Crowdfunded Comics that deserve more attention: The Kugali Anthology

So I thought the Black Panther movie was awesome,

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and if the box office numbers have anything to say, everyone reading this is probably thinking the same thing.

I’m willing to bet that the creators of today’s Kickstarter comic looked at the release of the movie and thought that now would probably be the best time to try and raise money for their project: The Kugali Anthology.

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The Kugali Anthology is a collection of comic stories and characters written and drawn by black creators, with an emphasis on creators from Africa.

The comic is being funded out of Britain, so any funding information is converted into American dollars.  At the time of writing this comic has currently raised $5,922 out of $13,782 and has 26 days left in its campaign.

Kickstarter link:

Why I like it

Before we start I should make one thing incredibly clear, I am not an expert on Africa and I have no ancestral or familial ties to Africa.  Outside of a few close family friends and an extremely brief section of my school’s history curriculum, my knowledge of African history and culture is very limited.  I am simply writing as a very curious, and very white, comic book fan and tourist.

From the looks of it, this particular anthology is focusing on fantasy stories and folk tales.

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I will admit that I could be wrong, but even if I am, the very idea of having a magazine that brings more attention to creators and artists from Africa telling stories that are based in African culture and history is incredibly exciting and makes me very happy.

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What little I do know has been enough to pique my interest in Africa for a while and I find its history absolutely fascinating.  Africa is a vast,

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and incredibly diverse continent filled with larger than life places and people.  Stories about great kings such as Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire,

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the East African spice ports,

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and the life and exploits of Shaka Zulu,

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have captured my imagination and I have been trying to learn more ever since.

Heck, Africa is home to one of the first and greatest civilizations in Western history, a civilization that some historians devote their entire lives to studying.

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Again, I will admit that I am writing this from a place of relative ignorance but let me ask you this:  If my limited knowledge of Africa can demonstrate that the continent is more than a collection of unfortunate stereotypes, that there is more to it than poverty, disease, and violence, what do you think we could learn from people who actually live there?

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This leads me directly into my next point…

Why you should donate

Because the world is getting smaller and introducing people to entertainment influenced by different cultures just makes sense.  Plus, it can provide creators with a much needed infusion of new ideas and aesthetics.

I’m going to explain by picking on the fantasy genre for a minute.  To be clear, I love a good fantasy story but let’s be honest, the second you read the word “fantasy” your mind probably brought up images like this:

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or this,

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or maybe this if you’re a Japanophile:

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Sure, some creators have helped audiences branch out by introducing fantasy worlds that aren’t influenced by Medieval Europe or Japan.

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but European and pan Asian cultures are not the only places that have stories worth telling and interesting aesthetics.

Africa has so many stories, characters, and themes to offer the world and it’s high time that African creators took their rightful place on the cultural stage and shared their voices with the world.

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The Black Panther movie showed us that audiences are ready for stories that uphold the idea of a strong and confident Africa and that African themes and aesthetics can be a viable source of entertainment.


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Let’s take the next step and introduce audiences to the wonderful world of African comic books.

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Kickstarter link:

Golden Age Showcase: Bozo the Iron Man

Have you ever noticed that bookstores tend to put fantasy and science fiction books on the same shelves?

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I mean, I can understand why.  Both genres talk about the human condition using fantastical elements and worlds.  The difference is that while science fiction tends to focus on how technology changes society, fantasy tends to focus on how people change society.  The point is that while they share quite a few similarities, they are just different enough to warrant their separation.

Comic books are interesting because the medium has no trouble combining the two genres together and it’s gotten really good at it.  In fact, it’s gotten so good at it that not only is it possible to combine aspects of fantasy and science fiction together, it’s possible to spawn a billion dollar franchise out of it.

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While the Golden Age of Comics did have a heavy focus on supernatural and fantasy elements, it also had its fair share of science fiction heroes.

One of these heroes was a creature called Bozo the Iron Man and before you laugh at his name and appearance, you may be shocked to learn that he was actually a pretty interesting hero.

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Origin and Career

Bozo the Iron Man made his first appearance in Quality Comics’ Smash Comics #1 published on August of 1939.

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While that is Bozo on the cover, he doesn’t fight a gorilla in his story.

He was created and drawn by an editor at Quality Comics called George Brenner,

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Brenner is also known for creating what is arguably the first masked superhero in all of comics in 1936 as well as the hero 711, who is actually one of this site’s favorite heroes.

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The origin of our titular hero actually bucks Golden Age tradition and gives us something that this blog hasn’t really seen: a morally ambiguous and surprisingly deep origin.

