Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grabbing a handful of Indie Comic Books

Today, I decided to make a purchase of multiple comic books in PDF digital format from IndyPlanet. Here's what I grabbed:

From Iron Gate Comics:
Guardians Of Creation #1

All Winners Society #1

Iron Gate Universe #1

Iron Gate Universe #2

Iron Gate Universe #3

From The Powerverse: 
The 101 #1

Shadow Six #1

The Chosen #1
Destiny & Freewill Fragmented #1

Destiny & Freewill #2
Vandora Zandra #1

Vandora Zandra #2
Vandora Zandra #3

Dimensioneer #1

Dimensioneer #2

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Who are the real super villains that independent comic book superheroes must face?

There are a LOT of comic book superheroes in existence, and there are also a LOT of comic book super villains in existence, as well. But, far from being a threat to independent comic book publishers, super villains actually help promote the comic art form, and they also help to drive sales and enthusiasm.

In that sense, super villains are one of the best things to have ever happened to independent comic book publishers. In other words, they're the good guys, too! Being a good guy isn't just for superheroes, anymore.

The real villains that indie comic book publishers face off against are those things that are obstacles that posit themselves squarely between the indie publisher and the end user of the product that the indies create - namely, the readers.

Now, in all fairness, you probably didn't come here, today, expecting to be hit with a pop quiz. Nonetheless, pull yourself up a seat, and let's see how well that you do.

Name for me all of the obstacles that manifest themselves between an indie comic publisher and potential readers. Go on! Grab yourself a sheet of old-fashioned paper, and either an ink pen or a pencil or even a crayon will do, and jot down as many obstacles that you can think of.

Odds are, you barely scratched the surface. And the irony of this particular pop quiz is that there can be a near-infinite number of correct answers. Yet, you wonder why independent comic book publishers always seem to have such a big mountain to climb, and especially when they are just starting out.

Most of the comic books that I encounter, I never bother to buy, much less read. Hey, do you have any idea how many comic book publishers are out there, these days? I don't. More than you can shake a stick at, that's for damned sure!

On the one hand, there can simply never be too many superheroes and super villains. After all, the human imagination is more than big enough to accommodate them all. The human imagination is, for comic book purposes, infinite in size and shape and scope.

However, not everything is infinite. Spending budgets for entertainment purposes and available free time to allocate to the purpose of reading comic books are a couple that come to mind, right off the top of my head.

If you are an indie comic book publisher, or if you hope to be, one day, then all of those other comic book publishers that are out there are your competition. Again, I ask you, do you have any idea how many comic book publishers are out there, these days? If not, then your awareness of the extent of competition in a like-market has room for improvement.

Finding comic books is easy. Online, they're seemingly everywhere. The comic book industry is a content-rich industry. It is an industry that is awash in comic book titles that run the gamut from superb to dismal, from professional grade publications to rank amateur output. One thing that you, as an indie comic book publisher, has going for you is that personal taste in comic books is as diverse as the product selections that are on offer.

Since comic books are a form of entertainment, ask yourself this question: How many different forms of entertainment are there? The question is relevant, because your comic books also have a plethora of non-comic book forms of entertainment to compete with, also, on both the budget count and on the available free time count. If your aim is to be successful, as an indie comic book publisher, then it really helps to grasp just exactly what you are up against, in your bid to sell people on not just the value of your comic books, as an entertainment product, but also upon the "need" for them to rearrange their entertainment priorities to which they have likely already long since grown accustomed. In other words, on top of persuading them to part with their money, you also have to persuade them that it is to their entertainment benefit to change their entertainment habits.

Old habits can, indeed, be hard to change! It's hard enough to change your own habits, but when the task before you is to change the habit of other people, then you really might want to assess, anew, just exactly what it is that you are bringing to the entertainment table.

And to think, we haven't even really gotten into talking about price points in earnest, yet.

Speaking of which, how much do your comic books cost? In a day and an age when the entertainment consumer of can purchase a lot of entertainment value via Netflix, how does what you offer compare to that? Think that just because you're an independent comic book publisher that you are not in competition with Netflix? Think again!

