you, I am no artist.
No, really, not an artist. And if I ever entertained any thoughts along those lines, this crushed them. I think I burned the page I constructed after the event, but I was more than willing to show to everyone that thumbnails weren’t supposed to be perfect. As one young lady told me, “it looks like a fat lizard” (it was supposed to be a Godzilla monster). My perspective was horrible. Stick Figure Madness is what it could have been called. The kids snickered and laughed as I walked around showing my “skills” off. I’m hopeful that it helped everyone understand that at the end of the day writing, drawing, coloring, whatever it is you want to do in comics is supposed to be FUN.
And that’s really the goal at the end of the day with any of this stuff, right?
Mind Bubble does a number of these types of activities/workshops for youths in the Atlanta, Georgia area. You can find more information at https://mindbubble.org/.
John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?
Want to immortalize your cat (in art)? Design a pirate or a townie NPC? Ever want to read a comic about the road trip from Hell? Need a map through the mega dungeon? Want to meet fun tabletop gamers? If you answered, yes, then you might be building a RPG resume to go from wanna-lancer to freelancer and these are some of the best vanity press crowdfunding rewards that help you learn the RPG ropes. Let’s count these campaigns down!
“Contribute to help us create a beautiful traditionally printed fantasy game book featuring cat monarchies – and get it into stores.
We want to talk to you about Monarchies of Mau. It’s a complete tabletop roleplaying game that acts as a companion game to, and is totally compatible with, my first RPG, Pugmire. The Monarchies of Mau is a nation of cats tenuously comprised of six city-states.”
Monarchies of Mau
Cats with Swords!
You either raised an eyebrow and want to click the link to the Kickstarter for this anthropomorphic cat-people in a feline fantasy setting OR you rolled your eyes and thought, “Puss in Boots… bah, Antonio Banderas! My arch-nemesis strikes again…” Clearly, you’re either pro-Planet of the Cats or you’ll be canned as Fancy Feast! There is no third option!
[EDITOR’S NOTE – Don’t listen to Egg. He wrote “cats with swords” and felt it was defining. Make your own decision on this one because he’s going to be Fancy Feast no matter what.
As always, may Gary Gygax keep and protect your dice.]
As an added bonus, Monarchies of Mau has a pledge level in this campaign to name a feline (or canine) NPC and have it illustrated to resemble your pet. It’s an opportunity to immortalize a member of the family.
“A curse. A cave. A crawl. 5E fantasy adventure by Jamie Chambers!
Returning to my personal and professional gaming roots with a short adventure for 5E of the original fantasy roleplaying game—a cavern crawl built to please hack-and-slash groups and storytellers alike!
It All Started When …
I accidentally wrote a 5E fantasy RPG adventure! Wanna help me print it? This is a short campaign … it ends on June 16, 2017.”
Jamie Chamber’s Gaming Table
Due to the limited number of details about this cave crawl – it’s for 5e, there’s a curse, and a cave – you’ll need to decide on this project based on the strength of who Jamie Chambers is. So, who is he? Jamie Chambers runs Signal Fire Studios, home of the revised Metamorphosis Alpha RPG, he was a designer and line editor for TSR’s Dragonlance, and a former Vice President on the board of directors for GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association). So, who is he? He’s a gamer with a resume that speaks volumes about his skill. Top that with the fact that I discussed his IndieGoGo campaign last week and suggested that, in a perfect world and since he’s local to me, it’d be cool to meet him. He read the article and said we should make plans. Like so many folks I’ve met through wanna-lancing and gaming and comicing, Jamie’s a nice guy and for that alone this campaign is worth backing.
But, because I’m a wanna-lancer, let me add this reason to back the campaign over and above his resume and affable personality, you can create a NPC and/or playtest this adventure online with Jamie. It’s a nice extra.
3) Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Damien Hill Ends on .
“Centuries old prophecies. Shadowy government conspiracies. Super heroic action. Just a typical day for teenager Sean Anderson. Route 3.
Route 3is a super-powered road trip from hell. A Stone Mountain, GA teen finds out he’s been granted with a set of spectacular abilities, that he knows nothing about. He’s now on the run from a wide array of folks in a sort of super powered arms race across the Southeastern United States. Explosions, gunfights, telekinetic feats of awesomeness, and a little personal growth are all thrown into the mix.
