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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kickstarter, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 277
1. Margaret Atwood to Create Cartoons For a Comics Anthology

Margaret AtwoodAward-winning author Margaret Atwood has become well-known for writing novels, short stories, and children’s books. Now, she will also add “comics artist” to her résumé.

Atwood has agreed to produce artwork for an anthology called The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. According to the Kickstarter page for this book, she “will be contributing her own drawn cartoons detailing her personal experiences as a young woman, created specifically for this project.”

Publisher Hope Nicholson describes this book as a collection of dating and love stories from both the fans and creatives behind video games, comic books, and science-fiction works. To date, this crowdfunding campaign has received more than $60,000 in donations; the initial fundraising goal was set at around $30,000. (via Entertainment Weekly)

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2. Small Press Expo Featured On Kickstarter

The organizers behind the St. Louis Small Press Expo have hope to raise $2,500.00 on Kickstarter. Over 60 vendors and small presses will participate in this event. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “The St. Louis Small Press Expo (SPEx) celebrates all these publishers (and more) by connecting them together, and to the public. It hosts a yearly – daring, sparkly, diverse, badass, free-entry – DIY bookfair. In 2014, the event featured 44 publishers and had over 400 guests.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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3. ... or Something Like That


Son Marc and his good buddy Travis are working together on an awesome and gigantically ambitious project. And guess what? YOU CAN HELP! Watch this video and then click this magic link - http://tinyurl.com/q529x4g

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4. MATT CHATS: Tyler James on the ComixTribal Magic

Independent publisher ComixTribe has been steadily growing their presence in the direct market, on Kickstarter and especially on the web. ComixTribe.com is a site that’s used not just to promote their products but also to give advice to inspiring and up-and-coming creators. I spoke to Tyler James, the publisher of ComixTribe, about building a reputation in the industry, getting sales and the publisher’s latest Kickstarter campaign for graphic novel The Standard.

How’s the experience been so far Kickstarting The Standard?

The Standard Ultimate Collection Kickstarter is going great!

It’s a tremendous feeling to launch a Kickstarter, send an email, and then 36 hours later, get the printing for an expensive hardcover fully funded… and to do so without any major media coverage or heavy advertising.

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Art by Jonathan Rector

That’s a testament to what ComixTribe has been building over the past four years and where we’re headed. And it’s validation for the extraordinary work of writer John Lees, artist Jonathan Rector, and the rest of THE STANDARD team.

This is not my first Kickstarter rodeo, rather it’s the sixth Kickstarter campaign I’ve actively managed. While the platform continues to change and evolve and add new features and wrinkles, the core of what works and what doesn’t hasn’t changed since our first successful campaign in 2012.

I hear a lot of creators talk about how stressful and nerve-wracking Kickstarters are… and they certainly can be. But I prefer to look at them like a month-long online comic book convention and an opportunity to build a deeper relationships with new and long-time fans. When you frame it like that, the stress melts away and you can have fun with it.

The Standard bears, at least on a surface level, a lot of resemblance to Mark Waid’s Thrillbent comic Insufferable. Was that a concern as you plunged into this Kickstarter campaign?

No disrespect to Mr. Waid, who is one of my favorite writers in all of comics, but when John and Jon first started working on THE STANDARD, he still had his comic book collection! So, any resemblance to Insufferable can be chalked up to coincidence and pulling from the same ideaspace that lifelong superhero fans such as Mark and John will draw on.

The fact that his has been a project long in the making is one of the things that’s so rewarding about this process.  While some people (Lees included) were shocked at how fast we were able to get THE STANDARD funded, that 36 hours was really six long years in the making.

Marvel and DC, with their double shipping and weekly series, and the direct market in general, which is built on a monthly release schedule, shape the expectations of readers to think that comics take only a few weeks to make.

And while that may be true for well-compensated professionals working for fully-staffed companies that have been around for seventy years, it’s just not feasible in the indie world.

THE STANDARD was John Lees’ very first comic book… he was literally learning how to write comics as he wrote the series.

As John says in his Kickstarter video, when he first got started on this project, he wasn’t thinking about whether he had a marketable high concept, or whether it was going to sell, or whether there were other books out there like it. At that time, he didn’t know enough about the industry to even think if he should be thinking about that stuff!

Rather, John was thinking that this might very well be the only comic he’d ever make… so why not tell the one story he wanted to tell more than anything else in the world? And why not fill it up with everything he loves about comics – heroism, horror, mystery, romance, heartbreak, innocence lost, and yes, just the right amount of superhero cheese.

Josh Fialkov (The Bunker, Echoes) was gracious enough to write the foreword for AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE, John’s break out horror series from last year. In it, he talked (lovingly) about picking up EMILY #1 and “wanting to punch John in the face” for seemingly coming out of nowhere being so damn good.

What’s great about John’s work and THE STANDARD in particular is that it’s really not trading on a super original, ironic, hip high-concept. There have been plenty of meta superhero deconstruction tales before THE STANDARD and there will be many more to come. You mentioned Insufferable, but I’d actually point to Waid’s Kingdom Come as being a little closer thematically to THE STANDARD.

But it’s not about theme or high-concept. To paraphrase True Detective, “It’s all one story, man. Light and Dark.” What’s brilliant about THE STANDARD is its execution. There’s craft and love for the medium of comics gushing out of every page.

John is going to need a bodyguard when Fialkov realizes this was the first comic John ever wrote!

So, no, to your question. We had a few concerns about launching the Kickstarter, but none of them were about the content itself. This series is rock solid.

My main concern was juggling both the Kickstarter and also at the same time promoting the direct market launch of OXYMORON: The Loveliest Nightmare, our next series launching in August.

I don’t want to ask too many questions about crowdfunding, because you cover the subject so well on ComixTribe.com, but I have to ask a couple. One is: what’s a Kickstarter that impressed you recently, and how did it impress you?

That’s a great question, and I’m always trying to study successful campaigns so I can later model things they do well on the ones I run.

Last month’s Archie Kickstarter campaign was a big story, and many people looked at that campaign scoffing at the lofty sum of $350,000 they were trying to raise for new projects as way too much money and a ridiculous, some might say “greedy”, goal.

Meanwhile, at the same time on Kickstarter,  Tim Buckley “quietly” blew past the $350K mark for a reprint of his webcomic CTRL+ALT+DEL in just a few days, later going on to raise more than $665K.

So what continues to impress me about Kickstarter is that, of all platforms available to creators – the direct market, Comixology, Amazon, conventions — Kickstarter is easily the most level playing field.

Individual creators can be more successful than 70 year old publishers on Kickstarter.

While the big numbers of some of these crazy campaigns do catch my eye, the thing I love most about the platform and what impresses me most are the guys and girls going out there and launching their first campaign and succeeding.

Guys like Bill Walko who now gets to make a quality trade collection of his great webcomic Hero Business, or Kristi McDowell whose very first comic Gamer Girl & Vixen got funded.

The numbers don’t matter. I guarantee you, Tim Buckley was no more excited (and perhaps less so) by his $666K than Kristi was about her $7K.

So, yeah, I’m impressed by people who do their homework, run great campaigns, and then fulfill them.

As a side note, the most impressive Kickstarter I’ve ever backed was John August’s Writer Emergency Pack Kickstarter… because of its massive success and because he had his act together, John was able to get rewards out to backers a few weeks after the campaign ended, months earlier than promised.  THAT was impressive, and one of the biggest tips I have for creators going to Kickstarter is under promise and over deliver.

What kinds of new lessons are you still learning with each crowdfunding campaign?

So much! The platform is ever evolving. Back in 2012, not only did you have to sell your product, but you had to sell the concept of the platform of Kickstarter itself, and educate potential backers on how it all works.  It’s nice not to have to do so much of that anymore, as Kickstarter has slipped more into the mainstream consciousness.

But there are still things I’m learning and working on.  “Cracking the code” of the “Kickstarter Deadzone”… that period in the middle of a campaign where pledges and momentum stalls after a big open and before a huge close… that’s something I’m still working on.

Another thing I’m excited about is a new podcast I’ll be debuting next month called ComixLaunch: Crowdfunding Your Comics and Graphic Novels on Kickstarter…and Beyond! I get asked about Kickstarter more than just about anything else, and the articles on Kickstarter are the most read things on ComixTribe.com.  So, I’m hoping to dive deeper with a weekly podcast laser focused on this stuff, and hopefully provide a lot of value.

Right now, more than half of all comic book Kickstarter projects fail. I know how much ink, sweat, and tears goes into creating comics and then running a campaign, so those stats are gutting to me.

But I’m very optimistic that ComixLaunch can help improve those numbers. I’ve had dozens of creators personally thank me for the Kickstarter resources I’ve posted on ComixTribe.com, and I’ll be able to go even more in-depth on the pod. Also worth noting, backers of THE STANDARD Kickstarter will be treated to an advanced listen of the first episode of the podcast.

On a practical level, is the purpose of the ComixTribe website, which features as much new content as most comics news websites, primarily to drive sales of your comics?

One of my favorite quotes is by Zig Zigler, who famously said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Success in business (and life) is directly correlated to the amount of value you bring to the world. So I get up every day trying to think about how I can best serve the comics community. The natural by-product of that is growth for ComixTribe. It is the epitome of a win win.

Now, when Steve Forbes (affable curmudgeon and ComixTribe Editor-In-Chief) and I first started ComixTribe on 1-1-2011, we didn’t have any comics to sell! We were both writing content for other people’s sites and decided to join forces and launch our own. We both have the heart (and in my case, the background and expensive degrees) of a teacher, and really do love helping other creators make better comics.

In fact, THE STANDARD is a true ComixTribe success story, as it was Steven Forbes who helped John Lees shape his rough concept into the polished gem it is today.  Let that be a lesson to all you new writers out there… if you want to increase the odds that your first comic book project is publishable, HIRE AN EDITOR!

After you figure out the basics of this comics game, every creator and every small publisher should devote considerable effort into picking their edges. By that I mean figuring out what makes them unique? Why should anyone give a damn?  What do they want to be known for?

Opening the ComixTribe kimono, so to speak, and being transparent about our successes, lessons learned, struggles and triumphs in the form of articles on ComixTribe.com has definitely helped distinguish us from other small comics publishers out there.

At the same time, as we’ve grown, and really expanded our titles, it’s been tough to balance serving both creators who are interested in our advice and readers who love our books.  While there is certainly some overlap between the two audiences, and our peers are also some of our biggest supporters, it is a challenge to be viewed as both an imprint and a web resource.

But my purpose in life is to educate and to entertain, so I’ll likely always have a toe in both pools.

Have you considered adding revenue streams like advertising or sponsorships?

Adding revenue streams has been a core focus of ComixTribe over the past few years, and is certainly one of my primary focuses this year.

Here’s a little infographic showing where the ComixTribe revenue comes from, and when we’ve added those streams to our business, and relatively how important those streams are to our business right now.

ComixTribe Revenue Streams 2015(1)

If we had to rely on any one of those streams, we’d be dead in the water.  The magic is in diversification.

Over the past couple months, I’ve been making a concerted effort to look for new partnerships, whether that be advertising, sponsorships, or affiliates that can bring value to our readers.

