Spencer & Locke VOL 2 TPB

You know the drill here folks. Pepose/Santiago Jr/Smith/Bell teamed up to bring you a stupid amazing sequel to a ridiculously amazing first volume of Spencer & Locke. The skinny is this: Heavily traumatized Locke has grown up and now hangs on to the one comfort he has in Spencer [the imaginary visage/embodiment of his stuffed animal from childhood] as he faces the adult world. In the second volume we see Locke face off against Roach, who is in many ways a mirror image of himself. Writer David Pepose was gracious enough to give us a fistful of answers in regards to to the overall S&L story and some of the thought process in bringing them to the page.

Our thoughts on the individual issues: #1 #2 #3 #4 – and now some insight from the scripter himself:

For you, as a writer, what was the biggest challenge in following up the first volume of S&L?  When you create an end product that is about as creatively perfect as you can get, it has to be daunting to go back and continue …

Well, first off, thank you for saying that! To be honest, with SPENCER & LOCKE 2, it was actually a comfort to go back and not just reexamine these characters that I had grown to love, but to reunite with a creative team as brilliant as Jorge Santiago, Jr., Jasen Smith and Colin Bell. Every series is always rolling the dice as you get to feel out your team and the themes of the book, so being able to build upon the foundation and team dynamics that we had established in our first volume was such an incredible gift for me as a writer. And I think that helped me overcome my biggest challenge with the series, which was just to keep building on Spencer and Locke’s unique partnership and history together — when you’re working with a team as stacked as Jorge, Jasen and Colin, it really inspires you to bring your A-game to every page and to just take as many big and crazy swings as possible.

How much of Roach was a reflection of Locke?  The parallels for Roach with the militant angle/PTSD are given, but it really felt like more than that.

Roach is definitely the dark side of Locke’s unique pathology — while Locke developed his imaginary friend Spencer to cope with a lifetime of trauma and abuse, I always felt that Roach had sustained just as much pain and suffering but in a much more accelerated time frame. Roach is what Locke would become without a sense of hope — but because of that hopelessness, I think that means Roach has leaned into his violent streak, utilizing his military training and advanced weaponry to evangelize a darker sort of gospel. At the end of the day, Roach does think he’s doing us a favor — because to him, once you’ve had the worst day of your life, nothing else can touch you.

When you were forming this second arc, what was the bridge between the two stories?  The connective tissues can be felt but what was the interlocking piece for you as you wrote it?

I remember when the first SPENCER & LOCKE came out, and there were a few people who said that there was no way that someone as fundamentally broken as Locke would ever be allowed to become a cop — and so with Volume 2, I really wanted to explore the real-world implications of how society might respond to someone who bent and broke the rules as much as he does. I think the overarching ethos of SPENCER & LOCKE has been that nothing happens in a vacuum — we’re not beholden to bringing things back to any sort of equilibrium, so Spencer and Locke can keep evolving and changing with each new case. These things should always be personal, and even in victory, we always want there to be some sort of cost. And I also just think that the conceit of using the entire funny pages was a really natural way to keep our strip going — there are so many archetypical comic strip characters to parody, and each one lends themselves to a different kind of story.

This second volume really started to build up the supporting cast outside of Spencer.  How much is out there to be explored with them? 

That’s the best part of expanding our series the way we have — there’s so much room for new characters, and expanding on the characters that already exist in our series. Star reporter Melinda Mercury was a really fun character to explore in this series, as our riff on Dale Messick’s Brenda Starr, and Hal and Lana, our take on Mort Walker’s Hi and Lois, really provided some nice background for the whole series. I’d also say for sure keep an eye out on Locke’s daughter Hero — she’s our secret weapon in this book, and I think she’s just as much depth to explore as her troubled dad.

Seeing it all wrapped up, how do you view the series?  Did you accomplish what you wanted, and did maybe something else evolve along the way as well? … and of course, VOL 3, eh?

