Show Notes: I talk toons and kickstarting art projects with Sal “Uncle Sal” Abbinanti. We discuss his early work in advertising, self-publishing comics, representing other artists, and his first ever Kickstarter for his first ever graphic novel- “The Hostage“. WARNING: F-bombs and other colorful language await you in this conversation with Sal.
By day, Sal Abbinanti is the art rep for comic book superstars Alex Ross and Bill Sienkiewicz, but by night he, too, is an artist. For more than two decades, the Chicago native has been obsessed with creating a graphic novel inspired by a visit he made to Brazil when he was in his early 20’s. Now, Abbinanti is launching a Kickstarter campaign for his dream project, a 115-page full-color original graphic novel set in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro titled THE HOSTAGE.
“When I was 25, I spent six months living in Rio de Janeiro,” said Abbinanti. “I was a starry eyed, full of shit college kid who went there for a Brazilian vacation of samba, nightlife, and beaches. To see the level of poverty, suffering, and death in Rio de Janeiro was eye opening. I will never forget it. THE HOSTAGE is my tribute to the amazing country and especially to the kids living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.”
Loosely inspired by the culture and religions of Brazil like the Umbanda and the Candomblé, Abbinanti has been building the world of THE HOSTAGE in his studio for over 10 years—sketching characters, panels, and scripting pages. Abbinanti’s unique art style and vibrant color choices create a spellbinding effect. THE HOSTAGE tells the story of a group of street kids who are abandoned by society. Dying every day from poverty and gang violence, the kids join together and summon a mystical spirit—THE HOSTAGE—who will protect them and avenge the deaths of their friends.
THE HOSTAGE Kickstarter campaign includes limited edition lithographs from Alex Ross, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jeffrey Alan Love, Sanjulián, Geof Darrow, and Eric Powell, as well as tiers with original sketch cards, postcards, and bookmarks by Abbinanti.
“One of the most exciting parts of bringing my project to Kickstarter is the opportunity to connect with so many amazing artists from around the world and bring their work to you,” said Abbinanti. “I’ve been working in the comics business for a long time and I’m really lucky to know so many talented artists who have been willing to make contributions to this project. It’s an honor to see their visions for THE HOSTAGE and have them be part of this.”
The crowdfunding campaign is live now and concludes on February 25th, with pledge tiers ranging from a digital edition available in both English and Portuguese (translated by Kelsey Trotta), to The Complete HOSTAGE Package, which includes an 11×17 original drawing by Sal Abbinanti and a complete set of lithographs by all guest artists.
For updates, follow Sal on social media or on Kickstarter at the links below: