This Week in Crowdfunding – Solitary: A Superhero Prison Drama, Watson and Holmes Volume Two

GameStop, Inc.

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, toys, games, 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. Plus, you get cool stuff!

This week we do hard time, with Solitary.

 “Solitary is the story of Tim Hill, a man convicted to death row for crimes he didn’t commit. He is executed, and upon being executed, he awakens to find that he is immortal and death row is really going to suck.”

4ad36a0cddf22b6c2de20d13e6bae065_largeSolitary is an interesting twist on the superhero concept, with a unique vision and fantastic artwork. CW Cooke is a seven year veteran of the comic industry having worked with Devil’s Due, Arcana, Bluewater, Big Dog Ink, and others, and with his team of Nando Souzamotta, Greg & Fake Studio, and Carl Yonder, he wants to produce this series he’s been working on since he was a wee lad. He’s already put much of his own money into the project and has inked a deal with Devil’s Due to publish it as a four issue mini-series to start, but needs to pay the creative team so he can deliver the book.

I am always excited when I see a superhero story done differently, and this time is no different. Cooke’s enthusiasm for the book is infective, and you can tell it is a labor of love for him. Don’t believe me? The artwork by Nando really is fantastically different from most superhero books, with some great texture and weight added by Greg & Fake’s coloring job. It’s a really good looking book!

fb07b3370e8717651ab12dd7f90b71e7_largeA four issue mini-series for right now, if the fan excitement is there this could be a fascinating ongoing series, full of philosophical leanings, with explorations into deeper themes of loneliness and loss. With all of the line wide event comics and constant reboots essentially meaning nothing in the long run, this series is a breath of fresh air from an exciting young voice. With few books right now really saying something of meaning, this book just stands out as something to look forward to.

The book has already reached its funding goal, but with added stretch goals to make the book even better, now is still a great time to pledge. And you get some pretty cool bonuses for your virtual dollar. You can basically preorder the book in digital or signed print copies with the standard or Kickstarter exclusive variant cover,  a set of three art cards, a special line art only edition of the book sans color, 11 x 17 inch high quality art prints, a set of six 1″ buttons, a t-shirt, a blank cover edition with a sketch by the series artist, the chance to be a member of the jury in a future issue, a custom mug-shot sketch, an original page of art from the book, a script critique by the writer and Devil’s Due’s Josh Blaylock, the chance to be drawn as a prisoner in an issue, foreign language publication rights, a half-page ad in the first issue, and even your own variant cover and a Cooke coming out to you for a signing!

I hear comic fans complaining that there’s never anything new, well my friends, this is new. Pledge away!

Speaking of doing something new with a property, it’s Watson and Holmes volume two.

“WATSON AND HOLMES, conceived by New Paradigm Studios’ Publisher BRANDON PERLOW and writer/artist PAUL MENDOZA, is a re-envisioning of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as African Americans living in New York City’s famous Harlem district. Watson, an Afghanistan war vet, works in an inner-city clinic; Holmes, a local P.I. who takes unusual cases.”

820a65672baf63b6d4d53e568197ee9f_largeThis second volume of the Eisner nominated and Glyph award winning series is a collection of short stories with many fan-favorite creators putting their own stamp on our protagonists and their world. Creators such as Walter Simonson, Laura Martin, Steven Grant, Hannibal Tatu, Dennis Calero, Tom Coker, Rick Leonardi, and more have put in some fantastic work on the series, and volume two looks to be as great as the first volume if not better.

The campaign for volume one was a rousing success, and the book has become a favorite of pros and fans alike. It was the talk of the town at San Diego Comic-Con in 2013, being nominated for Best New Series and Best Single Issue at the prestigious Eisner Awards, and won four Glyph Awards including Fan Favorite! Don’t miss out on the series the Examiner called “…one of the breakout titles of the year.”

7e7ac59be9f8b848b24066ed3bfb2b0c_largeSherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson are having a renaissance right now on film and television, with actors and directors putting their own stamp on the characters. These sleuths are very well known, yet every different appearance has been slightly different in tone and minor changes made to the characters, but this series has it’s own flavor, making Holmes second to Watson, and, you know, blacker than usual. It’s a modern urban reinvisioning of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s protagonists, and it works really well, infusing the pair with an edge never before seen.

You can simply preorder the book in digital or signed print editions, but with so many great backer rewards you won’t want to. These rewards include a deck of Watson and Holmes playing cards, multiple t-shirts, copies of volume 1, plenty of other graphic novels to choose from by the involved creators, a two hour critique of your writing by original series writer Karl Bollers and Brandon Easton, Lyndsey Faye will review your novel or short story and give you notes, a sketched in limited edition hardcover, a full page ad in the book for retailers, 11 x 17 high quality art prints, original art commissions, an original page of art from the book, and more!

The game is afoot, so get out there and get pledging!



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