Jen and I have taken this comic to Crowdfundr because it’s a new crowdfunding platform that we believe in. We are huge fans of options within creative spaces [more publishers, more distribution channels, more avenues to success and collaboration and reading].
With your help, we can reach $3,000 to get this comic absolutely finalised, printed up, shipped out, and enjoyed around the world.
The main ways to help are:
$5 digital deluxe
Back us at this level and get the PDF, and the B+W version, and the script, and some other old pdfs from me and Jen
$10 print copy
We’ll send you a copy of the finished comic! Plus all the digital stuff :]
Share the link!
Just copy/past this slice of text – https://crowdfundr.com/backstory – and put it out to mates in a chat, in your newsletter, onto your feeds; any and all links shared help us get our story in front of the people who might want it, but don’t know it exists yet.
I’ve been friends with Jen a long time [she’s super supportive, hilarious, and the reason I got to have dinner with Pia Guerra [co-creator of Y: THE LAST MAN one time!]. Jen is a creative superstar [in comics and the RPG world] and she’s brought absolute thunder to the art, design, inks, and story in this comic. I’m so excited to share her work on this comic with the world.
Jen is your next new favourite artist.
Me [Ryan K Lindsay]
I love writing comics.
I also love writing one-shots. I’ve written, and crowd funded, a whole bunch of them before!
BACKSTORY sits in this wheelhouse completely. It’s a big idea, wrapped up in some crazy moments, and it absolutely wants to emotionally kick you into next week.
Making this comic with Sami Kivela, Lauren Affe, Jim Campbell, Dan Hill, Matt Pizzolo, and the team behind Black Mask Studios was a dream project that was the result of years of hard work and passion. It was the fifth story Sami and I worked on [and hopefully not the last] and this massive sci fi tale of a mother trying to get her dead son’s DNA back from the disgusting hands of an absent, yet oppressive, ruler was a story both personal in nature and satisfying in the creative energy of it.
There were over 200 comics added to the Long List for this award, so to be in the top ~20 is a true honour. I don’t know if we’ll win – there is a very cool array of spectacular comics in the mix and I’d like to see a lot of them win, so I’ll feel no displeasure in losing out.
If you’re looking for some amazing Aussie comics content, hit up that short list, and also browse the Long List as there is a lot of good four colour entertainment that comes from the ecclectic brains of this land down under.
Gonna be a big build up to August for me because I have two collections of my comics dropping within a fortnight of each other. Here’s what they are, why I love them, and why I hope you dig one or the other or both! If you can, please preorder these books with your local comic shop or bookseller. The order numbers helps set the print number, and means you are not going to miss out when this drops.
I can guarantee [iron clad] that these are both amazing stories, exceptionally beautiful to look at, and represent…damn, I gotta check my notes…like two years of my life’s work. Let’s roll them out!
This comic is so pretty and so massive and so much my crazy sci fi jam. Seb came to me with this idea – what if human’s followed a signal to another galaxy, where we were promised intelligence and salvation and a better tomorrow, but it was all a scam, and all we found was the same old shit?
Seb let me take that framework and dial it all the way up so we get his designs on crazy aliens, and very strange landscapes, and our heart and cerebral pulp is infused into every panel.
Follow Niko, the only survivor of Earth’s crashlanded ship, as she tries to figure out where the hell she really is, who to trust, and how she might ever get back home.
Black Beacon was 6 issues, it’s a thick story, and Heavy Metal are putting together an awesome looking trade for this.
While you’re talking to your LCS in a loud voice to slap down your preorder for this, you can also discuss:
In a dystopian future [that’s mostly literally ripped from the headlines of today :sad trombone:], there’s a Grand Race in Europe where the winner gets access to the 1%, and their future is set. But most other racers just die along the way because the intensity of this journey is wild.
Follow Sebastian Valencia as he tries to stay alive, discovers how much worse Europe has become since he last looked, and maybe you can hope along with him as he tries to consider what kind of actual solution or alternative exists out there.
I love Emanele Parascandolo’s kinetic art – drawing car chases is no joke, and he makes it look exciting and fresh with every issue. This book is a blast of action with a soupcon of politics, and it’s something I’m really proud of.
Preorder both books – or just one, if the flavour is more to your palette – and I cannot wait to share these stories, worlds, characters, ideas, and hopes with you in August!
This is my fifth one page solo rpg that I’ve created, and I’ve finally let my love of D&D fuel me for a story.
The Cave Outside Heltrap is a Fantasy rpg where you are an adventurer tasked with clearing a cave of a monster, so you spend your time sidequesting around the problem in the hopes you’ll figure it out.
I was in full on The Witcher mode in my head with this one, and it all just reminded me of why I love playing D&D with mates [and kids at school] – you can get pretty weird with it.
Some of the prompts on the d20 table are gnarly fun – swamp hag chanting and werewolf curses and bags of weird coins and other wild adventures just waiting to be explored.
You can go download it now, and get it for free. Or you can throw a coin into the well, if it pleases you. I don’t mind any which way, I just like knowing these are being used and enjoyed.
This is a real side-side-hustle – but every hustle of mine revolves around some form of creativity, so I feel lucky to get the time and the energy to put into stuff like this. It’s truly manna for the soul. Hope you dig it half as much, too.
To keep my brain moving THIS WEEK, when it felt like it was sinking into the Bog of Eternal Stench [another name for my office after a few days of iso], I decided to do something just fun. I opened my one-page solo rpg writing game, The Lighthouse at Kindred Rocks, and I started playing it myself.
To play, I just roll two d20s and then look at the prompt table, and then started loosely mapping out what would happen in the story from those prompts.
The set up is this: my father has just died, getting me to return to my hometown of Kindred Rocks, and both bury him and take his job as the Lighthouse Keeper, because my life outside the town was shit and turning shitter anyway. So that’s the set up and start, and from there I need to figure out: how’d my father really die, and what eldritch insanity is buried in the secrets of my town?
When I sat down, I tried to consider what the solutions to these two problems might be, but that’s anathema to the whole concept. You are supposed to figure that out as you wind and wend through the prompts, so I shut my brain off on that track, rolled twice, once for each mystery, and started plotting out responses that would slowly form the story.
The first two prompts are pasted in here, and then I put my plotting beneath them.
The Father Mystery
Sitting in the park on a quiet day, you are approached by someone who knew your father. Why do they want to talk to you about something urgent?
Your father’s mistress – an old lady, runs the local inn – who tells you your father was distressed over the past week. He would come in for a pint, and then leave without staying and he wouldn’t be at home when she checked. He said something about there being something out in the woods that worried him.
The Eldritch Secrets Mystery
You visit an old tree where you once carved some initials. Memories flood back, and one sticks in your mind on this day. Who is this memory linked to?
You go to the woods, with this information, and you find a tree where you carved a high school sweetheart’s initials with your own. You were two young ladies, close friends, and she was always fending off the advances of a local bully, so you two would wander hand in hand to give him the shits. You carved your name into the tree, but a year later she would leave the town and you’d be left all alone, wishing you’d asked for more. Or did she not leave, you just drifted apart because you knew you wanted more and you did not want to ask her for it.
It’s all basic plotting/planning, not actually writing prose, but it’s a fun way to Jenga a story together, and the more prompts I wrote, the more I could tie things back in together.
Youcan‘view’thewholedocumenthere, it’s 100% a work in progress, and the kind of thing I’d want to then go back up the chain to tidy up, but I’m definitely having loose fun with it and my brain needs that. And I have to say, discovering the story as you go along, just blindly leapfrogging from one stepping stone of a set up to another, has been a whole new experience. I very much kinda love it.
If you want your own turn at the fun, paying Patrons get the Lighthouse at Kindred Rocks game in a locked post, and everyone else can download it for free here or toss me a few coins to keep the lights on around here.
This coming week sees the third, and middle, issue of SPEED REPUBLIC land in comic shops around the world.
This strange and wild futuristic car race comic that’s more about the people behind the wheels than it is how fast the wheels can go has been a blast to see land with readers. Emanuele Parascandolo and I took a high octane landscape and are telling a politically charged commentary on what it looks like when the wrong person is in charge andnot many people are being looked after at all.
I want to take a moment to highlight all of the covers, because #5 is our final issue and it’ll be out in June, so now we can see all the covers together. Emmanuele truly is a joy to work with and his covers delight me endlessly. Please, remind your comic shop to set aside copies of every issue for you, and I hope you enjoy your race through this story.
This one’s about planning one last heist, on some other crim’s house, after they find something in the woods. I love the genre so it was fun to play with some of the tropes to build this d20 prompt table that would guide you through writing quite an interesting tale.
Here’s the official write up for it:
It’s time to plan a heist, a big one, and you have to beat everyone else to it. Word on the street is Ol’ Lockpin Jones found something buried out in the woods. They haven’t been seen outside their house in two weeks. Gums are moving, plans tossed around, hopes about money or treasure or…something else. You know terrible types are fixing to steal whatever it is, and Lockpin deserves it for the shit they’ve done to everyone in town, so you don’t feel bad about planning to be the first to relieve them of this strange prize so you can finally retire and get away somewhere nice.
The Heist on Foley Lane is a solo writing RPG that follows an aging criminal as they prepare one last heist…but they don’t know what this strange thing they’re stealing is.
Use the one page document to start your journal about wanting to pull off this last heist and leave town, but all the while dealing with 2 different mysteries. The prompt table will slowly guide you through weeks of everyday life alongside minor investigations and surprises, as well as interactions and opportunities to get your imagination and creativity cooking.
I was heavily inspired by a few crime stories and worlds that operate on the same plane of existence as the rest of us. Elmore Leonard’s people always feel grimy enough to probably live two towns over from us. I’m always chewing over Ed Brubaker’s work, especiaqlly his most recent RECKLESS books with Sean Phillips. I was also thinking about good dark Aussie crime like TWO HANDS and THE SQUARE and GETTIN’ SQUARE. That idea of criminal people just sitting around the suburbs trying to think their way out of problems intrigues, delights, and kinda horrifies me.
To play this game, you only need a d20, a d6, and the way and will to write out an awesome adventure.
These games are one-page pdfs, where you sit with some dice and a way to write and you slowly construct a story based around the set up and prompt table I’ve created.
This one allows you to craft a story where you explore your old home town, and discover the eldritch horror and secrets being barely kept beneath the surface. The prompt table has some really great little moments of exploration about the town, the people in it, and your own history as you slowly unravel what the hell has been bubbling under this town for so long, and why it took the life of you father recently.
I appreciate the people who have been sharing the link, and laying some coin down for this free game. Knowing these things land out there in the world is a joy, and it’s why I’ve already written the fourth entry into this collection – The Heist on Foley Lane [coming in late March].
Here’s the official info on the site:
You grew up in Kindred Rocks, building haunted memories with a smile, but left to finish your studies elsewhere and find your own life. Years later, you return to bury your father and move into the family home as you take his role as the town’s lighthouse keeper. But, alas, things in the hometown are just as strange as they ever were…
The Lighthouse at Kindred Rocks is a solo writing RPG that blends small town life with an investigation into eldritch secrets.
Use the one page document to start your journal about returning to your home town after your father’s death and then investigating 2 different mysteries. The prompt table will slowly guide you through weeks of everyday life alongside minor investigations and surprises, as well as interactions and opportunities to get your imagination and creativity cooking.
I was heavily inspired by just my aesthetic love of lighthouses, and the places that surround them. If I see a lighthouse on a trip, I’m gripped by the desire to go visit it, stare at it, see what’s around it. I can definitely draw a link between my love of eerie fiction and my childhood spent watching Australian TV icon ROUND THE TWIST, wherein a family moves to a small coastal town and lives in the lighthouse. I loved that show as a kid, and still do, because that setting just felt…boss. So I’m drawing from that deep childhood love, matched with the weird occult stylings of random stuff like: PAPER GIRLS by Cliff Chiang & Brian K Vaughan, China Mieville, FRIDAY by Marcos Martin & Ed Brubaker, maybe a little ROSEMARY’S BABY, and possibly even some of the “what is reality?” vibe of Philip K. Dick.
