I can admit that I’ve slightly fallen off the wagon when it comes to horror comics. But, I’m ready to get back in and with a variety of horror comics to choose from ranging from zombies, werewolves and vampires. Way not get in with a comic that has all the above and more in one place, it’s The Dungeon Comic. Touted as “The Most Epic Comic Ever” and a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, and Underworld all swirled into one, this is a good one to start for anyone. Currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter, I spoke with artist and creator Shawn Harbin about his comic project.
How did you start as a comic artist?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an artist. When I was 11 I got a subscription to Amazing Spider-Man and knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. About 9 years ago, I quit my job and focused all my time into making comics.
You are the creator of The Dungeon Comic, when did you first starting working on it and how did the characters come about?
The concept first came around 1999-2000 when I was in college. I wanted to make a movie of it. I was taking a watercolor class and I decided to make concept art for the “film” and it turned into storyboards then into large over sized water color comic book pages. Then it sat for a about 6 years and when I quit my job I needed to make a portfolio to show comic comic companies for work. I thought to myself “you have that Dungeon story” and so I made that. What started as a portfolio piece became a full blown epic and my passion.
The characters were based on people I knew and sketch designs. The more I wrote the more I developed their personalities. I kept thinking what if they did this or why would they act like this? I think individual voices was something I just did well in the story. As I tried to fill out the plot, I filled in the character more as well.
You currently have a Kickstarter for that comic. What can you tell us about it?
My comic is 600 pages in length from the first issue to the last. And I’ve pretty much have every page pencilled now. The inking coloring lettering all of which I have done on my own. Most of the comics are double sized and as I am winding down towards finishing the series I realized I am sold out of issue 1 so I made a Director’s Cut version with newly added plot, color and so forth. The Kickstarter pretty much covers the cost of printing Issue one and shipping it to the backers, plus the cost of the incentives. There’s not much money, if any to be put in my pocket in the end. If all goes well and it were to sky rocket over I would invest that money into printing other issues, production costs, fees, promotion and so forth.
Kickstarters are always about their incentives. Can you give us some examples of the kind of incentives fans can get when they back your Kickstarter?
The incentives are really cool. On the small scale I have a sticker, a really cool magnet, and a Kickstarter exclusive print. I also have a Kickstarter exclusive variant cover limited to only 200 copies. I have a sketch cover that comes with original art done by myself.
Because I am using a overseas printer, it takes two months to get the comics shipped to me. So that the backers aren’t worried that I ran off with their money, I’m offering a free digital copy of Issue 1 for anyone that donates 5 or more. Anyone that gets any hard copy of the comic book also gets a digital sneak peek copy of Issue 2 at the 4 week mark, just because that have to wait. I always thought that was the worst part about Kickstarter. I’m also donating free head sketches to anyone that donates $10 or more to The Kickstarter before Friday 28th at 10Pm that’s only available for the first 50 backers. All campaigns $25 or more get their prints and books signed. Plus at the $25 tier they get a file card on The Dungeon Comic character Fire. If it were to reach the stretch goal I would offer a 2nd file Card free. So I think I am offering some great rewards to the people backing it.
Who have been some of your biggest inspirations and influences when it comes to your art?
I would say Todd McFarlane without a doubt. His Spider-Man meant the world to me. I love John Romita Sr as well. Frank Cho for his humor and his knowledge of humanity. I like Jason Pearson for his movement. Jay Leisten for his inking skills and he’s shown me a great deal as well. I was also influenced by fine artists Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, and even the impressionist Edgar Degas. I went to a conceptual art school so I kinda learned a little from everything.
What are some of the challenges you have faced being an independent comic book artist and publisher?
Well the biggest challenge is people don’t take you seriously. You’re easily disregarded in Artist alley, and people would rather spend their money on big names from the big two. The other set back is money. It’s hard to get by on Indy Comic wages. I only keep doing what I am doing because I love it. I mean in this series alone it’s over 600 pages,
Plus the work I’ve done for others. If I didn’t have a passion for it, I would
Have given up along time ago.
After the Kickstarter, what’s next for you?
After I breathe, I want to finish the post production work on the issues 9-14, publish Director’s Cuts of issues 2-4. If you are asking after The Dungeon Comic, I’ve been writing a World War II story based on research that I have complied over the years. That story will be a spin off from one of the characters from The Dungeon Comic. So I have plenty on my plate.
Got a Kickstarter you want me to checkout? Let me know @horrorevilqueen