This Week In Crowdfunding – The Leg, The H.M.S. Bad Idea, Geeks and Greeks, The Dharma Punks

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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. 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. Plus, you get cool stuff!

legLet’s start this week with The Leg graphic novel.

“The disembodied, sentient leg of Santa Anna ventures on a quest to save Mexico in this 180-page, full-color graphic novel.

Once upon a time in Mexico—more specifically, in the 1880s during the Pastry War—President Santa Anna lost his left leg when it was struck by French cannon fire. Santa Anna gave his missing limb a full military funeral (true story!). But when the Mexican people rebelled against Santa Anna (because he did insanely vain things like giving his limb a military funeral) and threw him out of office, protesters exhumed his leg, dragged it through the streets and cast it aside (also a true story!). It hasn’t been seen again…until now!”

leg2Van Jensen (Green Lantern Corps) and Jose Pimienta bring us THE LEG: The Remarkable Reappearance of Santa Anna’s Disembodied Limb. This quirky tale, set in 1938, features Santa Anna’s disembodied leg roaming the Mexican countryside, defending it against modern and magical threats. It seems silly, and it definitely is, but it’s a really fun story, something missing from many of the mainstream books out there right now.

Expertly written and whimsically illustrated, this graphic novel is a must have! I mean, where else will you see a disembodied limb take out an opponent with a soccer ball? This tale is a labor of love, the idea gestating in Jensen’s mind for years. Pimienta actually grew up in the very region that the story takes place, giving it a sense of accuracy in the art department. His art has an almost Scotty Young quality to it, adding to the fun.

The book is completely finished, and the funding will go to printing and distribution, with a stretch goal leading to a Spanish Language edition. The campaign features some cool backer rewards, including digital and print copies of the book, signed limited edition copies of the book, a producer credit, original sketches, and even a page from the book itself. This campaign is really just a pre-order of the book, so get on it!

HMSNext up is The H.M.S Bad Idea anti-self-help book.

” A crowd-sourced collection of geeky comics celebrating bad ideas, lost causes, and the dumb decisions that start awesome adventures.  The H.M.S. Bad Idea, a 160-page “anti-self-help” comic book celebrating bad ideas and dumb decisions and you’re going to be a friggin’ co-author!

The book collects five years of the best material from my webcomic, Rock, Paper, Cynic, but also includes a huge list of ridiculous “bad ideas” composed by backers and illustrated by me and a line up of insanely talented guest artists.”

Welcome aboard the H.M.S. Bad Idea! This book, a series of single panel comic strips, is another fun little campaign. What’s really cool about it is that every backer gets to submit a bad idea, which cartoonist Peter Chiykowski, or one of the guest artists, will sift through and draw their favorites for inclusion in the book itself.

HMS2The roster of guest artists is a who’s who of webcomics, featuring talents as diverse as Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) and Zach Weiner (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal). The book’s forward is going to be a Mad Lib mostly filled in by the artists who inspired Peter do do this crazy comic thing in the first place, with one spot left blank FOR YOU.

The pledge rewards are just as silly. He’ll name his dog after you for your five dollar pledge, name a star after you for eleven dollars, a signed contract stating that if he ever travels forward in time he will come back and warn you of how you will die for only forty-five bucks, a pen that his ghost will use to draw in your book after he dies for eighty dollars, and even a handmade turtle sculpture!

GaGMoving on to one that is inspired by something silly, the Geeks And Greeks graphic novel.

“Two MIT geniuses clash in an escalating war of high-tech pranks and egos in an alpha-nerd fraternity. Inspired by actual events, Geeks and Greeks will be a 146-page graphic novel telling a coming-of-age story through the prism of high-tech pranks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  This story – inspired by actual events – shows what sort of mayhem can ensue when a group of super geniuses live together and personalities clash.”