On a month in, month out basis, my monthly subscription to Netflix nets me more entertainment content than I can ever hope to consume in a month's time. Now, that's a LOT of entertainment value! Again, what is it that you, as an indie comic book publisher, are bringing to the consumer's entertainment table?

Realistically, most consumers of entertainment that purchase entertainment in some form or other have a limit to how much that they can afford to spend on all of their entertainment, on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. This is a really good time for you to consider whether the price point for your comic books presents not just a viable option for the consumer that you are hoping will buy your comics, but an option that generates a LOT of enthusiasm when they come into contact with it.

Otherwise, the alternative is that your entertainment product - namely, comic books that you publish - suffer from an enthusiasm gap. If so, then what is your Plan B to remedy that core deficiency?

Oh, sure, you're excited about all of the comic books that you publish. But, you're not the one you're trying to sell your own entertainment product to, are you?

Of course, it may not even matter. None of any of this may even matter, if the entertainment consumers that you hope to target with your marketing strategy aren't even aware that your comic books exist, in the first place. That you have a website or a Facebook page should not be mistaken with your comic books generating awareness with the public at large. The less people that are aware that your comic books exist, the more lost opportunity that your entertainment products suffer from.

Ask yourself this question: What is your own budget that you have for spending on entertainment options that you are aware of which appeal to you? Now, pick any website that carries a large number of indie comic books from a wide variety of indie comic book publishers, and ask yourself how many of those comic books by other indie publishers that you, yourself, purchase on a recurring - or even a first time - basis?

Every single day, consumers of entertainment have lots of choices readily available to them. Do they go and see a movie at the cinema, or do they buy a comic book from a comic book publisher that they may have never even heard of, before? Thus, do they go with an unknown entertainment commodity (a movie that they have never seen from a known entertainment publisher that they already have a degree of familiarity with), or do they go with an unknown entertainment commodity (your comic book) from an unknown entertainment publisher (you and your independent comic book company)?

If you want people to buy your comic books, then even if you somehow or other manage to resolve the awareness dilemma, then another obstacle immediate rears its head - that of the influence dilemma. If you want to change someone's entertainment habits, in order to accommodate your entertainment products, aka your comic books, then you are going to have to figure out how to successfully influence the entertainment consumers that you pursue. And your plan to do this is what, exactly?

Or are you in this race for the entertainment consumer's dollars with no real plan to speak of?

Beyond this, even if they buy a comic book from you, then how do you gain or earn repeat business from individuals who, by now, already enjoy some degree of familiarity with what you bring to the consumer's entertainment table? Or are you content with being a one-shot deal with consumers? To be certain, the repeat customer dilemma is its own beast to be contended with!

The whole point of this article is not to discourage you from publishing comic books. Rather, the whole point of this article is to engage with you on the subject, that you might put more thought into your current chosen approach to entering the never-ending gladiatorial battles for consumers entertainment dollars and their respective allocation of time allotted to entertainment.

Before this article is done with you, though, care to join me on a short jaunt across the Internet?

Where should we start? Which independent comic book publishers should we volunteer to be the objects of our attention for this article's duration. Where does an entertainment consumer even begin, and that's assuming that they even know what a comic book is, in the first place?

Let's start with an indie company called Argo Comics. I picked them, because I was on their site earlier, today, and because I want to demonstrate how comic book publishers often unwittingly create even more obstacles between their comic books and entertainment consumers. Additionally, Argo Comics is an indie comic book publisher that is already on my radar, from an awareness perspective.

Argo Comics is located at Once on their website, let's head straight to the Shop section of their site. Immediately, six possible comic book choices pop into view of my monitor's screen. Two are for issues of Argo 5. One is for a title called Sorority of Power. Two are for Argo Comics Anthologies. And the final of those six offerings on display is for a comic book titled Pickleman.

Argo 5 Issue #24 from Argo Comics

All well and dandy, but not a single one of the comic book images on display on that page can be clicked upon. Not a one of them can be added to a shopping cart. Thus, a consumer who wants to better inform themselves on any of these six issues suddenly finds that they have to go elsewhere, in order to do that. Obstacles to the end consumer being able to inform themselves about a potential or pending purchase are frequently resolved by consumers against the merchant, by clicking off whatever web page that the consumer is on. I ask you, is this approach good for business?

Argo Comics Anthology #1
That aside, let's assume that I wanted to go ahead and purchase one of the comic books in display, here. In order to do that, Argo Comics's own website requires that I leave the Shop section of their website, and head on over to another website run by a third party. In this particular case, that third party site is a personal favorite of mine - IndyPlanet.

Specifically, the link on the Shop section of the Argo Comics website leads me to the Argo Comics section of the IndyPlanet site. Why not just eliminate that extra step, to begin with? Who knows? My point is simply this - each click of a hyperlink that you, as an Indie comic book publisher, places between the potential buyer of your product and the product, itself, is an opportunity for the consumer to change their mind. Do you not have enough competition, already, that you will also saddle yourself with more opportunities for entertainment consumers to change their mind about buying your entertainment products? Compare this approach to how Amazon approaches things.

In fairness, the Argo Comics site's Shop section even clearly states at the top of that page: Some of our titles you'll find at Indy Planet. Yet, the thing about obstacles of the kind that this article has been discussing is that they take many forms, and the more of them that you can eliminate or avoid outright, the better off that your chances for comic book success may well end up being. Obstacles are kind of like the straw that breaks the camel's back. They just plain have a way of adding up, and that's to YOUR comic book company's detriment!

Argo Comics Sorority of Power #12
Clearly, Argo Comics is doing something right, because on the Argo Comics section of the IndyPlanet website, a total of fifty-one results are available for your perusal. Argo Comics also has a Facebook page, if you care to check that out. That they have so many comic book products on offer is an indicator that Argo Comics has been around a while. If you want to get a quick visual glimpse at a LOT of Argo Comics' artwork, then you can also head on over to the Gallery section of their DeviantArt page.

Though I have mentioned them several times, already, in the span of the last several paragraphs, this article really isn't about Argo Comics. Rather, it's about obstacles, so let's continue our journey, shall we?

Next up? The Peep Game Comix site. Talk about a great site!

I only recently discovered it. Yesterday, in fact, unless I have encountered it at some point in the past and recollection of it has fallen from my memory.

When I came upon this website, yesterday, let me tell you - It was love at first site! All kinds of different Indie comic books just waiting to be encountered. A comic book treasure worthy of Smaug's envy, no doubt!

So much visual energy just slapping you in the face. This is the kind of website that will rouse the comic lover inside of you from a state of slumber. It sure woke me up, that's for damned certain!

It's like being a kid in a candy store. So much to look at. So much to choose from. I just started clicking on link after link after link. Beware, though! For if you visit the Peep Game Comix website, prepare to stay a while. It's just a real smorgasbord of visual energy, a gathering of some really fine comic book talent.

Malkia: Warrior Queen from Youneek Studios

'Twas here that I first encountered Malika: Warrior Queen, which is published by Youneek Studios. I haven't bought it, yet, but I will take this opportunity to single it out. Many independent comic book publishers only sprinkle a couple of preview pages on the potential customer. Some don't even do that much. And the irony that inheres in this ye have eyes, yet see not approach is that comic books are, by their inherent nature, objects that have historically and traditionally placed a heavy emphasis upon the element of visual appeal.

Malika: Warrior Queen
In other words, unless what you're putting out isn't pleasant to the eyes, then your comic book, itself, is arguably the single greatest tool in your arsenal to sell it to prospective buyers, to connoisseurs of the fare. Malika: Warrior Queen features more than a dozen pieces of imagery on the Peep Game Comix site to all the better tempt you with. Thinking back to when I was a kid growing up, I don't remember ever buying a single comic book that I didn't "browse" the contents of first. In many instances, I would read entire issues, while my parents shopped in the drug store or the grocery store beside it, where we bought most of the new comic books that I read. The content, itself, is what sold me on issue after issued after issue. think about that, the next time that you're tempted to let the prospective buyer of your entertainment product shop blind, or nearly so. With comic books, when you hide the visual temptation that you design your entertainment product to create within readers, you are also creating an obstacle to tempting people to buy your product.

