Friday, May 26, 2017

Kickstart the Week(end) with Robin Hood: Eons Edge #1

By: Nicole D’Andria

Robin Hood meets cyberpunk in this Kickstarter for Robin Hood: Eons Edge #1. Along with some noir elements, this is Robin Hood as you’ve never seen him before. Learn more about the creators’ favorite interpretations of Robin Hood, their “Mobile Comic” and more in my interview with the creative team of Robin Hood: Eons Edge.

In Neo London, a hooded vigilante is stealing from the elites and giving to the poor. The Android Security Force and a human detective are all trying to catch this mysterious man, but will they succeed?

Writer Joshua Lucas previously managed a successful Kickstarter for his project Moros: A Hard Boiled Hero. He is the Editor in Chief of the “Red Band” line of comics from Short Fuse Media, including another project we featured on Kickstart the Week, Like Father, Like Daughter. The artist of the series is Steven Millage, who previously worked as a consulting artist on Blood and Gourd #2. This is the first published comic he’s penciled and inked.

The project hit its $3,000 goal and is now trying to reach its stretch goal of $4,000. Rewards include the “Mobile Comic” ($5) plus a regular PDF of the first issue ($10) and a signed physical copy ($15). Backers can also get a t-shirt and documentary about the comic ($25), a one of a kind sketch ($50), and original art ($100). The rest of the rewards are sold out. The Kickstarter will end on June 1, 2017 at 3:56 PM EDT. So if you’re interested in backing it, check out the project here.

Learn more about this new take on the old hooded hero in my interview with the creative team, writer Joshua Lucas and artist Steven Millage:

Joshua Lucas

Me: Why did you decide to combine Robin Hood with cyberpunk?

Joshua Lucas: Well, this actually happened over time. I always wanted to make the book science fiction, and I was cooking up the idea around the time The Force Awakens was coming out. From that place, I went on to have many conversations with Steven early on in which we throw out different ideas and science fiction worlds that we liked. I remember Steve saying he was pulling inspiration from Blade Runner. At that point I rewatched that film and really felt like style wise Steven was onto something. It grew from there and over time the identity of “cyberpunk Robin Hood” really stuck.

Me: Besides your own project, what has been your favorite adaptation of Robin Hood and why is it your favorite? Does that adaptation have any influence over your story?

Lucas: It’s the Prince of Thieves movie with Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, and the late and great Alan Rickman. There was some great stuff in that adaptation! Rickman is particularly creepy and amazing! I also love the old Disney animated feature. It was one of my favorites as a kid and I still find myself whistling that theme every once in a while. Even the Ridley Scott movie was cool! I saw it in theaters and really dug it!

Really, none of the adaptations have a huge influence on our story. I mean, Robin Hood is a story that people are aware of in our comic. So, technically, all those re-tellings could be in our world. Our story is about a guy who decides to live a version of that old story to make an impact in a cruel and corrupted world!

Me: One of the rewards for your project is a “Mobile Comic.” Can you explain to us what this is and your experience with it?

Lucas: Yes! So, the “Mobile Comic” is actually something I created several years back. This was a response to some of the things I was seeing happen in the comics industry. At the time, I was seeing the majority of my engagement on social media shift to mobile. This change happened FAST! I was also watching the trends with how people (especially young people) were actually buying comic books. Without going too far into it (I could go on and on), I realized that people were buying less monthly floppy books, opting for trades in either digital or physical form. With all of that in mind, I decided to make a new kind of comic book!

The “Mobile Comic” (patent pending) is a type of comic designed to be read exclusively on a mobile device. It takes some of the things I learned in Film school and adapts them to the comic book format. It was very important to me to keep things that I loved about comics intact in the new format. This is not animation. Readers control the transitions and can spend as much time as they want on every panel. However, it does things that you simply can’t do in a physical book. I’m very happy with the results and currently “Mobile Comics” can be read easily with Comixology’s “Guided View” feature. I have done a Mobile for my other Indie book, Moros: A Hard Boiled Hero, which people can check out right away if they are interested. Oh, and all of the books for the line I’m an editor on WILL be doing “Mobile Comics.” We think people will really dig them!

Me: You’ve put a lot of time and energy into this project, but waited to promote it for over a year until less than a week before you launched the Kickstarter. Why did you approach promoting your comic in such a way?

Lucas: Well, I’d be lying if I said it was all a master stroke of marketing genius. Some of this literally has to do with us being stretched for time. However, it was the plan to always announce, promote, and launch the Kickstarter within a short window of time.

