If you’ve been paying attention to the online comics community in the past year or so, you’ve no doubt come across someone looking for donations to help fund their comics project via Kickstarter. The website relies on ardent fans for these campaigns to work, in much the same way that smaller publishers have pushed hard the idea of pre-ordering your comics because direct market retailers might not stock the material otherwise.
When it first came into being, Kickstarter was pegged as a fad. However, it’s bucked preconceptions after projects like Womanthology pulled together more than $100,000 (when organizers only asked for $25,000) in August 2011, and has become an increasingly vital part of comics publishing outside the well-funded major companies. And when Rich Burlew’s webcomic The Order of the Stick raised $1.2 million when only asking for $57,750, it changed the thinking of many comics pros.
In effect, it’s turning away from publishers as the primary source to fund a comic and instead taking advantage of the wills and pocketbooks of fans. What makes it even more powerful is the idea of prizes for pledge levels, becoming more than just a donation with no strings attached; in effect, you could pre-order editions of the book in different formats with different price levels. Take for example the recent Kickstarter drive for the Image graphic novel Queen Crab: It raised $10,000, and in the process pre-sold 278 print copies of the book and 47 PDFs. That’s before it was even solicited in Previews.
Dinopopolous (Blank Slate) Nick Edwards‘ Dinopopolous is the story of Nigel, a 13-year-old who loves comics, videogames and heavy metal and who solves mysteries with is best friend Brian, who is a talking dinosaur.
You have probably already decided that this is a comic book you would like to read, and I concur with your decision: This is a comic you will like reading.
When an archaeologist on the trail of the Miracle Bird of Ndundoo goes missing, Nigel and Brian are given a pre-pre-pre-historic artifact and tasked with finding the bird before Julian and His Evil League of Lizards, humanoid lizards that dress a little like the saiyans from Dragon Ball Z, and reminded me of the Tyrannos from DinoSaucers. And Brian reminded me a bit of a mount from the old Dino Riders toy line, wearing a saddle with guns mounted on it and all. And, tonally and visually, the entire book reminds me a bit of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, all of which are farily positive associations in my mind.
The story itself is extremely straightforward. Our heroes find the trail, follow it, come into conflict with Julian and his League and then find the bird on the 25th and penultimate page of the book, which ends with a splash page reading “The End” in the middle of an explosion, while Nigel throws up some devil’s horns.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15 this week, I’d rush to the store as quickly as possible to ensure that I’d be able to get a copy of Saga #1 (Image Comics, $2.99) before it completely sells out. It’s been far, far too long since Brian K. Vaughan has been doing comics, and Fiona Staples is one of those artists who just continually gets better even after starting pretty damn impressively in the first place. It’s not the only must-read launch this week, either; I’m also very excited about Saucer Country #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s mash-up of The West Wing, The X-Files and – judging by this first issue, which I’ve had a sneak peek at – The Invisibles, which pretty much ensures I’ll be on board for awhile. There’s also Marvel’s Avengers Assemble #1 ($3.99), which I’m… curious about more than excited for, in large part because I’ve already seen Bendis’ take on the team for the last few years, so this feels more like “More of That Thing You’ve Already Read!” than “First Issue of A New Series!” but… well, it might be better than I’m expecting, who knows?
If I had $30, I’d think about putting Avengers back on the shelf before picking up Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself Fallout Premiere HC (Marvel, $19.99), the second collection of Kieron Gillen’s remarkably great Thor spin-off. I’ve only recently caught up with the first collection, and loved it, so I’m looking forward to more of the same with this one.
There’s really only one choice to splurge on this week for me: The Womanthology: Heroic hardcover (IDW, $50.00). Not only do I have friends with work in the book, but I was pretty much signed up for this one as soon as I heard about it online. I love well-done anthologies, and I’m ready for this to be one of the best I’ve read in a long time.