Kickstarter Spotlight: Savage Empire

savageempirelogoby Tim Lewinson

In my head, I’m still a kid making my dinosaurs eat my GI Joe’s in the backyard.

Back in 2009, I first started writing Savage Empire, just a few months removed from my time as a senior designer for Disney on another dinosaur-based project called “TUROK”.

Working on “TUROK” was a dream come true for a dinosaur enthusiast like myself. The theme has always resonated with me, a protagonist from outside the established norm who is trapped in a world not of his own making.

Now, I have an opportunity to live out this important dream of mine and I hope you can share it with me.

sepanelsSavage Empire is “Jurassic Park” meets “Black Hawk Down” in graphic novel format. I want to tell a story about how we as humans would react to the presence of these creatures in the present day. For two hundred thousand years we have been the apex predator on the planet. With “Jurassic World” and “San Andreas” opening soon in theaters, it’s almost prescient – or eerie – how Savage Empire managed to position itself. The book is set in an earthquake-battered Los Angeles, with giant dinosaurs pouring through pulsing energy portals – random gateways to an ancient world. As the original apex predators enter our time, the leader of a rescue squad must balance her responsibilities inside the danger zone against the presence of a mysterious mercenary assigned to her team.

The story is borne out of a lot of pain and tears. The Disney studio where my colleagues and I were working on the sequel “TUROK 2” suddenly and unexpectedly canceled the project. Many good friends were laid off that day, and many more have had to leave town in order to continue working in their creative fields. From a business perspective, one can understand, but it doesn’t make it any easier when people you’ve known for years have to step away. This volume is as much for them as it is for me.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve taken each opportunity to hone my craft and wrestle with the best way to tell this story. It’s important for me to try and write characters that feel accessible despite some extraordinary traits. Reflecting back society as it is, across all races. Showing all facets of their personalities, warts and all. Finally, it has come together and I couldn’t be happier. I look at my own kids now, and want to encourage that same sense of wonder and action that I enjoyed as a child while giving them characters who can also reflect their world and their perspectives.

Your support can make this happen, and thus far it has been extremely humbling and gratifying to see how people have rallied behind my Kickstarter for Savage Empire.

You can’t succeed in life without assistance from good friends. I reached out to some of the best and most talented people out there to help bring Savage Empire to life.

Daryl Mandryk, world-renowned concept artist most famous for his work on Dark Horse covers on “Star Wars”, “Conan” and others. He is creating a cover variant for the novel, and it will be epic.

Jim Roy Jimenez, artist on the graphic novel “K8” and “The Sword and the Butterfly”.

Crispin Hands is the sound designer from “Metroid Prime”. We came into this industry together over 20 years ago, and now my friend is creating an inspiring soundtrack reward to represent the reappearance of these magnificent beasts into our lives.

uncutSavage Empire has also received the support of the “Darkest Dungeon” creative director, Chris Bourassa, who is creating a special backer-only artwork piece of the Savage Empire characters and dinosaurs, rendered in the “Darkest Dungeon”’s inimitable art style. All backers of the project, no matter how large or small, will qualify for the artwork.

There’s something about that fire, riding that creative edge with good friends…it’s impossible to replicate. It just happens, but only when the circumstances are perfect. “SAVAGE EMPIRE” is in that perfect spot, and now we’re ready to share it with everyone in the hopes that you enjoy it!

Our Kickstarter campaign launched Tuesday, June 2nd and the response we’ve received in the space of a few days has been phenomenal. I feel humbled, happy, and so incredibly fortunate to have so many amazing backers share and support this passion.

Gary Whitta, writer (“The Book of Eli”, “After Earth”, “Abomination” and Disney’s 2016 “Star Wars: Rogue One”) read the prologue edition that we put together for this Kickstarter project, and was so impressed he provided a pull quote for the ages: “Earthquakes, portals, time travel, dinosaurs and guns? Sounds pretty awesome to me! I think you should back it!”

Benjamin Birdie, artist and writer of the webcomic “The Rack” also had kind things to say: “With everyone describing their story as ‘this thing’ meets ‘this other thing’, Savage Empire is really bringing something new and attention-grabbing to the table. Can’t wait for more!”

I am extremely proud of what good people have come together to create here. Who knows – maybe the next big movie mashup will be based on “Savage Empire” – and for that we’ll have you to thank.

Welcome to the Empire!

WRITER/PRODUCER: TIM LEWINSON
PENCILS/INKS: JIM ROY JIMENEZ
COLOR: MICHAEL SUBARDIAGA
VARIANT COVER: DARYL MANDRYK
SOUNDTRACK: CRISPIN HANDS
KICKSTARTER ILLUSTRATIONS: JOE “M.A.S.O.R.O” GIANOGLIO

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