I am writing this post to address the events that began to unfold a couple of days ago on twitter. What started as an expression of freedom of speech quickly became ugly, as one of our creators chose to cross a line. Let me be clear: I do not share their point of view.
For those that have been waiting for a more detailed statement, I can tell you that I cannot advocate for violence, and that my views are not always in line with those of our creators. They are all independent, and so I am not in a position to censor or control anyone. We are not Marvel or DC – we are a small outfit with 0 employees, that was really started because of my love of Comic Books.
For those that have been following, some very disturbing content was posted by James A. Bretney, one of our original creators. Like many of you, I did find many of these posts to be upsetting. This situation is beyond my control, and twitter has responded accordingly.
For those that can only see the negative here, consider that this same person has been a mentor to creators from diverse backgrounds, and gave many young up and coming female artists (who have gone on to do great work) some early breaks – when many others would not. This is where it can be difficult to reconcile a person that you know, from the type of person that many of you saw on twitter.
I realize that many have already passed judgement and boycotted us as a whole; that is certainly your right, and these comments are not meant to persuade you otherwise. At the same time, to simply say that I will immediately pull all of James’ work impacts more than just James. He is a writer, but also works with artists, cover artists, letterers, and more. These other creators, who have worked hard to create great stories, and who do not share his views, could be unjustly affected. Some of these people do depend on comics and their portfolios for ongoing work outside of Lucha Comics. Over the next few days and weeks, I will be consulting with my team to decide what the future of these works is.
I also believe that simply cutting someone off does not address the root problem, and effectively closes the door on any positive dialogue involving Mr. Rashim. He was gracious enough to post the following:
I communicated this personally to James, and he felt that this was a very honourable response from someone who he misjudged, and felt that he had to re-evaluate his opinions of Mr. Rashid. James also recognized the difficult situation created for our brand as a whole.
However, we do recognize the hurt that this incident has caused, and therefore, we will be putting James’ next two projects (currently co-authored with other creators, but which do not have artwork yet) on an indefinite production hold, until we can fully evaluate what has happened today. Any other projects that are not affiliated or connected to him will proceed as scheduled.
As I hope to continue dialogue with both Mr. Bretney and Mr. Rashid, my team of creators, and those closest to me, I will be posting further thoughts. Please keep in mind that I have been planning a family vacation for some time, and you will likely not hear much from me over the next couple of weeks. This does not mean that I do not care; I have tried to respond to tweets, E-mails, phone calls and text messages as much as possible. For the overwhelming majority of you that presented your concerns in a positive manner, I thank you.
I will take this time to reach out in greater detail to people involved, to get their feedback, and to work together to a solution.
Gregory was in the field again. Running with his sister, playing some game that he had long ago forgotten. The world seemed to be in ruin; England was no longer how it seemed in his history books from school. This did not seem like some majestic place fit for royalty; it had been torn apart by the munitions of war. The fighting seemed to never end, and when he and his sister were in bed, he could overhear his parents concern about the constant dwindling supply of food and other basic staples. A few years later, his mother disappeared like so many others. He could not pinpoint the exact date (or even the exact date that he lived in now, you could never trust anything official, but he was confident that the year was now 1985). He only knew that one day he no longer had a mother. After his father vanished in a similar manner, he stopped thinking about what happened to his parents; the disappearances became so common that it stopped being a mystery.
After the loss of his parents, Gregory thought that he had become emotionless. But when his sister was taken, he was full of rage. He remembered fighting when they came to take her to the orphanage; why couldn’t they take him? When would he see her? When they wouldn’t tell him, he fought so hard that looking back, he couldn’t understand how they didn’t kill him. While he certainly received a good beating, the real damage was to his emotional well being.
Had he been a different type of person, he would have simply given in to the propaganda, and forgotten all about his beloved sister (some days it was hard to remember her name, let alone her face), but despite being an inner party member, buried in parades and slogans, community activities, and preparations for Hate Week, Gregory would never forget, or forgive what the party had taken from him. After his family was gone, a part of him longed to be made an unperson as well; forgotten, completely erased. But even in its early days, The Party understood the value of isolating people from each other, of breaking a man rather than simply killing him, and of course killing love for all things, except for Big Brother.
He could not believe how loudly the fools were chanting. Of course he was chanting too, but it was only to convince his comrades, the thought police, and anyone else that might be watching. He came to the Clover Leaf Cafe hoping to find a dissenter, but instead he found a group of broken idiots believing in a false idol. Their devotion went beyond belief; they loved Big Brother.
At this moment, Gregory was certain of two things: that at least one of these men had recently revolted, and that the Party never tolerated any dissension, no matter how small. Those that did not believe in the Party were not simply executed or erased, at least not immediately; first they had to be broken, reprogrammed to love Big Brother, and to believe that Oceania was at war with East Asia, and that it had always been at war with East Asia. It did not matter that as little as two weeks ago East Asia was Oceania’s only ally – The Party demanded complete obedience and anything it did or said must be gospel.
While the cruel officers of the aptly named Ministry of Love were experts in the torture and breaking of others, Gregory knew something that they did not: one that was freshly broken still carried hate for Big Brother in his heart. The human brain did not allow one to forget their enemies so quickly; in these circumstances love and hate are separated by very thin lines. He knew that at least one of these men could easily be swayed back to the Brotherhood, to revolution, and to hatred of Big Brother, just as easily as he had been broken. But he had to act fast.
Gregory had been observing the cafe for some time. He had to be cautious, arriving and leaving from different paths, not being too routine a visitor, and making sure that it did not interfere with his Party duties – like the endless hikes, committee meetings, and his favourite, preparations for Hate Week. He had noticed a new face in the crowd; perhaps this was his best lead. But first, he had to learn more about this man. His name, where he lived, and most importantly, what led him to believe that he could fight against the Party itself?
Gregory’s position as an Inner Party member within the Ministry of Love allowed him access to a great deal of information, but he had to be careful not to raise any suspicions. No one was above the watchful eye of the Thought Police. Even those in the Inner Party could be taken away in the middle of the night, only to be forgotten by their comrades, lest they want to share the same fate. After all, the Party built its power on fear, paranoia and misinformation. Gregory knew that he had to be vigilant. He knew all too well what happened to dissenters who were taken away. The torture, the breaking, the reprogramming. Gregory knew that above all else, he must be patient. Overthrowing Big Brother would not happen overnight – if at all.
This is the official adaptation of Azteq vs The Prowler – an upcoming feature length film that revives the Lucha Libre genre and combines it with a slasher! Filming is underway in Dallas, so be sure to check in soon as wrestling stars Aski The Mayan Warrior, Mike Knox, Michael Tarver and more lend their talents to this awesome project!
A very limited amount of print copies are available, signed by writer Roberto Mercado – so be sure to get yours now!
Late last year, we took a big leap and launched our first crowdfunding campaign via kickstarter. It was perhaps the most stressful experience I’ve had in the 2 years that Lucha Comics has existed, but it was definitely one of the most satisfying as well. From a slow start, to getting into Bleeding Cool, and (just barely) crossing the finish line, I figured I was long overdue in reflecting on what I believe was our largest accomplishment to date. For a publisher that was strictly digital to do an initial run of 350 copies of a full length graphic novel wasn’t easy, but thanks to some great people we made it. So, I would like to share the top 10 things that our campaign taught me.
1. Not all crowdfunding platforms are created equal.
One of the first things I encountered was trying to decide if I would choose Indiegogo or kickstarter. It took a lot of research, and really trying to find a platform that best matched what I wanted to accomplish. I also researched other comic book projects, read blogs from other successful crowdfunders, and looked at how many friends I had on each. In the end, kickstarter beat Rocket Hub and other sites handily, but narrowily came out on top over Indiegogo.
2. Flexible funding may not be as great as it sounds.
Now that I had a platform, I really had to consider how I would fund my project: flexible funding (keep whatever you raise) or go the all or nothing route. In the end, I decided that I wanted to fund an entire project, and that I wanted my supporters to know that I was fully committed. All or nothing it was, and yes I almost regretted it – but now I don’t think I would ever do a flexible campaign.
3. Calculating your goal should be a well thought out exercise.
You really need to be careful here since you can’t adjust your campaign once it is live. I cannot stress enough how much thought and planning should go into this. Do not rush this part, because a) you don’t want to set a goal so high that you can’t possibly hit it or b) you may be stuck trying to deliver on something that you can’t afford, even if you fund to 100% or even 125%! Let’s start with point a):
Be optimistic, but realistic. It is far better to set an attainable goal and blow it out of the water then set something massive and barely make it or fall short. It looks far better to fund a $2,500 to 100% than fund a $25,000 project to 75%. Do not set yourself up for failure: if you ever want to do another kickstarter, you want your supporters to see that you are building on success and offering something that you can deliver on. Now, let’s tackle point b).
Once you know what you need to do and what you can reasonably raise, do not just ballpark your budget. Do some research, look at similar projects, and understand what you are promising to deliver. Many crowdfunding campaigns have pissed off some loyal people because they were unable to deliver. Sure, some of these might have been pure scams, but for the most part I feel that these failures to deliver were a result of poor research and planning. Here are a few tips that worked for my comic book project, The Kursk by Sasha Janowicz:
Have firm quotes for your book from at least reputable suppliers, and use the highest one as your goal
Factor in 10% for crowdfunding and payment processing fees
Have a contingency of at least 10%
Factor in the costs (if any) of not receiving your funds for 30-45 days from project close
And the one that almost got me: shipping
Shipping was a real killer here, because (unbeknownst to me) shipping costs are calculated towards your goal. Here is an example:
I set a goal of $3,000. My early bird reward was $10 + shipping. For this example we will assume someone ordering a reward in Canada at a rate of $5, so their total pledge would be $15. This means that their entire pledge (including the shipping fee) counts towards your goal. My project was broken down as follows:
Giving a total of $3,270. Since this was my first kickstarter, I wrongly assumed that shipping was extra and above and beyond the amount that I needed. Fortunately, my contingency covered my shipping costs, and in the future I will be sure to calculate this amount better.
I know this might sound confusing, or not a big deal, but for a small publisher that swore up and down to his partner that there was no way the kickstarter could possibly cost us anything out of pocket, it was a real concern. Basically, you need to guesstimate how many backers you will get, what your shipping costs will be, and add that to your goal. If this or any other point here still sounds confusing, please, please, please feel free to get in touch and I would be glad to elaborate.
4. Make the length of your campaign just right.
This was a bit tricky. Too short and you can fail; too long and people may lose interest and just not care. Personally, I like a 30 day campaign, regardless of the amount trying to be raised. If your goal seems huge, you likely don’t have a timing issue, you probably have a cost or you set a goal-so-massive-there-is-no-way-in-hell-that-you-are-going-to-hit-it-even-if-everyone-you-now-kicks-in-$10 issue.
5. You need some kind of video if this is your first campaign.
An image really isn’t enough. You need a cool video that not only describes your project, but also allows you to connect with the audience. It should be visual, but really get to the heart of why you are doing this and why you need help from backers. This also becomes something that is easy to share across social media. It doesn’t need to be Academy Award winning, but try and make something nice (even if you are terrible on camera like me as you can see below). Having a Mac (or a friend with one) certainly helps! Which leads me away from the technical points and towards the qualitative stuff that really made a difference…
6. People aren’t buying your book
Ok, so maybe a few are, but generally people weren’t buying my book, they were buying the chance to support me because they really believed in Lucha Comics. While this changed the marketing message, it really made the whole process more rewarding – someone actually cared about our brand.
7. Now isn’t the time to be shy.
I hate to feel like I am bugging anyone, but with a short time frame to raise funds, you really need to promote the hell out of yourself. This is not the time to be shy; reach out to all facebook friends and followers, twitter, followers, friends, family etc. I would say that 75% of my time went to outreach, which is far different from blind promotion. Ask people to share your campaign with others without asking them to feel obligated to contribute. It’s a win-win for everyone. By the time I was done my campaign, everyone knew that I was a comic book publisher, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
8. You need to get in touch with influencers.
Fortunately Lucha has a track record in the digital space, so I was able to reach out to people at ComiXology, and my friend Ian Yarrington of ComicBooked.com to let them know what was going on. Taking my own advice from my point above, I went even further and decided to E-Mail Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool, and guess what? They agreed to carry our story. These little bits help to give you credibility, and it is a nice confidence booster when someone agrees to help promote you when there are so many great projects out there to talk about.
9. Kickstarters can draw in new fans.
People that had never read a comic book or graphic novel before decided to put down some money for The Kursk because they saw it on kickstarter. I was really amazed at the first time readers, and the kind of attention that kickstarter can get you. Overall it was great to see readers that were not only new to Lucha, but also to the comic book industry.
10. Your fans are awesome people and they want you to succeed.
As invested as I was in my project, the fans really made it special. I was overwhelmed by the support we received, and how they wanted to get involved. Your fans are great, so make sure that you treat them well post-project. If someone puts down a pledge for your book, remember that they really want to see it happen.
This is probably one of the longest blogs I have ever written, and it could have easily been twice as long. If this came off like me bragging at all then I apologize because that was never my intent; I just wanted to reflect on a great experience that was only made possible by some great people who decided to take a gamble and show their support for us. Hopefully, this article can help someone else to experience the same.
nameless. is a new fantasy series by Marcello Bondi and Chiara Carnovale. On a far-away world, a man with no name, no memory, and no mission sets out on a journey. Where will it take him, and what will it mean for this stranger, and those who cross him?
This gripping “Reality-Based Fantasy” is best described as Lord of the Rings meets The Devil’s Advocate. It is where history, as well as the future of humanity, are examined under Islamic and Biblical light, in an effort to comprehend the nature of the Devil, his minions, and plans for the demise of Humanity.
What can we do to ensure that Humanity not only survives, but wins and thrives?
Marwan ElNashar brings his Action/Fantasy tale to Lucha Comics. Incredible artwork and an ageless story bring together a team of interfaith heroes that must put aside their differences because they are the only ones that can save our planet.
Volume 1: The Devil’s War
A Pharonic Queen that helped Moses during the Exodus, A Rabbi that aided Jesus, and a Roman commander that saves Mohamed, find a way to unite in the spiritual dimension of Jannahim. They must set aside their differences to prevent Satan from recruiting the Third Horsemen of the Apocalypse and edging ever closer to completing his army of darkness!
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in a concealed realm.”
Lucha Comics is thrilled to partner with MARZ publishing to bring this story to our readers. Expect it very soon on Google Play, Amazon Kindle, Comics+, and ComiXology!
When you’re lost with no way home, every step could be your last. This is a lesson our two mysterious protagonists learned quickly, as they make their way through unfamiliar and unforgiving territory.
Jory Abbott was inspired to tell this story through the artwork of Jeff Harvey as he felt that he was at a bit of a low point, a darker place. This led to an origin story that might be a bit darker than what most Comic Book readers are used to. Jory and Jeff have really poured themselves into this book, with characters that are a reflection of reality. There will always be things that go bump in the night. The genesis project created two people who could bump a little bit harder.