Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
We get links a lot of Kickstarter projects, but very rarely do I see one that seems quite as magical as Goldtiger, by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton. Well, I say Adams and Broxton, but there is another conceptual level to this project. The book is presented as if a high-end archival edition of a legendary lost newspaper strip by a pair of fictional creators, Antonio Barreti and Louis Shaeffer, with the story of their descent into dysfunction and madness affecting the contents of the strip accompanying it.
It’s a post-modern conceit that allows Adams and Broxton to both produce a fun homage to their favorite vintage newspaper adventure strips, and wryly comment on the psychological damage producing comics has all-too-often wreaked upon the writers and artists of the form. Most of all, though, it’s some great-looking comics: Broxton has provided us with some exclusive examples from the work in progress, and they’re all gorgeous.
To add a further level of intrigue to this story, “Jimmy Broxton” is also a fictional character of sorts, a persona created by the veteran inker James Hodgkins as he entered a new phase as his career as an illustrator rather than a finisher. Broxton dazzled me with his work on DC’s Knight and Squire miniseries: as fine a storyteller as he is a stylist, and producing multiple memorable character designs to boot. Guy Adams is a comparative newcomer to comics, but an author of a multitude of both novels and non-fiction. Their partnership was midwifed by Liam Sharp, who hired them both to work together for his digital comics publisher Madefire. Obviously, creative sparks flew. When I spoke to them both recently about Goldtiger, I realized they’ve became quite the double act …
Ashes, one of the highest-profile and most successful comics projects to emerge from Kickstarter, hit a stumbling block over the weekend with the announcement by writer Alex de Campi that she and collaborator Jimmy Broxton “have had an irreconcileable split over creative differences,” leading her to ask the artist to leave the graphic novel.
On his Facebook page, Broxton (aka James Hodgkins) was more blunt, writing, “Jimmy Broxton has been fired, and his services are no longer required on the Ashes Kickstarter graphic novel project. I’m incredibly sorry that this has happened, and feel strongly that a lot of people who have shown tremendous support (to say nothing of actually giving money to pre order the book) are being let down. I acted in good faith, you all acted in good faith, this is a mess, make no mistake.”
That of course raises the question of what happens when a crowd-funded comic — Ashes exceeded its goal with pledges of $32,455 — loses one of its creators. De Campi was quick to address that, writing in an update to backers that she would refund money to those who donated because of Broxton’s involvement, or to anyone who has been soured by their split.
“Likewise, once I find a new artist, if his or her work is not a style you like, you may also contact me and be immediately refunded for your pledge,” she continued. “Folks, I am so committed to making this book. I am so sorry for this drama, and I hope you will find it in your heart to bear with me for a little longer while I straighten this out. Please be aware that the money you have pledged is still YOUR money (none of it was ever going to me anyway, it was all for art and print/reward fulfilment) and I will be respectful of your wishes as to where it will go.”
In a later update, de Campi also addressed specific questions about the amount of completed art for the project (“only what you see here on the Kickstarter”), whether Broxton will be compensated for his work (“Absolutely”), and the search for his replacement (“I haven’t even begun to look”).
A sequel to de Campi’s 2005 IDW series Smoke, Ashes is described as “a bullet ride through the brain of a dystopian Britain into the dark heart of the American psyche,” with soldier Rupert Cain and journalist Katie Shah reuniting five years after they brought down a government and seeking to escape punishment.