Venus Rises work in progress - art by James newell

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Venus Rises, a hard SF adventure comic

Venus Rises LogoJason G. Birdsall, the creator/writer of Venus Rises, an indie sci-fi comic book series, recently launched a crowdfunder for the second issue on Indiegogo – and the project, with art by James Newell, looks pretty amazing.

In the near future, Earth was devastated by a chain of cataclysmic events leading to a pandemic collapse of governments. The human race narrowly escapes Earth with technology amassed by mega-corporations, and colonises Mars and Venus.

As Venus becomes home to the working class, and Mars the seat of power, two friends enlisted in the Mars Defense Directorate uncover the first signs of civil unrest. Humankind finds itself once again at the crossroads of extinction as… Venus Rises.

Venus Rises #2 - Sample Art

Venus Rises #2 - Sample Art

Venus Rises #2 - Sample ArtVenus Rises #2 - Sample Art The comic is based on an original sci-fi web series Jason conceived, wrote, and directed back in 2007, which he funded completely out of his own pocket. Sadly, it quickly became too costly to maintain all the physical sets, 3D artists, and actors.. production was regretfully shut down after filming just three episodes. But Jason took his Episode Four shooting script, along with an unfinished Episode Five script (a precursor to a planned Series Two), and has adapted them into a graphic novel, with Series One concluding as a comic.

Jason has been the driving force since its inception. While a love of science-fiction has driven this latest project, his deeper love of film making has driven his life, and he spends the majority of his time behind the camera, where he hones his creative talents.

Along with writing, producing, and directing Venus Rises, he is also a talented video editor, amateur craftsman and set designer.

In this upcoming issue, the crew of the salvage spaceship Cattywompus find themselves at the epicentre of humankind’s first interplanetary civil war, in a future where Earth has become inhabitable, the rich have fled to Mars and the rest of Earth’s population were effectively duped on Venus, to live and provide to the elites.

After generations of lies, poor living, and servitude…. Venus Rises!

Venus Rises work in progress - art by James newell
Venus Rises work in progress – art by James Newell

It’s clear Jason has invested a huge amount of time and energy into this project and he’s looking to not only create comic books, but also create a totally original sci-fi universe around the concept.

But aside from the story, one of the coolest rewards for backers of this campaign, aside from variant covers by Stefano Fortis and Adam Stone, has to be a seven-inch 3D print of the salvage spaceship Cattywompus.

“I wanted to create a science factual series containing historical and speculative elements, leading to a conflict between two factions of people on very different sides of the social hierarchy,” says Jason of Venus Rises.

“The comic book medium allows me to ignore the budgetary restraints I had with the web show,” he notes, “giving me the freedom to finally match my imagination.”

Hailing from Galway, Ireland, James Newell is one of the creators who’s work you’ll find in FQP indie projects such as Zarjaz. He also edited and contributed to the comic anthologies Fix and Fun Stuff, and drew “Eldritch: the Last Unicorn”, written by Jason Cobley, for Bulldog Adventure Magazine; “Skin Shift”, written by Bill Storie, for Big Z Graphics; and created single panel cartoons Off the Head Cartoons and Couples Breaking Up, with writer Rory O’Mara.

The project offers a healthy dose of hard science fiction – that is, the kind of science fiction that gets into the nuts and bolts of science, discovery, and exploration – is under represented in movies and television.

The artwork for Issue #2 is near completion and the team are aiming to have the comic and all rewards in backers hands by August 2019 (if not sooner), unless there are unforeseen, real life day-to-day job, happenstances… so go and take a look…

Venus Rises #1 CoverCheck out the Indiegogo campaign here

Venus Rises #1 is available from Comixology here

Check out the Venus Rises project at venusrises.tv | YouTube

• If you’re interested in getting first looks at exclusive backer rewards, new pin-ups, latest press, etc., follow the Venus Rises Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter. They’ll have the most up to date info, along with reminders leading into the campaign

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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