Kickstarter

It’s Fair. Get Over It.

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I got into a LONNNNNG discussion on Marc Andreyko‘s Facebook about Kickstarter and project funding. I’ve had the discussion once a week for the past few months usually with indie comic book writers or artists in the mix. I’ve decided to commit my thoughts on this to this site so I can just post a link to this every week. I think this is going to be a great time saver for me!

If you don’t know what Kickstarter is, it’s a crowd funding platform where “backers” (people with extra money) can “back” a project online. Backers are then rewarded with different perks (depending on the level they gave) for pledging. These range from autographed comics, to original art, to access to private blogs about the creation of the project…really anything. Those who back a project are not investors they are simply giving money to a creative type in exchange for whatever perk is assigned to the dollar amount they have given.

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Since Kickstarter’s inception, many different types of projects have been funded. Comic books, trading card sets, albums, books, underwear, really anything you can imagine. To reiterate, Kickstarter is not profit sharing (you do not own a part of the project), it is not for non-profits, it is simply a method of raising money for the creation of something by giving people something else.

It’s such a simple inclusive idea…why then are people upset? It all started when TV/Movie writer/director Rob Thomas used Kickstarter to fund a Veronica Mars movie. Rob Thomas has been in the entertainment industry for years and has reached a level of success. In short, not the typical Kickstarter creator. What makes this even more unusual is that, while Thomas is the creator of the Veronica Mars TV show, the property is owned by Warner Brothers. Since Thomas had been unsuccessful raising the money needed to produce this movie through traditional means, he took it to the fans directly. Would the fans of the show put their money where their mouth is by backing this movie? Turns out yes. They made Kickstarter history.

The Veronica Mars Kickstarter broke these records:

  • Fastest project to reach $1 million.
  • Fastest project to reach $2 million.
  • All-time highest-funded project in FILM category.
  • Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
  • Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history

The Veronica Mars Kickstarter needed 2 million to fund the movie for production. It raised 5.7 million. The game had now been changed. The next Kickstarter that got people riled up was actor/director Zach Braff opened up a project on the site in order to fund a small movie of his called “Wish I Was Here”. He received even more criticism because he was a bigger celebrity and probably more well off than Rob Thomas. His Kickstarter goal of 2 million was funded with 3.1 million worth of backer pledges but the Internet was outraged at this member of the Hollywood elite.

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I really think Zach does an amazing job explaining why he used Kickstarter and his answers to critics in this video:

From this point on, the genie is out of the bottle. Hollywood is on to Kickstarter and it’s part of the funding paradigm. Spike Lee has entered the fray and is in the midst (as this is being written) of his own Kickstarter. The fact that people are upset about this verses just not being swayed to give money to specific people is something I do not get. I can understand saying you get more satisfaction giving money to creators who don’t have a lot of money or resources. I don’t see this as a moral problem for those who back more financially secure creators though. Here’s why…

Kickstarter is not begging.

You give a project money and then you get something. Backers are buying things. When you buy a Coke, you are giving money to millionaires who use the money to continue making Coke, profits and funding all kinds of things like political parties, social engineering, etc. You probably already give money to millionaires and billionaires several times a day.

Kickstarter is no profit or risk sharing.

When you back a project you are not a shareholder. You simply bought something knowing where the profits will go. If the project goal is not met, you get your money back. It’s really simple.

No one is making anyone back a project.

To the people who say that these people already have enough money to fund a project (because they must have insight on a private person’s financial specifics), I say…so what? Just because a person can fund a project themselves doesn’t mean they should not be afforded the right to get funding. The people funding a project are doing it for a few different reasons. Why should they not be allowed to spend their money how they want? If you think they shouldn’t then you have a problem with fundamental capitalism and Kickstarter should be the least of your worries.

What about the little guy?

Some have lobbed the criticism that the little guy is being hurt in a place that use to be a safe haven. To that I say: do you think someone with $10 is either giving it to a smaller project they connect with or Spike Lee? Spike Lee has the advantage of a large fan base but the smaller projects have the advantage of emotional backers who buy into their “Rocky” like story and needing their specific help. Is it equal? No way! But where in commerce is it equal for anyone? If I had my own cola that I wanted to sell at a store, Coke wouldn’t have to get out of that store to make way for me. Kickstarter projects are like podcasts. Anyone can do them but the creators with existing fanbases are going to bring their audiences with them. BUT, unlike radio television stations, ANYONE can afford to podcast. It’s a fair platform but anything you do outside the platform affects the balance. Meaning, it’s not Kickstarter’s fault. Also, I think the little guy benefits from Veronica Mars, Zach Braff, and Spike Lee. Here’s how…

Millionaires on Kickstarter helps the little guy.

Did you know that no project has brought more people to Kickstarter than Veronica Mars and Zach Braff’s projects. Think about what that means. Because of those two projects, thousands of people joined Kickstarter for the first time to see what this is all about. What will that mean to other projects? More potential backers.

This rich guy doesn’t really believe in his project because he won’t spend his own money on it.

That, like most of the problems people have with this, is just jealousy. Why should a person take on an undue burden if they have things people want that they can leverage for income to back a project? That’s just working smart.

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Kickstarter is more secure.

Thinking about using Kickstarter some day to back your project? You better hope it’s still there waiting for you. Good news! They are making more money than ever from these large project which will ensure the lights are on for everyone without putting an increased pressure on the little guy. Rarely do things work this well in other economic conditions.

Bottom line

It’s just capitalism being capitalism in a place that was small and now is getting bigger. It’s how it works in this economic system. Cheer up! More people are talking about Kickstarter than ever! Now when you tell people about your project, they will know what you’re talking about. Embrace the inevitable and don’t complain about what others are doing. Create your own projects, learn from how others market theirs and get back to the business of your project.

That ALL said, this Spike Lee perk is bananas!

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Interview with Justin Peterson

of Very Near Mint

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We had the pleasure of talking to artist/writer of the indie comic, Very Near Mint - Justin Peterson. In anticipation of the release of the third volume of Very Near Mint, we talk to Justin about his process, Kickstarter, his fascinating day job, and more. This interview was really one of our favorite episodes. Justin has a really distinct view on the comic book industry and what it takes to succeed. You’re going to like this one!

More on This Interview & the Art of Justin Peterson

Listen to the Episode Directly.

Listen to the Episode on iTunes.

iTunes listeners: HELP US OUT!

Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

In its 24th year, the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, MI outside Detroit has grown larger and attracted more fans than ever before.   A recent update on the Con’s Facebook page confirmed that over 30,000 fans attended the 3-Day show.  While it’s true that there was heavy traffic to enter the parking lot and long lines to enter the hall, indie artists reported triple the sales of last year’s show due to the high volume of people through the door.

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This is the front of the line on Saturday morning an hour before doors opened.

Here’s a rundown of the guests that this reporter had the chance to interact with.

Lloyd

David Lloyd

V for Vendetta artist, David Lloyd’s latest project is a 21-page noir thriller in Aces Weekly Volume 1.  Aces Weekly is an exclusively digital comic anthology available at http://www.acesweekly.co.uk/home.

Perez

George Perez

The Great George Perez attended the show, delivering commissions and sketching sharpie headshots in between countless autographs.  Mr. Perez’ latest released work is the cover of Legion of Super-Heroes #20, available this month from DC.

Anyone wanting to catch up on Perez’ past work need look no further than this month’s Superman Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? Tpb and Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6 Tpb.

If that’s not enough, his influence is felt across the New 52 as characters he created may be followed monthly in the pages of Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Justice League.

Kitson

Barry Kitson

Barry Kitson is currently nailing it on Valiant’s Bloodshot title!  Issue #11, containing Barry’s artwork is out this month along with more Barry pencils in the Harbinger Vol. 2 Tpb.  Furthermore, it was just announced that Barry will be illustrating the aftermath of this summer’s Harbinger Wars event in Harbinger #15.

Kitson cares deeply for his fans and this weekend was a prime example.  When Barry saw gridlock on the road leading to the convention center saturday morning, he chose to make the journey from highway to convention hall by foot rather than keep his fans waiting!

Swierczynski

Duane Swierczynski

Speaking of Bloodshot, the writer for that title and Valiant’s big summer event, Harbinger Wars, Duane Swierczynski, was present!  Duane’s also involved with the revival of X for Dark Horse.

Clark

Matthew Clark

Notice a trend developing?  Bloodshot #11 Variant Cover artist Matthew Clark was stationed across the aisle from Swierczynski.

Manning

Dirk Manning

Horror comic writer and Bleeding Cool columnist Dirk Manning was dressed to impress while promoting his recent release of the Write-Or-Wrong column collected edition.  Dirk’s next project is a flip book called Love Stories (To Die For) containing two comic book horror stories.  The book will be available from Image Comics’ partner studio, Shadowline, in September.

McKenna

Mark McKenna

Industry veteran Mark McKenna’s new creator owned project, Combat Jacks, is about humans terraforming a planet while they’re attacked by Jack O’ Lantern monsters.

Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham, fresh from delivering the incentives to those that pledged to his successful kickstarter project NAWRG, set up in prime convention hall real estate.  In short, NAWRG is a story about a troll that lives with a family, but the story contains a deeper meaning on how adopted pets bring great joy to people.   Tyler’s recent work includes Red Hood & the Outlaws, Superman, Teen Titans, and Green Lantern: New Guardians.  His next project is Action Comics #22.

Paquette

Yanick Paquette

Yanick Paquette made his DC debut two years ago in the pages of Batman Inc. and continued his DC work with the New 52 Swamp Thing series.  Yanick’s next project is Wonder Woman: Earth One where he’ll reteam with Grant Morrison.   Yanick remarked on how he loves the way that Grant consistently surprises him and he never knows what Grant will put into their stories.

