Comic Crowdfunding Goes Mainstream

by Jamison Ashley
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If you’re a regular reader of this website, you’re familiar with our enthusiastic support of many crowdfunding comic projects. Crowdfunding provides a good alternative to the existing options for indie comic creators, especially in an era when the comics industry gatekeeping seems to be more and more about having the right politics than it is about talent or merit.

 

Crowdfunding is now where it’s at. It’s like pre-selling your comic with the added advantage of building a fan base as you do it. If leveraged appropriately, crowdfunding isn’t just a more efficient way to fund a comic project’s publishing, it may even be a better way. Some creators have had success, while others have either not met their goal, or in some cases, failed to even deliver all the goods even after being fully-funded and several years passing since those rewards were promised.

 

So it’s equally important to deliver what was promised if the campaign reaches its goals as it is to have a solid campaign to begin with. Starting strong and finishing well seems to be the formula for a successful campaign. What’s especially cool about backing a crowdfund project is that some of the stretch goals and backing levels can reward you with impressive exclusives, such as autographed copies, prints, even statuettes and stickers!

Check out a few of the projects our team has backed below.

Here’s an impressive campaign that’s working on its final week. It’s Jungle Comics #1 and is promoted as the return of a classic Golden Age comics genre. Jungle Comics is from legendary writer Chuck Dixon (Batman, The Punisher, etc) with art by Kelsey Shannon (X-Men, Justice League, The Flash, Judge Dredd, etc). It’s pulpy adventure set deep in the depth of the most steamy jungle where death lurks just around the corner and is a place where men were men and the “women were HOT!” It features all new, never before seen stories and art based on the pulp comics and tales from an era of comics that birthed Sheena, Kanga, Saari, and many more. This is clearly for those who have a fondness for the Frank Frazetta era of comics.

Back the Jungle Comics project here until July 7.

 

 

 

Unknown creators have been relying on crowdfunding before it became the craze that it is today. One such indie creator is Sean Campbell from Greenville, SC. He’s taking another swing at crowdfunding with his comic debut of The Ferryman. It’s a 22-page first issue of a science-fiction/mystery series about coping with life, death, faith, doubt and technology in a future where everything humanity thought they knew is thrown off-balance. They have a modest goal set to get their first issue assembled and professionally printed. It looks like it’s filled with great, futuristic art and the creator feels that the story is tight. And there’s hardly a barrier to entry because their lowest tier for backing is only two bucks!


Join The Ferryman crowdfunding campaign here. The effort has reached the 50% point with another month left until their campaign ends.

 

 


Beatdown Girl volume 1 is a graphic novel about a girl with giant robot arms who gives “mad-beatdowns” to malignant A.I. that infect labor and combat robots.

Creator Jake Bihl is from Washington state and has been working in comics for a few years now, studying intensely at The Kubert School of Cartooning and Graphic Design and has put together a a high quality 32-page graphic novel exploring themes of human existence, artificial life, and inter-generational conflict.

Check out his Indigogo page for Beatdown Girl here. He’s reached 71% of his funding goal with 3 weeks left to back this campaign.

 

Let’s show some support for indie comic creators and make this happen for them!

 

Even some indie publishing outlets are getting in on the crowdfunding scene. One such indie is called Creature Entertainment and their latest project is called Tommy (Vol 2) Guess What’s In My Pocket.

 

This project is a dark comedy about a kid with an imaginary friend… who happens to be a serial killer…It’s from creators John Ulloa ( Ravenous, Forgive me Father, The Gun) and artist Juan Navarro ( Zombie Years, Vigil, REZ). It’s a tale of mischief and destruction in the same underground vein as Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Rick & Morty, and old Looney Tunes.  Their Vol.1 saw the rise of Jack in Tommy’s world and at the end of that volume, readers were left hanging with what came next. Catch up with these zany characters to find out what happened with their world which is still reeling from the events from the first volume of stories.

This isn’t the creators’ first rodeo: they’ve done various Kickstarters before and have found it to be a great way to not only get funding for projects but find great, new fans too. Kickstarter has also been a place, that in the face of the adversity of the comic industry, has been a haven for these creators to get their books on the shelf. A dream come true.

