Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Kickstart the Week with the Not Forgotten Anthology

By: Nicole D’Andria

Ever wonder what happened to some of those golden-age superheroes you never saw again? The Not Forgotten Anthology brings back dozens of golden-age superheroes from the public domain with this 200 page book that features 20 stories featuring these overlooked characters. Find out what superheroes you’ve been missing out on all these years and enjoy interviews with both of the editors and the writer of the “Moon Girl” story.

The project came together because of Matthew Harding and Einar Másson, who are both editors on the book as well. The Not Forgotten anthology features golden-age superheroes who just didn’t catch on, including the likes of The Scarlet Avenger, Atomic Tot, Terena of the Tundra, Airmale, Cannibal Planets, Lucky 13, Owlgirl, Marvelo, Black Terror, Moon Girl, Ozmar the Mystic, Super Ann, The Mystikoi, Airboy, Mr. Monster, The Iron Skull, The Atomic Man, Mars Mason the Intergalactic Postman, The Black Knight, Jet Powers and even more.

There are numerous creators on this project, but here’s a quick rundown of them all:

The project will be funded if they reach their goal of $25,000 by March 9, 2017 at 3:05 AM EST. Some of the rewards you can get for backing the project include (as stated in this handy image):

You can back their project here.

Learn more about the Not Forgotten anthology from editors Einar Másson and Matt Harding followed by writer Omar Morales:

Matthew Harding
Me: What inspired you both to create an anthology filled with stories of golden-age heroes from the public domain?

Matthew Harding: We saw an article getting passed around Facebook and started talking about it there. Pretty soon the idea to create an anthology reviving these public domain heroes sprouted life and we ran with it.

Einar Másson: Public domain superheroes give us a good mix of established structure and narrative flexibility. The characters come with some predetermined characteristics, but the canon isn’t as concrete as with more established heroes.

Einar Másson
Me: You both work as editors on this project. What are some of the tasks you each had to do on the book unique to you and what did you have to do together to make the anthology come to life?

Másson: Matt and I have had each other’s backs pretty much throughout the entire project: I had more of a leadership role during the initial story submission and contract writing portion of the project, and since Matt has more experience with crowdfunding, he’s naturally taken the lead on Kickstarter prep and execution. We’d be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge the work of Asher Powell and Sinclair Klugarsh, who both provided invaluable help to the project at key points, but had to step away due to personal obligations.

Me: How was it determined which golden-age heroes from the public domain would be used in the anthology?

Harding: Einar and I gathered a bunch of research materials together and presented them to anyone who was interested in being a part of the anthology. We found these really cool gigantic archives of old comics for people to comb through.

Másson: For the most part, we were able to turn our would-be creators loose on the archives and see what they brought back to us. We then vetted the characters with the help of comics historian Jonathan Morris to make sure they actually were all public domain (spoiler: They weren’t).

Scarlet Avenger by Matt D. Wilson & Rodrigo Vargas

Me: If you each had to pick one, who is your favorite public domain character in this anthology and why?

Harding: I'm a fan of Fero the Intergalactic Detective. He fight vampires and werewolves from Pluto and has the power to turn into a gorilla.

Másson: For me, it’s got to be Atomic Tot. He’s a toddler who eats special “vitamins” that give him the physique of a body builder, which he then uses to fight crime. His story is written by Angi Ahlers and drawn by Nathan Shorts (the lead artist on the new Toe-Jam & Earl video game), and Nathan draws him as this gross, veiny, pink-skinned body builder with the head of a giant toddler on top of it. It’s disgusting and I love it!

Me: How did you get in touch with some of the creators who are working on this anthology and get them involved with the project?

Másson: It started out as a fun little project between myself, Matt and about a dozen pals from art school. Somehow, word got out about the project and we received pitches from more seasoned comics pros who loved the idea of a public domain anthology. We realized this project was getting much bigger than we originally intended and decided to rise to the occasion.

Terena of the Tundra by Ashley V. Robinson & Morgan Beem

Me: What do each of you think is the number one reason people should pledge money to this Kickstarter?

Harding: Well obviously because the book is awesome! We have a bunch of really amazing creators working on stories, people who are seasoned vets and new creators.

Másson: If you like modern superhero comics and would like a little insight into where they came from, you should get this book. If you’d like to own a showcase of some of the top emerging international talent in comics today, get this book. If you like grim-faced avengers, magnificent magicians, intrepid space explorers and gross muscle-babies, get this book!

Jet Powers, written by Jared Rosmarin and Illustrated by Eugene Young

Me: What tips can you give to editors interested in working on anthologies or editing comics in general?

Harding: Get really good at handling many different tasks at one time!

Másson: Set early deadlines for yourself. Keep communicating with everyone on your team. Calamity will strike, so give yourself time to react and adapt to it.

Omar Morales

Me: Why did you choose to do a story for Moon Girl in particular?

Omar Morales: I was intrigued by one line in her cannon, which inspired me to go on a tangent and create a whole back story for it: "The girl known as the Princess of the Moon was taught that she came from a long line of women who had been unbeatable in battle." I just took that and ran with it. If she's a princess, then there must be a Queen mother. If there is a long line of women who are unbeatable... to me, it kind of sounded like that old 80's cult film Amazon Women on the Moon. So there I went and created this whole society of technologically advanced women who lived under the moon's surface a million years ago. It was fun to do a retro-futuristic story all within the context of the hollow moon theory. It was mash-up heaven for me.

Me: What can you tell us about Moon Girl's personality and her previous history in comics as a character in the public domain?

Morales: Moon Girl was a classic, two-dimensional golden-age hero that had powers like Superman or Wonder Woman. She was super strong and invincible - and she could fly. She had these tremendous powers but then was fighting basic criminal goons in the pages of EC Comics. She had a sidekick, Star, and a boyfriend she sought out called Prince Mengu. He was like the man she couldn't have because she promised herself she'd only marry a man that was superior to her as a warrior… and then she grows up and finds out that no man can beat her. Oh, the humanity! It was very pulpy stuff. In my story, Star and Mengu will be re-imagined a bit to better serve my vision for Moon Girl.

Moon Girl Page 1

Me: How would you describe the art style of the story?

Morales: I have an amazing art team led by Joel Cotejar on pencils and inks and Paula Goulart on colors. Joel and I have worked together a lot - I love his clean lines and anatomically accurate figures. I love giving him ideas and references, and then letting him go crazy on splash pages and spreads - he packs a ton of detail into the visual. I hired Paula to do colors because she could simulate faded newsprint, which is perfect for a retro, golden-age style comic. I am amazed with her skill, attention to detail and commitment. Paula created a beautiful color pallet for this story and it helps distinguish key characters and themes. They both nailed the retro-futuristic feel of what a 1940s audience would envision for an outer space adventure.

Me: Moon Girl was picked up by Alterna Comics and will become a full story. What can you say about that project?

Morales: Yes, the first nine pages of Moon Girl can be read as part of the "Not Forgotten" Anthology of public domain heroes. The anthology launches on Kickstarter on February 6th and will be combined with 20 other stories that will create over 200 pages of amazing content from creators all over the world. From there, the adventures of Moon Girl will expand into a full 24-page story late in 2017. If people like it, Moon Girl will have a chance to continue on as a mini-series, which I am outlining right now. Best of all, the selling price with Alterna will be $1.50 - retro pricing for quality comics printed on old-school newsprint. Alterna is a great partner and I'm so glad I'll be part of this old-school line up of affordable and unique comics.

Moon Girl Page 2-3

Me: Not counting Moon Girl, who is your favorite character in this anthology and why are they your favorite?

Morales: I'd be lying if I didn't say "Ozmar the Mystic" because he's one letter away from being "Omar the Mystic," haha! Honestly, I don't know much about old Ozmar, but I look forward to reading his short story in the anthology. There are so many great heroes in this book that will be resurrected and have a chance to shine again. It's hard to pick just one, but if I do have to pick only one, I'll go with the Iron Skull. He's got this killer luchador sugar skull thing going on that is dope. One of the creators of Iron Skull is a fellow Oakland guy and I'm always down for Town Business!

Me: What is the number one reason you think backers should pledge money to this project?

Morales: If you pledge and buy the anthology you will get fresh, new original stories from people that are just starting to make a name for themselves in the comics business. I think this book will be a who's who of creators years from now. You will get over 200 pages of high quality comics with characters that no corporation can own and exploit. These characters belong to the world and the creators are bursting with energy to bring them back. The creative passion absolutely shines through in every panel of this book. I've seen the preview pages and they are amazing. There will be a variety of different looks, art styles and narratives that you will not find anywhere else. There are horror anthologies, and other genre anthologies, but who else is doing golden-age style stories with public domain heroes? Nobody I know of. Plus, if you don't pledge... Ozmar the Mystic will die! DUM DUM DUUUUUM!

Moon Girl Page 4

Me: What advice can you give to aspiring comic book writers and artists?

Morales: Go out and make a comic, any style, any size, any type of quality. Fold some paper in half, staple the spine and start doodling. Make a Zine. Make a webcomic. Make something to get some experience and work out the kinks that any beginner will have to overcome. I'm still aspiring and still learning myself. The way I'm doing it is by making comics. Moon Girl was nine pages, that became 24 pages, and could end up being a lot more pages, and who knows what that could lead to. I would've never had a chance to do Moon Girl without first having a portfolio and a bit of self-publishing experience. I'm building slow and steady, not taking my eye off the goal, and I'm having a blast doing it. Have fun. Create with passion. Focus on the goal. Be a good person. That's it.

Me: Thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions – as well as bring back forgotten golden-age superheroes that will hopefully stay with us a little longer this time around! If you’re interested in backing the Not Forgotten Anthology, check out the official Kickstarter.

Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on "Kickstart the Week?" Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website.

Other “Kickstart the Week” features:

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