The comic starts with a mysterious robot terrorizing the citizens of the unnamed city.

Comic Book Cover For Smash Comics #1

It turns out that the robot is actually under the control of evil scientist cliche #421 and despite the police trying their best they don’t want to go near the giant killer robot.  In order to put an end to this case the Commissioner calls in a special consultant named Hugh Hazzard, who winds up being the actual main character of the story.

Comic Book Cover For Smash Comics #1

The comic then goes through the standard motions.  The good guy finds the bad guy, defeats him, and the robot is scrapped.  However, in an interesting twist, Hugh decides to find the robot and use it to fight crime without the knowledge of the police.

Comic Book Cover For Smash Comics #1

Sure, the design of the robot doesn’t exactly inspire feelings of dread and terror, but the ending of the first issue actually sets up a surprisingly nuanced and interesting premise for a superhero story.  Seriously, in a time where comics weren’t known for a whole lot of creative complexity, the creative team behind Bozo had the main robot hated and feared by those he was trying to protect.

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the bottom of a page from the second issue below.

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Sure, titles like the X-Men would make the idea of heroes protecting the very people who feared them a comic book staple, but considering that this was being written in 1939 it’s a pretty interesting setup.

Unfortunately, they really didn’t do anything interesting with this setup and the rest of Bozo’s adventures were pretty typical “villain of the week” affairs.

So what happened?

Usually the old Golden Age heroes would either be revived by one of the major comic book companies further down the line or find their way into the works of writers and creators who were fans of the original but sadly, that isn’t the case for Bozo.  This is going to be one of the shortest “What happened?” sections ever written.

Quality Comics folded in 1956 when the comic book market contracted.  They were eventually acquired by DC and many of Quality’s heroes would survive in reprints, but sadly Bozo didn’t make it into any of them.

The only legacy Bozo would have is a brief re imagining by comic book legend Grant Morrison.

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For those who don’t know, Grant Morrison is considered to be one of the great modern wizards of comic books and is responsible for some of the greatest modern comics ever written, including the greatest Superman story of the past 20 years.

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Sadly, Bozo didn’t make it into any of Grant’s works, although another creator by the name of Justin Grey said in an interview that his creation of a robot named “Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard” was inspired by Morrison’s redesign.

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I would go into more detail into Gonzo’s origin but for the casual fans all I am going to say is that he’s nothing like the source material and for the more hardcore fans I’ll say that the Anti Life Equation was involved.

Bozo the Iron Man was a pretty goofy hero with a well thought out backstory and an interesting hook to his character.  Instead of being loved (or at the very least tolerated) by the police and the public at large, he was feared and mistrusted so much that his existence had to be kept a secret.  He was one of the more complex characters of his time and should be remembered as such, even if he looked a bit ridiculous.

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Golden Age Showcase: Spider Widow

So I saw Spiderman: Homecoming yesterday.

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It was good, I liked it, and it’s good to know that Spiderman is back in the loving arms of the company that spawned him.

You can make the case that Spiderman is the closest thing Marvel Comics has to a mascot, or at the very least he’s Marvel’s most successful solo hero.

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And what’s not to like about him?  He’s got a great gimmick, he’s got a great backstory, and he’s one of the best creations to come out of the mind of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

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But here’s the thing, great ideas like this don’t just come from nothing, and there were spider themed superheroes published in the 1940’s.  One of these heroes was a Quality Comics character named Spider Widow.

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Origin and Career

Spider Widow first appeared in Quality Comics’ Feature Comics #57 in June of 1942.

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She was created by comic book artist Frank Borth.

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While he did do some work for a Catholic magazine called Treasure Chest and did occasional work for Cracked (the magazine not the website), Spider Widow was his most popular creation.

As for her bio, her civilian identity was Dianne Grayton, rich socialite and lady about town.

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How did she get her powers?  Not mentioned.  Why did she decide to fight crime?  The comic didn’t seem to care.  What was her power?  She dressed up like an old hag and had the ability to control black widow spiders,

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swarms of them.

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You sure this is a superhero comic?  Because I’m getting more of a horror vibe from this.

Her enemies weren’t that special.  She fought the traditional assortment of stereotypical racist caricatures of Axis saboteurs.  What made her pretty unique was what Qualiy did with her.  First, they paired her with a superhero named the Raven, who made his first appearance in her title.

The story was simple.  Axis spies kidnapped her because she was meddling in their affairs a bit too much and the Raven swooped in and saved her.