Back the Tommy Volume 2 Kickstarter project here.

 

Our final mention in this column isn’t a project by an unknown. No, it’s former DC and Marvel comics artist, Ethan Van Sciver who has decided to leave DC Comics to return to a creator-owned project of his in a new OGN called Cyberfrog:Bloodhoney. Ethan was signed to an exclusive deal with DC Comics and is well-known for his legendary runs on The Flash and Green Lantern, but recently he’s grown tired of the politics and general atmosphere at working for a big publisher and wanted to try his hand at going back to his own creator-owned property.

 

His friends Richard Meyer, Jon Malin, and Brett Smith asked him to do a stretch goal variant cover for their successful Jawbreakers Lost Souls crowdfund project, which to this date has gathered $354,291 from IndieGoGo (possibly a new record). Afterwards, Van Sciver must have figured he would give it a shot, and after the first day of crowdfunding, he brought in over $93,000 in backing. Now, with only 2 days left in the campaign, he has raised over $348,000 by well over 5,000 backers. Van Sciver is hot on Jawbreakers fundraising total and set to surpass it. But it’s not a competition, because these are simply incredible crowdfunding numbers!

Cyberfrog:Bloodhoney actually hearkens back to the late nineties before Ethan joined DC or Marvel. The character’s adventures were being published by Harris Comics, but were put on hold once his workload at Marvel began to grow.  Cyberfrog: Bloodhoney tells the story of giant mutated hornets from outer space touching down on Earth that begin ripping the flesh off of humans and using it to construct giant hives in order to replicate. They use the plasma from humans for honey to feed their ever-growing army. Earth quickly becomes a dystopian battleground, ruled by the giant hornets, and only Cyberfrog (a.k.a. Trikk Rhan) can save the planet. After coming out of a 20 year hibernation, Cyberfrog and his brother take the fight to the gruesome and bloodthirsty hornets.

 

Anyone else reminded a little bit of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when they imagine this cool concept?

If this sounds like a project you want to support, check out the Indigogo page here in the next 48 hours!

 

Be forewarned, in the world of crowdfunding, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. These crowdfunding pages may look and feel like an online store, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get something in return for any of the money you pledge to the campaigns. Most crowdfunding platforms only require that creators make a “good faith effort” to deliver on their promises, meaning that they will face no consequences if the project misses its delivery date — or even fails entirely. They will have to deal with angry backers and some bad press, but some guys have been known to simply blow that off.

 

Plus, several things can go wrong between the successful funding of a campaign and the delivery of the final product. Creators frequently underestimate the amount needed to finish and deliver the product. Manufacturing issues can also arise which create delays. And sometimes projects have even failed because the creators get TOO MUCH funding, and don’t know how to scale their production processes to fulfill an unexpectedly large volume of orders. Often, the creator isn’t intentionally trying to scam anyone, but despite their best efforts, something goes wrong.

 

Even if the project you’ve decided to back appears to be headed in the right direction, you should still keep an eye on it. Circle back around and check out the comments section. And if you backed a project that offers a tangible reward, check the comments again after shipping has commenced and the product is being delivered to the earliest backers. If the final product is substandard or significantly different than what the creators promised, then other backers will usually sound off in the comments section. You might be able to request a refund before your item ships.

 

In spite of those risks, we certainly wish these creators all the best in their endeavors and hope these crowdfunded projects finish as strong as they’ve started. Besides the ones we’ve mentioned, there are several other intriguing projects that may have been fully funded, but you can still be a part of like Jack Irons: The Steel Cowboy, Wild Stars: Time Warmageddon, and Ravage: Kill All Men (also with Chuck Dixon), which we did a feature on a few weeks ago.

And creator Will Calligan started a GoFundMe project to support several of his Alpha Dog Projects, which is still ongoing since the beginning of this month. Check it out here.

We hope you’ll get behind one or more of these projects to help them see the light of day! Let us know what you’re backing in the comments section below!

 

Jamison Ashley

Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Current captain of this ship o' fools who is rapidly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON