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Excellence Book One’s Kickstarter Exclusive Has Launched

Action/fantasy series Excellence: Book One is available on Kickstarter now!

From Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph, Excellence: Book One is a deluxe hardcover of the Skybound and Image comic book series, available exclusively through Kickstarter. The special edition encompasses the first nine issues of the magic series, with additional never-before seen content.

The special edition encompasses the first nine issues of the magic series, with additional never-before seen content. The Kickstarter also has ultra-rare tiers, including the opportunity to be drawn into a future issue of Excellence.

Excellence: Book One is the first release from Skybound Signature, a line of graphic novels debuting on Kickstarter.

Get an Exclusive First Look at Space Bastards #5 Plus Back Vol. 2 on Kickstarter!

We have an exclusive look at the cover for Space Bastards #5! Space Bastards, is the high-octane, outrageous comic series about murderous mercenary mailmen in space that has delivered with each issue. The over the top series is from writers Eric Peterson and Joe Aubrey, artist and co-creator Darick Robertson, colorist Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Taylor Esposito. The comic has featured crazy action, violence, and some biting humor.

In Space Bastards #5:

There is perhaps no job in the known universe more dangerous than being a postal carrier. But for one day a year, the Intergalactic Postal Service shuts down for Sharptoberfest, a celebration so wild and debaucherous it could only be used to commemorate the birth of Roy Sharpton, Postmaster General & CEO of the IPS. But with every major player gathered under one roof, could this year’s bash be the perfect opportunity for a hostile takeover? With an ending you have to see to believe, this is one issue of SPACE BASTARDS you cannot miss!

And, if you’re enjoying Space Bastards and don’t want to miss out on the craziness, Space Bastards Volume 2 is currently on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter allows you to get both volumes of the series in a hardcover edition. The project has just a few more days to go and ends on February 18 at 11:55 PM EST.

Space Bastards #5

eigoMANGA Launches A Kickstarter Campaign To Publish Somnia

Somnia

eigoMANGA has launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish and release the original English manga Somnia to bookstores. Somnia is created by two time Amazon best-selling author, Brandon Chen, a prolific author of fiction novels such as Ghost Wolf, God of War: Ares, and Age of Darkness. The manga is illustrated by rising manga artist, Mohammad Umair Ali.

Somnia tells the story of Ren, a teenager who receives a mystic lantern that makes his dreams become reality; starting when he accidentally brought Jubei, a cyborg-samurai, to life. With his unique companion, Ren is thrust into an ongoing war between fellow Dream-Walkers and monsters that are forged from the dreams of sleepers. These monsters grow stronger by feeding on the nightmares of their victims. Follow Ren’s battle against the nightmares that plague our darkest dreams.

Be careful of what you dream of, it just might come true.

The Kickstarter campaign covers the printing, shipping, and distribution cost of releasing the “SOMNIA” trade paperback to bookstore. Somnia is projected to be released to bookstores on April 28, 2021.

You can get a digital edition for chapters 1 and 2 for $10, the print copy of the first chapter for $20, and a trade for $60. Other pledges include variant covers, autographs, and more. The campaign ends on March 7.

Sid Kotian’s Beneath an Alien Sky launches on Kickstarter

Beneath an Alien Sky

Creator Sid Kotian brings his original sci-fi horror graphic novel Beneath an Alien Sky exclusively to Kickstarter through publisher Rocketship Entertainment.

In this 128 page sci-fi horror, a sinister creature is unleashed upon an unsuspecting alien planet. Standing in its way is a rookie cop who is in way over her head. The creature she faces is the last of its kind…and it comes from the third planet orbiting a yellow sun.

In Beneath an Alien Sky the Krimikitan are an alien race who brought themselves to the brink of complete ecological destruction. After a devastating war they refer to as “The Realignment”, their society reformed themselves under the leadership of a god like A.I. known as Control. Having done away with the political class, peace reigned. The new societies were self-contained inside giant domes. The natural world outside was left to heal itself unencumbered by their meddling.