Hunt

Ken Hunt

Ken Hunt is an artist on the cusp of breaking through to the mainstream, currently working on a top secret cover for a future DC release.

Bisley

Simon Bisley

Englishman Simon Bisley was particularly interested in the Detroit Redwings t-shirts that local hockey fans were sporting, remarking on how cool the winged wheel design was.

Kolins

Scott Kolins

Scott Kolins recent Orang Lantern backups in DC’s Threshold title will soon give way to a Larfleeze ongoing series with his art and written by Keith Giffen.

Forney

Sean Forney

Local hero Sean Forney is in the midst of his own kickstarter project The Scarlett Huntress!  The Scarlet Huntress features Sean and his wife Stephanie sharing art and writing duties.  The story is a modern take on the Little Red Riding Hood mythos.  He’s almost at his goal and your pledge could be the one that puts him over the top!  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/838034909/scarlet-huntress-anthology

Defoy

Jay Defoy AKA Jay A.D.

Young talent Jay Defoy recently completed the first issue of his creator owned title Threadcount: The Tale of Norman Crest.  It’s about a man that gains superpowers that seem ridiculous at first but turn out to be a fun crime fighting asset as the story goes on.

Richard

Sara Richard

Sara Richard’s artwork has a fun fairytale influence to it.  She spends her days drawing adorable My Little Pony Covers.  Check her out.

Spaniards

From Left to Right: Ramon Bachs, Miguel Sepulveda, Manuel Garcia, Andrews Guinaldo, and Pere Perez

These five artists traveled from Spain to meet their fans and deliver high end commissions.  They’re pictured holding pieces that they did for comic art connoisseur Ari Shapiro’s Batman on Gargoyle themed collection.  Reportedly they were commissioned as a group since they share a common rep.  Once they started work, the artists competed with each other over whose piece was strongest and which Ari would like most.

Roadkill

Roadkill

Until next time, dear reader!

Political Comic With A Pop Culture Bend

Tenstate is a comic concept that combines a lot of my favorite things into a story that feels organically created and not mashed-up. It’s about a reality show and is like The Real World meets Biodome but with challenges. What I love about the structure of both this comic and the Kickstarter is that it mirrors the TV season feel of the show. The outline is 10 issues that will reflect 10 episodes and the Kickstarter goals will fund specific amount of episodes. It’s almost how network TV works now!

I was familiar with the art of Len Peralta from his Geek A Week cards sold on Think Geek and that’s how this popped up on my radar. Check out this Teaser Comic to get a better idea of what to expect.

Check out their Kickstarter and back this project. The video describes the comic with art included. There is also a

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As a comic fan and sometime collector I was intrigued with the idea of helping a creator get a book out and in turn maybe get a true collectible in return for my upfront cash.  I still like the first part of the equation but I am skeptical of the second.  I have supported a total of 5 projects over the past two years and I have yet to receive anything other than two .pdf files.  Not a book in sight.  Oh I have had plenty of reading material, with numerous email updates and survey questions.  I have seen pictures of pallets and listened to .mp3’s but still no comic (or book) to open and read.

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I have heard of Kickstarter projects that have gone off, but that hasn’t been my experience.  I would have expected that at least one of the projects I funded would have printed and shipped by now.  So as a viable funding option I don’t see how this model can survive long term with the comics crowd.  Crowd sourcing does put it out there that it may be a long wait and there is the risk of no product at all, but even crowds need a payoff every now and then.  Slot machines will keep you playing for a while before taking all your money in the long run.

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I now see Kickstarter comics as a vanity outlet.  Now if you have reason for vanity then it should work fine but I have stopped looking over there for comic content.  Maybe there is a reason publishers don’t put out every book that is suggested or pitched.  Even those that have creator heart and soul still need a way to get into the hands of fans or customers otherwise it’s just art.  Nothing wrong with art mind you but keep it off Kickstarter and put it in the gallery.

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What am I talking about?  If I haven’t received any books how can I say whether they are art or commerce or anything at all for that matter?  I can’t and that’s my point, I am upset because I keep seeing progress charts and pictures of books but nothing in my mailbox.  I can tell you how crisp the pictures of the books are and how happy the packers look.  I can tell you how weird the music is since I have no frame of reference since I haven’t seen the book.  I can tell you about my cool .pdf file that I read so long ago that I can’t remember it when the second part of the story came out.  This is my story and all claims are true.  I have left out the names of the projects since my gripe is actually with the model and execution of Kickstarter not the individual creators, or maybe it is with the creators too since I keep reading about how they are learning about the print, pack and ship part of the business.  Do they all have to go through this learning curve?  Doesn’t anyone read any of the other updates?  Anyways it’s just one man’s experience.  What’s your Kickstarter story?