Into the Other Realm...
Issue 1: Adrift of the SoulBound comic series is ready for preorder!
SoulBound will be a 10 issue miniseries of portal fantasy adventure comics about Becca, a pragmatic med student suddenly thrown into a world of magic, myth, and monsters. Together with the scarred young warrior Torrin, she must avert a world-ending curse and bring healing to warring nations - before her own time runs out.
Escape to a strange and beautiful world, as enthralling as it is perilous...
Sometimes, the barrier between worlds becomes permeable, when longing and sacrifice are strong enough to open a portal through, defying time and space to reach a reality far beyond. In this alternate realm, that which is lost from our world is preserved in scattered remnants, and strange new creatures emerge.
After the death of her dad, Becca feels adrift, uncertain, as though everything that anchors her to the world has been swept away. As it turns out, that's exactly what happened.
In the other realm, this is known as becoming "soul-sick." It's a result of a devastating wound to the soul which leaves the victim vulnerable to curses and in danger of their soul attempting to wander. Left untreated, it leads to the soul's separation from the body, doomed to drift between worlds as the body dies.
Becca must learn to heal and discover which world she belongs to, before she shares the same fate as the other souls that roam the ash-field.
But healing doesn't come easily, and more than just Becca's soul is at stake. If she and her new ally, Torrin, can't stop the war brewing between the major nations of this world, countless more people will fall victim to the soul-sickness, and the entire other realm may be pulled into the void...
What Strange Sorcery is This?
If you want a portal fantasy adventure steeped in a realm of reimagined mythology and lost civilizations, extinct and mythical creatures, and magic born of psyche and soul - this is it.
Also if you want a deep, slow love story that spans worlds with more than a bit of Beauty and the Beast dynamic - this is it too.
Best of all - Issue 1 is complete.
That's right. I'm not trying to get the funds to get started. The art is done. The lettering is done. The coloring is done. All that's left is to format and print it so you can get your copy.
I created this story partly out of a desire to put all my own spins on my favorite tropes into a fun, yet compelling story, and partly out of a desire to make a story that isn't jaded and subversive. I happen to like romance with actual love involved, heroes who act with unabashed heroism, and villains who are perfectly well understood - their goal is to inflict as much misery as possible, because pain brings them closer to power...
I just want the SoulBound series to be entertaining and to stick with you, to bring magic and wonder to your everyday world.
It's all about pure escapism in a realm apart from this one - that's what I love about portal fantasy and isekai stories. That said, I think I also ought to mention that I don't let the story coast on whimsy and wonder - the plot is tight and the characters are well-rounded. I can enjoy lighter stories but I've taken care that mine is solid. SoulBound is a miniseries of 10 issues, similar to episodes in a TV series, but with a resolution and an end... unlike certain other stories I could mention! I love an intriguing beginning and exciting adventures through the middle, but I also love a good, solid, satisfying ending. So I have one planned.
Who could have done such a thing?
Art is by the lively and fun Mia Pearce, colors and script are by me, and lettering was going to be by me, but I wanted to do a lot of things I didn't know how to do, and I wanted this issue to be excellent in every way, and... you know what, sometimes it's better to call in a real expert. So I got in touch with Wes Locher (UNIT 44, The Undoubtables) and having him on the project is the best thing I could have done!
Wes Locher has written comics for Alterna Comics, Titan Comics, Markosia Enterprises, Arcana Studios, and more. His lettering work has appeared in comics published by Alterna, Inverse Press, ComixTribe, and countless others.
Mia Pearce is an illustrator with a love for character, comics and creatures! She has earned a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Illustration as well as over 6 years of freelance experience. Comics have been Mia’s current adventure; working with client projects such as the inks of SoulBound and scripting a story of her own, ParadoxTheorem. You can check out more of Mia’s work at themiapet.com or check out her Instagram @thisismiapet for more recent art and future comic progress.
And then there's me, Paula Richey. I've been told that I spend too much time on some other planet, and if that's not an endorsement for a writer of sci-fi and fantasy, I don't know what is. Also I have a superhero novel coming out this year from Silver Empire Press, set in the Heroes Unleashed universe, and you can get a sample of those characters from my short story in the Paragons anthology, Soldier Out of the Desert, also from Silver Empire Press. I'm also an artist, specializing in digital paintings - which is very different than sequential line art, so I'm thrilled Mia did the art for the comic!
All that's left is going to print. I'm going through Alterna Comic's Printer Partnership Program, which means the comics will be printed on newsprint just like classic comics of the '90s. Personally I love the warm, soft aesthetic of newsprint comics. Eventually I'd like to compile the entire series into an archival-quality graphic novel, but for now, I want to get the story out so you can enjoy it!
My goal is to raise the funds to print the first issue. I've done everything else - now it's time to get it to you, the readers.
