Space Goat Productions: What’s in Your Backpack?
It’s been a busy start to the year for Space Goat Productions. Not only have they been successful with their Terminator Board Game Kickstarter, they’ve also introduced a new line of “Backpack Edition” comics. At only 9″ x 6″ the graphic novel collections are the perfect fit for your bag of choice. Created in 2006, the company has come a long way from providing creative services to the likes of Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Nike, Microsoft, Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, and Universal Studios. Now, their roster includes several comics and games of their own.
“We want to get more comics in more people’s hands. So at Space Goat, we want to make comics featuring creators and characters of all genders, sexualities, races, religions, and backgrounds, in the formats that are easiest for consumers to access, digital and trade paperbacks. Our Backpack Editions are just the first step.” —JD Boucher, Director of Marketing and Sales
The line up for the new Backpack Editions, which are also available digitally through Comixology, include:
And my personal favourites, Zombie Camp and Dark Lily:
Between conventions, kickstarters, and promotions, I had a chance to chat with SPG’s Director of Marketing and Sales, JD Boucher, about the company, their vision, and their big plans to continue growing into the future.
Space Goat’s motto is “Make. Comics. Better.” What does the company do to make this happen? What makes the company unique within the industry?
“Make Comics Better” is our slogan, because that’s what we try to do at every level of the process of making comics. It means hiring diverse talent whenever we can, doing our best to make sure our talent is taken care of, and making sure that our comics reflect the world outside our window. We are by no means perfect when it comes to these goals, but we’re trying our best, listening, learning, and moving forward.
It also just means constantly working to make better comics that people want to read. Not every comic we publish may sell gangbusters, but we will never put out a book we don’t believe in.
As for how we’re unique in the industry, I’d probably pull a bit from Hamilton and say we’re “young, scrappy, and hungry.” We’re a fairly small organization that’s willing to change. We’ll pivot and change our plans on a dime if it means that it will serve readers, retailers, and our stories better. Overall, we want to make cool stuff and make a living while we’re doing it.
Where did the inspiration for Backpack Editions come from?
Backpack Editions came about because we realized that retailers were having a hard time selling all-ages floppies. Individual issues are not really an ideal way for people (who are not collectors) to read comics as they can get damaged so easily. While on the other hand, Trade Paperbacks are not as portable for the casual reader.
Backpack Editions are our attempt to find a happy medium between all of these formats while still keeping pages big enough to show off the art. At 6 inches by 9 inches, they’re bigger than digests, so you can really get the full impact of the art, smaller than trades so they can be brought on the go (in backpacks, purses, etc.), and perfect bound so they won’t be as fragile as floppy comics. We really just wanted to get our comics in the hands of more people and this seemed like the best way to do it!
What thought processes went into the specific sizing options and distribution plans? Are there plans to work with other distributors such as Scholastic? What about libraries?
Sizing really came down to optimizing the format for people we want to reach (like detailed before). When it came to distribution, we wanted to start with digital. We know there are a ton of digital comic book readers who never go into comic bookstores, and we want to make sure we can easily get comics to them. Then after building up an audience online, we can bring it to retailers with a base built up, so they don’t have to gamble on new books.
As for those other avenues you mentioned, we are doing our best to get Backpack Editions in as many venues as possible, including Scholastic, Book Fairs, and Libraries, wherever we can. If there’s a way we can get more comics in people’s hands, we’ll do it.
Your recent Terminator Board Game Kickstarter is fully funded and then some. Did you expect this kind of response for the game? What is your connection to the Terminator series? Are you a fan yourself?
Man, Terminator has been a wild ride. We were hoping to get funded, and we’re super thankful to our backers that we are now 165% funded! Our company president, Shon, is a huge Terminator fan. Once he found out we had the ability to make a new board game based on the classic movie, we went right for it. I actually hadn’t seen the movie until Shon told us we might make the game. After I watched, I became a big fan. It’s a classic sci-fi film for a reason, and I can totally see why its appeal has lasted over the years.
You’ve also had a Kickstarter for an Evil Dead game and The Howling is on your list of upcoming projects. Does SGP have a particular mandate when it comes to nostalgic properties like this?
When it comes to making nostalgic properties, we only take them on if people on our team are passionate about them. We love Evil Dead 2, and we love werewolves, making The Howling a perfect match. We also try our hardest to make these games and comics for the fans. That’s why we always try to incorporate backer feedback into our board games as much as possible. Then when we make comics based on these classic properties, we try and amplify what made them great! For Evil Dead 2, that’s the horror, the comedy, and iconic character of Ash Williams. When it comes to The Howling, that’s the terror and brutality of the iconic werewolves.