In the coming days and weeks, I will at some point purchase a copy of Malika: Warrior Queen. That decision has already been made. I, a comic book entertainment consumer, have already been persuaded. The publisher, Youneek Studios, even without knowing it, has already influenced me successfully to buy this particular entertainment product. If you're an indie comic book publisher reading this, then if you're looking for a sure fire way to sell people less comic books, then hiding the temptation that you have lovingly crafted into your comic book products is unquestionably one of the most efficient ways to lose potential sales.

Malika: Warrior Queen
But, why stop here? Even old Scrooge had to deal with three ghosts at Christmas time. Why stop at Argo Comics and Youneek Studios, when we can toss at least one more example into the mix of this article's brew?

This time, let us take on the Powerverse, a comic book multi-verse concept that I am already on record on as liking the concept of.

Website-wise, the Powerverse is currently headquartered at One issue that I have been pondering over the last few days whether to buy or not is The Powerverse Present: The 101. On that site, this comic book is listed for a selling price of $1.99, for a digital copy. Yet, over on the IndyPlanet site, a digital copy of the exact, same issue will only set you back ninety-nine cents. While marketing can be a complex beast all its own, at times, one question worth pondering as it relates to the overall issue of obstacles to selling comic books is, how can a publisher sell the exact same digital comic book for less on a third party site, than on their own site?

The Powerverse Present The 101
Now, a single dollar difference isn't the be all nor the end all of anything, much less when it comes to comic books. But, since pricing structures can - and quite frequently do - create obstacles to getting more comic books in more people's hands, I think it to be worth considering at length how to best go about doing just, exactly that.

If a prospective comic book buyer can save a dollar here or there, then that very same prospective buyer can also partake of a wider selection of comic books, whether from the same comic book publisher, or from a broader cross segment of comic book publishers.

Plus, if you are an indie comic book publisher with an eye towards increasing your readership base and broadening your readership cross segment, price point can be a central opportunity just waiting to happen - but, only if you let it.

And you let it (or you preclude it) by the decisions that you make, where your engagement of prospective comic book buyers is concerned.

And to underscore the irony that inheres in approaches to marketing, dollars saved here and there by consumers, due to instilling consistency in pricing of a given item across various points of distribution to the end consumer by the indie comic book publisher, aside from enhancing the comic brand through consistency in consumer experience no matter where they encounter the product in question at, could well be gained by the indie publisher through other marketing mechanisms - such as by bundling multiple comic book products together in special offers or bundle deals that result in more dollars changing hands from the comic book consumer to the comic book publisher, while simultaneously getting more titles - or more issues of a given title - in the entertainment consumer's hands, in a shorter span of time. In turn, that helps to drive brand recognition and brand loyalty.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Meanwhile, two years later. . .

Blame Vince White for my return.

And all things Powerverse!

Two years - and then some! That's quite a bit of time to be away from thinking about comic books. Actually, though, I've thought about comic books numerous different times, over the last couple of years. Hell, I've even read a comic book or three in that span of time. But, that's quite a different thing from thinking aloud about them, in concentrated form.

And along came a man named Vince White, and this whole concept that he calls the Powerverse. His pièce de résistance is a comic book series titled The Legend of Will Power. I like the concept. It caught my eye. It grabbed my attention. And for the last several days, I have been sort of hanging around the Powerverse, and scrolling postings, clicking on the like button, and visiting first one link after another. I've even been checking out Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns pertaining to the Powerverse, both current and previously undertaken.

For some reason or other, this Powerverse has apparently re-energized me, powering me up to return to this blog fortress of comic book solitude, that I might have words with myself, once more.

And, you know, that's really not such a bad thing. For me, it's not. For you? Well, it's probably not such a good thing for you, and especially if you happen to stumble by here, sometime, on your trek across the Internet. If you're here, though, then you must already be lost.

It's late at night, as I sit down to pen this - almost one o'clock in the morning. But, some things can't wait, even when you don't really know what to say. Only, you want to say something, and so I think that it best to get out of the way of my own words, and just let them flow to wherever they want to take us to.

So, what do I like about the Powerverse?

I like that it is a really big idea, one that will require the combined efforts of many, many people. It is a concept with a guiding vision, even if it is still too early for the full measure of that vision to manifest itself, yet. The characters of the Powerverse originate from many different minds, and more than a few of them are bold and vibrant and colorful, each in their own right. Its essence is something new, something different, but simultaneously something that rings all too familiar.

Because, from my perspective, the world - nay, the universe, even the multi-verse - can never have too many heroes, and Comicdom (which is where the imagination runs wild sowing the oats of entertainment both night and day) can never have too many villains. And in them all, both superheroes and super villains, we frequently see a little bit of ourselves.

In its early stage of the here and now, the Powerverse is still a crude construct of the imagination just beginning to take form. I don't like everything about it that I've encountered, thus far (that Cosmic Womb, for instance), but the Powerverse's stories have not been told, yet, much less its history written and refined. So, for now, I'm inclined to cut it some slack, even as I respect and admire its attitude and its roster of characters.

What this is going to do is to bring together into the same functioning multi-verse such vibrant, energetic, and colorful characters as Andre Batts' Dreadlocks and Jay Kelley's The Brother. It will bring in Vince White's brainchild, Will Power, and Malley Simpson's Marvelous.

What it's going to do, I believe, is to showcase these really imaginative characters in a way that brings out their very best. Characters of different artists will help to further refine the products of their originators in ways that otherwise would simply not be possible.

There is so much raw energy in some of these super-powered characters that the comic scene is all the poorer for them not being all the more widely known. While some will no doubt tout them as characters of color, I tend to see them as characters of substance in their own right.

One thing that these characters, and other characters that will be in the Powerverse mix with them, bring to the table of the comic book experience for the reader is something that Superman or Spiderman or any of the more widely known comic book superhero staples can't bring - and that is the key to unlocking parts of our respective imaginations, as readers, that Marvel's and DC's characters have neither knowledge of nor access to.

And me? I think that that is. . .simply Marvelous!

These days, time is always in demand. Never enough time to do everything that I want to do. Yet, the time that I spend discussing comic books - even if with myself - is time that I value, time that I consider to be a form of relaxation and reward. The world is a hectic place, and it devours my time, non-stop. So, it is good to seek respite from the non-comic book side of me, and here in this backwater nowhere of a blog, I partake of solitude in comic book form, once more.

And for that, Vince White, you have my cosmic gratitude!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review - Jennifer the She-Wolf - Issue # 1

One of the bad things about getting out of the habit of writing, whether about writing comic book reviews, specifically, or whether about writing, in general, is that it can end up taking you longer to get back into the groove of writing than you had ever expected it would take.

Much longer, in fact!

So, on the one hand, I owe a formal apology to Mister Luis Cruz, who has been waiting most patiently on me forever and a day, to get around to actually writing a review for his comic book called Jennifer the She-Wolf. On the other hand, it is a blessing to have a comic book publisher prod me - repeatedly - to get back into the swing of things. So, for that, I owe Luis Cruz a special thanks, on top of the apology for the rather lengthy delay.

Now, with my own sloth as a reviewer out of the way, let me move straight into the meat of the matter, where this comic book review is concerned.

I have read this particular comic book, Issue # 1 of Jennifer the She-Wolf, several times, now. Because of the delay incurred in getting around to it, I went ahead and read it, once again, just now, that its content might be fresh in my thoughts and in my mind, once more.

Luis had asked me before, more than once, in fact, to just tell him whether I liked his comic book or not. I could have told him, of course, but my initial intention had been to write an actual review for the comic, and in spite of my own self-inflicted delays in getting around to it, a review was what was intended, and a review was what would be delivered forth. To be quite honest about it, to not review this comic book would be to do a disservice. There's more here, than at first meets the eyes.

So, what do I think about this comic book, this thing called Jennifer the She-Wolf?

Well, in all honesty, I actually think more than one thing about it, simultaneously.

