As crowdfunding continue to become a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors, comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. The internet also allows creators to sell their projects direct to fans, through sites like Gumroad, Etsy and of course their own websites. If you’re looking to buy something from or support a creator directly, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s a look at a few recent projects that fall into those buckets that caught my eye. Send any suggestions of your own to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creators involved: Charles Forsman
What to know: Forsman is the creator of The End of the F***ing World, a wonderful graphic novel that’s been adapted into a British TV program that you can binge watch on Netflix. I recommend both. He’s also done comics like Revenger, Slasher and I Am Not OK With This. That last one will also soon debut on Netflix.
This project isn’t related to any of those, however; this is something completely different. Forsman has been creating a 20-page monthly comic called Automa for his supporters on Patreon. He’s been doing them since 2018, but not to worry — you’ll get access to digital copies of back issues if you support him.
“I call it my Terminator 2 comic, sorta,” he said in an interview with Michel Fiffe for The Comics Journal. “Me doing a sci-fi type thing with a lot more personal drama. It’s hard for me to explain my work. I’m one of those assholes that likes the work to speak for itself. I’ve never been good at doing the one line pitch. I can do it for other people but for my own stuff, it’s just such a jumble of thoughts and ideas in my head, I can’t comprehend how to pick out what to say about it. I’m putting that mess onto the page and organizing it. With that said, it’s a cyborg from the future comic but with, like, feelings.”
What’s the deal? $3 per month gets you Automa, while $10 per month gets you the comic plus a commission at the end of the year. He also has levels for retailers who want to sell copies in their store — so you might be able to find copies of it at a local shop if you look really hard.
Update: Northwest Press cancelled the Kickstarter for this project on Jan. 31. You can read why in an update posted to the campaign’s page.
What to know: Northwest Press has launched a Kickstarter campaign to collect Leia Weathington’s Legend of Bold Riley fantasy series, a comic they first published back in 2012. This campaign will not only bring the first volume back into print, but also allow them to release a second volume with matching trade dress. The campaign ends Feb. 21.
Weathington has worked with a variety of artists on the series, including Jason Thompson, Konstantin Pogorelov, Kelly McClellan, Joanna Estep and Blue Delliquanti, among many others.
“I started writing Bold Riley when I was 20 with a handful of goals in mind,” Weathington said. “I wanted to mimic the style of my favorite Heroic epics, I wanted to write a woman that was rebelious, difficult, and voracious for all of lifes pleasures, and I wanted to have fun. I had spent a lot of my early creative endeavors fearful of being not taken seriously because of the sort of material I wanted to write. Bold Riley was where I threw the yardstick over my shoulder and just went with what, at a gut level, felt good and true to me and—surprise, suprise—some people liked it! And then a few more people did, and then a publisher liked it and asked to produce a volume and so I proceeded to unleash my gay adventure stories like a swarm of furious bees onto the public.”
What’s the deal? A $20 pledge gets you both books digitally, while $50 gets you both volumes in print. Other (lower) pledge levels allow you to buy just one of the books.
Creators involved: Ethan M. Aldridge
What to know: Aldridge is the creator of Estranged, a webcomic that became two volumes of a graphic novel, published by HarperCollins. Late last year he released this short story, The Goblin, a comic about, well, a goblin who lives in an unusual place.
It’s a beautifully drawn story by a creator known for his longer-form work, so it’s fun to see him try something different with a quick, 17-page story.
What’s the deal? The story is available on Gumroad in a “pay what you want” format — so you really can’t get a better deal than that. He also gave it to supporters above a certain level on his Patreon.
Creators involved: Caanan Grall
What to know: Grall has been creating his webcomic Max Overacts for many years now, helping to fill the void in your heart left after the end of Calvin & Hobbes. I’m pretty sure if I went and searched the old Robot 6 archives at CBR I’d find mention of it on one of my “best of the year” lists we’d do at the end of each year. Maybe even more than one.
Grall went through some scary health problems a few years back, and had to put Max Overacts on hiatus, so it’s good to see him working again. This Kickstarter is for a second volume of the strip, following a successful campaign for the first one back in 2011. This new campaign ends Feb. 3.
What’s the deal? For $25 Canadian (about $19 in U.S. funds), you can get the new volume, while $40 Canadian gets you both volumes of Max. Other levels include original art and even a custom strip.
Creators involved: Jimmy Palmiotti + a whole bunch more
What to know: In addition to his work at Marvel and DC, Palmiotti has been running Kickstarter campaigns for years now for his own projects through his Paperfilms imprint — for projects like Forager, Abbadon, Sex & Violence, and many others.
This project is a little different than those, as it’s actually for a collection of Creator-Owned Heroes, a short-lived magazine Palmiotti helped spearhead with Justin Grey and Steve Niles that came out through Image Comics. The magazine included various comics by different creators, as well as interviews and features about the medium.
“Creator Owned Heroes is an experiment Justin Gray, Steve Niles, and myself launched and deliver monthly a few years back,” the Kickstarter page reads. “COH got to issue 8 before we had to shut the project down for lack of orders and terrible distribution. We were losing money at an incredible speed and learned a few lessons along the way. To this day, I get people that never heard of the series and we figured maybe this might be a good time to do an actual collection of all the cool material we have. What we were trying to do monthly with COH was bring a mixture of Comics, interviews, cosplay and how to material to the comic book lovers out there for a cheap price. Sort of like Wizard magazine with sequential storytelling included by some of the greatest talents in the industry.”
What’s the deal? $10 gets you a digital collection of all the issues, while other levels offer signed print copies. There’s also a “Mystery Box” level that nets you “a lot of weird things.”