I’m sure, in your internet wanderings, that you’ve checked out Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, or at least heard about them by now. You’ve probably backed at least one campaign. Every week thousands of new projects are launched through these websites, and many creators have found that this is a great way to bypass the regular publication/distribution model, to get their projects directly into the hands of their fans.
It really is a bold new era, where creators come to you directly with their wares, and properties sink or swim based on the whims of the fans instead of editorial edicts and profit margins.
But seriously, crowd funding has been a game changer in its few years as a viable publication model, allowing many projects that wouldn’t necessarily have seen the light of day come to life because of fans like you. In a lot of ways it has become THE new distribution system, getting unique product directly into the hands of the consumer. Now, there are so many different campaigns being launched on a weekly basis, with a little something for everybody. But where do you start?
Let us be your guide to the thrilling world of crowd funded comics, art books, film, and associated geek and sundry. Each week we’ll scour the aforementioned websites, and profile those projects that we feel are worthy of your Paypal fees. Those projects that are offering something different than what you get at your local comic shop. Projects that defy classification, ones with interesting backer rewards, books that you might love, but would otherwise probably not happen without your support.
Let’s start this week with Lee Milewski’s sci-fi horror comic Tangled Weeds.
Milewski has been working on this series for a while now, bringing together elements of his favorite things such as 80’s science fiction films, Lovecraft mythology, and horror comics to create something new and terrifying. Milewski has previously made these three issues available for free as a webcomic, and would now like to see it in print.
Milewski handles all duties including the writing, drawing, coloring, lettering, and formatting, which is not an easy task for one person, but it goes to show he has a strong belief in this book, and once you see it you will too.
The story follows a group of scientists and soldiers into the wooded terrain of an exotic planet. What follows is a tense cat-and-mouse game between this world’s vicious inhabitants and those willing to fight for their survival.
The story is really quite good, and the artwork, while simple, is perfectly matched to the story and has a unique charm to it. The comic itself is fully completed, and at 74 pages is ready to print, with bonus pin-ups by some stellar artists.
The pledge rewards are great right from the get-go, with a .PDF copy and your name in the thank you section for only five dollars. From there the rewards get even better, including signed copies of the finished book, 5 x 7 art prints, a poster, ink sketches, original pages from the book, and even original watercolor paintings!
This book looks really great in digital form, and would look even better on your bookshelf!
Next up we take a trip into adventure with the Red Hot Rebellion II Comic Book & Concept Album.
Yep, a full-length comic book AND concept album about a band of intergalactic heroes out to save Earth with the power of rock ‘n’ roll. This is an interesting project, featuring a 28 page comic and 13 song album, both intrinsically linked, telling two parts of the same story.
Fans of Metalacolypse, Heavy Metal, and Ralph Bakshi’s amazing Rock & Rule will love this exciting space adventure and concept album combo, featuring the artistic talents of Chris Martin and colorist Julie Wright. From the Kickstarter – “In all the universe, only a handful of sentient worlds create music, let alone the most evolved form of music: rock ‘n’ roll. Earth was on track to be admitted into the Galactic Union, but somewhere along the line its rock ‘n’ roll turned weak. RED HOT REBELLION, the second best band in the galaxy, has been sent to Earth in order to steer humanity back on its proper path. But it looks like they’ve hit a few snags…”
The album and comic are mostly finished, and this campaign will fund the remaining recording, art, and production costs. There are some unique backer rewards too, including the comic/album set as digital downloads and physical copy, t-shirts, custom guitar picks, signed Nicki Forte pin-up photos, can koozies, signed prints, guitar and baking lessons, the chance to sing on the album, and your pledge might even mean the creators have to shave off their beards!
If you love concept albums and comics as much as I do, you’ve got to check this one out!
This next one is The Cape Creator: A Tribute to Bat-Maker Bill Finger, an awesome documentary about Batman’s often uncredited co-creator.
Before he ever signed his first deal to produce Batman stories, official creator Bob Kane already had his secret collaborator, Bill Finger. For 75 years Kane has been credited as Batman’s creator, even though it is arguable that Batman would be nothing without the imagination of Finger. It is well past time to get Finger the credit he is due, to a world that largely doesn’t even know about his input.
From the Kickstarter – “Seeing Kane’s initial design, Finger suggested going with darker colors instead of red; a scalloped, bat-like cape instead of unwieldy DaVinci wings; a cowl instead of a domino mask; and a bat-head look to that cowl. Bill Finger named Bruce Wayne, made Batman a detective, created Commissioner Gordon, named their city Gotham, gave Batman a cool car, thought the hero needed a partner, conceived one fantastic villain after another, wrote Batman’s origin, and authored many, many tales before his sudden death just short of his 60th birthday.”
“2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Bill Finger’s birth, 75th anniversary of Batman’s first appearance, 50th anniversary of the “New Look” that changed not only Batman’s appearance but the stories themselves, and 25th anniversary of the film Tim Burton directed, the motion picture that proved audiences still welcomed Batman. For his 100th birthday, we’re making a special tribute film to celebrate Bill Finger and to teach the world about him.”
This may not be all that Bill Finger deserves, but it is a fantastic start! Featuring interviews with comic creators, fans, his family, and some of the surviving pros that knew him, this will be an important film for comic fans, Batman fans, and fans of comic history.
The backer rewards include a thank you in the credits, digital downloads, DVDs, prints, copies of Bill The Boy Wonder book, and an all over sense of well being for helping Bill Finger get what is rightfully his.
Let’s help the world to celebrate Bill Finger’s life and achievements, educate people about a relatively unknown man whose work has delighted billions, and help his only living descendants, Athena and her son Ben, discover the grandfather they never knew.
We leave you this week with World War 3 Illustrated: 35 Years of Radical Comics.
This campaign is to produce a 320-page, full-color hardcover anthology by a passionate collective of artists and activists, covering an often under-appreciated time in comics. Founded in 1979 by Seth Tobocman and Peter Kuper, World War 3 Illustrated magazine has been a staple on the underground comic scene, giving a voice to artists and activists, and creating a home for political comics, graphics, and stirring personal stories.
This anthology is a full color retrospective exhibition of the magazine’s 35 year history covering housing rights, feminism, environmental issues, religion, police brutality, globalization, and depictions of conflicts from the Middle East to the Midwest. These artists have been covering the topics that matter for over three decades, and they’re just getting warmed up!
Contributors include Contributors to WW3 include such comic luminaries as Peter Kuper, Spain Rodriguez, Art Spiegelman, Tom Tomorrow, Peter Bagge, and a whole lot more! World War 3 magazine was not only groundbreaking politically, but artistically as well, launching many now famous creators careers.
This campaign features some impressive pledge rewards including issues of WW3 Magazine, copies of Pacifists in Bomber Jackets by Isabella Bannerman, digital and physical copies of the book itself, tote bags, limited art prints, signed Spy vs. Spy books, sketches, t-shirts, and more!
The book is ready to go, all they need is the funding for printing and distribution for this wonderful time capsule of groundbreaking, and politically challenging comics and stories.
These are just a few of the unique and interesting projects waiting to be crowd funded this week. There are plenty more out there, with new ones going up every day. The great thing about crowd funding, as well as its biggest flaw, is that these projects only happen if they get funded, so if you see something you like, pledge away! See you next week!
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