We’ve collected all three issues of the first story arc into a superb collected edition that also includes a cover page gallery, “DVD” extras, and a forward by the talented artist/ writer Takeia Marie (Contributor to Rosarium Publishing’s APB: Artists Against Police Brutality).”
Because Robert Jeffrey is our guildmate, and we love him and Route 3, we’ve shouted out this Kickstarterasmuchaspossible on the Tessera Guild. It’s exceeded its goal (so the collected first story arc is coming) and the campaign is moving through stretch goals. I’m a fan of the series and ready to read more of Sean Anderson’s adventures!
“Pirates, Vodouisants, and Witch Hunters battle each other and beasts of legend in the mystic waters of the Caribbean. Climb aboard!”
Are you a fan of Savage Worlds (2003 Origin Gamers’ Choice Award for best role-playing game)? Oh, you don’t own the rules? Well, Pinnacle Entertainment has you covered because the core rule book is $9.99 in softcover.
To compliment the game and price point, Yellow Piece Games is kickstarting their pirate setting for Savage Rules. For $15, you get a PDF of the setting and customized rules and also a PDF of pirate NPCs that you get to contribute to. For my wanna-lancer resume, this adds experience with Savage Worlds and another NPC, all for a low price point.
“This project is a file/PDF for a high-resolution, printable map in both old school module blue and white, as well as, parchment color.
Basically, this is a continuation of the first S’rulyan Vault which funded on Kickstarter just over a year ago.
The S’rulyan Vault II is more of the same… but different. Obviously, there will be a totally new dungeon layout with lots of interesting things going on. The files can be printed off so you’ve got one massive map or four quadrants in order to easily mix and match them with each other and the previous S’rulyan Vault.
This is the DriveThruRPG product listing for the original S’rulyan Vault.
Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design will be doing the cartography, layout, and file preparation.
As for the accompanying PDF full of useful random tables and such for creating and running your own damn megadungeon! On the fly, if you wish. Here’s an example from Draconic Magazine.”
Example Map from the S’rulyan Vault II
Kort’thalis Publishing’s CEO (Cthulhu Excreted Officer) Venger Satanis is another nice soul. When I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind a RPG mentor in an article, Venger reached out and offered helpful advice, wanna-lancing opportunities, and, if everything works out, freelance RPG work.His help has been awesome and I cannot ask for more from a RPG professional.
Through Kort’thalis Publishing, Venger is making RPG magic. His current Kickstarter is an old-school megadungeon map. Do you need one or two system agnostic megadungeon maps? Yes. Yes, you do, and Venger has you covered.
Venger is also offering another opportunity – paid GM’ing. If you go to a con and run 8 hours of games using one of his systems/settings – Alpha Blue, Crimson Dragon Slayer, CDS 1.11, or The Outer Presence – he’ll pay you for in swag or money. You’ll need to read the description first and talk with Venger about it before you go, but being paid to GM is a cool job.
Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:
There is no Section Zero… or UFOs, or monsters, or time travelers. None. Um, rest assured…
Sean Anderson is a threat to the United States government. Or America’s only hope. Or both.
The assassination of the half-orc Grond could prevent an orc civil war. Or trigger the downfall of the Urughukai.
These three comic book Kickstarters – Section Zero, Route 3, and Grond #3 – offer some of the best in independent comics. Each one is worth checking out. Lets count’em down!
“MONSTERS! LOST WORLDS! UFOs! The strange and unknown! Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett finally finish the comic they began 17 years ago!
THERE IS NO SECTION ZERO
SECTION ZERO isn’t a secret section of the United Nation’s charter. It does not perpetually fund a team of experts and explorers to travel the world investigating the strange, fantastic, and unknown. The idea that this “team” looks into things such as UFOs, Monsters, Lost Civilizations, Time Travel, Ancient Gods and still-living Dinosaurs is no more than an urban legend.
After all, none of these things exist.
SECTION ZERO is a fast-moving adventure comic combining the kinetic energy of Jack Kirby with the world of myth, folklore and urban legends. There’s danger around every corner as Our Heroes challenge the unknown and face the fantastic for yet another time. It’s also a story about love— what we’ll do for it, and how far we’ll go to get it back. But with added monsters!
