Pride Month Spotlight: Joe Glass

June is PRIDE MONTH and here at the Driving Creators Network we wanted to showcase/spotlight an LGBTQIA+ comic creator. While there are a MULTITUDE of talented folks we decided on Joe for several reasons. First and foremost he is an extremely talented writer. For our money you’re getting as good of an Indy Comic Writer as there is with Joe. THE PRIDE has seen a few successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns (collected editions and pins) as well being a Comixology Original. Acceptable Losses was also successfully Kickstarted and has recently made its way to backers. More importantly Joe is a fantastic human being. Always willing to engage and discuss on social media, he’s been a very welcome piece of the comic community that has been found by the DCN over the last couple of years. As we dive into the spotlight we’re going to start with Joe himself as well as his take on a few things in regards to the community of LGBTQIA+ comic creators …

JOE GLASS

JOE GLASS

Writer/Creator

First of all.  Tell us about Joe.  Who are you? Not just the comic stuff, but you.
Hm, well, I am a writer and creator who lives in Wales, born and raised here too. I’ve been a reporter and critic in the comics industry, and a staunch advocate for LGBTQIA+ representation in the medium for as long as I can remember, which of course led into creating my own comics with LGBTQIA+ focus. I have a very naughty cat named Oliver who’s favourite things are singing the songs of his people at all times of day and night and biting me. Oh, and I’m really missing doing comic cons right now.
Queer Comix, is that just your imprint? Is there more too it?  Are there plans for it beyond your books? 
Well, funny story: back in the days when I was self-publishing The Pride, ComiXology started their Submit function. When you’re uploading comics to Submit there’s a Publishers Logo bit you have to upload, and I didn’t think about making the Publisher just my own name and using a pic of me or something for it ha. So I made up this fictional publishing arm called Queer Comix. As time progressed, and I got picked up by ComiXology for their Originals line, it made sense to make it more official and publish my independent comics under that logo, making them easier to find together on ComiXology. We’ll see what the future brings with it.
What LGBTQIA+ creators are you a fan of?  Who’s work do you seek out?
Right now? If something is created by Steve Orlando, Sophie Campbell, James Tynion IV, Sina Grace or Vita Ayala I am down for it, right away. And that’s just a start. There are so many queer creators doing brilliant work and more emerging all the time. Hamish Steele, Erika Price, Magdalene Visaggio, so many people are making really vital work right now, so when there’s something new from them I try to get on it as quick as I can.
What, in your opinion, is the biggest obstacle facing LGBTQIA+ comic creators?
Well, there’s a lot. Perhaps the worst is a toxic element of comics fandom that creates a culture of gatekeeping and does everything in their power to make the lives of queer creators a living hell online. Often to the point they have to remove themselves from these powerful social media tools which can be vitally important for spreading knowledge of their work, especially as so few are helped by big publishers. There’s also an element, in terms of mainstream comics like the Big Two, that queer creators have to pull back on their own content, to not make things ‘too gay’ so that it can appeal to as wide an audience as possible, including those toxic elements I mentioned. The thing is, those people are never going to like and support those comics, the Big Two publishers shouldn’t be putting so much focus on trying to reach those audiences and holding queer created or content books to the same standards in a market that sadly still contains a lot of bigotry. 
For example, consider a book like Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. It’s not a comic, but an OGN, designed to work in the book market over the comic market, and it sells amazingly well. Whereas if a similar book is made for the comic market, it struggles to do as well and the content and creator are subjected to torrents of abuse. Obviously, in this case, the different standards are not based on queerness but on medium (book over comic), but it does evidence how differently queer content can be taken when we change the standards by which we market and push them. 
It all depends on what LGBTQIA+ creators are hoping to achieve, and what constitutes ‘breaking in’ for them, but certainly as far as the Big Two are concerned, it’s mainly about the standards (note, not of quality, but of marketability) that our voices get held to and how those voices get policed to try and appeal to demographics who are not going to support them. 
That’s just one obstacle, of course, but that’s already a hefty chunk of explanation and obviously just my opinion. There’s undoubtedly many more. But if aspiring LGBTQIA+ creators are anything like me, they won’t let that stop them.