Our window into this story is through the eyes of Kopa, the rookie constable assigned to hunt down the creature and uncover its origins. 

Beneath an Alien Sky is being released in both a standard size perfect bound b&w Artist’s Edition and an oversized 7.6×11.6” Evolved Edition full-color deluxe hardcover featuring gorgeous original art from Sid Kotian.

In addition, a limited run of 300 “Krimiktan” deluxe slipcases are available. Each features wraparound original pencil art finished with machine graining, debossed foil, spot UV, and a die cut window revealing Kopa and her encounter with the “alien soup.”

Already tagged a Kickstarter “Project We Love”, the campaign will run through March 10, 2021. The book will also be available this fall through Amazon, Rocketship, and in retail.

A Few Days Remain for The Vampire Verses: Blood Rites Sketchbook and Art Book Kickstarter

There are a few days remaining for the Asylum Press Kickstarter for a forthcoming book The Vampire Verses: Blood Rites Sketchbook / Artbook.

The Vampire Verses is a vampire/horror comic that Frank Forte created in 1994 and was published in 1995 by CFD productions (Formerly Cry For Dawn) and then Asylum Press in 1999. The series was inspired by many anime series at the time including Wicked City, Demon City Shinjuku and Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend. The Vampire Verses was also inspired by comic creators Berni Wrightson, Tim Vigil, Kelley Jones, Mike Mignola and others. Frank attempted to draw from these influences and create something unique. What erupted from his hand and mind was The Vampire Verses.

The debut issue introduces Angelika, an exotic dancer in the NYC club scene who is unwittingly turned into a creature of the night. As she tries to make sense of what she has become she learns of a bloody Vampire War that is being fought in the streets and subway tunnels of New York City. Slowly the truth unfolds as Angelika begins to realize she is a key part of an ancient scrolled prophecy known as The Vampire Verses.

The Vampire Verses: Blood Rites Sketchbook / Artbook is a 32 page saddle stitched comic that includes art and sketches from The Vampire Verses series by Frank Forte. The art ranges from 1995 to present day with character studies, cover studies, renders, creature design, environment design, pin-ups and more. The book hopes to reintroduce fans to the series and be a prelude to the continuation of The Vampire Verses #5-#12.

Digital copies are just $10 with other pledges including signed copies and levels for retailers. The project ends on February 18 at 1:02 pm ET.

Those Two Geeks Episode 102: Talking Tessellation With Mike Phillips

Alex and Joe chat with Mike Phillips, the creator of the comic Tessellation, launching on Kickstarter for February 17th.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Magnetic Press Kickstarts Monolith

Monolith

Monolith is a visually stunning suspense thriller illustrated by visionary artist and designer LRNZ and written by Roberto Recchioni. Publisher Magnetic Press, who has produced several highly successful Kickstarters in 2020, is giving readers an opportunity to get an exclusive print of this cinematic, psychological thriller for pre-registering before the kickstart launch date, Tuesday, February 9th at 10AM CST.

This lushly painted tale began as a graphic novel project before turning quickly into a live-action feature film production, with LRNZ’s visual design direction brought to life.

What makes this graphic novel unique is how LRNZ changes styles throughout to convey the range of moods, dreams, and psychological trials Sandra experiences during this frightening 48-hour period. Sandra is a young mother still adjusting to the responsibilities of parenthood after a life filled with bad decisions. The most responsible decision she has made is to drive the safest car ever built, the Monolith, to protect her infant son, David, from her own accident-prone nature. During a trek across the desert to visit her husband in LA, they are stopped in the middle of the night by a collision with a deer. Checking on the damage, she accidentally locks herself out of the car, with David trapped inside. Now, isolated from civilization, she must save her son from a car designed to be an indestructible vault on wheels. The sun is rising, heating the car’s interior, and time is running out!

Kent Williams, Jim Woodring, The Balbusso Twins, and Beehive Books Present Illustrated Editions of Classic Books on Kickstarter

Award-winning painter Kent Williams, legendary Frank cartoonist Jim Woodring, and the renowned Italian illustrators known as the Balbusso Twins are collaborating with Beehive Books to create lush, new illustrated editions of literary classics and forgotten gems. Having previously released six award-winning volumes with acclaimed artists Rebekka Dunlap, Brecht Evens, Dave McKean, Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu, and Bill Sienkiewicz, Beehive Books is returning to Kickstarter with a new campaign to crowdfund three new volumes of Illuminated Editions, the company’s distinctive line of book art editions of literary classics.   

Beehive Books’s Illuminated Editions features some of the finest talents in contemporary art, singular design sensibilities, the highest production values, and a special emphasis on comics and graphic art. Each Illuminated Edition  also features original essays from luminaries of literature, art and film, including Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham 

The three new titles run the gamut: one beloved classic Roaring Twenties tale of extravagance and excess, one chilling compendium of spectral Japanese folktales, and one unjustly obscure work of mind bending visionary science fiction.

The new books in the Illuminated Editions line are:

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald, illustrated by the Balbusso Twins
Featuring an introduction by Nathan Robinson.

The Italian illustrators known as the Balbusso Twins are taking on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY, bringing out the richness and satire and sorrow that suffuses this saga of wealth and corruption and decadence and love. Their modern illustration style highlights the incredible relevance of Fitzgerald’s story, which has only seemed to increase over time. Their illustrations bring us into Gatsby’s world ― but they also bring Gatsby into ours. 

KWAIDAN & SHADOWINGS by Lafcadio Hearn, illustrated by Kent Williams
Featuring an introduction by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, a foreword by writer Kyoko Yoshida, and an essay by Bon Koizumi.

The great painter and multimedia artist Kent Williams is depicting the supernatural Japanese stories of Lafcadio Hearn, originally published in his books KWAIDAN and SHADOWINGS. These books are full of ghost stories, nightmares and strange tales ― of possessed forests, of monks tormented by demons and ghosts, of corpse brides, man-eating goblins, and undead samurai. 

KWAIDAN & SHADOWINGS

 A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS by David Lindsay, illustrated by Jim Woodring
Featuring an introduction by Alan Moore.

Visionary cartoonist Jim Woodring has chosen to illustrate an unclassifiable 1920 novel by the legendary British writer David Lindsay. A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS is a baffling amalgam of mysticism, science fiction, sexual politics, and outrageous fantasy, and stands as one of the greatest works of sustained, untrammeled imagination ever achieved. Woodring’s drawings capture the writhing currents of interacting forces that lie beneath the wonderfully arcane prose. 

The Illuminated Editions books come in three print editions: a slipcase hardcover, a signed and numbered edition, and a sketched and lettered edition. All nine titles in this series are available through the latest campaign and each title also comes as a DRM-free digital PDF, which is included along with every print edition.

The standard Illuminated Editions is an oversize 9×12″ hardcover, bound in sewn signatures, and housed in an elaborately embossed and debossed die-cut slipcase, silk-screened or foil-stamped with artwork. The interior is printed on creamy, acid-free heavy-weight 140gsm uncoated paper with a fine tooth, and each edition includes a minimum of ten full page illustrations, along with numerous spot drawings, illuminated letters, and special design pieces. The entire package is designed by Maëlle Doliveux with a restrained graphic boldness, and an unparalleled eye for beauty, clarity and readability. These editions have been honored with a number of awards and prizes, winning multiple Communication Arts Design Competitions, several Bronze and Silver Cubes from the Art Director’s Club, and three nominations for the Locus Awards. 

Advance Review: Wild Nature Vol. 1

Wild Nature Vol. 1

I’m not a big fan of sports. It’s just not something I find interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching people compete. Competition reality shows, especially those centered around cooking, are some of my favorite shows to watch. One reason for this is the people on reality shows have personalities. That’s not to say that athletes don’t, but unless you’re the kind of person who watches every pre-game and post-game, or has SportsCenter playing in the background at all times, sports aren’t generally geared toward showcasing who the players are off the field. Whereas watch a single episode of a reality competition show, and you instantly get a feel for who the contestants are in their daily lives.

