Talbot Toluca- a Kickstarter you need to see.

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Posted June 2, 2014 by Sam Liggett in Comic Books

My name is Ken Lamug, I am an artist and I love to tell stories with a twist.”

Ken Lamug is creating a new comic, "Talbot Toluca- Quest for the Crystal Ores"

Ken Lamug is creating a new comic, “Talbot Toluca- Quest for the Ore Crystals”

That is how Ken introduces his Kickstarter project, and it’s a perfect summary of what he is trying to do with “Talbot Toluca-Quest for the Ore Crystals”. I got the opportunity last week to talk with this extremely talented writer and illustrator and it was a great experience. Ken is fantastic, very open and genuine and easy to talk to. One of the first things I asked was about his picture book “About a Box” which he self published in 2012 and which has since become and award winner. He wrote the book based upon a dream he had and what I wanted to know is what changes when you go from the guy that scribbles down the idea for a book in the middle of the night to an award winning author and illustrator. His answer was humble and gave me a great insight into the man behind the artwork.

“I don’t knowit’s not really a seperate persona. I’m just trying to do something that I enjoy.”

He went on to explain that he works in computers and that his creative works are so different from his day job, they’re like an escape for him. All of his creative work, his book, his collaborative comic “Tales From Lost Vegas”, the comic he is working on now, they all fulfill a need he has to create and the reward for him is that other people enjoy what he creates. With “About a Box” he says that he woke up one night with an idea and it just wouldn’t leave him, he HAD to finish the book. Once he’d finished he decided to self-publish, a process which he admires the comic book industry for having mastered.

The comic's cover, featuring Talbot and Damien.

The comic’s cover, featuring Talbot and Damien.

With that, we turned to his Kickstarter project; “Talbot Toluca- Quest for the Ore Crystals” is his first solo comic venture and it looks pretty promising. He’s marketing it as an “all ages” comic filled with logic puzzles and hidden object spreads, making sure that it’s accessible to kids while still holding interest for adults. It’s a daunting task that he’s undertaken but he has a little bit of help. Talbot Toluca, he told me, came from a couple of different sources. He was driving his kids to school one day and they were playing a bit of a game, making up a story together, and came up with a group of kids rescuing a teacher. He took this a step further, looking back into his own childhood to a school he attended with some underground tunnels and a “nerds club” that he and some friends formed in those days.

 

“These kids are smart but with different backgrounds and they try to solve different things together” he says, and that’s where this tale of Talbot and Damian, the main characters of the first issue, really started to come together.They are just two kids having this adventure, trying to save their teacher in this really crazy situation.  Other characters like Professer Boz, Samantha, Dr. Kadoom, and the robots came later and each will have backstory added in other issues, but Talbot’s adventures trying to save the professor will remain at the story’s core.

In creating Talbot’s story, Ken has faced some pretty serious challenges, some of which he will face up until publication day. Luckily, he’s got some help in alleviating at least one problem. The puzzles, mazes, and hidden object pages are meant to be fun but something that is possible to be solved and also integrate into the story. So, for instance, as Talbot and Damien come to a locked door, the reader will encounter a maze or puzzle. Ken said he was struggling some, trying to figure out how a kid would solve these problems when it came to him- he passed off the puzzle to his son and just “watched how a twelve year old went about solving the puzzle.”

The "candy world" that Ken's son helped him come up with.

The “candy world” that Ken’s son helped him come up with.

Publishing was an issue as well.   “A lot of  people use overseas publishers” he told me, ” it’s cheaper to print them that way, you know. But this guy is local and I already know him.”   The publisher, Pop! Goes the Icon, was a collaborator on Ken’s previous project “Tales From Lost Vegas”, a comic whose proceeds fund events at a local library so they are already familiar with one another. Ken also says on the kickstarter page that they’ve done some test prints of pages from the Talbot Toluca comic and they “look great”.

Ken and other contributors on "Tales From Lost Vegas"  published by Pop! Goes the Icon.

Ken and other contributors on “Tales From Lost Vegas” published by Pop! Goes the Icon.

The biggest issue for Ken is time. With a full time job he only gets to work a couple hours a day on his comic, which is difficult for him as an artist. He explained that the process of creating new art for each frame is difficult “because I’m always evolving as an artist…. I don’t think it will ever be perfect, ever be really finished until it’s printed.” He told me that in creating some of the different dimensions that Talbot and Damien will be visiting, he tried to get really inventive and take them to completely unique places and every time he looks something over he just wants to make it better and is always finding new things to tweak and improve.

"Formatting the hidden object spreads was difficult too, you have to consider that it's taking two pages, and how do you do that without it being overwhelming but still make it part of the story" -Ken on the challenges of adding interactive elements to a comic book.

“Formatting the hidden object spreads was difficult too, you have to consider that it’s taking two pages, and how do you do that without it being overwhelming but still make it part of the story” -Ken on the challenges of adding interactive elements to a comic book.

The best part of any artwork is the amount of love that the artist puts into it. Ken is pouring every ounce he can spare into Talbot’s adventures, and willingly shares his passion and excitement on every forum he can. For him, this project is about others more than it is about himself. He’s passionate about helping children find their way into literacy and thinks that comics is a great way to bridge the gap for kids who are intimidated by the longer, more involved books. It’s a different way to love reading, according to him.

Comics, a different way to learn to love reading.

Comics tell the same invlolved stories as other books, just in a less intimidating way, says author, Ken Lamug.

One of the last things I asked whas why he chose to explore crowdfunding for this particular project, apparently it was just another challenge for him to tackle, like the many he has already bested. “I was just curious how it would work, I wanted to know what I could do.” he shared, following it up with the note that he would need the exposure to share the book because “I’m not as popular as maybe I think I am”.  He’s been able to share the crowdfunding experience with other artists, as well, helping them find out what works and what doesn’t. When I asked what  would happen if he was overfunded, I was a little shocked. He’s already planning on adding extra gifts to give back to his contributors if there’s extra funding. At first he said that he “hadn’t really thought that far ahead” but quickly backtracked and mentioned that the artist making the models of Talbot for a higher-level reward has already begun working on some small ore crystals like the ones in the book that could be attached to a necklace, “just as something to give back to everyone”.

A small poster featuring characters from the comics, one of the many rewards available for helping to fund Talbot Toluca.

A small poster featuring characters from the comics, one of the many rewards available for helping to fund Talbot Toluca.

Ken’s heart is very clearly in the right place. He wants to create great art that everyone can enjoy, and share that with as many people as possible. Check out his kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rabbleboy/the-tall-tales-of-talbot-toluca-quest-for-the-ore to learn more about Talbot, Damien, and the rest of the crew.

Ken Lamug is a Las Vegas based artist with a blog at www.rabbleboy.com, check out his site for Talbot www.talbottoluca.com and contact him on twitter @rabbleboy. He also has a children’s book out called About a Box, you can learn more about it at www.aboutabox.com.


About the Author

Sam Liggett

Sam enjoys books and coffee (preferably in tandem) as well as card and board games. She lives in an attic and watches Pokemon (nearly) every day with her husband and their tiny human.