An old man and the alien that crash-lands into his barn try to save Dubuque, Iowa...and each other. Art & music by J.R. Mounts
For every cloud...
Getting old sucks.
Angus Hort is an elderly, retired widower. He's just received word his brother has died, and he has never felt more alone. When an alien crash-lands into his barn, Angus befriends and nurses this wounded creature, finding a reason to live. However, monsters are coming, and it'll take all his experience and wisdom to save Dubuque, the world, and each other.
A new kind of old story
I'm J.R. Mounts, a storyteller. I've been an independent musician and comics creator for years. I'm best known for my parody comics series, Fried Pickle Noir which is best described as "Sin City meets Veggie Tales." I do others, of course, but that one is my meal ticket so to speak, as I'm often called "The Pickle Guy," rather than by name. It's a living, lol. Since 2010, I have traveled around the U.S. at various conventions, promoting my creator-owned indie comics. What I draw, write, and create is all-original content. My stuff may harken back to things that sound familiar, but I'm hoping to put a fun spin on everything I do.
As a storyteller, I like to mess with convention, creating things people might not expect. Rather than writing & drawing about superheroes and beautiful people, I choose misfits and characters people can relate to and care about. I've done this before in both my "Fried Pickle Noir" and "Scairy Tales" comics. One of my best works was also a successful Kickstarter-funded project called STUCK IN MY HEAD, about a happily married man with such a crappy job that all he does is daydream about killing his co-workers. Funny, profane and profound. It was a finalist for Best Graphic Novel at the Dragon Con Awards. Find out more about those works at my website: (www.scairytalesnoir.com)
With Silver Linings, my main characters are the elderly. I choose to emphasize the importance of respecting the elderly, who are often left to watching "Matlock" reruns and getting senior discounts. The elderly are rarely the subject of Hollywood movies or best-selling novels. In Silver Linings, we see that every old person has a story to tell and frequently have no one to tell it to. My hope is to entertain, yet shed light on all the treasures of experience these old folks have to offer us. I guarantee, every one of them has a story or four that will amaze you.
This will be a matte cover paperback, approximately 75-80 page graphic novel, 8x10 in size, full color.
UPDATE 1-31-18 STRETCH GOALS!
The campaign has met it's goal minimum which guarantess every reward in the Kickstarter, which is the only shot right now to get a book. If the campaign reaches $3000 by February 16th, I'll create a collection of all the black & white sketch rewards in a printbook for every level that supported the book/cd set and higher. This 8.5x11 paperback can also be used as a coloring book if desired. The book will have however many pages I'm doing for all the black/white original sketch reward supporters so if I get 30 sketch supporters, it'll have 30 images, etc... Stretch goals are always tricky but since we have some time, anyone can spread the word or even upgrade if they wish to get their own original art sketch.
Here's some awesome interviews all about this new project:
In Silver Linings, the main character, Angus Hort, is a lonely old man. Years ago he was a farmer, married to his wife Katie. Since her death, and now the recent news of his brother's passing, he feels that all life around him is slowly dying and whittling away into nothing. He and the few remaining old men live in single-room condos they call Widower's Row. Angus chooses to constantly visit the porch of his abandoned house on the dead farm land he refuses to sell. Just as Angus thinks he's done with life, something crashes into his barn: an alien.
But this is no oridnary alien like he's seen in the movies. This wounded and timid being communicates to Angus telepathically. Through mental telepathy, they can convey intentions, feelings and images, creating an instantaneous understanding of one another and a way to help each other survive. Soon, Angus and his new friend, whom he'll name "Skip," for the way it walks, bond in a way Angus has never known before. This odd little being from the stars gives Angus what he's needed: a reason to live.
However, space monsters with a deadly hunger threaten to destroy the world. Soon, it'll take the ingenuity of those old coots and all their experience to defend our very existence.
It's along the classic lines of storyteling in E.T. from Spielberg or Super 8 by Abrams, only with old people. I've had the honor of knowing some of the best "geezers" around in my life. I've had them as family members, friends, clients, and acquaintances, even pets. This story is my way of honoring them all.
As I get older, I feel I can relate to this story and wanted to express how alone we could feel without someone to grow old with. Even an alien.
Sketches & Concepts
That's right, COLOR. Not only will this book be my first completely sequential art epic, this also marks the first time I've ever attempted to do an all-color project. Color scares me. Black and white is much easier for me to manipulate, since it leaves much to the imagination, whereas color is one-and-done as to explaining what you see. However, I really think Silver Linings calls for color to convey the emotion and weight of the story in a way I've never done. I've always said that if I wasn't scared, I wasn't trying my best. So, to stay true, I'm pushing my boundaries once again for what I think may be my best story yet. This one should have me scared outta my wits.
I was inspired to try out watercolor specifically when I had the fortune to appear at Dragon Con and saw my neighbors, Carla Wyzgala, on one side, and Caleb King behind me. Not only were these two simply amazing talents at watercolor, they were just awesome people whom I'm honored to call my friends. Add my Copic markers and my fascination with the watercolors of Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes), and it was only a matter of time before I'd try to find my own color "voice." Time will tell.
But wait...there's MORE! This project comes with a full score of music, written by me, with orchestrations and performances by two of my best pals, Mike McQuade (piano) and Tom Mathes (percussion). All original music. Acoustic instrumentals that are the score to this poignant story. I love music and the way it affects film. No Spielberg movie would be the same without the melodies of John WIlliams. Here, I'm attempting to convey emotions and actions for each page without a single lyric.
Here's ROUGH basic garage guitar/drums demos of what to expect melodically. The actual tracks will have acoustic guitars, piano, fiddle and drums.
"Silver Linings"--This is Angus Hort's theme and title theme of the story. It's a play on words from the classic expression that there's always a positive way to look at everything, such as "every cloud has a silver lining." This whole story is about the importance of appreciating the elderly. Grouchy Angus Hort learns this for himself as well, when an alien from space gives him a reason to live life to the fullest.
"Pulling Yellow"--This is Skip the alien's theme. This song captures Angus bonding with the alien he calls Skip, who communicates with him telepathically through feelings rather than words. These emotions create back-and-forth mental images between Angus and Skip which convey what they want to say to one another in an instant. During this song, Angus teaches Skip how to weed the dying yellow leaves from the green, called "pulling yellow." It's a metaphor of their friendship.
"Eds the Feds"--As in any coming-of-age alien story, there's a military faction out to capture Skip and to annihilate his species. They stand for Earth Defenders, nicknamed "Eds the Feds." Funny names or not, these guys are not to be messed with.
"Sowing Seeds"--This is a reprise and orchestral change of the "Pulling Yellow" theme. In this melody, I want readers to picture the simple joys and quaint lovliness of life in a small town.
There's a total of 14 songs planned. The soundtrack score will be constructed as if we were all playing in a barn or small bar area, and the only instruments lying around are guitar, piano, and drums. They'll convey a range of emotions without the use of anything electric...a real challenge for me!
As in any campaign, your support will not go unnoticed! Here, I've cooked up all kinds of ways you can support Silver Linings. Refer to the "Rewards" section to the right, but below are samples of some of the rewards I'm offering for each level. You can find samples of my older work on my website at www.scairytalesnoir.com.
Risks and challenges
The only risk is that it might take a little more time to finish than planned. I want this out as soon as I'm done working on it, but at the very most, it'll see release no later than October 2018. Trust me, I always finish my work and don't break promises. True to my word since 2010.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (37 days)