The Hell Blog

LAST WEEK – Hockeypocalypse: Slashers

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers continues to batter its way through the playoff series that is crowdfunding, and like an NHL playoff series, this one has been a grind.

For a series that I’ve been able to sell over a thousand copies of at conventions and book fairs, trying to crowdfund Hockeypocalypse is, for whatever reason, far more difficult than seems reasonable. I’ve thought a lot about why that is, and I have yet to reach any reasoning other than for some reason the audience of people who want these books and the audience of people willing to follow my work online overlap very little. Regardless of the reasoning, the result is discouraging! So if you’ve been thinking about it but haven’t gotten around to it yet, click the image below and get that preorder in.

The Beat included Hockeypocalypse: Slashers as the leadoff in their Crowdfunding Projects We Love roundup, with someone other than me confirming that you do not, in fact, have to like hockey to enjoy this book.

Support the book’s existence by preordering it on Zoop. I’m aware that for some, using something that isn’t Kickstarter might seem iffy, but let me assure you that Zoop is, in fact, a real, reputable service, exclusively for comics that are cool as hell.

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers Halfway Update

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers has hit the halfway point of the campaign, time-wise, so it’s time for another update!

Hockeypocalypse is a series that is near and dear to me, and has been a passion project for over a decade now. It began humbly, with a desire to engage with hockey, a sport I love, without being driven to a blind fury by the worst stretch of hockey ever played by the Edmonton Oilers. Drawings of hockey mutants in my sketchbook started turning into a story, and what would become The Battle of Alberta graphic novel was the ultimate result of that. Along the way were many rejections, and more uses of the phrase “it’s great but I don’t know how to sell that” than I’ve ever heard. It’s still the thing I hear most commonly when pitching Hockeypocalypse, and as a result, every book in the series has been a DIY endeavour.

Hockeypocalypse has probably done more to improve my writing than any other series, because sports stories are reliant on finding an emotional core beyond “I hope they win.” In Slashers, that core is a reflection of experiences making comics – what happens when you get what you want, but it stops feeling like enough? What happens when you get to play hockey full time, your dream for your whole life, but now it’s normal? The excitement isn’t there anymore, it’s like a job, it’s a thing you do. That’s where Stretch is at when we begin our story, and he needs to find a way to get things figured out, because if he can’t then all of the people in Edmonton are going to be victims of the maniacal Cold Lake Slashers.

This is the best book I’ve ever drawn, but this crowdfunding process has been quite a grind. Check the book out, and support it. Maybe get one to donate to your local library!

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers Week 1 Update

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers has been live on Zoop for a week, now, and while it got off to a hot start, progress has stalled for a few days. This is common, but also incredibly frustrating because I genuinely believe that Slashers is the best book I’ve ever drawn, and I want people to be as excited for it as I am. It needs to cross the 50% mark this week to stay on track to, you know, existing, so if you’ve been meaning to preorder, don’t wait! Supporters aren’t charged until after the campaign is over, and adding more supporters creates a snowball effect of people wanting to get in on something that other people think is cool.

I also want to highlight a very fun new addition to this Hockeypocalypse campaign that wasn’t available previously: original art commissions! Do you want an original drawing of yourself or someone else as a hockey mutant? Of course you do. Those are available as add-ons for the campaign, at a much lower rate than my usual commissions! Click the example self-portrait to head to the Zoop campaign page!

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers – First 48 Hour Deals

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers has launched on Zoop, and to hopefully lower my stress levels, there are some great deals for the first 48 hours.

Hardcover copies of Slashers will be available for $20 CAD ($16 USD), and a bundle of Slashers and all four previous Hockeypocalypse books for $60 CAD ($48 USD) – that’s over FIVE HUNDRED pages of Hockeypocalypse!

Click the images below to pre-order your copies via Zoop, and also make me significantly less stressed out.

Rent-A-Thug on Webtoon

I’ve entered Webtoon’s Call to Action contest, and did so by going back to a world I haven’t visited in a long time – Rent-A-Thug! I had a blast adapting a style that had originally evolved into a way to hide being bad at drawing. Figuring out how to keep the same visual signatures while modernizing it to my current skill level was challenging, but I’m very happy with the result.

