Conner Bartel has been engrossed with graphic novels since his older brother gave him a Predator comic book when he was 5 years old. Somehow, that didn’t scare him away. Now, Bartel is preparing to launch his second Kickstarter for his own graphic novel, Grimwood Crossing.
“I always wanted to be some kind of a storyteller,” Bartel said. “Comics are a collaborative medium but requires commitment from fewer people than film. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
Bartel has written other comics including All We Need, a four-page horror story about a mother and daughter who live in the woods by themselves and Forever the Last, a three-page post-apocalyptic short story about a man who is destined to wander for eternity.
The supernatural western graphic novel that Bartel is currently engulfed in focuses on the sheriff of Grimwood Crossing who has to protect the town from vampires, zombies and werewolves. With the help of his young deputy, they must fend off an outlaw with demonic powers.
Bartel began writing the script for the comic in 2014. A year later, he found an artist online named Atagun Ilhan who lives in Turkey. The first issue of the series was released in August of 2016.
Even though Ilhan and Bartel have never met in person, they typically collaborate via video chat or Facebook.
“My favorite part of being a comic writer is the collaborative process. When writing a script, you have a very clear vision of your story. But when you hand that script to the artist, his vision of that story merges with yours,” Bartel said. “When you actually get to see the emotion on your characters faces, it makes you see them a little differently. So the final story becomes much more nuanced than the script. This only works if you fully trust your collaborator as a creator, and I think Atagun [Ilhan] and I have achieved this.”
In June, a Kickstarter was launched for the first volume of the series which consists of issues 1, 2 and 3. With the help of 155 backers, funding reached 144 percent. Bartel will be launching a Kickstarter campaign for the second volume of the series on Jan. 15, which will contain issues 4, 5 and 6. The second volume will complete the series.
During the Kickstarter campaign, t-shirts and art prints will be available, as well as special editions that include extra Grimwood stories and art from guest artists.
Readers can get physical copies of issues 1, 2 and 3 at Boscos on Spenard Road or at indyplanet.us. Digital issues can be purchased on comixology.com and on Amazon.