I love a good indie comic book series; especially one with an exhilarating story, witty dialogue, amazing action sequences, stellar illustrations, an ex-mercenary monkey, and giant, killer robots. Yeah, Jake Smith‘s This Off Beat Town is my kind of book.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign for the first issue, Jake is back with the quirky, “off beat” characters that make the city of Nero so entertaining. With a goal of $10,000 for issues two through four, Jake’s new campaign has already raised almost 90 percent with 15 days to go, and has some awesome rewards as well!
I was able to speak with Jake about his project and am happy to share the interview with all of you here at Geeks of Doom. Check it out below along with his Kickstarter campaign video!
“THIS OFF BEAT TOWN” is a science fiction action comic taking place in the futuristic, dystopian, Hong Kong-esque city, Nero. The goal for the series (if successfully funded) is to have every arc (3-6 issues) take place in a different part of the city dealing with a completely different group of characters! Each arc would be a completely different story set in the same city!
This first arc tells the story of FELIX, an ex-mercenary monkey dude, on the run from his previous employer, who he has extremely pissed off. The second issue picks up right after the first with (SPOILERS) Felix being chased by robots!
Geeks of Doom: Jake, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here at Geeks of Doom.
Jake Smith: Yeah, no problem! Thanks so much for having me.
GoD: Can you first tell us a little bit about yourself?
JS: Sure! My name is Jake Smith, I’m 21 years old, and I like drawing comics. I’ve been going to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) the last few years, studying art and the craft of comics. I launched the Kickstarter for the first issue of my book This Off Beat Town and it did pretty well, so now I’m back for the next few issues.
GoD: For those who may not know, can you give a brief synopsis of your comic book series?
JS: Well, the overall concept for the book is that every arc has a new story and new characters, but they all take place within this cyberpunk, Tokyo-esque city called Nero. This first arc is about an ex-mercenary monkey guy named Felix who is on the run from his ex-boss, who wants his head. He’s being hunted by other mercenaries and robots and all sorts of cool stuff.
GoD: How did you first come up with the idea for this series, and has the story changed or progressed since its initial conception?
JS: Well, I’ve had the title, This Off Beat Town, for years. I kept writing different sci-fi stories to attach to it and never had a favorite one to go with, so I decided to make the universe a place where any of those stories would make sense in the world, and I could just be free to goof-off and write/draw whatever I want.
GoD: Why did you go the Kickstarter route for your first issue of This Off Beat Town?
JS: I liked the concept of people giving money to the projects they actually want to read, and it seemed to work out for a lot of other books, and I thought, “Why not mine?” The support and kind words I got on there last time was awesome.
GoD: After a very successful campaign – raising over $9,300 towards a $3,500 goal – what did you learn about the process and what changes have you made with your new campaign for issues 2-4?
JS: I learned a ton. Shipping was a big one. I calculated exactly what I would need for shipping and made sure I added an extra shipping cost for international backers. That killed me last time in the funds department. I’ve also made my surveys precise this time and all that. This one will go a lot more smoothly (laughs).
GoD: On your Kickstarter page, you mention that each new arc of the series will take place in a different setting within the city you’ve created, and focus on a different cast of characters. Any idea what your next arc might look like, and can you give us any hints?
JS: Oh yeah! I’m writing the next arc with my buddy Hiram Corbett, who is a huge Kung-Fu movie buff. All I can say right now is that it will have a lot of elements from kung-fu movies. I’m super stoked about it!
GoD: Which comic creators influence your work?
JS: Oh, I’ve got a huge list, but here’s a few: Tradd Moore (who is doing a variant cover if we make it to $15,000), Sean Murphy, Tony Moore, Frank Quitely (duh), JAMES FREAKIN’ HARREN, Jamie Hewlett, Chris Burnham, the list goes on.
GoD:How can the Geeks of Doom community help support you?
JS: By spreading the word! Sharing the Kickstarter Campaign around on your social media! Also, pledging to the Kickstarter will help tremendously! Anything helps. I’d love to do this book for a long time, if people like it, and I’m trying to work up to being able to put the book out without the use of Kickstarter; but until then, I need the help of comic fans like you guys! Thank you so so much for the support, it means the world to me.
Be sure to visit Jake’s Kickstarter campaign and chip in if interested!