Is there anything better in this world than 1980s nostalgia? Of course not! And that’s why the guys from Image’s Hack/Slash and Hoax Hunters —Tim Seeley, Steve Seeley and Michael Moreci — have turned to Kickstarter to help celebrate the pack-in comics that came with a variety of 1980s action figure lines…that never existed.
Mini Comics Included is a celebration of the perfectly-square comics that came with He-Man and other 1980s figures, based off original lines created by these creators and their friends. The creative team has turned to Kickstarter in this campaign to help fund a special series of six comics in the exact format of 1980s action figure pack-ins. More than that, contributors to their Kickstarter campaign have a chance to even get custom toys of some of these unique characters. We turned to the minds behind this madness to get the scoop.Newsarama: Guys, tell us about the project.
Tim Seeley: Mini Comics Included started with me, Steve and Mike sitting around at a bar talking about how excited we used to get for new comics. We hit on the idea that the comics that would come with a brand new action figure held the most wonder and excitement for us when we kids, and so we decided we'd try and recapture that excitement with a line of mini- comics with brand new ideas inspired by that bygone era.
Not retro comics...but taking the best things about those toys and stories and making brand new, cool stuff.
Nrama: How did this project come together, and how did it come to be on Kickstarter?Michael Moreci: Steve, Tim, and I all share a similar affinity for this particular culture of toys, comics, and cartoon – He-Man, Thundaar, Micronauts, Starriors, late Kirby work, even back to Toth and Space Family Robinson. It’s a very specific, yet broad, collection of works.
And it’s certainly not just us who share this passion—lots of people out there share our affinity. We all grew up on this stuff, that’s true, but there’s more to it. These stories, comics, cartoons, whatever, had real merit, real heart and substance and wonder.
We adore this storytelling, you know? Doing this project isn’t just a half ironic trip down memory lane.
Getting more to the point, we had been kicking around the idea of a Kickstarter for awhile. But it had to be something unique where we can truly say, “we could only do this through our own efforts.” No comic publisher would take on Mini Comics Included—not the way we’re doing it, at this size with the incorporated toys.Backing our Kickstarter isn’t just a commitment to some project that likely could’ve been done anywhere else—you’re investing in something totally unique that wouldn’t exist in comics culture otherwise. Nrama: Give us some examples of the mad crew of characters on this.
Moreci: Oh geez…well, there’s Fourilla, from Prime-8s. Let’s start there. He’s a gorilla. He has four arms. Fourilla. And he’s joined on the Prime-8s team by characters like Ba-Boom, Power Mandrill, and ApeX. You can probably see where this is going.
We also have Colt Noble, which marks the return of Tim’s beloved character. And, of course, Dracula Man and Grave Angel, from Superbeasts. There’s Kikina Balls, from Dead Star Divas.
Let’s not forget Marksman Twain, H.G. Wheels, and Sylvia Psychoplath from Literary Commandos. And Daxxis, a woolly mammoth…thing from The Omega Family.
We’re just having fun here. This is Tim, Steve, and I being our most unfiltered, creative selves. The result is…a little weird.Nrama: And give us some of the crew of creators working on it.
Moreci: We are so incredibly lucky to working with such talented, dedicated artists on all these books. Brent Schoonover, of Mr. Murder is Dead, is illustrating Prime-8s, with Jack Davies on colors. Sean Dove, a terrific designer/gallery artist, is on Dead Star Divas. Clint Hilinski has art duties for Colt Noble and Superbeasts.
And then there’s Paul Tucker—seriously, watch out for this guy, he’s so awesome and unique—doing Literary Commandos and The Omega Family.
It’s a great lineup. You can hate Tim, Steve, and I—you’ll want these books for the art alone.
Nrama: What have been some of the unique and crazy challenges of doing this through Kickstarter?Moreci: Mainly the infighting and bitter creator disputes. Kidding! Too soon?
I think one of the biggest things we’ve wanted to do is incorporate or backers into the drive. Want them to be part of the Mini Comics Included experience, not just investors. That’s why we’re doing stuff like having an incentive where Steve, Tim, and I draw all over your books and offering super rare toys. You’ll have this stuff that hardly anyone else has. That’s pretty cool, to me.
We want to engage the people we’re offering this book to. People asked for a Murder (from Hoax Hunters) figure, so we came up with a Murder figure. And we have a few more cool incentives in the same vein before this drive is over.
But, there’s a fine line here. Because, in the end, you still need to get people to commit their money, and while we intend to come off as excited and genuine, there will always be the salesmanship involved. To us, salesmanship is a by-product. But whether our efforts are perceived that way, you can never really tell.Nrama: I know Tim's done some of the mini-comics with the Masters of the Universe Classics line – do y'all have any favorite minis you can recollect from the 1980s? And how crazy is it some of the later He-Man ones had Steven Grant AND Bruce Timm working on 'em?
Steve Seeley: Both Tim and I have huge mini comics collections. Tim not only has every He-man figure, but has every He-man mini comic as well. I have tons of others from Sectaurs, Max Steele: Robo Force, Ani-Max, Starriors, the list goes one, almost all of them we've had since childhood. We love those damn things.
And yeah, the talent that worked for those was crazy. I've always been partial to the Mark Texeira and Alfredo Alcala issues.Nrama: Name your most favoritest and obscurest 1980s toy lines. Triple-mad props if you recollect Inhumanoids, Sectaurs or any of the myraid He-Man knock-off lines.
Steve: Oh man. Where do I begin. I have a huge ‘80s toy collection. And I'm gunning for some of your mad props, because my specialty is He-Man/ MOTU knock-off lines.
I have hundreds (and hundreds) of them. No joke. I’ve got ‘em all. Galaxy Warriors, Defenders of the Planets, Warrior Beasts, Pirates of the Galaxseas, Skull Force, Sun-Man, Lord of Insects, Turly Gang, Flexatron, Satyr Masters of Abyss, you name it.
But my all time favorite, Speclatron. A line of He-man KOs with clear chests that are filled with water and glitter. How couldn’t you love that?
I hope your "mad props" are worth all the future wedgies I'm gonna get for just being outed as a huge nerd.Nrama: MY PROPS ARE ALWAYS WORTH IT. Now, you're releasing a few limited figures as part of the Kickstarter incentives, but are there any plans to mass-produce these bad boys? And name some of the dudes contributors might be able to get.
Tim: Well...mass-production is difficult for a couple of guys in a basement or studio with a can full of resin. But, we'll make enough to share with contributors, and some for conventions. They'll be limited and collectible, and most of all, fun.
We're doing exclusive versions of BOG-NAR from ManorMonster Studios, Galaxxor from Ben Spencer, Treegarr from BigManToys, and a collaborative Dead Star Diva figure from me and ManorMonster! Steve and I will also be producing some Skraven figures, the maniacal henchman of Poe from Literary Commandos.Nrama: For those who fund this Kickstarter – how close are you to having the project complete and available to ship out?
Moreci: The artists are working as we speak. Paul is nearly done with both Literary Commandos and The Omega Family. All the other books are in various stages of production. Every cover is complete, character designs, all that stuff. When we say the books will ship in August, we mean it.
Nrama: What are some other creators/comics you're currently reading/enjoying?
Moreci: Daredevil from Waid is out this world. Sixth Gun. Can’t wait for Five Ghosts—that’s going to be a big series. Hellboy, Masks and Mobsters, God Hates Astronauts, Edison Rex, Battlepug, catching up on Sweet Tooth, re-reading Byrne’s Fantastic Four. Too much good stuff out there!Nrama: What's next for y'all?
Tim: I continue to write Revival for Image Comics, as well as Witchblade and the soon-to-be-wrapping-up Hack/Slash. I drew some covers for Archie, which I'm really psyched about, and I have a number of other projects waiting for me to finish up!
Moreci: More Hoax Hunters; we have an awesome, special issue (#9) out next month. It’s a flipbook, giving what you’d see on the TV show on one side and what happened behind the scenes on the other. Then we go into the final arc of season one.
Also, my Monkeybrain series, Skybreaker, launches March 27. A revenge Western exploring the violent roots of American life. 99 cents for 23 pages of content!
Steve: It was a blast writing the minis. I'd love to see us eventually do more. Whether they be the same characters, or all new ones. The 1980s was such an amazingly creative time with no shortage of ideas to be inspired by or to pay homage to.
Get your Mini Comics Included through this Kickstarter campaign.