CBSI Writer Wars Round 3: Comic Kicks by Tony Fix
Greetings! I’m glad you could make it.
My name is Tony, and we are all here because we care about you. No, don’t leave! Yes, this IS an intervention. We all wanted to talk to you about your habit, comic book speculation. Have a seat and hear us out. Please.
Seriously, I hope you’re comfy, because I want to share with you a corner of the comic book landscape that maybe you haven’t explored before.
If you’re reading this CBSI article, I already know that you’re a fan of the comic “major leagues”. You enjoy previewing/preordering upcoming books, the excitement of new comic book day at your lcs, sharing stories and pictures of your finds, spreading the word when you uncover something great, the “Key” game, buying low, selling high, or holding, and all of the dynamic CBSI articles/Youtube videos/social media groups that go along with the hobby. It’s awesome! The comic book industry today is a wonderful nexus of art, story/mythology, economy, culture, and community!
We are the lucky ones. These amazing stories with amazing artwork from amazing creators get distributed to only a tiny fraction of the 7.6 billion people out there. Maybe 200,000 copies? 100,000? Sometimes as little as 20,000? 10,000? We’re the first to read and enjoy them. They are delicate, so we are tasked as historians with preserving and protecting them.
Others may get to experience them later as they make their way into bookstores, Amazon, and possibly to our televisions and movie theaters, but we were the first, and ours have value. Reading. Collecting. Speculating. Investing. Sharing. It’s all joyful and good!
So what if I told you that there’s a place for superfans like us to be one of 1000? Or 100? Or 50? A “minor league” of comic books where we can watch the very beginnings of comic book creativity, where artists and writers can get their very first chance to be in print. A place where ideas and concepts and worlds are born. And a place where you can not only find new comics, but you can literally participate in creating them.
(and yes, Indiegogo, but we’re keeping it simple and focusing on just one)
If you’re not familiar, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform where creators in any field whatsoever can put together a presentation for their creation with a dollar amount goal to get their creation made, and anyone on the site can browse through, find a project they like, and help to fund it in any amount that they choose.
The creator sets different pledge levels with various rewards for the people who fund, or backers. The project has a set timeframe, typically 30 to 45 days, in which they must reach their dollar amount goal or the project will not be funded, and the backers will only be obligated to pay their pledged amount at the end of the timeframe IF the project has met its goal. As a backer, you also have the right to change your mind while the timer is still running, pulling back your pledge if you choose.
If the goal is met and the timer expires, all backers’ credit cards are charged for the amounts that they pledged, and the production phase starts. Backers will be sent a questionnaire requesting a current address and various other information that they need.
Then you wait.
The creator will have a rough estimate of how long things will take, but there is no guarantee. As anyone who has ever tried to make anything knows, there can be delays of all sorts. In fact, there is no real guarantee that the rewards will ever be sent out.
This isn’t a shopping website where you can complain to customer service. In pledging money to a project, you are helping to fund it with a simple promise from the creator that they will reward you later. You are not buying a product. Sometimes the rewards are on time. Sometimes they are early.
Often times they are late, or even very late. And rarely, the creators sketch out and leave everyone hanging, as our friend Rob Liefeld has done to his Brigade backers thus far, so it can happen. Though in my personal experience I have backed 64 projects, and I have had zero completely fail to deliver(though I have a couple that took well over a year).
You will be emailed updates as they make progress, and there will be a message board to ask questions or discuss topics with fellow backers, but it is a waiting game.
Rewards tiers for comic projects can include options for pdfs, physical comics, softcover and hardcover graphic novels, limited editions, past editions of the creator’s previous work, signed/personalized items, limited or one-of-a-kind artwork, and even crazy rewards like a dinner with the creative team or YOU becoming a character in the book itself!
So go, register, and explore. There are thousands of projects to browse through.
Here’s a few tips:
- Find the Comics category and click on Explore Comics.
- Sort by popularity to see what many people are backing lately.
- Sort by Magic to see Kickstarter Staff picks, “Projects We Love”
- Sort by Newest to see campaigns that just began. This is key. Some creators will make limited “Early Bird” reward tiers for a small number of backers where you can get a reduced price or a more limited edition of the comic. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. I happened to be the very first backer of a children’s book I was getting for my daughter, and because I was, my daughter’s name is on the front dedication page of every copy!
- If they do have a limited tier that looks remotely interesting, click on it. You can always change your pledge or pull it back completely later, as long as there is still time on the clock.
- Read your reward tier carefully. Some may be for just a pdf version of the comic. Make sure you are getting a physical copy if that’s what you want.
- Watch the video presentation at the top of the project page if they have one. It’s basically a trailer for the book, which is a stellar idea! I wish Diamond would allow publishers to make trailers for their new books and include them on the web version of Previews.
Now, I am fully aware that you all have lives to live, jobs to go to, children to feed, lawns to mow, laundry to fold, Spotify to listen to, or Red Dead Redemption 2 to play. You don’t have time to constantly haunt the Kickstarter website, digging through projects every day.
That’s where I come in.
Every month or so, I hope to feature a few Kickstarter comic book projects that I believe members of our CBSI community would be interested in. I’ll recommend a reward tier to back, and I’ll then use my self-inflated level of good taste to rate the projects 1 through 10 in four categories:
- Art - quality or style
- Story/Concept - obviously going just off of the project description, if there’s nothing yet to read
- Spec - the promise of the comic gaining value/heading to a publisher/developing in other mediums
- The “Damn Gina!” factor - something or other that is setting it apart
And that’s it! Do with it what you will.
Let’s kick this off!
For this month, since I’ve used up most of your attention span with this massive 101 introduction, I’ll briefly look at 2 current projects worth checking out.
Here’s the trailer. Enjoy!
Creator: Mac Smith, on both art and writing duties
Scurry was originally a web comic that first made it to print through a Kickstarter campaign in 2016. It is a post-apocalyptic story from the vantage point of a colony of mice, in a world where the humans have disappeared. This current campaign is actually for volume 3. I was a backer of the first two volumes and I highly recommend this book. This project only has graphic novel rewards, in hardcover, softcover, and limited edition slip case. Yes, I got the slip case. I’m weak.
Art - 10 - This book is absolutely beautiful. Mac Smith uses computer guided illustration, but it’s almost cinematic in it’s perfection. The textures, the way he shows movement, and his use of light combine for amazing visuals. The characters are Disney-animated quality, the backgrounds are painted, and the lighting makes it real. Stunning!
Story/Concept - 8 - I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories, and this is pretty unique. It does has similarities to Marguerite Bennet’s Animosity minus the humans, but both were basically developed concurrently. The writing itself is good enough to move the story along.
Spec/Investment - 5 - On the plus side, this could easily be developed into an animated movie or streaming tv show. On the minus side, as this is only in graphic novel format, it will likely never have the widespread collectible appeal that a comic would have. There just aren’t as many collectors out there who look for graphic novels. The limited edition slipcase has the best chance of popping, if anything does.
“Damn Gina!” - 7 - Though it could be seen as more of a book for younger readers, the dark themes and the quality of the art make it appealing for a wider audience. The earlier volumes had a high production value and it would look damn good on a shelf.
Total score - 30 out of 40
Recommended Reward Tier:
It’s spendy, but the best way to get the set of 3. You can always just read the webcomic and same some cheddar, but where’s the fun in that? )
And the trailer:
Writer/Creator: Christian Carnouche
Pencils/Inker: Crizam Zamora
Colors: Salvatore Aiala
Letterer: Cardinal Rae
This comic is set in future Australia, where a resurrection serum is created, then outlawed. The main character, an indigenous Australian, is a part of the SDR, the Special Division for the Resurrected, who hunts down those who have been illegally resurrected. With scientific, societal, and racial themes, there seems like a lot to dig into. I think it’d be interesting to see some of these tackled through the lens of another country as well. Plus flying cars!
Art - 6 - It looks solid if not exciting. Enough to move the story along, and the story seems to be the key.
Story/Concept - 8 - It’s giving me a hard-boiled future cop/Vanilla Sky kind of vibe, which is cool. They can’t all wear spandex.
Spec - 3 - Although intriguing, this book may have more regional interest. Not likely to develop into a media form here in the states, though Netflix has no borders. I do like the fact that there’s a variant cover and Tula Lotay did the art for the trade paperback. I heart Tula Lotay.
“Damn Gina!” - 4 - I like a lot of the ingredients, but it doesn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. It could be a slow burn though. Who knows? I’m wrong a lot.
Total score - 21 out of 40 (I’m not an easy grader, but honestly, most Kickstarter books will likely be in this range. They’re still worth picking up if it piques your interest.)
Recommended reward tier:
A bit spendy again, but if I’m getting this, I want the Tula Lotay cover paperback and both variant #1 covers.
That’s all folks! PLEASE do take some time to do your own digging, and comment below if you find any other gold in River Kickstarter. Spread the love!
~ Tony - BlueGreen Artifacts