The webcomics blog about webcomics

Kicks And Starts

One of these days I’ma have to add a category for Kickstarter around these parts, ’cause I sure talk about it a lot.

  • If webcomics didn’t exist, something tells me that Phil Foglio, beloved uncle figure of independent comics, would have had to create them. He and creative collaborator/life partner/fellow mad scientist Kaja Foglio have been prominent converts from dead-tree publishing (after a decades-long career, mind you) to producing their flagship work, Girl Genius from the finest quality of pixels and collecting for print afterwards.

    This is not a new endeavour! Story development started twenty damn years ago, and at this point Girl Genius has existed as a web-then-print comic for going on twice as long as it was print-only. Eleven volumes totalling nearly 1500 pages are already in print, and by my reading of the story (every Mon-Wed-Fri, with binges every time a new volume comes out) we might be approaching the midpoint of the overall story¹.

    In all that time, Professor and Professoressa Foglio have entirely self-financed and published their work, but when Kickstarter exists and makes for such a handy pre-order and financing platform, they’d be silly not to take advantage of it. Actually, “silly” is probably pretty high up on any list of adjectives applied to P&P F, but when the choice is Use Kickstarter to avoid fronting some fifty grand to print a book and Nah, let’s be silly and pay the equivalent of a college education ourselves, again, I think silly is overrated.

    Thus Girl Genius Volume 12, nearly 200 pages of full-color comics, is getting the crowdfund treatment, with the additional benefit that exceeding the US$55,000 goal means older volumes can be revived from the out-of-print doldrums, and the Foglio children get to eat more than once a day for the rest of the year. Win-win! Since the campaign went live yesterday, it’s on the cusp of US$34,000 (or 61%) funded, with a relatively brief 17 days to go.

    That’s right, the Foglios allotted themselves less than three weeks to raise their funds, which I’m guessing may have the effect of damping the usual wild swings in successful Kickstarts. Most of them have a huge first two or three days, drop to a low, sustained funding rate, and pick up in the last week. With such a short turnaround, I think GGV12 may not have the time to see the dropoff, and may well have a more uniform intake rate.

    In any event, I think it may well perform closer to the 3 side of the Fleen Fudge Factor² as applied to Kicktraq predictions. If you’re still on the fence about pre-ordering, consider that back volumes run US$23 + shipping, whereas a softcover of GGV12 will be yours for US$30, and it’ll be between 25% and 50% larger than those older books. BARGAIN OF THE YEAR, people.

  • I held off as late as I could before posting yesterday, and so missed by mere hours some details on the Capture Creatures books that I wanted to share with you. See, the book wasn’t so much delayed as it was waiting to be part of a package deal, as the Benign Kingdom founders are back in the art book game — only this time instead of a common book, they’re producing a themed set of books. From Becky & Frank, the aforementioned Capture Creatures collection. From Yuko Ota and Evan Dahm, the eagerly-awaited Exquisite Beast collection. And from KC Green, a second volume of his Midnight Surprise artblog.

    Each book is available individually in softcover or deluxe hardcover and in three-book combos³ and in a break from past B9K offerings, stretch goals aren’t being used to make the books better. The deluxe books are full-bore awesome and available right from the start without any wondering if goal would be exceeded enough to get the better paper, the embossing, or any of the other enhancements.

    I’m also interested to see how this campaign does compared to the first B9 collection (which featured the same creators) — what if, hypothetically, you were a huge KC Green fan but didn’t like the others? Would Green’s work comprising a quarter of the book’s content be enough to get your support? With the Midnight Monsters collection, that Green uberfan can back a Green-only book, but also contribute towards the making of the other two books. How this campaign goes may well help determine the production decisions of future B9 efforts.

  • The third webcomics Kickstart to launch yesterday was Rob Balder’s latest Erfworld project, which serves the dual purpose of getting something to the strip’s fans this year (neither the illustrated nor the mostly-text storylines that are alternating at Erfworld presently is finished, making it difficult to put a collection together) while simultaneously providing a breaking-in period for a new Erfworld artist.

    David Hahn will be taking over for Xin Ye, and E is for Erfworld will give him time to get his style on-model. Balder did a soft launch of the fundraiser to past project backers and saw the totals exceed 200% of goal in less than a day; I think that Hahn’s going to be getting a lot of practice in pretty soon.

¹ By the time it’s done, Girl Genius will probably be about about as long as the standard-bearer for impossibly-long indy comics, Cerebus the Aardvark, with 100% less batshit insanity on the part of the creators.

² Namely, look at the Kicktraq prediction afer two days of funding, and at the trend prediction; most projects will hit somewhere between 1/3 and 1/6 of the prediction, which in GGv12’s case means somewhere between 95% and 190% of goal. Since it’s a stone certainty that the Foglios will make goal, I’m going to predict GGv12 is closer to 190%, meaning the majority of stretch goals will be met, and the majority of back volumes get restocked.

³ I didn’t notice any two-book combos but come on — who’s going to want to exclude one of these three books?

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