Featured Artist Friday: Halo Kent

This was the inaugural year for HerdCon, hosted by Marshall University. While I was there, I met this marvelous artist, Halo Kent, and just HAD to feature them.

Halo Kent is the creator of the webcomic, Coffee Run, which is free to read over on Line Webtoon.

Without further ado, here’s the interview!

So what inspired you to make Coffee Run?

Okay…so fun story…or kinda fun story? I…honestly don’t know. Regardless…in high school I was severely depressed (among other things), and I drew a scribble head-sona that represented me, and how I felt at the time (basically how my head felt all conjumbled and like scribbles). Over time, I went to therapy, and got a really cool art teacher who told me he liked the character, and wanted to see where I could take it…so I did some paintings, and began to slowly work on the characters you see now!

When I first saw your Artist Alley table, I was tickled to see so many terrariums. But I didn’t see a whole ton of plants in Coffee Run. To what degree does nature inspire you artistically?

:0 Plants tickle me too as well! Actually, Kale is a plant “person” and is a major part of coffee run (albeit…he’s always super high so….erm…). Plants often inspire me with color pallets, characters (such as kale, and one of my dnd characters Corona!) and generally my addiction to plants seem to bleed into my artwork in some way! I also…might have studied horiculture and floriculture in high school religiously.

Could you tell us a little bit about Eugene?

O-only a little bit? Just kidding… Eugene is my fiance and a huge nerd about art history and books! He’s…not very talkative with strangers (he’s got social anxiety, but he’s working on it and making amazing progress!) and we’ve been dating for about…probably a year now or more. ^^;

What are your artistic goals with Coffee Run (and maybe other projects?) moving forward?

…God i have so many ideas, you have no idea. Once I get some time (and money so I can spend less time at work aha) I’d love to integrate the voice acting I have planned into Coffee Run, maybe animate some panels, and build a website with! But, for right now I work…a lot…and boy am I thankful I made a huuuuuge backlog.

Some other projects I’ve got on my back-burner is another webcomic called The Night Shift….and that’s all I can tell you for now 😉

Got any social media you want to plug?

I would!

Here’s Coffee Run (along with linked to my Patreon, to which +$3 a month patrons get the next update a week in advance!).

My deviantART, where I publish a lot of my art, and my Twitter, (And Twitter for Eugene) where I post a lot of WIPS and memes….and art.

Big thank you to Halo Kent for taking the time to answer these questions.

And thank YOU for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Review Day Tuesday: Go Get a Roomie

Chloé C’s Go Get A Roomie is a fantastic journey of self discovery, human sexuality and those thing’s relationship with romance. And one of those great series where you get to see characters grow, develop and change over time.

Heads-up right away, this is not a porn comic, but it tackles human sexuality in a very hands-on way. So everything’s about to get pretty NSFW from here.

Roomie‘ is a life-loving free-living hippie kinda gal – She loves people, beer and getting naked.

In the beginning she kinda ‘knows’ everybody, and has a lot of string-free lovin’ friendships with folks. But she does love to help people, which, when she meets Lillian, makes things a bit complicated.

Lillian “LT. Lazy Tyke” is her opposite; only having very-strong connections with incredibly few people. Namely her family; as she spends most of her time at home and in bed.

When she wakes up to find Roomie beside her, she’s repeatedly woken from her dream-world, and has to choose between leaving the house with her or pushing her out of it.

roomie-comic

Over the almost 9 years of GGaR, it’s grown from a Menage-a-3 style sexy-comedy (jokes about sex but not actually porn) to a group re-assessing what they want out of life, out of sex, and out of themselves.

And then there’s the dazzling array of equally fascinating folks they meet and befriend on their journey;

  • Richard, Ramona’s twin brother and everyone’s favourite B*tch. Pretty much always happy for an ass-slap.
  • Ramona, Richard’s twin sister, and everyone’s favourite Dom, from afar, whose always down to show folks who’s the boss.
  • Lillian’s brother Allen, his fiance Evelyne and their occasional man-lover Steve.
  • Mr Kitteh. Meow.
  • WOC, the “Wise Old Crone” full of stories, advice, and when the time needs, Sass.
  • Aggie, an intersex woman(?) of colour, whose presence varies, as she’s kind of in love with Roomie, who doesn’t really do romance/attachment.
  • Jo, the Bartender. Kilt-wearing, hi-jinx loving, but very quick to shut down a ruckus. His bar is well-decorated with very non-decorative weaponry.

Again, this comic has been going for nearly 9 years now, and I highly recommend it for a complete binge, to fully see these characters grow and change. But for those short on time, here is a good jumping in point, with some context (and some mild spoilers):

Double The Fun” is the first chapter where the twins Richard & Ramona start to come out of their shells a bit, and contemplate moving out of their disapproving parent’s place. It’s also got some great humour from everyone, and the start of a long status-quo where Roomie & the twins live with Lillian. Aaaaaand it’s just before “The Knight in Furs“, a very beautiful dream sequence & story.

Chapter 11: Double The Fun

If you love a good, long story with an intersectional cast, working through their demons day-by-day, you’d be hard pressed for a more engrossing journey than this one.

GoGetaRoomie.com
@GoGetaRoomie | Patreon | deviantART | Tumblr

Mx. Harry Bentley is a nonbinary Comic Artist, Podcaster, and wearer of many hats. She/They also co-own and operate indie publisher Dragonhide Studios out of the UK.

Demon Street

When I stumbled upon Demon Street completely by chance, I proceeded to read the entire thing (300+ pages at the time) within 2 days. It is utterly addictive and fantastic!

Years ago, the Demon Street appeared from nowhere. The old street was lost, and the new one bridged the gap between our world, and theirs.
Most folks block the entrance with trash and try to ignore it. But not Sep Maeda. What possessed him to cross that threshold into a world of danger and uncertainty?

Sep’s not the only human on the other side; but the kids that survive here didn’t come by choice. Some have made lives for themselves, some fight to find the way out – Safety in numbers; alliances are formed and families are made.
The cultures and creature designs are really well done, this as a Netflix series could easily be the new Stranger Things.

All of this is before discussing the gorgous artwork – dark & fantasy stories can often get drowned in greyscale, but Demon Street is saturated with these bright and bold colours that help emphasise (and colour code) some of it’s larger-than-life allies & enemies. Combined with the expertly thinned & thickened inks, this fantasy has a wonderful dreamlike feel to it.

The world, cast & tension builds very gently and very well. New elements of magic & mythos came into play without overwhelming me, my thoughts were as follows:

  • 100 Pages; Oh cool, it’s a fantasy comic, Kids in Peril is a great genre, I wonder where it’s gonna go?
  • 200 Pages; WHOA! This mythos is expanding and exciting, this world’s got some serious legs to it!
  • 300 Pages; HO. LEE. SWEARWORDS. This story is totally engrossing, the characters are all really intersectional, but it doesn’t define them so it’s a lovely slow burn, and I NEED MORE! NOW!!!

DemonStreet.co
@AlizaBees | Tumblr

Featured Artist Friday: Andrew Lytle

This interview was originally posted on kelcidcrawford.com on July 10, 2015. It has been slightly modified to be more accurate to 2019.

Welcome to a new Featured Artist Friday! Today we’re looking at the work of Andrew Lytle, a game artist and the artist behind the comic “Tokai.”

I first met him at Swarm Con back in April of 2015, and I got the chance to ask him some questions…

I saw that you are former military, and that there are some military themes in Tokai, your comic. Did your time in the military influence your art? In what ways?

Very much so, I was born into a military family. In addition to myself, my father and my sister are all war veterans. So the American military was a major facet in my life growing up. My earliest memories as a child include wearing my father’s uniform complete with load-bearing equipment and his oversized helmet. Though I was fascinated by the military life that I was brought up in, I never had a burning desire to become a solider like my father. I probably would have never gone to the army in the first place if wasn’t for the events of 9-11, As for many people nothing would be same after that day, and I felt an obligation, to at the very least join the National Guard to serve my country in its time of need.

