Review Fix chats with Mark Bernal From Lesser Known Comics, who discusses the brand’s origin and goals for 2021.
Review Fix: How was Lesser Known Comics born?
Mark Bernal: During the initial COVID lockdown, I began writing the scripts for our flagship series called “Bruja” which follows a punk rock Latina witch as she goes on adventures, dabbles in vigilantism, and kills fascists.
In November 2020, I began working with Andrea, Kati, and Franco to start developing concept art and storyboards. In January 2021, we founded Lesser Known Comics and began work on our first mini-issues. The mini-issues are all based in the same Lesser Known Universe. These mini-issues are essentially “extended previews” for our full-length issues that we’ll begin releasing at the end of the year.
Andrea Pescosolido – Illustrator
Kati Drinkwine – Illustrator
Franco Luna – Illustrator
Mark Bernal – Writer
Jesse Watkins – Graphic Design
Briana Borgella – Project Manager
Ivette Villa – Outreach
Review Fix: What makes you guys different?
Bernal: We are a seven-person team spread around the US (Washington, California, Texas, Wisconsin, and Virginia) and one of our illustrators is in Argentina.
Each artist takes on different but overlapping storylines whithin the universe and will sometimes even capture the same scenes but from different perspectives.
Review Fix: Tell us about your work.
Bernal: We believe we have created an ideal workplace for comic book creators. Our goal is to not only make dope comics, but also change the industry standards for how artists are treated. Our artists have among the most favorable contracts in the industry that focus on giving them the most creative freedom, best work/life balance, and the strongest collective bargaining rights.
Each artist’s compensation is not contingent on completing a designated number of pages, storyboards, or products. This allows artist to spend work hours doing things like trying out new techniques, software, or learning something new about their craft.
Lesser Known Comics has a rule that it will never encourage any team members to sacrifice quality time with family and friends in order to achieve success at work. This include time for self-care. They are encouraged to recharge by going surfing, gaming, or meditating on “company time.”
Every artist has the ability to halt production on any product containing their original creative content if they feel that the profit-sharing terms are unfair or if they simply do not like how their art is being used.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2021?
Bernal: Our goal is to publish about a dozen mini-comics leading up to our Halloween special. The storylines from the mini-issues will converge in a “Pineapple Express” meets “Nightmare on Elm Street” finale that will tie the whole Lesser Known Universe together.
Our plan is to make these mini-comics for free in every comic book store in the US. We want to support comic book stores by avoiding platforms like Amazon. We would rather work with people’s local comic book stores to make sure our stuff is available.
Review Fix: Where can people find out more?
Bernal: The best place people can find out about Lesser Known Comics is on our Instagram account @lesserknowncomics. Hopefully we will finish our website soon. And if people have any questions, they can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Review Fix: What’s next?
Bernal: We will be starting our crowdfunding campaign next month. We are currently working with other comic book creators and some really amazing comic book collectors to figure out how to make the best crowdfunding perks possible.
We know it takes a lot of faith to give money to a crowdfunding campaign for a new company, so we want to make sure that we do everything we can to give back to everybody supporting us.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Bernal: We have been blown away by how supportive the rest of the Indie Comic Book Community has been. We have received so much encouragement and helpful advice from the whole indie comic book community.
Our message to the whole Indie Comic Book Community is: If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to ask us!
Also, we are currently accepting submissions from indie comic book creators. We want to bring on writers and artists to work on our Lesser Known characters. But we also want to help other indie comic creators to get their stuff published through us. This means that web comics can work with us to have their strips featured in our issues.
We plan to work with other indie comic book makers to publish their own mini-issues (5-9 pages). Even if they don’t eventually join our team, we still want to do everything we can to help members of the Indie Comic Book Community get published.