Kickstarter Spotlight: Rebirth of the Gangster
CJ Standal grew up reading comics, probably to an obsessive degree. But he didn’t get stuck in the insulated world of comics culture. As an English teacher and History major, he’s always been interested in all sorts of stories and societies, using books, movies, music, and experiences of all kinds to break free from the panels confining comics’ culture, while still paying homage to its great history. And this is a perspective he brings to anything he creates, especially his first comic Rebirth of the Gangster.
Rebirth of the Gangster is a crime, family-driven drama that mixes elements from hip hop, punk rock, Othello, Breaking Bad, The Wire, 100 Bullets, and Criminal. The first issue was already released March 23, 2016, which can be found on Amazon.
The Kickstarter is raising $1,000 for the second issue. All of the proceeds from the Kickstarter campaign will go to paying Juan Romera for his art and to mailing the few physical rewards. Some reward highlights include personalized sketches from Juan, interviews/podcast appearances by CJ, 50 pages chronicling “The Making of Rebirth of the Gangster”, a cameo in the second issue, and more!
CJ Standal explains the reasoning for his Kickstarter, saying, “This series is beautifully illustrated with a noir-ish play between light and dark shades by Juan Romera, and he truly deserves to be paid for the great work he does. Juan is a 10 year industry vet, working on titles like Strange Nation, Los Muertos, Zombie Killer, and more!”
Rebirth of the Gangster covers a huge cast of characters, painting each one as the hero of their own story. So far it has focused mainly on Marcus Thompson, but like The Wire, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones, its focus will only continue to expand, giving readers plenty of characters to relate to and root for. As it continues to expand, readers will also see that it’s extraordinarily relevant, focusing on issues of race, class, sexuality, and flaws in our justice system.
Marcus Thompson, son of the rich mogul Curtis Thompson, is a successful African American prosecutor struggling with his job, especially the unfair treatment he sees happening to minorities and poor people. He’s also haunted by the suspicious death of his grandfather and a recent robbery he witnessed.
Although Marcus doesn’t know it, he was robbed by Hunter Anderson, a poor white blue collar worker, who is mysteriously connected to Marcus’s dad Curtis. Hunter was sucked into this life of crime because of the medical bills for his dying mom and the reality of growing up without a dad–his dad was also killed under suspicious circumstances.
Lorena Sanchez is a cop who grew up in Hunter’s neighborhood and almost joined him in a life of crime. After struggling with her faith and the discrimination for many reasons, including being gay, she decided to police the same types of neighborhoods she grew up in, hoping to help people avoid her own mistakes. And she’s recently been investigating a string of robberies that have deep connections to Hunter, and shortly, to Marcus.
Andrea, Marcus’s mom, and Linda, Hunter’s mom, both are hiding secrets from the past. But these secrets look like they’re about to see the light of day, and they’re trying to protect their sons from these secrets and the past mistakes they’ve made. Adding to these characters we’ll see Lizzeth, a Latina teacher; Dennis, a white man just released from prison, trying to avoid his past mistakes; and Devonte, a black man wrongfully imprisoned.
According to CJ Standal, “All of the funds raised for this project will go to pay Juan for his work (and to the small amount I’ll have to pay to mail the sketch rewards). I don’t want to make Juan a starving artist, and if you’re on this website, I’m sure you agree with me.
This is also, unfortunately, why the rewards are all digital (with the exception of the sketches, of course): I don’t want to commit to the huge expense of printing issues, shipping them, and encountering complications with a printing and distribution process I’m unfamiliar with. Trust me, this digital-only focus is for your benefit.”
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