The webcomics blog about webcomics

This One Is Mostly About Books

At least half. Look, it’s got books in it, okay?

For instance, there’s a comic book that’s been making the twitterrounds with its Kickstarter the thing is, Tomorrow Jones looks like it’s got an interesting story hook, as Joey Softerworld pointed out:

The “updates” section on this comic kick-starter have some thoughtful posts about the depiction of women in the comic.

The section in question:

I was faced with the decision of how her universe was going to work. Would everyone, or at least most characters, also be less sexualized? I ultimately decided it would serve the story better if Tomorrow were unique amongst the heroes and heroines in her world. Her mother wears a revealing costume, most female heroes will. But Tomorrow doesn’t. Tomorrow is bucking tradition and trying to do things her own way. She will face pressure to conform and act like everyone else. That is going to be an active conflict in the series, but more so, it makes Tomorrow unique in her own story as well.

So, a strong (literally) female character that’s not a Strong Female Character — very laudable. But Tomorrow Jones is less than a week from closing, and (as of this writing) only at 31% of its (very modest) goal. It’s doing better than in March, when an extremely similar pitch closed unsuccessfully, and with less funding than the current attempt.

I can’t repeat this enough times — no matter how enticing the project sounds, unless it fulfills a need that nobody knew they needed before (there are numerous examples in the Design section of Kickstarter), the most clear indication of a successful fund-raise is going to be the built-in audience and credibility of the creator based on past work.

Brian Daniel seems like a perfectly capable creator, but for somebody to plunk down money on a perfectly capable creator that they don’t know, there needs to be more than a few art samples, a decent story description, and ten bucks burning a hole in their pocket. I’ll go so far as to say that the convenience that Kickstarter offers probably works against Mr Daniel here, as many, many people would fork over that ten bucks for a mini comic or sketch book of developmental work at a show, following a quick flip through something physical.

The end effect of operating at a distance from the creator, one that doesn’t have an existing audience, a pent-up demand, or a positive word of mouth from people who’ve actually seen the book (or all three), is that many perfectly worthy projects are going to be non-starters¹.

The only thing that might help an unknown in this situation is the recommendation of a trusted authority; for instance, I’ll wager a lot of people that haven’t heard of Ryan Pequin’s Three Word Phrase would be willing to splash out for his new book because it carries the TopatoCo Seal of Approval². And that’s where we have the classic Catch-22: Daniel needs the money to finish the book so the has something to show you that will convince you (or convince me to convince you) to fund the book, which doesn’t exist yet. I hope he raises the money because I suspect Tomorrow Jones would be a decent comic book. If my suspicion is enough to convince you, the Kickstarter page is thataway.

Other things:

¹ Not to mention the fact that the reward structure for Tomorrow Jones goes up to US$150 without actually including a copy of the comic. Ten bucks gets you a signed physical copy of Poorcraft, fifteen for a copy of Daisy Kutter, and US$20 for Sad Pictures for Children, each of which are actual book books in the hundreds of pages. The Kickstarter free money machine never existed except in myth, and you aren’t getting that free money now.

² Oddly enough for a company that regularly deals with the Better Business Burro, there are no comics documenting the existence of a Seal of Approval up in TopatoCo World Domination Headquarters, and I for one think that’s a damn shame.

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