Kickstart From The Heart – Unbound

Kickstart From The Heart – Unbound

Bleeding Cool's  Kickstarter Correspondent, Shawn Demumbrum has lead three Kickstarter campaigns to launch comic books, two successfully funded and one that wasn't.  Each week he will point out some of the unique Kickstarter projects that wouldn't normally be published by the big comic book companies, but deserve your attention.  Shawn's current project Break the Walls: Stories Inspired by the Songs of the Pixies was also funded through Kickstarter  Interested in learning how to run a Kickstarter campaign?  Read his new series Kickstart Your Comic.

This week we talk to Kyle Stephens and Mariah Wall who are running a Kickstarter campaign for their new comic book series Unbound.

Tell us about Unbound.

Kyle:  Unbound is set far in the future, 2554 to be exact, in the former country of Greece.  In this alternate time line science fiction was wrong, deep space travel is not an option.  Because of this humanity has to mine to get their resources.  There is no regular form of Government anymore.  Corporations run everything from healthcare and jobs to education and the police.  The population is now split; you either live in poverty or in the lap of luxury.  There is no middle class. Like most of the population, our main character, Liam, lives in squalor.  Also like most of the people, he works in the mining industry.  He specializes in deep earth mining, one of the most dangerous avenues in the industry.

Before the events of the story, Liam loses his family to disease.  Feeling like he has nothing else to lose, he signs up for the deepest dig in history. He will be going close to the molten layer.  Before reaching the scheduled depth, his drill breaks into an unmapped cavern.  This cave turns out to be the Underworld, home of Hades the god of the dead.  The violent intrusion also awakens the god.  Hades finds that his wife is missing and he can't reach his family.  Hades, who has weakened over time, forms a deal with Liam.  Help me find my wife and family and I'll return your wife or son.

How did you come up with the concept?

Kyle:  Well, Mariah and I had wanted to work on a book together for a while.  We also wanted to work on a story that had characters that most people, even just in name, would know.  After discovering we both had an affinity for ancient Greek Mythology, we decided that would be the basis for new book.  From there we hit the ground running.  We spent a lot of time at the local coffee shops working on plot details, concept art and scripts.  Both of us have had our hands in every area of creation.

The idea to bring it to the future was something we both really wanted to do.  That decision allowed us to have a little more creative freedom, while not shying too far from the source mythology.

Mariah, how did you get involved with Unbound?

Mariah: Kyle and I have worked together on a previous project called Evil Robo Presents through Evil Robo Productions, and we formed a good friendship. One day we were talking about how we wanted to create a story of which people can recognize familiar characters, but with our own envisioning, of course. We both enjoy Greek mythology and came up with Unbound: The Awakening.

What elements of Greek design did you include in the Unbound?

 Mariah: I've been looking through ancient Greek art, such as the pottery, and studied the clothing and architecture. In the 'poor' districts there will be less influence of Greek design. Once our characters enter the 'rich' district there will be a mix of futuristic technology with callbacks to ancient Greece. For example, amongst the clean sterile buildings of the future, there will be cypress trees and remnants of the temples incorporated into the modern buildings. There will be decor involving the 'Greek key' patterns. The fashion will have the futuristic angles and bold designs with slight influence from the flowing robes of Greece. I recently made concepts for the guards of Olympia City and they have influences from various armor worn by soldiers in ancient times.

Is Liam and Avery based upon any specific Greek Mythology or a more general heroic archetype?

Kyle: This actually a tricky question.  Something will happen in the second arc (Unbound: The Rise) that would be spoiled if I delve too much into it.  But, I can say this; both characters have traits of the Greek heroes (Heracles, Odysseus, Jason, and Perseus to name a few).

Is Kickstarter your primary distribution method? How can people get a hold of the book once it's printed?

Kyle:  Kickstarter is being used for the initial print of Unbound.  We have already spoken to a few stores who are interested in picking up Unbound.  After the Kickstarter closes and we approach our deadline, I will be reaching out to more stores across the country.  Mariah and I are also looking into digital distribution as another way of releasing it.  Finally, we are reaching out to backers/fans/comic lovers and asking them to speak to their local shops about picking up Unbound.  For those people whose shops won't pick it up, or if there isn't a shop around, we are working on a mailing list.  This will allow us to announce upcoming releases and how to obtain them.

What is the print run for the Mike DeBalfo Kickstarter variant covers?

Kyle: The initial print run of Mike's cover is limited to thirty-five (35) issues.  Twenty-five copies are for the Kickstarter campaign.  The remaining ten copies are for conventions and stores.  Once they are sold out, they are gone.

What are your plans for Unbound beyond this Kickstarter project?

Kyle: We have two more major arcs planned beyond Unbound: The Awakening.  Those two arcs are titled Unbound: The Rise (mentioned above) and then Unbound: The Fall.  As of right now we are looking to make the full run be a total of roughly thirty issues.  That number will of course change as things get going, but that is the initial plan.

Who is your favorite Greek God?

Kyle: My personal favorite is Hades.  I love the mystery that surrounds him.  Compared to the other gods, he has very little mythology.  This as a mythology fan leaves me wanting to know more.  This also allows me to have a little more fun while creating the story. 

Who do you consider your artistic influences?

Mariah: My current artistic influences are modern 'Disney' like animation styles. For Unbound I was envisioning a bold and colorful feel to convey the story as well as more animated gestures and facial features. I am always inspired by art by Michael Turner for his amazingly clean pencils and muscle anatomy, and Sean Gordon Murphy for his energetic inks. There will always be a slight manga feel to my faces as manga was the first style I learned to draw.

Where can people go to find out about Unbound? And your other work?

Kyle: For more info on Unbound: The Awakening, people can go to the Kickstarter page or the Facebook fan page.

Where can people go to find more of your work?

Kyle: My other work can be found linked at the Syndicate Press Facebook page.

Mariah: People can subscribe to me on, or check out my new portfolio at!

Kickstart From The Heart – Unbound

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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