Transdimensional is a horror science fiction comic book from writer/creator Michael Gordon and TPub Comics. It’s “Alien meets The Abyss meets The Wake” according to Michael. The creative team is on the verge of launching a Kickstarter campaign for the next issue beginning on Friday, March 2nd, 2018. Monkeys Fighting Robots spoke with Michael to talk about Transdimensional’s past, present, and future.
1. What was the longline for Transdimensional? How did you pitch it then and how would you pitch it to new readers now?
I initially pitched Transdimensional to Neil Gibson (of TPub Comics) as a sci-fi/horror comic, set deep beneath the waves. The story focusses on Deacon Price, an emotionally broken underwater archaeologist who charters an expedition, under pretenses, to a downed Soviet submarine that’s been missing for decades. What he and his crew find there will not only put their lives at risk but also the lives of everyone they’ve ever known! The story gets progressively darker, more intense and horrifying as it goes along, leading to a gory and harrowing conclusion.
I think I would still pitch it to new readers in much the same way now, although I would stress that the comic has a very strong emotional core to it, and a very relatable one. Deacon is a man who will do whatever it takes to save his daughter’s life, and that leads him to make some very bad decisions that put people he loves in harm’s way. But I hope I’ve managed to create a situation and a character that would make readers question whether they’d do the same thing in his circumstances. Nothing is black and white in this story.
Oh, and it also involves parallel dimensions and scary humanoid monsters with razor sharp teeth and doppelgängers who may or may not be evil. The usual!
2. Through the first two issues I got a vibe of The Abyss, Leviathan, and similar films of that era. What comics, shows, books, and movies inspired the series?
The very basic pitch for Transdimensional, that I tend to use at conventions, is ‘Alien meets The Abyss meets The Wake.’ I might even throw in a Dead Space reference, depending on who I’m talking to! And the Michael Crichton novel Sphere is also in there somewhere. In reality, though, even if those influences were definitely in my head whenever I was coming up with the story and characters, the actual comic hasn’t turned out much like any of them at all! They were definitely important touchstones for me when formulating the series, though.
3. Is horror/science fiction your favorite genre as a writer?
They are certainly two genres that I love, and I especially love when they’re melded together. When they’re done well, sci-fi/horror stories can really strike a chord and be as terrifying as they are visually spectacular or thematically resonant. I hope we’re accomplishing that lofty goal with Transdimensional. Because when these stories aren’t executed well, you end up with something like The Cloverfield Paradox, which was a bitter, bitter disappointment.
The other genre that I absolutely love is crime. I’m a junkie for the Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips comics, as well as classics like Scalped and 100 Bullets. I also adored some series’ from the last few years like Briggs Land from Dark Horse, The Kitchen from Vertigo, Last Sons Of America from Boom Studios and Spencer & Locke from Action Lab. I actually have my own crime miniseries entitled Red Winter waiting with the submissions teams at two different publishers, and I’m hopeful it’ll get picked up by one of them!
4. How many issues is Transdimensional designed to be? Is it meant to end or open the door to other stories in the same “universe?”
Transdimensional is a four-issue miniseries, and that’s all it will be (for now). Indie comics are very time-consuming and difficult to put together, so everyone is just concentrating on getting these four issues completed and printed, and I can’t say we’ve thought much about whether there are more stories to tell afterward! Henrique Pereira (pencils and inks) and Jan Wijngaard (colors) have just been such an amazing art team that I would LOVE to work with them again, though, so maybe once we get #4 finished later on this year and gauge the audience reaction, we’ll start the sequel talks (so to speak)!
5. Did you consider using or do you use other crowd funding sites like Patreon in addition to Kickstarter?
So far the only crowdfunding tool we’ve used for Transdimensional is Kickstarter, and it’s served us well. It’s a truly incredible platform, as it gives indie creators the means to connect directly with an audience. I wouldn’t have been able to fund Transdimensional without it, and wouldn’t have been able to build the relationships with readers that I have done over the two campaigns. It’s a lot of work to run a campaign, but it’s worth every single late night and the countless hours put in. As I go on and progress in my comics career, I fully intend to keep using Kickstarter to help get some of my personal projects out in the world. It’s become such an important part of the comic book industry, and I think it’ll just keep going from strength to strength, honestly.
6. What are some of the “perks” of your Kickstarter Campaign?
For the #3 campaign, we’re offering all the usual things (digital PDF’s, signed print copies of #1, #2 and #3, A4 poster prints of the series covers by the ludicrously talented Federico De Luca (Scout Comics’ MINDBENDER). But we’re also offering original art rewards; artist Henrique Pereira will draw backers an original commission of whatever character they want (within the realm of good taste, of course).
I’m very excited about the fact that we’re offering a few new things this time as well: a retro-style snapback Transdimensional baseball cap, and a long-sleeved baseball shirt! Check them out on the campaign page. I know I’ll be wearing them at the next convention!
7. What’s been your favorite reaction from a reader since you started Transdimensional?
One of my favourite interactions with a reader came at the first convention I attended with #1. It was my local convention, Belfast MCM, and a guy bought the comic on Saturday and then came back on Sunday to tell me how much he loved it. For an aspiring creator with his first indie book…that was pretty special.
Since then, I’ve had a lot of encouragement and kind words from Kickstarter backers and people who have bought it at conventions, and I can honestly say that every single person who says something nice about the comic means the world to me. The comic has also been very well reviewed, and some editors at big companies have read it and been pretty darn complimentary too. Which is a bit surreal!
8. Is Transdimensional available on Comixology or another digital reading service?
Transdimensional is currently being serialized on WebToons. The first issue will have been posted in five parts by the time the campaign for #3 launches on Friday March 2nd, and on that day #2 will start being serialized. So we’ll have that being updated on WebToons for much of the first two weeks of the campaign. It’s an interesting platform, as the reading experience is so completely different from reading a print comic or even a PDF. It’s not even exactly like guided-view on Comixology, but something entirely different from that as well. It’s getting a very good response so far, which is awesome, and I suppose I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital webcomics age at some point!
9. When does the Kickstarter campaign get started?
The campaign starts on March 2nd, 2018!