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Comics A.M. | Maggie Thompson puts rare comics up for auction

Journey Into Mystery #83

Journey Into Mystery #83

Auctions | Comics industry legend Maggie Thompson plans to put up for auction 524 comics from her personal collection. Thompson, who with her late husband Don was a longtime editor of the Comics Buyer’s Guide, estimates that she has 10,000 comics, all stored in a special vault-like addition to her home, which she built using the money from a previous sale, of Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man) and the first 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. Bidding on the first batch of comics, which includes The Avengers #1, Journey into Mystery #83 (first appearance of Thor), The Incredible Hulk #1, and original cover art from Conan #4, begins today. [The Associated Press]

Comics | ICv2 releases the results of its White Paper (previously reported at Comic Book Resources), which tracks comics and graphic novel sales in all channels. Briefly, the report shows that sales of comics and graphic novels are up, manga is up dramatically, and digital comics sales continue to increase — although growth is slowing a bit, which is to be expected as the base increases. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ returns to shelves

Kuroko's Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball

Retailing | The rental chain Tsutaya and the bookstore chain Yurindo have returned Kuroko’s Basketball books and DVDs to their shelves after “X-Day,” Nov. 4, passed without incident. Someone has sent hundreds of threatening letters to convention sites, bookstores, the media and Sophia University (the alma mater of Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki), over the past year, and the most recent batch of letters said that “X-Day will be on the final day of the [Sophia University] school festival.” Meanwhile, police are checking security cameras near all the mailboxes in the districts from which the letters were mailed, looking for suspicious people. [Anime News Network]

Comics | Brian Steinberg looks at Archie Comics’ most radical move yet: the relatively adult Afterlife with Archie, which literally turned America’s most iconic teenagers into zombies. Steinberg talks to Archie CEO Jon Goldwater, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, artist Francesco Francavilla and others about the significance of this comic, which sold almost 65,000 copies to the direct market. [Variety]

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Comics A.M. | More on JFK comic art that surfaced at auction

From "Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy”

From “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy”

Creators | Newsday picks up the story of Al Plastino’s original art for the John F. Kennedy comic that was canceled when the president was assassinated, and then published a few months later at the request of the Johnson administration. Plastino, now 91, had been told the artwork would be donated to the Kennedy Library, but last month at New York Comic Con he learned that a private individual had the art and was planning to sell it through Heritage Auctions, which now says it won’t move forward until the ownership question is resolved. Copyright lawyer Dale Cendall, former DC Comics President Paul Levitz and artist Neal Adams weigh in on the case. [Newsday]

Kickstarter | In the wake of the successful Fantagraphics Kickstarter campaign, Rob Salkowitz looks at the evolution of the crowdfunding platform from a way for individual creators to connect with their audiences to a pre-sale mechanism that eliminates a lot of the risk for smaller publishers. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Brave and the Bold’ #28 sells for record $120,000

The Brave and the Bold #28

The Brave and the Bold #28

Comics | A CGC-certified 9.2 copy of The Brave and the Bold #28, featuring the first appearance of the Justice League, was sold by Pedigree Comics for $120,000, a record price for the issue (cover-dated February-March 1960). ““The sale for $120,000 is a record price for any copy of Brave and the Bold #28, almost doubling the only recorded 9.4 sale (from April, 2004) of $60,375,” said Pedigree Comics CEO Doug Schmell. “The other 9.2 copy (with off-white pages) fetched $35,850 in May, 2008. This book is beginning to rise dramatically in demand, popularity and value, evidenced by the recent sales of two 8.5 examples (in September, 2013 for $45,504 and for $40,500 in June, 2013).” [Scoop, via ICv2]

Passings | “He took me seriously”: Shaenon Garrity writes the definitive obituary of webcomics pioneer Joey Manley, who died Nov. 7 at the age of 48. She talks to a number of the creators who worked with him over the years and puts his accomplishments into perspective. [The Comics Journal]

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Aaron Alexovich on ‘Serenity Rose: 10 Awkward Years’ and burying his Kickstarter goal

serenity-rose

Although it took Aaron Alexovich a decade to create the material that will appear in the Serenity Rose: 10 Awkward Years compilation, it only took a few hours for the Kickstarter to sail past his initial goal. It kept right on sailing; at press time, the original $5,500 he was looking to raise is a mere pittance compared to the almost $40,000 the project has raised. And it still has two weeks to go.

I caught up with Aaron to discuss the success of the project and his plans for the future of the Serenity Rose world.

JK Parkin: First off, congratulations on reaching — and blowing away — your original goal. Now that you’re well over the amount you needed, what are your plans for the extra money?

Aaron Alexovich: Thank you! Blown away is right. I put up the Kickstarter around midnight on Halloween and went to bed just hoping not to be embarrassed by the whole thing. The next morning my wife, Ami, told me we were fully funded already and I almost cracked my skull open in the shower. Would’ve been hard to fulfill all those orders with half my brains dangling out.

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Ryan Estrada launches new pay-what-you-want Kickstarter

Broken Telephone

Last year, Ryan Estrada came up with a cool idea: a pay-what-you-want Kickstarter. Anyone who pledged at least a dollar received the winter 2013 edition of The Whole Story, a bundle of four digital comics, each of which was a complete story. It went over pretty well, blasting right past its initial goal of $2,500 to a total of more than $40,000 — including 750 backers at that $1 or more level. (Estrada, being no fool, did add some enticements to pledge at higher levels.)

Now he’s back with another Kickstarter with an even cooler concept: Broken Telephone, a series of 18 independent yet interconnected comics. Here, let’s let Estrada explain:

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Montclare & Reeder share their Kickstarter secrets

rocketgirl-tease

It seems we hear a lot of horror stories about Kickstarter projects gone wrong, whether it’s because printing took longer than anticipated, postage rates shot up or the creators seemingly disappeared for long stretches of time with no updates.

On the other hand, there’s Rocket Girl.

Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder had some advantages going into their second Kickstarter — it wasn’t their first rodeo, they were able to line up a publisher (Image Comics), and they both had industry experience. They aren’t the only Kickstarter project I’ve backed that has been able to hit its fulfillment date, but it’s happened infrequent enough that it seems worth noting. It also helps that the final project is very well done, showcasing an intriguing premise, a fun story and electric artwork, but that’s beside the point (unless the point is that you should buy this comic, which you should; the second issue comes out Wednesday).

Brandon and Amy recently sent out an update that detailed the process they went through fulfilling all the rewards they offered on Kickstarter. It was an interesting read, both from an “inside baseball” aspect and from a “this might help someone else looking to use Kickstarter” perspective, so I asked them if I could reprint it here. Brandon offered to expand it a little so it made more sense to non-backers who weren’t along for the six-month ride. I appreciate the time he took to do that, as well as the opportunity to share their story. So with that said, here are Amy and Brandon …

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Fantagraphics surpasses its $150,000 Kickstarter goal

young romance 2With 23 days left in a Kickstarter campaign to fund its spring/summer season of books, Fantagraphics has already surpassed its initial $150,000 goal.

“We literally are stunned by the support you have shown in less than four days,” Publisher Gary Groth wrote Monday in a Kickstarter update, “it’s incredible and we humbly thank you.”

As he explained last week to Comic Book Resources, the effort came in the wake of the illness and death earlier this year of co-founder Kim Thompson, which led 13 of the books he edited to be canceled or postponed. That amounted to the loss of about one-third of the spring/summer season, and a significant financial blow to the publisher. The Kickstarter is designed to help Fantagraphics finance the next season of books — 39 in all.

With that $150,000 goal now met, Fantagraphics is expanding the number of premiums. The campaign ends Dec. 5.

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Comics A.M. | Hayao Miyazaki is drawing a samurai manga

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Creators | Anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement just two months ago, is reportedly drawing a samurai manga set during the Warring States Period. Asked on the Japanese television show Sekai-ichi Uketai Jugyō over the weekend how the 72-year-old filmmaker will spend his retirement, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki replied, “I think he will serialize a manga. From the beginning, he likes drawing about his favorite things. That’s his stress relief.” He also confirmed the manga’s setting before cutting off the line of questioning with, “He’ll get angry if I talk too much. Let’s stop talking about this.” Miyazaki has illustrated several manga over the past four decades, most notably the seven-volume Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. [Anime News Network]

Libraries | Mitch Stacy takes a look at the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University, which is scheduled to open this weekend with a gala celebration. [ABC News]

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Templesmith’s ‘Squidder’ campaign surpasses goal within hours

squidder-cropped

It’s been just five hours since the Kickstarter campaign launched for his 108-page graphic novel The Squidder, and already Ben Templesmith has pushed past his initial $18,000 goal. That may owe a little something to the squid ink.

You see, people who pledge $130 or more will receive a slipcased Kraken edition, with an original sketch done in squid ink; 21 people have already snatched those up.

The limited-run hardcover, written and illustrated by Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Fell, Welcome to Hoxford), is described as Mad Max meets Chthulhu, exploring “themes of a changing world, propaganda, and the nature of control via the main character. We’ll follow this journey of unfinished business through a world now alien and destroyed by a war which humanity lost generations ago against the almighty squid.”

Everyone who pledges money to The Squidder will have their name included in the book, and get a first look at a nine-page prelude. Beyond the Kraken edition with squid-ink sketches, incentives include a T-shirt, original art pages, and an appearance in the book.

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Phileas Reid and the accidential alien invasion

Untitled-1

What if an alien invasion was … but wasn’t? At its core, that’s the concept of the upcoming graphic novel Phileas Reid Knows We Are Not Alone. Created by Scott Fogg and by Marc Thomas, the upcoming graphic novel follows scientist Phileas Reid as he looks to redeem himself after being pigeon-holed as a crazy person for speculating there are aliens. Reid finds his potential salvation when he meets an alien runaway from the the moons of Jupiter, but ends up in the middle of an interstellar face-off as the runaway’s people come looking for her and the Earth’s military thinks she’s the first soldier in an invasion.

Phileas Reid Knows We’re Not Alone is an all-ages graphic novel with its sights set on action and adventure, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t without a message:  You are not alone,” Fogg wrote on the project’s Kickstarter page. ” Wherever you are, whoever you are, no matter what age you are, people have gone before you and people are with you now.  Just because you feel alone, doesn’t mean you are.  This knowledge is supposed to be comforting, but it’s also a challenge.  You not being alone in the world also means your way of doing things and your way of thinking things isn’t the only way.”

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‘City of Heroes’ fans raise $678K for replacement game

city-of-titans-thank-you-art_700.0_cinema_720.0

The idea of playing as your favorite superhero in a video game world is catnip for comics fans, and the MMORPG City of Heroes was one of the earliest to offer that chance in an immersive, free-ranging world. But after eight years of continuous operations, the studio behind City of Heroes shuttered the game late last year. However, as comics fans can attest, good heroes never die — even if you don’t have the rights to them.

A group of ardent City of Heroes fans recently rallied under the name the Phoenix Project and started a Kickstarter to fund a “spiritual successor” to City of Heroes called City of Titans, hoping to raise $320,000 to create a near-identical home for themselves and other fans of comic book video games. This week, they achieved their goal and then some, raising $678,189. Now all they have to do is make the game.

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Comics A.M. | Investor group buys majority stake in Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll

Digital comics | The Chernin Group, headed by former News Corp Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, has acquired a controlling stake in Crunchyroll, the streaming anime site that just launched a digital comics service. [All Things D]

Digital comics | Rob McMonigal takes a look at Believed Behavior, a website where subscribers can read comics by five different creators for $8 (there’s a free component as well) and then get them in print form. [Panel Patter]

Manga | Dark Horse announced Tuesday that there are 750,000 copies of the various volumes of Berserk in print; that number is about to increase, as the publisher is about to release new printings of the volumes that are low in stock, which is pretty much all of them. Volume 37 is due out later this month. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | Smart’s ‘Fish-Head Steve’ shortlisted for Roald Dahl prize

Fish-Head Steve

Fish-Head Steve

Awards | Jamie Smart’s Fish-Head Steve has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the first comic to make the list in the six-year history of the award. The prize recognizes the funniest book for children in two age categories, and the final judges will be 200 children from schools around the United Kingdom. [Forbidden Planet]

Comics | Eric Margolis reports on the difficulties U.K. creator Darren Cullen had in getting his Kickstarter-funded comic (Don’t) Join the Army printed. The format was unusual, so some shops simply couldn’t do it, but printers also took exception to the comic itself, which was an “anti-recruitment leaflet” satirizing the British army. [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund]

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Andrew MacLean kickstarts a second helping of ‘Head Lopper’

HL1-cover-tease

If Andrew MacLean has his way — and your help — heads will lop once again.

Earlier this year MacLean self-published Head Lopper #1, an action-filled tale of one viking’s quest to decapitate monsters, and the annoying severed witch head that he drags along with him. It was a great introduction, but not near long enough … which is something MacLean hopes to remedy. He’s currently running a Kickstarter so he can publish issue #2, which promises more pages, more head-lopping and more of that evil witch head.

I spoke with MacLean about both issues of the series, as well as his tale in last Wednesday’s issue of Dark Horse Presents and much more. My thanks to Andrew for his time.

JK Parkin: For those who may not have heard of Head Lopper, can you give a few details on what it’s about and how it came about?

Andrew MacLean: Head Lopper follows nomadic Viking warrior Norgal and his companion, the severed heard of Agatha Blue Witch. When they aren’t bickering and torturing each other, they are traveling about beheading monsters or whatever or whomever might get in their way.

Head Lopper actually originated from a Brand New Nostalgia piece I did. The theme that the members had chosen for the week was “Viking” and I just had so much fun with it I just knew I had to run with it. So I redesigned that same character a little bit, including the severed head he was originally pictured with and started putting together some rather simple classic-feeling stories for the unlikely pair.

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