Crowdfunding Spotlight and some Creator Tips: Dan Dare, Technofreak, Helga Frankenstein… and Jetman!

Crowdfunding Spotlight - Technofreak etc - March 2020Here at downthetubes we not only get a lot of great-looking comics to review, from both established and independent publishers, and independent creators – we get a lot of promotional information about crowdfunding projects, too.

Here’s a very quick round up of some crowdfunding projects currently running that have caught our eye.

And yes, I’m sorry I can’t feature everything received. I’m rather overwhelmed by the number coming in, I’m afraid…

Firstly, however, congratulations to all those who recently succeeded in getting projects off the ground through crowdfunding. Since this method of publishing independent projects got off the ground, there have been a lot of ups and downs, but overall, I’ve personally enjoyed the comics I’ve backed and received. There have been a couple of duds, and a couple of backed projects that have taken an ungodly amount of time to deliver, but far be it for me to knock the enthusiasm of those taking this route, with projects such as The77, Kev Sutherland‘s Findlay Macbeth and Hal Laren‘s Trojan Hunted among recent successes.

Running any crowdfunding campaign is hard, a relentless combination of self promotion (be polite and don’t overdo it), and press campaigning (write a good press release, make sure your video message is a good one, and don’t rely simply on visuals on your crowdfunding page to sell your project).

There’s also, I’m sure, an incredible amount of self doubt along the way, as you, as a creator, literally give your “elevator pitch” for something you believe in, a story you’ve lived, breathed and would love to tell – but first, you’ve got to convince a lot of comic fans with limited budgets and lots of other things to distract them to a) hear about your comic idea b) check out the page and c) front up some hard-earned cash and back you. I wish anyone doing this the very best of luck; there are plenty of pitfalls, not least getting your budget wrong (make sure you take fans on the other side of the world into account when you price your delivery costs!), never mind not creating a project which doesn’t quite gain the response you hoped for.

Dan Dare Audio Adventures - Volume Three Crowdfunder MontageSo, what’s out there at the moment from (largely) British creative teams? Well, I’d better remind you that the Dan Dare Audio Adventures crowdfunder is still running on Indiegogo, marking Dan Dare’s 70th anniversary with a pitch to deliver three new stories. Seeking £15,000, the B7 Media team have ambitious plans, so please do check that out.

Sunday Lunch Comics successfully funded TechnoFreak #1 through Kickstarter, a retro-SciFi action adventure, and managed to fund issue #2 as well. They’re now seeking a modest amount towards the costs of #3, created by the talented team of John Charles and Barry May, writers Tom Newell, artist and colourist John Charles, (again!) and letterer Nikki Foxrobot.

Technofreak #3 - Cover

Technofreak #3 - Sample ArtTechnofreak #3 - Sample Art

TechnoFreak #3 kicks the story into high-gear,” John enthuses, “and it’s the best Issue yet, featuring a kidnapping, Psycho Killers – and Karaoke! Plus it has an ending that you will not believe.” Check it out here on Kickstarter. If the SLC team exceed the target figure, further funds raised will go towards supporting the final part of the initial story arc, TechnoFreak #4.

Crash magazine was the staple diet for the ZX Spectrum gamer in the 1980s and early 1990s. Within its many pages readers could find reviews of the latest games as well as topical features and regular slots like Hall of Fame – and the Jetman strip, created by the late John Richardson. The on-page strip appeared courtesy of Ultimate Play the Game – a company riding high at the time with release such as Jetpac, Cookie, Psst and Lunar Jetman , and the comic strip told the adventures of the intrepid hero of Jetpac and Lunar Jetman – Jetman.

The Collected Adventures of Jetman

Now, Chris Wilkins is running a campaign to secure funding to publish The Collected Adventures of Jetman, a complete 96-page collection of John Richardson’s Jetman comic strips, available in hardback or paperback. The good news is that Chris’s campaign secured a coveted Projects We Love spotlight from Kickstarter, which means that quite apart from being a fun project punching all manner of nostalgia buttons, this Collection is going to happen, but there’s still time to support the campaign and grab a copy.

Ted Kaczynski's Industrial Society and Its Future by Valentín Ramón

I’m not sure how to describe Ted Kaczynski’s Industrial Society and Its Future by Spanish comic creator Valentín Ramón, co-creator of D4ve and Hot Damn for IDW, because it’s a crowdfunder that’s selling itself on the art and story, with little information about it, but the art is certainly eye catching. The funding target is ambitious, but Valentín was successful with Z: A Wordless Graphic Novel, so the best of luck!

Helga Frankenstein: Blood & Taxes

Helga Frankenstein: Blood & Taxes

Helga Frankenstein: Blood & Taxes is a self-contained fantasy/ monster/ horror/adventure comic/graphic novella from Kult Creations, a publishing operation run by Bournemouth-based John A. Short. It looks terrific.

Amongst the high mountains at the heart of Europe, where even the power of the Christian church cannot reach, lies a hidden land… A haven for ungodly creatures of every shape and kind, living in relative peace with mortal men… Here lives a woman made from the dead remains of others, shocked into life rather than born – the daughter of infamous Victor Frankenstein.

The powerful vampire authorities have their eye on Helga Frankenstein and she cannot escape their gaze. And where does the mysterious bride of Christ stand in this conflict. Who’s side is she on and what could drive her to travel to such a Godless corner of the globe?

All will be revealed in the self-contained horror adventure: Blood & Taxes! written by John A. Short (British National Comics Award winner/ writer of Diabolica) and illustrated by Gabrielle Noble (artist of Savage! Jungle Princess). Check it out here on Kickstarter.

Shadow of Mogg - A Post-Brexit RPG Zine

Finally for this short round up, may I direct you to a project beyond comics – the Tabletop Game, Shadow of Mogg – A Post-Brexit RPG Zine, featuring art by Aled Lawlor from Anima Press? Set in the London tube network after ‘The Event’; your group must survive making decisions together. What is the will of the people?

Shadow of Mogg is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game set in the London underground following a catastrophic occurrence known only as ‘the event’. It uses a simple d6 system combined with group and voting resolution mechanics with a focus on survical, OSR style tunnelcrawling and resource management.

Players take the role of mostly ordinary members of the British public, whether the oppressed proletariat, a humble baker, a nurse, a firefighter, a time traveller or the Chief Executive of RBS as they eke out survival in an underground society turned inward against itself.

The game explores the ramifications of mob rule democracy, the frailty of hope and the banality of evil, also you can play as Candle Stick Maker!

Like all the other projects mentioned briefly here, Shadow of Mogg simply seeks your support to deliver the final game in September. Check it out here!

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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