After his original, somewhat worrying correspondence, we check back in* with Ian Mondrick about the TOMB OF THE BLACK HORSE CAMPAIGN.
*To clarify, this letter was tied to the leg of a very thirsty and exhausted carrier pigeo- no, seagull, that found us, somehow.
A blazing orange sun hangs in an open sky, no shade or mercy in sight. The suffocating heat crisps my bald spot and coaxes a fetid smell from the mountains of garbage surrounding us. I attempt to gather my legs underneath me, hands failing to find purchase amid the six-pack rings and crumpled soda bottles. My foot slips into a space between two detergent containers, salt water soaking my shoe from below. This floating island of plastic hangs somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from shore. But before my internal monologue can set the scene further, I’m nearly blindsided by a spin kick, the steel tip of a combat boot rippling the briny air millimeters from my cheek. As I tumble back into the refuse, his gruff voice follows me down: “It ends NOW.”
My eyes widen as I shake a wet grocery bag off of my face, and a big, goofy smile spreads across the lower (better) half of my face. My mouth opens and that familiar, simpering voice comes burbling out of my soup cooler:
“But the TOMB OF THE WHITE HORSE campaign got off to such an incredible start! We were funded in 53 hours, and unlocked our first stretch goal at the end of our first week, which is a mini digital anthology featuring 11 short comics from me and Benjamin Æ Filby, the TOMB co-creators! I’m sure you just mean-”
His knee, flying through the air like some sort of cartilage-missile, connects directly with my left temple (my favorite of the two). As I roll onto my back, eyes ping-ponging in their sockets, I try to size up my assailant. A shorter man with angular hair and raven’s features (did I get that backwards?) stands before me, dressed in what can only be described in tactical L.L. Bean gear. My attacker’s scowl can’t hide the perfect, gleaming white teeth hidden in a face that looks impossibly both young and weathered. His fists cocked in front of his face, he prepares his next charge and says with a well-rehearsed sneer: “You haven’t won yet. There’s still time to stop THE TOMB OF THE BLACK HORSE.”
“There’s actually 18 days left to stop it! We’re hoping to hit the 300 backer mark before the midpoint of the campaign, which is Tuesday, March 8th. It’s an attainable goal, but we really need help getting the book in front of new people. Sharing really helps! Online AND off – if there are any comic or horror fans in your family or workplace, PLEASE tell them to go to TOMBCOMIC.COM and check out the campaign page!”
A barrage of hyperspeed fists come barreling at me, connecting lightly but sternly to my cheeks, nose, throat and left nipple (although I think that last one might’ve been a miss). This mystery super-agent then pirouettes away before sweeping his foot around him in a VERY dramatic way and beckoning me forward with an equally beckoning fist. Looking confident, secure in his powers, he asks me: “Who are you REALLY working for?
“No one, silly! We’re self-publishing, which means we need all the help we can get. Benjamin and I agree that we should be focused on making comics, not selling comics, which makes the marketing and salesmanship portions of a crowdfunding project the more difficult side of our work. But we’re getting better! This is the most successful Kickstarter we’ve ever run, and we’re not even at the halfway point! The response to the previous books has been incredibly positive, and we’re hoping to exceed expectations when the books come out in September of this year.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it, punk!” My attacker shouts, grabbing me by the shirt and throwing me out into the open sea. I shout “THAT’S TOMB COMIC DOT COMMMM!” as I fall into international waters, hopelessly sputtering and flopping about. (I’m nothing without my water wings.)
Before long, I see the tell-tale dorsal fins, and shortly after, I can feel the noses of ancient sharks brushing up against my thigh, probing for the safety of their next meal. I take a deep breath, ready my pitch, and stare straight at the nearest Great White making a beeline for me. As its mouth opens, rows of teeth on display in front of me, I turn on my best salesman voice and say…
“By any chance, do you like horror comics?”
TOMB OF THE BLACK HORSE is the penultimate issue of the four-part apocalyptic horror series and it’s currently funding on Kickstarter. Go to TOMBCOMIC.COM to check out our campaign, and please consider backing us to help bring this indie comic to life.