Big Names JENKINS & RAMOS Banking on Future of KICKSTARTER
But currently, a new campaign on Kickstarter has attracted attention of a different sort, because the writer and artist are two higher-profile comic creators: British writer Paul Jenkins (The Sentry) and Mexican artist Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man), who are hoping to open the door for more well-known creators to use the site to fund comics.
The two are hoping to raise at least $60,000 by May 26th to fund the printing costs for a 56-page, hardcover graphic novel called Fairy Quest, and they hope to be able to continue the story in future hardcover books by utilizing the same funding method.
According to Jenkins, he and Ramos are taking a risk by putting the funding of their book in the hands of fans instead of just selling it to a publisher. But they believe Kickstarter could be the wave of the future for comics, as fans are able to fund projects that might otherwise have to be handed over to publisher control or the whim of retailers.
Newsarama: Paul, with the success you and Humberto had with Revelations, which you did through an established publisher, what made you want to use Kickstarter for this next series?
Jenkins: It just made sense for the project. Humberto and I did Revelations, through Dark Horse, and it was really popular in Europe. When Humberto was living in Paris, he said there wasn't a day that went by that someone didn't run up to him talking about how great Revelations was. Even though we'd done what we thought were high-profile things like Spectacular Spider-Man, in Europe, a book like Revelations was really important. It was a murder mystery set in the Vatican.
That's why we decided to publish it ourselves. But then after we made 1,000 copies for conventions, they sold out immediately. People were just so excited about this story. We realized we could print it on a larger scale. But something like that takes funding.
So when we were ready to go back to print, we realized that if it was going to stay true to the way we had always expected it to be, and that we weren't going to run the risk of having difficulty with another publisher, we needed to take a different approach. We love our relationships with Marvel and DC, and we've been in mainstream for a long time, but this book needs to belong to us and stay with us.
So what we've decided to do is do the editorial content ourselves, and then raise the money for printing through pledges. Then we can be hard at work on the second graphic novel. So by the time this first one is printed, we'll be most of the way through , and then we'll raise the money for that one.
Nrama: Let's talk about the series itself. How did the idea come about for you and Humberto to do this story in particular?
Nrama: So what can you tell fans about the story they'll see in fairy Quest?
Jenkins: There's this world called Fablewood, where every type of story — whether it's a romance novel or a detective story or science fiction — all of them live side-by-side inside this massive world called Fablewood. And our first story is set inside the world of children's stories.
Within this environment, Red Riding Hood is called Red, and the wolf is called Mr. Woof. And they become friends. And they're sort of subversives, and they decide to get away so that they can be friends forever and stay together.
That's the basic premise of the first story. So at first, the story is centered on Red and Mr. Woof, but there are all kinds of characters within this world. For example, I don't know if you've ever noticed it, but all of the female characters in the children's fairy tale stories are always the most powerful. And so in Fablewood, there's a turf war going on between the witches of the north, south, east and west, and the Queen of Hearts is the head of the mob. And there are a lot of other characters we have yet to introduce that Humberto and I have already figured out their stories.
Nrama: With something like the Think Police, is this meant to be social commentary?
Nrama: A lot of self-publishers have used Kickstarter, but I haven't seen very many people who are quite as well-known among superhero fans as you two are. What's the feedback been for your choice to do this? What do other creators think about it?
Jenkins: To be kind of frank about it, I've seen different opinions about Kickstarter. I've seen a few creators that are not too positive about mainstream creators going to Kickstarter, with the idea being, "if we go to Kickstarter we're taking away somebody else's funding, because Kickstarter is about smaller projects." But that is a naive approach.
Plus, I think that bringing better-known creators into Kickstart also brings extra fans in with them. And that money goes to other projects as well. Humberto and I have been promoting a few other cool projects that we've seen on Kickstarter so that we're part of the community -- so we're not detracting from it, but are adding to it.
Nrama: Do you think this is something more higher-profile creators might do to raise money for their creator-owned stuff? If Grant Morrison or Brian Bendis wanted to do something, they could use this, right? I mean, what's holding them back now?
Jenkins: What's holding them back is that it's perceived as a bit of a risk. You know? I mean, Humberto and I knew we were kind of taking a risk here, because it would be horrible if we had fallen on our face. But it's over the halfway mark now, and it's less than halfway through the pledge period. So it looks like we're on track for a pretty good number.
Of course, it takes an up-front commitment, or at least, we're making a sacrifice to make this happen, and I think that's a necessity. To us, fairy Quest is very special, and we wanted to really guide it and own it and create. What we said to the fans is, you're like our printing and publishing partners. So we'll do all the work, and it will be a labor of love, but when you send us the money that we can print with, it may give us a little to put toward the editorial of the next issue, and over time, we'll think fairy Quest will pay us back for all this time we're putting into it.
For more information on the campaign for Fairy Quest by Jenkins and Ramos, visit the the creators' Kickstarter page.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!