‘Soulfinder: Black Tide,’ ICONIC Comics, and the case for zigging while others zag

It was only a few years ago that your friendly neighborhood writer was regularly critiquing the comic book industry for its unprofessional creators and partisan politics shoehorned into stories. A lot has changed on this blog since then — namely the release of Soulfinder: Demon’s Match and Soulfinder: Black Tide.

Given that, I’d like to share some thoughts on creating comics for anyone who is thinking about taking the plunge.

The indie world is like other endeavors in many ways, in that there are always so-called “experts” who believe they have the definitive roadmap for success. Some creators come from the mainstream industry and charge big bucks for advice. Is it worth it? Overall, the answer appears to be “no.”

First, let us consider some of the advice, both explicit and implicit, floated this way over the years:

  • Avoid politics and religion at all costs.
  • Add “sex appeal.”
  • Creators must have a large YouTube channel or the support of a popular figure on the platform.
  • All roads to success go through Indiegogo and Kickstarter.

Now, let us consider the Soulfinder series of combat veterans-turned-exorcists:

  • Father Retter and Father Crane are Catholic priests; the books do not shy away from religious issues at all.
  • Rosaries are literally sold with Soulfinder books on both the ICONIC Comics and Rugged Rosaries websites.
  • Soulfinder focuses almost exclusively on male characters and arguably has zero “sex appeal.”
  • My YouTube channel is not large by any means. The series has grown by positive word-of-mouth through the grassroots efforts of readers.
  • The Soulfinder: Black Tide launch went directly through ICONIC Comics — http://www.iconiccomics.com — instead of Indiegogo or Kickstarter, and is handily out-pacing the 2019 Soulfinder: Demon’s Match campaign ($33,000) on Indiegogo.

The key to success has far less to do with following a one-size-fits-all blueprint and far more to do with a.) having an objectively good product, b.) creating a clear, concise and personalized definition of success, c.) properly prioritizing important tasks, d.) possessing organizational skills, and e.) having a willingness to take calculated risks.

Readers generally don’t care if politics or religion works its way into stories — provided the author isn’t condescending, rude, or willing to sacrifice good storytelling for partisan (i.e., predictable) propaganda.

Similarly, the man who promotes heroism and virtue in a digital world of vacuous eye candy can do well for himself if he plays his cards right.

One way to stand out from a crowd is to zig while everyone else zags, but doing that requires a certain level of discernment. The more mastery a creator has over smaller and seemingly mundane tasks (e.g., budgeting), the more likely it is that he or she will have an accurate assessment of the “bigger picture” challenges that may be addressed through the aforementioned calculated risks.

If you’re looking to see evidence of this approach in action, then please head to ICONIC Comics and check out Soulfinder: Demon’s Match (2019) and Soulfinder: Black Tide (2021), along with the ongoing Kamen America and Black Hops series by Timothy Lim and Mark Pellegrini.

ICONIC Comics is where you can find creators who are always looking to glean valuable lessons from the successful campaigns of others, yet open to forging their own path when it may be appropriate.

With that said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on creating indie comics. Share your feedback in the comments section below, and please consider spreading the word about Soulfinder if you’ve appreciated the art and storytelling in the first two volumes.

Bounding into Comics’ ‘Soulfinder: Demon’s Match’ live-stream

Bounding into Comics was kind enough to invite your friendly neighborhood blogger onto their channel to discuss Soulfinder: Demon’s Match and a host of other issues. Check out the full interview below.

‘Soulfinder: Demon’s Match’ team announcement with Brett R. Smith

Soulfinder: Demon’s Match is a story about a major order of exorcists — all combat veterans who take on levels of evil that most of the world cannot fathom — and its June 14 IndieGoGo launch date is fast approaching.

Last night I had the pleasure of doing a live-stream with our team’s colorist, Brett R. Smith.

Our artist, Timothy Lim, is a drawing machine who had Godzilla-related obligations keeping him most of the night, but we’ll have him on in the near future.

Tune in to see what Soulfinder: Demon’s Match is all about and how it all came together over the last year.

‘Soulfinder: Demon’s Match’ — one writer’s response to a lost and confused comic book industry

Soulfinder Demons Match Dave Dorman Cover

Long-time readers of this blog, which started roughly a decade ago, know that for many years the content was focused on the slow-motion collapse of the comic book industry. Writers and artists started to see themselves as activists and, as a result, they abandoned the classic hero’s journey.

A small (but vocal) group of bloggers documented the mean-spirited, unprofessional, and partisan antics of creators — the most glaring examples often at Marvel — and in time a similar network formed on YouTube.

The history of what became known as “Comicsgate” is too long for a single blog post, but what can be said is this: Soulfinder: Demon’s Match is a direct response to an ailing industry that seems determined to throw itself into an abyss of irrelevance.

For years, critics of this blog and my YouTube channel have said: “Write your own comic if you can do better! All you do is complain!”

Last summer I silently responded, “Will do,” and then penned a tale about a major order of exorcists — all combat veterans — who take on levels of evil that most of the world cannot fathom.

Soulfinder: Demon’s Match is about a man named Father Patrick Retter and his recruitment into the order of Soulfinders.

  • He is flawed, but his moral compass is sound.
  • His faith is tested, but he strives to take the hard right instead of the easy wrong.
  • He has many crosses to bear (like all of us), but he knows that virtue exists in carrying them with grace and dignity.

Along the way, Fr. Retter is mentored by a Vietnam veteran — Father Reginald “Reggie” Crane — and both men are aided by a young police officer named Gregory Chua.

In short, Soulfinder: Demon’s Match is my attempt to entertain people without lecturing them. It is my attempt to tell a tale of Good vs. Evil in a way that isn’t cheesy or preachy. It is my attempt to honor all the writers who inspired me throughout the years, and it is a “thank you” to everyone who encouraged me to enter the creative arena.

The book features covers by the legendary Dave Dorman, art by the extremely talented Timothy Lim, and is colored by industry veteran Brett R. Smith. I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work. They have consistently blown me away with their efforts.

I hope you consider buying Soulfinder: Demon’s Match when our IndieGoGo campaign launches June 14.

Again, thank you to everyone who has followed this blog for years, subscribed on YouTube, and interacted with me on Twitter. Your enthusiasm has been infectious and certainly played a part in bringing this book to fruition.

Related: The guys at Bleeding Fool were kind enough to ask me a few questions about the book. My responses can be found here.

Soulfinder Demons Match