Publishing | DC’s 52-variant-cover gimmick with Justice League of America #1 seems to have paid off, as ICv2 estimates Diamond Comic Distributors sold more than 300,000 copies to comics shops last month. That adds up to more than $1 million in retail sales, a rare height last passed by in January by The Amazing Spider-Man #700. ICv2 also posts the Top 300 comics and graphic novels for February. [ICv2]
Kickstarter | Gary Tyrrell talks to Holly Rowland, who with husband Jeffrey has launched a business called Make That Thing to help comics creators fulfill their Kickstarter pledges. The Rowlands are also the team behind the webcomics merchandise retailer TopatoCo. [Fleen]
As a second Kickstarter campaign winds down for Sullivan’s Sluggers, this time to help cover international shipping costs for the oversized hardcover, artist James Stokoe has spoken out against the effort and requested that his name be removed from the graphic novel. Writer Mark Andrew Smith quickly responded with a statement to ROBOT 6.
Although the baseball-horror comic was originally solicited through Image, Smith turned to Kickstarter in May 2012 and surpassed his original $6,000 goal by a staggering $91,626, leading to the book’s metamorphosis into a “200-page Deluxe Omnibus-Sized Hardcover.” That success brought with it a little controversy, however, as Smith drew criticism for his decision to also offer the “Kickstarter-exclusive” Sullivan’s Sluggers through Amazon.com and other outlets. The growth of the graphic novel to 3.5 pounds also led to a miscalculation in shipping rates, sending Smith back to the Kickstarter well last month (that effort has generated $5,265 in pledges to date).
But on Wednesday, Stokoe took to his blog to distance himself from both Kickstarter campaigns, saying, “the writer and myself had briefly talked about working together on the KS, but due to some disagreements, I decided to remove myself from it completely.”
After wowing us with Five Fists of Science, shocking us with Our Love Is Real and winning over the mainstream with Wolverine & The X-Men and S.W.O.R.D., Kansas City comics creator Steven Sanders is going back to square one with a simple idea: Create a whole new world.
Sanders is doing so with his elaborate mixed-media book Symbiosis, now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. He describes Symbiosis as “exploring a world where all technology is powered by biological engines that are deeply linked to humans,” told through a series of texts and illustrations.
There are two remarkable things about Dave Kellett’s Kickstarter for his documentary Stripped. The first is that the pitch video includes a snippet of what Kellett claims is the first-ever audio interview with reclusive Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. That alone is going to make this film a must-see for a lot of people.
The second is that this is a Kickstarter for a project that’s already fully funded. What Kellett is looking for with this second campaign is access to more licensed footage:
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 …
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the books, comics and what have you that the Robot 6 crew have been perusing of late. Today we welcome our special guest Steven Sanders, artist of such comics as Wolverine and the X-Men, Wolverine, S.W.O.R.D, Our Love is Real, The Five Fists of Science and more. He’s currently using Kickstarter to raise funds for a “Creative Commons art book” called Symbiosis.
“Symbiosis is a world-building art book that tells the story of a woman’s travels through a world where the symbiotic relationship that we have with technology is made much more visceral,” the Kickstarter page reads. “All sources of power are generated by bio-etheric engines, with which the operators share a direct mental link. The story-telling is loose and mostly visual. It will be told with art that uses a variety of media and formats: fully painted, colored line art, black-and-white line art, and comic art. What you do with this story is up to you. Enjoy it on its own merits, or take it and spin it off into any of a million different directions.”
To see what Steven and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below:
Publishing | This wrap-up of the third annual India Comic Con, which drew an estimated 50,000 attendees (up from 15,000 last year), doubles as a snapshot of that country’s $22 million comics industry. The growth of the market is attributed in large part to the rise of graphic novels, which are luring young-adult readers. [The Times of India]
Comics | Writing for The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky weighs in on the backlash over DC Comics hiring Orson Scott Card in an article titled “The Real Reason to Fear a Homophobe Writing a Superman Comic”: “It’s disturbing to have Orson Scott Card writing Superman, then, in part because Superman is supergood, and the supergood shouldn’t hate gay people. But it’s also disturbing, perhaps, because Superman is a violent vigilante — and because violent vigilantism in the name of good is often directed not against injustice, but against the powerless.” [The Atlantic]
Does everybody remember Mongoose Publishing’s Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a range of Judge Dredd miniatures? I can’t think of many comics-based crowd-sourcing campaigns that reached their initial target so quickly and outstripped that original target by so much (after originally seeking $2,000, they finally ended at $101,457, allowing for multiple stretch goals). Well, now Mongoose is fundraising for another miniatures-RPG based on a classic 2000AD property Rogue Trooper. Again, they’ve quickly shot past their first target of £6,000 in just one week, allowing for another ambitious program of stretch goals to roll out.
Clearly Mongoose is tapping into something big with these campaigns, there’s a demand for these products that has probably gone unnoticed by non-gamers for years.
In July, I wrote about Joel Meadows attempting to obtain funding for a book commemorating the 20th anniversary of his legendary fanzine Tripwire. Unfortunately, that attempt failed, possibly due to potential backers being wary of the relatively-unstoried British crowd-sourcing website Unbound. Meadows is nothing if not persistent — he’s rejigged the book’s content and layout, and relaunched as a Kickstarter campaign, now for the title’s 21st anniversary.