There's stuff about it that I like, and there's also stuff about it that I don't care for all that much. In the overall scheme of things, though, with everything about it taken into consideration and judging the work as a whole, as a singular and collective work, I think that it has more going for it than it has weighing against it.

They say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. There's reasons for that, you know. In fact, I think that that saying applies with special force, in the instance of Jennifer the She-Wolf Issue # 1.

I've looked at the front cover art on Issue # 1 many, many times. I'm not really a fan of it, neither of the cover art, itself, nor of the coloring, thereof. The wolves and the woman on the front cover are just posing. They're engaged in no action. The only action on the front cover is what appears to be a shadow of a werewolf in motion.

The coloring of the front cover is too thickly applied. It ends up imbuing this comic book with an amateurish and cartoonish look. The front cover art for Issue # 1 of Jennifer the She-Wolf does not do justice to the content that lies just beyond.

To not move past the front cover is to miss the artistic and literary gems that glitter, and which imbue this work with some visual and textual heft.

One of the core challenges of writing a comic book review lies in telling you about the book, without spoiling the book for you by saying too much. It's a pitfall that is best to avoid, but at the same time, there are times when you have to risk crossing that fine line, so that you can better clue people in on what to expect.

If you flip the page and turn past the front cover, you are treated to a bare bones, straightforward credits page. It serves its core purpose, but it does nothing to stimulate the mind. The title is depicted in bright red lettering on the credits page, and the actual credits are in white lettering. It is legible and serves its purpose, but nothing more.

But, hey! It's just the credits page. Right? In this instance, the answer to that question is, "Yes."

Once you flip the page, again, and move from the credits to the story, you head straight into the year 1922, and the artwork is a combination of black and white and gray scale. Later on, as the story progresses, you are taken to the year 2014, where the artist and colorist conspire to bring you more of a present context for the story line to progress through. These later pages in Issue # 1 are rendered in full color.

I don't dislike this approach. In fact, I like it, just fine, and not just because I am partial to comic books rendered in black and white format. Rather, this dual take provides a good way, visually, to transition from the past to the present, insofar as the timeline of the story's progression is concerned. Personally, I think that it facilitates the art of telling the story in a visual manner.

Of the two, both the color and the black and white and gray scale, I think that the coloring did not live up to the story being told. Yes, it suffices. The colorist did not treat readers to a bunch of glarish, eye-hurting colors. The colors are presented in pale tones. It has a deadening effect, which may be what was the colorist strove for.

In fact, that color scheme worked well enough, once the zombies arrived on the scene.

The what??

That's right. You heard what I said - Zombies!

But, isn't this a comic book about werewolves?

Well, yes, it is, but then again, it's not a comic book that's just about werewolves.

So, what that translates into for you and I (and for other readers, as well) is that this comic book's story line has some meat on its bones.

The story, itself, isn't hard to follow. The pacing, in fact, is pretty much spot on. It reads well, if I may characterize it that way.

But, as the story progresses, plot devices are employed that imbue the story with more depth.

Why did the zombies attack? Where did they come from? Why do they all shut down, in one scene, when someone pushes a digital button? Who is this someone? Who is on the other end of that telephone?

The quality of the art, itself, isn't bad. It's higher than I typically encounter with independently published comic books, in fact. The visual difference between the best scenes and the worst ones left me wondering why the artist seemed so into it, in some scenes, and somewhere else, with the visual handiwork on display in other scenes.

As far as the inking goes, I am of two minds about it. Some of the inking, I like quite a lot. Other instances of it detract from the overall quality of the visuals, impairing the atmosphere of the story being told. But, all things considered, the inking largely succeeds, in my book.

Again, as with the artwork, the quality of the inking is inconsistent. That I love some of it is a testament to the strength of the inker, but that so much of it leaves me feeling ho-hum is a testament to the fact that this comic book title could stand some greater attention to detail and better adherence to consistency in future issues of Jennifer the She-Wolf.

The page where the werewolf appears, and the page following that one, are pages where my eyes open wider, and the story begins to sink in, visually. Those are, in my considered opinion, the two best pages in the whole issue.

