Josh Howard writes:
Hi, my name’s Josh Howard, and I’m a comic writer and artist. If you haven’t heard of me, I got my start in 2003 with my creator-owned series, DEAD@17. Being my first book (and the publisher’s, too), the odds were completely against it. But it did okay. It gained me some good press, positive reviews, and a small but dedicated following. I was very fortunate to land a small hit right out of the gate — although it was something I had worked long and hard for.
DEAD@17 would go on for 12 years and 7 volumes before reaching its conclusion in 2015. A pretty good run, during which I was able to carve out a little niche for myself, make some new friends, and support my family for a few years. But it was never part of the original plan. In fact, the plan was for it to end it after four issues and then I would move on. There was another story I had to tell, and I was desperate to get it out. As soon as I finished drawing issue #4 of DEAD@17, I got to work on it.
But ultimately, the success of DEAD@17 proved hard to walk away from. “Strike while the iron is hot,” and all that. And I had begun to really fall in love with the characters. So I took the few pages I had started for this other story, set them aside, and got back to DEAD@17. This start and stop would happen twice more — once in 2005 and then again in 2008. The third time, it got as far as one issue being released — an issue #0 “origin special.” But before issue #1 could hit the stands, the publisher ceased operations. Fate had stepped in and again said, “Not yet.”
The story is called T-BIRD & THROTTLE. I created it 1999, shortly after creating the initial concept for DEAD@17. I was working at a comic store at the time, always sketching during my breaks (and usually on the clock, too). Surrounded by inspiration, I began to look at what defined certain superheroes — their designs, their origins, and their villains. What was the formula for success? What gave these characters longevity?
If one were to attempt to create something new, what options were there? It seemed all of the good motifs had been taken — bats, spiders, the American flag. As a joke, I began drawing a square-jawed hero who had taken his costume cues from an automobile. He had a grill and headlights on his belt, large wing-shaped exhaust pipes coming out his back, and a reflective “T” on his chest to act as a windshield — and the logo for his name: “T-BIRD.” I imagined he even had an engine in his chest to power him.
I thought it was fun and goofy and never took it too seriously. My friends and co-workers got a good laugh out of it, too. But every time I sat down to draw, I found myself taking another shot at him. Again and again he would show up in the pages of my sketchbooks. Something in me took his inherent silliness as a direct challenge. Maybe there was something there. Maybe I could make this work.
So the ideas began to flow. Who was this guy? Why did he dress this way and how did he end up with an engine in his chest? It wasn’t long before he gained a sidekick (Throttle), a couple of villains, and a tragic origin. The story of T-BIRD & THROTTLE would continue to grow and evolve, changing as I did. It swung from one extreme to another — from light and cartoony to dark and brooding, eventually landing somewhere in the middle. But in each iteration, the story was refined, gaining muscle and losing the fat.
All those false starts turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The story wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t ready yet. There were some kinks to work out, some growing I had to do as a writer and artist, and some life experience I needed to gain to make it all complete. All of which leads us to now.
Believing that the time is finally right, I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring T-BIRD & THROTTLE to life. Why Kickstarter? Well, the story is not exactly an easy sell. I’ve been told that indie superheroes are career suicide. Marvel and DC have that market cornered, so there’s no point in bothering. A challenge? Absolutely. Impossible? I don’t think so.
Most importanly, creating indie comics isn’t easy. The only way I will be able to take the time to do this and do it right is to make sure I’m financially covered while I devote the time necessary to get it done.
Visit the campaign page for all the details. There you’ll find more information about the story, the characters, and how I plan for the series unfold. You can also read a free, 16-page prequel comic that sets the stage for what’s to come.
I really believe in this story. If you like what you see, I hope you’ll consider lending your support to the campaign. Thank you!
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