Thursday, November 21, 2019

Kickstarter Spotlight | Road Trip To Hell #1-#2 The Angel Of Death

Welcome to the Kickstarter Spotlight! Kickstarter has quickly become a place for indie comic creators to launch their books, and here at Comic Phanatic, we want to shine a Spotlight on them! For the first edition we have chosen none other than the Comic Maven herself, Nicole D'Andria's Road Trip to Hell #1-2: The Angel of Death, where after finding out that everyone from Hell is trying to kill him, Francis must save his sister from a hospital full of Nazis!

Comic Phanatic: Before we dive into the Kickstarter why don't you give the readers the elevator pitch for the book?

Nicole D'Andria: A dark comedy with action and horror elements, Road Trip to Hell is the high-stakes journey of a young man who finds out he's the son of the devil, who's died and left him the ruler of Hell; now he has to fight all the escaped historical figures from Hell who want to take the crown away from him!

CP: Where did the inspiration for the book come from?

ND: When I took psychology in high school, I was always fascinated by the nature vs. nurture argument. I really wanted to put that into a story, but back then, pretty much everyone thought it was nurture over nature. Then, years later, my college roommate/best friend and I had a friendly argument after watching the trailer for the TV mini-series Rosemary's Baby about whether the son of the devil would be evil. That amped me up to return to the nature vs. nurture argument and explore the ultimate example of that struggle: the son of Satan (which was going to be the title of the book until I realized Marvel had a title by the same name)! The books changed a lot from my initial concept to the final product, and I developed a lot of it for one of my college classes as part of my final senior project! It combines a lot of things I love: horror, dark comedy, empowering female characters, and twisted historical figures! 

CP: Tell us about the characters?

ND: Francis Rhoades is the son of Satan! He was born with the "gift" of being able to see terrible things that are going to happen to people when he touches them. He tries to do the right thing, despite his hard life being different from everyone else. Francis can be easily frightened and is far from confident... but when his family is in trouble, he can be a real rock.

Star Rhoades is the only true family Francis has ever known. His sister via adoption, she has a sharp wit and doesn't take things lying down. She's quick to make a joke, especially to make her brother smile... and so he can forget the fact that she's just gone through a mastectomy and is hoping to beat cancer once and for all!

The rest of the characters are variations of historical figures. Key players include Francis' literal guardian angel Joan of Arc and the executor of Satan's will aka Baphomet. You'll also see a lot of other messed up historical figures who want to take the throne of Hell for themselves. 

CP: The art style on the book is very distinctive, how did you decide on the art team for it?

ND: I've met so many awesome art teams by working at Action Lab Entertainment. I basically have a list of people I want to work with if I have the right project for them. I knew exactly who I wanted on this book and I'm so happy I was able to get everyone! Marco Maccagni had wonderful artwork in Vampblade. His action scenes were great, but what really sold me and made me want him for Road Trip to Hell was his distinctive facial expression. They had an anime feel to them that I really loved. 

I became familiar with Joaquin Pereyra's work through his colors on MediSin, which I thought would vibe well with Marco's lines. And did they! His colors really made everything pop for me.

Finally, I knew I had to work with lettered Justin Birch to round out the team since I've worked with him on numerous titles, including the Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir comics, and he always does an awesome job. 

CP: What is your working relationship with the artist like, and how does that help the creative process?

ND: Between the artist, colorist and letterer, I like to think we all have a great relationship! They're super communicative and it feels like they really get what I'm going for with Road Trip to Hell. I've seen their work on other titles, I know what kind of awesomeness they can all create, and I think that all helps me feel confident when I hand over my scripts to them that they're going to turn in an awesome issue. The communication really makes the entire creative process so much more fun!

CP: What made you decide to take this project to Kickstarter instead of pitching it for Action Lab?

ND: I decided I wanted to start off with 100% freedom by Kickstarting Road Trip to Hell myself. It's possible I may one day pitch it to a comic company, but right now I want to see how far I can take this title as a self-published book. Regardless, I'm not pitching it anywhere until I finish at least the first story arc/volume (3 issues worth). After that, I'd like to look back on the volume's progress and see where we should go from there...

CP: This is the second issue of the series, how can someone who didn't back the first issue get a hold of it?