To play this game, you only need a d20, a d6, and the way and will to write out an awesome adventure.
This one is all about a mystical kung fu tournament where secen hidden islands send their best fighters to round robin out their talents and aggression to decide the next decade’s protector of the keys. It’s big awesome fun!
The whole thing was 100% percent inspired by my love of The Immortal Iron Fist by Aja/Fraction/Brubaker, and specifically The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven storyline. If you want fun in this tradition, you’re in the right place.
The one page pdf is free to download on the itch.io page, and I’d appreciate anyone sharing the link.
Okay, let’s go through a few things you might be thinking:
WHAT’S A SOLO WRITING ROLE PLAYING GAME?
Alright, a solo writing rpg is a “game” you can play by yourself, and by play I mean you end up writing something as you go through the game.
It’s usually a document with a set of prompts that get you to think about what your character does and what might happen along this story/journey that’s loosely laid out and then you fill in all the details – like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but each chapter isn’t written out with a choice at the end, you have to do the writing of each section, and we just help out with the choices/options of what comes next.
I’ve bought and read a whole bunch of them in the past year. Some are great, some are less great – usually it comes down to the general idea/genre/story, and then it’s the ability for the prompts to inspire creativity without being too guided, or too flat and vague.
The best ones create a chance to write a short entry every day where you follow your character through something interesting. The way I see it, if someone sat down with their notebook, pencil, and a d20 and just did one page a day, they’d come out of the process with a little stack of cool moments, ideas, pages, and their brain would be all the better for it. The world, too, if they decided to share it.
This one was created using the Second Guess System by Gamenomicon – which is utterly brilliant in construction – and inspired by their Hard Case game – a brilliant single page of construction and genre. I love that this model/structure was created, and then shared for free, and it really set my brain on fire. It’s about 5 minutes to read, and then you’re ready to go make something awesome!
WHAT’S WELCOME TO FARADAY ABOUT?
Welcome To Faraday is a suburban horror rpg where I position 3 mysteries, and you use this 1 page document to guide you through interactions and moments in your little town of Faraday to solve the mysteries, or not. I don’t provide the solutions, to be clear, you do that. All of the hard lifting is on the side of the player, I just provide the inspiration and general framework.
When thinking about this, I had the following things firmly in my mind: ‘Salem’s Lot, The ‘Burbs, Stranger Things, Suspiria, Home Sick Pilots, Kids with Bikes, and my own childhood in the 80s riding my BMX to the milk bar. This is the vibe, tone, and stuff I’m looking to also inspire.
A mash up of strange and surreal amongst the simplicity of suburban life. But the main horror element is decided by the player. I have set the mysteries, and the prompts, but you get to decide if it’s vampires, or aliens, or a sadistic megacorporation, or werewolves, or whatever you want. I wanted that flavour to be chosen by the player, but the setting and everything else is set up by me.
WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS?
I really want to teach creative writing with these, so I’ve been thinking about them a lot, studying them, and working out what I like best about them. Also, as a writer, I just love the creativity they inspire in my own brain.
I know I’m mostly writing comics, and I bang on enough about that, but I forget sometimes to mention how deeply I love writing of all kinds. I’ve written prose shorts, back up essays in comics, reviews, I edited a whole book of essays about Daredevil [it’s true], and I write a lot of D&D adventures I run at school and with my mates. As I fell further into these journaling games, it became another cog turning in my brain.
The perfect intersection between teaching these and playing these was to be creating these. The creation is just as creatively satisfying for me as playing one, and hopefully then other people get to play something new.
I am also 100% going to use this one in the coming semester’s Suburban Horror unit I’ll be teaching, so there was that motivation to create the exact tool I wanted/needed, also. That’s the reason why this exists and what pushed me the extra step to make this one specifically.
But even beyond that, I just like writing and creating stuff. This is how my brain works. So with no major script due on my desk, and a bit of time sitting at my table over a convention day, I put my brain to use on this.
I absolutely cannot wait to make more. I have some other genres and ideas I’m mentally sketching out and am dying to get to.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THIS?
You should go check the game out and download a copy.