Comic books flourish on crowdfunding sites, drawing big names
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, July 15, 2024

Comic books flourish on crowdfunding sites, drawing big names
In a photo provided by Todd McFarlane Productions, Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn, sold a 25th anniversary edition of the first Spawn action figure on Kickstarter. Comic books are flourishing on crowdfunding sites but critics are questioning whether projects from established publishers are crowding out others. Todd McFarlane Productions via The New York Times.

by George Gene Gustines

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Crowdfunding has long been a tool for aspiring comic book creators trying to break through, but lately some established names have taken to it.

Recent arrivals include publisher Boom Studios, which is working with Keanu Reeves on a Kickstarter project, and Todd McFarlane, the creator of the “Spawn” comic books.

Part of the appeal of crowdfunding, they say, is that it allows them to connect directly with their audience, bypassing the industry’s traditional distribution model. Some critics argue, however, that heavyweights with deep pockets are muscling into a marketplace intended to help beginners introduce their creations.

But Kickstarter has evolved since it was established in 2009 to become more inclusive, said Greg Pak, a comic book writer and author of “Kickstarter Secrets,” a book of crowdfunding tips. “There was a sense early on if you were an established person, you were stealing someone else’s opportunity,” he said. “There is an understanding now that Kickstarter is for anybody.”

The success of these big-name campaigns is notable given the disruptions and anxieties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After a decline in activity in March through May, “we’ve seen categories, comics one of them, recovering,” said Margot Atwell, the head of publishing and comics at Kickstarter. The number of prominent creators using the site has also risen.

McFarlane, who last year celebrated the arrival of the 300th issue of “Spawn” in comic stores, said crowdfunding was a chance to try a new business strategy. “It was an experiment,” he said. “Could this be an add-on to our business model or grow into something bigger?”

He opted to sell a 25th anniversary edition of the first “Spawn” action figure in April, the early days of the pandemic.

“Things were getting shut down in our industry,” he said. Two choices were left to him: Wait until it was over, however long that would be, “or do something at the beginning while people still had a smile on their face.”

He initially sought $100,000 but earned $3.4 million.

Crowdfunding offers an opportunity to reach a new audience, said Ross Richie, the chief executive and founder of Boom. More than 6 million people have backed more than one project on Kickstarter, according to the platform.

Last week, Boom began a campaign for “BRZRKR” (pronounced “berserker”), a comic book about a demigod written by Matt Kindt and Reeves and drawn by Ron Garney. The campaign, which ends Oct. 1, has already earned more than $631,000, blowing past its $50,000 goal.

“If you have a Keanu comic, how do you get it to people who have never read comics before?” Richie said.

Crowdfunding allows publishers to resolve another challenge: Comic book stories are typically told one issue at a time, leaving readers to wait months for the conclusion.

“The problem with the monthly model is that the customer may not return,” Richie said. Supporters of the Kickstarter campaign are buying future collected editions. “They are saying, ‘Here’s $50. I’m going to order Volume 1 to 3, sight unseen,’” he said.

And he has plans to encourage those backers: “We can talk to them. We have the email list,” he said. “We want them to get hooked on comics.”

But the campaign was met with some consternation online.

An article on the internet culture site The Daily Dot questioned why a mainstream publisher was using crowdfunding. On Twitter, some users thought supporting Boom might siphon backers from other campaigns.

Richie defended Boom’s campaign. “I think we’re using Kickstarter in a very innovative way,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to reach a different audience.”

The notion of one project taking away from another is common but unfounded, Atwell said. “Instead, we see that great projects launching on the platform create more visibility and interest in other projects as well,” she said, adding that around 30% of its community has backed two or more projects. “We also have a strong core of superbackers who have backed dozens or even hundreds or thousands of projects,” she said.

Other comic book projects have seen success.

Alex de Campi sought funding in May for the science-fiction graphic novel “Madi: Once Upon a Time in the Future,” with film director Duncan Jones. They shot past their $50,000 goal, earning $366,000.

In August, writer Scott Snyder and artist Tony Daniel offered supporters a behind-the-scenes look at their series Nocterra, which will have its premiere next year with Image Comics. The target for the project, which ends Sept. 17, was $40,000, and it has so far earned $169,000.

Snyder found other opportunities with the campaign. He used it to announce his new imprint, Best Jackett Press, and proceeds will help pay for Daniel’s work as well as for the artist for a second series. The money helps alleviate worries that this project was taking time away from paid opportunities.

There were also personal reasons. “Real life circumstance is keeping us away from fans,” Snyder said. “We can’t go to conventions. We can’t do signings.” So the rewards emphasized access to the creators and a sense of community. “It’s about meeting us, taking a class with us, getting a sketch.”

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Today's News

September 9, 2020

Mark Bradford reveals new paintings quarantined in a grain tower

You can always get what you want: Stones open new store

T.S. Eliot's estate donates 'Cats' royalties to Brontë Museum

Comic books flourish on crowdfunding sites, drawing big names

Super-rare Machine Man robot with original box leads Morphy's Sept. 23-24 Toy Auction

Hindman announces highlights included in the Atlanta Collections auction

Grad student's research leads to discovery of Biddy Mason in SF mural

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. reopens with a solo exhibition of works on paper by Kara Walker

I'm Not the Only One: Fraenkel Gallery opens a group exhibition

The National Gallery of Denmark delves into the story of how epidemics have affected the world

Simon Lee Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Toby Ziegler

Tiny mouse-size art proves a hit in Sweden

Colombian curator José Roca appointed as Artistic Director of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney

Robert Berry Gallery opens new show, PerFlection and (im)Perfection: One Vision in Parallel Lives

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson opens Gregory Halpern's exhibition "Soleil cou coupé"

Personal effects of major US political figure up for auction at Ewbank's

CENTRALE for contemporary art opens an exhibition of works by Xavier Noiret-Thomé & Henk Visch

Paradigm Gallery announces representation of photographer Shawn Theodore

miart presents its first digital edition

'Israel jazz dares' - Jerusalem festival plays despite pandemic

Jazz lives in clubs. The pandemic is threatening its future.

Bortolami opens an exhibition with New York-based performance artist Aki Sasamoto

Autry President announces retirement; Successor named

Beginner's Guide on How to Play Bingo

What Will Happen To Bitcoin In The Next 2 Years

Top 5 Pro Mp3 Convertors

Wedding dress: Things to consider

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful