KICKSTARTER SPOTLIGHT – SENTINEL ISSUE 8: TO BE A HERO

Mike Collins’ Limited Cover Looks Great

Not so much an unstoppable juggernaut as a comfy hatchback that happily takes on hitch-hikers, Sentinel comic is the little UK indie that just won’t quit, with fans that are happy that’s the case. Whilst other indie publications rake in thousands on Kickstarter, Sentinel is back with it’s eighth campaign that aims to cover costs with anything over £800 a welcome bonus.

Issue eight is the publication’s first foray into the world of superheroes, but it’s not just your every day, run on the mill, ho hum superhero story (it sez here).

“To Be A Hero” see the introduction of a new artist in the Sentinel stable in the shape of Andrew Richmond, the Bath based veteran of such comics as Brawler, The 77 and Blazer. One problem he and writer Alan Holloway have in promoting the issue is the fact that to describe it in any great detail ruins the clever plot device used. Suffice to say it allows Andrew to utilize his talent in different ways, though he doesn’t go as far as he originally planned. “Initially I was going to draw it in massively different styles… Manga, Beano, Photographic,” he explains. “But I chose to draw it as me but with a few stylistic references. I wanted it to be more cohesive and less jarring for the reader.”

“He’s being modest, as usual,” laughs writer Alan Holloway. “He has still managed to make the different sections of the comic have their own look, and designed quite a few hero costumes just going on the name I gave them.”

I asked Andrew what drew him to draw Sentinel. “I’d backed a couple on kickstarter and was aware of them because of the UK indie comic explosion brought on by Covid. I then wandered into Alan’s shop and within a couple of hours had the script,” he says. How about the script itself? What grabbed you? “I liked the way that it played with the reader with it’s twists and turns, using the superhero genre as a starting point.”

Indeed, the comic will certainly take a few readers by surprise, especially if they’re expecting a standard superhero romp. As we have seen in previous issues, Alan never likes to do things the easy way. “I really try to give people something they won’t get anywhere else,” he says with a shrug. “When you pick up a copy of Sentinel, you should be prepared for some mad stuff and a few surprises, be it removable testicles, a dragon ripping a child molesters arms and legs off, or a horror story where no one triumphs over evil.”

And there’s more to come, with Alan churning out scripts faster than even all the artists involved can draw them. “I’ve always been a fast writer, “ he admits. “Ed Doyle, the co founder, is a great, quick artist, but Andrew rivals him in that department. The main problem we aren’t professionals, so finding the time can be hard, but so far every single person has been amazing.”

Andrew is enjoying his work, and is already looking forward to his future issues. “We have the Horror special coming up next,” he says, “and a Victorian Horror for next year. Alan is prolific and spoils us artists.”.

Are they looking for more artists and writers? “Well, we always welcome new artists,” Alan says. “They have to be prepared to do the equivalent of a full comic, most likely for the love of it and a few quid. We can’t afford page rates and EVERYONE mucks in and does what they can. We’re a little creative family, and it’s heartening to see sometimes. Me and Ed never imagined others would want to do it like we do. As for writers, we simply don’t need them. I’ve got scripts ready to go, others ready to be written… for now, it’s a closed shop, though we are planning a horror special next year and am happy to get in new writers for that. It’s gonna be deadly, with the old ‘Mature Readers’ tag and plenty of gore.”

So there you have it. “To Be A Hero” is on it’s way to being funded, but still has a way to go since it started three days ago. The 64 page issue features a complete story, and my own opinion is that I love it. It’s clever, amusing and action packed, and when they finish, every single reader will want to go back to page one again, just to check they aren’t going mad. Andrew really works well throughout, and all the designs combine to make a visual feast.

Back it here from £2.00, with art commissions from Andrew available as add ons. The first six pages are in the Kickstarter if you want a preview.

Kickstarter Link: http://kck.st/3yKLlh2

Mel Bagnall

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