Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 2.

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A reluctant priest is forced into service as a holy warrior for the Vatican in an action-packed graphic novel. Final hours, pledge now.

FINAL HOURS, pledge now true believers!

Twitter: @theCruZader - Facebook: fb.com/theforcemediaLLC - Web site: www.theforcemedia.com

UPDATED $1000 REWARD: The grand-daddy of them all: an authentic CruZader brown cloak, signed and personalized copies of 2 custom black and white artwork print outs (by Ray Dillon and Paul Gulacy), rare limited edition issue #1 and #1 manuscript (22 pages), and full graphic novel (140 pages). ADDING two 11x17 framed prints: reproduction of the raw, original cover inks by Paul Gulacy, as well as the fully finished color cover by colorist Rain Beredo. Paul Gulacy has agreed to sign both 11x17 prints. I can sign them if you like as well. ADDING custom 6" action figure hand-crafted by Viet Huynh, as well as a molded CruZader spearhead. No one has claimed this prize package, it can be you! Will ship outside the U.S. for this reward.

NEW INTERVIEW ABOUT CRUZADER WITH AMC TV's MIKE & MING ON "I SELL COMICS" PODCAST:

PAUL GULACY COVER ARTWORK WITH COLORS BY RAIN BEREDO REVEAL:

Amazing colors by Rain Beredo (The Star Wars - Dark Horse Comics, G.I. Joe Special Missions - IDW)
Amazing colors by Rain Beredo (The Star Wars - Dark Horse Comics, G.I. Joe Special Missions - IDW)

SUMMARY: I am raising funds to self-publish and distribute my original graphic novel: CruZader - Agent of the Vatican, a story about a reluctant hero that does his duty against his conscience.The 140 pages of artwork are complete, I merely seek support for printing, distribution and costs related to self-publishing.

LOGLINE: A reluctant priest is re-trained as a holy warrior for the Pope; he must embrace his destiny in order to defend the Vatican from an invading army of radical terrorists … who are much more than what they appear.

The story of CruZader is about one man's journey to find a higher calling and a higher meaning in life. Our hero, Antonio De La Cruz, is a humble man with out any super powers. He wields ancient and supernatural relics in battle, and those artifacts give him the edge he needs to defeat his enemies. Some of his weapons and tools include: the legendary Spear of Christ, the Holy Grail, the Shroud of Turin, holy water, rosary beads, and a thorny cilice. Like most people, he has a hot and cold working relationship with his boss - none other than the Pope himself. De La Cruz tires of traveling the world hunting vampires, killing werewolves, and performing exorcisms. He seeks to retire from his duties as the Pope's super soldier ... until the day comes for him to fulfill his role in a mysterious prophecy. Become a CruZader backer today and find out what that prophecy is all about, true believer!

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: for pledges under $100, I am happy to work out details on shipping outside the U.S. on a case by case basis. I've already worked out deals with a couple of folks and can do so for other international pledges. At the time I built the rewards, it was very hard for me to estimate a flat int'l shipping fee that was fair to both me and int'l backers.

EXCLUSIVE BACKER REWARDS: Pro comics artist Ray Dillon is on board to do an exclusive pin-up print for citizen backers as well as business retail backers. It will feature everyone's favorite maulin' monk locked in mortal combat with a bood-thirsty, gnarly vampire. Here it is:

CruZader vs Vampire by Game of Thrones artist Ray Dillon. www.raydillon.com
CruZader vs Vampire by Game of Thrones artist Ray Dillon. www.raydillon.com
The original cover of CruZader #1, printed & sold @ WonderCon '08
The original cover of CruZader #1, printed & sold @ WonderCon '08
The final page of CruZader #1, back when it was a one-shot.
The final page of CruZader #1, back when it was a one-shot.
CruZader stalks the halls of Area 51 on page 22 of chapter 2 of the story.
CruZader stalks the halls of Area 51 on page 22 of chapter 2 of the story.
From the revealing pages of CruZader chapter 4, where the back story truly unfolds.
From the revealing pages of CruZader chapter 4, where the back story truly unfolds.
CruZader and a mysterious sidekick get ready to crash the party in Chapter 5.
CruZader and a mysterious sidekick get ready to crash the party in Chapter 5.
It's going to be a Tarantino-style blood bath at the Vatican. This is also from chapter 5.
It's going to be a Tarantino-style blood bath at the Vatican. This is also from chapter 5.
CruZader & Co. burst on the scene like action-packed gangsta ninjas. Chapter 5 continues.
CruZader & Co. burst on the scene like action-packed gangsta ninjas. Chapter 5 continues.
This is part of a back-to-back page sequence in chapter 5. Line art by Joel Cotejar, colors by Mike Dolce.
This is part of a back-to-back page sequence in chapter 5. Line art by Joel Cotejar, colors by Mike Dolce.

