The work on the preview volume Ex Libris Amiculi has begun! Over the next several weeks, I will be posting updates in the form of pencil, line and color art from this book. By March 2014, we should have a completed 20-page issue, hot off the press!
Now for our regularly-scheduled programming:
Odoacer, or Odovacar, was commander of the Germanic foederati (allied foreign) troops in Italy at the time of Orestes and Romulus's usurpation of the purple. Odoacer's rise to kingship was supposedly foretold by a Christian saint, Severinus, who told the poor young soldier, "Go to Italy, go, now covered with mean hides; soon you will make rich gifts to many."
Having all the assets Orestes had, along with significantly better judgment and people skills, Odoacer made short work of his former master, the Emperor, and the remnants of western civilization, setting himself up as Rex Italiae, the first King of Italy.
However, Odoacer gets mixed reviews as a king. He killed a Roman count to solidify his base, enacted few administrative or social changes, and showered gifts on his followers. He expanded his kingdom by invading modern-day Austria and Croatia.
His troubles began when he conspired with a Byzantine usurper and attacked Eastern Roman territory in support of his coup. The Byzantine emperor Zeno responded by unleashing the Gothic king Theoderic the Great on him, who invaded Italy, trounced Odoacer in battle after battle and forced him to surrender Italy to him. According to historians, Theoderic later personally hacked Odoacer to death at a banquet.
Fascinating how history keeps repeating itself during this period, eh?
I am savagely unphotogenic. Art looks good, though!
I am pre-empting this week's behind-the-scenes character study for this: a feature article on Amiculus in one of my hometown newspapers. Check it out: it's a really good overview of the idea, history of the project and the places it's going!
Next week: Odoacer, king of the barbarians and Orestes's sworn enemy. You will see his history, the unlikely connection between him and Orestes, and his violent end, plus the influences that went into his character.
Food for thought for the future
Thought you'd gotten rid of me, din'cha?
Ten or so days out from the ultimately unsuccessful completion of the Amiculus Kickstarter, I've had some time to reflect on the campaign and make plans for the future. I'd like to start by going though a list of Things That I've Learned:
1) "Failure" was very useful, and to a degree, necessary: as a newbie to Kickstarter, I learned a lot about what I didn't know. My takeaway was that Amiculus probably needed a bit more exposure and publicity in the run-up to the campaign for the amount I was asking. That said, I gained hard proof that the project is a marketable one, and I gained a great deal of exposure from the campaign and a nucleus of followers (you) that I plan to keep in the the loop every step of the way to the next campaign.
2) Planning for contingencies is never bad: Maintaining momentum in a project like this is crucial. While things are at a lull at the moment, we will be springing back into action in just a couple of weeks with the preview issue, Ex Libris Amiculi. Look for regular posts with debuts of art, character biographies and history, and some Roman Debauchery Fun Facts here and there.
3) Cat-Skinning 101: There's Always More Than One Way: Kickstarter is just one means of fundraising. While I am grateful for the support of my "Amiculi" in the campaign, and plan to launch another (reduced) campaign next spring, I am already devising a capital strategy that, if all goes well, will completely fund the art creation of the entire first volume, allowing me to present an all-but-finished project to my potential backers for Kickstarter 2014, with exciting new rewards and incentives. And, by the way, early signs show things are already going very well.
Bottom Line: Amiculus: Volume I is happening, come hell or high water.
More to come soon!
Travis Horseman is a writer, actor, and an incurable graphic novel junkie. His love of comic books, theater and classical history have largely driven the course of his life, and he is doing his darnedest to unite them in Amiculus: A Secret History.