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The Truth Shall Set You Free in Blanco

Blanco

Blanco is a 64-page black and white post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery graphic novel currently being funded through Kickstarter. Co-created by writer Marco Lopez and artist David Brame, it features lettering by DC Hopkins and is edited by Derek Ruiz.

In a post-apocalyptic future where mankind has long since been dead and Medieval Kingdoms, control their people with an iron fist. The religious rule is the order of the day and Blanco, is one of the most beloved warriors in the Kingdom of the seraph Azrael.

He and his brother Cain hunt the heretics who dare defy their father’s law. Zealots of a new apocryphal belief that is spreading across the Five Kingdoms and the Middling Lands.

When Blanco discovers a band of heretics is heading through the Outer Zone to a safe haven, they call New Eden. He decides to make an example of them, but what he finds in the Outer Zone will literally change his perception of the world he lives in.

We got to chat with the creative team about the series, its influence and the democratization of comics.

You can back Blanco now and help it reach its goal of $3,900.

Graphic Policy: So, tell us a a bit about Blanco.

Marco Lopez: Well, not to repeat what I said in the campaign. But Blanco is about a Nephilim in the service of the Kingdom of the Seraph Azrael. And he is one of the most beloved soldiers in his father’s service and a fundamentalist who blindly follows his father’s will. But eventually, that blind faith is going to open him up to a truth that, as the old saying goes, will turn his world upside down.

David Brame: Blanco was Marco’s idea. He contacted me and I thought it was a brilliant idea and decided to put my sauce in the mix.

Blanco

GP: Where did the idea come from?

ML: It’s been so long since I came up with the idea of Blanco that I don’t remember the exact details. I vaguely remember thinking about the old 70s Jack Kirby DC comics. The whole 4th world and other titles he created. I’m a huge fan of pulp storytelling. Whether it’s The Shadow or The Phantom or Conan, John Carter and Tarzan. I love the whole aesthetic. I think it mostly came from my love of Kamandi, OMAC and Hanna Barbera, and Ruby & Spears action-adventure cartoons. I also wanted to do something that was postapocalyptic where the world reverted to a past time. It doesn’t really make any sense that we’d revert back to medieval or 18th-century tech or whatnot but, I loved that about cartoons, and I wanted to do something similar. Kamandi but without the last human boy as the lead. All of man is gone, and all that’s left are humanoid animals. Or so they’re led to believe.

DB: I’ve always wanted to work together with someone who wanted to do an andro/anthro story and Marco and I vibed really well on what kinds of stories we liked to tell. We both had a love of ban Dessine and European comics. Large format, cinematic storytelling, sweeping saga-like beauty—we are blending 70s pulp sword and sorcery with contemporary euro stylization all bookended by post-apocalyptic furry content. What’s not to love.

GP: How did the team come together for this?

ML: David was the original artist back in 2010 when I first came up with Blanco but, he had to drop out because of a job opportunity. Fast forward 9 years later, and I was pitching this to publisher 133art. I think I talked to David a bit about it back then, but I don’t think either of us made the connection on the 2010 version. I mean, it had been 10 years. 133art was really high on David drawing this, and so was I, and David loved the idea, so he came on board but then 133art had to back out when they started their distribution arm. So, I talked to David about it, and we took it over to Subsume, and the rest, as they say, is history. During all this, I did find those old designs and realized David was the artist back then. I hit him up about it, and we had a good laugh about how the world is so small. It really shows you this was meant to be that 10 years later, we’re working together again on Blanco.

DB: I partied a lot back then so there is a solid decade of fuzzy memories. I vaguely remembered the Blanco project when Marco hit me up but then things clicked in place once I saw the artwork. My first thoughts were “cool idea—but we can do better” fast forward a few scribbles and doodles and chats we developed the Blanco pages we are previewing.

GP: There’s a lot of fundraising platforms out there. You originally chose Indiegogo but switched to Kickstarter. Why the change?

Marco: The main reason for the change was the political turmoil that was going on back in January. It was the main talk on social media, and unless you’re a name creator, it’s easy to get drowned out in all that talk. Also, we decided to drastically lower the goal. Our aim is just to get this book out. Get it funded. Get it out. There are other avenues after Kickstarter’s success in which we can further release the book.

Also, while I think Indiegogo has better options and is easier to set up and navigate than Kickstarter. Kickstarter is the leader of the pack here. So, it was best when relaunching to start there first. We’re not leaving IGG behind. Our plan is to either go IGG In Demand after the close of the campaign or create an IGG when we reach the goal and have it run for the remainder of the KS campaign and then have that go In Demand.

If you have two top platforms for raising funds, there is no reason to not use both. It would be idiotic to do so otherwise.

David: We agreed the timing and the platform wasn’t a great fit. So we tried again!

GP: Out of the two platforms, what are you noticing the big difference is?

Marco: For me, I think there’s a larger audience for comic books and graphic novels on Kickstarter. Though that’s rapidly changing over at IGG. It’s basically the difference between, let’s say, CGC and CBCS when it comes to who you want to go with grading your comics.

CGC is the older and more trusted brand. But that doesn’t mean you should discount CBCS. Also, I think Indiegogo tends to favor more slam-bang action-type comics. That’s not to say KS doesn’t either, but if you’re a nobody putting out that type of comics, IGG might be more for you.

David: I honestly haven’t put my finger on it. I think any quality project with good visibility can be crowdfunded on any platform. I suppose it seems to be more about luck timing and the hard work that precedes the launch as well as the deliverables. I think most people are hungry for content right now especially those in the sword and sorcery fandom and we are happy to give it to them

Blanco

GP: You mention it a bit on the project page, but there is a lot of comics released, and crowdfunding platforms provide another avenue for consumers. What are your thoughts about the choice’s creators have today for their releases?

ML: Unless the only thing you want to do is write for Marvel and DC. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But you need to get your work out there and build a fanbase. And crowdfunding helps with that. Even the most popular webcomics eventually crowdfund collected print editions or merchandise. Crowdfunding is making it easier than ever to self-publish and build yourself into a force to be reckoned with. It’s not easy, of course, or everyone would be doing it. But it’s another arsenal in the distribution of stories. Especially if you can’t do it all yourself in comics.

DB: Crowdfunding is a boon for independent creators. Initially relegated to hawking your merch in sweaty artist allies and praying for the big 3 to pick you up, being an indie comic artist was a tough road. I would say with all these new accessible options for distribution, printing, and dissemination being an Indie creator now is only based on visibility. We are finding that there are niche markets and subcultures in the comics spectrum everywhere. The crowdfunding independent model has allowed us to tell a plethora of stories and we are excited Blanco gets to be apart of that.

GP: Do you think crowdfunding has democratized the comic industry in a way with consumers voting with their dollar to make projects happen?

ML: I think it has because that is always the answer to any entertainment industry. Does it sell? If the publishers don’t believe your idea or story will sell, you can prove it to them. The American comic book industry still isn’t there with the wide variety it should be publishing. Like, say Manga, or European comics. But it’s getting there, and until it does. Crowdfunding proves even the weirdest or controversial, and even old-school ideas are worthy of people’s money.

DB: Absolutely democratized. However, We are still left with the pay to play model—meaning if you have more money or resources to advertise or connect to your audience you’re likely going to have a higher success rating even within the indie world. But with that said as creators, our goal is to entertain and to craft new and interesting ways of telling stories. Blanco is for sure something that’s not a wasted vote.

GP: You describe the series as Conan with great anthropomorphic characters. Did you always want to do anthropomorphic? Were there thoughts of just using humans or some fantasy race?

ML: The characters were always going to be anthropomorphic. You can thank a childhood of Don Bluth, Rock and Rule, Disney Afternoon, and other animated films and series. It’s always been my dream to combine the aesthetic of something like those titles in a brutal adult world.

DB: For sure. As a young artist from the 80’s lots of start with Disney and Nickelodeon as our understanding of cartoonish characteristics. I’ve always wanted to make anthro work and even more after seeing what was being done with Manga, Anime, and Blacksad.

GP: With that, were there thoughts about the animals and their representation? There’s a lot of stories with anthropomorphic stories where the animals themselves have a deeper meaning.

ML: No, there isn’t really anything behind the different humanoid animal species. They’re not supposed to parallel any human ethnic groups of today or cultures. The one difference, though, is they’re all mammals. You won’t see humanoid birds walking around or anthropomorphic reptiles.

