PERISCOPE, Up: Comic Studio Kickstarter Closes in on Major 2014 Plans

Credit: Periscope Studio

Periscope Studiois one of the most acclaimed collectives of comic creators in the industry, boasting such top talent as Jeff Parker, Steve Lieber, Colleen Coover, Karl Kesel, Erika Moen….the list goes on and on.

Now, the studio is seeking to share its creators; unique art books through a Kickstarter campaignthat is almost over – and as of this writing, has passed its initial goal. We talked with studio spokesperson Grace Allison about the Kickstarter, its goals – and where you can find its creators in the next few months.

Credit: Periscope Studio

Newsarama: Grace, please tell us about the Kickstarter and the books you're offering.

Grace Allison: Our goal is to print art books for the members of Periscope Studio, and we’ve turned to Kickstarter to get the project off the ground! Since there are so many of us, we’ve chosen six artists to participate in the initial wave of this project: Ron Randall (Trekker), Paul Guinan (Boilerplate), David Hahn (Erfworld), Natalie Nourigat (Home Is Where the Internet Is), Erika Moen (Oh Joy, Sex Toy),and Benjamin Dewey (The Tragedy Series).

Each artist has assembled his or her favorite works into what will become a 32-page, full color art book. The chosen pieces range from sketches and concept art to fully finished illustration, and some of them are very rare or unpublished!

The contents of all six books will also be compiled into a limited edition hardcover, which will be a 200-page foil-stamped beauty.

Nrama: Also, give the jive on some of the nifty incentives being offered for support on different projects.

Credit: Periscope Studio

Allison: Our core rewards include the individual art books in various quantities, as well as the limited edition hardcover. All rewards include PDFs of all six books!

For some extra excitement, each artist has two limited reward levels. Ben Dewey offers three backers the chance to be featured in a Tragedy Series strip, Erika Moen has one signed skate deck available from the Wizards of the Coast challenge she won on the reality game show Strip Search, and Natalie Nourigat will create a movie review strip (like the ones here) based on a movie of choice for a few lucky fans.

Other artist rewards include signed graphic novels and original comic art or commissions, though it’s hard to say what will be available when this interview goes up. They sell out ridiculously fast!

Nrama:For those not familiar with Periscope, give a little background on the studio and the folks involved.

Allison: Periscope Studio is a collective of comic book professionals based in Portland, Oregon. Nobody is “employed” by the studio; we’re a group of freelancers who share space, rent, and resources.

Between our twenty-some members, we’re involved in every aspect of cartooning and illustration. We work on commercial storyboards, write scripts for major superhero titles, and work on personal webcomic projects, all within the same office space.

We’ve got many comic industry darlings among our ranks, like Steve Lieber, Dylan Meconis, and Joëlle Jones, as well as up-and-comers like Terry Blas, Rich Ellis, and, well… me.

Credit: Periscope Studio

Nrama: Why did Periscope turn to Kickstarter for this?

Allison: Printing books takes dollas! Especially high quality books with sewn binding, laminated covers, and thick, coated interior paper stock. Instead of having members make a big investment, we decided to try crowdfunding.

Kickstarter was our preferred platform because it limits the risk for backers. If we don’t receive enough money to print the books, they won’t be charged!

Nrama:If you exceed your goals, any plans for stretches at this point?

Allison: We’re still gunning for our target amount right now!

In case we do overshoot, however, there’s the chance of us adding additional content to the PDFs and collected edition. Possibly new concept art, possibly a limerick ballad. We’ll see.

Nrama: What are some of the unique challenges of doing the books through Kickstarter?

Allison: Inventive promotion has been a lot of work! We need to keep the project in the public eye, but we don’t want to completely bore our loyal fans.

Choosing prices for the reward tiers has been difficult as well. We want to offer rewards at a reasonable price, but we need to make sure the price covers the item’s production, the shipping, and the cost of shipping materials. A lot of math is involved.

Credit: Periscope Studio

Nrama: How do you feel that crowdfunding has changed the way that books can be independently produced?

Allison: Crowdfunding has definitely been a boon for independent creators. Many of these creators are incredibly passionate about a project that just doesn’t have the mass appeal to get picked up by a publisher.

A crowdfunding campaign is a great way to find your audience and know for sure if you have the support to bring your book to life and get paid fairly for your work.

Nrama: If this Kickstarter succeeds, do you see Periscope doing more books like these in the future?

Allison: Absolutely! That’s the plan, in fact. We’d love to be able to produce art books for each of our members.

Nrama: And take a moment to let our readers know some of the fine projects being produced by Periscope in the next several months.

Allison: What isn’t being produced by Periscope in the next several months? Here are a few things to look forward to:

- Jeff Parker will take over writing Aquaman in a few weeks, and bringing in a bigger and deadlier rogues gallery for the king of Atlantis.

- A six issue Adventure Time: Flip Side series begins in January, written by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover and illustrated by Wook Jin Clark. A Periscope 3-pack!

- Karl Kesel will be inking the re-launch of Fantastic Four, written by James Robinson, penciled by Leonard Kirk, and out in February!

- Monkeybrain Books’ Wander #4, written by Kevin Church and drawn by yours truly, and Triton #1 by Rich Ellis will hit Comixology for digital download in February.

- The first trade paperback of Superior Foes of Spider-Man, written by Nick Spencer and featuring the illustration (and hilarious visual gags) of Steve Lieber, is out in March.

Nrama: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?

Allison: The members of Periscope have the unofficial policy of releasing something special for every thousand dollars the Kickstarter makes. Past contributions include a drawing of Vegeta screaming, “It’s over $9,000!!” and a video of Erika Moen pole dancing. You can check out the Periscope Studio Twitter feed to find these off-the-record incentives!

Help the Periscope Kickstarter in its last legs by contributing on its page.

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