Crowdfunded Comics that deserve more attention: Heroes of the Public Domain.

Today we’re going to talk about a Kickstarter comic called Heroes of the Public Domain.

Regular Edition Cover

This project is seeking funding to create a catalog of superheroes that are in the public domain.  This means most of them are from the Golden Age of Comics, a time period that many historians place between 1938-1952 where comic books exploded onto the pop culture scene and superheroes became incredibly popular.

The project is being led by a Canadian group called Temporal Comics and is seeking $1,776 USD in funding.  At the time of writing the project has reached $1,432 with 23 days left in the campaign.

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1973136011/heroes-of-the-public-domain-golden-age-guide-issue?ref=discovery

Why I like it

If you’re a fan of this site than you know that we at Cambrian Comics love writing about Golden Age superheroes.

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For anyone who doesn’t know, over the past three years we’ve been running a blog series entitled “Golden Age Showcase”, where we talk about old school heroes from a time when comic books were new and superheroes were somehow even more popular than they are now.

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While it’s fun to study the absolutely ridiculous characters from the Golden Age of Comics,

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it’s also important.

The Golden Age gave us many of comics’ most important and recognizable heroes.  Characters like Batman,

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Wonder Woman,

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Namor the Submariner,

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and the one who started it all, the one who inspired every modern superhero in existence, and the one who just turned 80 years old this year: Superman.

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But it wasn’t just a time where every superhero became a pop culture icon.  After the success of Action Comics #1 it seemed that every two bit publisher and pulp magazine auteur thought they could make it big by creating a superhero of their own.

The results were ridiculous and hilarious with heroes such as Dynamite Thor,

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Lady Satan,

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and The Fin.

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Sure, many of these heroes were silly, poorly written, or even blatant clones of Superman,  But there is not denying that the Golden Age of Comics was a time of exploration, experimentation, and glorious cheese that built the industry we know and love today.  A lot of people worked very hard to bring us these characters and their legacy is worth remembering and studying.

Also, full disclosure: We’re probably going to use the list provided in the Kickstarter description as a resource for more names.  It really is amazing that we’ve been doing this for over three years and still haven’t run out of heroes to talk about.

Why you should donate

Because the culture of the past informs the culture of the future, mostly by ripping off stories from the past and using our familiarity to open our wallets and giving artists our money.

At some point, I’m sure many of you have expressed your frustration at the endless sequels, reboots, and adaptations that make their way into our movie theaters and Netflix queues every year.

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I know because I am one of those people, but I also understand that one of the most prominent and important aspects of art is the ability to emulate and expand upon past works.

We may complain that Hollywood lacks originality when it comes to making movies, but it’s not a modern issue.  Over half of the movies that Hollywood has ever made are adaptations of some sort.  And let’s not forget that the most successful movie of all time,

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was adapted from a book.

In a way it makes sense, movies cost a lot of money so producers would want something that already has enough mass appeal to get people into the theaters.

What’s funny is that this isn’t even a modern thing, artists have been doing this for centuries.  The Renaissance artists were avid lovers of Classical art and blatantly ripped off the style and practices of the ancients.

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Michelangelo once tried to scam the Catholic Church by carving a statue and trying to sell it off as an antique.

Even the great William Shakespeare ripped off the work of his contemporaries.

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It’s true, Romeo and Juliet was inspired by the works of Italian author. Masuccio Salernitano and his two doomed lovers Mariotto and Giannoza.

Yeah, copyright laws didn’t really exist back then.

While we can moan and complain about how originality in art is dead the simple fact of the matter is that it works.  The unfortunate truth is that, at the end of the day, most artists are looking for the kind of success that allows them to get paid, and borrowing from what is familiar can be an incredibly lucrative option.

Don’t believe me?  Just look at Disney, the current owners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the empire they built with stories and characters from the past.

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Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Alice and Wonderland, Robin Hood…the list goes on.  All of are well known, all of them were borrowed and revamped by the Disney company, and I’m willing to bet that most of these stories made up a healthy portion of your childhood.

Even though comic books are a relatively new medium, it hasn’t stopped companies like Marvel from taking one of their earliest characters.

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and giving him a modern update.

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So if giant corporations and famous artists can do it, why can’t we?

There are thousands of fantastic superheroes out there who are free to use and have so much potential.  This Kickstarter gives us a head start by giving us a list of some of the best.

 

All-Art Variant Edition

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1973136011/heroes-of-the-public-domain-golden-age-guide-issue?ref=discovery

 

 

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Cambrian Comics Friday showcase: The art of Rebecca Currell

Today we are going to showcase the art and work of Rebecca Currell.  If that name sounds familiar on this site it’s probably because she’s the letterer for our webcomic “The Secret Lives of Villains”.  That being said, while lettering is an important job it’s not a very good opportunity to show off any other work you might be doing, which is a shame because while Rebecca is a great letterer she is also an amazing artist and animator.

As before we will present the art of this showcase without commentary or description so you can sit back and enjoy the art for what it is.

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If you like the art work that you see and would like to share your thoughts please feel free to check out and like Rebecca’s Facebook page for her art here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-Currells-Art-Work/112702798823466

And as always, if you are an artist, writer, or otherwise creative person and want your work showcase on this site free of charge, please let me know.

Cambrian Comics Friday Showcase: My favorite comic #2

Today we’re back from Boston Comic Con (we’ll be posting pictures over the next couple of weeks on our Facebook page) so now we’re starting right were we left off.  My second favorite comic book series is another title from Image Comics and the strongest argument I’ve ever seen for creator owned, written, and produced work.

2. Saga (Image Comics)

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Writer: Brian K. Vaughn

Artist: Fiona Staples

Issues (as of writing): 30

Saga is brought to us by comic book and screen writer Brian K. Vaughn whose resume is one of the most impressive out there to date.

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(note: he worked on the show from season 3-5)

Here he teams up with artist Fiona Staples who is widely considered one of the greatest comic book artists around today.

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Together they created Saga, a science fiction epic about two soldiers from opposing sides who fall in love and have to travel across the universe to raise and protect their child all while dodging monsters, assassins, and their former cohorts in a story that combines elements of Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Romeo and Juliet.

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First and foremost the set up and character archetypes are unbelievably cliche.  I’m serious, if you’ve seen any science fiction movie in the past 30 years you can guess what’s probably going to happen.  Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they run away but can’t run fast enough to escape the forces pursuing them, people die in tragic circumstances, it’s all very sad.  And with all due respect to Ms. Staples, the artwork does not lend itself very well towards traditional sci fi.  When you hear the words “science fiction” a lot of people think of this

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not this

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So we have a cliche plot coupled with artwork that seems a bit weird to someone more used to traditional sci fi

But this comic is much more than that and absolutely (pardon my language) fucking nails it!

This comic could very easily be a Star Wars knockoff or a Romeo and Juliet clone but it isn’t.  Vaughn’s stellar writing makes all these characters unique, complex, and truly gripping.  In the best kind of written traditions no character is completely good or evil, everyone has their own hopes and dreams that make you want to root for them and their own flaws that make you want to scream at the comic book when they do something really stupid.

Consider the man in the picture above.  His name is The Will and he is a freelance assassin tasked with hunting down the two literal star crossed lovers.

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As you can see The Will is incredibly capable (and yes this is a very violent image, more on that later) and incredibly deadly.  But he is much more than that.  Over the course of the comic he goes from apathetic about his life and work to rescuing a child prostitute and starting his own little twisted family (I won’t dare say anymore and risk spoiling the plot, go read this book).  He even has a cat that can tell if you’re lying or not.

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And this brings me to the two main characters, Alana and Marko, who are now officially my favorite couple in any form of media.

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I mentioned that this comic is a bit…risque and that is absolutely true.  This is NOT a comic book for children. There’s blood, gore, sex, cursing, sex, violence, and did I mention sex?  But all of this goes towards making the two main characters very tender, very touching, and very believable.  Sure Alana and Marko have a child that they have to take care of and keep away from forces much larger than themselves and sure they did fall in love at first sight but the comic takes the next logical step and shows what really happens to couples when that first rush of true love wears off.  One minute the couple is happy, the next they are fighting and bickering, the next their running for their lives, and the next moment they’ve made up and proceed to screw each other’s brains out.  You know, how normal couples act.

And as for the art…

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saga-vol-1-screen-2Fiona Staples has some of the best emotional drawing I have ever seen and her position as one of the best artists out there today is well deserved.

This comic is like nothing I, or anyone else, has ever seen.  It tells one of the best modern love stories while being set in a bizarre, quirky, violent, sexy, and fascinating universe that I just can’t get enough of.