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The Comicverse is a sci-fi romantic comedy set in a comic book shop on a space station, written by Bianca Alu-Marr and drawn by me, Steve Peters. In 2013, we started a comic called Comicverse: Behind The Counter, a spinoff that Bianca wrote for other artists to illustrate. At the time, I'd already started Parallel Comicverses, though I didn't have a name for it yet. I did know it would feature an alien character based on me named Esteban (a comic book artist that had a small role in the Comicverse series), and that it would be written by me and by other guest writers. Of course Bianca ended up writing part of it too, just as I drew parts of Behind The Counter. The final product, Parallel Comicverses #1, will be a softcover black and white, digest-size book, with 70 pages of comics and over 30 pages of glimpses at the creative process.
THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: Parallel Comicverses #1 focuses on three things I am passionate about: Star Wars, the music of a band called Yes, and comic books, most specifically a comic called Cerebus. However, since the comic's stories are told through the eyes of a 31st century alien, these three things are familiar yet...different.
The new comic includes an 18-page homage/parody of Star Wars written by Bianca and drawn by myself and a host of guest artists: Samuel Alexander, Corey Bechelli, Dre Grigoropol, Flor de Canela, Max Ink, Brian Payne, Bob Pistilli, Daniel Sponton, Joe Tedesco, Lee Thacker, Raphael Tiberino, Jason Young, and Caitlin Zellers. Here's Bianca talking about this story:
Our version has elements similar to Star Wars but uses Comicverse aliens as the main characters, and also recalls the old Flash Gordon comics that were a big influence on Star Wars. Bianca and I had a huge amount of fun creating it and getting our artist friends involved in the project.
In Esteban's world, the music of Yes has become a teaching that is passed on, much like Zen Buddhism has been given from master to student over the eons here on Earth. In Parallel Comicverses, the band is called "Yeah", and look and sound very much like the classic Yes lineup. Max Ink wrote a story for me which shows how Esteban takes refuge in Yes music to get away from the noise and chatter of everyday life. I've also done a longer story in which my character has a cosmic religious experience at a "Yeah" concert, which is based on one of my experiences at a Yes show. Here's a page from Max's piece:
For the Cerebus portion of the comic, I've created a 3-headed aardvark called Cerberus. I decided the best course would be to turn to Cerebus' creator himself, Dave Sim. Dave has been kind enough to participate in several of my jam comics in the past, but he's had problems with his hand and had to stop drawing, so I asked him to write a story for me instead. The end result, "Cerberus Conquers The Universe!", has a lot of in-jokes that I'm sure Cerebus readers will find amusing. It's been a blast drawing Cerebus characters in their mutated alien forms, and I'm not finished yet. I will be recreating scenes from Cerebus in their Cerberus form and offering them as rewards in this Kickstarter.
The book also opens with a 24-page prologue (which originally began as a 24-hour comic that I ended up finishing later because I got a little too ambitious...but that is another story!) that introduces Esteban and details the three things he loves, and explains how each have their own controversies attached to them, and how this nearly poisons his love for them, because the 31st century version of the internet has trolls that are 10 times worse than our present-day ones. You can read the prologue here.
Jams with Dave Sim---Awakening Comics #1 has a jam with a panel by Sim, #2 has two full-page jams with Sim and Gerhard; Everwinds: 'Shrooms has a 1-page jam featuring The Judge; Origin of Sparky has a 4-page jam and was the first thing Sim drew after finishing Cerebus; Tails of Sparky #1 has 2 jam panels drawn by Sim; Subspace Chatter does not have work by Sim but has a parody of "Cerebus In Hell?" that Sim says is canonical(!); the new Parallel Comicverses #1 has a story written by Sim.
Risks and challenges
I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: Kickstarter backers have been the lifeblood of my projects for the past 8 years. If I were to put a new comic up on my web site and announced it was available for sale, hardly anyone would buy it.
But for whatever reason, people are very generous and willing to help fund projects if I put them up on Kickstarter. AND I've gotten some new readers that I never would have come across otherwise.
Also, though I've been doing jam comics for 25+ years, funding from Kickstarter has allowed me to pay my contributors (and now my guest writers) for the first time. I paid Dave Sim for his contribution to this comic out of my own pocket, and this Kickstarter will help me to recover that cost.
So yes, thank you Kickstarter!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)