Wild Nature is an original graphic novel that perfectly lines up with my interest in competition reality shows. Written and drawn by David Taylor, this indie action comic centers around a brutal game show. Two teams, each wearing customized animal masks, have ninety minutes to either kill each other out or have the most surviving members when time runs out. The story centers around Swan, one of the members of Team Animal. They’re one of the best teams in the entire league and Swan is their captain and star player.

However, Swan is more than just a killing machine. He may be good at taking out opponents, but he’s no sociopath. I found Swan’s emotional journey even more compelling than the action scenes as I read through the first chapter of Wild Nature, “A Goddamned Slaughterhouse.” It’s great to see a main character who is not only a black man but also well developed. Over the course of about eighty pages, Taylor gives Swan a lot of depth and substance.

I found the story’s pacing to be a little on the slow side. The plot is also a little predictable, though that doesn’t keep it from being entertaining. I do wish Taylor had put the rules of the game earlier in the book. By the time the exact objective and rules of the game are revealed, it doesn’t really matter to the narrative anymore. Despite these minor flaws, Wild Nature is still a fun read. My favorite part of this first volume was the announcers. They narrate what’s happening in the game as it plays out across the pages. This provides an interesting contrast to Swan’s inner monologue. The voice in Swan’s head is a nice touch. It’s interesting to see a character influenced by an impulse that amounts to the opposite of a conscious. The red letters and black background used for this internal voice really make the words pop on the page.

In fact, all the lettering is well done. Taylor plays with different fonts and text sizes throughout this first volume. While always managing to keep the look consistent. When it comes to drawing the characters, Taylor’s art style reminds me of King of the Hill, but in the best way possible. This illustration style is perfect for rendering emotion on the characters’ faces. Such expression of feelings keeps Wild Nature from devolving into a generic action story. Although there are only a couple of action scenes, Taylor keeps things visually interesting by changing perspective between panels. It gives the book a dynamic feel and helps even out the story’s pacing.

Fans of Gamer, Death Race, or even the Hunger Games will want to get their hands on a copy of Wild Nature. This graphic novel, the first part of a planned trilogy, is due out in March. It can be purchased from Buy Small Press. The series’ Kickstarter campaign has met its goal, but if you’d like to learn more about the series or want to check out Taylor’s other upcoming projects, visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dftaylor/wild-nature-blood-soaked-neon-drenched-thriller

Story: David Taylor Art: David Taylor
Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review

Sal Abbinanti Takes Us to Rio de Janeiro with The Hostage

By day, Sal Abbinanti is the art rep for comic book superstars Alex Ross and Bill Sienkiewicz, but by night he, too, is an artist. For more than two decades, the Chicago native has been obsessed with creating a graphic novel inspired by a visit he made to Brazil when he was in his early 20’s. Now, Abbinanti is launching a Kickstarter campaign for his dream projecta 115-page full-color original graphic novel set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro titled The Hostage.

Loosely inspired by the culture and religions of Brazil like the Umbanda and the Candomblé, Abbinanti has been building the world of The Hostage in his studio for over 10 years—sketching characters, panels, and scripting pages. Abbinanti’s unique art style and vibrant color choices create a spellbinding effect. The Hostage tells the story of a group of street kids who are abandoned by society. Dying every day from poverty and gang violence, the kids join together and summon a mystical spirit—The Hostage—who will protect them and avenge the deaths of their friends.

The Hostage Kickstarter campaign includes limited edition lithographs from Alex Ross, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jeffrey Alan Love, Sanjulián, Geof Darrow, and Eric Powell, as well as tiers with original sketch cards, postcards, and bookmarks by Abbinanti.

The crowdfunding campaign is live now and concludes on February 25th, with pledge tiers ranging from a digital edition available in both English and Portuguese (translated by Kelsey Trotta), to The Complete Hostage Package, which includes an 11×17 original drawing by Sal Abbinanti and a complete set of lithographs by all guest artists.

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