The webcomics blog about webcomics

See This? This Could Be Lots Better

And by this, I mean this Kickstarter to turn a comedy podcast into a comic book. There’s a pretty serious flaw in the campaign, one that the creators will adjust in the future.

I don’t mean the project itself, which is a comic book about wacky space adventures drawn by Lucas Elliott¹, and which looks pretty damn funny. That’s a winner right there. What I’m talking about is a strategic error, one so fundamental I fear I’m about to channel my inner Brad Guigar² ranting at the 2/3 mark of ComicLab when something really gets under his skin. It’s this:

They’re making a comic book and barely talk about the comic book.

How many pages is it? What’s the trim size? Stapled? Squarebound? Color cover? There’s a few sample pages, but how much story are we getting? I get that the comic is a spinoff from the podcast, but the main thing on offer here is barely mentioned, which means that the audience of this campaign is necessarily limited. If you’re already a listener, great! There’s a video from one of the voice cast talking about comics and even spending 30 seconds inside a comic shop, but nothing about this comic. If you’re a fan, there’s audio interviews with seven cast members down the page.

If you’re a comics reader that has never heard of Oz 9 before? You’re told Elliott’s a great comics artist (he is), and given a link to some drawings on the Oz 9 site and his ‘Grams. That’s individual images, not comics pages. Not even a dummy comic to hold up to say what you’re making?

You’ve given no reason for anybody outside your existing audience to back the Kickstarter, unless they came here specifically because they know Lucas Elliott’s work. The discoverability for a potential new audience is nil.

Not for nothing, here’s how I would have done it:

[Fade up on spokesperson] Hi! My name is ______ and I’m one of the creators of Oz 9, a sci-fi comedy podcast. If you’ve never heard it, we’re about what happens with one hapless ship sent out from Earth in a great wave of attempted interstellar colonization. You can listen to episodes here [caption: website for audio episodes]. After making more than 50 episodes over 3 seasons, we’ve decided to expand into comic books with this [hold up a dummy of the comic], the Oz 9 origin story. If you love the podcast, it tells the start of the story in a whole new way, and if you’re new, it’s the perfect jumping on point.

Now as podcasters, we don’t necessarily know how to make great comics, so we partnered up with this guy [inset: photos of Elliott waving, working at the drawing board, goofing off]: Lucas Elliott. He’s done everything from portraits of manly mermen [fade in: succession of images] to the ongoing webcomic adventures of a warrior starfish [pan across: pages of Battlestar]. He knows how to tell a visual story on the page, bringing a whole new dimension to the humor we’re known for.

Oz 9, the comic will be _____ pages long, with Lucas adapting from the scripts for episode 1 through _____. It’s not just writing out what we said into your ears — this is a whole new take on the story, bringing all the magic of comics to bear in a way we think will make you laugh over and over.

Rewards include PDF and print copies of Oz 9, your name in the credits of the comic, mentions in upcoming episodes of the podcast, even a cameo appearance in the story, but we think the comic is the real prize here. Check out some sample pages down below [pan across: sample pages], and be sure to let us know what you think when you get to read the whole thing.

In the meantime, you can listen to Oz-9 episodes for free, and Lucas’s webcomic is linked so you can catch up on his work, too. Thanks for listening, and hope to see you on board with all the other Space Monkeys.

That’s off the top of my head. It’s also maybe half focused on the comic, which is way more than the current video/project page. Take a look at any successful [web]comic Kickstart you can think of, and it’s closer to 90% focused on the current comic or the creative team’s history. Without knowing how much of the book is done, this is the best I can do.

I hope that the Oz 9 Kickstart succeeds; while I don’t know the podcast at all, Elliott’s work has always tickled me, and he will surely delight anybody that reads the comic, should they get funded. The campaign runs until midmorning EDT on 1 May — a little less than 10 days from now — and they’re about 60% of the way towards their US$9000 goal. The FFF mk2 and McDonald Ratio may not be much good (although they both predict just about US$10K in funding) as the backer count is so low — only 84 pledges so far, which I’m betting come entirely from the existing fanbase.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure there’s much that can be done at this point to pull more people in from outside that current audience, so if you think Elliott’s other work is promising, maybe give Oz 9 a go. It’s likely gonna be a squeaker either way, and I’d hate to see a promising project fall over not because of poor quality, but because they just didn’t tell people why they’d want to support it in the first place.

Spam of the day:

leading institutions like Harvard, Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic have hailed this newfound discovery as thousands of people are “turning off” their pain within seconds as proof. Just a couple of drops and a few seconds to instant pain relief.

Your subject link is about a simple 45-second motion, but also it’s a couple of drops? Or did you mean a couple of bogus name drops, say of Harvard and the Cleveland & Mayo Clinics? Take off your clown shoes and try again.

¹Depicter of manly mermen, chronicler of badass starfish, and evil, fibbing fibber.

² A sexy, sexy man … ladies.

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