When most people think of Russia, they think of the Soviet Union, vodka, borscht, or big brown bears. Since the Soviets aren’t around anymore, things are improving in Russia. Like most countries that don’t have an established decades-old comic culture, Russia never produced their own product, only translated versions of licensed Marvel, DC, and manga titles. That’s where Bubble Comics comes in.
Making a Bubble
In 2012, Bubble Comics released four monthly series’: the laid back but hardboiled Major Grom, the infernal tales of Demonslayer, the historical adventures of Friar, and the death-defying thief-spy Red Fury. To spread the word about their new comics, the makers started a rumor about superheroes renting an apartment together.
The Rise of Exlibrium
Exlibirum is about an Order who possess a magic stamp that protects the boundaries between the real world and fictional worlds. Creatures from various works of art and literature sometimes escape into the real world, and the Order must try to contain them before the wall between realities is shattered. Characters like Little Red Riding Hood are known to pop up at certain times and places. When the Order fails to catch one of these beings, they enlist the help of a new recruit: the geeky student Liliya Romanova.
When Exlibrium came out, popularity and readership exploded. The series was so good, Bubble Comics started a Kickstarter campaign to get it translated into English.
Bubble Goes Global
2015 was a big year for Bubble. On their fourth year of production, Bubble was ready to branch out. A film production department was set up, with Major Grom filming underway. To gain international attention, representatives got a booth at San Diego Comic-Con showing the biggest comic audience their work.
They set up their company and comic issues on Comixology with issues available for people to try and buy. But this was only scratching the surface; to really get their product and word out, the team turned to Kickstarter. And it worked. With nearly 600 backers donating close to $25,000, they managed to get Exlibrium volume 1 translated into English and even more translated issues appearing on Comixology.
Bubble Continues to Grow
By gaining attention through SDCC and Comixology, Bubble Comics were starting to build an audience. People have seen similarities between Exlibrium, the TV series Once Upon a Time, and most of the comics by Zenescope Entertainment. But more than that, the comic had a relatable main character.
Compared to her contemporaries, Liliya had the average life of a geek from the start. Most comic fans connect with Liliya and her love of geek culture. In this regard, this makes Liliya similar to Marvel’s Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) and Valiant Entertainment’s Faith Herbert (Zephyr). Here’s why: all of these characters are on the fringes of society and geeks who never fit in the real world, they are savvy within their new worlds, yet still struggle in both worlds. If Bubble Comics started with Major Grom or any of their other main characters, they most likely would not have been as successful.
The Future of Bubble Comics
Crowdfunding is complicated, it’s not just about the money it’s about publicity too. For comics, it has to be worth people’s time; something that people have not already gotten a taste of, and all at a price people can afford. Kickstarter is the place to go to do something different when all else fails. Bubble Comics took a risk, and it looks like they are ready to keep going. Even better, they have something for everyone: epic fantasies, crime dramas, spy thrillers, history, and space adventures. This is just the beginning of Russia’s comic book foray out into the world, so get ready for more.