THE PRIDE

We start with a look at THE PRIDE.
The skinny is this: The Pride is a superhero group that lives the superhero mantra that is so often voiced but hardly represented by the books trying to send a message. Be who you are and be proud of it. That is exactly what the heroes in the Pride live up in their adventures, themselves. Making no qualms about who they are and how they feel the characters within the pages of The Pride bring full on representation, a voice, and heroes (not just as comic characters) for an entire community that resides in comic fandom.

For me, this book is important on several levels. Most importantly is that it provides genuine connection to a long overlooked, and quite frankly mistreated, set of fans. The real life struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community are mirroed by Fabman and CO’s efforts. As a member of the community himself, Joe brings authentic insight, experience, and a true voice to the representation within the pages of the book. The importance of this cannot be expressed. Nobody can be represented as they can represent themselves. As you read The Pride and get to know the characters the authenticity shines through. There’s no forced situations, the dialogue isn’t lip service, and the characters themselves are genuine and just pandering. This allows for a beautiful piece of work to come across while delivering on two fronts. Firstly The Pride is, as mentioned, a representative book. It is a safe place for an entire section of comic fans. While a haven it isn’t merely that though. The book is a beacon of empowerment in every sense of the word. As with the superhero message mentioned earlier, The Pride embodies the who and what of the LGBTQIA+ in a fashion that encourages readership to embrace that with which they identify. It isn’t a subplot or plot device, but rather, a fundamental and intrinsic fabric of the creation itself. The creation mind, is from Joe’s scripts. GENUINE. The characters, their interactions, and their expression on the page is GENUINE. That makes all the difference. Second, The Pride is a full on superhero comic full stop. While the lens through which the stories are told and the characters were molded aren’t “the norm” the end result stands up as every bit a proper genre piece as anything else on the shelves. It isn’t all about them though. There are encounters with some outright villains as well as a straight up nuclear meltdown. They face the same perils and overcome the exact types of trials that world famous hero groups have traversed. The difference is that they’ve not been singular in focus. That is the mastery that Joe has in his writing. He’s able to intertwine both aspects (the representation and true on superhero) in a manner that serves them both individually but also intertwines them seamlessly.

Your big work, THE PRIDE. Where/how did this book forge itself? Meaning, your thought process that brought it about.
The first sparks of The Pride came when I was a gay comic fan teenager myself. I was loving X-Men and Spawn, but feeling like I never saw voices like mine or characters that were openly LGBTQIA+. I knew comics was something I wanted to make some day, so I started making my own characters and coming up with scenes. By the time I was 23 I had written the first few scripts, but I felt like no one would want them, they were just for me. I was working with some friends on another comic, and they read the scripts and insisted I had something special there and should make it. That, by the way, shows you how important genuine and true allyship is – it can give us the strength to make a leap, knowing that there are some people willing to have our backs, whether they are like us or not. Anyway, I worked with Gavin Mitchell then to design the characters and he agreed to do the first couple issues too and well, the rest is history I guess. The main thought process that led to its birth was a desire to see voices like my own or my friends in the LGBTQIA+ community shared and seen. And when no one else seemed to be doing it in the medium I love most, I decided to just do it myself.
A big theme in The Pride is the portrayal of the response (or lack thereof) to their formation. How intertwined is that with the actual community they are representing on the page?
Well, thankfully, the comic is very well received. When it is reviewed by genuine reviewers (and not YouTube bigots who seem to like sitting in their cars and screaming at their own laps while sitting in a car park) it’s reviewed well, colleagues and creators I’ve looked up to for years have said wonderful things, and most importantly fans have regularly told me how much it means to them at shows. That’s always the best bit. I’m talking fans from across the whole spectrum of identity and sexuality, but it’s always especially nice to hear from fellow queer comics fans who share what it meant to them to be seen for a moment in a comic. That’s not to say there hasn’t been backlash. The most negative though has come from a certain comics hate group, but I even get some from within the LGBTQIA+ community who don’t like that one of the lead characters is a very camp, visually stereotypical gay man, and decry the whole book as a result. For me, as a camp gay man who loves wearing glitter and bright colours and sequins and more (I mean, heck, just call me the Elton John of comics), it was important to me to include femme, camp gay men, and other stereotypes, because we exist and our voices have value too. And stereotypes are, to me, not inherently bad, it is how they are used. So I like taking them and twisting expectations on their head, or showing you that the people you’d happily write off maybe have something important and of value to contribute. 

In an amusing way, which I guess hasn’t occurred to me until you asked, the response to the comic from some corners has been similar to the in context response to The Pride‘s formation in the comic. In the context of the story they’re kind of treated as a joke, and don’t get a universal positive response when they reveal themselves. They’re met with some derisive or dismissive responses. Conversely, there have been people ready to write it off as a fad, or as a joke, or worse – but the voices that really mattered have been the people feeling genuine joy that they get to see themselves for a minute in their favorite medium.
The LGBTQIA+ thematics aside, THE PRIDE is a full on superhero book. What were your inspirations for this? Have you always wanted to write a superhero book or was it just the fit that was best for the story you are wanting to tell?
Oh, I’m obsessed with superheroes. As a kid, I loved myths and legends, and to me superheroes are just the myths and legends of the modern age; of the 20th Century and beyond. Superman is a new Zeus, or Batman a new Pluto, and I believe they’re capable of communicating the same kinds of messages and emotions that the tales of the gods and demigods did for society all those years ago. So for me, and for what will probably wind up being the majority of my work when I’m done on this Earth, superheroes are a focus. 

In terms of The Pride, it was important to me that LGBTQIA+ people get the chance to BE the hero for a change: not be a supporting character, a victim, or background scenery, but the actual full colour, upfront larger than life hero of their own world. Within that context, The Pride then also allowed me to play not only with the stereotypes of queer representation and life, but also with the archetypes of the superhero medium as a whole. This effect is two-fold: it lets readers feel like they know the character straight away even though they’re new because they understand the archetype but also then allows them to viscerally see themselves in that role. We don’t have to be the Iago, the Timon, the Terry Berg – we can BE the Superman, that kind of thing. In terms of inspiration, wow, I could list the creators of superheroes I admire for weeks. I’d say there’s definitely a lot of Chris Claremont, and I’ll admit to some Scott Lobdell (he was writing the X-books, including my favourite one, Generation X, when I was growing up) too, but the work of Grant Morrison also inspired some of the characters, and some Bendis in there too.
What is the one drive home point that you’d hope people would get from The Pride?
We are stronger together, and everyone’s voice is valid. We achieve great things when we all work together. 

And an extra one for straight fans who maybe haven’t considered checking out ‘that gay book’ yet because it’s ‘not for them’: I hope it makes them look at things from a new perspective, and realise that they might even relate to some of these things too, if they just give them a chance.

ACCEPTABLE LOSSES

Now a look at ACCEPTABLE LOSSES.
The skinny is this: Politically driven motifs endanger the life of a Soldier sent to do the bidding his government. Deemed expendable when weighed against the larger outcome he finds himself on the brink of being a casualty of war alongside the many innocents caught in a place they can’t escape. Direct and to the point, Acceptable Losses takes a look at real world issues that we’ve become all to familiar with in regards to war.

The hardest part about delivering politics in comics is managing bias. Bias itself isn’t necessarily a problem (freedom of expression). Not being able to keep it out of the way of the creative endeavor though, is a problem. This isn’t an issue here. Joe speaks to a very real issue that faces those that serve and those caught between the machinations of war. Joe tackles a face of war that people around the world are, at least at face value, familiar with in “the war on terror.” Using the politics that drive these types as a vice grip on his characters, he presses out a thought provoking tale of choice. At first glance Acceptable Losses reads as an anti-hero type of book. It is, in a way, but is quite a bit more than that. While there is a hint of that aspect what the story really does is peel back the layers of the many levels involved when war is raging on. Highlighting the cyclical nature and self-fulfilling prophecy of our choices, Acceptable Losses also ends up as a cautionary piece for blindly following. Life simply isn’t black and white. Shades of grey exist everywhere and the vast majority of life is lived between the lines. War is no different and neither are the results of it. This is illustrated excellently as the book caps off in the final pages. If you take the time to read and pay attention while doing so, you’ll see just how nuanced this story is beyond first glance. Each character acts as a thought process that people have about war. In this manner they also mirror the effect of power over people (as well as perceived). Don’t forget though, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction … at minimum. While self-contained there are some long legs for Acceptable Losses to stretch out should Joe want to continue this exploration.

