FELIPE SMITH is back on his creator-owned shit with his first Kickstarter campaign!

Check out this video (and some screencaps) from the Kickstarter campaign to launch the brand new creator-owned comic from GhettoManga Award-winning writer-artist Felipe Smith (All-New Ghost Rider, Peepo Choo, MBQ).   Based on teaser images Felipe had been sharing on Twitter, I thought this new project was gonna be a straight Los Angeles buddy cop story.  Boy, was I wrong!

I first got to know Felipe Smith via his debut graphic novel series MBQ.  Upon completing three volumes of the autobiographical OEL fantasy at the multinational publisher TokyoPop,  Felipe took his skills across the pacific to create PEEPO CHOO for Japanese manga magazine Morning Two (which was released in the states as a three volume series of right-to-left paperbacks by Vertical).  After returning to write for the biggest and best in American comics and television, Felipe is back on his creator-owned shit with Death Metal Zombie Cop, combining Felipe's love of Los Angeles, diverse character design, and mind-numbing ultraviolence to create a California nightmare of epic proportions for us to enjoy. 
When Felipe showed up at Marvel to create the Robbie Reyes incarnation of the Spirit of Vengeance for All-New Ghost Rider, I was a little disappointed that he wasn't drawing it, and I know a lot of our loyal GhettoManga readers expressed that sentiment as well.  I also expressed some ambivalence about having such a free iconoclastic spirit as Felipe's bound up at a corporation, even one I like as much as Marvel.
A company like Marvel provides a lot of benefits, with the ability to offer a greater cultural relevance, social reach and raw budget than an indie creator could ever hope for.  For example, I recently finished watching the fourth season of Marvel's Agents of SHEILD on Netflix, which prominently featured Gabriel Luna's portrayal of Felipe's Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider every bit as badass as their comic book counterparts.    More Americans probably watched that show in one night than have read all of his comics to date. It was awesome, but knowing how his mind works from MBQ and especially PEEPO CHOO (which was published in Japan, beyond the boundaries of corporate American commercially minded political correctness), I know Felipe would love to push Ghost Rider beyond the limits of polite anti-hero sensibilities into the realm of horror befitting gruesome visage.
  A creator-owned, crowd-funded comic like DMZC would not be bound by those sensibilities of course, and this preview reads like a glorious highlight reel of moments rejected by corporate gatekeepers. Funding Death Metal Zombie Cop means that Felipe's fertile imagination need not be shackled by plans to make action figures or endorsement deals for breakfast cereal and fast-food kids' meals.
I am happy to see creators like Felipe see mainstream success, to flex their muscles on the biggest stage in front of the biggest audience possible.  To add their iteration to list of interpretations of characters that have been propelled into the status of modern myths and archetypes.  To take their place beside the great anonymous storytellers of antiquity.
But I am more excited when they return to their creator-owned projects, using the fame and expanded fan pool that the majors afford them to fuel their independent voices and unique, authentic stories.  While a large company with hundreds or thousands of employees must maximize its audience, and avoid alienating segments of the market, individual creators are free to offend and even reject whole swathes of the market in pursuit of the authenticity that inspires life-long loyalty among their true fans.
Corporate entertainment juggernauts are great, but no one can satisfy a fan of genre entertainment like the independent creator!  No one can advocate for and deliver diversity in comics like the self-employed cartoonist.  A creator-owned crowd funded comic is a direct statement, even a conversation at times, between an artist and his or her fans.

I have been writing about Felipe's comics since 2006, consistently covering his travels and progress as a creator.  His productivity, fearlessness, and ambition are staggering.  Taking advantage of his mainstream success to leverage control of his career in this way is a perfect next step for him, if he can pull it off.

This Kickstarter campaign is designed to allow Felipe to focus his considerable work-ethic on Death Metal Zombie Cop #1, which he is looking to get out in time for us to give thanks.  CLICK HERE to support the vision, and to truly unleash Felipe Smith on the world.

Have great day!

Samax Amen is a professional Content Developer, Illustrator and Cartoonist. He is the artist of many great comics you never heard of like Herman Heed, Champion of Children, The Brother and The World As You Know It. He even writes and draws his own comics, like Dare: The Adventures of Darius Davidson, Spontaneous, and Manchild when he gets around to it. Because making comics is hard and stuff, he started GhettoManga as a blog in 2006 and as a print magazine in 2008.

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