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The day was saved, the two shared a thank you kiss, but sadly it was dark so they couldn’t see each other’s faces.

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The Raven was later revealed to be a man named Tony Grey, and the two wound up forming a romantic relationship on top of their crime fighting.

One of their more notable adventures was when they teamed up to fight Spider Man, a Nazi saboteur who controlled a giant robotic spider.

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Nazis controlling giant spiders?  NOPE! SOUND THE ALARMS!  PREPARE THE TERMS OF SURRENDER!

Now, two comic book heroes coming together in a comic isn’t really that special, but bringing in another hero and crossing over in two books?  That was pretty unique for the time.

I don’t know why they chose her, but Quality Comics had The Raven crossover with another Quality character named The Phantom Lady in Police Comics #20 in 1943.

Comic Book Cover For Police Comics #20

She wound up rescuing the Raven while he was investigating a crime ring and he brought her from Police Comics to Feature Comics for a couple of issues.

The two ladies did not get along very well.

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Plus, I’m willing to bet the writers were venting some pent up frustrations in the book through some impressively subtle fourth wall breaks.

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Look at the second to last panel and tell me you aren’t a bit impressed.

The two even went as far as to fight a duel for the Raven’s affections,

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but it turned out to be a set up by some criminals and they quickly patched it over.  The day was saved and then everyone went back to their own titles.

So what happened?

Aside from her crossover with the Phantom Lady, Spider Widow wasn’t really that popular or noteworthy.  She lasted for a couple more issues and then disappeared around 1943.

It’s kind of a shame because she really did have a great gimmick and power set.  Sure she was pretty boring as a person, and having her fight with another lady over a man probably won’t score her a whole lot of points with modern audiences, but she is in the public domain and could be a great horror protagonist.

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While I don’t want to mistake correlation for causation, you can kind of see something resembling Spider Widow’s legacy in Marvel’s more modern characters.

For example. what’s the name of Marvel’s favorite super spy femme fatale?  Black Widow.

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Sure, she doesn’t have the power to control spiders but I like to think the creatives at Marvel were remembering Spider Widow when they came up with her.

Also, there was a villain in the Spider Man books named Spider Queen who had the power to control insects,

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(yes I know spiders aren’t insects),

Sure, she’s not a wealthy heiress and controlling insects isn’t exactly a rare power, but it seems that Marvel has a pretty pronounced fascination with spiders and I like to think that Spider Widow was a start.

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Crowdfunded comics that deserve more attention: SHAMSEE: Lone Idiot and Cub

Today we’re going to talk about SHAMSEE: Lone Idiot and Cub, which is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

The comic is written by Tristan J. Tartwater and drawn by Adrian Wicker.

The story is about a small time thief named Shamsee who discovers a mysterious child named Blue

and proceeds to try and use the kid to swindle the residents of Oakstand out of their hard earned money.  However, robbery becomes the least of their problems as the two find themselves pursued by everyone from law enforcement to a mysterious figure that Blue is absolutely terrified of for some reason.

Kickstarter link:

Why I like it

When I was browsing through Kickstarter and trying to find a comic book project to write about I saw this and I was immediately grabbed by the title.

I bring this up because it’s a play on the title of one of my favorite comic books of all time.

Lone Wolf and Cub is about an assassin with his only son traveling across late feudal Japan on a quest for vengeance that leaves piles of dead bodies in its wake.  It’s really good and I cannot recommend it enough.

The reason why I like this comic (besides the copious amount of blood and sex) is because the author makes the relationship between the father and son a central part of the story.  How can a man balance the need for vengeance with his ability to kill people and his duties as a father?

SHAMSEE appears to be working towards those same questions, only with a lot less blood and gore and a bit more humor.  How can this thief balance his life as someone who swindles people out of their money all while trying to look after a kid.

Actually, come to think of it, this story reminds me of another favorite story of mine:

I won’t get into details but let me just say that this Kickstarter campaign is in fantastic company and I am really happy to see where this story is going.

Why you should donate

Be warned: this is where I do a little mini rant about the life and tribulations of a creative type in today’s day and age, so if you’re not interested please just go and donate to these guys now.

This is not the first comic book that this creative team has created and this is not their first Kickstarter.

Ms. Tarwater and Mr. Ricker are true blue independent comic book creators who are doing their own thing without tying themselves to a big time publisher.  You can find out more about Ms. Tarwater here and Mr. Ricker here.

They are here to promote their work and their vision to the masses and are hoping to raise enough money to make this project happen and to continue a story that was created by them, written and drawn by them, and promoted by them.