Your Just Rewards:
I even have the rewards other than the comics themselves ready to go. I've created a concept art poster of Becca and Torrin and there's a stack of them right here ready to be signed and shipped. I've made wire-wrapped amulet necklaces like Becca's - popular at cons even without the accompanying comic - and set some aside as well. I have lots of cool stuff that I create for comic cons, not just printed items but also sculpture, jewelry, cosplay accessories, and more, so I'm also offering a mystery box option. Every item takes time to make, so I'm only shipping five mystery boxes.
I'll be getting my postage through Pirateship.com for the best possible deal on shipping costs, so the savings from that can be applied to good packaging for your rewards. I'm not going to use floppy bubble mailers and hope for the best - shipping used to be my job in the family business back in the day and I know how to pack properly! I'll be using rigid photo mailers, corrugated cardboard boxes, and possibly Gemini comic mailers, depending on what's included in the rewards you pick. The posters will have archival quality poly sleeves. The mystery box items will be well-packed and cushioned with packing material as well.
If anything does happen to your shipment, you can contact me and I'll fix it.
I believe in this story and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you! I've done everything I can to get it so close. My wonderful artist, Mia Pearce, is paid! My amazing letterer, Wes Locher, is paid! My awesome printer... is standing by until the end of the crowdfund so we know how many copies to run.
I've invested quite a lot of my own time and resources into this project beyond simply writing it. Whenever I've run into the end of my own abilities, I've found help and done whatever it takes to pay them fairly, up front and in full. Usually that means vending and face painting at comic cons until I have enough money socked away to even consider hiring an artist or letterer. That's the most important thing - even more important than getting my awesome story told, is making sure I've done right by everyone in the process. So all the work that's been done on it to date has come out of my pocket, no matter how hard I have to work or how long I have to save.
I've gotten so close to completely funding this comic on my own, but I'm here on Kickstarter taking preorders for Issue 1 because I will not be going through Diamond distribution. It takes a lot more money to get crowded into a catalogue with hundreds of other indie publishers and hope that something about my comic jumps out at comic shop owners as something that would be ideal for their customers. Even if it did, that would create another set of problems - I'd have to do a much bigger print run if it was worth it.
Note for comic shops:
On the other hand, I've heard that comic shops are having a hard time lately. When Diamond drops the ball, when the Big 2 fail to sell, it's the shops that suffer. They need to diversify their offers, but they can't afford to take the risk. I'm sure that isn't everything, but those factors surely don't help. I grew up in a family business. I know things can be tough sometimes.
So I'm doing this to get preorders so that I know how many copies to print, and so that I can get them directly to readers. But I don't want to leave comic shops - or any retailers with a spot for comics - out of the loop. There isn't a lot I can do, but I have a few retailer bundles of SoulBound Issue 1 reserved at a discount. I'm not quite sure how to do this other than the honor system - please only choose that reward if you have some kind of shop! I promise to get the retailer bundles out the door first, and I'll pack them carefully so that every copy is salable when it arrives. I even bought UPC codes so they'll be easy to scan and sell. Maybe no shops will take me up on this, but the least I can do is offer.
I'm creating sketches of all the weird and mythical creatures in the world of SoulBound, and for every 20 backers, I'm adding a printable page of the OtherRealm field guide, featuring a unique creature and information about it, to all rewards.
If at all possible, I'd like to ship Mia copies to sign and return so you can get your issues signed by both of us. It's my concept, story and colors... but Mia brought it to life with her beautiful and dynamic line art. That's why the print copies are scheduled later than the digital copies. I'll try my best to add as much as possible to what you get!
One thing I would like to do is bring back Mia to add a few pages to the short prologue I had made earlier, and have Wes redo the lettering on that as well to match the new issue, and add it all to this issue so it can be a bigger book with more backstory. Currently, Issue 1 is 20 pages of comic. I'd like to make it 28, or up to 32. So if things go astonishingly well, expect an update and a bigger comic!
Update and Bigger Comic: As of 4/15/19, plans are in motion to add an additional 8 pages of story! The comic will still cost the same amount and will still be delivered to you on time!
This fund is primarily for Issue 1. If I don't need a bigger print run, I'll be able to throw extra in with my savings toward Issue 2, which is a longer issue. I'm planning on ten issues, so it's quite ambitious, but I'll get there.
Issue 2 is already scripted and ready for art. The rest of the series is outlined and plotted, ready for scripting. I know how it ends!
But it's up to you to see how it begins.
See you in the OtherRealm!
Risks and challenges
I've tried to eliminate all risk for you - Issue 1 is complete and only needs to be printed and shipped. If things go horribly wrong with the printing or shipping, there may be a delay past the time I've allowed for this to take. If so, I'll keep you posted.
The other thing I can imagine is if several backers neglect to use an updated card and pledges end up invalid - which would mean I wouldn't actually get enough money to do the print run and fulfill the pledges that are valid. In that case, I'd have to dig the money out of my savings for Issue 2 to make sure you get your Issue 1. I hope I don't have to do that, because I have 9 more issues to get on with - but it's a plan.
- (20 days)