Wednesday, February 20, 2013

HEX The Lost Tribe

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am pleased to welcome Keu Cha who is here to talk about his latest creation Hex the Lost Tribe.  Thank you for joining us today Keu!

It is a pleasure to be here and thanks for your time.

While your art speaks for itself, would you please share with us what Hex the Lost Tribe is all about?  Besides scantily clad warrior babes of course.

The book isn’t all about scantily clad warrior babes....I’m aiming for cool factor. It’s about capturing the cool factor present in epic tales such as Conan, Lord of the Rings and King Kong. It’s everything I can imagine that is not modern or futuristic. I want to convey the rawness and savagery of those worlds the best I can. It’s a combination of all my influences and my take on this type of genre that makes Hex what it is. I want the characters to come to life - their stories of tragedy and their stories of triumphs. I can’t wait to get the series along to introduce you to them.

Your social network is obviously top notch as you were recommended to me by a friend of the blog Ben Jones.  How much are you leveraging your comic connections for this Kickstarter?   Was it these connections that helped you decide to bring this project to Kickstarter in the first place?  

Thanks Ben! My biggest comic connection is having had the opportunity to draw witchblade, rising stars, darkchylde, and others. I have good friends in the industry who help as much as they can. It's a good feeling to not be alone. As a self publisher I need all the help I can get and I heard about Kickstarter actually a couple years ago as an avenue for funding. I brought my project to Kickstarter literally to "kickstart" the series.

I tend to see two kinds of comics, those the creators have been thinking about for years and those that kind of “come together” in recent months.  Which does your comic fall into?  

My project falls into both categories. I've been putting this project together for the past 2 years and now in recent months it has finally came together. There are a lot of things I do better now than I did then. Without going through a laundry list of setbacks, I can say is that I feel great about where things are at. Before Kickstarter, I've been promoting my project by going to conventions while I was also putting the comic book together. I thought it was as easy as drawing pictures and putting word balloons on it. Boy was I wrong. It's about managing every aspect of a comic book, wearing different hats from start to finish. I can go on and on.

You describe two very different kinds of characters with Princess Lana and Ruyn.  Will there be a lot of bouncing around between these characters in the first book or will it focus mainly on one or the other to get started?  

It's two stories, Lana and Ruyn, which will alternate between issues until they meet. Creating a new world is complex, a little overwhelming at times. There are so many characters and so many stories that intertwine, I feel this is the best way to bring both worlds together.

Looking at the above production still and reading your description of the art this sounds like a unique style of comic. “Each page is a double page spread drawn on 18x24 boards, allowing for greater details in the artwork and giving the book an epic look.” How different is that from standard comics?  Is the entire book hand sketched by you?  Who is doing the inking, coloring, and lettering?  

Yes the double page platform makes it different from the regular, but it has been done before, just not on a series. There are limitations but it also opens up a different type of paneling and composition and storytelling. The entire book is drawn by me. As for inking, this book will not be inked unfortunately because of the details. It will be going to colors from pencil but we understand there are a lot of fans who really enjoy just the pencils so we want to be able to also publish a black and white version of the series. It's been a challenge finding the right creative team - it's evolved since Hex started.

The goal is $25,000 for a 32 page traditional “floppy” full color comic.  Is this goal for the initial run of the comic only?  

Yes, it is for the initial run. We plan on running a long series. The funding will allow the project to survive to get it in the comic book stores. As in any business, companies need seed money to make their product before they see a return and that's why we are coming to kickstarter. The more money we raise the more buffer financially for each subsequent issue we publish.

Your project mentions needing a “a few issues in the can, pre-ordered and paid for before we see any returns.”  How many will you need before Diamond will pick you up?  

It depends on a publisher's relationship with Diamond but generally their guideline calls for 3 issues completed before they will allow you to solicit the first issue. As a self publisher Diamond will look at me more critically because they have to see that I can pull through, especially when it's an ongoing series. I chose self publishing to retain creative rights and control the means of printing and promotions.

What is the long term goal with this project?  Will I be buying your book in my local comic store or purchasing a subscription from you any time soon?  

It'll be subscription first online and at cons and then in book stores.

Looking at some of your rewards I notice there are several $15 reward levels you made one up for each variant cover?  Also what’s a Perfect Bound book?  

Joe Benitez and Randy Queen, both phenomenal artists whom I admired when I first came in the industry and who I also consider dear friends, really pulled through for me with the variant covers. I wanted to give our Kickstarter supporters something really special for the exclusive 1st issue, and these covers really rock. Also I want to thank Leinil and Billy for the art for prints for our stretch goals. Perfect Bound is a type of binding similar to a graphic novel and not the stapled comic book.

How did you discover Kickstarter?

I heard about kickstarter through a friend around the same time I started my project but I obviously wasn't ready back then to launch anything. I have been aware Kickstarter's growth and popularity since then and was impressed with how it connects people with creative ideas. It was a no brainer.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

These are all amazing advice more than an answer, I'll keep doing what I've been doing with the social media outlets, I started a youtube channel. Open chats all the time. I still need all the help with ideas because I'm new to this.
Hex The Lost Tribe -- Kicktraq Mini 

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

If it wasn't for the leg work of hitting a lot of cons and all the social media feedback and awareness, I wouldn't be here. Out of this, I have a better picture of what's at hand and opening myself up to new ways of reaching out. I'm always adapting, and I believe you have to. As for advertising, I simply can't can't afford it and have had the help of good friends and great people who appreciate what I do.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

As for tips, jeez...I'm still a work in progress at kickstarter so until then, all I can say is don't be afraid to be creative and showcase it. Kickstarter is a great way to gauge where you stand. I've always thought of art as a form of communication and the idea is to connect with others through your creative nature, and that is not limited to just drawing. Kickstarter is a testament to that, it's about ideas. If you have a great idea, don't be afraid to test it. Keep at it!

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

This is my dream that I'm following. It's always been personal goal to do a creator owned comic book and along the way I've learned a lot about myself and others. It really depends on your support to make this happen. I do this because I don't know any better and I hope my little comic book connects with you.

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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