We set out to make SPENCER & LOCKE 2 our Dark Knight, our Empire Strikes Back, and I really think we stuck the landing on it. I’m so proud of how this series has progressed, and seeing how well Spencer and Locke’s struggles paralleled other comic strip legends only gives me hope for how our series might progress down the road. While I cannot confirm or deny a SPENCER & LOCKE 3 just yet, rest assured Jorge and I have been talking about exactly where our story should go from here, with some icons that are even more legendary than even Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey. But either way, SPENCER & LOCKE fans should definitely keep an ear to the ground, because we might have some very exciting news to share with them sooner rather than later…

There we have it folks. Again, a huge thank you to David Pepose for taking the time to entertain a fistful of questions about the hit series Spencer and Locke. If you’re new to this creative team you’ve got an absolute perfect chance to jump on board with the second volume hitting shelves all nice and collected for you. While you can read vol 2 in isolation I strongly urge you to seek out vol 1 and read them together. It is self-contained yes, but there is so much more [as you can see from the Q/A] that you’ll get out of the experience if you take in the entirety of it. Grab the vol 2 trade out this coming Wednesday. Search out the vol 1 trade. This is a comic you need to read.


What’s Kickin – August 2019

>>>>>10 DAYS OR LESS<<<<<

SINK: BLOOD & RAINCloses funding August 6th 2019 11:59 PM EDT
The second volume of the award winning crime-horror series from Comixtribe. It’s got murderous clowns for goodness sake. Sinkhill is a place where anything can happen but does have two constants. Blood and Rain. Date night from hell, a gang member having a crisis of conscience, and being in grave danger after moving into a luxury high-rise are all just part of the fun.

Variant cover, mp3’s, retailer bundles. Vol 1 – 2 HC tier available.

FALLENCloses funding August 8th 2019 6:57 AM EDT
22 pages of full color from Matt Ringel and Henry Ponciano delving into the synth-pop filled era of 1980’s New York. A mythological detective story, Fallen is the story of the mythological gods using humans as wards to influence the mortal world. As it stands, Zeus has been murdered and his ward must now find the answers. Who killed Zeus, and how? There’s a treacherous underworld to navigate but the Olympian family will be in support.

Digital and physical copy tiers.

BROTHERS BONDCloses funding August 8th 2019 3:23 PM EDT
Ryan Benjamin, and Kevin Grevioux bring the Eisner nominated webcomic to print. Demonic forces have taken over the kingdom and it is up to the exiled prince and his two blind samurai protectors to reclaim it. There’s action, adventure, coming of age, and a little comedy in this tale of fixing past mistakes to restore what once was.

Digital and print copy tiers. Con Preview exclusive and slipcase box set available.

LAD: THE HOMECOMINGCloses funding August 9th 2019 3:00 AM EDT
Umar Ditta, Carlos Pedro, Hugo Boylan, Kerrie Smith, and Dearbhla Kelly bring us a neo-noir inspired story about The Family. Running the town, the Family operates out of the Beacon Lodge. One rule only really, and that is “leave the Forest, and the Hermit alone” and all is well. Except it isn’t because the family’s father was found savagely beaten clinging to life just outside the forest.

Great digital and print tier price points. Retailer and t-shirt rewards available.

STELLAR ODYSSEYCloses funding August 9th 2019 2:00 PM EDT
A team of NINE creators has come together to bring a sci-fi anthology of four – six page stories all taking place in the same universe. Serving as an intro to characters with the Stellar Odyssey universe, the stories will be a glimpse into what’s coming. Aliens, shootouts, and escape await! Each story will have its own “cover art” as well.

Sketch card and pin up rewards. T-shirt and custom art available.

COGNITIONCloses funding August 11th 2019 9:30 AM EDT
A steam powered automaton with a human soul is spiritually linked with a demonically possessed mouse. They serve the British Occult Secret Service during the height of the Golden Age of the Victorian Era. Ken Reynolds dives into British folklore and riffs on a will o’the wisp, black schuck, and the legend of Bran the Blessed.

Single issue and trade reward tiers. Metal bookmark, collector’s box available.


TRIGGER MORTISCloses funding August 13th 2019 4:00 PM EDT
Derec Donovan combines the Spaghetti Western and Zombie genres in this 64 page hardcover. Devil’s Lantern, CO is under siege from a zombie plague that’s spreading like wildfire. Instead of focusing on CO gaining statehood, the cattle rustlers, or the love triange she’s involved in Sarah Mc’Clintock has to help band the living together to stave off the walking dead.

