I wrote a short piece about how crowdfunding’s changed everything for creative people here. That won’t be news to many on this board, but my main point is crowdfunding isn’t a stepping stone to something else, it’s the end game. It’s the future. A way to make a living and reach an audience without selling your rights to a publisher. It seems to have resonated, not just in comics but for folks in film and prose too.
Interesting article, Monty. Is Kickstarter still that vibrant? I used to be pretty involved in that community backing about 50 projects in around 3 years but drifted away a couple years ago and could count on one hand the number of projects I’ve backed since.
God yeah, Lots of people using Kickstarter to get their comics fix every month now. I think both parties love feeling a closer connection between the readers and the creators, plus sharing all the cool extra stuff like prints, stickers, signed scripts, bespoke commissions. And the comics themselves feel beautiful, in terms of paper and finish - great value. It’s a supportive, positive environment too.
I once thought as you do that Kickstarter was the future of comics but was ultimately disappointed with it’s ability to affect the industry. So it’s interesting that you have come to a similar place.
I did like the interaction with creators during the campaign and think it is a real benefit in creating an audience. For a lot of creators, it was difficult to maintain that interaction once the campaign finished with some even ghosting their backers. There always seemed to be unanticipated parts of the process that either crippled or seriously bogged down a lot of creators. The ones that made it and shipped a product generally persevered through some hardship.
Don’t get me wrong, there was some really great work that came out of things that I backed. However, I’m not convinced Kickstarter was the best avenue for them. The expectations that came with the audience was often hard to handle. Some seemed so crushed by the process that they didn’t continue to produce further issues in their series or on to other comic work.
It looks like you’ve right sized your Kickstarter and not bit off more than you could chew. It is also to your benefit that the work is done and your basically funding printing. One thing I would watch out for is international shipping costs. I think that one has been the death knell of many projects especially ones that have added stretch goals to their original pledges.
Out of curiosity, what do you plan to do with the money garnered from the project from here? Fund future issues of the same project? Will you then use other avenues to sell those or do you plan on returning to Kickstarter for each individual issue?
Edit: I just wanted to make sure that you know I’m not trying to start a fight or be a turd in your punch bowl, Monty. I would honestly like to know if some of these things have improved. I think Kickstarter could be a great tool but came up short in my previous possibly dated experience.
The first part of my epic graphic novel Hollow Monsters is live for one more day.
Hollow Monsters is my attempt to move the graphic novel into new territory, by creating something ethereal, disturbing, challenging and profound, something which could only exist via Kickstarter.
Set in the eighties, it concerns horrors real and imagined lurking in a suburban forest frequented by a gang of kids from a nearby estate, and how what happens there echoes through the decades with disturbing effect. It’s a very personal and spooky semi-autobiographical story: an unsettling commentary on the nightmares at the heart of society, and how lives are shaped by them over time.
It’s subtle, original and highly ambitious. It can only be willed into existence by the support of comic book fans like you, people yearning for something more than high concepts and genre thrills. Much as I love the best of those, as a comics nut it frustrates me that nothing like Hollow Monsters exists. I feel a burning obligation to make this, and simply can’t rest easy until this project is completed.
Like my previous comics, Hollow Monsters is funny, scary, thoughtful, shocking, and surprisingly lyrical. It exploits the full potential of comics in a way rarely seen before. And if that sounds like bullshit let me break down some of the specific areas I’m exploring.
Specifically, I’m trying to convey human experience vividly by depicting memory, reality, and imagination interchangeably. Comics are the perfect medium for this, exploiting the area between the visual and verbal - between images and words - creating emotions in ways which can’t always be achieved in films or books. I won an academic award for my academic work in this area, so as well as being a great story Hollow Monsters is a proving ground for some interesting new ideas.
This ambitious and somewhat mysterious comic will be delivered to you in a sequence of six mind-expanding thirty-two-page issues, the first of which I’m raising funds for today.
And the good news is, the first of these comics is already completely finished! I just need to raise enough here to press ‘print’, make your bespoke rewards, and cover postage and packaging.
Hollow Monsters deals in nostalgia, for a very particular purpose, repurposing iconic symbols from 80’s Britain such as Adam Ant, Pac Man, the test card, Vic-20’s, Raleigh Choppers, and Tiswas to complex effect. In a world changing so fast that it’s causing anxiety and depression, it explores the power of our imagined past greatness and why we cling to it with such passion.
I recommend this comic if you enjoyed any of my previous work, or the atmospheric stylings of Moshin Hamid, David Aja, Josh Middleton, or David Lynch.
It is, in short, weird and a little bit magical. Rather like you, I suspect.
What’s exciting about this for me is being able to lavish love and attention on a comic in a way that only works on Kickstarter. A project this ambitious simply wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.
I wrote a reply, Ronnie. But then I though better to wait till I’ve been through the whole cycle, making and sending rewards, and report back then.
Sounds good. Would love to hear how the experience goes for you. I’ve been in contact with other creators in the past with mixed experiences.