SECTION ZERO was co-created by us— Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett— in 2000 following our successful, fun-fulled runs on DC’s Superboy. It was part of the Gorilla Comics imprint from Image Comics, which also included Busiek and Immonen’s Shockrockets, Waid and Kitson’sEmpire, Perez’s Crimson Plague, and Dezago and Wieringo’s Tellos. It was heady company and exciting times, and we poured our hearts and souls into the project.
But after finishing only three issues, personal matters meant Karl had to step away from the comic, and the book’s tag-line— There Is No Section Zero— became ominously prophetic. But we never fully abandoned our labor of love, and have worked to find a way to bring the book back— somehow, someway— ever since.
Section Zero Trade Mock-Ups
17 years later…
Kickstarter will help us finally finish what we begun. But we can’t do it by ourselves. We need people to make the journey with us, to stand beside SECTION ZERO as we face the Greatest Unknown— crowdfunding! We need your help, and we need your support. In a way, our original tag-line is more true than ever because There Is No Section Zero… WITHOUT YOU.”
I’m going to fanboy here – I have NEVER read a bad comic that Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett have done together. Not one. These creators are the comics equivalent of peanut butter and chocolate but with no chance of an allergic reaction! They could write and draw the telephone book and it’d be a page-turner!
It’s $35 shipped in the US to get a 200-page trade that will be worth reading and re-reading and make you open up your comic boxes to fish out their prior productions to re-read. I would have happily paid more and I’m ready to see this comic come into being!
2) Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Damien Hill Ends on .
Route 3 Page
“Centuries old prophecies. Shadowy government conspiracies. Super heroic action. Just a typical day for teenager Sean Anderson. Route 3.
Route 3is a super-powered road trip from hell. A Stone Mountain, GA teen finds out he’s been granted with a set of spectacular abilities, that he knows nothing about. He’s now on the run from a wide array of folks in a sort of super powered arms race across the Southeastern United States. Explosions, gunfights, telekinetic feats of awesomeness, and a little personal growth are all thrown into the mix.”
This series is written by Tessera Guild member, Robert Jeffrey II. It’s an amazing story and high on my list to hold in my hot lil’ hands. But don’t take my word for it, check out John McGuire‘s write up of Route 3 here.
That disclosure out of the way, here’s my succinct thoughts. As a comic, Route 3 is as solid as the granite of Stone Mountain and as engaging as politics. As a Kickstarter from an independent comic book creator, Route 3 is kicking as much @$$ as MMA Fighter, Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
“Grond is now Kallok. Obberoth is dead. Valara’s fate is decided by Ugreth. Oublar is close to getting what he desires, being Mok’Dar.
The story starts here….
Grond 3 Cover Pencils
It is dusk on the first day of Krul’suu’luna (The Second Blood Moon). Obberoth Mok’Dar and his two sons, Ugreth and Oublar are strategizing their first attack against the Urughukai’s most hated adversary, King Rolfgar Stonefist. Suu’luna (the blood moon) is the most favored time of year to attack according to the Urughukai history. They believe that the Great Galrog’s spirit, the Urughkan god of war, will join them on the fields of battle to claim victory against the grunnarian race. Meanwhile, the young Grond is training vigorously to prove to his fav’aak(father) that he is ready for battle. Grond will have one chance to earn the title of “Kallok”(warrior) and prove his equality to his clansman or die. Taurok, Juug’la (judge) of the Urughukai and Head Chief of the horde of Clan Bloodtusks is responsible for training and preparing Grond for battle. Par’ Oublar, Ugreth’s brov’aak (brother) has emancipated from clan Bloodtusk to began a new clan by the name of Clan Grotskull. Oublar has not forgiven his father for the decision to spare his brov’aak’s (brother) life for the treacherous betrayal to his father and his clansman for breaking the oath of Grum’vlak, the sacred mating tradition only between the Urughukai. Oublar will get his opportunity to enforce justice now that his father has summoned him and his army to join him against the Fists of the Mountain, the grunnar. Oublar will soon realize that his servitude to his father will be more rewarding to him than he expected. Back at the mountain, King Rolfgar, is fully aware of the fight that ways against him from the powerful Obberoth Mok’dar. He pledges victory once more against the orcan filth and looks forward to seeing Obberoth’s head mounted next to the head of Ukklok Mok’Dar, his father.”
Full-disclosure – I’m working on a comic book mini-series for Midcity Comics (publisher of Grond and the Draconis Project).
This is a fact – There are not enough comic books featuring half-orcs. Like, that’s the one point that we can all agree on as a species, half-orcs need more representation in comics, books, movies, music, video games, and plays! With the exception of tabletop RPGs, their stories are few and far between. To bridge that gap, Grond the comic lives in orc culture using their language and customs to tell of a political power struggle. For the uniqueness of the subject matter of this series alone, help support the half-orc cause, check out Grond!
But let me give you the simplified pitch – “Grond is the tale of a half-orc fighting his pure-blood orc family!”
Either that statement moved you and you’re already looking for the link to the Grond Kickstarter or you were hoping for half-orc/orc love and you’d be better off reading the words of Jeremy Neill. No, none of that half-orc love in Grond, this series is all half-orc fighting orcs in all of its gory glory! Well worth checking out!
Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:
Full disclosure – I might have some interest in Route 3’s Kickstarter succeeding. Robert Jeffrey is not only a collaborator on this very site, but is a writing partner and good friend. I have watched him grow into his own as a writer over the years, and I have see how much sweat and blood he’s put into Route 3. This isn’t just a comic for him. This is a story he’s been dying to tell for some time.
With this Kickstarter, he’s going to get his chance.
Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 3:50 EDT.
We are raising funds primarily to get the completed collected edition, Route 3 Vol. 1, printed.
Let me repeat this:
THE BOOK IS FINISHED. COMPLETE. IN THE CAN.
Route 3 is a super-powered road trip from hell. A Stone Mountain, GA teens finds out he’s been granted with a set of spectacular abilities, that he knows nothing about. He’s now on the run from a wide array of folks in a sort of super powered arms race across the Southeastern United States. Explosions, gunfights, telekinetic feats of awesomeness, and a little personal growth are all thrown into the mix.
An explosive scene of action from Route 3 #3. Pencils/ inks Sean Damien Hill. Colors, Omi Remalante
If you look at the top of this page you’ll see Robert’s name alongside my own. If you look on the Terminus Media Facebook page you’ll no doubt see our fingerprints all over the place. I’ve known Robert now for over a decade. This project, this book, has been one he has clawed and scrapped and promoted and talked about and… this list goes on and on. This book is a piece of him. When the last issue was completed, there was a joy there that can’t quite be fully explained. It’s like finally crossing a finish line after years of hard work.
However, the path of the indy comic creator is full of pot holes. Money runs out, print runs don’t happen, and you’re constantly torn between this odd thing of people devaluing your work (“It costs how much!?!”). This Kickstarter will help push the comic to a place where it can start funding itself… hopefully into an issue 4 and 5 and 6 and…
The Kickstarter is for the first trade of the series which collects issues 1 through 3. There are the options to get either a pdf or the print version sent to you. At the $40 level a couple of digital prints become available. At the $75 level there is a limited opportunity to not only get Route 3, but you can also get a physical copy of Radio Free Amerika’s trade (which Robert co-wrote) (at the time of this writing there were only 7 of these left available).
If being drawn as one of the mercenaries is more your style, there is an opportunity to do just that at the $300 level.
What’s that saying? The biggest no-brainer in the history of the world? Yep, that’s what this is. Not only is it Robert, so I’m supporting it, but I’m wondering if I can get him to throw in a special print or something… 🙂
Seriously though – so many comic book Kickstarters are looking for funds to even come into being. That is a different kind of crapshot as you can never be 100% sure the book is going to be completed. This is a FINISHED trade. All this money is going to print costs just so that he can get this out there and into the hands of the people.
Plus, he’s tired of the question – How can I buy the trade?
For more information on Route 3 or the rest of Terminus Media’s comics, check out their Facebook here.
Hey guys and gals! Just wanted to give a heads up that yours truly will be a guest/ panelist at this years 2016 Urban Axis Indy Con on July 23-24!
Here’s a rundown of the event: Urban Axis IndyCon is an event formed by the minds of Urbangod Ink Studios and Infinite Axis Comix. The first Urban Axis IndyCon was held October 10th and 11th, 2015 in Stone Mountain, Georgia at The Venue at Redan. Urban Axis Indy Con showcases vending from independent comic artists, authors, illustrators and other creators. UAIC also feature events such as musical performances, gaming, cosplay, independent film, spoken word, and workshops!
I’ll have copies of the Route 3: Vol 1 graphic novel…..
Copies of the Radio Free Amerika Season 1 graphic novel….
And other awesome titles like The Gilded Age (written/ created by the esteemed John R. McGuire), Terminus Team Up, and Platypus Vs. Monkey!
We’ll also be showing Terminus Media related animation, along with the first episode from our recent CDC/ Terminus Media collaboration/ animated motion comic.
I’ll even be hosting panels/ workshops, juggling oranges, and pop-locking to save a community center.
Ok, maybe not the juggling, and pop-locking, but I’ll defintely be hosting some panels/workshops. Check out the schedule below:
Saturday July 23, 2016- Day 1
2:30 PM: Platypus Vs. Monkey/ RFA Video presentation followed by a Q & A and lecture
4:30 PM: Terminus Media Panel
Sunday July 24, 2016- Day 2
2:00 PM: Robert Jeffrey Lecture/ Workshop; “The Basics for Writing A Comic Book Script”
Two of Tessera Guild’s own are excited to announce a project years in the making will finally see the light of day 4:00 PM (PST) at San Diego Comic Con during a panel titled “Using Motion Comics for HIV/STI Prevention”. Robert Jeffrey and John McGuire acted a two of the main writers for the project in which they scripted a series of motion comics with the idea of both entertaining and informing. Episode One of the series will be shown in its entirety for the first time at the panel with a plan to roll out the additional episodes during the remainder of the year.
Below is the press release:
Terminus Media and CDC Team Up for San Diego Comic Con
Atlanta, GA (July 18, 2016) On Friday, July 22nd the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Terminus Media will host a panel titled Using Motion Comics for HIV/ STI Prevention at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The panel will highlight the continuing collaboration between the CDC and Terminus Media a Creative Services and Entertainment Studio in their efforts to use the medium of motion comics/animation to raise awareness about HIV/ STI prevention.
“With using motion comics to spread “edutainment” our hope is that we will be able to use this medium to better illustrate the facts of this issue, while also highlighting the personal experiences of those affected by HIV/ and STI,” Mark Stancil, CEO and co-founder of Terminus Media explained.
The event will be held at San Diego Comic Con between 4:00 pm-5:00 pm PST, in room 32AB. An official description of the panel is as follows:
4:00p.m. – 5:00p.m PST Using Motion Comics for HIV/STI Prevention
In the U.S., young people (ages 16-24 years) are significantly affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). Storytelling through comic books has been shown to be a useful method for HIV/STI education and prevention. The increasing popularity of comic related media and advances in computerized graphics have created new ways of using comics to reach youth with HIV/STI information. You are invited to come and learn how scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Leigh Willis (behavioral scientist), Rachel Kachur (health scientist,) Ted Castellanos (public health advisor), John Brooks (senior medical advisor), and Terminus Media Mark Stancil (CEO),
Joe Phillips (lead artist) Lexington Wolfcraft (artist) worked to create an HIV/STI focused motion comic which improves knowledge about, and reduces stigma around, HIV and STI, and encourages healthy behaviors by young people. Attendees will learn how audience feedback, behavioral research and cutting edge comic production methods were used to create the storyline and the look, sound and feel of this motion comic. For the first time ever, during this session, the first episode of the series will be debuted. Information will also be provided on how the public can access the full motion comic series and future plans for the series will be discussed.
About Terminus Media
Terminus Media is an Atlanta-based Creative Services and Entertainment studio dedicated to identifying, developing and aggressively marketing corporate and creator-owned properties into valuable multimedia assets. In addition to publication of critically acclaimed titles like The Gilded Age, the Glyph Comic Award winning, Route 3, Terminus Team Up, and the Glyph-award nominated, Radio Free Amerika. Our Creative Services division assists corporate, government and private-sector clients with visual communication projects ranging from animation and character development to full-scale message-specific publications, including work done for such clients as the Centers for Disease Control, Nitto Tires, and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Alliance Theatre.
Taking a cue from my fellow Tessera Guild member, John McGuire, I’m going to list out my writing related to do list for current/ upcoming projects. These run the gamut from super heroic tales of daring, to action adventures spread across alternate dimensions and space.
Superheroes and sci-fi?
I know, I’m a big nerd.
A scene from Route 3 # 3.
