By: Henry Barajas
Talent/Project Manager: Spencer Toyama and Jon Lewis
Days to Go: 16
The spiel: While I was waiting for at the Kickstarter panel at NYCC someone was giving out preview copies of their book. Someone ambitiously finding their audience and getting their book in the hands of people that appreciate self published work, that man was Spencer Toyama. We struck up a conversation about his Kickstarter project and how far he came to get more press about his work. After reading the 30 page preview to Home of the Brave: Struggle & Triumph in a Broken America on the six-hour plane ride back to Arizona, as soon as I stepped off the plane it became a personal mission to see this project succeed.
“Wonderful Work” – David Mack artist/writer of Kabuki and Daredevil
“Home of the Brave looks to be a well-made project by two promising creators…” – Aaron Colter, Comics Alliance
“To support this project is a no brainer.” – Brett Schenker, Graphic Policy
“Superbly phenomenal new and original….Please spread the word. Rob a bank to contribute, if need be.” – Richard Caldwell, The Lottery Party
The duo is trying to raise 12k to print the 132 page hardcover graphic novel. They have a plethora of rewards such as digital downloads, exclusive Kickstarter variant covers, signatures from the creators and original ink sketches from Lewis. They have made the first 30 pages of the book available for download here.
Who were you before you started making comic books?
Jon Lewis: Before I started to make comics I was on a road to define myself as a working designer in a struggling ecosystem. To say that I am winding down the formative years of my design career would be accurate; however as a visual storyteller, I embrace the fact that I still have much to learn. As a self motivated creative, I’ve always looked at a project of collaboration as an opportunity for mutual growth. And I think that approach to growth is what best defines my transition from who I was when I started, to who I am now. I’ve evolved into a creature that is more inspired by the marriage and harmony of gathered ideas, than the homogenized vision driven by a higher order. It’s always been my goal to break down the walls of communication on projects as a designer; working on a comic book has been the most liberating experience in that regard.
Spencer Toyoma: I was a human that enjoyed comic books, graphic novels, anything Joss Whedon, capoeira, and long walks on the beach. I suppose I am still that person, but spend a heck of a lot of time promoting our book on Kickstarter.
Honestly, this project has actually been a huge awakening for me. Through Home of the Brave, I’ve been fortunate to be involved with courageous people on the front lines of human trafficking. Non-profits like The Somaly Mam Foundation (please read The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam), the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, and Daughters Rising are all organizations that have truly opened my eyes to what’s going on in the world and locally. Few people realize how pervasive the issue is, and I for one was rather ignorant about the sex-trafficking that happens in my home state of Hawaii.
Henry Barajas is the co-creator, writer and letterer for El Loco and Captain Unikorn. He has also written and lettered short stories for two successful Kickstarter SpazDog Press projects: Unite and Take Over: Stories inspired by The Smiths and Break The Walls: Comic Stories inspired by The Pixies. He is the Newsroom Research Assistant for The Arizona Daily Star and was nominated for the Shel Dorf Blogger of the Year award for his work at The Beat. You can follow him on Twitter @HenryBarajas and Google+.