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$2,011 pledged of $6,000 goal
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By Mitch Cook and Keith Grachow
$2,011 pledged of $6,000 goal
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About this project

Did you like the video?  Well, then you are going to LOVE the comic book.

Concrete Martians by Mitch Cook, Illustrated by Keith Grachow - October 30th 1938, Orson Wells produces a radio show for Halloween.  The Mercury Theatre Presents, H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds.

The tiny lumber town of Concrete, Washington, becomes the epicenter of Martian Invasion Hysteria when, at just the point when the Martians in the radio play attack, the power goes out and so do the phones.

Martians aren’t real but the power that radio displayed in those early days of mass media showed us that, even without meaning to, the theatre of the mind can and often does wreak havoc amongst the masses. Local sheriff Ted “Teddy” Wilson has his hands full when a radio play combined with a powerful electrical storm stirs up Martian invasion fever amongst the residents of Concrete, Washington.  As the rains progress an overburdened power substation decides to quit.  Of course this only fuels the hysteria and “proves” that the Martians are indeed invading with cruel intent.

In the end, the story is revealed to be merely a radio theatre play. Most, if not all of the town’s people felt understandably embarrassed.

Cover Art
Cover Art

This story is to be presented in two installments (50 pages total) but can be combined into one graphic novel.  It isn't a terribly long story as the events take place in a matter of hours and just one stormy night.

Interspersed within the narrative is a retelling of the Mercury Theatre’s War of the Worlds broadcast. Up until the power goes out anyway.

The events depicted are based on anecdotal evidence by people who experienced them.  Newspaper reports from Concrete, Washington have aided in telling this story.  Many such events occurred across the country that night. 

We need to raise a minimum of $6000 to produce the first issue, 22 pages of black and white digital art.

If we raise more than $6000 we can do more.  It would be nice to provide full color, or even a full 52 page graphic novel.  So we are relying on you.  We also want to present this at the Emerald City Comicon and we need help getting Keith from Toronto to Seattle.  Every little bit helps.

Keith Grachow is producing this book in 100% digital format. His talents in this medium are well known and his reputation in the medium is rock solid.

We will debut "Concrete Martians" in whichever form we get enough funding for at the 2014 Emerald City Comicon in Seattle. Keith and Mitch will be there to sell copies, sign copies, talk about Martian Invasions, the War of the Worlds, or anything else you like. 

Full Color Rendering
Full Color Rendering
Grey Scale Rendering
Grey Scale Rendering
Original Art (fantasy)
Original Art (fantasy)
KIKAMIKA COMICS (logo)
KIKAMIKA COMICS (logo)

Video: Written and Produced by Mitch Cook. Illustrations by Keith Grachow. Edited by Jordan Woodworth of New Mode Productions .     Audio Archives by Charlie Harger.

Who are we?

Mitch R Cook

Writer – Bio

I am so glad that evidence of my past comic book experience is buried in a municipal waste site somewhere in Washington State. It would be embarrassing indeed to have that cassette tape of me reading an old Fantastic Four book out loud come to attention.  (Yes, I read it out loud to a cassette tape recorder. Yes, I did all the voices; ALL the voices. Nope, not proud of that achievement. It was a good book though.)

Flash forward 30 years. (Yeah, it took 30 years to get to this point)  With a public school education, Community College radio shifts, The Edward R Murrow School at Washington State University, a marriage, a graduate degree, a divorce, a marriage, a TV job in Seattle, all a part of my history, now, finally, I return to writing. I just never thought it would be a comic book.

The comic book format has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My brain has clearly been influenced by the pace of that form of storytelling. I never can tell a story to a group of people quickly. I MUST drag my captive audience from panel to panel, building suspense or irony, at my pace. I want my story digested slowly or quickly depending on how I want the listener to feel. I want the impact felt rather than just glossed over for rapid consumption. That’s a cheap way to talk. Don’t hurry or interrupt me, please. I’ll get the plane on the ground safely.

The comic book gives me the pleasure of directing a reader in the very same, deliberate way. I admit my manipulation. It’s a scam. I will rob you of your attention if only for a minute and I hope you don’t feel that I have cheated you. I want you to be a willing participant. Unlike the silly voices on the recordable tape, my wish is not to irritate but to fascinate. Pull up a chair and give me a moment.

Keith Grachow 

Illustrator - Bio

Growing up with art through his father's advertising agency, led to a BFA with a focus in graphic design. He's worked as an artist doing concept designs for a dance club to being the in-house artist for Play Along Toys. They are the toy company of the Britney Spears' dolls and produced licensed toys such as Care Bears. He's also worked on two Disney movies through the animation company Yowza, digitally inking and painting on the traditionally animated films "The Princess and the Frog" and "Winnie the Pooh".He's traveled to many parts of the world and stayed in Japan for a few years, where he taught English. He runs a studio that he's the co-owner of, JnK Imagery, creating personalized illustrations for his clients while his wife does wedding and boudoir photography.

Currently, he's been illustrating a web comic for the last year and half written by Kris Waddell, called SUNSET COAST, for Mirror Comics, a children's book, called On a planet named Up In the Sky that will be out August 2013, and illustrating the 2nd graphic novel in the Arcane Awakening trilogy.

Risks and challenges

The cost to produce (time and material for the artist) as well as publishing costs including shipping for this project have created limits on how many pages we can create. The minimum costs cover a basic issue of 22 pages in black and white and that is what we are starting with but we do NOT want to limit ourselves to this. A full color, 52 page, graphic novel is what we hope to do with this campaign but that requires a much larger commitment from you. We have given ourselves plenty of time to produce both the minimum number of pages as well as the full 52 in full color, so we do not foresee any real problems with producing this book.

Keith explains how we are technically producing Concrete Martians:

I'm doing all of the art as digital illustrations, which is to say that I'm using traditional drawing techniques but with a Cintiq, which uses a pressure sensitive pen on a tablet screen. Most of this is being drawn in Photoshop with a brush I created to get traditional looking results. There is no "original pieces" which means nothing is drawn with paper and pen. This is not to say that I'm doing any kind of photo manipulation or magically creating it in Photoshop using tracing. This is years of experience having learned how to draw with traditional medium, but adapting and using digital as a tool.

Each digital commission is unique to the owner with the exception of the comic pages, Martian sketch and the print. If a buyer inquires about an original piece traditionally drawn, I can blue line one of the pages and traditionally ink it and include it with grey tones, or I can draw the two person ink sketch with grey tones. on a grey toned paper I used for con sketching. I won't do the full color illustration traditionally drawn. My reasoning for this is I want the person receiving the reward to not get confused by seeing some of my digital illustrations for CM and thinking that I traditionally drew them. Then asking for a traditionally drawn illustration and not seeing the same thing they saw digitally. While I use similar skill sets, they are different processes and can create different effects. Thanks.

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    Exclusive 11x17 Full Color Digital Illustration of the Cover of Concrete Martians with three people of your choice by Keith Grachow.
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Funding period

- (30 days)