Paul Duffield’s work–with Warren Ellis writing and Kate Brown colouring–on Freakangels won him not one, but two Eagle awards. Freakangels is available in collected editions, released by legitimate publishers, but it is and was available page by page online, for free. That’s becoming a more common practice for creator-owned projects, and it’s the same model that Duffield is using for his new, youth-oriented series The Firelight Isle.
The Firelight Isle is beautiful.
Here, for example, is a trailer:
One chapter has been completed, at FirelightIsle.com, but the problems with this long-term and generous sharing plan is that it doesn’t mesh well with the day to day economic demands of modern England. As Duffield explains, on the Patreon page;
However, I’m now facing the monumental task of actually drawing the remaining 270+ pages! In order to do this, I’m working a part-time job that leaves me with two days a week for The Firelight Isle, but I want to put every scrap of effort I have into this comic, and each page takes days to draw and colour.
The Firelight Isle’s initial scripting period was covered by a previous, successful IndieGoGo campaign. The choice to switch over to month-by-month funding speaks to the worries shared at the top of the page.
…And so, hopping from one drawing project to the next, my dream of telling stories started to slip away.
Two years ago, when my time as the artist on Freakangels finished, I felt that if I didn’t make an effort to start writing, that dream would be gone forever.
I hope to speak further with Duffield about his project and discover how deep the cultural plotting and world building behind the aesthetic cohesion evident in the crops I’ve included in this post go. I want to learn about the relationship between the two (apparently) main characters! They both have their own social commitments, that much is clear from the one published chapter, and the strength of their endangered bond is immediately involving. I’m strongly reminded of the atmosphere and twin protagonists of William Nicholson’s Wind on Fire series, and wonder how differently that relationship might have progressed, how differently their incompatibilities might have changed Kestral and Bowman, if they hadn’t been siblings. I want to spend time in this world.
There are so many ways I could try to convince you that this funding campaign deserves your money, but I can’t think of any stronger than “look at it”.
If you’re not familiar with Patreon, here are the basics: you pledge a certain amount per month. The same, basically, as the direct debits to good causes that you probably already have. There are monthly funding milestone goals listed, and in this case one of them is $3000–hire a colourist and I almost think that would be a shame, the fantastic work that Duffield does with his own linework.
The obvious answer to that is that we need to find enough people to sign up for patreon-age that $3000, let alone the current monthly $24, will seem like peanuts. Duffield can live like a king as he does work this good, at a comfortable pace, until the story’s told.
And we’re all left enriched.