Geeks and Greeks depicts the high-tech battle royale that erupts when two of MIT’s smartest students square off in an escalating war of pranks and egos. Jim Walden is a smart, but under-achieving freshman with a knack for pranks and a secret that could end his career before it begins. Luke Bardolf, his rival, is a dangerous and destructive senior fighting to maintain his dominance of his fraternity. When everything comes to a head, it will take all of Jim’s creativity and resourcefulness to save his scholarship, his friendships, his relationship with his girlfriend, and his dream of becoming an astronaut.”

4e1b3aa48b3b86779bab8fe20ee28470_largeMIT is well known for its history of outlandish pranks, called “hacks” by MIT students. There was the time the disassembled a police cruiser, just so they could reassemble it on the roof of their iconic 150 foot high dome. Or the time they used an inflatable Loch Ness monster to disrupt a crew race on the Charles river. Or those times they hacked the annual Harvard-Yale football game, once with an exploding weather balloon coming up from beneath the turf.

While the book is about pranks, that’s not all it is. It is a love story, a history lesson, and a study into the culture of MIT fraternity life. It is well written by MIT Alum Steve Altes, and has fantastic art by Andy Fish. You can learn more about the project at the Geeks and Greeks website.

The script and breakdowns are finished, and the funds from this campaign will go to the artist, as well as eventually printing the book. The pledge rewards include digital and signed print copies of the graphic novel, a .PDF of the script, MIT Nerd Pride pocket protector, t-shirts, your name in the backer acknowledgment section of the book, original pages of art from the book, an original full color illustration of you, and an appearance in the book! Whether you pledged to a fraternity or no, you need to pledge for this book.

photo-mainLastly, we take a look at the fantastic looking The Dharma Punks graphic novel.

“A group of anarchist punks hatch a plan to sabotage the opening of a multinational fast food restaurant, with unexpected results…  Pre-order your copy of the 400 page collected edition of The Dharma Punks – a story of love, friendship, punk rock – and blowing things up!  What’s the story It’s Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multinational-fast food restaurant by blowing it sky-high on opening day.”

This graphic novel collects the long sold-out, best selling The Dharma Punks comics by one of New Zealand’s most respected award-winning cartoonists, Ant Sang. This series has become a cult-classic outside of NZ, but has been heretofore out-of-print for over a decade. This campaign aims to remedy that, and bring The Dharma Punks to a whole new audience.

The book itself looks great, with an engaging story and believable characters, but where it really shines is the artwork. Perfect for fans of Los Bros Hernandez or Ross Campbell‘s Wet Moon series, this book is a must for those one the more independent side of comic culture.

e37734306338f7e798a28998995fbb2b_largeEarth’s End Publishing aims to bring New Zealand comics to the world, and The Dharma Punks is the first of their offerings. It will be a 400 page, perfect-bound hardcover with full color cover. The funds will got to printing and distribution of the book, postage and rewards, fees, and taxes.

There are quite a few great pledge rewards, and this is the only way to get a copy of the graphic novel. The rewards include signed print or digital copies of the book, five page comic preview, a bookmark, a limited book-plate edition, exclusive A3 prints, original art commissions, and even a chance to meet the creators if you live in New Zealand!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s travails into Crowdfundland, and seen a few things you liked. Be sure to come back next week as we visit new and exotic campaigns that can only happen with your pledges!

Previous columns:
Power Mitt Oven Glove, Lumina, Dragon Slayer
21st Century Tank Girl, House Party, Ribbons, The Last Cavalier
Utopiates Audio Drama, The Pitiful Human-Lizard, The Rattler
Protege, Misfortune High Book 2, P. Craig Russell’s Guide To Graphic Storytelling Volume 5
Dream Life, Intergalactic Travel Bureau, Hi-Fi Color For Comics, Tortured Life
After Reset: The Fall Of Gyes, 99 Ways To Die Coloring Book, and Varney The Vampire
Tangled Weeds, Red Hot Rebellion II, The Cape Creator, WW3 Illustrated
Exclusive Merrick: The Sensational Elephant Man Creator Interview
She Makes Comics, Deitch Miscellany, Menton 3′s Katabasis, Through the Dust of Empyrean
Fist Of Justice, The Tethermen & The Neolithics, Pinoy Komiks, Comic Book People

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