I absolutely love social media posts where independent creators are looking for people to review their work. Where it becomes absolutely more exciting, is when someone has tagged me, looking for a review of their work! It is an absolute thrill that my 2 cents may be meaningful to someone.
Today's title is Heavens Decoded (part 1) which has just recently launched on Kickstarter.
(If some of this seems incoherent, I'll remind you that I'm on painkillers right now after my dental surgery =-). )
The year is 2033 and we have finally built two colonies on the moon, and are slowly colonizing Mars. The story begins with a party headed to the Mars base when they discover another ship from their fleet floating aimlessly in space and is non-responsive to radio traffic. Once on board, they discover that the passengers have been nearly wiped out and the new onboarding crew is captured by the alien threat.
The very next day on another planet, we meet a "dirty dozen" style team who are tracking someone/something in the goal of procuring more knowledge. What transpires across the next 15 pages turns any understanding we may have of humans vs. aliens in this universe on its head. (This is incredibly difficult to write about without spoiling anything....)
So, in in short, you have a sci-fi tale that shows us the real expansiveness of the universe, gives us a potential epic source of conflict or alien reclamation of space, and some humans who may become increasingly more relevant throughout issues two and three.
My thoughts on the creative team
While my plot assessment is a little convoluted, it is out of sheer desire to not spoil anything in this first issue. What is clear is that Lescouflair has the chops to write comics. There is a lot of world building in this issue but you can understand all three clusters of beings you meet immediately, and understand what their stakes are in the world. Whatever is going to happen in this 3-issue series is going to be spectacular, and you are already bought in by the end of issue 1 because of Lescouflair's attention to character dynamics and detail.
Harris' art is intense. One of my favorite series of panels is when the humanoid crew boards the distressed ship, and I get those classic "Alien" style chills from the bright red blood smeared on the ship walls showing the horror which is on the horizon. The environment of Zanrid is where we see his display of one of our alien factions, and the illustration of their inner conflict is phenomenal. And holy crap, the final two pages when the sheer enormity of the coming events are revealed, I've never been more terrified in anything I've read.
Gagnon's lettering is the cherry on top. The subtle use of different colored speech balloons may make it easier to determine who is on which side. In heavier moments where dialogue builds the action, you can feel an emotional rush created by his decisions on the page.
The three of these folks sing together quite well and have produced a high quality book!
As soon as I publish this post, I will be backing Heaven's decoded for three reasons:
1. I'm hooked so hard by the final 2 pages, I'm sold on issues 2 and 3 already.
2. It is super affordable. For as low as $3-5 you are getting 2-4 digital texts. The print tiers also have several added benefits for a ridiculously low cost!
3. The book is already finished. I literally just read a completed comic, which means the return of rewards will be done quite quickly as it is a question of kickstarter releasing the funds, sending the book to the printer, and then distributing all of the additional rewards.
I definitely think this book is worth supporting at any tier of your choosing. Right now, I'm looking at the Teacher's tier because there are an amazing collection of physical and digital rewards....and you get a shirt, which you know I'm a huge sucker for!
This book has 30 days, and $750 to reach its goal. Let's help this team make it a reality!
(Depending on how quickly I can comfortably talk again, I'd love to interview them on my channel!
I'm always a little wary writing about anything which gets announced on April Fools Day, but whatcha gonna do? In a press release this morning, Black Caravan (an imprint of Scout Comics) has announced a NEW 5-Issue Title!
I'm all about Scout Comics, and everything published through Black Caravan has also been AWESOME! However, to find information on the plot etc. they are taking on an interesting marketing campaign. They're calling it a mystery campaign....
To help promote Swamp Dogs, Black Caravan is embarking on a mystery campaign leading up to the release of an ashcan comic July 2021. “We have never attempted a mystery campaign before, but it just felt right with this book!” said Rich Woodall, Co-Publisher of Black Caravan. Black Caravan will be distributing bookmarks featuring teasers leading up to July. Bookmarks will be included in all subscription boxes for Scout Comics and Black Caravan, as well as being distributed to comic shops around the U.S. The cover of issue 1, as well as a plot synopsis, will be revealed in July.
Really, this is the sort of Ballsy moves that I love to see from a publisher. Announcing the book, but then releasing teasers through bookmarks etc. is going to be fascinating. I'm really looking forward to hypothesizing what the story is about with my fellow subscribers to the Scout Box.
A 5-issue mini is just the start, however. In the press release, they have also announced that this will lead to the creation of a broader Swamp Dogs universe:
Following the miniseries, Swamp Dogs will tentatively continue in phases that will include multiple ongoing series, future minis, and standalone issues. “The book is everything we wanted to represent when we started Black Caravan,” said Joseph Schmalke, Co-Publisher of Black Caravan and CCO of toy division Tracker Collectibles"
One thing I will add, is that while this campaign looks like a fun idea to build, and I'm excited to see what a broader universe looks like under the Black Caravan imprint.....there's no fooling around when it comes to the creative team which has been announced:
The creative team behind Swamp Dogs has been announced as well. Kewber Baal is illustrating the book. His past work includes Army of Darkness: Furious Road, KISS, and Garth Ennis’ Jennifer Blood. Coloring the book is comic veteran Ruth Redmond, whose past work includes Deadpool, Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, and Giant-Size X-Men from Marvel, Eve of Extinction from TKO Studios, and work for BOOM! and Valiant. Letterer Steve Wands is a comic industry veteran with over 1400 credits to his name from Attack on Titan, Action Comics, and Batman to Peanuts, Scalped, and Image hit Gideon Falls. Covers are being illustrated by Robert Sammelin, whose comic work includes Green Lantern: Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape From New York, and Neal Stephenson’s Cimarronin. He has also worked as lead artist for the Battlefield, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Mirror’s Edge video game franchises and done work for the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Nike, Waxworks, and Mondo. J.M. Brandt, a former contributor to popular entertainment sites Screen Rant and The Sportster, and newcomer to comics, is co-writer. Theo Prasidis, author of Image Comics’ The Doomster’s Monolithic Pocket Alphabet and an upcoming TKO Studios horror series, is also co-writing.
I'm SUPER excited to see what this series brings to the table, and I cannot wait to get the clues and eventually the ashcan in my Scout Box. If there were any time to hop on this box, do it now so you don't miss out on any of the fun!
The journey of a 30-something father of three who's trying to break into the world of reviewing comics after a loooooong hiatus...