Comic book legends need you to kickstart new graphic novel

Tom Mandrake and John Ostrander want to bring their vampire vision to life - but they need your help!

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Frequent DC comics collaborators, writer John Ostrander and artist Tom Mandrake are crowd sourcing the funds to their new graphic novel, Kros: Hallowed Ground.

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The duo have brought their collective talents to numerous titles, notabley The Spectre, as well as making a name for themselves individually working on everything from Batman to Star Wars.

Tom and John wanted to bring their vision straight to readers without involving a publisher or editor who may have their own publishing schedules or agendas that need to be addressed.

"Kickstarter gives us the opportunity to create our own universe, not try to fit our ideas into an already existing one. We have proved we can do that many times!" admits Tom, who is known for his dark and moody style.

American Dhampir

kros fight scene

Kros, the vampire/human hybrid battles at Gettysburg

Sharing a love of both horror and history, the team decided to focus their graphic novel on the American civil war, more specifically the Gettysburg campaign. "When we began batting ideas back and forth about a dhampir, whose battle picks up when the human battle ends it seemed a natural fit! An opportunity to create a horror story framed in the 3 days and nights of the Gettysburg campaign is a very challenging and creatively exciting concept!" Tom reveals.

"Every really great vampire story creates it's own set of rules, a new tweak for the concept or a return to an older legend. Kros: Hallowed Ground will introduce a new type of vampire created specifically for this story. I'm not telling, so no spoilers!"

kros face

Kros has the same strength as a vampire, but as a living man, none of the weakness

The project has allowed Tom to just be himself, "I love working on dark, atmospheric projects, perhaps I'm adding a little more illustrative flair to the finishes because I've got a colour artist (my daughter Sian) who understands how to add to the work without burying the black line."

Sian has a wealth of artistic genes (her mother is fellow comic artist Jan Duursema), so her colouring skills should prove to be an asset! "I am a traditionalist," says Tom. "I like to feel the brush and pens against the texture of the paper and I like the smell of the ink and white paint! But Sian will be colouring the project digitally."

Show your support

exclusive panel

Kros: Hallowed Ground black and white panel displays Tom's distinctive artwork

The team need to hit $49,534 in order to fund the project, but are offering an abundance of incentives to all their backers.

Tom promises those who support them won't be sorry: "Fans should support us if they have enjoyed our work in the past. If they liked our versions of The Spectre, The Martian Manhunter, GrimJack, Firestorm, Batman or any of our other projects I can guarantee they'll love Kros: Hallowed Ground. If they are unfamiliar with our work why not take a look, see why we have been so successful as a storytelling team for so long!"

I like to feel the brush and pens against the texture of the paper

With less than a week today – the Kickstarter campaign closes on Thursday 30th July – you better get in fast!

Pledge just $10 and you will receive a beautiful sketch card by one of the team. If you pledge $1500 you will be honoured with your own likeness immortalised as a speaking character in their story, and Tom promises there shall be more chapters to follow! Other rewards include exclusive, original Batman and The Spectre artwork, illustrated by Tom himself.

"Hallowed Ground is three days in the extended life of a Dampyr... Kros lived a long time and did many things before he got to this point, there are a lot of stories to tell in this universe we are creating!" he says.

Click here to find out more about the project! And scroll down for some more exclusive colour preview panels...

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Words: Alice Pattillo

Alice is a staff writer for Creative Bloq, ImagineFX, 3D World, net and Computer Arts. She enjoys comic books, tea and bad horror movies.

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