ND: This Kickstarter actually includes all the perks from issue one! So I decided to include both issue numbers in the Kickstarter title. That’s a great tip I picked up from Tyler James on his ComixLaunch Podcast episode “Second Issue Kickstarter Launch Strategies”. 

CP: The book has a dark theme with the protagonist being the actual son of the devil, how do you balance that with humor?

ND: I love dark comedies. I love watching shows that can have you laughing one minute and bawling your eyes out the next minute… or maybe make you do both at once! So, I decided to apply that to this series. It’s definitely a fine line since I don’t want the comedy to ruin an intense moment, fall flat or, worst of all, come off as insulting. As a result, I try my best to bring my A-plus comedy game while still keeping the stakes high.

CP: The cover is very striking with a Nazi on it, what made you use them in the book?

ND: When I decided to use actual historical figures as the antagonists, I researched some of the most horrible people in the world and made a long, long list of possible antagonists. And I’m going to use as many of them as I can! Of course, the first horrible historical figure I thought of was Hitler, which then spiraled into my researching numerous other Nazis who did such horrifying things… so I knew I had to include them as escapees from Hell. It ended up working best to have them be the first major antagonists for arc one… and while they may show up in future arcs, I’m definitely going to be introducing a lot more horrific faces from history as well into the mix in the upcoming issues and story arcs. 

CPSpeaking of covers, you have a great variant cover for the book, how did they come about? 

ND: The only variant cover we have so far for the book is for issue one, which is an adorable Zoe Stanley variant! I’ve seen Zoe’s awesome variant covers for books like DollFace and Zombie Tramp, so I knew I wanted to work with her on something. And that I wanted to have chibis! So I combined those two wants and had her do the variant for issue one. I’m hoping to have her do variants for the first issue of each arc… but I have gotten people asking for more variants, so I may consider asking her and maybe some other artists I’ve been wanting to work with to start doing variants for issues two onwards. We’ll see how people react!

CP: Is this type of darker humor, your usual humor, or is it something you chose because of the story?

ND: I definitely felt it fit best with this type of story. My usual humor depends on how well I know a person. I’m more likely to make a lot of jokes if I know a person pretty well, and I can get pretty sarcastic when I know someone really well. My darker humor doesn’t come up too often, and even then, I share it with people I’m super close to. So, this is a great way for me to share a side of myself I don’t get to show to a lot of people. And it’s a lot of fun to write!

CP: Why should someone back Road Trip To Hell #1-#2 The Angel Of Death?

ND: If you’re a fan of horror, dark comedy or action, Road Trip to Hell has all of those enjoyable elements. If you’re someone who enjoys seeing historical figures in bonkers stories, you’re in for a treat. And if you’re a fan of comics like Hellblazer or Preacher or TV shows like Archie’s Weird Mysteries or Reaper, I think you’ll love Road Trip to Hell

CP: What are the rewards for backing this project?

ND: Besides all the rewards from issue one (digital/physical copies of the first issue, Zoe Stanley’s variant cover, etc.), you’ll have the option to get digital/physical copies of all the covers for issues one and two. At higher reward tier levels, I can use my professional comic book editing skills on your script (plus you’ll get a bunch of other rewards too) plus “Producer” level credits. Everyone who backs the Kickstarter will also get a mention in the second issue’s “Thank You” page; this is the one and only opportunity anyone can get that!

CP: Delivery is everything with Kickstarter, when can backers expect their rewards?

ND: For physical rewards, I have an estimated delivery date of February 2020. There will be a two week period after the Kickstarter where I’ll be collecting names for the “Thank You” page. After I get that page finished, I’ll send out digital rewards right away and the final files to the printer. If all goes according to schedule, backers may have the comics in their hands by January 2020. Regardless, I’ll be updating the backers frequently once the Kickstarter ends so they all know how the schedule is coming along!

CP: What else would you like to tell backers and potential backers alike?

ND: I want to thank you all for taking the time to look at Road Trip to Hell! This is a really special series that I think brings something unique to the comic book world, and I’m so excited to keep growing this story into the epic saga I know it’s going to be! Please check it out on Kickstarter and if you have any questions, message me on Kickstarter and I’ll be happy to answer them.  

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