Where the car hits the werewolf, I've nothing but thumbs up for this comic book, and the panel where the werewolf attacks the man who was driving the car, initially, my eyes light up with interest. It is at that point that my eyes are grabbed, and they drag me to a whole new level of interest, compared to the comic book ride up to that point.

The panel work isn't bad. It is at least a bit imaginative, and the panels add to the comic book's overall value. I would encourage this creative team that brought Jennifer the She-Wolf Issue # 1 to life to continue exploring what they can achieve, where the use of interesting panel work is concerned.

The lettering throughout the comic book is passable. It's OK. The speech bubbles are not one of this comic book's strong points, and while it is doubtful that the lettering on display in Issue # 1 is likely to win any awards, it was still nice to be able to read the comic book all of the way through, from front to back, without trying to figure out what the dialogue and narration were trying to tell me.

The first half of Issue # 1 was better rendered, visually, than the second half, even with the issue of color completely aside. Half way through the issue, it's as though the creative team forgot how to use narrative boxes.

Personally speaking, I think that narrative boxes worked very well, as far as driving the story line in the first half goes. They increased my interest in the story being told. Once you get to where the story picks up in the present era, the style of storytelling changes, and maybe that's one of the weak points of Jennifer the She-Wolf Issue # 1.

But, I don't want to give the wrong impression. Personally, I think that one of this particular title's strong points lies in its storytelling. Kudos to the writer, for it is the story, itself, that is ultimately responsible for the biggest share of why I liked this comic book.

When I reached the end of Issue # 1, I found myself still interested in the story, and that is exactly where you want your comic book to be, if you're the one publishing it. It's at the very core of why I would want to pick up and continue reading, come the next issue.

As I sit and flip the pages of this comic book back and forth, one thing that sticks out to me is the lack of consistency in quality of the art rendered, from panel to panel. I've mentioned this, already, but it really does stand out to me, as I browse and ponder what lies before me.

Overall, the mood of this comic book is serious and somber. That fits the bill for what is visually on display here.

On a personal level, I'm not a huge fan of werewolf stories. This may well account for why I am receptive, as a reader, to zombies being injected into the mix. For me, at least, that breaks fresh ground, where comic books are concerned.

The special effects lettering is a mixed bag. None if it is spectacular, but a lot of it is sufficient for driving a point home, or for heightening the feel of a particular action or event taking place in the panels.

Overall, I think that this independent comic book is better than the sum of its individual parts. Some panels are bland and boring, while others do a solid and respectable job of entertaining me, both visually and in a literary manner.

The story progresses rapidly. It might even be paced a tad too fast, but one thing that I didn't get, while reading through Issue # 1 of Jennifer the She-Wolf, was bored.

At least the pacing is sufficient to retain my interest, and it did accomplish getting me interested in the first place. Looking back on it, after reading it, though, I can't help but to feel as though the author was in a rush to get us to where he was taking us, as far as the story was concerned.

But, without reading the next issue, yet, how can one be sure?

So, in summation, while this comic book didn't leave me howling at the moon, nonetheless, something in my blood yearns for the release of Issue # 2.

Count me in as part of the pack of fans, where this comic book is concerned!

Cruzin Comics - Issue # 1 - Jennifer the She-Wolf
Publisher: Cruzin Comics
Story: The Mystery of the Undead (Part One)
Writer: Luis M. Cruz
Artists: Henry Simon & Miky Ruiz
Colorist: Henry Simon

Letterer: Jorge Medina

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crowdfunding meets the underdog

I will freely confess that I am a big fan of both crowdfunding, in general, and of Kickstarter, specifically. They both allow for creative sparks to take actual life. They make things that might otherwise be left relegated to the obscurity of the idea realm, alone, into reality. In other words, they make dreams come true.

Maybe not for everyone, but certainly, for some.

This blog of mine that I seem to spend far more time forgetting about than I do posting on is focused primarily upon comic books or things of a comic nature. So, it should come as a surprise to no one that happens upon this out of the way blog upon the Internet of Many that my gaze for this particular blog posting lands squarely - and heavily - upon (what else?) a comic book.

Sidekicks: Dedicated - Dependable - Disrespected is a crowdfunding project launched by creator and writer Russell Brettholtz.

Writer Russell Brettholtz
Now, it's not important that you know who Russell BrettHoltz is. It's not even important whether you have ever heard of his whole Sidekicks comics concept before or not. No, what's important, for the purpose of this blog posting, is that I tell you why I am backing this project - and for that matter, why the Sidekicks concept for a series of comic books attracted my attention in the first place.

I'll take the last one first.

I've long been a fan of comic books, and of the superhero genre of comic books, specifically. Thus, the concept of what a sidekick is has long since become ingrained into my entertainment-loving psyche.

Yet, despite their close association with superheroes (or even super villains, for that matter), nonetheless, to be a sidekick is, by and large, to suffer the fate of being second fiddle. It's Batman and Robin, not Robin and Batman, after all.

People can relate to what it's like to play second fiddle, in life. Hell, it's part and parcel of the legacy of being an underdog. Who amongst us can't relate to being an underdog at some point in our respective lives?

To crowdfund a project for the very first time can no doubt come across as an intimidating prospect, for many. Thus, to launch a Kickstarter, at all, has a thick air of underdog quality about it. Doubt has a way of seeping in. Underdog status attaches, whether one likes it or not, whether one wants it to or not.

You're under the gun. You've got a project to fund. It's work. It's time consuming. Every crowdfunding project needs a superhero to accompany it, as standard equipment. But, life just plain doesn't work that way.

Now, Russell Brettholtz has crowdfunded, before. This ain't his first attempt at utilizing crowdfunding to turn dream into reality. He's attended this dance, before.

But, were you to ask him about his current project, Sidekicks: Dedicated - Dependable - Disrespected, I suspect that he would tell you that he's feeling a little bit under the gun, right now.

Time is running out, and he still has a considerable distance to close, on the funding end of things, before this latest venture into the realm of crowdfunding becomes successfully funded.

I'm backing this project, because first and foremost, it reeks of quality to me. Brettholtz's Sidekicks concept has always caught my eye, from the first moment that I laid eyes on it before his first Kickstarter that embodied it, to this latest incarnation of the same.

Sidekicks is blessed with characters that have been imbued with a heavy dose of humanity. Russell has a way of making them come alive, to me. They feel more real. I can relate to them - not just as characters, but as personalities.

The Flying Fox
With barely five days left in his project's crowdfunding campaign, his project is a little more than half way to its funding goal. It may succeed. It may fail. And it is the prospect of failure that moves something inside of me. Something within tells me that both Russell Brettholtz and this Sidekicks: Dedicated - Dependable - Disrespected project of his could use a few sidekicks of their own.

Now, the world won't end, certainly, if this project fails to meet its funding goal. But, I can't help but to think that the world won't be the better for it, if it does.

While I do love both Kickstarter and crowdfunding, I tend to back projects with small pledge amounts. I'm not one of the big guys, when it comes to the wallet wars. Nope, I'm just a little guy. Meet the proverbial nobody.

That's Mr. Nobody, to you!

I believe in becoming part of the crowd, not in becoming the crowd. I have no desire to become a crowd of one, and effectively try to fund a crowdfunding project to success, all on my own.

But, some crowdfunding projects just seem to have a way of mattering to you more than others. Granted, it doesn't automatically translate into more money magically appearing in your wallet, to make upping the ante on your pledge of support substantially bigger. Yet, projects like this one seem to press upon me a renewed sense of importance in them becoming a reality.

So, while I don't even have the benefit of a decent costume to wear, I choose to enter the fray, just the same.

Won't you join me?

The clock is ticking, and right now, Time, itself, seems to be the biggest enemy of all. Time is running out. Who will ride to the rescue? Who will save the day?

Click HERE to visit the Kickstarter project page for Sidekicks: Dedicated - Dependable - Disrespected

Never been a sidekick for a crowdfunding project, before? Not a problem. Just climb aboard. Just join in.

Still undecided? Just take your time.

You've got five days.


I'm already in the fight!