DB: Marco had no directions for me in terms of the animals belonging to specific tribes or whatever there’s just barbarians and not barbarians. Visually though I needed linchpins to help craft the setting, visual mechanics, and how this post-apocalyptic place came to be. Each place we visit will have remixed elements of lots of ancient and contemporary design—I used lots of Bantu, Igbo, Mongolian and Korean elements. Blanco was originally based off a wolf but there are so many wolf stories I opted to base his design on an African Wild dog. I took it a step further and decided the clothing artifacts weapons everything will be distinct to help immerse readers into the world of Blanco.

GP: You mention Conan, Secret of Nimh, and Brian Jacques Redwall as influences, what else are some of the stories influences and inspiration? And are you trying to traumatize people my age with Secret of Nimh!?

ML: Blacksad is an influence, but you won’t see it until the third volume. I’m also inspired by Oscar Martin’s Solo. Everyone in the U.S. should be reading that. He’s an amazing artist and storyteller. Everything Jack Kirby did at DC comics in the 70s. Like I said before, the old action-adventure Hanna Barbera and Ruby-Spears toon and John Carter. And yes, I am trying to traumatize people our age. haha I loved me some Bluth.

DB: I may have a heart of stone because I missed out on the trauma I was like ‘oooh mice’ Blanco will evoke feelings of darkness and brutality but also moments of quiet austere beauty. I have been looking at a lot of HR Geiger, Paul Pope, Jeff Smith, Bill Watterson, Gojima, Otomo and Jae Lee leading up to Blanco as well streaming as many Attenborough docs I can find.

GP: I see the religious rule and I can’t help but think there an overarching influence of religion in our real-world society. Is there some greater themes/meaning to the series or is it just entertaining sword and sorcery?

ML: There will be in the story things I touch on. I grew up Catholic, but I grew up in an open-minded household. I never had communion and was always taught to challenge ideas. But I also grew up with a fascination with religion and the bible. Why people turn to religion and the use of religion for control. I read the Book of Revelations during a major hurricane when I was a teen in Puerto Rico. But as a writer, I believe that in any story character should be first, plot second, and what you’re trying to say third. Anytime you push what you want to talk about in society upfront. Then you’re characters just become a soapbox, and people stop caring. Make them care about the characters, and the rest will find its place.

DB: I have no religious message to convey other than through the art historian aspect of remixing these motifs.

GP: You mention this is hopefully the beginning, how much of the series and world do you have sketched out? Is there a “Blanco bible”?

ML: I’d like to do at least 8 volumes. Each one is the equivalent of a three-issue mini-series. After volume one, I have volumes two through four roughly mapped out, and I know where the series ends and where Blanco ends up. And yes, I have a rough bible and a series of notes I keep every time a new idea, plot, or character piece pops into my head. So, hopefully, with everyone’s help, this first volume becomes a smashing success and will lead the way to more. Adonai speaks to us in our sleep. Adonai wants us to tell the stories of Blanco’s world. Of the world to come. Help us fulfill Adonai’s wishes.

DB: I would love to retire doing Blanco stories. My dream is to have quarterly issues that people ravenously devour and flame me online wondering why there can’t be ten of me making more! But I’ll settle for 8 issues, some spin-offs, and maybe an omnibus hardcover reprint someday in the future.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting and we’re excited to read it. Backed!

The Truth Shall Set You Free in Blanco

Blanco

Blanco is a 64-page black and white post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery graphic novel recently launched on Indiegogo. Co-created by writer Marco Lopez and artist David Brame, it features lettering by DC Hopkins and is edited by Derek Ruiz.

In a post-apocalyptic future where mankind has long since been dead and Medieval Kingdoms, control their people with an iron fist. The religious rule is the order of the day and Blanco, is one of the most beloved warriors in the Kingdom of the seraph Azrael.

He and his brother Cain hunt the heretics who dare defy their father’s law. Zealots of a new apocryphal belief that is spreading across the Five Kingdoms and the Middling Lands.

When Blanco discovers a band of heretics is heading through the Outer Zone to a safe haven, they call New Eden. He decides to make an example of them, but what he finds in the Outer Zone will literally change his perception of the world he lives in.

We got to chat with the creative team about the series, its influence and the democratization of comics.

You can back Blanco now and help it reach its goal of $12,000.

Graphic Policy: So, tell us a a bit about Blanco.

Marco Lopez: Well, not to repeat what I said in the campaign. But Blanco is about a Nephilim in the service of the Kingdom of the Seraph Azrael. And he is one of the most beloved soldiers in his father’s service and a fundamentalist who blindly follows his father’s will. But eventually, that blind faith is going to open him up to a truth that, as the old saying goes, will turn his world upside down.

David Brame: Blanco was Marco’s idea. He contacted me and I thought it was a brilliant idea and decided to put my sauce in the mix.

GP: Where did the idea come from?

ML: It’s been so long since I came up with the idea of Blanco that I don’t remember the exact details. I vaguely remember thinking about the old 70s Jack Kirby DC comics. The whole 4th world and other titles he created. I’m a huge fan of pulp storytelling. Whether it’s The Shadow or The Phantom or Conan, John Carter and Tarzan. I love the whole aesthetic. I think it mostly came from my love of Kamandi, OMAC and Hanna Barbera, and Ruby & Spears action-adventure cartoons. I also wanted to do something that was postapocalyptic where the world reverted to a past time. It doesn’t really make any sense that we’d revert back to medieval or 18th-century tech or whatnot but, I loved that about cartoons, and I wanted to do something similar. Kamandi but without the last human boy as the lead. All of man is gone, and all that’s left are humanoid animals. Or so they’re led to believe.

DB: I’ve always wanted to work together with someone who wanted to do an andro/anthro story and Marco and I vibed really well on what kinds of stories we liked to tell. We both had a love of ban Dessine and European comics. Large format, cinematic storytelling, sweeping saga like beauty—we are blending 70s pulp sword and sorcery with contemporary euro stylization all bookended by post apocalyptic furry content. What’s not to love.

GP: How did the team come together for this?

ML: David was the original artist back in 2010 when I first came up with Blanco but, he had to drop out because of a job opportunity. Fast forward 9 years later, and I was pitching this to publisher 133art. I think I talked to David a bit about it back then, but I don’t think either of us made the connection on the 2010 version. I mean, it had been 10 years. 133art was really high on David drawing this, and so was I, and David loved the idea, so he came on board but then 133art had to back out when they started their distribution arm. So, I talked to David about it, and we took it over to Subsume, and the rest, as they say, is history. During all this, I did find those old designs and realized David was the artist back then. I hit him up about it, and we had a good laugh about how the world is so small. It really shows you this was meant to be that 10 years later, we’re working together again on Blanco.

DB: I partied a lot back then so there is a solid decade of fuzzy memories. I vaguely remembered the Blanco project when Marco hit me up but then things clicked in place once I saw the artwork. My first thoughts were “cool idea—but we can do better” fast forward a few scribbles and doodles and chats we developed the Blanco pages we are previewing.

GP: There’s a lot of fundraising platforms out there, why did you choose Indiegogo?

ML: I tend to go against the grain a lot of times, and I wanted to try a different platform. I mean, technically, for comics, in my opinion, there are only two (IGG and KS). I’ve used Kickstarter before, and it’s fantastic, but there were a few benefits IndieGoGo had. My favorite is being able to go InDemand after we’re funded, so we can keep taking pledges while in production. The other was they take a slightly less percentage than Kickstarter. And after people purchase a perk, they immediately take funds. The other was the ability to immediately put up a pre-launch page and start collecting e-mails until the campaign was ready to launch. With Kickstarter, you have to finish your campaign then submit it. Then when it’s approved, you can start a pre-launch page. I know Kickstarter is the larger platform of the two, but I like being the underdog. Hopefully, I chose correctly. haha

DB: Whether it’s IGG or Kickstarter or any other crowdfunding experience—I think as long as you have a link to share to support Blanco we’ve made the right decision.

GP: You mention it a bit on the project page, but there is a lot of comics released, and crowdfunding platforms provide another avenue for consumers. What are your thoughts about the choice’s creators have today for their releases?

ML: Unless the only thing you want to do is write for Marvel and DC. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But you need to get your work out there and build a fanbase. And crowdfunding helps with that. Even the most popular webcomics eventually crowdfund collected print editions or merchandise. Crowdfunding is making it easier than ever to self-publish and build yourself into a force to be reckoned with. It’s not easy, of course, or everyone would be doing it. But it’s another arsenal in the distribution of stories. Especially if you can’t do it all yourself in comics.

DB: Crowdfunding is a boon for independent creators. Initially relegated to hawking your merch in sweaty artist allies and praying for the big 3 to pick you up, being an indie comic artist was a tough road. I would say with all these new accessible options for distribution, printing, and dissemination being an Indie creator now is only based on visibility. We are finding that there are niche markets and subcultures in the comics spectrum everywhere. The crowdfunding independent model has allowed us to tell a plethora of stories and we are excited Blanco gets to be apart of that.

Blanco

GP: Do you think crowdfunding has democratized the comic industry in a way with consumers voting with their dollar to make projects happen?

ML: I think it has because that is always the answer to any entertainment industry. Does it sell? If the publishers don’t believe your idea or story will sell, you can prove it to them. The American comic book industry still isn’t there with the wide variety it should be publishing. Like, say Manga, or European comics. But it’s getting there, and until it does. Crowdfunding proves even the weirdest or controversial, and even old-school ideas are worthy of people’s money.

DB: Absolutely democratized. However, We are still left with the pay to play model—meaning if you have more money or resources to advertise or connect to your audience you’re likely going to have a higher success rating even within the indie world. But with that said as creators, our goal is to entertain and to craft new and interesting ways of telling stories. Blanco is for sure something that’s not a wasted vote.

 GP: You describe the series as Conan with great anthropomorphic characters. Did you always want to do anthropomorphic? Were there thoughts of just using humans or some fantasy race?

ML: The characters were always going to be anthropomorphic. You can thank a childhood of Don Bluth, Rock and Rule, Disney Afternoon, and other animated films and series. It’s always been my dream to combine the aesthetic of something like those titles in a brutal adult world.

DB: For sure. As a young artist from the 80’s lots of start with Disney and Nickelodeon as our understanding of cartoonish characteristics. I’ve always wanted to make anthro work and even more after seeing what was being done with Manga, Anime, and Blacksad.

GP: With that, were there thoughts about the animals and their representation? There’s a lot of stories with anthropomorphic stories where the animals themselves have a deeper meaning.

ML: No, there isn’t really anything behind the different humanoid animal species. They’re not supposed to parallel any human ethnic groups of today or cultures. The one difference, though, is they’re all mammals. You won’t see humanoid birds walking around or anthropomorphic reptiles.

DB: Marco had no directions for me in terms of the animals belonging to specific tribes or whatever there’s just barbarians and not barbarians. Visually though I needed linchpins to help craft the setting, visual mechanics, and how this post-apocalyptic place came to be. Each place we visit will have remixed elements of lots of ancient and contemporary design—I used lots of Bantu, Igbo, Mongolian and Korean elements. Blanco was originally based off a wolf but there are so many wolf stories I opted to base his design on an African Wild dog. I took it a step further and decided the clothing artifacts weapons everything will be distinct to help immerse readers into the world of Blanco.

GP: You mention Conan, Secret of Nimh, and Brian Jacques Redwall as influences, what else are some of the stories influences and inspiration? And are you trying to traumatize people my age with Secret of Nimh!?

ML: Blacksad is an influence, but you won’t see it until the third volume. I’m also inspired by Oscar Martin’s Solo. Everyone in the U.S. should be reading that. He’s an amazing artist and storyteller. Everything Jack Kirby did at DC comics in the 70s. Like I said before, the old action-adventure Hanna Barbera and Ruby-Spears toon and John Carter. And yes, I am trying to traumatize people our age. haha I loved me some Bluth.

DB: I may have a heart of stone because I missed out on the trauma I was like ‘oooh mice’ Blanco will evoke feelings of darkness and brutality but also moments of quiet austere beauty. I have been looking at a lot of HR Geiger, Paul Pope, Jeff Smith, Bill Watterson, Gojima, Otomo and Jae Lee leading up to Blanco as well streaming as many Attenborough docs I can find.

GP: I see the religious rule and I can’t help but think there an overarching influence of religion in our real-world society. Is there some greater themes/meaning to the series or is it just entertaining sword and sorcery?

ML: There will be in the story things I touch on. I grew up Catholic, but I grew up in an open-minded household. I never had communion and was always taught to challenge ideas. But I also grew up with a fascination with religion and the bible. Why people turn to religion and the use of religion for control. I read the Book of Revelations during a major hurricane when I was a teen in Puerto Rico. But as a writer, I believe that in any story character should be first, plot second, and what you’re trying to say third. Anytime you push what you want to talk about in society upfront. Then you’re characters just become a soapbox, and people stop caring. Make them care about the characters, and the rest will find its place.

DB: I have no religious message to convey other than through the art historian aspect of remixing these motifs.

GP: You mention this is hopefully the beginning, how much of the series and world do you have sketched out? Is there a “Blanco bible”?

ML: I’d like to do at least 8 volumes. Each one is the equivalent of a three-issue mini-series. After volume one, I have volumes two through four roughly mapped out, and I know where the series ends and where Blanco ends up. And yes, I have a rough bible and a series of notes I keep every time a new idea, plot, or character piece pops into my head. So, hopefully, with everyone’s help, this first volume becomes a smashing success and will lead the way to more. Adonai speaks to us in our sleep. Adonai wants us to tell the stories of Blanco’s world. Of the world to come. Help us fulfill Adonai’s wishes.

DB: I would love to retire doing Blanco stories. My dream is to have quarterly issues that people ravenously devour and flame me online wondering why there can’t be ten of me making more! But I’ll settle for 8 issues, some spin-offs, and maybe an omnibus hardcover reprint someday in the future.

GP: Thanks so much for chatting and we’re excited to read it. Backed!

SUBSUME Media Launches

Subsume

SUBSUME Media has launched today focused on speculative fiction, S.T.E.M., and a goal to provide quality stories and trans-media experiences for readers, students, and clients. The company was founded by Dedren Snead and Marco Lopez. Also onboard are Allison Chaney Whitmore, and Robert Jeffrey II.

The publisher will cover everything from comics to virtual reality workshops with a goal to help marginalized voices be heard.

As a part of their launch, SUBSUME Media has teamed with mobile app developer, Sciberus, to create a comic book series, set within the world of their augmented reality educational game, Armadus. A Kickstarter will be launched later this year for pre-orders of the Armadus #0.

Upcoming titles include

  • Poe – Writer, Creator: Allison Chaney Whitmore, Artist: To be announced – A skeptical young code breaker fights an Edgar-Allan-Poe-themed curse threatening to annihilate her family’s hometown in contemporary Long Island. (Coming Soon)
  • Monday Morning Blues – Writer, Co-Creator: Marco Lopez, Artist, Co-Creator: Vincent Kukua – Five military brats wake up one Monday morning to find they’re the only ones left on the base, while Lovecraftian creatures roam the streets. (Winter 2020)
  • Sorghum & Spear: The Series – Co-writer: Sarah Macklin, Co-writer: Dedren Snead, Artist: To be announced – An African fantasy saga of young girls called to serve their people in a time of war during their ages of innocence. (Coming soon)
  • Sorghum & Spear: The Antillean Islands – Writer: Marco Lopez, Artist: Sean Damien Hill – Anacaona is a princess who dreams of being a warrior. Loiza is a warrior who dreams of any other life but the one she was born into. Soon their worlds will collide when they fight back against generations of tradition. (Coming soon)
  • Soul Nebula: The Consulars – Writer: Robert Jeffrey II, Artist: Matteo Illuminati, Colorist & Letterer: Loris Ravina – In a universe ravaged by war, the crew of the Baiser-Espace seeks to right the hateful and racist wrongs of Earth’s past within the current fractured cosmic landscape. (Winter 2020)
  • Villians and Vinyl – Writer, Co-creator: Greg Burnham, Writer, Co-creator: Dedren Snead, Artist: To be announced – This futuristic, Sci Fi, Hip Hop Saga is a “coming of age” tale that follows Elaine and her crew of misfits as they navigate the streets of Atlanta (2040’s AD) while in search for the perfect sound, they end up finding something way more valuable, something that could change the world as they know it!! (Coming soon)

From Puerto Rico Strong to Strange Encounters, a New Kickstarter

Strange Encounters

Strange Encounters is a 64-page comic book Anthology about magic, mystery and the Strange Encounters that happen when you meet beings of the supernatural kind.

The graphic novel is from the team that brought you the Eisner Award-Winning and Diamond Gem Award-nominated, Puerto Rico Strong Anthology, Marco Lopez, Derek Ruiz, and Neil Schwartz.

The anthology is made up of original tales, and stories adapted from some of the most popular novels and novellas from some of the most talented female authors in the supernatural prose genre today.

The team is aiming to bring you the next must-have anthology and it’s coming from the brand-new boutique label, King Skull Comics.

Just look at some of the talent involved.

Brett Booth variant cover
Brett Booth variant cover

Brett Booth is illustrating a KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE variant cover.

Mentioned earlier were prose authors. We’re talking Rue Volley (Hellhound, 13 Ways to Midnight), Kim Alexander (Pure, The Demon Door Series), JD Brown (Athena’s Oracle, The Ema Marx Series), and Rachel Rawlings (The Maurin Kincaide Series, Rotten Luck). Excited yet?

Let’s talk about some of the other artist’s and creators involved. We got Jose Marono, Ally Cat (Spread, Spook House), Jess Taylor (Catalyst Prime Summit, Adventure Time), Puis Calzada (Hatchet: Vengeance, Zorro: Rise of the Old Gods), Jamie Jones (The Baboon, Kicking Ice), DC Hopkins (IDW, Lion Forge, DC, BOOM! Studios, Dynamite) and Bryan Arfel Magnaye (Titan Comics, Chido Comics).

And if that’s not enough here are some character sketches from two of the stories in the anthology.

Hellhound Character Designs by Jose Marono
The Institutes Character Designs by Puis Calzada

The Kickstarter campaign offers a softcover trade in print and a digital PDF. Prints of both covers to hang on your wall and the option to be drawn in the short story, I Hate the South (From the Case Files of Izzy Desoto) as a monster of your choice. And for the amazing retailers out there because they love retailers, they’re also offering a Strange Encounters Retailer Pack at a fantastic discount.

But wait there’s more!

There are STRETCH GOALS! If the goals are met everyone that pledges will get a bookmark, a Strange Encounters Pin, a King Skull Comics Pin, mini prints by the incredible Leila Leiz (Alters, Horde) and Ariela Kristantina (Mata Hari, Adora and the Distance), a BOOKPLATE by Sweeney Boo (Marvel Action Captain Marvel, Eat and Love Yourself) signed by the prose authors and last but not least a PREMIUM sketch card by Brett Booth of his variant Kickstarter Exclusive cover. It’ll feel like the 90s all over again when holding that card in your hand.

Exclusive Preview: Masked Republic Luchaverse: Konnan & the Ambassadors #1

Masked Republic Luchaverse: Konnan & the Ambassadors #1

(W) Marco Lopez, Ivan Plaza
(A) Puis Calzada, Bryan Magnaye
(L) Micah Meyers
(CA) Puis Calzada, Rosa Colón
Order Now!

“As the leader of The Ambassadors, Konnan has faced off against doomsday cults, alien invaders, rogue temporal thieves and civilizations at the center of the earth. Now, the organization faces its greatest mission: getting to the bottom of a seemingly unstoppable series of worldwide catastrophes of unknown origin. Ambassadors’ bases are being destroyed one by one by a new global criminal faction calling themselves the Knights of Draconis! Will this ruthless and cunning organization on the rise put an end to the Ambassadors and all that they protect?”

Masked Republic Luchaverse: Konan & the Ambassadors #1

Exclusive Preview: Solar & Super Astro, the latest Luchaverse Comic from Chido Comics

The Masked Republic Luchaverse: Solar & Super Astro – Los Cadetes del Espacio #1

(W) Marco Lopez, Ivan Plaza
(A) Alessandro Micelli, Bryan Magnaye
(CA) Alessandro Micelli, Leo Colapietro
Price: $3.99

At the triumph of a centuries old galactic war, all that was left of the warriors were Solar and Super Astro. They headed off into space to never to be heard from again…or so they thought. After a millennia of intergalactic travels, their ship crashed on Earth. Their powers had vanished and they settled into their new mortal lives. Now, years later, a message from the deepest corner of the universe has interrupted their ordinary lives. A recent accident has released an immense destructive power back into the world, a power that they thought was lost forever. What epic adventure awaits them? Who’s attempting to contact them and how can they save not just our planet, but the universe itself?

The Masked Republic Luchaverse: Solar & Super Astro - Los Cadetes del Espacio #1

Exclusive Preview: Masked Republic Luchaverse: Tinieblas Jr #1 One-Shot

Masked Republic Luchaverse: Tinieblas Jr #1 One-Shot

Story & Script: Marco Lopez, Ivan Plaza
Art: Diego Simone
Letterer: Micah Myers
Cover: Diego Simone
Variant Cover: Sergio Ríos, Dan Olvera
Executive Producers: Kevin Kleinrock, Ruben Zamora
Editor: Ivan Plaza
October 15, 2018

Tinieblas Jr is the proud inheritor of a legacy that dates to the early 1970’s, when his father Tinieblas started his lucha libre career. However, unknown to anyone but a small select few, Tinieblas Jr is also the protector of both human and monster realms. A monster hunter, taking on the legions of the damned and all manner of creatures that go bump in the night! Today, out of his secret lair with his assistant Ramona, they decide to help a close friend solve an ages old mystery. A mystery so old, it will change both the human and monster worlds forever!

Comics Review: Rey Mysterio #1

San Diego Comic-Con 2018 saw the launch of the Luchaverse with Rey Mysterio #1. Published by Chido Comics and Masked Republic, the Luchaverse brings together such greats like Rey Mysterio, Blue Demon Jr, Konan, Los Cadetes del Espacio, and the Lucha Brothers in a shared comic universe.

Rey Mysterio #1 is a one-shot kicking off the universe as a dormant and mysterious power has been released.

The comic story and script is by Marco Lopez and Ivan Plaza with pencils and inks by Ben Harvey, colors by Bryan Magnaye, cover by Ben Harvey, and lettering by Micah Myers.

You can order your copy now!

The Luchaverse Brings the World of Lucha Libre to Comics with Rey Mysterio, Blue Demon, Jr., Konnan, Los Cadetes Del Espacio, and the Lucha Brothers

The production team behind the Lucha Underground Comics and Joey Ryan: Big in Japan have joined forces with Masked Republic, whose core businesses is the representation across all media of some of the biggest lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling) icons, legends and superstars worldwide; to bring them together for first time ever in a shared comic book Luchaverse.  Legends Rey Mysterio, Blue Demon Jr, Konnan, and Los Cadetes del Espacio (Solar and Super Astro) will be joined by the two hottest luchadores of the modern era the Lucha Brothers Penta Zero M and Rey Fenix as the Luchaverse kicks off.

Writer Marco Lopez and Chido Comics Founder and Publisher Ivan Plaza will be co-writing the Masked Republic Luchaverse one-shots which puts in the lucha libre stars right in the middle of an earth shattering event.

A dormant and mysterious power that long ago held the fate of our planet Earth has now been released. Our legends will be put to the test, as Chido Comics and Masked Republic bring back the glory and tradition of real-life lucha libre stars in comic books taking on epic and unprecedented events based in our real world mixed with adventure, fantasy and science fiction!

In addition to writers Lopez and Plaza, thus far, the amazing creative team announced to be working on the special one-shots includes artists Ben Harvey and Bryan Magnaye (Rey Mysterio), Diego Simone (Blue Demon Jr), Javier Martin Caba (Lucha Brothers) and lettering all five books Micah Myers! All Luchaverse titles will be Executive Produced by Masked Republic’s Kevin Kleinrock and Ruben Zamora and edited by Chido Comic’s Ivan Plaza. The Rey MysterioBlue Demon Jr and Lucha Brothers One-Shot Specials will be available this year; with The Masked Republic Luchaverse: Rey Mysterio One-Shot debuting at this year’s San Diego Comic Con along with an appearance by the legendary luchador himself on Friday, July 20th! The Konnan and Los Cadetes del Espacio One-Shots will be released late 2018/early 2019.

Discussing Puerto Rico Strong, The Comic Anthology to Benefit Puerto Rico. Listen on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

Puerto Rico Strong is a comics anthology that explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept, from today’s most exciting Puerto Rican comics creators. All profits will go to towards Disaster Relief and Recovery Programs to Support Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Strong is available in comic shops: March 14, 2018 and bookstores March 27th. Pre-orders are still open via Amazon, and the anthology will be available digitally as well as in the UK.

Joining us on Graphic Policy Radio to discuss this exciting comic anthology is two of the individuals behind it, Marco Lopez and Desiree Rodriguez.

Marco Lopez is the creator of the webcomics Massively Effective A Shot of Whiskey and Orion’s Belt. Which lead to his working with Lion Forge Comics and Zenescope Entertainment. He recently returned (briefly) to Lion Forge bringing them Puerto Rico Strong and in the coming months, he will be working with a couple of indie comic publishers on a variety of projects.

Desiree Rodriguez is a pop culture critic who has written for Women Write About Comics, The Nerds of Color, and has covered various topics on race, Latinx identity, and sexuality. In her spare time she is one of the co-hosts for the DC TV Classics podcast. Desiree currently works for Lion Forge Comics as an Editorial Assistant.

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