On Black Friday, holiday shoppers will be out searching for bargains. In a planned graphic novel from Oklahoma City writer Kara Barrett, Jackson Connolly just has three days left to break a much more sinister bargain.
Jackson is a traveling salesman in 1955. Twenty years ago, he signed away his soul to pay his mother’s gambling debt. But the bill is coming due on New Year’s Eve. Jackson’s hunt for a way to break the pact leads him to a haunted plantation and then on to New Orleans. With the help of the alluring Creole healer Lissette, Jackson must try to save himself before the stroke of midnight.
Barrett is raising money through Kickstarter to fund the completion of the planned graphic novel, which is expected to run between 65 and 75 pages.
“I’d describe ‘The Bargain’ as a supernatural themed graphic novel with ghosts, hellhounds and hoodoo magic set against the moody backdrop of 1950s Louisiana,” Barrett said in an email interview. “It’s going to be a dark, fun ride. If you enjoy the paranormal stories, I think you’ll like it.”
The artist for “The Bargain” is J.C. Grande.
“J.C. Grande is a full-time comic book artist who has worked for companies like Image Comics, IDW and Arcana Comics,
Barrett said. “He lives in El Salvador, and we work together remotely. I found him earlier this year when I needed a replacement artist for my indie series. He’d doing the pencil and inks. He also did the beautiful cover art.”
Barrett said “The Bargain” began with the concept of a door-to-door salesman who sells unusual objects and spells.
“That was really the seed of the concept,” she said. “From there it morphed and grew into its present day incarnation about a man who is trying to save his soul. I started thinking about the believability of a door-to-door salesman in modern day times and it just didn’t fit. That’s when it first occurred to me to set the story in the past.”
A night spent in the French Quarter several years ago helped inspire the New Orleans setting. Barrett recently returned to the state of Louisiana on a road trip.
“I did spend a day in Natchitoches and visited a few plantations on my trip,” she said. “I was really inspired by the experience and the memory of those plantations was still fresh in my mind when I was creating this story. As I mentioned earlier, once the idea of setting the story in the past came to mind, I just fell in love with the idea and what that would bring visually to the storytelling.”
Barrett also writes the digital comic “The End is Totally Nigh,” published by Alterna. Fundraising for the first issue of “The End is Totally Nigh” was done through Kickstarter, which helped Barrett decide to return to the online crowdsourcing site.
“It’s a great place where projects like mine can find an audience that is interested in discovering new works outside of the mainstream,” she said. “I decided that I felt strongly enough about this project to pitch it to the public and see if they responded.”
Barrett’s goal is $5,500, which will help pay for the artwork to finish the book.
“Hopefully with the help of blogs and tweets we’ll be able to keep spreading the word and working towards the final goal of $5,500,” Barrett said. “Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model. A lot of projects start off strong and then fizzle. We have to raise the full amount or we don’t any of the funds pledged and the book won’t get made.”
More information about the project is available at Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/kbarrett/the-bargain-a-supernatural-graphic-novel-set-in-th.
- By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman