Skies of Fire is a new comic created and written by Vincenzo Ferriero and Ray Chou with art by Pablo Peppino. Skies is an epic adventure centered on gigantic, diesel-powered airships and their duels on the high skies - think massive battles with howitzer broadsides, airplane dogfights, and close quarter boardings. If you’re like us and get jazzed by that stuff, then by all means read on!
Skies of Fire takes place in the fictional Aquilan Empire, a kingdom roughly analogous to post-WW1 Great Britain. Instead of a navy, the Aquilans maintain a vast fleet of airships to defend its colonies, trade routes, and holdings.
In the center of the Empire lies a monstrous, never-ending storm called The Expanse. It’s so dangerous not even the Royal Fleet dares venture into it for fear of losing its ships, personnel, and cargo. Naturally, that’s made The Expanse a haven for those who would prey on the Empire for their own gain.
The story begins when the notorious raider Delmonte destroys a key trading port in the Empire's north, grinding commerce to a halt. That, of course, is not acceptable to King Percival, who orders a tenacious captain to enter the Expanse and take Delmonte down...
Here’s a preview of the first issue:
Vincenzo Ferriero and Ray Chou met in film school, where, in between takes, Vince would often tell Ray about how cool zeppelins were, and how he wanted to make an epic zeppelin movie, how it would have pirates and romance and epic battles, how he’d shoot it in anamorphic 2.35 and only in 35mm because 35mm just had that sweet feel to it, how he would use practical models alongside CG because well duh..
A couple of years later Ray and Vince found themselves separated by thousands of miles -- Vince in London, Ray in LA -- yet collaborating on a number of projects including Skies of Fire, Vince’s original film school baby. Now here they are, trying to turn Skies into reality, albeit in a different medium.
Pablo Peppino is an illustrator from Argentina, focused on comic books. His works can be found on many well known publishers as Marvel, Vertigo, BOOM! Studios, FUBAR... He also holds a degree in Fine Arts. He approaches illustration and sequential art in a strong cinematic way. You can find him at http://pablopop.daportfolio.com/
Bryan Valenza was born, February 15, 1992 in Jakarta, Indonesia. He studied Visual Communication Design at Institut Teknologi Nasional in 2010. He booked his first comic book gig in 2011 when Amparan Comic Studio in Bandung hired him as a freelance Colorist and Painter. In 2012 he moved to Stellar Labs studio in Jakarta to improve his skillset and experience. Some of his coloring projects include Kujang issue #00, Black Water, Cain: First Born issue #1 & #2 (ongoing), Hit List from Zenescope issue #1 - #5, Inferno: Age of Darkness (ongoing). http://bryanvalenza.deviantart.com/
Nic J Shaw is a resident of Sydney, Australia. He has quickly risen up the ranks within the comic lettering community; working with up-and-comers like Fabian Rangel Jr (Doc Unknown) and taking backup lettering jobs from the likes of Jim Campbell, Ed Brisson, and Ryan Ferrier. When he’s not lettering or writing comics he’s hanging out with his girlfriend of 6 years, Hayley and their Standard Schnauzer, Archer. You can contact Nic at firstname.lastname@example.org, on twitter at @ShawLettering, or via his website http://shawlettering.com/
Josephe Vandel was born in 1985 in Germany as a child of Vietnamese refugees. He’s had a lifelong passion for maps and the fantasy genre; to this day he sees Karen L, Wynn Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle Earth as one of his greatest influences. Josephe holds a MA of Fine Arts and a MA Communication Arts, German-Excellence-Graduation Meisterschüler from the Braunschweig University of Art, where his focus encompassed the research of Fictional Realms in both theory and art. He’s been a fulltime cartographer since 2012, where he works on a freelance basis to help different artists and companies’ worlds take shape. He’s also won numerous awards from the Cartographer’s Guild, the preeminent online destination for map-making. You can find him at http://www.cartographersguild.com/members/schwarzkreuz.html
After finishing the script, we realized that the odds of finding a producer for a brand new summer tentpole franchise were … not in our favor. So, not willing to see the story languish in a cabinet somewhere, we decided to turn it into a comic book!
We sincerely believe that the story is perfectly-suited for the medium. Our story has:
Large flying airships
An ensemble cast
All of which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to turn into a film. With a comic, we’re only limited by two things: what our imaginations can come up with, and the amount of art we can afford. Yes, there’s some tinkering that needs to be done to convert the screenplay into sequentials, but the crux is both mediums are inherently visual, and visual storytelling is what we do.
The Skies of Fire team believes in 100% transparency when it comes to crowdfunding. All of the money raised by Kickstarter will be used towards three things: Production, Publishing, and Kickstarter Rewards, with the first item receiving the majority of our funds. Our first issue will be fully colored and clocks in at 24 pages.
Here’s a breakdown of our costs:
Production - $2860
Publishing - $560
Rewards - $214
Amazon 10% - $400
Contingency 10% - $400
Total - $4434
Any additional funding over our goal will be go towards future issues. Of course, there’ll also be some awesome stretch goal unlocks along the way, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
Our long term strategy is to publish primarily digitally via Comixology Submit and other platforms, traverse the convention circuit in the meanwhile, and hopefully grow an audience and pick up a publisher along the way. This is step one of that process.
$1: OUR ETERNAL GRATITUDE: For helping us get this project off the ground! Your name will be added to our special thanks credit list at the back of the comic.
$5: DIGITAL #1: A digital download .pdf of issue #1 with standard cover when it's completed, along with a special thanks credit. DRM Free.
$5: POST-CARDS: A set of three 4x6" Skies of Fire postcards featuring colored landscapes of Port Prince.
$8: DIGITAL DELUXE #1: The variant cover of the .pdf with digital deluxe bonuses including: story appendices, concept art, black and white inks, and full issue one script with commentary. Basically, we’ll detail our entire process from start to finish. This tier is great for those looking to self-publish themselves. Also comes with a copy of digital #1, and also DRM free.
Our variant cover was done by the very talented Rodolfo Reyes. If we reach our stretch goal of $7,500 Rodolfo will also be commissioning a airplane sticker complimentary to any backer with a physical package!
$15: PRINT #1: Be one of the first to own a physical copy of Skies of Fire! Includes all digital copies of issue 1.
$20: COVER POSTER: Receive a 13”x19” poster of either the cover art, variant cover art, or map! Comes with a copy of the digital deluxe #1.
$25: VARIANT PRINT #1: Be one of the first to own a physical copy of Skies of Fire with the exclusive to Kickstarter variant cover! (note: variant print #1 DOES NOT include a printed version of the digital deluxe bonus material, though it will still be provided digitally)
$25: T-SHIRT: Get a sweet Skies of Fire t-shirt! Choose one: the sleek Zephyr, or the fearsome Callisto and pick a size: S, M, L, XL. Includes a standard digital copy of issue 1.
$28: BLEEDING-COOL SPECIAL: A physical copy of issue #1 and a poster of your choice.
$50: ETCH-A-SKETCH: At this level, you’ll receive a Skies of Fire convention-style sketch of yourself done by our man Pablo Peppino! See yourself drawn as either a Royal Bluecoat or a Scruffy Raider:
$50: DOUBLE T-SHIRT: Having a hard time picking between the ships? Why not both! This tier includes one of each T-Shirt design. All you have to do is pick a size: S, M, L, XL. Includes all digital rewards.
$59: P.P.S. Parcel: A physical copy of Skies of Fire #1, a -t-shirt of your choice, a poster of your choice, all all digital rewards.
$100: DRAW ME IN: Have your likeness recreated in Skies of Fire issue one! You might even get killed! Comes with all the digital rewards.
$175: ORIGINAL ART: Receive an original page of inked art from Skies of Fire! You’ll be able to preview the pages as they’re produced, first come, first serve. (note: not colored)
$200: FIRE EVERYTHING! Both digital copies, both physical copies, both t-shirts (pick a size), all three posters, postcards, and sketch art!
$500: FIVE HUNDRED HURRAHS! This tier comes with everything from the FIRE EVERYTHING tier in addition to the original screenplay, and a thirty minute Google Hangout session with Vince, Ray, and Pablo. Heck, we'll sign everything, too! ;)
$1000: THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER(S): At this point, you would be helping us take a massive step towards making Skies of Fire a reality. Along with everything from the FIVE HUNDRED HURRAHS tier, the person who donates at this level will receive a very special Executive Producer credit on all subsequent issues and prints. We literally will not be able to thank you enough.
(Note: “Executive Producers” does not grant any ownership rights or creative control over story, characters and intellectual property. All rights are, and will remain, © Vincenzo Ferriero, Ray Chou, 2013 )
To add-on to your pledge, follow these steps:
- Press the Manage Your Pledge Button. If you have not pledged yet it will say Back this Project.
- Increase your pledge in the Pledge Amount box by the total of the add-ons you want to add. Do not change the tier you are currently pledged at, unless you also want to change it while you are on this screen. You will then need to add the total of your add-ons onto the amount of the tier you have just chosen.
- If you are an international backer, please remember to add $10 for shipping.
- After the end of the Kickstarter campaign you will receive a survey that will ask you questions so that you can explain how you would like the add-on money assigned.
Video Update 03/17/14:
Since we reached our initial fundraising goal, we decided to unveil stretch goals to keep our campaign going strong!
$4,500: Wallpapers: So as our first stretch goal we were going to release a set of three wallpapers when we reached 100%. Since we reached 100% before we could announce our stretch goals, here they are free to anyone who visits this page:
The art on the wallpapers is the same that's going to be used on the postcards. All wallpapers are 1920x1080 in dimension. Enjoy!
$6,500: PRINT GOES BIG!: Since we reached $6,500 we're upgrading our print copies from the comic standard 7x10.5 in. to 8.25 x 10.75 for free, as well as beefing up our comic to 32 pages!
The extra pages will be used to detail additional backstory on the world of Skies of Fire in the form of a supplemental codex. We'll profile things like the Aquilan Empire, the Expanse, and Port Prince. We're a big fan of old school video game manuals like the ones Blizzard used to do, so we'll be trying to do something similar with the extra space.
$7,500: AIRSHIP STICKER BY RODOLFO REYES: We've reached $7,500, so we'll include an awesome art-deco airship sticker to be designed by Rodolfo Reyes to anyone who ordered a physical reward!
The specifications for the sticker haven't been finalized yet, but it'll be somewhere between 3x3" and 4x4", and most likely Die Cut (custom shaped). We'll update you as we get more details!
$9,000: ALL ABOARD FOR ISSUE 2: We've reached $9,000, which means we will commit to the production of issue two! All backers from $5 and up will receive a complimentary digital copy of issue two.
Although we would like to offer complimentary print copies of issue two to our early backers, we can't because of the economies of scales. We do, however, promise to offer a print copy of issue two (if produced through this Kickstarter) at cost+shipping to any backer who wishes to receive a copy.
Risks and challenges
The major risk is that we are a startup when it comes to both Kickstarter and comic books. That said, we’ve managed to get this far and already have some product to show you in the form of the five page preview.
With something as time intensive as art, there’s always a risk that things run overschedule. Luckily, our artists are already hard at work drafting the rest of the pages. Foreseeing a major setback such as illness or death, we’re confident that we can get issue 1 out by July 2014.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)