–Route 3 #3/Vol. 1: After getting the final draft edited by the esteemed Mr. McGuire and my Editor in Chief @ Terminus Media, Tony Cade, the book is now 9 pages in at the pencils/ inks stage.
I’m kind of biased on this front, but Sean Hill is killing it on the art duties, and I’m looking forward to seeing Omi Remalante’s masterful colors applied once this is all done.
A scene from Route 3 # 3
Setting aside any further delays, I’m hoping for a late September, early October release for the book. The final plan will be to compile issues 1-3 into a trade paperback (Vol.1), and get them into comic book stores and book stores all across the country, and *gasp* maybe even the world.
This issue will round out the first story arc of Route 3, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to tell more stories of Sean Anderson’s journey in the future. Once the book and collected edition drop I’ll be in overdrive mode promoting, while also continuing to generate ideas for future tales.
–The Best: A zombie outbreak set against the backdrop of an intergalactic war. That’s the most basic pitch for a 10 page short that I’ve written in collaboration with the esteemed Takeia Marie.
Zombies. And even more zombies.
You know those artists that once you see their work you really want to have an opportunity to collab with them? Takeia’s one of those creators, and I think she’s the best person to bring this space based action-horror hybrid to life.
The story will focus on two soldiers and a seemingly impossible mission they’re tasked to take on. Here’s hoping that this will turn out to be a small drop in a wider pool of awesome storytelling opportunities, because I’d love to widen this world out a bit more.
I had a lot of fun with this one, and hopefully it shows.
–Radio Free Amerika: Season 1: So yeah, I got my first graphic novel/ trade paperback released. 😀
Cover for Radio Free Amerika: Season 1.
Still kind of on cloud 9 on that front. Not coming down anytime soon.
It’s too cool for school up here.
My co-writing duties on B. Robert Bell’s Radio Free Amerika have been collected in a really nicely bound book, collecting issues 1-3. I’m really proud of how the story, and just the book overall, came out. By year’s end/beginning of 2016 you should see the collected edition at your local comic book store, books stores, libraries, bodegas, outer space, other dimensions. Just everywhere.
Barron and I will continue to generate ideas/ start scripting for Season 2, while spreading the word about Season 1. The plan is to try and get the trade in as many hands as possible.
-Stealth: The Life and Times of Allen White: A while back, I was hired by the
A page from Stealth: The Life and Times of Allen White.
talented William Satterwhite to bring the origin of his character, Allen White, a.k.a Stealth, to life in the pages of an original graphic novel.
William’s web comic, Stealth, is a fun action packed tale of super heroics that deserves
to be checked out. So, to say I was beyond ecstatic to help tell a new story featuring this character was an honor. Add to that, the book is being drawn by the talented Jamar Logan. I think we’ve got a bonafide hit on our hands.
A sort of “issue 0” is scheduled to be released later this summer, which will serve as a preview of sorts, giving fans a look into what the future holds for our creative effort. Continuing to put the final touches on this script.
-The Crossing: John McGuire. Robert Jeffrey II. Sean Damien Hill. Alternate dimensions. High paced action. A story of loss and betrayal. What’s not to love?
Inter-dimensional travel: the only way to travel.
Still working on applying final edits to the pitch for this sci-fi adventure that my fellow Tessera Guild/ Terminus Media writer in arms and I have come up with.
John: I’ll get the edits to ya by this weekend. I swear.
Next will be finding a publisher for the book. But once we find a home for it, you all are going to need to hang on to your seats. Like, “get some seat belts installed in home” type of action.
Also working on a prose novella set within this universe, so stay tuned.
-Tesera Guild: My commitment is to up my postings to 2-3 Friday’s a month, so get prepped to see more of my random rants on this page.
Comics, sci-fi, life musings, you’re gonna get ‘it all.
-BlackSci-Fi.com: I’m honored to write for this awesome website, and things are going to be picking up A LOT on this front over the next few months.
Within my capacity as contributing writer for the website I get a chance to speak about a well established and constantly growing arm of this awesome genre we call sci-fi. Whether it’s prose, comics, movies, video games, etc, I’ll have articles coming down the pipeline about the work that African Americans are contributing and have contributed to the science fiction arena.
And as always, you can visit me here for a rundown of past projects, maybe buy some books, and get updates about anything else I have coming up.