Friday, July 8, 2016

Kickstart the Week(end) with Into the Suck

By: Nicole D’Andria

This week I’m showcasing a sci-fi mini-series on Kickstarter called Into the Suck. The Kickstarter reached its $3,000 goal in four days! I spoke with writer Keith Thomas about the characters and his success on Kickstarter.

Into the Suck is a six issue mini-series starring Ursula, a privateer and bounty hunter. She has been hired to get a human from planet Earth. However, she has several sizeable obstacles to face in the form of a mysterious adversary, her pirate father, and the entire Royal Army. The Suck referred to in the title is a trashy space area filled with lowlifes and creeps.

The writer of the book is Keith Thomas (Screwed: Project Frankenstein). He is working with artist CB Zane (Critter, The In Crowd), colorist Oracle (Facebook's PH Fuller) and letterer Kel Nuttel.

The project has quickly reached its $3,000 goal, but the Kickstarter will remain active until July 29, 2016 at 3:40 PM EDT. Some rewards for backing include a digital copy of the first issue for $5 and a physical copy of the first issue signed by the writer for $10. You can pledge money to the Kickstarter here.

Enjoy my conversation with writer Keith Thomas:

Keith Thomas

Me: Who are the various members on the Queen B crew? 

Keith Thomas: Obviously there is Ursula Stormholder, carrying the last name of her father who was a decorated war hero years ago before becoming a pirate. Ursula is a stubborn, often rude yet funny character who is determined to make her own way through the universe.

Her first mate, pilot and first crew member is the squishy green alien named Squee. He seems like just a cute little fellow, but his wit is just as sharp and refined as Ursula's. He is also not actually a great pilot.

In the first issue they pick up a third member, Armando. He is a simple human that is supposed to be cargo, not crew, but when things go wrong they find themselves stuck with him.

Me: Can you describe in more detail some of the adversaries Ursula and the crew will be facing, such as her father?

Thomas: As far as adversaries go, her father is as much an adversary as any semi healthy father/daughter relationship. They are both incredibly pig-headed and just fight every time they cross paths. And in the end, there is nothing that this father wouldn't do to save his little girl.

The real adversaries here are the King of the royal space on the border of the Suck. King Syrus is a rough warlord type king who is a serious contrast to the political and non-confrontational rulers before him. He is intent on basically dong an urban renewal on the Suck, the intergalactic wasteland.

The mysterious Azin who appears in issue 1 is the most dangerous adversary. He is the last remaining remnant of the war that ravaged the area and made the Suck the trash capital of space that it is. He is a creature of dark light who seeks to bring his people back to this dimension and retake the holy land.
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Me: What inspired the story of Into the Suck?

Thomas: I am a big fan of science fiction. My dad raised me on Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Benny Hill and Monty Python. In various ways, Into the Suck is inspired by all of those things. 
Me: How would you describe the humor of Into the Suck?

Thomas: It's very tongue in cheek, a lot of well-placed sarcasm, the occasional burp and fart joke. Some of the humor is very intelligent, some is not. We poke a little fun at the sci-fi genre as well as housing, government and family.

Me: What can you tell me about the rest of the creative team and how you came to all be working together? 

Thomas: My first appearance in Previews order book was a comic called Cricket: Agent of U.N.I.C.O.R.N. from Big Dog Ink and the artist was C.B. Zane. We both had a good time on that book and when we met at a convention upon its debut, we got along really well and kept in touch. He reached out to me wanting to do a project, we threw around ideas and this is the one we both agreed upon. It has been a blast working with him.

Oracle was the colorist on Tyler Kirkham's Screwed, a book I wrote that was published by Zenescope. Screwed was a very dark and muted book so when I saw his other work, I was amazed by his lighting, space and sky. His work was just breathtaking. So naturally he was my first choice when this came together.

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Me: What is the number one reason you think backers should pledge money to your Kickstarter?

Thomas: Because this is something new and fun, but in a retro style that we all love. It isn't a remake or recreation, it's something you haven't seen. And while it has a serious story, it's also a lot of laughs. Not to mention that this art team is hands down incredible. They are knocking out interior art that can put a lot of covers to shame. It's an art gallery book with action and jokes.

Me: Why did you decide to go the self-publishing route via Kickstarter rather than through a comic book publisher?

Thomas: Mostly we wanted to get the book to the best audience and up until now this entire team is known by our work for hire books. We don't have the history behind us to guarantee a publisher that we can follow through on our promises. We are not a sure thing yet.

By using Kickstarter we are able to fully finish what we start the way we want to do it while showing our ability to pull in a fan base. Before we are done, we hope to see Ursula and crew in the hands of a bigger company with a greater amount of market pull.

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Me: Impressively, your Kickstarter was able to reach its $3,000 goal very quickly! What tips do you have for people on Kickstarter to effectively reach their goal? 

Thomas: The first advice that I got was to set a realistic goal. Make sure it was enough to print the product and ship the rewards, but not much higher. Once a project gets funded, it's likely to do better because it becomes a sure thing.

Second, as I learned from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure... you need a triumphant video.

Lastly, finish your product first. We waited until issue 1 was done and issue 2 was in motion before starting so that everyone knew it was a sure thing and not just a pipe dream. We could do it because we already had. We just needed funds to print.

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Me: After the six issue mini-series is complete, do you plan on returning to the setting or characters in future stories?

Thomas: Absolutely, in fact I've already got a few potential plot lines for what may come next and a potential title of the follow up series, Escape from the Suck. We are looking at the idea of each set as a cinematic story. Each six issue series should read like a movie.

Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?

Thomas: Either you are a writer or a dreamer. Writers write, dreamers talk. It's not an easy industry to get into, but man is it worth it. It isn't impossible, but there will be setbacks. There will be times of defeat and frustration, but then there is celebration that outweighs every tear and sleepless night. Celebrations like hitting our goal on Kickstarter in a mere four days. Don't give up or you will never truly be happy. Writers write.

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Me: Thank you for your time and inspiring words Keith! If you’re interested in exploring the seedier side of the galaxy, check out the Kickstarter for Into the Suck.

Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on "Kickstart the Week?" Let me know in the comments below or message me on

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