Body and Bone: Zaire Lanier’s ‘The Bone Herder’ Is A Crowdfunding Hit

by Malissa White

Nothing beats the feeling of overfunding your first Kickstarter. Zaire N. Lanier’s highly anticipated ‘The Bone Herder’ comic did exactly that in thirty-four minutes. That’s right, 34 whole minutes. I’m not surprised: with the lush character designs, dynamic interior art and a story rooted in African fantasy and horror selling out was inevitable. 

The Bone Herder. Sam Willoughby Art Print.

Every generation, a child is chosen to punish wrongdoers by flaying their bones and burying them. Cass, one of the chosen, breaks that tradition, incurring the wrath of the Flesh Folk in the process. Set in the mythical world of Koatrom, ‘The Bone Herder’ channels Afro-futurism, horror, and Afropunk to create a Black centered world with African inspirations. 

Joining Lanier is Tumo Mere on sequential art, Morgan Madeline on concept art, and Sam Willoughby providing additional art. While the comic is not yet complete (pending the end of the campaign), we do have beautiful concept art and a preview page to gawk at.
The Bone Herder. Preview Page by Tumo Mere.

I also caught up with Lanier to discuss the comic and her inspirations.
Malissa White: Where did the concept of The Bone Herder come from?
Zaire Lanier: The concept of The Bone Herder came really randomly. I had this mental image in my head of someone burying bones and I just ran with it from there.
MW: What got you started in comics? What are some of your favorites?
ZL: This is actually my first comic. I’ve been writing for much of my life, but comics have always been intimidating to me. I think partially, because there is no set format on how to write a script. Plus, I can not draw to save my life.
Gail Simone’s Comic School got me really excited for writing comics. She gave a really easy guideline for success. She gave me a lot of confidence and a basic understanding of how to construct a comic.
Some of my favorite comics are All Star Superman, Irredeemable, Saga, and Wonder Woman
MW: What are you most excited to show us in The Bone Herder?
ZL: I am excited for Black people to be front and center in this comic. I was inspired by ancient African civilizations like Carthage and Kush. I also want to show a loving Black family through the use of flashbacks. I am excited for pretty much all of it.
The Bone Herder. Analleli Concept Art by Morgan Madeline.

MW: The Bone Herder contains horror elements. Can you speak to what inspired them?
ZL: Body horror always freaks me out. From Dead Space to some of the elements of Annihilation and more. I expanded the idea of the flesh itself desiring to grow and expand for no reason other than it’s own delight. I found it disturbing and thus the Bone Herders were born.
The Bone Herder. Preview Page by Tumo Mere.

Having unlocked some pretty amazing stretch goals, backers to the project will receive digital wallpapers and The Bone Herder’s Tool Guide, a digital PDF detailing the Bone Herder’s tools with art from Mere, Madeline, and Willoughby. These come in addition to digitals, physicals, and pins at the standard tiers.
With a little under two weeks to go, there’s plenty of time to join the herd! Find ‘The Bone Herder’ on Kickstarter

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