STRETCH GOALS: I was hesitant about stretch goals, but now that the project is funded, I have put these stretch goals together with you all in mind. 

DISTRIBUTION OF PLEDGE FUNDS: Here is my estimate on how I will use the $10,000 based on some preliminary research and quotes from vendors and freelancers. The largest piece of the pie will be printing costs.

Self-publishing is a really hard thing to pull off when you are going up against juggernauts like Disney and Warner Brothers, but I am going for it. Dark Horse Comics started in a garage, and they really led the way for the many indie titles that are in the marketplace today. The CruZader is nearly complete and I am now thinking ahead to my marketing launch.

The idea for The CruZader comic book came to me in 2007, and by 2008, I had evolved that idea into a printed 22-page issue #1 that I sold at WonderCon in San Francisco. I didn't want to stop there. I won a contest hosted by The CW TV Network, and also placed in the Top 25 in an international contest hosted by Platinum Studios. Those contests gave me an indication that I was on to something and it fueled my ambition to expand The CruZader into a full-blown graphic novel.

Like any self-motivated innovation, I've endured a lot of pain, torture, and agony over the last five years. I've had to start a sole-proprietor business, get my copyrights and trademarks in order, and hire and fire a lot of artists to get the point where I am at today. As it stands, I am within a whisker of completing a 140-page CruZader graphic novel. The art is done and colored, now my team of fantastic freelancers is in the final stages of production (mainly lettering). I have poured my heart and soul into this (as well as thousands of dollars and countless hours). This is my life's passion and the culmination of all that I am, all of my life experiences expressed in one epic, action-adventure comic book.

With some solid backing from Kickstarter, I will make this happen and you can share in this with me. I will use the money for printing and distribution via my Web site. For more information, feel free to visit my very basic and humble site: www.theforcemedia.com built by Gaurav Sharma. There you will find links to social media and over time, I plan to add more content and artwork. Thanks for your time!

Sincerely,

Omar Morales - creator, writer, editor, and publisher of The CruZader.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS, TV ADS, AND ARTICLES:

Listen to Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen from AMC TV's Comic Book Men discuss The CruZader Kickstarter campaign on the SMODCO Podcast I Sell Comics. I was on the show and interviewed by Mike & Ming on Thursday 10/17. Here's is the audio from the 10/10 show:

 INTERVIEW WITH KMDT Geek Blast at  the 15-minute mark:

Here is an interview with DJ Grandpa - I come on at the 32-minute mark to discuss the CruZader legend and lore: http://tinyurl.com/kz8bme7

SF EXAMINER ONLINE STORY ON CRUZADER: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-cruzader-the-vatican-s-super-soldier

WE LOVE COMICS LOVES THE CRUZADER: http://www.welovecomics.com/back-these-campaigns-09-25-13/

AN IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD CALDWELL: http://www.welovecomics.com/interviews-omar-morales/

Here was the announcement of my winning CW submission from The San Francisco Chronicle. The TV ad is below:
Here was the announcement of my winning CW submission from The San Francisco Chronicle. The TV ad is below:

Here is my live reaction to the cover artwork arriving at my house:

The masthead for CruZader by the great Etienne Andlau.
The masthead for CruZader by the great Etienne Andlau.

                                                          ###

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The beauty of this project is that I am within months of pressing the launch button. All of my delays and risks have already been overcome over the last 5 years. I have found the right collaborators and fired the wrong ones. Production is 90% complete and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am in the red zone and ready to punch the ball in for a touch down.

The reason I am asking for such a hefty sum is that I want to do this on my own. I want to self-publish, print and distribute on my own terms. Kickstarter funding will allow me to do just that. I don't need Marvel and DC, and they don't need me. Even if the only distributor of comic books in the U.S. (Diamond Comic Book Distributors Inc.) rejects my graphic novel for distribution to mom-and-pop comic book stores, I have a bare bones Web site where I can take and fulfill orders (www.theforcemedia.com). I will also explore print-on-demand and distribution through Amazon.com. At the end of the day, I've done my homework, and now I just need the funding to print my opus and execute my marketing plan.

I have listed "December 2014" as the delivery date for rewards for backers, only as a precaution in case that there are delays with printing. In reality, I am aiming to have it printed by March/April 2014.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: for pledges under $100, I am happy to work out details on shipping outside the U.S. on a case by case basis. I've already worked out deals with a couple of folks and can do so for other international pledges. At the time I built the rewards, it was very hard for me to estimate a flat int'l shipping fee that was fair to both me and int'l backers.

Thank you for considering my project. I am humbled and honored.

FAQ

  • Logline: A reluctant priest is re-trained as a Holy Warrior for the Pope; he must embrace his destiny in order to defend the Vatican from an invading army of Muslim terrorists … who are much more than what they appear.

    Synopsis: Antonio is the latest in an unbroken chain of De La Cruz family men to don the mantle of The CruZader, invisible hand of the Pope. Wielding an arsenal of precious relics, including the Spear of Christ, the Holy Grail, and the Rights of Exorcism, Antonio struggles with his archaic and often violent vocation. What he really craves is the freedom to choose his own path – a choice taken away by his very namesake.

    Each CruZader is orphaned at birth, trained as a priest, then defrocked and forced to procreate until he sires a baby boy. Antonio knows he will never be allowed to raise and love this boy – a ward of the Vatican, the boy is quietly groomed to take his place. What the Pope doesn’t know is that Antonio <TOP SECRET, NO SPOILERS HERE>.

    Graphic Novel: 6 chapters, 140 pages, full color cover & interiors
    U.S. Copyright: The Force Productions, 2008
    Contact: info@theforcemedia.com
    Genre: Action/Adventure Audience: Mature Themes, PG-13
    Created/written: Omar Morales
    Pencils & Inks: Joel Cotejar
    Colors: Mike Dolce
    Letters: Digital Caps
    Publisher: The Force Media LLC - hand-crafted comic books (TM)

    Last updated:
  • The main hero's name is Antonio de la Cruz (of the cross). He is a Spaniard and cross in Spanish is "cruz." There is a bit of Crusader/Templar back story in there, so I mashed it all together into CruZader to make it distinct.

    Last updated:
  • CruZader is not a religious book, per se. The Vatican and all that it stands for serves as a backdrop for a very typical action-adventure comic book story. I chose this theme because, as the saying goes, "write what you know," and I went to Catholic school for 13 years. It's what I know.

    The book is also not anti-religion, or anti-organized religion. It is very much about one man's struggle with his own humanity and his craving for a higher meaning and higher calling in life - a universal theme that most anyone with a soul can relate to. Part of his struggle is that he works for the Vatican and questions things a lot; his conscience is constantly in conflict, and yet he continues to fulfill his pre-destined duty.

    I'd say the book is PG-13, skewing more toward a mature adult audience due to the violence and adult themes that are common place in the comic book industry today. When I first started this journey 5 years ago, I thought it was rated R ... but by today's standards, it seems a little tame, and that's OK.

    I will leave you with this: what makes a great comic, or SciFi story, or horror movie, or cartoon? Characters! The Walking Dead on AMC is not for horror fans, it is for people that love great TV Drama and great characters. If you love comics and action adventure, it does not matter what you believe in, and I hope you love my characters and story as much as I do.

    Last updated:
  • I listed December 2014 as a precaution, in case that there are unforeseen delays. In reality, I plan to print and ship by March/April 2014, right around Easter. But as not to over promise and under deliver, I listed December to give myself some cushion. Rest assured, I will get the rewards out ASAP, pending I meet my $10,000 goal and there are not technical delays with printing.

    Last updated:
  • Yes, as much as possible and within reason. Since I listed the rewards, a lot has changed. I landed cover art from Paul Gulacy and I also landed Ray Dillon to do an exclusive pin up sketch. Retailers have also come forward looking for a retailer package at wholesale prices. So, at the end of the day, I promise to make everyone whole as much as possible with extra goodies where I can, that is my pledge back to all the loyal backers.

    Last updated:
  • YES!
    INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: for pledges under $100, I am happy to work out details on shipping outside the U.S. on a case by case basis. I've already worked out deals with a couple of folks and can do so for other international pledges. At the time I built the rewards, it was very hard for me to estimate a flat int'l shipping fee that was fair to both me and int'l backers.

    Last updated:
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    4 backers

    A JPEG of an alternate cover sketch for CruZader #1, pencils by artist Joel Cotejar. (sent via e-mail).

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    6 backers

    Custom black and white artwork print out signed by creator Omar Morales.

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    13 backers

    Custom black and white artwork print and issue #1 manuscript, both signed by creator, Omar Morales. Plus, your name printed in the "thank you page" of the graphic novel, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

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    24 backers

    Custom black and white artwork print and issue #1 manuscript, both signed by creator, Omar Morales. Adding the completed graphic novel (signed) to this reward. Plus, your name printed in the "thank you page" of the graphic novel, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

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    13 backers Limited (37 left of 50)

    Custom black and white artwork print out and rare limited edition single issue #1 and manuscript (22 pages) all signed by creator, Omar Morales. Adding the complete graphic novel (signed) to this package. Plus, your name printed in the "thank you page" of the graphic novel, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    Custom black and white artwork print out and rare limited edition single issue #1 and manuscript (22 pages) all signed by creator, Omar Morales. All this, plus I will collaborate with one of my artists to draw you a custom splash page with whatever you want on it - except something x-rated, I run a family-friendly operation :). Plus, your name printed in the "thank you page" of the graphic novel, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

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    20 backers Limited (80 left of 100)

    A copy of the completed 140-page graphic novel and manuscript, both signed and personalized by creator Omar Morales (pending Kick Starter funding goal met). Plus, your name printed in the "thank you page" of the graphic novel, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

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    BAY AREA COMIC BOOK RETAILERS ONLY: BAY AREA BAKER'S DOZEN PACKAGE. This reward is only for legitimate comic book retailers, which will require proof of your business to keep it all legit and fair to the good ol' public at large. For $101 you get a baker's dozen copies of the printed CruZader graphic novel (signed or un-signed, your choice) plus 12 exclusive CruZader pin-up prints. These will be hand delivered to your shop by me, your friendly neighborhood self-publisher. I can stock them, re-stock them, dust the shelves, bag and board for customers, clean the windows while I am there ... whatever, I can do it all! If this seems to work, I will consider statewide, US, and International retailers with fees for shipping, which I am currently not charging anyone except a true believer in Poland who is jonesing to read the adventures of the maulin' monk, CruZader-Agent of the Vatican.

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    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    FOR COMIC BOOK RETAILERS OUTSIDE OF THE BAY AREA (Outside of San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose): This reward is only for legitimate comic book retailers in the U.S., which will require proof of your business to keep it all legit and fair to the good ol' public at large. For $121 you get a dozen copies of the printed CruZader graphic novel (signed or un-signed, your choice) plus 12 exclusive CruZader pin-up prints (signed or unsigned). These will be shipped to your door by me, your friendly neighborhood self-publisher.

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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    4 rewards all signed and personalized by creator Omar Morales: custom black and white artwork print out, rare limited edition #1 single issue and manuscript (22 pages), full graphic novel (140 pages). Plus, your name printed in the "thank you page" of the graphic novel, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    The grand-daddy of them all: an authentic CruZader brown cloak as seen in my YouTube live action/animated video, signed and personalized copies of 2 custom black and white artwork print outs (by Ray Dillon and Paul Gulacy), rare limited edition issue #1 and #1 manuscript (22 pages), and full graphic novel (140 pages). Plus, your name printed in the "thank you page" of the graphic novel, unless you wish to remain anonymous. ADDING two 11x17 framed prints: reproduction of the raw, original cover inks by Paul Gulacy, as well as the fully finished color cover by colorist Rain Beredo. Paul Gulacy has agreed to sign both prints. I can sign them if you like as well. ADDING: custom 6" action figure hand-crafted by Viet Huynh, as well as a molded CruZader spearhead. No one has claimed this prize package, it can be you! Will ship outside the U.S. for this reward.

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Funding period

- (57 days)