I’m starting to wonder if this whole crowdfunding renaissance for indie comics is a bubble. My heart says it isn’t so — especially because my own endeavor, Ambrosia, isn’t headed that way until February of next year — though my brain, in all its worrisome glory, is starting to fear the Kickstarter scene is tilting more toward crowded than funded.
This isn’t an innately negative trend, nor does it imply that people are going to stop supporting these types of projects anytime soon. Yet it does suggest that an increasing number of creators are vying for backers’ attention. If I may attempt to make a claim founded on my fuzzy recollection of high-school economics: it seems that crowdfunded comic books are very much a buyer’s market.
The Kickstarters I feature in these Strobe Lights (since I am too eager to focus the spotlight on just a single title) mostly come from /r/comicbookcollabs. It is a small(ish) community of creative-minded redditors who have a passion for illustrated storytelling. I like to think of it as a dojo for up-and-coming talent. You’d be surprised at how many Kickstarter Staff Picks are a result of collaborations from the subreddit. Today it is my privilege to feature four more:
Presented by Stache Publishing, Aporkalypse is a lighthearted vision of the world’s end. As an anthology, the project is a collaboration featuring more than 35 indie creators. Each story offers its own slice of apocalyptic humor.
The anthology includes over 50 comic strips, originally published in a weekly newspaper in St. Louis, as well as a slew of original stories. Coming in at 125 pages, the collection is available both in print and digitally; a hardcover edition is additionally offered exclusively to those who participate in the Kickstarter.
A downloadable version of Aporkalypse comes with a $10 pledge. The physical copy starts at $25 (softcover), though there are a limited number of discounted books available at the $20 mark. For $40 you can get the exclusive hardcover edition shipped, worldwide.
Variety is not only the spice of life: it is also the seasoning for this pork-fueled collection. There are 13 days left to get a taste for yourself. With the project nearing its halfway mark, both in terms of funding and days remaining, a pledge for ‘Porkalypse is the kosher thing to do.
Australi is set in an alternate land down under, where giant creatures grow and imperials plunder. It is am ambitious epic, in the tradition of Ferngully and The Never Ending Story, created by Timothy Wood and Tomas Wanke.
The fantasy context serves as a veil through which the consequences of colonialism can be explored. Maloo, the series’ protagonist, is an Aboriginal boy displaced by the arrival of European, Chinese and Middle Eastern empires.
Maloo unwillingly becomes the hope of his people when an old prophecy is handed down. Now with not only the British empire after him, but also pirates, poachers and mercenaries, Maloo must find his inner spirit to fulfil the heavy burden placed upon him.
As the land becomes scarred by foreign war machines and the great animal spirits are captured as poachers prizes, Australi grows sick and its magical beauty fades. Ancient magic brews on all sides of the battle, with one boy and his odd band of destined heroes all that’s left to save it.
When browsing their pledges and rewards, do keep in mind prices are referring to Australian backers; the US-dollar pricing is referenced underneath. Australi is intended to be an ongoing series, with this first issue being slated with an extended page count (25-30). The comic will have an extra 30 pages of behind-the-scenes content, going over the creative process that brought Australi to life. With only 10 days left, this beautiful project is in dire need of well-deserved support.
Dino Caruso, the mind behind FISK, perhaps puts it best when he describes his work as being the “X-Files as [envisioned by] Archie Comics.” The book’s titular protagonist is exactly what his acronym would imply: a substitute teacher. Not just any sub, no, Mr. Fisk is the Board of Education’s top agent. He’s called upon to silence the covert threats that face our schools before they can ever make a sound. Joining Caruso is illustrator Shawn Richison, an artist who has worked with Dino on previous projects.
FISK was conceived as a 96-page graphic novel that will be told over 4 chapters. As a prelude of sorts, Caruso and Richison have created FISK #0, which is available for free via Dropbox. The issue is a fun read, providing an excellent sample of what we can expect from the project itself. Head to their Kickstarter for the link.
With 29 days to go, funding has already hit the halfway mark. Both of the title’s creators are affiliated with Under Belly Comics, an indie publisher out of Canada. FISK stands to be their second successful crowdfunding campaign and, from the looks of it, will be the second of many more to come. Do keep in mind the default prices reflect the Canadian dollar: At U.S. pricing, $8 lands a digital copy and $15 gets it shipped worldwide.
North Bend is a near-future dystopian thriller with an emphasis on sci-fi inspired by true events. Ryan Ellsworth, the series’ author and letterer, has teamed up with a pair of rising stars in indie comics, illustrator Robert Carey and colorist Dee Cunniffe. Steven Forbes, of ComixTribe fame, has taken on editing duties for the book.
While Ellsworth intends to tell his tale over ten issues, this campaign is designed to only fund the 31-page North Bend #1. We will be introduced to Brendan Kruge, a DEA agent recruited by the CIA to test an experimental mind-control drug that is directly related to previous experiments with MKUltra. (For those of you unfamiliar with Project MKUltra, it is worth a Google search.)
This campaign is less than a week old at the moment, so it has quite a ways to go before hitting its goal. There is a limited number (50) of discounted digital downloads, which start at $8. The standard price is $10. A print copy gets shipped to your door, worldwide, for $17.
Check out a preview of North Bend #1 below. NOTE: The preview contains strong language.