I spend at least ten minutes every day thinking of at least ten new ideas… ideas on everything from ways to sell more comics, to creators I want to work with, to things I love about my wife, to ideas for new lists of ideas… the list itself isn’t so important. The important thing is exorcising that idea muscle.

That practice is training me to see connections and solve problems more instinctively than before… granted most of the ideas I come up with are ridiculous and wrong for me. But it only takes a couple gems to make a significant difference in life and business.

So, yes, we’re adding new revenue streams and always looking for new potential partners, and you’ll see some of those come to life in the near future.

What are your other priorities?

Right now, ComixTribe’s top focus is readership growth.

That means increasing our direct connection with readers and the best way to do that is to get our books into readers’ hands.

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Free Comic Book Day 2015 was a huge win for us.  We increased our reader email subscribers by about 50% thanks to the 50,000 copies of AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE #0 that were given out.

And everyone who subscribes to our list gets hooked up with the first issue of our five top titles, so that’s really our single best play to turn strangers into raving fans.

But readers aren’t enough… increasing the number of retailers carrying our books is also one of my top priorities.

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Art by Alex Cormack

I’ve set a goal to double our direct market sales for our next series OXYMORON: The Loveliest Nightmare from our previous best seller.  And I’ve already committed to a print run that’s double what we printed for EMILY #1, even prior to getting our Diamond orders… so the boats have been burned, there’s no turning back, now!

Most of the comics put out by ComixTribe are about superheroes. Do you think that will change given that And Then Emily Was Gone, arguably Comixtribe’s biggest success, wasn’t?

It’s true that the first four titles we introduced to the market were all superhero books, or at least twists on the superhero genre. Joe Mulvey’s SCAM for example, is a capes books where the capes were replaced with conman capers.

But I think it’s important not to confuse where ComixTribe chose to start, with where we’re going.  Let’s remember that Image Comics, widely regarded as one of the most diverse and respected publishers today, started exclusively with superhero books.

And there’s a reason for that, right? Most creators were initially drawn to the medium by superheroes. Tracing cool panels featuring Spider-man at eight years old was my gateway into drawing my own comics.

When I first approached artist Cesar Feliciano about collaborating, I pitched him five different concepts… but he was most interested in doing THE RED TEN, a team superhero book, something he’d always dreamed of doing. (And that was the one I was hoping he’d dig as well.)

One of the great things about ComixTribe is that all the books we publish are, first and foremost, books we ourselves want to read.

And  at 36 years old, I’m still not ashamed to say I love a good superhero yarn.

That said, I haven’t greenlit a new superhero project under the ComixTribe banner in a couple years now, and would have to have my socks blown off by a pitch to do so.

The new OXYMORON series actually takes the character who debuted in THE RED TEN, and strips away any and all superhero trappings.  The high concept for the series that’s been generating a lot of buzz is asking readers to “Imagine The Joker came to a Gotham WITHOUT Batman.”  So, this series is more police procedural and cerebral horror thriller than anything else.

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Art by Alex Cormack

Likewise, we’ve got EXIT GENERATION from Sam Read and Caio Oliveira, a previously self-published gem from the UK, which is an all-ages sci-fi book with a punk rock ethos coming out later this fall.

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Art by Caio Oliveira

Joe Mulvey’s next series, CounterTERROR, which we are soft-launching at the 2015 Boston Comic Con, is a political thriller mashed up with a paranormal action popcorn flick.  Think “What if Jack Bauer was a Ghostbuster?” 

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Art by Joe Mulvey

And I fully expect Ryan K Lindsay (Negative Space, Headspace) and Sami Kivelä’s unannounced new surf noir book to raise the bar for ComixTribe again in 2016.

We also have a couple new anthology projects I’m very excited about coming up that take us into new exciting new genres.

In short, we unabashedly love superhero comics at ComixTribe, but we’re about a lot more than spandex.  

Do you have aspirations to work with publishers other than ComixTribe?

I think most people who make comics would be lying if they told you they didn’t want the opportunity to work on the icons and make a contribution to the great comic book universes that they grew up loving.

Every creator has a Spidey story, or a Batman story, or I don’t know, a Howard the Duck tale, they’d love the opportunity to tell.

For me, it was Image Comics that really ignited my passion for creating comics, so having a book with an Image “i” on the cover has long been a goal for me. (You can listen to me fanboy gush over Erik Larsen when he was a guest on the Final Issue Podcast.)

So, sure, if given the right opportunity, I’d jump at the chance to work with legendary publishers.

But that’s not the endgame for me.

It’s an interesting time in comics.  Marvel and DC, they have great talent working for them, sure. But the absolute best talent in comics are no longer found there… or at least no longer found EXCLUSIVELY there. Millar, BKV, Staples, Kirkman, Adlard, Ottley, Brubaker, Phillips… the cream of the crop all realized that the ceiling at the Big Two was far too low for their talents.

And that’s a great thing, I think, for the industry, and for comics in general.

How do you plan on continuing to grow ComixTribe?

One reader, shop, and creator at a time.

I sold my first comic at age 14 out of my backpack in school. (9 copies sold at a $1 a piece!)

Since then, ComixTribe has managed to get more than 200,000 copies of books printed and out there into the world. (Sorry, trees!) And as crazy as that number is to me, it still means we’re just a guppy in the comics industry ocean.

Still, ComixTribe has doubled its revenue every year for the past four years.

We are poised to double again this year, as long as we continue to execute.

It’s been a long, hard road to get here… a barely profitable, low six-figure business, that reinvests 100% of profits back into itself.

But it’s still early days for us.  We’re maybe on mile two of our comics marathon.

And I see the roadmap…

I know exactly what we need to do to take ComixTribe to a somewhat profitable seven-figure business, and beyond.

(This is the part where I knock on wood… and remind myself of the danger of “best laid plans” and that I could be hit by a bus or a falling anvil at any moment.)

But it’s not rocket science. And it’s not all that complicated…

The closest thing I have to a success formula goes something like this: P + A + I + N + T = S

Passion + Action + Integrity + a Network + Talent = Success.

I firmly believe that if you have all of those ingredients, the only variable in your success is TIME.

Because the truth is, those ingredients, even when found in copious amounts, do take a while to cook.

And if you’re not currently as successful as you want to be… you may be lacking one or more of those elements, and that is where you should be putting your focus.

We need a new name for it because “The Golden Age” is taken… but these are the halcyon days for being a comic book creator.   

Over the next few years, we’re going to get a million ComixTribe comics into readers’ hands.

We’re going to continue to add tremendous value to the comic creator community, through continuing the awesome free content on ComixTribe.com, and through podcasts and other educational products and ventures.

And we’re going to work directly with at least one hundred creators, and help a bunch of them break into the direct market for the first time.

How is ComixTribe going to do all this?

Well, I’ve got a plan, but I’m nimble, and will be figuring it out as I go along.

And you can be sure I’ll be doing it transparently and in plain sight, as I’ve done from ComixTribe’s inception…

So, just watch.


MATT CHATS is a weekly interview series with a person of prominence and/or value in the comic book industry. Find its author, Matt O’Keefe, on Twitter and Tumblr. Email him with questions, comments, complaints and/or suggestions praise at matt@mattwritesstuff.com.

0 Comments on MATT CHATS: Tyler James on the ComixTribal Magic as of 6/23/2015 6:24:00 PM
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5. Tales of the Wolfman on Kickstarter

David Gruba is hoping to raise $5000 on Kickstarter for Tales of the Wolfman, a collection of comics and art that gives new life to some classic children’s tales and comic books.

The 48-page anthology, which includes contributions from various artists, reimagines Little Red Riding Hood based on the premise that the wolf marries Red Riding Hood.

Here is more from the Kickstarter listing: “But in this case, the Wolf is a Wolfman. In this all-ages series, writer David Gruba and artist Rene Castellano play with the possibilities of Wolf and Red’s uncommon pairing by blending Universal Monsters with Fairy Tale Classics. The series, so far, consists of Bride of the Wolfman, House of the Wolfman, Feast of the Wolfman and Time of the Wolfman.”

 

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6. Jamal Igle talks Molly Danger, Supergirl, and overcoming failure

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Jamal Igle didn’t expect to receive the support he got when he decided to work on his creator owned project, Molly Danger. Igle raised $50,329 to self publish the first installment of the story about the world’s most powerful 10-year-old girl. Kickstarter comics were booming in 2012, and a lot of industry favorties like Igle were making a lot of money and giving the fans something different. Igle tried to repeat the success in May but fell short. He admitted on his Facebook page (and in this very interview) there were a number of reasons that the project wasn’t successful, but that didn’t stop him.

He’s back but with a manageable goal, great incentives, and has passed the halfway mark in the project’s second week. Click here to check out the project yourself.

Igle took some time from his busy schedule to discuss latest attempt to fund his labor of love. There are a number of dope-ass incentives: personalized commissions, be a character in the book, original art and so much more. We talked about why he’s decided to take Molly Danger from the graphic novel format to a regular schedule, his reaction to CW’s Supergirl show, how his frank political discussions on Facebook affect his Kickstarter campaign, what the unsuccessful campaign did to his ego and why that didn’t stop him from launching another Kickstarter initiative.

Henry Barajas: I just want to start off by saying you look great. Every time I see you in person or online you seem to be shrinking. What’s your secret and has major the weight loss helped you with your art?

Jamal Igle: Mostly, it’s been a combination of changes in both my overall diet and getting almost daily exercise. I run 5-6 days a week, five miles a day. I still have my little indulgences, but I’ve cut out a lot of the processed food I was eating. I don’t eat at any restaurant where the kids meal comes in a box with a toy, so no McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s etc. unless I don’t have another option. No fruit juice, cow’s milk and very little fried food. I also changed my schedule drastically. I used to, like many comic artists, work primarily at night, staying up sometimes until 4 am but now I make sure that I stick to a strict schedule. I’m awake at 5 am, I run for an hour, I have breakfast and see the family off and I work from 9 am until 6 pm or so. I’m in bed by 11 pm, and just doing that has improved my health, my art has improved and I get more done during the day.

Art courtesy of Jamal Igle.

Art courtesy of Jamal Igle.

HB: What looked like a recipe for success, your last attempt to crowdfund the second installment of Molly Danger fell short. I’m glad you didn’t let that stop you. How did you process that set back on a personal and professional level? What did you learn from your first attempt, the unsuccessful project,  and what are you doing differently this time around?

JL: I would be lying if I’d said it didn’t sting a bit. There were a few times during the campaign where I thought about canceling it, because at a certain point it was clear that it wasn’t getting the traction I needed for it to be successful. It was an ambitious idea, to do both the physical book and the audiobook together but it became clear that the audiobook wasn’t as much of a draw as I would have hoped for it to be. I really had to put my ego aside though, and look at the bigger picture. The most important thing to me is telling the story, telling the story of Molly Danger and her world.

HB: I think an audiobook would be great for blind fans or families on long road trips. Have you scrapped the idea completely?

JL: No, I haven’t. We’re still trying to make it happen and if the campaign gets funded in a way that makes it viable it will become a stretch goal.

HB: I’ve noticed that Facebook is a good tool for promoting your Kickstarter projects; however, my feed is full of politics, black folks getting harassed by the police (or worse) and other social injustices. How do you stick out while respecting the world around you? I know you’re not afraid to speak your mind on topical issues, but has that affected your campaign?

JL: It may have but not in any noticeable way. I used to be afraid that my very vocal stances would drive fans away from my Facebook page, Twitter, etc. However, I started to meet fans who were following me online because I can be very outspoken about politics and social issues. Some people do it because they agree, others because they disagree and want to argue with me and some do it just to see me rail on comic book movies and argue with me about the Man of Steel (laughs).  I do, however, attempt to always be respectful in my engagements and I try to present some well researched facts. It doesn’t always work, I can get angry occasionally and just like everyone I’ve been fooled by a meme online. I’m also not afraid to play bouncer if I see a thread getting out of hand, since I do try to keep the conversation as civil as possible and I think people respect that.

HB: I find it interesting that you’re going from the graphic novel format to a bi-monthly ongoing series. How did you come to this decision?

JL: That all starts with plans that have been set in motion with Action Lab for the connected superhero universe we’re doing, “The Actionverse”, which launches during Halloween Comicfest this year. This something we’ve been developing for over a year, all of the scripts are written, artwork is in various stages of completion. Molly is a big part of the Actionverse and originally it was just going to be the Book Two graphic album.

The thing is, after the campaign failed, I had to really figure out what the best approach to making Molly a character people could get behind was and part of it was to make Molly come out on a more consistent basis. I have at least a decade’s worth of Molly stories written down in various books in my studio. So now the plan is to do each six issue as a “season”. One of my concerns was to be able to continue the hardcover format of the first book, and after talking to Action Lab, we’ve decided that instead of the traditional monthly comic book size of 6.5 x 8 inches, we’re going to make the Molly series “Golden Age” size, 7.5x 10.5 inches. Every two issues will be collected as a new hardcover and each season will be collected as a trade.

Doing the series in this manner actually allows me to expand the story more. I’m expanding Molly’s world a bit more with new characters and character dynamics that I didn’t have room for in the original outline for the miniseries.

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HB: What kind of reaction have received from Molly Danger fans? How is it different from your freelance work like Supergirl?

JL: On a personal front, it’s been truly heartwarming. The first book has been in circulation for a while and I have kids, particularly girls who come to my table at shows to tell me how much they love the book. It’s extremely satisfying in a way that working on and being recognized for drawing a character like Supergirl doesn’t match. Working for a DC or Marvel is fun work and I clearly enjoy doing projects for larger publishers, but it’s essentially brand management and there has to be a  professional distance when working on those characters. Molly is mine, I feel a pride and a fatherly protectiveness about how she’s portrayed in other people’s books. So far with everything we’ve been doing behind the scenes getting ready for 2016, every writer has embraced my view of Molly.

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HB: Speaking of the Girl in Blue, how does it feel to see that your work inspiring the upcoming television series? Were you consulted or approached by the CW or DC Entertainment?

JL: It’s pretty flattering, and a bit of a validation that Sterling Gates and I had a vision of the character that could potentially reach a mass audience. I wasn’t consulted, although it would be fun to be involved at some point, and it’s purely ego, of course, but I’d love to see them do Bizarrogirl at some point.

Click here to support the ongoing Molly Danger series.

1 Comments on Jamal Igle talks Molly Danger, Supergirl, and overcoming failure, last added: 7/2/2015
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7. My Magical Adventure Book Featured On Kickstarter

The Crayon Crunch team hopes to raise $10,000 to publish a picture book called My Magical Adventure. Each copy will come with a personalized letter. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “What happens if you mix software engineering with traditional children’s book printing? You get the first-ever printed personalized book, in which the lead character looks like the child reading it. My Magical Adventure is a printed personalized children’s book, whose lead character can be customized to look like any child, including all ethnicities and special needs.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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8. Mental Health Book Featured on Kickstarter

Designer Kim Caicedo hopes to raise $3,000 through crowdfunding to cover the cost of the first printing for The Little Book of Disorders. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “The discrimination and social stigmas attached to mental health can make it hard for People with mental conditions seek help and recover. I wanted to create this book to change that and to encourage people to start a conversation that matters.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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9. Fortunate Horse Magazine Seeks Funding on Kickstarter

fortunatehorseFortunate Horse Magazine, a team of “goofballs” in New York, which includes writers from Saturday Night Live, The New Yorker, The Onion, Adult Swim, and McSweeney’s, are trying to raise $2,222 on Kickstarter to create a parody magazine.

Their goal is to create ridiculous periodicals and plant them in the real world for unsuspecting people to find and read. The latest issue is called Mister Cigarette, and is a parody of men’s magazines dedicated to men who smoke and love cigarettes. The issue features yellowed pages, fake ads, and a gritty exposé from an undercover journalist about dangerous Russian tobacco substitutes. Here is more from the Kickstarter page:

Mister Cigarette is complete. It’s been written and designed, the cover is locked in, and is ready to go the printers. But a Fortunate Horse project doesn’t really exist until it’s out in the real world. These magazines are meant to be left behind, secreted, installed, and injected into normal, everyday places as if they were actual, published magazines. For that, one needs access to as many real places as possible. We don’t have that, we’re just a small team. But you reading this, you out there in a place we can’t reach, you are the missing ingredient.

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10. Kickstarter Fail – A Federal Offense?

The Doom That Came to Atlantic City - and KickstarterThe Federal Trade Commission has just sent a press release touting its first successful action against a failed Kickstarter campaign.

The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers from false or misleading advertising, and as part of its new FinTech program the agency is developing new strategies for curbing deceptive practices online. Target #1: The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, a crowdfunded vaporware boardgame that netted more than $122,000 for its would-be creator.

Anyone planning to start a Kickstarter campaign might want to consider what the FTC found wrong with this failed campaign and the penalties imposed in the resulting settlement. And if you’re wondering what this case could mean for the future, the FTC is hosting a Twitter chat with its attorneys today (Thursday, June 11) from 2-3pm.

Here’s the scoop from the FTC’s press release:

In its first case involving crowdfunding, the Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against the deceptive tactics of a project creator who raised money from consumers to produce a board game through a Kickstarter campaign, but instead used most of the funds on himself. The defendant has agreed to a settlement that prohibits him from deceptive representations related to any crowdfunding campaigns in the future and requires him to honor any stated refund policy….

According to the FTC’s complaint, Chevalier represented in his Doom campaign on Kickstarter.com that if he raised $35,000, backers would get certain rewards, such as a copy of the game or specially designed pewter game figurines. He raised more than $122,000 from 1,246 backers, most of whom pledged $75 or more in the hopes of getting the highly prized figurines. He represented in a number of updates that he was making progress on the game. But after 14 months, Chevalier announced that he was canceling the project and refunding his backers’ money.

Despite Chevalier’s promises he did not provide the rewards, nor did he provide refunds to his backers. In fact, according to the FTC’s complaint, Chevalier spent most of the money on unrelated personal expenses such as rent, moving himself to Oregon, personal equipment, and licenses for a different project.

Under the settlement order, Chevalier is prohibited from making misrepresentations about any crowdfunding campaign and from failing to honor stated refund policies. He is also barred from disclosing or otherwise benefiting from customers’ personal information, and failing to dispose of such information properly. The order imposes a $111,793.71 judgment that will be suspended due to Chevalier’s inability to pay. The full amount will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.

This case is part of the FTC’s ongoing work to protect consumers taking advantage of new and emerging financial technology, also known as FinTech. As technological advances expand the ways consumers can store, share, and spend money, the FTC is working to keep consumers protected while encouraging innovation for consumers’ benefit.

4 Comments on Kickstarter Fail – A Federal Offense?, last added: 6/14/2015
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11. Jane Green on Self-Publishing, Social Media and Her Kickstarter Campaign

GreenIt’s hard to believe that New York Times bestselling author Jane Green leveraged Kickstarter to fund her new cookbook, Good Taste. Although the campaign ends on July 14, devoted fans and celebrities like Martha Stewart and Jodi Picoult have supported her via social media and she easily surpassed her self-publishing goal of $45,000 within the first five days of her campaign. Drawing on stories from her life and the food that runs through them, the book combines recipes with photos and her witty storytelling.

We caught up with the versatile author to chat about venturing outside her comfort zone, leveraging new media to fund her project, and carving out time and space to write amidst her busy schedule.

GalleyCat: As a bestselling author, why did you decide to self-publish your cookbook?

Jane Green: I have been incredibly lucky with my novels but I had absolutely no idea if anyone would be interested in a cookbook. So I started to think about self-publishing.

Mushroom

I then realized that with Kickstarter, I [would] have to put this book together myself. So I did the test recipes and I found the photographer and an art director. I wanted my fingerprints on every page and they really are. Everything about this book has been chosen by me.

GalleyCat: It sounds like you really enjoyed this process. And as a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, was this a passion project? Were you thinking, “I love cooking so let me try this out?”

Green: Yes, 100 percent. I put recipes in a couple of my novels and they’ve always been well-received and this is a long-held dream of mine. I did sort of get into a conversation with my publisher a couple of times about how much I’d love it and they didn’t bite.

GalleyCat: How does it work exactly – will everyone who donated get a book?

Green: We funded in five days which I did not expect at all. That was kind of extraordinary but what it means is that we can now proceed with the printing. We’ll fulfill the books, we’ll be sending them out in October and so it’s the same as pre-ordering a novel in a bookstore. You can buy my book for $25 and you’ll get it in October.Jane-Green-2

This is a limited edition print run, it’ll be a collector’s edition. Because we’ve funded it, we’ll be able to publish all kinds of lovely things. I would love to do another cookbook, maybe a slightly different version. I may either do it myself or I may look for a publisher next time around.

GalleyCat: What are your thoughts on self-publishing? It sounds like you’re really enjoying this process and you’ve gone through the traditional route for so many years.

Green: It’s been a fascinating learning curve. What I’ve come to learn with self-publishing is that if you want to provide readers with something of equal quality, it requires the same amount of time and expense. I could have self-published and thrown something together and turned it up online but I didn’t want to do that; I wanted to create something that looked really beautiful and had lasting value.

GalleyCat: There can be a stigma with self-publishing. You’re an established author, you’re trying this route – has the stigma changed over the years and if so, how?

Green: I think that the stigma is very, very much in place and I think that the entire model of the publishing world has changed and doing what you’ve always done and expecting to get what you’ve always got no longer works.

GalleyCat: Let’s talk about social media because it seems like with the Kickstarter campaign and your Facebook and Twitter feeds, you’re really engaging with the reader. Has social media also changed the face of publishing?

BREAD

Green: The whole thing now is about connection. Ten years ago, you wrote a book and you never expected to find out anything about the author. Now with social media, everyone wants that connection. I think our readers want to be invited into our lives and brought on the journey and be part of this whole process.

GalleyCat: Do you envision more e-books in the future or different ways of publishing houses getting involved beyond traditional books?

Green: My e-books sales have overtaken everything else, so I think all the marketing has become very much driven by the author now because of social media. The way that I run my Facebook and my Instagram [accounts], I can’t have somebody else doing that for me. It’s got to be my voice.

GalleyCat: What advice do you have for writers hoping to leap outside their comfort zone?

Green: When you stay stuck in the same groove, your creativity can dwindle. I definitely felt that I was on a bit of a treadmill and actually, stepping out of my comfort zone and using my creativity in a completely different way has just brought this incredible passion back into my life, which has spilled into every area. I’m energized in a way that I wasn’t before so if you’re a creative person, and we writers tend to be, the more cases we can express that creativity, the better. Actually, my next novel comes out on Tuesday, June 23 – Summer Secrets.

BEEF

GalleyCat: How do you manage to carve out time to sit down and actually write when you’re so busy?

Green: Right now I’m busier than ever before and my whole writing routine has had to change because I have so many things going on. In the old days I’d write during the morning and I’d be done by lunchtime and be mom in the afternoon. I can’t do that now. Sometimes I can get away with a week here or there but now I have to go on these self-imposed writing retreats. Twice a year I’ll go off to a little inn in New Hampshire and I’ll just go and for five days I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I wouldn’t look at anyone, I’d just be in a room with my computer and I will write.

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12. Kickstart First Law of Mad Science to Stave Off a Deadly Future

In 2008, Oliver Mertz and Mike Isenberg came up with the idea for First Law of Mad Science, an affecting and strangely portentous story about a man whose innovative retinal implants a la Google Glass end up having major ramifications on the future of the world and the safety of his family.  Seven years later, the co-writers, along with artist Daniel Lapham, have launched a kickstarter to fund the release of the series’ first collected trade.

FLOMS_TRADE_COVER_BY_RYAN_BROWN

A summary from their kickstarter:

Super-scientist George Baker’s newest invention, electronic retinal implants known as “Cyber-Eyes,” are nothing short of amazing.  So amazing, in fact, and so cheap and easy to get, that some 40% of the population has gotten them within their first year on the market. But they aren’t perfect. Far from it. When things start going inexplicably and bizarrely wrong with the original test subjects, George and his family will have to find out why, before the problem spreads and causes worldwide panic. Along the way, they’ll uncover ancient civilizations, corporate conspiracies, sinister cults, other-dimensional creatures, awesome robots, subterranean cities, and Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.

FLOMS_ISSUE_3_PAGE_14

In addition to several interesting backer rewards (including a bombastic night out at the karaoke bars with Isenberg), the Mad Science team has put together a special anthology featuring stories set in the FLOMS universe by industry veterans including Frank Barbiere and Amy Chu:

Science Club Mixtape is an anthology issue set in the cyberpunk meets Lovecraftian horror universe of First Law of Mad Science. Each stand-alone story will build upon that universe and shine a light into some pretty dark corners.

The anthology features stories written and/or illustrated by Shawn Aldridge (GoGetters, Vic Boone), Frank Barbiere (Five Ghosts, Avengers World), Michael S. Bracco (Novo, the Creators), Jason Copland (Pop, Daredevil), Stan Chou (FUBAR, Oxymoron II Anthology), Amy Chu (Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman, Vertigo Quarterly), Anthony Del Col (Kill Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini)Savanna Ganucheau (Toe Tag Riot), Leland Goodman (Basement Dwellers), Mike Isenberg (First Law of Mad Science, FUBAR), Daniel Lapham (Warhammer 40K, First Law of Mad Science),Conor McCreery (Kill Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini), Jeff McComsey(FUBAR, Flutter), Oliver Mertz (First Law of Mad Science, FUBAR), Jamie Noguchi (Yellow Peril, The 47 Bronin), Pete Toms (POP, Sacrifice), and Sean Von Gorman (Toe Tag Riot, Pawn Shop). 

FLOMS_ISSUE_6_COVER_BY_TOBY_CYPRESS

The team is seeking $15,000 to fund the project, with the vast amount going towards printing costs.  The dedication they’ve shown towards this project is admirable, and I think the comics have been incredibly entertaining thus far.  Give it a look and see if you agree.

0 Comments on Kickstart First Law of Mad Science to Stave Off a Deadly Future as of 6/18/2015 9:12:00 PM
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13. Amelia Case Book Series Featured on Kickstarter

Writer Amelia Case hopes to raise $30,000.00 on Kickstarter for a book series called Princess With a Twist. The funds will be used to cover the cost of printing and hiring illustrators. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “The lives of princesses are a lot more interesting than we’ve ever been taught. Taking stories from the last millennium and making them innovative and applicable to the 21st century girl was no easy task. I tried to make the content fun, entertaining, and evergreen; all while giving the reader the tools to think about her/his own character and shift perceptions of what it can mean to fulfill one’s potential.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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14. Interactive Story App on Kickstarter

Sarah Towle is trying to raise $40,000 for her company Time Traveler Tours & Tales to build an interactive story app that gives a tour of historic Florence through Mary Hoffman’s Tale of Renaissance Giants: Michelangelo & David.

The app guides tourists through an interactive first-person story that is based on true events from 16th century Florence, Italy.

Here is more about the project from the Kickstarter page:

In the Footsteps of Giants StoryAppTour, to be developed for iPhone, transports you to the streets of old Florence. You’ll feel as if you are there–a witness to history–as you watch one of the greatest artists of all time carve one of the most iconic sculptures in world history. Through immersive, high context games and activities, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the time and place in which Michelangelo lived and worked, interacting not just with your device, but with your companions and, most importantly, your surroundings.

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15. Alan Moore Interview Part III – Jack the Ripper, Joyce Brabner, and a Swan-Shaped Pedalo

Previous parts of this interview: Part I – Steve Moore, River of Ghosts, The Show, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Part II – Punk Rock, Crossed, and Providence. Now read on…

From HellPÓM: A few other things… Yes, now. Have you been following any of the latest revelations on Jack the Ripper? Do you keep an eye on that?

AM: [Laughs] No, because it’s all going to be bollocks.

PÓM: Oh yeah.

AM: Alright, I stand to be corrected, but what are the latest revelations on Jack the Ripper?

PÓM: Somebody claimed to have bought a scarf, a very expensive scarf…1

AM: Oh yeah, I read about that. And obviously at the time, that’s bollocks…

PÓM: Oh yes, absolutely and complete bollocks!

AM: And they’ve since proved that it’s bollocks – I think that they’ve just said that, no, there’s no connection at all between Catherine Eddowes and the stain on this scarf.

PÓM: I do remember thinking that they seemed to be in possession of an awful lot of information about DNA and all of that that seemed… unlikely.

AM: Unlikely at the time, yes. No no, that – these are always going to be non-starters. Alright, unless there is some brilliant piece of evidence waiting to be discovered that – how likely is that?

PÓM: I know. I just wondered if – ‘cause you did From Hell, I presume you still have some interest in the subject.

Koch SnowflakeAM: Well, with From Hell, at the end of it, in The Dance of the Gull Catchers, there is that statement about – Look, how long can this go on? About Koch’s Snowflake2, about the increasing trivia applied around the crinkly edges of this case, but the area of the case cannot exceed the original events and consequently, new books about Jack the Ripper, they’re less about Jack the Ripper than they are about keeping the Jack the Ripper industry going, because it’s been quite lucrative for a few years, you know? And I honestly think that that is the truth.

So, no, I tend to be dismissive of – every four or five years there will be ‘At last, the final truth!’ And it never is. And it’s very often preposterous, or a deliberate hoax. Or you’ll get, say, Patricia Cornwell, with her vandalisation of a Walter Sickert painting in the ridiculous hope that she could match the DNA to that on the letters received the police, which were not from the killer anyway.3

PÓM: I remember when the documentary was on the telly, I saw it was coming up…

AM: Yeah, I saw that, and I saw at the end of it, all she’d got was some footage of Walter Sickert being led out, probably in his eighties, to be filmed in a garden somewhere, and she said, ‘Yes, look at those eyes – pure evil.’ Ignorant woman.

PÓM: I remember she said something like ‘I knew as soon as I looked into his eyes that it had to be him.’4 And this is a woman who…

AM: That was all the evidence that she’d got, and – the thing is, that Patricia Cornwell is apparently supposed to be an actual real-life pathologist…5

PÓM: Yeah!

AM: …apparently cases in the American legal system have presumably depended upon her evidence – I hope she was doing a little bit more than looking in people’s eyes.

PÓM: I know! I have never been so disappointed with something on the television – in my life! Because I expected – because of who she was, and what she was, I expected this was going to be really incisive and good and interesting.

AM: I had read some of her books, so perhaps I wasn’t expecting quite as much as you were.

PÓM: [Laughs] Fair enough!

AM: I read a few of her books with the beautiful woman pathologist…6

PÓM: Oh, I know who you mean…

AM: …who somehow always ends up at the centre of every case. She’s always the one that the serial killer gets an obsession with, even though there’s no way in the real world that he would ever know who she was. She’s always smarter than the police. And then when I found out that Patricia Cornwell was herself a pathologist at some point I thought, ‘Yes, I think I can see where this is going.

PÓM: Yes. It did seem as well the whole Jack the Ripper thing was kind of because her father had left home when she was five, and there were some elements of that in there, which is where it started getting strange.

AM: Yeah, well a lot of these people who get obsessed with true crimes, they’re – sometimes, they can be working out something in their own psychology, rather than anything to actually do with the crime that they are officially dealing with. I haven’t really taken a great deal of interest in Jack the Ripper since finishing From Hell – probably more in Psychogeography and London.

richard_coles_dogPÓM: I must say, we’ve been spending a fair bit of time in London, Deirdre and myself. We were over there last week. We went to see – do you know the Reverend Richard Coles?7

AM: Oh yes, I met him once. I met him with Robin Ince.8

PÓM: Yeah. He was doing a thing in the British Library, he was doing – because he’s got a first volume of his autobiography out – another good Northampton lad!

AM: Is he? Yeah, he’s from out in the outskirts, I think he’s from one of the villages.

PÓM: That’s where he’s being a Rev these days. A thoroughly lovely man.

AM: He seemed really nice when I met him, and of course he was great in The Communards.

PÓM: Well, he was. He was. Not a great dancer, but a charming human being. But, yeah, I’ve recently joined the British Library, which is completely fantastic.9 I’m doing research into Flann O’Brien, and The Cardinal and the Corpse, all of that.

gorse 3[There’s actually a part of the interview missing here, because I felt it was so far removed from having even the slightest relevance to this particular site that it was best elsewhere. It concerns English writer Iain Sinclair‘s 1992 documentary film The Cardinal and the Corpse, which almost no-one has seen besides Alan and myself. It also peripherally concerns Irish writer Flann O’Brien, about whom I have been spending quite a lot of time reading and researching of late. The interview is here, on the gorse website. By absolutely no coincidence whatsoever I have an essay on Flann O’Brien in gorse #3, entitled The Cardinal & the Corpse, A Flanntasy in Several Parts, which I commend to you all. End of outrageous and gratuitious self-promotion.]

PÓM: Are you doing some series of things with Joyce Brabner?10

AM: There is a work that I’m – I’m doing a work with Joyce, but I’m starting that at the moment. I can’t tell you much about that, because it will be sometime this year – I’m more or less starting work on it now, over the next – probably over the weekend, and it’s likely to be something to do with identity, but I really can’t tell you much more than that – I’ve got my ideas, but they’re not really well formed enough yet, but later in the year I’ll be able to fill you in more with that.

A 4-seater swan pedalo

A 4-seater swan pedalo

PÓM: Ok, cool. Sure, we’ll talk again, undoubtedly. And I think I’m going to wrap it up – I must say, when you’re talking about doing Swandown, and things like that – that’s the thing with the pedalo, isn’t it? With the swan-shaped pedalo?11

AM: That is one of the sweetest films I’ve ever seen, and not just because I’m in it. In fact, I think that my contribution is one of the more negligible aspects of it. It’s English poetry. It shows you that there is no landscape that cannot be made poetic with the addition of a big plastic swan. And in fact, since then I also earlier this year – no, last year, last year. Spring or Summer, I went and filmed a bit with Andrew and Iain for their next project, which is called By Our Selves, and it’s all about John Clare12, and it’s got Andrew mucking about dressed as a straw bear, and recreating John Clare’s limping walk from Epping Forest and Matthew Arnold’s mental asylum back to Helpston in Northampton. Eighty miles or something, where he was eating grass and hallucinating. Yeah, so Andrew and Iain came up to Northampton, I spent a lovely afternoon sitting pretending to be a version of John Clare. They’ve got Toby Jones

13 doing all the heavy lifting in terms of being John Clare, so that should be – ‘cause he’s an incredible actor…

Alan Moore and a Straw Bear, borrowed from here

Alan Moore and a Straw Bear, borrowed from here

PÓM: What I was going to say about that is, you do really seem to be having far too much fun, still – you’re doing everything you want to.

AM: That stuff is the best. Things like that that just come out of the blue. I still enjoy me comics work, I still enjoy the ordinary writing that I do, but – the little surprising things like that, that I’ve not done before, that are a great afternoon out, seeing lovely people, and knowing that it’s going to end up as a really poetic cinematic document, yeah, I am having a lot of fun with that, when it happens. It’s irregular, but charming when it does.

PÓM: Well, good. And I think that’s it. Is there anything that you’re doing that I should know about that I don’t know about?

AM: Yeah, probably. Whether I actually consciously know about it, is the big question. There must be some – did you hear about The Dying Fire?

PÓM: Nooooo…

AM: This was a book that I’ve just brought out from Mad Love Publishing, it’s the collected poetry of Dominic Allard14

PÓM: Yes, I did, because I have a copy inside. Yes, of course.

Dying FireAM: Ah right. With the big introduction. That seems to be going quite well, and Dominic seems a bit stupefied by the sudden exposure – mind you, Dominic seems a bit stupefied by most things, it has to be said. But, no, that was really good, taking the books down to him, and giving him a load of copies, so there’s that. What else have I been doing? I’ve been reading through Steve Moore’s journals, which I collected from his house, and that’s bittersweet. There’s some incredible information in there, things that I’d forgotten about. Just day-by-day stuff in Steve’s life, but he was meticulous about listing it all.

PÓM: Do you do that? Do you keep a journal, or anything like that?

AM: No I don’t. And Steve’s journals are part of the reason why I don’t.

PÓM: Oh yes, one other thing I did want to ask you. Do you remember our last interview? That was the written interview.15

AM: Yes…?

PÓM: Did you ever get any feedback on that, or did you hear – there was a certain amount of…

AM: I don’t know if I did or not, Pádraig. Where would I have got it from?

AM: Well, indeed. There was huge amounts of hoopla on the internet about it, which – it was interesting. It was…

AM: Oh, that was the stuff about the Golliwogg?

PÓM: Yes, the Golliwogg, and…

AM: Yes, that was when I wrote my – Yes, I remember – that was when I spent the Christmas writing the rejoinder?

PÓM: Yes, yes!

AM: Yeah, I didn’t hear much about it, to tell the truth, once I’d got it out of me system, and I thought that the issues had been addressed, I just kind of let it go. Why, did – you say that there was a lot of furore?

PÓM: Oh, I had – when I put it up on my blog, and it just spread out everywhere, and I was getting hundreds of comments and replies. It was all quite fascinating – it genuinely didn’t bother me in any way, shape, or form. The people who said rude things, I just deleted them, because people have strange notions about what the right to free speech actually means. And it was just – it was interesting – it was great. It was a fantastic piece of, em…

AM: Invective?

PÓM: I was going to say a fantastic piece of writing, of a thing to put out there, and I was delighted to be in that way involved with it but, yes, a fine piece of invective, and all the better for it.

AM: I was talking with somebody who read it, and he was saying ‘I think you might have revived a kind of literary form, that has not been really practiced since the eighteenth century,’ the really crushing, bitter, stinging satire, if you will. Yeah, I was quite pleased with it. After doing it, I tended to put it out of me mind.

PÓM: No harm in that. I must say…

AM: Was any of the response positive?

PÓM: Oh yeah! Oh Christ, yes! Plenty of it. There was lots of people who are just happy to do down anything that turns up, but there was a lot of people that thought you gave someone a kickin’ that deserved a kickin’.

LocusAM: Well, that’s good. I had a very nice comment from Ramsey Campbell16. He said, pretty much, ‘Right on, Alan,’ so that was nice. I did see, in the Michael Moorcock issue of Locus that came out recently that Mike, he was talking a little bit about Grant Morrison as well, just because he was asked some question about why he doesn’t encourage other people to do Jerry Cornelius stories these days, which apparently does rather connect up with some of Morrison’s work. Ah, I thought it needed saying, and it was better out than in.

PÓM: Well, indeed. Sure, it’s all part of life’s rich pageant.

AM: Absolutely.

MelindaPÓM: How’s Melinda?17

AM: Mel’s fine – oh, yes, that’s something that I should probably tell you about. Mel is preparing for her first spectacular exhibition. This will be at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury.

PÓM: Oh, I love Bloomsbury, I have to say. I could live in Bloomsbury.18

AM: Have you been to the Horse Hospital?

PÓM: I don’t think we have, no.

AM: Well, I did a gig there with the lovely Kirsten Norrie19 – which also, she appears with me in that, By Our Selves, the John Clare film. But I did a gig where Kirstin was singing, and I was reading a part of Jerusalem, so I went to the Horse Hospital, and in there, I knew that our gig was underground, in the basement, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is a bit weird, there’s no stairs, there’s just these ramps.’ And then I thought ‘Horse Hospital!

But it’s a lovely little space, and I believe that Mel will be doing her exhibition there on April the 10th, and there’s tons and tons of drawings, there’s seven or eight of her paintings, and I believe that there might be some bronze busts that she’s done of the three main characters from Lost Girls. So, if anyone reading this happens to be in the Bloomsbury area around April 10th this year, they could do worse than to drop in.

PÓM: I shall be sure to tell people.

AM: OK, you take care, like I say, Pádraig, and love to Deirdre – and that’s what Mel’s doing, she’s preparing that.

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FOOTNOTES:

1On the 6th of September 2014 the Daily Mail carried a story that DNA evidence had been found on a scarf – allegedly once the property of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth of the five ‘canonical’ victims of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper, whose exploits set Victorian London into a frenzy of speculation which has still not died away – which proved that the killer was actually Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski. The story is here, although you really also need to read the refutation, here, as well.

2I refer you to the Koch’s Snowflake page on Wikipedia, because they explain it better than I ever will.

Chasing the Ripper3Crime writer Patricia Cornwell wrote a book called Portrait of a Killer — Jack the Ripper: Case Closed, published in 2002, where she claimed that British painter Walter Sickert was the Whitechapel murderer, and went to extraordinary – and, frankly, borderline insane – lengths to prove it, including supposedly cutting up one of his paintings in an effort to find clues of some kind. There’s an excellent piece about it on the Casebook: Jack the Ripper website, here. In the meantime, Cornell has written more on the subject, a Kindle Single called Chasing the Ripper, published in 2014, and available here, if you’re feeling brave.

4 Yes, she really says something almost exactly like that. Here‘s the relevant bit from the documentary, courtesy of those nice people over at YouTube.

5Patricia Cornwell isn’t actually a ‘real-life pathologist,’ although she did work in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia for six years, first as a technical writer and then as a computer analyst, so had at least some input into their findings, one imagines.

6Dr Kay Scarpetta, the protagonist of twenty-two Cornwell novels thus far.

Fathomless Riches7The Reverend Richard Coles is a Church of England priest, currently working as the parish priest of St Mary the Virgin, Finedon, Northampton, in the Diocese of Peterborough. He was previously in The Communards with Jimmy Somerville, formerly of The Bronsky Beat, with whom Coles had also occasionally played. He is openly gay and lives with his civil partner in a celibate relationship, although they have four dachshunds, and he remains the only vicar in Britain to have had a Number 1 hit single. Above and beyond all that, he does regular appearances on the television and radio in Britain, and is a thoroughly lovely human being. He did an appearance in the British Library on Friday the 20th of February 2015 to publicise his autobiography, Fathomless Riches, which I attended with my wife Deirdre.

8Robin Ince is an English Science-Comedian and renowned Atheist. He is involved with the occasionally annual Christmastime event Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, as well as the radio programme The Infinite Monkey Cage, both of which have included Alan Moore on occasion.

9If you think I’m being overly mean in describing the Rev. Coles as a bad dancer, I suggest you go look at this video of The Communards performing Never Can Say Goodbye

, and make up your own mind. The British Library, by the way, is one of my favourite places in the whole wide world. If Heaven is not very like it, I shall be very disappointed.

secondavecover110Joyce Brabner is an American comics writer, and the widow of the late Harvey Pekar. She has collaborated with Moore before, on Brought to Light, and on Real War Comics. Most recently she has written the non-fiction graphic novel Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, about the real-life efforts of people caught up in the AIDS epidemic in New York in the early 1980s. It’s good stuff, and you all need to go read it.

Swandown11Swandown is a 2012 film in which Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair pedaled a swan pedalo down the Thames from the Hastings, on the sea, to Hackney, in London, occasionally joined by people like Alan Moore and comedian Stewart Lee. Look, I promise I’m not making this stuff up, and there’s a photograph to prove it. From left to right we have Lee, Moore, Kötting, and Sinclair.

12John Clare, known as The Northamptonshire Peasant Poet, was the writer of collections like Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery and Village Minstrel and other Poems. The film By Our Selves is in part based on Iain Sinclair’s book The Edge of the Orison: In the Traces of John Clare’s ‘Journey Out of Essex’. More information can be found on the By Our Selves Kickstarter page. It was successfully funded, and the project is ongoing.

Toby Jones13Toby Jones is an excellent English actor. Amongst other things, he has done the voice of Dobby the House Elf in the Harry Potter films, appeared in an episode of Doctor Who, and had parts in films like Captain America: The First Avenger, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hunger Games, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and many many more.

14Mad Love Publishing is a publishing company Moore set up in the late 1980s with others, originally to publish AARGH (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia), and subsequently the first two issues of Big Numbers. The company had a long hiatus, but has reappeared recently as the publisher of Dodgem Logic, and most recently of The Dying Fire, a poetry collection by Moore’s old school friend Dominic Allard. The Northants Herald & Post reported on the story here.

15The interview referred to hear, which Alan doesn’t at first realise I’m referring to, is the infamous Last Alan Moore Interview?, which some of you may have already read, or at least read about. It has, to date, a bit over 100,000 views, and 350 replies, which is not too bad for the first post on a new blog!

doll216Ramsey Campbell is an English horror writer who has written numerous novels, including The Doll Who Ate His Mother, The Face That Must Die, and The House on Nazareth Hill, as well as numerous collections of short stories. He has a list of awards for his work as long as your arm, including the British Fantasy Award, the World Fantasy Award, the International Horror Guild Award, and the Bram Stoker Award.

17Melinda Gebbie is an American comics creator, now settled with her husband, Alan Moore, in the heart of England. They’ve worked together on various things, including Lost Girls.

18Bloomsbury is the bit of London that contains the British Museum, occasional headquarters of the Victorian version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the British Library. It’s full of culturally wonderfully stuff, parks with friendly squirrels in, and lots of Blue Plaques to all sorts of writers and the like. I recommend you go visit, at least once in your life. The exhibition in the Horse Hospital runs until the 9th of May, so there’s time to see it yet.

19Kirsten Norrie is a Scottish artist and musician, and a member of Wolf in the Winter, an international performance collective.

3 Comments on Alan Moore Interview Part III – Jack the Ripper, Joyce Brabner, and a Swan-Shaped Pedalo, last added: 4/27/2015
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16. A Spider’s Heart Book Featured On Kickstarter

Writer Alon Seifert and artist Eitan Cohen hope to raise $10,008 on Kickstarter. The collaborators have created an kid’s artbook entitled A Spider’s Heart: A Book About a Vegetarian Spider Artist. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

According to the Kickstarter page, the book explores “choosing a path that is right for oneself and not giving up. It is also about creativity and how it can help anyone solve any problem. It is also a (very) general introduction to art for young kids. At the end of the book there is a glossary that presents the original pieces side by side with Little Pablo’s interpretations of these art works.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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17. MATT CHATS: Brian Buccelleto on Transmedia Project “Sons of the Devil” Coming Soon from Image Comics!

Welcome to MATT CHATS, where I (Matt) talk to a person of interest in the comic book industry every Tuesday at 4:30 PM Eastern. Today I am speaking with an industry veteran but relative necomer to the Image renaissance. When Brian Buccelleto offered the first two issues of his upcoming Image series Sons of the Devil (also a short film) to reviewers on a recent episode of the Word Balloon podcast, I jumped at the chance to read them and talk to him. As a fan of his collaborations with Francis Manapul on The Flash and Detective Comics, I was not disappointed, more than happy to discuss with Brian the differences between something on the screen and on the page, the effect crowdfunding has on financials and other aspects of the creative process.

Brian_Buccellato

Did you talk with Kyle Higgins about the process of bringing something from the screen to the comic book page?

He’s a really close friend of mine and so we talk about everything – including the process of filmmaking and comic books. That said, he helped me out a lot on the film. Shout out to Kyle!

How are your philosophies similar?

We love film and comics and want to do both. So I think everything we create is done with the hope of being able to tell the stories in both mediums.

SOTD_01_05 CMYK

What do you think are the pros and cons of doing a film simultaneously with a comic, as opposed to adapting a film years later like Higgins did?

I think the biggest pro for doing it simultaneously is that you can actually SEE the story come to life on screen, which informs what you do in the comic AS you are doing it. Having actors take your material, interpret it, and make it their own helps you see the characters in new and interesting ways. Also, in the case of Sons of the Devil, we were able to secure interesting locations and have visual reference that I then gave Toni in the script. I think there was a certain level of synergy with doing both comic and film together. For Kyle and C.O.W.L./The League, I think adapting it later allowed him distance to cherry pick the best elements of his short. Honestly, I don’t know if there is a downside to either. Making comics and films are each awesome experiences… getting to do BOTH is off the charts awesome.

What are some storytelling benefits of telling a story both on the comic page and on the screen?

I think the two mediums are similar but have their own inherent advantages in how the story is told. Film is a forward-moving visual medium where you experience the story with sight and sound. There is a momentum to films that you want to sustain because you HOPEFULLY have the viewer’s undivided attention and you want to keep it. It’s more of a sensory experience for the viewer. Comics are also visual, but are experienced at a pace dictated by the reader. There is no captive audience. In some ways that’s a disadvantage… but the benefit of a comic is that a reader can spend as much time on a single page as he/she wants. And the reader can go back and re-read and really digest the material without it hurting the experience.

SOTD_01_06 CMYK

What kind of audience did the Kickstarter attract? Was it more composed of fans of films or comics?

It was mostly comprised of fans of my work, who were intrigued by my transmedia concept.

Does the fact that the comic was funded through a Kickstarter campaign change the financials of the series at all? Because of the Kickstarter, for example, is the sales threshold lower?

II I don’t think being a Kickstarter project has any bearing on sales thresholds. In the case of SOTD, almost all of the funds we got went into the budget of the short film – which ended up costing more than what we got from Kickstarter. So financially speaking, the Kickstarter didn’t pay for the ongoing series. I had to get financial support from other means. But Kickstarter allowed me to start the comic book and get far enough down the road to pitch it to Image. This allowed me to take the concept from its initial plan as a one-shot to becoming an ongoing series.

SOTD_01_07 CMYK

Kickstarter is as much about marketing tool nowadays as it is a way to amass funds. How big of an impact do you think the campaign has had on the visibility of the work?

Honestly, I don’t know how directly Kickstarter will factor into the marketing of the book. I had approximately 250 backers, so I don’t think that number will significantly impact the sales number for issue 1.

For any artists looking to be discovered, can you describe how you searched for an artist for Sons of the Devil?

I feel VERY lucky. I was searching an international portfolio website called Behance when I came across Toni Infante’s work. I also tried DeviantArt and inquired using social media.

What were some of the challenges of working with a less experienced artist?

Honestly, I don’t look at his art or our lack of American comic credits and think “less experienced.” He is a professional artist with an amazing skillset, and I haven’t had any challenges that you might associate with a new artist.

Were there any benefits?

Only that I get the honor of working with him.

SOTD_01_08 CMYK

Was it hard letting go of the coloring duties for Sons of the Devil?

Not really. I’ve been coloring for 20 years and have had my fill. Of course, him showing me great coloring samples helped to make the decision easy.

You’re perhaps best known in the comics scene for your collaborations with Francis Manapul. Has it been difficult in any ways to be seen as a writer in your own right?

Not really. I made the decision to do my own solo stuff very early on, so that I could carve out my own identity as a writer. I self-published a book called Foster early on in our Flash run and did a 12-issue Black Bat story for Dynamite. I think it took a little more time for me to build trust within DC editorial so that they saw me as an individual in collaboration with Francis and not just the guy that he brought in to help. But to their credit, they have been very supportive of me and have allowed me amazing opportunities to shine on my own with Rogues Rebellion, Injustice and a few solo arcs on Flash. Oddly enough, I think Francis has had a tougher time being seen as a writer because he is such an amazing artist that it overshadowed his own writing chops. But he IS a writer/storyteller and has future plans to do his own solo stuff.

What are your hopes for Sons of the Devil professionally, creatively and personally?

Personally and creatively, I am always trying to grow as a writer and tell personal stories that resonate. So my hope is that each project I do is better than the last. Professionally, I would love for SOTD to be an ongoing series AND a television series.

SOTD_01_09 CMYK

Do you think the amount of great output from Image Comics good for business, or does it make it harder for your book to stand out?

I think there is always room for good books from every corner of publishing. The Image brand is obviously something any creator would want to be associated with. The amount of quality content that Image puts out means that retailers and fans will be more likely to try the book because Image’s track record is a promise of quality. As far as standing out among the other great books, I think that’s a challenge no matter how many books Image is publishing. There are 400 books that come out in a given month… so standing out is bound to be a challenge,

What’s the most exciting part of taking the plunge with a creator-owned series from Image?

Being able to tell the stories I want to tell EXACTLY how I want to tell them. Unfiltered.

You can find Brian on Twitter and his name on issues and trades in comic shops across the world.

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18. Review: Sons of the Devil #1 Can’t Wait to Meet You!

SondsOfTheDevil_01

Writer: Brian Buccellato

Penciller: Toni Infante

Publisher: Image Comics

From New York Times Best Selling writer BRIAN BUCCELLATO and artist TONI INFANTE comes a psychological horror story about TRAVIS, an average guy trying to get by, who discovers that he has familial ties to a deadly cult. Told across three decades, SONS OF THE DEVIL is an exploration of cults, family, and the dark side of human nature. It’s TRUE DETECTIVE and ORPHAN BLACK meets HELTER SKELTER.

After a Kickstarter, publisher announcement, Image Expo appearance and months of build-up Sons of the Devil is finally here. Creator Brian Buccellato even spearheaded a short film to go along with the comic on release for the Image website. Needless to say, there was an immense amount of lead-up this issue; so…is the comic any good? My immediate reaction would mention that it isn’t quite that simple. Buccellato and artist Toni Infante seem to be working the story towards a big moment in later issues that makes this first issue a quiet storm before the rest of the series will hopefully pick up the pace.

Toni Infante’s art gives the story a heavy stylized line work that echoes back to someone like a Tradd Moore mixed with Sean Murphy. Nestled in the back of these pages is a horde of detail including multiple fixtures within the room itself. Infante’s layouts are impressive as well. He approaches the page by letting panels bleed out for texture purposes. One of the best parts of the issue is when Infante is given the mileage to muck around with the tone of the comic, adding a canine in the story. This presents a lot of potential for him to draw a pretty interesting looking devil via his excellent representation of the other creatures — especially when the actual depiction of Venice itself is already impressive. Sometimes, the facial expressions of the characters can get a little muddy, and the characters themselves are suffering from one too many lines on their faces that are obscuring the people of California.

Protagonist Travis is a broken man wandering through life after a tough upbringing. The book squanders at first in how it tries to make the audience sympathetic towards the lead. Fortunately, the tale picks up some steam in the latter half that serves to move the comic in the right line. This comic is pretty light on dialogue, and the plotting also slowly starts to move the rest of the pieces into place.

Sons of the Devil takes place in California which may take some readers by surprise. The story could easily function as some sort of companion piece for Southern Bastards tonally. Which tangentially brings me to another point — the rest of the cast doesn’t quite pop the way that they probably should. Most of them don’t quite reach the level of above being stereotypical supporting cast members. The one saving grace of this story is that the mythological elements have not yet been revealed here. With the high concept of the lead being the son of a devil being put in play, this story may have served audiences better in an expanded page count or even less compressed format here.

It’s hard to exactly call this story a character study, the art of Infante and the mindset of Buccellato seem to contain a sturdier emphasis towards action — which this issue is largely absent of. The cliffhanger and the rest of the story present a package that seems to be building towards a deeper climb with the dark parts of humanity. It’s virtually impossible to judge an entire comic based off of one issue, especially one containing such a high concept premise. Sons of the Devil #1 is the first set of building blocks towards a bigger story.

Sons of the Devil #1 launches May 27.

The short film from Image Comics is available here.

Check out our MATT CHATS column with the author.

0 Comments on Review: Sons of the Devil #1 Can’t Wait to Meet You! as of 5/8/2015 3:03:00 PM
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19. The Retailer’s View // Bridging A Gap With The Archie Kickstarter

The Retailer's View

So I launched a comic store on Free Comic Book Day. It was quite the trick, trying to get things ready for the day with things exploding all around. We had ordered a point of sale system from Diamond, but when we phoned to ask them where it was a week after the supposed delivery date, we were told it had yet to ship. Before that moment, we were assured that it was on its way numerous times. We buckled down, bought the disperate parts of a computer, and assembled the damn thing ourselves with installed software. All in all, by the time we opened our doors to a line of already waiting customers, we were equal parts ready and not ready at all, but prepared enough to make the day work perfectly.

While I’m still new at owning a shop, it appears as though the feeling of prepared chaos is at the heart of running a small business. Measured doses of fear mix with confidence and produce a sheen of outward competence. That’s what I’ve taken from this experience and the numerous books and articles I read about making a go of things.

It will always be a tough go when you’re a relatively small force working against the never-ending tendrils of life and circumstance, but with enough diligence, passion and luck, things can always work out. The trick, it seems, is being able to find creative solutions to problems when they arise, using popsicle sticks and glue with enough ingenuity to hold the weight until you can afford a sturdier foundation. The other trick, is convincing people that what they’re standing on, is concrete.

archie 1

Earlier this week, Archie Comics announced a Kickstarter that would see the launch of their #NewRiverdale initiative. Born out of the excitement surrounding the company’s upcoming Archie #1 with Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, the company was (and still is) asking for $350,000 to fund the production and marketing for the first six issues of three companion books in the line – a Jughead title with Chip Zdarsky and an unnamed artist, a Betty and Veronica book with Adam Hughes providing script and art, and a Life with Kevin series, written and drawn by the character’s creator Dan Parent, with inks from artist J. Bone. Needless to say, the internet had questions and opinions about this. Why would a company like Archie need to do a Kickstarter? Were they cash strapped? In trouble? What happens if the Kickstarter isn’t funded? And if it is, where does the money go specifically?

To the company’s credit, they came back and answered most of the questions brought up with swiftness and as much transparency as they could muster. They met the base question of “why seek funding” with vague details about distribution and retail real estate deals with Wal-Mart and Target, and the nebulous costs thereof. If the Kickstarter isn’t funded, they said they would still be moving forward with those titles, but the timelines and formatting might have to change. The biggest question about this Kickstarter that currently remains unanswered is in regards to the breakdown of where the money will go. That’s perfectly understandable, as there’s not a smart business in the world that would willingly divulge the details of various contracts and cost specifics to the general public. That said, there is a disconnect that remains – and it all comes back to the structure that Archie is building for this new line, with this Kickstarter.

I’ve spent a few days reading up on the specifics of this Kickstarter, and I’ve spent a few years ordering comics from this company, so what follows is the appearance of this popsicle structure from this specific vantage point. Please keep in mind, I do not have any inside information on the company, their financials, or the specifics of this Kickstarter beyond what they have willingly offered the public using various platforms and forums. That said, so much of this business is built on perception, that I feel the need to detail exactly what Archie’s structure looks like to a person in my position: the retailer who will be supporting this initiative in store with orders, and the new business man, who just went through the process of procuring funding for his own (smaller scale) project.

LifeWithArchie_36_FionaStaples.jpg

Let’s start with the Kickstarter. I’m a big fan of Kickstarter, and its ability to sell a product directly to customers who need it. If I’m being perfectly honest, going to Kickstarter was an option that we (my business partners and I) were thinking of when we were looking to fund our store. Eventually we decided against it because of the various responsibilities and connotations that Kickstarter brings with it. As with all requests for funding, you have to put forth a solid business plan and superior product in order to receive what you need to go forth. Opting for the relatively easier process of heading to various banking institutions with our hats in hands afforded us the opportunity to detail our plans, services and structure in relative secret. Going with Kickstarter means you have to provide the public with sufficient reasoning to fund your project, as well as the math to back that up.

The big problem Archie Comics is running into involves warring ideas. As a self-sufficient publishing company, they have certain contracts and financial details that they need to keep confidential. However, they are taking a step out of the “self-sufficient” bounds by asking for money – which demands that the math be shown. It might be a popsicle stick solution to a unique problem, but they are doing a poor job in convincing me that it can support the weight.

Don’t get me wrong: Archie as a company isn’t saying anything wrong. They are building a compelling narrative around this Kickstarter that I can get behind. They aren’t Marvel and DC. They don’t have parent companies, and so while they might be big, they’re still relatively small. This affords them the opportunity to move and change with greater ease, but such freedom also comes with a lack of safety net, so to speak. Opportunities arose, and tied up some funds. It happens. What’s losing me are the actions that have surrounded this launch, as well as the product currently being offered with the Kickstarter.

Over the past four years, the company stopped publishing their digest line, and now only produce double digests, and “jumbo” digests. They had a line of seven single issue comics including Archie, Archie and Friends, Betty & Veronica, B&V Spectacular, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, which – before the announcement of any #NewRiverdale titles, had dwindled down to an almost monthly Archie title, and a bi-monthly Betty & Veronica. Books like Kevin Keller started up and heralded in a wave of change including which brought about titles like Life with Archie, Afterlife with Archie and the new Sabrina series. The first two concluded their runs long ago, while the latter titles have slipped on the publishing schedule hard. Afterlife with Archie #5 shipped a year ago today, and issue #8 just shambled it’s way onto the stands, with #9 still waiting to be resolicited and put back on the schedule. The first issue of Sabrina came out in October, and the second one didn’t ship until April, giving me the opportunity to quit my job and open a small business in between with room to spare. #3 is supposed to come out this May, and issue #4 has yet to be resolicited. At this point, I don’t expect #3 to come out anytime soon, and the subsequent issues of both titles probably won’t be seen until August at the soonest.

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Now additionally, Archie has their Dark Circle line up and running. Conceived as decidedly un-Archie takes on characters in their superhero catalogue, it is the third launch of the line in almost as many years. The first happened in late 2012 when the company launched New Crusaders alongside an ambitious digital program that would later inform Marvel’s own Unlimited app. This came to an abrupt stop a few months later, with plans for the second arc being scrapped after three issues were solicited, never to be published. The line popped up again in late 2013 with the first arc of Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid’s version of The Fox. It too ran five issues before disappearing from the schedule until now. Right now, the Dark Circle line appears to be doing okay. Issues continue to ship, but the new Shield title that is to be part of the line was already bumped back a couple months, and had to be resolicited.

The publisher also promised a Lena Dunham written run on Archie in the first half of this year, that has yet to appear on the schedule. Now, there are almost definitely reasons for all of these things. From my understanding, the superhero line took a couple of tries to stick, and this time it just might – especially given the caliber of work being produced. The horror line had delays owing to writer Roberto Aguire-Sacassa’s involvement in writing a treatment for a pilot based off of the Archie characters that was being considered at Fox, and Francesco Francavilla getting dinged by a car. The Lena Dunham thing? Honestly, she’s probably busy and comics don’t really pay a lot. Learning a new language in comic scripting could have pushed things back, or maybe they’re holding onto it to follow up Mark Waid and Fiona Staples on the main Archie title. It’s hard to say, and I doubt they would tell me the specifics of a project in development like that. Regardless, the company has had a less than stellar track record in terms of content production over the past few years, and the through line seems to be excitement outweighing timing. This Kickstarter seems to be a continuation of this trend, as the company wants to get the full slate of companion titles on the table as swiftly as possible to capitalize on the groundswell of interest that Archie #1 is getting them.

There’s also a problem with the product that is being offered as part of the Kickstarter – which features a bevy of options ranging from print comics to digital downloads. The main thrust seems to be built around physical copies of the books to come, with print comics being offered at the $10 tier. There’s a couple of reasons why this doesn’t quite work. The first is simple: despite whatever digital accoutrement that comes with the physical product, the company is still asking funders to spend $10 on something that will be worth $3.99 on the stands. Beyond that, they are offering the very same product that will be on the stands in comic shops, albeit with a different cover, at some levels. Beyond asking $10 minimum for this privilege, they are ensuring that copies of the self same book will be in the hands of readers who will then not have to go into shops.

Life With Kevin #1 Preview

Now, I am completely fine with content taking the most direct approach to the consumer. In a perfect world, that’s the best delivery system for getting product to readers, and even as a retailer, I don’t mind being cut out of that equation. The problem – or at least the problem as I see it – is the fact that with Archie #1 already in hand, there would be a handful of people who won’t come in store to grab a copy from retailers. This in turn could communicate a lack of interest in the product to retailers in some way, shape or form. Even if the book still goes over like gangbusters, who will be returning for the second issues? In addition to figuring out regular reader retention, retailers will have to guess at potential interest from parties who already have first issues.

Walk your digital fingers around this site for a little bit and take a look at the nearest sales chart. Retailers by default are a cautious bunch – and who can really blame them when the product they’re being provided is non-returnable? As a result, they will account for a potential loss sooner than they’ll account for a potential sale more often than not – and that would go doubly for something that they can’t even come close to measuring, like the amount of Kickstarter product Archie will have sent out to their region. Those non-existent customers on day one will be counted as such, and the numbers going forward will reflect that, which is not a good look for this line.

Beyond that, there are things that Archie could do to turn this around. Unfortunately, at this point, they can’t change their recent publication track record – at least not in terms of recent launches. They can put emphasis on their Action line of Sonic and Mega Man comics, which has delivered consistently through out the years. That’s proof positive that they can deliver, and that should clearly be noted. As for the problems with product delivery, if I’m seeking funding from someone (and I was, just recently), they’re going to want to know the specifics of why these delays happened, and what is being done to prevent that from happening going forward.

Archie 1 Zdarsky

As it stands, there’s very little out there that fills me with confidence in terms of how this product will be delivered in a timely manner. Fiona Staples does the art for Saga, and that book comes out on a modified schedule to make sure it comes out on time, as promised. It’s a great system that has allowed the book to soar in terms of creative energy, and physical sales. Is there a sufficient amount of time allotted for Staples to produce the artwork Archie needs in a timely manner while Saga continues? If not, is there a plan in place for the books’ shipping schedule? I know there have been reports that Fiona’s only contracted for three issues, which seems likely given her schedule, and Saga has been promised to continue at its current pace. Would Archie feature rotating artists or creative teams coming in to work on the book as needed? Will there be scheduled breaks occurring in between arcs? Both?

And what of the new books announced? As it stands, Jughead doesn’t have an artist attached, Adam Hughes is a notoriously slow artist, and the company still hasn’t decided what the print component of their Kevin Keller title will be. There seems to be a lot of pieces that have yet to slide in place, and these need to be addressed sooner rather than later. At the very least, something more should be said than Archie Comics CEO and Publisher Jon Goldwater saying, “In an ideal world these books would be monthly, yes. We would strive to have them out as regularly as possible.” Promising to try real hard is quite different than making sure there is a structure in place to ensure the product is delivered in a timely manner conducive to piquing and retaining reader interest and the money of retailers. This absolutely needs to be addressed first and foremost.

The other thing I would do is offer a Kickstarter exclusive product that will attract attention. Offering a product that will soon be available at a reduced price, even with all the digital support, is not enough for consumers, and is counter-productive for the titles’ ongoing sales. If you’re asking for $10 for a $3.99 product, you should make it something that will not be available otherwise. Toss in a digital copy of Archie #1 with a 24 page physical comic. Make eight or twelve of those pages an exclusive story that won’t be available individually otherwise. Fill the rest of the comic with concept art, preview images, or bits of pitch documents. Something like that is worth at least $10, and would go a long way to offering something unique to Kickstarter backers. Essentially: give your investors reason to invest, instead of asking for $10 while handing them a $4 product.

I want Archie to succeed. I want to see these books on the stands, and I want to sell these books to people, because I’m pretty sure they’re going to enjoy them. While I appreciate the unique circumstances the company finds themselves in, they have a lot of work to do in order to convince me that this is the right solution for this point in time – that this popsicle structure will hold the weight of what they’re building on top of it without collapsing. As a retailer, I need to see this before I can place orders with more confidence, and as a consumer and potential investor in this endeavour, I need a little bit more to free the funds to help make this happen. After all, while things might not be ideal, you still need to convince people there’s concrete at the foot of this. That, as it turns out, is what business is all about.

6 Comments on The Retailer’s View // Bridging A Gap With The Archie Kickstarter, last added: 5/18/2015
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20. Little Free Libraries Featured on Kickstarter

The organizers behind Little Free Libraries hope to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter.

The funds will go towards the increasing the number of Little Free Libraries. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “Each Little Free Library acts as a ‘mini town square’ and book distribution center, where children and adults can meet, connect and pick up a good book. An individual or group of stewards regularly care for each Library and ensures that it is in good repair, friendly and regularly stocked with high-quality books.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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21. Archie Comics Kickstarter cancelled in the face of criticism

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I’d been hearing word on the street that the controversial Archie Kickstarter campaign would be cancelled, and now about $30 K in andCBR has the official word. The planned titles—Jughead by Chip Zdarsky, Betty & Veronica by Adam Hughes and Kevin Keller by Dan Parent—will be published, as promised, but the rollout will be slower with Jughead launching in the fall.

According to Archie publisher Jon Goldwater, the negative attention was detracting too much from the actual projects:



“Very broadly, Jughead will come first, sooner than you’d think,” Archie Comics Publisher and CEO Jon Goldwater told CBR News. “Probably October. Then we’ll take a pause, figure out the rollout of the other two and how to best position them in the market. It’s going to take longer than we’d hoped, obviously, but these titles are top priority for us, and we want to make sure our fans get the best books possible.”

The decision to pull the Kickstarter, Goldwater said, came after the conversation no longer became about the books themselves — “Jughead,” to be written by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by an artist to be named; “Betty and Veronica,” written and drawn by Adam Hughes; and “Life with Kevin,” written and penciled by Kevin Keller creator and Archie veteran Dan Parent and inked by J. Bone — but about the Kickstarter itself.

The Beat’s retail columnist Brandon Schatz had a detailed post on what he saw as the problems with the crowd funding effort last night.

The big problem Archie Comics is running into involves warring ideas. As a self-sufficient publishing company, they have certain contracts and financial details that they need to keep confidential. However, they are taking a step out of the “self-sufficient” bounds by asking for money – which demands that the math be shown. It might be a popsicle stick solution to a unique problem, but they are doing a poor job in convincing me that it can support the weight.

Don’t get me wrong: Archie as a company isn’t saying anything wrong. They are building a compelling narrative around this Kickstarter that I can get behind. They aren’t Marvel and DC. They don’t have parent companies, and so while they might be big, they’re still relatively small. This affords them the opportunity to move and change with greater ease, but such freedom also comes with a lack of safety net, so to speak. Opportunities arose, and tied up some funds. It happens. What’s losing me are the actions that have surrounded this launch, as well as the product currently being offered with the Kickstarter.

Other publisher Kickstarters—from Fantagraphics and Last Gasp—have been successful, but the grassroots effort seemed more appropriately placed than this one. Although the projects being funded—contrary to what everyone seems to think—were NOT going to be sold in Wal-Mart and Target, just putting the names of those chains in the same paragraph as “crowdfunding” raised an incongruous picture. Although this was a bump in the road for Archie they’ve definitely done the right thing by pulling the plug.

Archie released a statement to CBR on the effort:

We will be ending the Archie Kickstarter today.

We launched the “New Riverdale” Kickstarter as a unique and innovative way to celebrate the company’s upcoming 75th anniversary and to bring attention to some new titles that we are extremely excited about — “Jughead” by Chip Zdarsky, “Betty and Veronica” by Adam Hughes and “Life with Kevin” by Dan Parent and J. Bone. We decided to dive into crowdfunding as an energetic, interactive and different method to raise money to help expedite the launch of these titles. The chance to engage with our fans directly was really appealing to us, and we’re extremely grateful and honored by the support and pledges we’ve received.


While the response to these new titles has been amazing, the reaction to an established brand like Archie crowdfunding has not been. Though we saw this as an innovative, progressive and “outside-the-box” way to fund the accelerated schedule we wanted to produce these books, it became another conversation, leading us further away from the purpose of this whole campaign: to get these amazing books in the hands of fans faster than we could on our own. While we fully expected our goal to be funded, it was no longer about the books and how amazing they will be. We don’t want that. This is why we’re shutting the Kickstarter down today.

We don’t regret trying something new. It’s what Archie’s been about for the last six years. We will continue to be a fearless, risk-taking and vibrant brand that will do its best to embrace new platforms, technology and ways to interact with fans. As a company, we have always prided ourselves on pushing boundaries and challenging expectations and perceptions.


The wonderful New Riverdale titles we wanted to launch will still come out — albeit not as quickly as we would have hoped had we attained the funding via Kickstarter. We believe in these books and know they’ll find an audience in comic shops, fueled by great stories and amazing creators.

We’d like to thank the great team at Kickstarter for their guidance and feedback and the entire staff at Archie Comics for their endless hours of hard work and dedication to this very special initiative.

And, most importantly, to our fans that pledged money to this Kickstarter — we thank you. Your dedication, love of Archie and his friends and endless positivity are examples to all. We will be in contact shortly via Kickstarter to get a special thank-you gift in your hands as soon as possible. Your support means the world to us.





 

3 Comments on Archie Comics Kickstarter cancelled in the face of criticism, last added: 5/18/2015
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22. New York Poetry Festival Featured On Kickstarter

The Poetry Society of New York, the producers behind the 5th annual New York City Poetry Festival, have raised more than $12,000 on Kickstarter.

The funds will be used to cover the costs of hosting this year’s event. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

Here’s more from the Kickstarter page: “This year we will welcome back more than 75 New York City poetry groups, including venerable institutions, upstarts, small presses, local reading series, literary journals, high school poetry teams, and more to The Festival’s three stages. If year’s past are any indication, over 250 poets will present, and we’ve already booked some incredible headliners: Nick Flynn, Patricia Spears Jones, David Matlin, and Fran Quinn!”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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23. Slow Books

A note from Candy: I was truly wowed by the last book I read by Nicky Singer  -  Knight Crew, a retelling of the Arthur-Guinevere romance set in a gritty council estate and populated by heart-breaking teenagers. When Knight Crew came out, Nicky actively urged readers not to buy the book from Amazon. Last week I stumbled on Nicky's Kickstarter campaign to publish her play, Island, as a novel. I

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24. Two More Wizards!

Willow the Squirrel

Rowena the Porcupine

Greeting blog friends! Do you remember the game, Wizards of the Wild which I helped illustrate that was funded on Kickstarter back in March and April? Well, since the Kickstarter campaign reached so many stretch goals, I was able to make two new characters for the game. This time two female wizards. 

Introducing: Willow the Squirrel and Rowena the Porcupine! These characters were so fun to do, and I learned a lot while doing them.


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25. Interview: Joey Stern, co-founder of Geeks OUT talks Flame Con – NYC’s first ever LGBTQ comic convention

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Back in November, queer nerd organization Geeks OUT launched a kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of a convention by queer nerds, for queer nerds. A month later they’d far exceeded their $15k goal, raising nearly $20,000 to make their con a reality. I spoke with Joey Stern about what led him start Geeks OUT, how that led to Flame Con, and what queer geeks and their allied communities can expect from New York City’s first ever LGBTQ comic convention on June 13.

Edie Nugent: Tell me a little about your role at Geeks OUT and how you got involved with the organization.

Joey Stern: We founded Geeks OUT in 2010 after New York Comic Con.  There was only queer panel that year and it was so packed that you had to stand in the back just to be there.

We wanted to make an organization that connected these fans, and gave them a more than once a year event to gather and see each other. We also wanted to make NYCC a gayer place, so we held events and parties as we fund raised to get enough money for a table.

It was really intense, but a year later, we debuted at NYCC with monthly queer comic/geek events and a table where people could come and find a group for themselves.

Nugent: So how did you decide to make the leap from that to putting on an entire convention?

Stern: We and the board of Geeks OUT felt like it was a natural progression and an opportunity to introduce an existing queer audience to amazing queer and ally artists and creators.

There’s so much out there now, it’s really hard to find a lot of the stuff that’s made for you, and Flame Con offers a connection for people and creators to meet and find new passions.

It also creates connections and empowers queer fandom, which is an important part of what we do.

Nugent: Why do you think comic book fandom appeals to the queer experience?

Stern: There really is no art like Comic Books. It’s not only informative, but it offers a lot more context for the writers’ words than traditional books do (or paintings offer on their own). They also have an indie experience, and like queer culture, were for a long time considered the realm of weirdos and freaks.

Comics in general are often about exploring new worlds and future tomorrows. And I think that idea is really appealing to anyone who has experiences of being on the outer edge of polite society.

For me, the X-men’s construct of creating new family, and finding friendship with people like you was really informative.

Nugent: You really leveraged queer fandom to launch Flame Con, raising almost $20k for the event. Were you surprised by how much support you received?

Stern: Yeah! Oh man, it was terrifying, we were worried the whole thing was going to fail, but people really came out to support us and this effort. It just shows how vibrant and important this community is.

Nugent: Do you think recent media attention on sexual harassment at cons, especially of cosplayers, helped identify a real need for a more progressive type of con experience?

Stern: Sure! But I think a lot of that work has been done by cosplayers coming to the media. It’s been really amazing to see people having that conversation and pushing for safer spaces (and to see cons, like NYCC respond positively to those changes).

Nugent: What are some programming highlights from Flame Con that you’re excited about?

Stern: We’re excited to be putting on all sorts of programming – hopefully something for everyone! A panel about writing for LGBT teens hosted by award-winning author David Levithan, a Q&A with Steve Orlando, writer of DC’s upcoming Midnighter series (DC’s first ongoing title to feature a gay man as a lead character,) a great panel on queer horror with Mark Patton, star of the infamously queer Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and Cecil Baldwin, voice of the hit podcast Welcome to Night Vale, a panel about looking at Sherlock Holmes from a queer perspective, a discussion with some up-and-coming industry pros about costume design, and lots more. We’re really packing something interesting into every minute of this con! There’s also a performance from Sarah Donner!

Nugent: What makes Flame Con different from other cons that aren’t queer-centric?

Stern: It’s tailored to its audience. All Gender bathrooms, queer artists and creators taking center stage, and panels that are not Gay 101, but a bit more focused.

Nugent: How so? 

Stern: Bigger cons have panels focused on Gay Artists, we have panels focused on writing Gay Sherlock Fan Fiction.

Flame Con is a one-day event on June 13 in Brooklyn. Here’s a complete list of guests appearing at the con. For more information check out their website and their Facebook page.

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