Fund Me Monday | ‘Thomas River,’ the return of Skullkickers and more

Check out recent projects from Jim Zub, Edwin Huang, Doug Wagner, Brian Stelfreeze, Iron Circus Comics and more.

Crowdfunding continues to serve as a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors, as comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. The internet also allows creators to sell their creations direct to fans, through sites like Gumroad, Big Cartel 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. And that’s a good thing to do, now more than ever.

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SKULLKICKERS: Caster Bastards and the Great Grotesque

Creators involved: Jim Zub, Edwin Huang, Misty Coats, Marshall Dillon
Platform: Kickstarter
Deadline: Oct. 2

What to know: Skullkickers was an ongoing series from Image Comics that featured a couple of mercenaries in a Dungeons & Dragons-esque world getting into all sorts of weird and fun adventures. Although the comic wrapped up some time ago, the creators are reuniting with a new comic + a role-playing game supplement/adventure to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

“Skullkickers is my love letter to Dungeons & Dragons and Conan the Barbarian and, thanks to what it started, I now write the official Dungeons & Dragons comic series and the monthly adventures of Conan the Barbarian,” Zub said “In many ways, I owe my writing career to this kooky comic.”

What’s the deal? A digital copy of the 90+ page comic/game supplement will cost you about $11, while a physical copy is about $31. Higher tiers offer original art and appearances in the comic.


Creators involved: Brian Stelfreeze, Doug Wagner, 12-Gauge Comics
Platform: Kickstarter
Deadline: Oct. 15

What to know: This is a new 40-page comic written by Wagner (The Ride) and drawn by Stelfreeze (Black Panther). It’s about a secret agent whose cover is a structural engineer who jets around the world consulting for big engineering firms.

Thomas River is known as a world renowned engineer among his metropolitan friends. He jets around the globe as a consultant to the biggest engineering firms, but that is simply a cover. In reality, River is the quintessential secret agent—equivalent to Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, and James Bond in every manner but one… he is a Black man. Raised by his working class family in Baltimore, Thomas was an exceptionally gifted student. While he could have gone down the wrong path, and almost did, Thomas’ mother simply wouldn’t let it happen. After buckling down, Thomas  earned a full-ride to  Cornell, where he double-majored in Structural Engineering and Linguistics. Graduating with honors, the CIA saw his true potential and recruited him into their ranks. And he did not disappoint. 

What’s the deal? $10 will get you a digital copy, while a print copy will cost $20. Other tiers offers variant covers and head sketches from Stelfreeze.

Johnny Chaos Vol. 1: The Collected Edition

Creators involved: Matthew Dow Smith
Platform: Gumroad, comiXology

What to know: Johnny Chaos is a comic that Smith originally posted weekly on Twitter, coming out of the first months of the pandemic and shutdown of the comics industry. He’s finished it and has now collected all 88 pages into a digital graphic novel.

“The storytelling of Johnny Chaos is different, but that’s in my head,” Smith told Smash Pages in an interview earlier this year. “I’m writing and drawing it myself, and I have no one to answer to so I can do whatever I want. I set myself a few challenges – because I’m a crazy person. I picked some things about ’90s comics that I didn’t like and intentionally incorporated them into this story. For example I don’t like anti-heroes, so I made Johnny a little gray, and explored how to make an audience care about a character who’s a jackass. I hate exposition scenes that are characters standing around talking, so I did that but tried to find a way to make that interesting. And I hate flashbacks – so there are tons of flashbacks. Stuff like that. It’s fun to try new things and hopefully get better as a creator and entertain people at the same time.”

What’s the deal? It’s $7.99 for the digital download, which you can either buy from him directly via Gumroad, or purchase via comiXology.

Pole Star

Creators involved: Sam Beck
Platform: Gumroad

What to know: Beck is the creator of a beautiful webcomic called Verse, which is a fantasy action/drama. She’s also created several great minicomics in the past that she’s sold on Gumroad (and are still available). With this one, she’s putting the spotlight on two supporting characters from Verse as they branch out into a 28-page comic.

What’s the deal? Like a lot of Gumroad downloads, you get to name your own price.

Patience & Esther: An Edwardian Romance

Creators involved: S. W. Searle, Iron Circus Comics
Platform: Kickstarter
Deadline: Oct. 2

What to know: This 280-page, full-color graphic novel is described as a “steamy, ADULTS-ONLY  period romance” about two maids who find love. It’s written and drawn by Searle, whose other works include Sincerely, Harriet and the upcoming The Greatest Thing.

In another time, the two women would have been happy to quiet keep in one another’s company forever in their little attic bedroom, living out their days in the employ of a lord. But it’s the dawn of a new age. The expanding empire has brought their country not only plundered wealth, but worldliness and new ideas.

Patience and Esther come to realize the world is wider and full of more adventure and opportunity than they ever imagined . . . so long as they find the will to seize it.

What’s the deal? $10 will get you a PDF copy, while a print version will cost you $20.

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