I’m IN the indie comics’ game. I have a lot of great friendships with people doing different things in comics, and I’ve seen what works and what does not. Based on some of the conversations I was having and what I was seeing happen in the data (I’m obsessed with studying social media data), I concluded that the best way to go about marketing a new IP was to launch promotion and then go right into the Kickstarter. Some of the problems comic book companies have right now is holding attention over time. It really seemed like a book would start promoting, and then the lag between the start of promotion and “call to action” was so long they lost a lot of people.

We decided to do it differently and I have to give a lot of credit to Steven Millage. He not only showed a lot of trust and faith in me as we did more and more things we didn’t talk about, but he also was willing to take the risk that we wouldn’t have an audience or attention as we went into the campaign. So far, it’s paying off, which is awesome because the amount of work Steven has done over the past year is CRAZY! It would have broken my heart if this strategy didn’t work, and it would have been because I let Steve down.

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

Lucas: I think Kickstarter is an AMAZING tool for indie comic books. Our Kickstarter page is like a segment in Previews that anyone would see in their local comic shop. I think you should check the page out, and if you like what you see, pick up an issue. In that way, it’s no different than selecting which books you put on your pull list.

However, with our Kickstarter in particular, this is THE ground level. You have an opportunity to be a part of the process of this book becoming a REAL THING. That’s the number one reason people should pledge; they will viscerally be a part of the process. Not only will your name be in the book, but you’ll always be able to look back and tell people that you helped Robin Hood: Eons Edge actually exist. We think that’s pretty stinking cool!

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

Lucas: Here’s something I wish someone had told me when I was first creating comic books. You got into this because of your taste. Meaning, you like good comics and that made you want to make them. That’s awesome, but you can’t expect your abilities to match your taste. You will, frankly, suck at making comics AT FIRST. There are plenty of resources to learn the craft, and you will get better over time, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If you really want to make comic books, then you have to start putting sequential stories together. Do web comics or mini books (four pages is a good starter).
Make your stuff, get feedback, get better. Rinse and repeat!

Steven Millage

Me: How did you get involved with this project?

Steven Millage: Before Robin Hood: Eon's Edge, Josh and I worked on a much smaller book together. When that was finished, I decided that I wanted to work on something that would be outside of my comfort zone. I finally chose to work on a sci-fi book, but I was also reading a lot of noir short stories at the time, which ended up being a heavy influence for me. Not long after my decision, Josh contacted me with the idea of creating a science fiction Robin Hood and I asked “Could we make it a noir book as well?” From there we developed our ideas further and created what I believe will be a great retelling of the classic tale many have grown familiar with. 

Me: What got you interested in the noir stories and how can their influence on you be seen in Robin Hood: Eons Edge?

Millage: My interest in noir started in my rereading of Frank Miller's Sin City. Started there mostly to study his use of black in the artwork. But afterword I was left with a craving for more traditional noir stories. But I think the influence of all the noir books and short stories can be seen in the world and my use of shadow. I tried really hard to create an unfriendly and cold setting.

Me: What was your favorite panel/page to draw and why?

Millage: I'll try not to give too much away, but I can say that it is page 22. The page is full of our guard robots and are a favorite of mine to draw. I also got to use some silhouetted figures on the page- I think that those can be really compelling.

Me: Besides your own project, what has been your favorite adaptation of Robin Hood and why is it your favorite? Does that adaptation have any influence over your artwork in this project?

Millage: Honestly, I have to say that my favorite adaptation of the tale of Robin Hood is by Disney, the animated movie narrated by Roger Miller. I loved it as a kid because of all the compelling action and silliness, and as an adult I absolutely love the Bluegrass soundtrack. I watched it so much as a kid that it would be nearly impossible for me to say it hasn't had some effect on my growth as an artist and storyteller.

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

Millage: I've read a lot of scripts and sample scripts, and they're really dry. But when I was reading issue one of Robin Hood: Eon's Edge, I remember getting to page 22 and thinking “Where's the next one? I want to keep reading!" I was hooked. I hope my artwork has been able to add to that effect and push the reader's excitement to keep reading to the next level. 

I think people should pledge to this book because I can say for certain it's a compelling story and a good script, and I know that this was a great book before I ever put pencil to paper.

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

Millage: I'm constantly telling myself “My best drawing is my next drawing." I think artists judge themselves too harshly on where they are, rather than focusing on where they're going.

Me: Thanks for taking the time to tell us more about your project! If you’re interested in sci-fi noir stories with a vigilante added into the mix, check out the Kickstarter for Robin Hood: Eons Edge #1.

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 my website.

Other “Kickstart the Week” features:

No comments:

Post a Comment