This is what sites like Kickstarter was supposed to be about.  It’s a way for individuals and small creative teams to raise enough awareness and money so that they can fund their dreams and projects.  I say “was” because Kickstarter is rapidly turning into part of the very thing it set out to stop.  Sure we get a lot of small groups and individuals who manage to successfully fund their ideas but SO MUCH of the projects that I see on this site are actually medium to large scale companies trying to use Kickstarter as a platform for their products to make money without putting in a whole lot of time and effort into actually creating them.  It is bullcrap and if it was up to me it would be banned.

Okay, rant over.

So if you want to fund a great story, with a great creative team behind it that is showing the world what an actual Kickstarter project should look like, please give these guys a look and a donation.

Kickstarter link:

Crowdfunded Comics that deserve more attention: Sons of the Forgotten

Boy it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these!

For those who might be reading this for the first time one of the things I’ve been trying to do with this site is bringing more attention to comic book projects currently on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon that I personally think deserve more attention then they are currently getting.  As always if you are a creator who has a crowdfunding project please feel free to reach out to me @CambrianComics, tumblr, or Facebook and I’ll take a look.

With that said let’s look at a Patreon project for a webcomic called “Sons of the Forgotten”.


Sons of the Forgotten is a webcomic project currently on Patreon and is seeking funding to get off the ground and release content on a quicker and more regular schedule.  While there isn’t much in the way of story yet the two creators Rufino Ayuso and David Hueso have dedicated a lot of time to world building and creating a land with the kind of history and legends that will allow for great stories in the future.

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There are plenty of races, both human and not human, that inhabit this world but we’ll get to that later.  If you want to stop reading now and learn about this project on your own they have a website where they publish the story here.  If you want to donate to their Patreon page click on the link below.

Patreon link:

Why I like this project

Look at this art work.



Okay I’m calm now.  As you might have noticed the comic looks gorgeous.  David Hueso is a professional illustrator and boy does it show.

I will also confess that I am a sucker for this kind of story telling.  What these two have created is an entire world to play in, something that I am just now naming “sandbox storytelling”.  You see it in a lot of big open ended video games like Skyrim 


and in a lot of traditionally “geek” pop culture icons like Star Wars and Star Trek.


What do I mean by that?  Well think of it this way.  Everything I listed above tells a very small story within a much larger world.  Sure that story may have enormous repercussions within that world but there is still a vast amount of history and lore and a huge number of secondary characters and races to pick apart, analyze, and write about.  This is what gives movies like Star Wars staying power and video games like Skyrim their lasting appeal.  The author/creator sets the rules and guidelines and the fans get to do the rest.

This is exactly what Sons of the Forgotten is starting to do and I for one am looking forward to the story and creating my own within this amazing universe.

Why you should donate:

I’m going to be weird here and start off with a reason why you probably WON’T donate to this project.  Stop me if I heard this before.  A young lad stuck at home longs for an adventure and seeks to explore the world beyond his home.


He meets a group of strangers from other races through a series of events and together they must travel together on a quest to stop some sort of evil force from taking over the land and they wind up learning about each other and themselves on the way.


Okay so I don’t know if that’s the exact story of this comic but in my defense that’s been the norm for the fantasy genre since Lord of the Rings, unless you’re talking about Game of Thrones and even then ol’ George still can’t get past the “implacable evil that will wipe everyone out unless they work together.

So why bother reading this webcomic if it’s probably going to be the same old song and dance you’ve heard a million times before?

Because the devil is in the details and this webcomic looks like it has some very promising details.

Let’s look at some of the characters.


Sure it looks like you have the starry eyed young protagonist who will fulfill his role as the main character with nothing but enthusiasm and it also looks like you have the close friend who is really strong and good at breaking things and yes, there appears to be an evil looking warlock as the villain but if you read some of the character descriptions on the website you’ll see that there is a lot of originality and creativity going on.

Let me give you a sample, within the pages of the comic you will meet

A self centered necromancer who accidentally summons the spirit of a long dead hero who joins the group as a floating skull

A race of lemming like creatures who can’t seem to die (or die over and over again I’m a little hazy on that) and as a result make it their life’s mission to seek out a “good death”.

A city where every house built out of stone and is connected to a river of lava which they use for heat and power.

A race of plant people who aren’t Ents but they do live for thousands of years and have inhabited the land for ages.

If any of the things I listed above sounds remotely interesting I cannot encourage you to donate enough.  Sons of the Forgotten looks like it’s going to be a blast and I can’t wait to see where they go with it.

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Patreon link: