This Week In Crowdfunding – She Makes Comics, Deitch Miscellany, Menton 3’s Katabasis, Through the Dust of Empyrean

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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. 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.

shemakescomicslogo-skin-1-kickstarter-copyLast week’s column was very comic book heavy, so this week we’ll start with the Sequart Foundation’s documentary, She Makes Comics.

The Sequart Research & Literacy Organization is well known in comic circles due to their website, series of books, and more recently, documentaries, filling in bits of comic history fans may not be fully aware of. We’ve previously written about this campaign, but we at FanboyNation really wanted to give it a well deserved push.

dd20dbdaa556a5d362bec741afa8c79c_largeProduced by the same Sequart/Respect team behind the critically-acclaimed documentaries The Image Revolution, Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods, Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, and Comics in Focus, Chris Claremont’s X-Men, She Makes Comics is a celebration of women in comics as creators, fans, and everything in between. She Makes Comics documents the very active role women have had in shaping this medium we all know and love, from its humble beginnings, and into its bright future, by presenting an oral history of comics as told by the key figures themselves.

From the campaign itself, “While women have made significant strides in the medium over the past several decades, it’s still not easy to be a woman in comics. Female readers fight to be recognized as legitimate fans in an insular and sometimes sexist community. In mainstream comics, there remains an unequal balance of women in creative and business roles, and some publishers have been criticized for misogynistic portrayals of women in their titles. The pessimistic question is often asked: is there a place for women in comics?”

694aef2acf2e3be38d7ac102ce08d1d1_largeShow them that the answer to that question is an unequivocal “YES!” by donating, or at least sharing this unprecedented film with your friends, and other fans of comics. The backer rewards are fantastic, featuring DVD copies and digital downloads of the film itself, a “Thank You” in the film’s credits, other DVDs and books from the Sequart library, original artwork of you or someone you care about as a superhero, art supply kits, and a whole lot more!

This is an important film, documenting a side of comics that is rarely discussed, directly from the minds of those that were there experiencing it on a day-to-day basis.

deitchContinuing the non-comic book theme is A Deitch Miscellany art book from Kim Deitch and Chance Press.

Collecting artwork spanning Kim Deitch’s career, including everything from sketches to large-format color drawings, Chance Press is offering beautiful hardbound and softbound versions of this gorgeous retrospective. Chance Press has a history of making truly unique and beautiful art books, by hand mind you. They take books and book design very seriously, and this one looks to be their best looking book yet!

bd2149bdbe5f61a2899d394ffb843b15_largeKim Deitch is a staple on the underground comix and art scene going on decades now, always pushing the boundaries of the medium and his unique visual style. Never has such a book, spanning his entire career, been made available to the public, not especially one this nice.

The softbound books will be traditional trade paperbacks at 9 x 13 inches, with the deluxe editions coming in at a whopping 18 by 24 inches! Did we mention that each one is handmade? We did? Okay then.

Not only do you have the once in a lifetime chance to own a beautiful, handmade art book featuring decades worth of fantastic Kim Deitch artwork, but there are some really great exclusive backer rewards to be had as well. These include limited edition signed copies, archival prints, letterpress prints, museum quality prints, and even a class in bookbinding where you can make a unique hardbound book of your very own!

 457dfad4d69c510836cae6fc7ac5393b_largeAnd now we move on to Menton 3’s Katabasis art book Kickstarter campaign.

Steve Niles has called 44FLOOD the undisputed kings of Kickstarter, and while that is arguable to a point, they have always had hugely successful campaigns, with gorgeous art books, and great backer rewards. Katabasis is no different.

In Greek mythology, a Katabasis was the journey to the otherworld and into one’s interiority to confront elements of one’s psyche.

This campaign is for a high quality hardcover art book based on the exquisite paintings from Menton J Matthew III’s solo show at Last Rites Gallery in NYC opening April 19, 2014. For those who have already become fans of his amazingly haunting, surreal, and some times uncomfortable work, or those not yet familiar, this book will still have some appeal to you if you like things a little on the dark side.4eadc010d2663ad9bbffe8677db4e811_large

Menton’s brush brings out the demons we all have hiding in the inner recesses of our psyche, and renders them so beautifully, trapping them on canvas for all the world to see how powerless they really are over us.

The 72 page hardcover book will be 9.25 x 11 inches, and will feature all of the works presented at the Last Rites Gallery show along with preliminary sketches, drawings, oil paintings, and other developmental works used in the painting process. It will be extremely limited, only available through this very Kickstarter campaign.

But that’s not all! 44FLOOD always has incredible backer rewards, and this campaign is just the next in a line of awesome pledge deals. There are the usual limited edition Kickstarter exclusive prints, hand silkscreened shirts, limited run art books, Giclee prints, portrait commissions, and even the actual oil paintings from the show for those of you with deeper pockets.

There are no risks involved, as Menton has many campaigns under his hat, and knows how to make them successful.

20140207040217-COVERColors_TITLELastly this week, we leave the shores of non-comic book Kickstarter projects, Through the Dust of Empyrean, for the fair shores of IndieGoGo comic book projects.

Through The Dust Of Empyrean is an interesting looking comic by two Italian creators, Massimo Rosi and Stefano Cardoselli, who may not be well known in American fandom, but have had their fair share of professional work in Heavy Metal, 2000AD, and others. With this campaign, they are looking for your help to import and distribute this 120 page original graphic novel in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, and Australia.

From their campaign page: “There is a Kingdom beyond space and time, it’s called the Empyrean.

20140207040445-PAGE01try_copyThe Empyrean is a Kingdom where only some have the right to enter after death, where all those people who were too eccentric in life or had something more than the others are sent. The Empyrean is also a place where Gods and faiths are created by the Hyperuranian’s council, the elder philosophers’ conscience that rules the balance of this dimension.

The rulers of this dimension are many and, like in their past lives, they have been conquering and reigning in the Empyrean, creating their Kingdoms, constantly in conflict with each other.”

With Torquemada and Joan of Arc rebelling against their station in the afterlife, Don Quixote finds himself involved in a war with the hope of finding a new God for his people. Full of clashing philosophies, mad gods, and dead cowboys, as well as Caesar, Ivan The Terrible, and King Leonidas, this book sounds pretty crazy.

How awesome does that all sound? I know, pretty freakin awesome! And that’s just the story! The art is just as insane, with its very European dynamic sensibilities and muted color palette. This looks to be one great book!

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!

Previous columns:

Fist Of Justice, The Tethermen & The Neolithics, Pinoy Komiks, Comic Book People

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