This Week In Crowdfunding – Rum Row’s Revisionist Prohibition Era Tale Takes Flight

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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, 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!

Let’s take a trip back in time to Rum Row.

11a9ff37e33ed3381219e6d0612f6fb6_largeTo avoid dry laws, rumrunners and patrons alike have taken to the sky. Hot air balloons and dirigibles now serve as speakeasies and black markets for alcohol. The press has coined these flying bars above New York “Rum Row”.

Despite operating outside the law, Rum Row has become a worldwide tourist attraction. Faced with growing concern over the lawlessness of its airspace, the city has created a special aerial vice squad to monitor and crack down on the sale of alcohol.

One ship in particular has been a thorn in the city’s side since the beginning: The Duchess, New York’s premier flying speakeasy. In this story, we’ll follow the NYPD’s attempt to take down the Duchess once and for all, through the eyes of one of its passengers, Jack Tinson. All the while, Jack’s own allegiances and motivations remain in question…

Rum Row is a prohibition themed aerial crime adventure, something I never even realized I needed in my life. For those of you who, like me, love Indiana Jones, Athena Voltaire, and the great adventure newspaper strips of yesteryear, you simply have to check out this campaign.

fbed84c3cc7d566b27552eb2291e635c_largeFeaturing 24 full color pages, with a 5 page black & white back-up story, Rum Row is a raucous high-flying  revisionist-historical crime adventure with classic tropes straight from the pulps. It has action and mysteries to spare. And dirigibles! The concept is a great one, and the art makes it just that much better. Everything from Michael’s pen and inks to Derek’s coloring is pitch perfect, gorgeous and glamorous yet with a definite dark undercurrent. Michael’s mastery of storytelling through the character’s faces and body movement is impressive, as are his wonderful page layouts. Derek Dow’s coloring gives Michael Bandini’s artwork a proper weight, making the dirigibles fly right off the page. Never has New Years Eve looked so good!

A great concept is nothing without good characterization, and that is where Rum Row will shine. You’ve got the odd couple antics of Jack and his partner Conrad, the desperate Commissioner in a last ditch effort to rid the skies of the flying speakeasies, and of course the Duchess and her crew.  The story is viewed through Jack’s eyes, and the mystery is figuring out which side he’s on, if he even is on one side. Will the NYPD finally shut down the Duchess for good? Can Conrad stop drinking long enough to see through his and Jack’s plan? And what’s up with that seemingly naive waitress? You’ll have to get the book to find out.

By pledging you can do just that, but there is so much more waiting for you. Besides the comic in digital and signed print copies, there is a digital “making of” booklet, art prints, sticker sets, postcards, travel posters, a hand made Duchess flask, and even original art from the book. They are very close to hitting their goal, and I’m sure have some great stretch goals ready, so go on, pledge now, before the bar closes.

 

Anytime Costumes

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