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Paul J Salamoff Kickstarts Tales of Discord

In Paul J. Salamoff’s graphic novel Discord we witnessed a group of superheroes called Team War Hammer die and become reborn as Discord, an amalgam of the team’s powers, and body parts, as well as the parts of their arch-nemesis Sinew.  Now Salamoff and Team War Hammer are back with Tales of Discord, a series of prequel comics giving readers a closer look at the members of Team War Hammer.  To fund this project, Salamoff has started a Kickstarter campaign.

I recently interviewed Salamoff by e-mail, discussing the past, and future, of Discord, and why he chose to do his next project independently.


Discord was your self-published graphic novel about a team of superheroes that get killed and reformed as one man.  The story ended with Discord still somewhat coming to terms with his new identity.  What was it about this story that made you decide the next installment should be a prequel rather than a sequel?

I had already conceived the idea for the actual sequel to DISCORD but I didn’t want to rush the script and I wanted to make sure Giuseppe had plenty of time to draw it. Now this could take up to a year (or more), so I obviously wanted to keep DISCORD on the tip of everyone’s mind and I was getting a lot of input from fans that they liked the members of TEAM WAR HAMMER and were disappointed that they only got to spend about 15 pages with them.
So it seemed like a win-win scenario to do a series of one-shot comics (that would be collected as a graphic novel) on the teammates that not only gave you insight into their past but also allowed me to set up valuable information that will then pay off in the sequel to DISCORD. I got Giuseppe’s permission to use different artists for each one, but he would draw bookend pages that take place in the present, so stylistically there’s consistency in the epic tale.
What can fans returning to the world of Discord expect to find in this new series?
Fans will be surprised at some of the stories I’m going to tell. These are not your typical origin tales, these are character dramas. As I like to do with all my writing, I like to turn things on their ears and approach material a little left of mainstream.
Also one of the issues will focus on SINEW, the creature they’re fighting at the beginning of DISCORD who ultimately becomes part of the character’s newly assembled body. That one is going to be off the hook because it will mostly deal with an alien species and their civilization.
Right now Before Watchmen has gotten a lot of press, telling individual tales of the Watchmen characters before Moore’s seminal work, but those stories are self-contained and done by different creative teams.  Is your new series similar to that in concept, with each tale being self-contained, or will the five issues form a larger arc?
I honestly was unaware of what they were doing with WATCHMEN when I conceived this, so yes it is very similar. TALES OF DISCORD are contained stories but all the info within them combined adds up to the events that will take place in the sequel to DISCORD.
 You are a published comic author with books like Logan’s Run and Black Scorpion for Bluewater Productions under your belt, and Discord was published by AAM/Markosia, so why did you decide to do Tales of Discord as an independent Kickstarter project?
DISCORD was a creator-owned project with AAM/Markosia, so TALES is one as well which means that I have to deliver a finished book before it’s published. Because I’m primarily using different artists for the new series, I felt it was bad form to expect them to work on a back-end deal on an already established property when Giuseppe and I had the most to gain.
The 11K that is being raised goes solely to those artists and my amazing letterer Leah Novak, so they are covered no matter what. If I (knock on wood) raise more than 11K the extra money will cover the printing & shipping costs and after that I can actually get paid for writing it. I’m also planning a number of awesome Stretch Rewards to take care of all the Backers who believe in this project as much as I do.
I don’t see this as a money-making venture, it’s more important to me to keep DISCORD alive and expand the story. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever written and there are a great number of stories to tell.
Can you discuss the benefits and drawbacks to doing this independently?
The only true benefit is having autonomy and being able to really tell the stories you want to tell. You also have a much bigger ownership of the material. The drawbacks are many because you are responsible for getting an entire graphic novel done with no money and no guarantee of any substantial pay let alone profit.
But I believe in this property and the fan base has been steadily growing. You can’t do everything in your career just for the money, sometimes it’s about artistic integrity and the desire to have your voice heard undiluted.
For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, can you explain how it works and what incentives you offer to those who support the project?
I am new to Kickstarter myself. How I understand it is that you have a property that you want to fund, but you’re not really asking for hand outs, you’re asking people to have faith in you that with their support you are going to deliver what you’ve promised.
You set a monetary goal that in theory will cover all your costs plus the costs associated with the incentives you’re offering and a time period to do that in.
If you are successful (TALES OF DISCORD is 11K in 30days) then you received all the money collected minus so fees, if you don’t reach your goal in that time it’s a failure and nobody’s credit card gets charged and you get nada.
My incentive tiers range for $2 (which gets you a .pdf of the first issue) to $1,000 which gets you a whole mess of cool things including having a character with your name and likeness in one of the 3 remaining issues.
Kickstarter seems popular for a lot of comic projects, some of which succeed and others that don’t.  How are you working to set Tales of Discord apart in that environment?
I am trying to present my material in the best and most professional light possible. With the use of my video I’m letting the potential Backers see how passionate I am about DISCORD and about comics and sci-fi in general.
I’m also giving a lot of instant prizes such as .pdf’s of my past comics that they get automatically regardless of whether the campaign is a success or not.
I’m also getting help from some of my “celebrity” friends who believe in me and DISCORD. They’re recording Video endorsements for me.
For comic creators, or aspiring comic creators, looking at Kickstarter to fund their projects, what advice would you give?
I’ll let you know that once this is a success. I ‘d hate to give advice on a failed campaign 🙂
Your goal in the Kickstarter program is $11,000.  What are some of the expenses that must be covered in self-publishing a comic?
Artist, Letter, printing and shipping and writer, of course 🙂
What is the release schedule for Tales of Discord?
TALES OF DISCORD: IRIDIAN is tentatively scheduled for July and TALES OF DISCORD: SOLARIS & MOONSHADOW more towards the end of the year. The entire collected graphic novel is currently planned for July 2013.
What are your plans following Tales of Discord?
The sequel to DISCORD is next up and boy that’s going to knock people’s socks off. You have no idea what I’ve got coming!!!