Acceptable Losses is quite the turn from The Pride. How did you come up with this story?
A combination of things. I’m more than what people expect of me from The Pride, and I’m more than just focused on queer rights in the world. AL was kind of about speaking to that: about creating something so tonally different from The Pride, something darker and grittier, and that had a hypocritical anti-hero instead of a beacon of hope kind of hero. But it’s also about speaking out about the never-ending cycle of violence that seems to be the immediate response of the majority of world leaders through history and today. How our nation’s actions can sometimes be short sighted and result in the very problems we’re trying to fight against. So it kinda built from that – I wanted to move on from a comic that challenged how people perceived queer representation and stereotypes in the media, and challenge their preconceptions about me too.
Hailing from the UK, you have a different viewpoint in terms of the events depicted in Acceptable Losses.  Can you elaborate?
In terms of the War on Terror? I mean, while we may have approached it differently, the UK essentially takes pretty much the same role in the supposed ‘War on Terror’. I think it’s no secret from my online presence that I’m very liberal, generally socialist, and as such, I don’t like or believe in wars or violence as an answer. Which, naturally, is a complicated viewpoint and discussion when we’re talking superheroes etc. 
But generally, I think that the answer to violence committed on us isn’t to commit disproportionately larger responses that blindly affect everyone, even people who are nothing more than bystanders. When a man slaps you, your response shouldn’t be to pull a bazooka on them. And the more we’ve dehumanised the realities of war, with the addition of drones and categorising a people or religion as hostile combatants, the more dangerous it has become to the future of humanity as a whole.
Is what we see in Acceptable Losses something you see in the UK or elsewhere? Being in the UK you are closer to some similar issues in other countries.
I think it’s something we see all around the world, more or less. These days, even if we don’t live in, say, the United States, we are extremely aware of what the United States is doing and the discussion that creates. In fact, it’s arguable that the actions of the USA affect the actions and decisions of so many other nations these days. And I know for a fact that there are a lot of people who have a better understanding of US politics than UK politics.
All of which is to say, I think the events in AL, while depicted as taking place in America, are relatable to many people from many countries. Do we see the UK doing similar things to other nations? Well, we are often fighting in the same conflicts. 

Joe’s work speaks for itself. With THE PRIDE and ACCEPTABLE LOSSES he has two extremely powerful works that resonate directly with the world we all live in. He’s given voices and heroes to fans that have been under-served, neglected, and even abused. He’s taken an aspect of global life that affects our society on multiple levels and breathed an air of escapism into it that allows it to be taken in and appreciated. Joe has also tackled something that is in headlines nearly every day. Conflict is part of life and perpetuates a cycle of violence. The political arena is a nasty battleground yet often those that care nothing for it are the ones that bear the consequences of its outcomes. What’s truly impressive is the breadth of ability he shows with the diversity in storytelling in these two titles. Even the aspects that are shared find their proper voice (for the respective story) and aren’t just being shoehorned in. There is definitely no square pegging a round hole simply because something needs to fit. Both works see a fluid written perspective that brings across the respective narratives flawlessly. Both of these titles have me excited for more of Joe’s work.

You’re featured in the currently Kickstarting MAYBE SOMEDAY from A Wave Blue World. What can you share about your participation in this new anthology?
Well, first off I can share that I’m very excited about it. It’s again a chance for me to tell a very different story from what I’m known for, and allowed me to grapple some complex ideas of our world today, from nationalism, isolationism and even social media. It’s short, it’s subtle, but I think it speaks a lot to some ideas I still have for remaining hopeful and positive. Plus the art from Yasmin Liang is….you’ve just got to see it. It’s some phenomenal work, I was so lucky. Now I know the full scale of who’s involved too, I am so excited to be a part of the book with so many super talented creators and great minds of today. It’s great to see more comics from Renfamous, and the first comic work from Hagai Palevsky, and I’ve been lucky to know just how crazy talented Zoe Thorogood is for some time, so I can’t wait to see that shared with the wider world. Honestly, it’s such an amazing book of talent, I feel blessed to be a part of it.
What’s next for Joe Glass?
Well, COVID-19 put a hold on a lot of stuff, so things are still very much up in the air for me. I am hoping there’ll be more Pride and that I might be able to get working on that very soon. I have some other pans on the fire, hoping something will come of them now the industry is starting to rise again, a long sleeping giant. 
The next thing I think will be visible for me though is Glitter Vipers, an original graphic novel, about a queer support group becoming a street gang and fighting back against homophobic crime. I’ll be launching a Kickstarter for that. It’s been pushed back a couple times due to the lockdown and various events, but I’m currently hoping we’ll launch our campaign towards the end of Pride Month.

Judging by the logo that Joe has teased
for GLITTER VIPERS we’re all in for
another treat. Look for the campaign
on KICKSTARTER as early as the end
of June – PRIDE MONTH

I want to thank JOE GLASS for his willingness to participate in this spotlight and for his candor in sharing with all of us.
Below are links to Joe’s online presence and where to get a hold of your own copies of his work:

MAYBE SOMEDAY

Stories of Promies, Visions of Hope

Joe is one of the featured writers in the current
KICKSTARTER campaign from A WAVE BLUE WORLD.
A full color anthology with over 25 stories about
a brighter future. It is the sequel to the Ringo
Award nominated ALL WE EVER WANTED.

In addition to Joe’s wonderful writing, here are some other books that feature either LGBTQIA+ creators or characters:

YOUTH

Curt Pires, Alex Diotto, Dee Cunniffe,
Micah Myers

A coming of age story that tells the story of two queer teenagers as they run away from their lives in a bigoted small town, and attempt to make their way to California. Along the way their car breaks down and they join up with a group of fellow misfits on the road. Embarking together in a van travelling the country they party and attempt to find themselves

LOST ON PLANET EARTH

Magdalene Visaggio, Claudia Aguirre,
Zakk Saam

It’s 2381, and Basil Miranda, on the verge of graduation, knows exactly what she’s doing with the rest of her life and always has: a primo assignment on the best ship in the fleet alongside her best friend in the world. She has meticulously prepared herself, and the final Fleet Exam is tomor-row. But what if none of that is what she really wants? And why hasn’t she ever asked herself that before?

FORGOTTEN HOME

Erica Schultz, Marika Cresta, Matt Emmons,
Cardinal Rae

While investigating a series of child abductions in Montana, the case gets personal for Sheriff’s Deputy Lorraine Adalet when her teenage daughter, Joanna, disappears with a friend. Mired in a never-ending war she escaped long ago, Lorraine had hoped to protect Joanna from her own past. Once in Jannada, Lorraine attempts a rescue mission to bring Joanna and the rest of the kidnapped children back.

THE BLACK GHOST

Alex Segura, Monica Gallagher,
Marco Finnegan, George Kambadais,
Ellie Wright, Taylor Esposito

Meet Lara Dominguez—a troubled Creighton cops reporter obsessed with the city’s debonair vigilante—The Black Ghost. With the help of a mysterious cyber-informant named LONE, Lara’s inched closer to uncovering the Ghost’s identity. But as she searched for the breakthrough story she desperately needs, Lara will have to navigate the corruption of her city, the uncertainties of virtue, and her own personal demons. Will she have the strength to be part of the solution—or will she become the problem?

QUARTER KILLER

Vita Ayala, Danny Lore, Jamie Jones,
Ryan Ferrier

Young Aya begs the infamous Quarter Killer to help rescue her father–a company hacker himself–from men who are forcing him back into crime.
Quarter Killer–so named because they will only accept the ol skool quarters–surprises everyone when they choose to do the job for free. And so begins a game starring our hip-hop inspired Robin Hood and their crew. Confronting everything from addictive video games in the projects to shady corporations in casinos, QK and co are more than just a specialized team of experts–they are a family.

LIEBESTRASSE

Greg Lockard, Tim Fish, Hector Barros,
Lucas Gattoni

During the final years of the Weimar Republic, Sam meets Philip in Berlin and they fall in love. Their romance is hit with an unspeakable reality as the Nazis come to power and fascism makes them a target.

THE DARK

Mark Sable, Kristian Donaldson,
Lee Loughridge, Thomas Mauer

After a worldwide cyberwar ends technology as we know it, a former super-soldier teams up with a biopunk to fight the rise of a biological internet forcing humanity to connect to it—whether they want to or not. An original graphic novel.

