It's a special Labor Day edition of Kickstart My Heart, featuring the RPG comic Hero Party by Marcelo Cassaro and Erica Horita!
Hello readers! I hope you're having a happy Labor Day, celebrating the American worker by drinking cheap beer and grilling burgers! I would be doing that, but my overlords here at The Outhouse keep the reporters chained to our laptops in a windowless basement 365 days a year. While you might think it's difficult to write about comic books while the rest of the industry in America is on vacation, The Outhouse went outside the states to find this intriguing new project that takes the concept and style of tabletop RPGs and brings them to a unique comic book! If you like it, you can help make it happen by contributing on Kickstarter!
We spoke to Steve Phelps, who is helping to run the Kickstarter campaign, and... well, why don't we let Steve tell you all about it.
What if “adventurer” was an occupation? What if, to enter the dungeons, kill the monsters and grab the treasure, you had to belong to a certified party? Hero Party combines the adventure and excitement of RPG mixed into the expressive world of comics. Dungeon crawling, treasure hunting, monsters and magic: Hero Party follows the adventures of a newly-formed party beginning their journey into dangerous dungeons in search of legendary treasures.
The writer, Marcelo Cassaro, began his career in 1985 as an animation and design assistant. By 1989 he was working for the biggest publishing company in Brazil at the time as a writer and pencil-artist for superhero comics. He later worked as scriptwriter and publisher for Holy Avenger, one of Brazil's biggest comic series running over 40 editions, and worked on Victory, the first Brazilian-made comic published in the United States.
The artist, Erica Horita, began her career drawing and distributing original comics in conventions across all of Brazil, winning many contests both locally and nationally. She studied graphic design and eventually opened her own publishing company, publishing and distributing Ethora, a unique-style comic running 8 issues, throughout Brazil. She also worked as a freelance artist for various publishers inside and outside Brazil.
Besides their work in the field of comics, both Marcelo and Erica are well known for their work on tabletop RPG illustrations and scenarios. Marcelo released the first monthy Brazilian RPG magazine, reaching over 100 issues, and also co-authored Tormenta, the best selling RPG campaign set in Brazil. Erica is well-known for her illustrations appearing in RPG books, including countless illustrations for Tormenta. Their works together in this genre have gathered a huge following of fans throughout Brazil.
Tell us about Hero Party.
In this world, dragons who once fought to end the lives of all living things now lay dormant, deep underground, pushed back by the combined forces of humans and demonic fiends. Many years later, adventurers scramble to find their lair, in search of their legendary treasure, the Hoard. It is said that, once found, the Hoard is capable of fulfilling any dream or desire.
For the safety of these headstrong adventurers, the Law of Dungeons was enacted. The law restricts entrance to the dungeons leading to the depths of the world to parties properly certified as complete. These parties, called Hero Parties, must have members filling 4 important roles: defender, healer, striker and wizard. Our story follows a newly formed party eager to begin their quest to find the Hoard.
Hero Party will be drawn in a unique mix of styles, mixing traditional comic with manga, and a little bit of pencil illustration as well. The first issue will be 48 pages and it will be done with traditional media, using as little digital work as possible.
If you had to compare Hero Party to some other works that our readers might be familiar with, what would they be?
Off the top of my head I can't think of anything to compare Hero Party to directly. Of course it will have similarities to many other stories, but the concept itself is one that I haven't run into often. It's something I can't describe by taking bits and pieces of other titles and imagining them placed together, it's best to read about the story on the Kickstarter page, read the character bios on www.heropartycomic.com, and let your imagination run wild.
Marcelo Cassaro wrote Victory, the first Brazilian comic published in the U.S.. For our readers not familiar with that, what can you tell us about it? What else has Marcelo done that our readers might want to check out?
"Victory" was published in the early 2000s in two miniseries spanning 4 issues. The story is about an all-powerful elven demigoddess from a magical world who ends up being summoned to Earth with an ancient arcane book, being introduced to modern Era by a some young RPG players. She ends up in a clash with her old enemies, but she no longer has the comforts and advantages of her home world.
Marcello is more well-known for his other stories in Brazil, including Holy Avenger and his many tabletop RPG scenarios and rulebooks. While nothing else is currently available in English, his works Holy Avenger and Dbride (Dragon Bride) are in the process of translation for digital release through Apple.
What about Erica Horita? Where can our readers check out some of her work?
Erica was well-known in Brazil in the fantasy and RPG genre. Many of her works are currently out of print and hard to find, even in Brazil. However, we've added some examples from her past works to the gallery on the Hero Party website, readers can check it out at www.heropartycomic.com/gallery/. It includes sample pages and graphics from Ethora, an assortment of various RPG illustrations, as well as some original artwork and characters and a few fan arts. There are some done in pencil, some inked, some colored digitally, some colored with marker, colored pencil, and even a handful of pages colored in watercolor!
Why did you decide to use crowdfunding to produce this project?
Hero Party was intended to be an independent project to better express the artistic style of the writer and artist. However, the cost of printing the books can be quite high and we didn't have enough money to fund it ourselves, especially since a 48 page book is quite a big project for an artist to do alone. With all of the comic projects succeeding on Kickstarter, it just seemed like the perfect match to get the story and art out there, and at the same time offer something a little different to the Kickstarter community.
What does the money go to, and what to people get for contributing?
The money is going to go primarily towards the printing and shipping costs. Of course after Amazon and Kickstarter fees we'll be getting significantly less. The money will help cover the cost of printing the books, posters, postcards, and whatever else might be added before the project completes. After those costs, we'll have to cover shipping materials and shipping costs. And if there happens to be money left after all of that, we'd like to put it towards future issues, and to compensate the writer for his troubles. While it's a big reward to see your work come alive outside of your home country, it would still be nice if we could give a little back for all his hard work!
In return for backing our project, contributors will get anything from a digital PDF version of issue #1 (in either English or Brazilian Portuguese), a printed copy, promotional postcard-sized prints, posters, sketches, commissioned drawings, original art, or original pages from issue #1. The higher tiers include having one of your own original characters appear on a page in the book (or if you don't have an original character, a character designed drawn using a picture of yourself), an 11x17 pencil drawing of yourself styled as a Hero Party adventurer, or even having that pencil drawing of yourself appear as a full page in the book. We'll be adding more rewards to the tiers once we pass our goal, and we're still considering adding more tiers with different incentives, so if anyone has input, send us a message through Kickstarter!
This creative team is successful in Brazil. Are they hoping to branch out into more international work?
Well, Hero Party has just started, and it is Erica's first project after a pretty long hiatus, so the focus right now for her is getting the scheduling sorted out for drawing again. After that, if the path should lead to international work it's a great chance to show a lot more people her style of art, which means a lot to any artist. Marcelo certainly wants to do more international work as well. Hero Party was originally to be finished for Comic Market in Japan and released in both English and Japanese. However, Erica had to move from Japan before the event was held, despite being accepted, and the project was put on hold.
Anything else you'd like to tell us?
We'd like to thank everybody for the support they've shown so far! It's really been very encouraging. There hasn't been a lot of comic projects on Kickstarter similar in style to what Hero Party will be, so we were unsure of how well it would be received. We are very proud of how the project is turning out and hope that all the supporters are as well, a lot of heart is being put into the project. And if anybody really wants to see more of us, they can come visit us at New York Comic Con, October 11th – 14th, we'll be in a booth on the main floor and we should have a big Hero Party poster up so you can't miss us!