I actually started drawing late in life around age 15, mostly on inspiration from cartoon network and anime. For a while I ruminated over the idea of becoming an animator, however September 11, a poor showing at an art school portfolio review, and pressure to pursue a well-paying job nixed those early dreams. Regrettably I even abandoned drawing for brief time as I pursued a military career, going through basic training, and attending ROTC in college.

I gradually got reacquainted with drawing through art electives at school and made the determination to further my education by attending the Savannah College of Art and Design by pursuing masters. While I’m proud of my service, I consider the military a chapter in my life that is closed. I consider my art as a completely different branch from my experience with my work on “Tokai” being a bit of an exception. Tokai, is in part, a parody of my own life, set in the fictitious world rife with modern socio-political troubles, the story of a misfit navigating through life and trying to make a troubled world a better place.

There are also some really cool cultural nods and influences in your comic characters. What cultures interest you and make you want to draw them?

The War on Terror and the recent history in the Middle East provide important source material from which I build the world of “Tokai” around. I use a mixture of both western and eastern cultures to inform my characters, names, and costumes to help create a fantasy world from real world origins.

My aim is to show that culture is often misunderstood, and that it does not define who individuals truly are. I believe that people are much more than their background or way of life suggests. The history of cultures is what fascinates me the most and how groups evolve and adapt overtime also serves as inspiration for Tokai. I see my drawing more as a conduit for my stories and ideas rather than an on-point rendering of the physical world.

Do you draw exclusively anthropomorphic characters, or do you draw other subjects? Which ones hold your interest more?

Admittedly I have a deep-seated passion for anthropomorphic characters; I grew up with many beautifully animated movies and television programs notably produced by the likes of the Disney Corporation and Don Bluth who often used anthropomorphic characters so I’ll blame them for polluting my mind with talking animals and objects.

My current sampling of my inspirations for anthropomorphic art are Amblin Entertainment’s “Balto”, Art Speigelman’s “Maus” books, Herman Von Veen’s “Alfred J Kwek”, Jaun Diaz Canale and Juanjo Guarnido’s “Black Sad” series, Suiho Tagawa’s “Norakuro” , and Mitsuyo Seo’s propaganda film “ Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors”. These works really inspired the coupling of real world/ historical fiction with anthropomorphic characters.

It’s a goal of mine to portray an engaging narrative using anthropomorphic characters as metaphors for the human condition. I feel these types of characters urge readers to find the human qualities within the narrative; allowing readers to step back from preconceptions of what it means to be human regardless of ones abilities, upbringing, creed or race. For me anthropomorphic characters offer a neutral platform from which one can explore, in an artistic sense, the sum of our experiences and trials that give shape to our individuality.

You can find Andrew Lytle through his website, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

The Great Witch Artemis: Arledge Comics Announces First Graphic Novel

“Art is amazing… deadpan humor is on point. It read like a cartoon, and I had fun on the ride.” John Horsley, Spoiler Country Podcast.

“The Great Witch Artemis is a fantastically written story that has strong characters, engaging dialogue, and a great sense of adventure. I give this 10/10.” James Kniseley, Paladins Comic.

Arledge Comics returns with their second Kickstarter of 2019: The Great Witch Artemis. After six successful Kickstarter campaigns, ranging from ComixCentral award-winning Alex Priest to first-run anthology Trial Run, the indie comics publisher is preparing to kick-start their first graphic novel, The Great Witch Artemis.

This graphic novel is written by first-time graphic novel writer, Bryce Beal (Gambling the Isles, upcoming My Kingdom for a Panel anthology), illustrated by Scott Malin (Alex Priest, The World’s Worst Bounty Hunter), and edited by Jenn Arledge (Alex Priest, Future Girl). The novel will include 78 black and white pages.

“I’m really excited about this one,” said Jenn Arledge, “It’s really on brand for Arledge Comics, and it represents our growing catalog really well.”

As for what Bryce Beal and Scott Malin think? “TGWA is, to this day, our favorite comic,” the two said, “We’re just two guys who wanted to write something fun, something to make people laugh, and we hope you love this story as much as we do.”

MORE ABOUT THE GREAT WITCH ARTEMIS:

She’s a nobody living in a nothing town. Much as it would suck, she wants to hate magic and go back to her old life as a potato farmer. Few people remember her, anyway. It’s hard to believe this fall from grace started with a sneeze. Confidence destroyed, she’s all but given up. That is, until she meets Emmett, a superfan who will stop at nothing to return her to her former glory.

The Kickstarter for The Great Witch Artemis starts February 22nd (that’s today) and runs until March 15th. Arledge Comics hopes to raise $1,000 during the run of this campaign. Rewards for backers include books, prints, pins and a custom USB flash drive which houses special behind-the-scenes moments from the production of the graphic novel. Stretch goals for this Kickstarter include the following:

$1,500: Backers receive both pins instead of one
$2,000: Postcard Print
$2,500: Sticker set.

Check it out here!

Review Day Tuesday: The Ballad of Pluto

During Genghis Con (yes, that’s its name) last year, I got to meet Roan, the artist behind The Ballad of Pluto. As of this writing, it doesn’t have a webcomic equal. You can only get it in print. That said, volume 1 is out now, and you can get the book wherever Roan makes a convention appearance. (Check his Facebook page for updates on that.)

The Ballad of Pluto is the story of the planets of our solar system as people. So Pluto’s a person, the Moon is a person, etc. In fact, Pluto is a shepherd in the Outer Orbits. And his poor herd keeps getting attacked.

By what? He doesn’t know. But he suspects that whoever attacked his animals has a connection to what made him lose his status as a planet.

Volume 1 is the story of Pluto ‘s adventure into “the Inner Orbits” to get some answers. In this comic, the Inner Orbits are illustrated as a town. Don’t think too hard about how the planets can escape their orbits to congregate in a town and do business.

Part of the charm of reading this comic is seeing how the characters are drawn and fleshed out as a result of the lore. One of the details that made me laugh is that Earth (in the book called Eorde) says, “Let me just check my satellites.” …And she opens a laptop labeled NASA. That’s charming as heck.

Also, I need to give some major props to integrating agender representation, but not in a forced way. See, the Earth’s Moon (Lune, in the book) is vouching for Pluto so he can walk around town unmolested by Mars’ guards. Later, it’s revealed that Lune was once so powerful that they were almost queen of the solar system.

To which Pluto says, “Queen? So are you…?”

And Lune says, “That was a just a title. I have no gender.”

And all Pluto says in reply is, “Oh.” And the story continues.

Agender representation, and the plot doesn’t have to stop to talk about it. That’s how you do it.

I’m interested to see how the Moons of the solar system play in the story – there’s definitely some tension with Lune. They had so much power before the other planets of the solar system became known and joined the Council. So now that Lune is Eorde’s assistant, you get the impression that they’re a tad bitter about it. I want to see how that plays out.

The art, as well, is GORGEOUS. My only complaint is in regards to the lettering. For the most part, it works. Although…

When a character says something in a whisper or as a quip, the words are not in a speech bubble. This is a call-back to manga as an artistic influence, which is fine…usually. But the text is in color. And so is the background. So it can be hard to read that text at times.

The only other critique I have for the book is more meta: the book is in full color, sure. It’s not a standard comic size, but it’s also not magazine-size, either. It’s 44 pages, and that includes covers.

So why is the book $20?

Is this a cost-per-issue to print problem? Is it that the printer who made this book doesn’t specialize in comics? I find that latter question likely. There were pages that either cut off portions of speech balloons, or were not cut to bleed. Thus allowing paper margins to show.

(Roan, I know some comic book printers if you need to find a new guy to print your stuff with. Printers who specialize in comics and don’t charge a boatload to print. Email me!)

It’s a shame, because this is a darn good book to read! I can’t wait to read the rest of the story! But $20 for a 44 page comic is a bit much, even by comic standards. If a book is going to cost $20, it should have double that page amount, if not more.

But that’s one person’s opinion.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

My Top Indie Picks Of 2018

This article is by Carlos “The Los” Padilla. (He’ll be getting his own contributor account soon.)
This article has affiliate links. We have done our best to be fair and impartial in recommending these comics.

Two Ton Rock God (Chris Scott)

When Real Steel combines with Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, with an extra dash of cool, Chris Scott invites the reader into the world of TWO TON ROCK GOD. Through the eyes of Rocket & Moxie, watch his first steps to see what it takes to reach the heights to take on Don Electronic & Goldchylde and claim the Title of Champion of Two Ton Rock God! A must read First Issue.

How The Best Hunter In The Village Met Her Death (Molly Ostertag)

A skilled hunter is questioning her comfort zone and the urge to scratch that itch that haunts her nights. Her discovery of a Beast pushes her to the edge of death. This story will push you along with her journey of self discovery at a frantic pace.

Catboy (Benji Nate)

A wish upon a shooting star grants Olive a unique transformation of her cat Henry. From house-cat to now human-cat, Henry now has to adjust to being a person from someone that hasn’t figured out this “adulting” thing just yet. From making friends, job hunting & furniture buying, they both learn how weird life really is. A real whimsical romp that makes you want more.

(Get the comic on Amazon)

F*ck Off Squad (Nicole Goux, Dave Baker)

Three friends try to figure out their relationships in this slice of life story. A Skater, A Musician & An Instagram Slacker coast through their lives and in and out of love. Every action and emotion is wonderfully drawn to perfectly depict them, sprinkled with little details that will make you chuckle. This comic is the perfect burrito of emotions.

(Get the comic on Amazon)

That Box We Sit On (Richie Pope)

Two kids sit on a box and wax philosophically. Reminds me of when you’re just chilling with your best friend and just… think. Growing up really diluted that kind of childlike wonder, and this comic brings that back, even for a little while before dinner.

Girl Town (Carolyn Nowak)

A collection of short stories brewed from the brilliant Carolyn Nowak. From magical produce to plug-in companions, she weaves dramatic personal stories with her characters. You will find a favorite story and become a big fan of Carolyn if you aren’t already.

(Get the comic on Amazon)

Offhand (Yuko Ota)

Akin to Carnet de Voyage (Craig Thompson), Yuko Ota takes you through a personal journey of having to switch drawing hands. Being able to transition to another hand and still create comics is not so easy. Join along this 5 year journey.

Delve (Evan Palmer)

Created from a Daily Comic Challenge in October of 2016, Evan used dice rolls and D&D rule-sets to craft this tale. A tale of Three Adventurers set to seal an ancient evil before it is unleashed upon the realm. Will they prevail? Let the rolls decide.

Binwin’s Minions (Tavis Maiden, Cory Casoni)

The Talespin of PVP, a new creative team takes Scott Kurtz’ D&D Persona into a new Venture. Tavis & Cory craft a new group to torture Binwin with their incompetence (many resurrection spells are used). Can this group turn their fortunes around and make Binwin proud?

(Get the book on Amazon)

Girls With Slingshots (Complete Hardcover) (Danielle Corsetto)

The Monolith of a Webcomic Generation has come upon us like Moses descending from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments. This collection brings all the adventures of Hazel, Jamie & Mc Pedro with all their friends in tow. Sure you can still read the webcomic online but nothing beats this larger format. Also makes for a great workout.

(Get the Complete Hardcover on Amazon)

Carlos Padilla (The Los)
An Elder statesman in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) Convention Circuit. Tabled SPX twice and made friends throughout the Indie Comics Community. Currently working with Super Art Fight as Event Photographer.

Favorite Genre: Slice of Life
Socials: @TheLos (TWITTER/INSTAGRAM)
Support: http://ko-fi.com/casadelos

Action Lab: Dog of Wonder #1 – A Review

This post was originally published on April 12, 2016 at kelcidcrawford.com. It has been re-published here with modifications.

Today I review the first issue of Action Lab: Dog of Wonder. Published by Action Lab Comics (Yes, the title is intentional).

I first saw this book when Action Lab Comics appeared at my local comic shop for a promotional event. I spoke with Vito Delsante, the co-writer on Action Lab #1, who is a really cool guy. Anyway, the comic’s pretty fun and adorable and you should read it if you love all-ages stories about dogs.

To stay up to date on further news and reviews, be sure to follow Kelci on Facebook or Instagram (@kelcidcrawford).