#BlackCreators

SCORPIO

John Robinson IV

Drexler

Nathan Kelly

Queen of Bad Dreams

Danny Lore

The Wilds

Vita Ayala

Le Fay

Marcel Dupree

X’ED

Tony Patrick

Excellence

Khary Randolph

Horizon

Brandon Thomas

Elk Mountain

Jordan Clark

Bitter Root

David Walker

Ironheart

Eve Ewing

The Leaders Of The Free World

Corey Pruitt

Secret Weapons

Afua Richardson

Niobe

Ashley Woods

Solarman

N Steven Harris

Project Wildfire

Hannibul Tabu

Crescent City Monsters

Newton Lilavois

Hotdog Water

Morgan Hampton

Comic Book Quarantine

Comics/Projects

Below are current crowdfunding efforts and books from creators to help get us through the current state of affairs.  We all need some help right now and comics are the perfect way for us to remain a community while having to be physically separated.  

Take a look at the projects being funded as well as the books being offered (many for FREE) by creators.  Support how/if you can and REMEMBER the creators that have offered up goodies for us.  

THANK YOU to the creators that have given ...

Currently Crowdfunding

Quality projects from creators and indie publishers that you can support right now!

White Ash

An epic tale of fantasy, horror, and forbidden romance.

Piece of Mind

Sci-Fi dystopian story of VR addiction and the world that allows it.

Two Swords Till Mercy

A Medieval tale of bloody revenge.

she

An all-new large-format one-shot about an intergalactic bounty hunter.

20 Fists

A queer/messy action drama about finding who you are & what you want in life (in an illegal fist fight league).

The Junction

Lucas has come home, 12 years after disappearing. Silent. Haunted. And still 11 years old.

mashbone & grifty

Hilarious adventures of the dumbest detectives around conclude in the season finale.

cosmos

A 32 page adventure! Legend confronts the threat to the Earth and his past.

Mahoney's

Aliens invade Earth on a dare and the call for heroes goes out.... It was a wrong number.

FREE BOOKS!  These creators are giving you some FREE goodies!

Tony Gregori

In a dystopian future the world is ruled by robots, which is something Porkchop cannot abide by!

rich douek

A high-adrenaline fantasy adventure, set in the dark future of mankind.

Mario Candelaria

1953 LA, a woman struggles to end an affair with a married restaurateur as her fiancé returns from war.

Lane Lloyd

Betrayed, his arms taken by Gods, Tim Finnly finds powerful talking gauntlets and now he punches back.

Eric Palicki

An absolute tank of a writer, Eric Palicki is offering up a bevy of his works for folks during this period of physical distancing.  Along with the hit No Angel, he's giving out:

Red Angel Dragnet VOL1
Orphans 1-5
Fake Empire VOL1
Corduroy One
A taste of the All We Ever Wanted anthology

... and a couple of other goodies.  He is always helping both fellow creators and we, the readers/fans.  In this crazy time he's more than stepped up and shown once again just how good of a person he is.  Take the time to check out the works he's generously offered up here.  Then find a way to support ... click the button below and in his own words:

David Gallaher

From the creator of the highly popular Only Living Boy series comes over 700 pages of content FOR FREE to read while stuck inside.  Not only can you either introduce yourself to, or get caught up on The Only Living Boy, you can check out:

The Only Living Girl
High Moon
Box 13

... these are proven titles with substantial followings already.  This is big for us readers to have something like this offered up during this time. Take the opportunity people.  Click that button below and dig in.

Fraser Campbell

If you're on of the readers/fans that regularly backs crowdfunding efforts there's a really good chance you've come across Fraser's stuff.  Highly successful campaigns through Kickstarter are kind of his thing.  Right now his thing is offering up some Cabal Comics goodies:

Alex Automatic #1
Sleeping Dogs
The Edge Off

You'll be hard pressed to find a more consistent output of quality work folks.  There's a good chance you'll find a new favorite creator produced book here.  Hit that button below and see what I'm fussing about.

Umar Ditta

Umar is another creator offering up more than one book.  Along with the successfully crowdfunded LAD there's some short stories, the Untethered Trilogy, and some bonus goodies.

Brentt Harshman

On top of the current KS above, Brentt is giving you his short comics.

Kurt Belcher

Kurt has quite the lineup of books available and he's giving out loads of pages through several of his works.  Trades, a GN, and his story from the Broken Frontier anthology + more.

Matthew Rosenberg

@AshcanPress

WE CAN NEVER GO HOME #1. 2 teenagers, a mixtape, a stolen car, a loaded .45, & strange abilities.

Bob Q!

@RobotJQ

Most of the comics I make on my own are VERY silly and fun diversions. Because things are dumb and stressful, have them for free.

Zac Thompson

@ZacBeThompson

A homeless noir with cannibalism - THE DREGS #1

Two minds vie for control of one body - COME INTO ME #1

Matthew Rosenberg

@AschanPress

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK #1. The story of 4 children who make bad choices. Friendship, family, growing up, and grand larceny.

Dan Whitehead

@DanWritehead

Here's my entire Frankenstein Texas graphic novel for you to download and enjoy.

Christopher Nolan

@JimZub

Skullkickers Vol. 1
Wayward Vol. 1
for free:

Free First Issues

Since folks are trying to stay home more, then we need some more entertainment. Mad Cave Studios hasgot your back. Read #1 issues for free! If you like them, get in touch with your RETAILER to order the rest of the series.

Comic Retailer Relief Fund

The comic industry is going through something unprecedented & local comic shops are the most affected. In order to help them, we have created the GoFundMe Page Relief for U.S. Comic Book Retailers to help relieve financial stress.

Free 14 day trial to Comichaus app and a further free month using code: STAYSAFE

Click the PICS below for more free goodies!

Ken Reynolds

Jack Foster

Andy Conduit-Turner

Gustaffo Vargas

Mike Garley

Dave Cook

Nick Bryan

Joey Esposito

She Said Destroy #1

W – Joe Corallo / A – Liana Kangas / C – Rebecca Nalty / L – Melanie Ujimori / P – Vault Comics

If you don’t know this already, Liana Kangas’ art is drop dead gorgeous.  She Said Destroy #1 showcases it wonderfully.  In the next book to drop from the absolute top end on fire publisher today, Vault Comics, She Said Destroy takes us right into a brewing battle between Gods.  Two Gods actually, because that’s all that are left.  The Goddess of the Sun (Brigid) is standing opposed to her sister, the Goddess of Death (Morrigan).  As it is set up though, it is the Goddess of Death that appears to be our “good guy” in this tale.  I know better than to take face value in Vault books as they are DEEP with meaning and the layers of story are usually uncountable.  For those reasons I’ll take it as it is presented but I’m quite curious …

… and that curiosity will have to wait.  The first issue of SSD drops us face first into what’s going on.  I think this was the best approach seeing as how this story has quite a few characters involved within.  Clearly we’ve got much to cover and I appreciate the foregoing of a huge dump of exposition in this case.  There will need to be some fleshing out of course, but seeing the characters ‘in fashion’ from the get go is refreshing and allows me, as the reader, to put some things together and build my own take.  This initiation also sees the book move quickly and gives glimpses of several different aspects of the larger world/universe in an “at once” kind of fashion.  Personally I love seeing the entirety of a story being displayed and interacting with itself before too much is known/given to us. 

Joe Corallo has drawn inspiration from several places to create a world unique unto itself.  While you’ll see nods to a certain popular RPG, an all time movie franchise, and some influences from fairy tale stories it is the creation we’re being shown that stands out.  The struggle between Brigid’s followers (which is essentially everyone at this point) and Morrigan’s devout order (which are akin to rebels in this tale) is a construct separate from these nods.  There is a flair of personality that sets these characters aside from their inspirations.  Gods butting heads over followers has taken many forms in many different mediums.  With SSD I’m hoping that the individual flair from the characters we’re shown is a precursor for what’s to come with this story.

Liana Kangas, Rebecca Nalty, and Melanie Ujimori have combined to blow you away with the presentation of She Said Destroy’s visuals.  Comics are a visual medium.  This team has taken an excellent premise from Corallo, stolen it, and run away to the hills.  Deliberate lines, immersing colors, and synergistic letters create a down right stunning palette for this book.  It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a team be so individually compelling with their pieces of the art yet so intertwined with the finished product.  The aesthetic of this book threatens to take your breathe away with each page.  The final splash steals it.

She Said Destroy more than lives up to the well earned reputation that Vault books hold.  It is a fantasy driven, visually remarkable book that manages to present an excellent first chapter while maintaining the larger tease of what is coming.

Rush to the shop and nab She Said Destroy #1 TODAY NCBD 5/29 !!!

Wailing Blade – Preview/Rich Douek Q&A

WAILING BLADE #1
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/A WITH RICH DOUEK

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!

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