You can pledge to back Tales of Discord at Kickstarter

Read my review of Discord

June 18, 2012 Posted by | Comic Books | , , | Comments Off on Paul J Salamoff Kickstarts Tales of Discord

Review: Discord Graphic Novel by Paul J. Salamoff

Discord Cover

Discord may be less than the sum of its parts.

While DC reboots their entire universe to bring in new readers, and Marvel continually announces their “Next Big Thing”, it seems that superhero comic books have remained relatively stagnant for years.  Marvel will kill off a character, or have a new character inherit a hero’s mantle, but everyone knows it’s a matter of time before the status quo is returned.  DC is owned by Warner Brothers, Marvel by Disney, both large corporations with a bottom line to meet.  Superhero comics, at least from the big two publishers, have to by definition “play it safe”.

This is why it is so refreshing to see independent and alternative takes on the superhero genre that play with the tropes in a way that isn’t safe–the grandaddy of them all being Alan Moore’s Watchmen.

I couldn’t help but think of Watchmen as I read Discord, the graphic novel from writer Paul J. Salamoff (Logan’s Run: Last Day) and artist Giuseppe D’Elia (Lazarus Ledd).

Discord introduces us to a world immediately familiar to fans of superhero comics.  The first pages introduce the superheroes of Team War Hammer fighting their old enemy Sinew.  Salamoff’s writing immediately let me know that, though these are all original characters, I knew this team.  They are the Justice League of America, they are the Avengers.  In seven, action-packed pages the characters were introduced and I was comfortable in this world.  And once it is established that this is a reality that easily parallels that of the DC or Marvel universes, Salamoff shakes it up by killing all the heroes in a ship crash.

Strange aliens reconstruct the dismembered body parts into a single being.  This revived hero has the mind of Chromatic, Team War Hammer’s  second-in-command, but the body is a mish-mash of parts.  Each of Chromatic’s limbs are from a different person killed in the crash, including one of Sinew’s tendril-like arms.

Discord Back on Earth

Even in a hoodie Chromatic cannot pass for a normal human.

Upon returning to earth, Chromatic must try to come to terms with his new body parts, his new powers, and even his new half-feminine face.  Matters are complicated when Chromatic’s girlfriend, Team War Hammer leader Moiré, has trouble coping.  In addition to Chromatic’s new body, according to all medical scans he is still deceased–the flying dead.  Further, some superheroes aren’t exactly happy to see the involuntary organ donations made by deceased War Hammer members.

While the graphic novel has the exciting fight scenes that are the hallmark of superhero comics, the focus of the story is emotional and character-driven.  That is why Watchmen came to mind–I haven’t seen such a maudlin depiction of superheroes since Alan Moore’s deconstruction of their mental issues and sexual hang-ups.  This makes Discord an engaging and entertaining read.

Salamoff’s story is aided greatly by D’Elia’s visuals.  His art maintains a consistent feel throughout, but changes tones and hues based on the emotional state of our main character.  Every panel helps to sell the emotional state of Chromatic.  D’Elia is equally able to draw tender, quiet scenes as well as large, detailed battles.   From alien worlds to city streets, his art was always beautiful in service of the story.

Additionally, Chromatic’s make-shift body could easily have been done as a knock-off of Marvel villain Super-Skrull–with each limb representing a different person, a different power.  It is a real risk the story took, and it’s on D’Elia to drive that silly comparative from our minds.  He does so superbly.  Instead of Super-Skrull, the art of remade Chromatic reminded me of John Carpenter’s The Thing–an organic creature shifting itself in ways nature never intended.  Instead of comical, D’Elia sells it as grotesque and tragic, which is a true achievement.

Unfortunately the plot’s resolution is not as satisfying as its build-up.  Salamoff takes on an ambitious tale, but this story required more room to breathe.  The graphic novel is broken into four chapters.  The first three chapters are each the length of a comic book, and the fourth is “super-sized” with 10 extra pages.  With this little space in which to play, Salamoff introduces a few characters too many.    Major developments to Chromatic’s mental state hinge on minor characters that were not clearly set-up or introduced.  It seems like too much is taken on for a single graphic novel.    I understand and completely respect Salamoff’s desire to tell the full story, not holding back for a sequel which may never come.   But it seems like too much is taken on–some of the subplots would have been better saved for a future tale of our hero.

Discord Ship Crash

We meet Team War Hammer--and watch them burn.

I also feel the story has one villain too many.  Opening baddie Sinew becomes a part of Chromatic, but then a new threat emerges late in the book.  This new threat never felt organic to the story.  While it made sense for this new enemy to be part of the universe Salamoff has created, he seems to forget that this universe is familiar to us but we really don’t know these characters.  More, Chromatic never seemed to have any specific problems that part of his body was made up of an old enemy.  This could have been changed to make the story tighter and work in the space allotted.

But these pacing problems never detracted from the story’s heart, and that is the concept of what defines a person.  In addition to tweaking the superhero genre, the story provokes the real-world analogue of the new face-transplant surgery doctors have successfully tested, and the psychological effects on the patients who don’t recognize the face in the mirror.  These concepts are some that linger on, long after I’ve put down the graphic novel.

For anyone who, like me, was raised on a diet of comic book superheroes, I recommend Discord — a new look at the superhero genre.

Discord will be in stores Wednesday, Sept 14th.

Paul J. Salamoff will be holding signings of Discord in the Los Angeles area.  Check his website for specific dates and locations.

Order Discord now at


September 13, 2011 Posted by | Comic Books, Reviews | , , , , , | 3 Comments