Grow Anthology sounds like it might be an indie-comics collective, but it’s actually a small company that makes skateboards out of recycled paper, layered and coated with resin to make it waterproof. That means its skateboards are eco-friendly and are even certified as such by the Rainforest Alliance. And Grow Anthology’s latest model, which is being funded through Kickstarter, features a Craig Thompson drawing, a cartoon of the characters Chunky Rice and Dandel from Goodbye Chunky Rice. (As Thompson explains on his blog, the guys who make the skateboards are friends of his brother — it always helps to have an in!)
Even if you don’t skate, it’s worth visiting the Kickstarter page to see Thompson’s preliminary designs for the board, as well as the finished product. The skateboards are being produced as a limited edition of 250, at a price of $300 for the complete board or $200 for the deck alone. If you’re not a skateboarder, don’t despair: There’s also a T-shirt featuring Thompson’s design that’s available for a $30 pledge, and his original art is available for a $5,000 pledge.
The small press publisher Yeti Press has launched a Kickstarter project asking contributors to help sustain the company’s growth over the next year. The company plans to release six comics and graphic novels over the next several months and is looking for early subscribers :
We have grown steadily over the last 2 years, but to take the next step towards where we want to be, we are asking for your help. A stellar lineup of books has been assembled, including brand new talent and Yeti Press favorites, that we’d like to release over the next year. Three of those books would be completed and shipped in the fall/winter months and another 3 would come to you in the spring/summertime. This Kickstarter effort will be a one time only deal, offering single issues, assorted goodies, and most importantly - a subscription service.
The United States may be fighting the “War on Terror” in locations around the globe, many of our nation’s drone pilots operate from the relative comfort of two Air Forces bases near the entertainment hotspot of Las Vegas, Nevada. But in Drones, the front line shifts to the Strip as two Predator operators see their killing machines come back to haunt them amid the glitz and glamor of Sin City.
“In addition to our two drone operators,” writer Chris Lewis says,” we have a pancake-loving terrorist turned playwright, a loveable expert in improvised explosive devices, five well dressed assassins, a goat who just might know a thing or two about kung fu, an acrobatic Special Forces troupe called the Cirque du SEALs, surveillance up the wazoo, and a new kind of poppy that’s going to blow some minds.”
It’s also a great showcase for established and emerging artists: Ryan Sohmer writes the comic but he brings in different artists to illustrate each page, so the style of the comic varies quite a bit from day to day, depending on who is being skewered.
After three years, however, The Gutters isn’t turning a profit, so Sohmer, who is also the writer of the webcomics Least I Could Do and Looking for Group, has turned to Kickstarter to basically pre-fund the next year. As he explains on the Kickstarter page, he pays the artist an average of $300 per comic, which comes to $15,000 per year for a comic that updates once a week. The campaign reached its initial goal this week, and Sohmer will add another weekly update for each additional $15,000 raised. I asked him why he was taking this route, and why he is doing things the way he does.
Fan comics might have a stigma in the United States, but in Japan they reach an audience that exceeds the entire American comics market. And now longtime American manga artist Fred Perry is looking to create his own.
Based on the popular MMORPG Final Fantasy 11, Fred Perry’s LVL UP! is a webcomic that follows the adventures of the cartoonist’s character Calcula Mihgo as she explores the video game world of Vana’diel. Perry has been producing LVL UP! since 2005, and is turning to Kickstarter this month to finance a print collection of the long-running series. As of this posting, Perry has raised roughly $6,500 of his $13,000 goal, and has until Oct. 2 to generate the rest.
Although Perry might be new to Kickstarter, he;s comics veteran who works in a subset of the industry many people overlook. Perry got his start in 1989 with a pin-up for the series Ninja High School and later worked on several manga imports before making a name for himself in 1993 with the launch of Gold Digger. Although Perry has done some moonlighting into the “mainstream” American comics world, Perry’s remained entrenched with Gold Digger and various other side projects, mostly through Antarctic Press.
Since its launch in 2012, the Image series Skullkickers has filled the hole that was missing sword-and-sorcery, beer-drinkin’, raucous fight comic. We didn’t know we needed it until we got it, but now I’m glad it’s here. And now series artist Edwin Huang is stepping up his game with a deluxe art book containing his other creator-owned work, as well as that of some of his friend. And he’s using Kickstarter to do it.
When I spoke to Evan Young for my Kickstand column back in May, he had just canceled the Kickstarter for his comic The Last West, the tale of a world in which all scientific and cultural progress has just stopped. But he had done it for a good reason: He had just signed with Alterna Comics, and having a publisher changed enough things that he felt he had to retool the Kickstarter.
Now he’s back, with a new Kickstarter campaign that has already exceeded its goal, and it seemed like a good time to ask him about what changed (and what didn’t).
Robot 6: First of all, can you briefly summarize why you cancelled and relaunched your Kickstarter for The Last West?
Evan Young: Good question. To make a long story short, we finalized a digital publishing deal with Peter Simeti over at Alterna Comics, which came smack in the middle of our first Kickstarter campaign. Which was fantastic for us! Unfortunately, it was not fantastic for our Kickstarter campaign at the time. Kickstarter rules don’t allow you to modify rewards in any way once someone has backed your project for that particular reward, so for that reason alone we were going to have to cancel it and reboot. The rewards we offered the first time around were not geared toward a published book (either digital or in print), they were not timed to coincide with our new Alterna schedule, etc. Just a bunch of problems for us that we weren’t going to be able to work out while at the same time staying fair to our backers.
So at the end of the day, we thought the most fair thing to do would be to cancel the campaign and relaunch it once we had all of our details sorted out — so that’s what we’ve done.
One of comics’ earliest and most spirited creator-owned heroes is aiming to return to comics — and he needs your help to do it.
The sci-fi swashbuckler Sabre, created in the mid-’70s by legendary Black Panther and Killraven writer Don McGregor, is aiming for a comeback with a new miniseries now seeking funding on Kickstarter. The series, titled Sabre: The Early Future Years, sees McGregor teaming with the revolutionary 1980s artist Trevor Von Eeden to tell the first new Sabre story in 30 years. On the Kickstarter page, McGregor promises everything from swordplay and flintlock lasers to robot stallions and nocturnal trackers.
Jon Bogdanove was one of the big artists in the late 1980s and early 1990s, from his work on the X-titles and Power Pack at Marvel to the “Death of Superman” story arc at DC. But for the past decade or so, his name has been absent from comic shelves as he instead produces art for DC and Marvel’s licensing department. But news came out earlier this month that Bogdanove wants to return to comic, but he needs help.
The artist has turned to Kickstarter to raise funds to launch his first creator-owned comic, a 150-page graphic novel called Strongman. Going back to the circus roots of superheroes, this story follows “heroic 1920s circus strongman Bron Bellman, and his sideshow sidekicks.” Mixing pulp heroics with Teddy Roosevelt and even some Nikola Tesla, it’s described as an “anthology of legends” telling the story of Bellman and his adventures.
More than a year after a Kickstarter campaign for a lighthearted Lovecraftian board game generated $122,000 in pledges, the project has been abruptly canceled, triggering accusations of fraud.
Erik Chevalier of The Forking Path Co. announced Tuesday to backers that The Doom That Came to Atlantic City! was simply “beyond my abilities.” “Every possible mistake was made, some due to my inexperience in board game publishing, others due to ego conflicts, legal issues and technical complications,” he wrote. “No matter the cause though these could all have been avoided by someone more experienced and I apparently was not that person.”