Since leaving my freelance staff position with IndyConcerts.com, I've found myself missing the world of indie music. Combine that with the closing of Locals Only and the end of Spoken Soul Food Sunday poetry jams at Midtown Arts, it seems like the nearby stages supporting independent creative pros are shrinking.
Thankfully, artists are seeking out other venues and many refuse to wait around for opportunity to come knocking. More and more creatives are flexing their entrepreneurial spirit and building amazing projects with a little help and a lot of heart. And that's where I come in.
Today, I'm starting a new series here on Incandescere where I shine a spotlight on indie artists of all shapes and sizes doing a little something special with their talent. I'm not talking about poets simply performing at a weekly poetry night or musicians producing yet another EP. No. I'm endeavoring to share news about the bigger projects and larger-than-life risks artists take that may escape our notice due to an overcrowded mainstream marketplace.
Why? Because you'll never know whose gem of an idea will be the next Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl or Stuff White People Like phenomenon. The creative class is out there day-after-day hustling to take their ideas from concept to reality, and I want to do my part to give them a little attention.
NB: I'm not just focusing on talent local to Indianapolis either (case in point: my first entry). I support independent artists from all over the globe. However, most of the showcases will be US-centric, but only because indie marketing campaigns from overseas don't come across my desktop everyday. If you know of an artist doing something extraordinary, please feel free to drop me a line.
So, to kick off this ambitious new series, allow me to bring to the stage: Penguins VS Possums.
Penguins VS Possums is the brainchild of Sebastian Kadlecik, a Los Angeles-based writer and artist with a twisted sense of humor and a damaged view of the world. How else would you explain the concept behind this demented web comic?
Don't believe me? Well, let's quote the creator's official PR blast shall we:
I have this comic called Penguins VS Possums, which is the story of two warring species that have been at odds since the dawn of time. They have hidden in the shadows, but their battles are bringing them out into the open, and soon as we hurdle toward Armageddon, every person on the planet is going to have to CHOOSE A SIDE!
I said it was demented, right? The style of the comic isn't sleek or glossy, so if you're used to a Marvel or Dark Horse feel, you might be a little taken back. So far, Kadlecik and his lovely team of two (yes, count 'em, two) have published the first issue and are currently promoting it at a number of Southern California comic book conventions. Together, the team (John Bring, Lindsay Calhoon and Kadlecik) wrote, outlined, drew and marketed all of their own work from start to finish.
And now that they're done, they've started all over again with issue number 2 -- expected in stores late October/early November.
In the first issue, the reader is introduced to this strange malevolent showdown happening right under our noses, and one of the factions doesn't fare too well. But the fight is not over. According to Kadlecik and company, the battle in issue number 1 is only the tip of the iceberg in this disturbing little war. The second issue will feature more backstory into how these two disparate creature cultures became mortal enemies.
PvP is dark, but not too gritty. Funny, but never tongue-in-cheek. The intellectual in all of us can dig as deep into the symbolism as we like and the kid in us can simply enjoy the warfare shenanigans for a great laugh. In other words, the story works on many levels. There's no wonder the comic's fanbase is growing.
As proof of its popularity, not only did the crew appear at Stan Lee's Comikaze this past weekend, but the first issue has received shout-outs on BuyIndieComics.com, AllDayComics.com, and ComicBastards.com. A successful Kickstarter campaign and a generous online store has kept the production line moving while the second issue is in development.
Penguins VS Possums is currently available in four comic book stores in the LA area. You can also order the first issue online at the official website, www.amazon.com and www.indyplanet.com. And if you happen to be in SoCal this November, you can visit the PvP table at this year's Long Beach Comic Con.