Please check it out, like, and comment. Audience engagement is part of the judging criteria, so I unfortunately cannot rely on having made a rad comic alone. Click the image below to go to the comic!

Coming Soon – Hockeypocalypse: Slashers!

It’s taken a lot of time and effort, but Hockeypocalypse: Slashers is nearly upon us! The crowdfunding campaign to finance the book’s publication will be taking place on new comics-only platform ZOOP beginning on June 21st. You can sign up now to be notified when the campaign goes live – there are some awesome early-bird deals, and the faster it is funded, the faster I can breathe normally again.

Click on the cover image to go to the campaign’s Zoop page, where you can sign up to be notified via email when the campaign launches on June 21st!

Ukrainian Aid Links

I am a cartoonist, and therefore my analysis of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is utterly worthless to anyone who wants actual information. What I DO know is that innocent people have been killed, hurt and displaced from their homes by the hundreds of thousands and this total will only rise in the coming days. If you want to help them, I’ve collected a few links to organizations that are helping people in the region right now. If you, like me, are horrified by what is happening and wish you could do something then that’s as good a place to start as any.

  • Canadian Red Cross: the local wing of an international emergency-relief organization. The federal government says it will match individual donations by Canadians.
  • Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders): a humanitarian group that’s been supporting Ukraine’s COVID-19 response. According to their website, they have pivoted their mission in the area to assisting with emergency medical care as well as providing training and supplies/help to local health care workers and volunteers. They also have personnel active in neighbouring countries to help people who have fled there.
  • Save the Children: an international NGO delivering emergency aid to Ukrainian families.
  • Voices of Children: offers psychological support to children affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Welcome, New Readers

Hello, comically large number of new readers, and welcome to Hell, Inc. Who knew that having a single popular tweet would be more effective than several years of actual promotional effort?

With so many new folks, I thought it would be a good time to reintroduce myself and what I’m up to. I am Jeff Martin, a cartoonist in Edmonton, Alberta. I got my start in 2005 doing a weekly comic called Rent-A-Thug for the U of A Gateway newspaper, which was later put online as a webcomic. After 5 years I moved on to a new comic designed to expand my artistic skills, HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling. That ran for 7 years before giving way to Hell, Inc., my first full-colour webcomic – sort of. Toward the end of HEAT’s run I wrote and drew a full-colour webcomic for Heavy Metal, Where Is Zog? That led to being hired by metal band GWAR, whose music heavily inspired Where Is Zog? (which took its title from a song on the Lust in Space album). I drew a back-up story in their comic Orgasmageddon, then an entire chapter of the follow-up, The Enormogantic Fail (which you can buy from me!).

I’ve also drawn a bunch of books only available in print, including the Anne Frank: Witness to History volume of the Show Me History series for Simon & Schuster. Most notable is my Hockeypocalypse series, which currently has 4 books available. You can buy all of those on my Etsy store if you’d like!

Speaking of Hockeypocalypse, I’m currently drawing the fifth book in that series, a standalone horror story called Slashers. I’m serializing it on Patreon as I draw it, so please consider heading over to the Patreon to check that out and also support Hell, Inc. (and get to read the strips early!). Patrons at the $5/month and up tier will be getting a printed copy of Slashers when those are ready,

Thanks for checking out Hell, Inc., and I hope you stick around and keep reading! You can subscribe via RSS, or if you prefer to read comics on Webtoon, subscribe there! See you around the office!

Hockeypocalypse: Slashers on Patreon

My next book, Hockeypocalypse: Slashers, is going to be serialized on Patreon!

Slashers is a 96 page young adult horror story about hockey mutants in post-apocalypse Canada. I’m collaborating with cartoonist Lukasz Kowalczuk on the book, and it’s going to melt your faces off. I’m not saying that as a brag – I’m extremely hyped about the art that we’ve produced so far, and I can’t wait for you to read this book.

Patreon is also, as of this writing, my only predictable source of income, so here’s the deal – if you subscribe at the $5/month tier or higher, you get to read the new Hockeypocalypse book as I draw it AND when the print edition is ready, you’ll get one in the mail! You get an awesome book and I get to continue to pay my mortgage while I draw it. Sounds great, right? Click the image or link below to subscribe and join the Hockeypocalypse Hall of Fame.

Click here, or the image below.