Indie fantasy western comic Oathbound shoots straight
A stagecoach hurtles across the hardpan desert floor. Shadowy figures take aim from above. Chocobos and jackalopes are tame and wild, respectively. Nevada, 1868. What a wonderful time to be alive.
Writer Kevin Cuffe alongside artist Paul Gori and friends’ latest project Oathbound, blends fantasy and western into a rootin’ tootin’ and high falutin’ fun first issue. Completely funded through an online Kickstarter campaign, Oathbound blurs the lines of both traditionally epic fantasy and western stories. While both writer and artist have been into the comics scene for a while, this is their first full, collaborative project.
There’s a lived-in feel at work in this first issue. A history, but one in which we can’t yet ascertain as to how things have yet come to be. It’s a breath of fresh air, though in a world inhabited with orcs and elves, we’re in for a bit of grim and gritty fun.
The fantasy is parsed out naturally as the story progresses, and heavy-handed it’s not. The spaghetti part of the western lays the sauce on thick, too. Characters are solid, three-dimensional beings with lives outside the panels. The panels themselves have a story of their own, growing organically within gun sights and wooden frames.
The hard-drinking, scoundrelly good guy has enough to make him likable, with an affinity for elvish women that’s checkered his past enough to make the story interesting. The orcs are characters all their own, playing up the work shy and layabout act of drifters. Their dress and demeanor polish off a subset of creature all Cuffe and Gori’s own.
The vernacular of the genre is spot-on, while the outlaws in Oathbound make you feel part of their posse. Only hinted at in this first issue, back-stabs and double-crosses are sure to make their appearance before too long.
While issue 1 of Oathbound is currently only available to backers of their Kickstarter project, keep tuned in to www.oathboundcomic.com for fun ephemera and your chance to own a copy.
As reported in my April 2015 column, State College-based writer/illustrator Jason Lenox successfully funded his Kickstarter campaign for Ugli Studios presents #3 featuring his sci-fi/fantasy story Lords of the Cosmos. Lenox is back at it again with a new crowdfunding campaign to bring us Lords of the Cosmos #1!
Lords tells the story “of the exotic planet Aiden, a planet lost to space and time, where all manner of escaped supervillains, heinous inter-dimensional demons, exiled Earth gods, ancient biowiazrds and corrupt war kings struggle on a hostile world that is the under the control of a sentient, planet-wide machine.” This wicked homage to everything that was great about 80s cartoons and action figures relies heavily on nods to favorites such as He-Man and Thundercats, but never nods off on action.
This crowdfunding campaign has a great retro television commercial promo, with 80s synth music to match. It’s definitely worth the price of admission, of which I made sure to. Levels of pledge commitment include digital and print versions of the comic, as well as neat little nuggets such as art lessons and portfolio critiques as well as custom action figure sculpts!
Lenox has successfully launched 7 previous campaigns, so he knows his market. Included in this issue are a 21-page main story (with seven extra pages) and three new stand-alone stories by various writers. Brand-new pinups, variant covers, and full-color toy packaging are included in this first issue.
Lenox’s Lords Kickstarter is currently 103% funded with a little over a week to go in the campaign; in addition, $8K unlocks next issue stretch goals. Jason Lenox will also be appearing at Nittany Con on September 25 in State College. If you haven’t backed his project by then, you will once you see his enthusiasm for the his 1980s tribute.
You can find more Jason Lenox and his previous projects here
This article originally appeared as my ‘So You Wanna be a Comic Book Nerd’ column in the September 1 edition of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette Showcase.