Signed art Remarque and enamel pin tiers. Alternate cover by Dan Panosian available.

TRANSDIMENSIONALCloses funding August 15th 3:42 AM EDT
TPub Comics is getting the final issue of the mini-series and the collected edition funded here. Project is done so straight to printing when the campaign ends. The story is about an emotionally broken underwater archaeologist that hides his true motivation for chartering an expedition to a sunken Russian submarine that’s been missing for decades. The deeper the crew goes the darker and more horrifying the story gets.

Digital and print copy tiers. T-shirt and commissions available.

BUN & TEACloses funding August 15th 2019 2:52 PM EDT
Claire Napier is editing a serial comics magazine. Each issue will be approximately sixty five pages (50 pages of graphic narrative content and the rest will be the magazine type trimmings). While each monthly segment will be fun all its own there will be a bigger, whole story being told. There are six creative teams in the first installment from all over the world.

Digital and print tiers.

THE ARCANE COCKTAIL ENTHUSIASTCloses funding August 19th 2019 2:59 AM EDT
Jeff Rider, Davide Puppo, and Anthony Lee come back for issue 2 of the story of Lark Leraar. A powerful sorcerer and the owner of the Arcanist Bar, Lark has discovered that dark magic has crept into the drinks as well as the new guy, Bill. Now it’s up to Lark and her friend Naomi to undertake a dangerous mission and save him. Magical worlds and mystical people are explored alongside flora and fauna that are used to make the most unique libations known!

Catch up tier and enamel pin rewards. Art print available.

DESTINY, NY: STORIESCloses funding August 23rd 2019 8:00 PM EDT
A perfect jumping on point for the Destiny, NY world. Pat Shand continues the world building with this collection of short stories that explores the characters much deeper and closer than ever before. All in all it’s 100+ pages collecting ten shorts that range from slice-of-life to holiday special to magical drama. They’re stand alone and provide a more intimate understanding of the characters of Destiny, NY.

Variant cover, bookplate, art prints. Catch up tier for entirety of Destiny, NY available.

HEART OF STEALCloses funding August 25th 2019 3:56 AM EDT
This brand new action/crime caper comes from Fraser Campbell. The man behind hits such as Alex Automatic and The Edge Off is bringing the tale of three estranged friends that find themselves on a collision course following an audacious robbery. Loyalty, friendship and ambition are at the core of the story. Did I mention it’s set in Alpha City, on the moon? It is.

Digital bundle, print, commission tiers. Likeness in issue 2 available.

THE SEVEN SAGAS OF SILVERBEARDCloses funding August 28th 11:31 AM EDT
A gorilla warrior battles over seven lifetimes to overthrow the uncaring Gods that betrayed him and would turn his world into a wasteland. Earth is dying and the Gods simply don’t care. Cures, Silverbeard has battled demons, monsters, and the blighted land itself to try and overcome the deities that care not for the plight of the land. Pete Taylor brings the silver age inspired saga to oversized life.

Digital and physical, bookplate, art print. Ink sketch available.

What’s in the Box?

As of May 1 2019

Wasted Space, These Savage Shores, Heathen, Maxwell’s Demons, Fissure, Queen of Bad Dreams
(the entirety of Vault’s line is on my pull list)

*She Said Destroy, Resonant, Test, Sera and the Royal Stars are pre-ordered

Blossom: 666, Jughead VS Vamperonica

Shadow Roads

A Walk Through Hell

Bone Parish, The Empty Man, Black Badge

Black Hammer ’45

DIE, Evolution, Death or Glory, Infinite Dark, The Freeze

Amazing/Superior/Spectacular/Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman, Immortal Hulk, Conan, Savage Sword of Conan, X-Force, Guardians of the Galaxy, Invaders

*Metal Shark Bro is pre-ordered


Publisher Count: 10
Title Count: 30 active 5 pre-ordered
Most Titles by Creator: 4 – Cullen Bunn
Big 2 Count: 10 active (6 without Spidey books)
Indie Count: 20 active 5 pre-ordered

Wailing Blade – Preview/Rich Douek Q&A

Rich Douek – Joe Mulvey – Chris Sotomayor – Jules Rivera – Taylor Esposito

This brutal tale of kick ass is brought to you by the ComixTribe.  It should be no surprise that this Heavy Metal-esque poetry of punishment comes from this outfit.  Yes, you know ComixTribe … they brought you the creator owned favorite SINK!  If ever a title was perfect for a publisher, this is it.

HOLY $#!^ … This IS sci-fi fantastical wonderment!  I cannot help but be transported back to 1980 something watching a gruesome post apocalyptic tale riddled with harsh circumstances and even harsher realities.  As I read through each page I was just giddy with the brutal, metal nature of this tale.  What’s more, is that the book opened up with a sequence reminiscent to the opening montage of an industrial tragedy that fills you with dread and hopelessness in the face of what you’ll have to eventually come to deal with.  The executioner and his blade are iconic in both look and feel.

Beyond the heavy metal exterior there is a very fine tale of actions and consequences.  The root cause of bad things happening is almost always us, as people.  Now, the current situation isn’t given much back story but there are hints to where this world has come from.  Man has fallen from the stars and the blade itself is a remnant of technologies that existed before.  Something pretty tragic had to have happened for the oppressive ruler Tyrant to have his heavy hand suffocating everything and everyone.  The setting though, adds the backdrop for the razor thin margin of living.  This allows us as the reader to feel the gravity of the error made by Tychon (son) as he goes against the advice of Auros (father).  It isn’t just a simple set up, but rather, a grand illustration of the dire plight facing everyone in the pages of Wailing Blade.

The story has given us plenty already and very clearly defines that there is MUCH MORE going on.  The best illustration of this, to  me, is the revelation we get in regards to the Executioner.  Yes the one that wields the blade is everything the legend speaks to, BUT the eyes under the mask tell a much deeper tale.  Of course, the last panel of the book makes it very clear that we’ve only just begun.  I can’t help but wonder about the grander tale behind all of this.  The crafting that has been done in bringing this world to life is very clearly large in scope.  The way the narrative is driven is rather point blank while remaining careful not to rush just to get from point to point.  Every scene within the panels is treated with care and details are everywhere.  You don’t do this if you’re just writing an arcade button masher of a book (though it would still be glorious if this were the case).  From the line art to the colors this world is crafted with care.  There’s a focus and point to have certain things stand out (the blade, the executioner, the remaining technology) but not so much that they feel out of place or unbelievable in the setting we’re given.  All of the details are woven together to create something special.  The lettering doesn’t just lend to, but purposefully injects building blocks into the world (the wail of the blade being a part of the blade itself).  The pieces stand on their own before coming together to make a perfect final product for the brutal, blunt force tale being told.

I could go on, but quite honestly you need to see it for yourself.  Go over to Kickstarter and look over the project.  Of a rather BIG NOTE on this project the price/reward structure is flat out astounding!  You are going to get some serious swag bang for your buck.


Q – Ok, where in the blue perfect hell did this story come from?  What was the birth of all of this?

Douek – It pretty much started when one of my favorite classic sci-fi authors, Jack Vance, passed away in 2013. When I heard about it, I reread his Dying Earth books, which are a really cool blend of fantasy and science fiction, and it inspired me to start working on a story in a similar setting; a point so far in the future it’s almost unrecognizable as our own world. There were a lot of other infuences, and things I added on my own, but that was the seed.
Q – Immediately upon seeing the images I was thrust back to my childhood.  80’s sci-fi and post-apocalyptic movies mashed up all sorts non-sensical pieces to make an underbelly genre that worked.  Wailing Blade thrusts me right back to being a kid for all the right reasons. Was the environment of WB built specifically or did it grow around the story as it came together?

DouekPart of it grew organically, but I grew up on 80s sci-fi and post apocalyptic stuff too, so that stuff is definitely in Wailing Blade’s DNA. I think a lot of my influences for this came from classic sword and sorcery, stuff like Conan and Elric, but also from crazy 80s cartoons like Thundarr the Barbarian, and Masters of the Universe. A bit of Mad Max, too, though you won’t see many cars in this world!

Q – The Blade itself.  I mean come on. Just, how?  Symbolic or intended to be the the “IT” factor.  Sure, the book is named for it but did that come about as it grew or was that the aim all along?

Douek – Tough one! Because I’m not sure I can explain the origins of the blade without giving away things about the story I’d rather keep secret for now. I will say that yes, it was always a part of the story I wanted to tell here, and it is meant to be symbolic in a way. We kind of touch on in the first few pages why it wails – or at least why everyone in that world thinks it does. But, in the story, the blade has been around for centuries, and has accumulated as many legends about it as lives it has taken. And there’s definitely a reason the title is centered around the blade, and not the person wielding it.
Q – The only thing I’ve read recently that even comes to mind as being close to this is Atomahawk.  Even that isn’t the brutal, over the top, full metal awesome that Wailing Blade is. As the story unfolded was there a goal to make it as unique as possible or was that just a very happy end point of the project playing itself out?

Douek – Wow! That’s a really nice comparison. I love Donny Cates’ work, and Atomahawk is totally up there for me as an example of the kind of over-the-top action we’re going for. As for the question of uniqueness, I’d say that for sure, it’s something we were striving for. I know that when I started talking to Joe about his designs for the book, one of the things he stressed was that he wanted everything – from the costumes right down to the trees and bushes, to look unique to this world, and unique to comics in general. So that was definitely the intent, and as we worked together, and with Chris Sotomayor and Taylor Esposito, we kept feeding off each other and trying to make everything look unique and dynamic.

Q – This is a very big book with a bold scope.  Just how big is the Wailing Blade universe? Is the hyper focused first issue setting the stage for a much broader arena?

Douek – Not going to lie, it’s pretty big. If you look at the map we included in the first issue, you’ll see that the Tyrant’s empire spans an entire continent. And there’s a whole world, and universe beyond that. We have a story in mind that will carry far, far beyond this first series, and, if we are able to financially, we could keep this going for years and years. Just a small example of what I’m talking about – the Wailing Blade and the Headtaker are the most famous of the Tyrant’s executioners, but they’re not the only ones. We’ll meet a second one before this series is done, but there are even more than that, and they all have a part to play in the tales we want to tell in this world.

Q – I have to give you recognition for the absolutely insane reward/price point structure on the Kickstarter campaign.  There is some excellent swag regardless of how much, or not, you’re able to kick in as a backer. How were you able to do this?

Douek – For that, I have to give all the credit to Tyler James, our publisher at Comixtribe. Tyler’s practically made a second career of studying what works, and what doesn’t when it comes to comics and Kickstarter. He runs a podcast called Comixlaunch where the whole focus is on strategies creators can use to make sure they run a campaign that’s great for them, and their backers – so there are a ton of lessons he’s learned over the years that we applied to this. But a big part of what you’re talking about is a commitment from all of us to provide a great experience to everyone who picks up the book, no matter what format they’re reading in, or how much they kick in.

THERE YOU HAVE IT FOLKS! Click below to go straight to the campaign and get on board!


What’s in the Box?

Wasted Space, Friendo, These Savage Shores, Fearscape, Heathen, Maxwell’s Demons, Fissure
(the entirety of Vault’s line is on my pull list)

Jughead: The Hunger, Blossom: 666
*Jughead VS Vamperonica is pre-ordered

Shadow Roads

Dark Ark, Hot Lunch Special, A Walk Through Hell

Bone Parish, The Empty Man, Black Badge

Death Orb
*Black Hammer ’45 is pre-ordered

Criminal, DIE, Evolution, Death or Glory, Infinite Dark,The Freeze, Cold Spots*
(there’s more to the story for Cold Spots but for now it is done)

Young Justice

Amazing/Superior/Spectacular/Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman, Immortal Hulk, Conan, X-Force, Asgardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Invaders
*Savage Sword of Conan is pre-ordered

*Metal Shark Bro is pre-ordered

*Transformers is pre-ordered

*Red Sonja is pre-ordered

Publisher Count: 11
Title Count: 36 active 6 pre-ordered
Most Titles by Creator: 6 – Cullen Bunn
Big 2 Count: 11 active (7 without Spidey books) 1 pre-ordered
Indie Count: 25 active 5 pre-ordered