As I said back then, over that 21 years, Meadows established himself as one of the best comics interviewers in the business, which is probably why the list of people who’ve agreed to talk to Tripwire reads as a who’s-who of the artform’s A-list (Grant Morrison was a columnist for the magazine at one point, and Alan Moore and Mike Mignola both have long associations with the title). He’s also clearly adept at persuading the biggest and best artists in comics to contribute new work and covers for his books. Some of this can now be seen this time at a new Tumblr he’s started to show examples of what will be included in the book, alongside sample features and spreads. Perhaps moving to the more established funding platform will help Meadows finally get this book into print. And do check out the video, where Joel shows off the most impressive chops at reading from an idiot board since Brando on the set of Donner’s Superman.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew shares their picks for who we think should play a young Han Solo. Of course, we unanimously chose Nathan Fillion, so instead we’ll talk about what comics we’ve been reading. Joining us today is special guest Tim Lattie, the creator of Night Stars. Tim is currently running a Kickstarter to raise funds to publish it, so head over there and check it out.
To see what Tim and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
The Kickstarter campaign for Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar Aw Yeah Comics! received widespread and immediate attention, rocketing the series past its $15,000 goal on the very first day. However, a drive for another terrific-looking all-ages project by established creators kicked off last week without that level of publicity.
Gumshoes 4 Hire brings together Sean “Cheeks” Galloway, Kevin Hopps, Gurihiru and DJ Welch for a comic about a group of friends that investigates seemingly petty crimes only to discover the real cause of the troubles in the town of The Cliffs may be the fabled Curse of the Wendigoes.
If the cancellation of DC Comics’ Superman Family Adventures has left you a little deflated, take heart: Longtime collaborators Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar are turning to Kickstarter to launch their Aw Yeah Comics!, an “all-reader friendly” series with contributions from established and new talents alike, including Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Chris Roberson and Jason Aaron. The series was originally announced in July.
The comic, which stars Baltazar and Franco’s Action Cat and Adventure Bug, is designed to appeal to children and adults alike: “Our hope is to present a comic book that has just as much to offer a little girl as it does a little boy, and leave absolutely no one out of the fun. Because fun is important. Fun is a good thing for a comic book to have, and we want to add a little bit more of it to what’s out there now.”
Aw Yeah Comics!, which shares its name with the duo’s Skokie, Illinois, store, will debut in April with Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. According to the Kickstarter page, work on the first three issues is about 80 percent complete, while issues four through six are at about 60 percent. To help reach their $15,000 goal, they’re offering pledge incentives like an exclusive digital comic, an original mini-painting by Baltazar, a guest appearance by a donor’s own character, and a cover by Franco for a donor’s comic book.
The Kickstarter campaign ends March 7.
Artist Tyler Kirkham, known for his work on such titles Green Lantern: New Guardians and Ultimate Fantastic Four, is stepping outside of the superhero arena with The Family Troll, a graphic novel written by his wife Jill Kirkham, and he’s turning to Kickstarter for help.
Loosely based on Tyler and Jill’s own struggles to have a child, the fantasy follows a young couple in a similar situation that consults with a wizard in hopes of obtaining a magical solution to the problem. The wizard agrees, but only if two agree to care for a newly rescued troll while he sets off to gather the ingredients for the potion. They raise the baby over the course of a year, growing close to the young troll, and … well, you can probably guess the rest.
Tyler and Jill have been working on the book for more than a year, in between his regular DC Comics series, but they need $11,200 to publish the 26- to 30-page hardcover (for production costs, printing, shipping, etc.). To help reach that goal, they’re offering Kickstarter incentives like signed copies of the book, full-color prints, stickers, original art and a custom Plush doll of Narg the Troll. The pledge tiers are a little far apart — $25, $50, $100, $200, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 — but the campaign is already chugging along at a pretty good clip: Five days in, they’ve brought in $2,987.
Check out art and the introductory video below. The Kickstarter campaign ends Feb. 24.
Over the past decade or so, Superman Lives has achieved almost mythical status, a movie project so delightfully terrible that there’s no way it could possibly be true. Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, Tim Allen as Brainiac — that’s the stuff of fever dreams.
However, Tim Burton’s nightmarish vision for the Last Son of Krypton almost became a reality, with roles cast, costumes created and Pittsburgh selected to double for Metropolis. And then in 1998, to the relief of many, Warner Bros. pulled the plug. But why, exactly?
As he promised Monday in his interview with ROBOT 6′s Tim O’Shea, Smallville writer Bryan Q. Miller has launched the Kickstarter campaign for Earthward, his all-ages graphic novel collaboration with artist Marcio Takara. Only hours into the drive, the project is already $5,401 toward its $30,000 goal.
“From inception, it was always intended to be all-ages, in a sense that I wanted it to live in a space where 7-year-olds could enjoy it, as well as 35-year-olds,” Miller told ROBOT 6. “Often, all-ages winds up meaning “watered down for child consumption.” That isn’t the case with Earthward.”