A Fistful of Comics: Crowdfunding Roundup, November ’18

Text reading "A FISTFUL OF COMICS: CROWDFUNDING ROUNDUP, NOVEMBER '18" laid over an image from a Cowboy Bebop fancomic. In a bubble in the bottom right, Faye says, "Your record's mine, Spike." Artwork from Dustbowl Thrash, by Will Morris. The Real Folk Blues: A Cowboy Bebop Fanbook, Zainab Akhtar, Shortbox, 2018.

When this posts, we in the U.S. will have just gone through the 2018 midterm elections and things will either be looking brighter or, well, not. Regardless of the results, it’s been a deeply exhausting month, season, and year, and if you’re like me you’ll definitely be needing some escapism. That said, there will always be more work to be done, and this roundup’s got both of those needs covered. From augmented reality comics to gentle guides to political action, there’s something for you in November’s campaigns.

A banner of three figures on a pastel background made up of smoking, cobbled together metal structures. From left to right: a black woman with beaded hair and a jean vest over a t-shirt that reads "FREE CITY;" a figure in a pneumatic skull mask, and a neon teal skeletal figure with gold spikes coming out of its head and wires dripping from its chin. Neon Wasteland, Ron Shields, 2018.Neon Wasteland #1

Rob Shields
Ends November 15

Neon Wasteland is about as cyberpunk as cyberpunk gets. Plus: zombies and augmented reality. No, not in the story itself (that reality’s fully virtual): the comic itself is augmented reality.

Let’s start again. Neon Wasteland is the story of the year 2088, where most people have achieved immortality via the “OmniVerse,” while the rest live their lives in slums, maintaining the OmniVerse servers. Then the undead show up, and everything falls apart. The incredibly cool thing about this comic—beyond the absolutely brilliant neon coloring—is that issue one comes with an AR app, which readers can use alongside the physical issue to access animated and interactive elements. I have no idea how well the app works (you can try it for free on the Kickstarter page), but the innovation is brilliant, and I’m extremely excited to see how it develops.

A cover mockup of Woolmancy. Below the title lettering, most of the cover is taken up by a giant ram's curls of red wool. A person with tan skin and black hair sinks into the wool, looking vaguely concerned. Woolmancy, Abrian Curington, 2018.Woolmancy

Abrian Curington
Ends November 16

Friendship, fantasy, and electric sheep. Woolmancy is a young adult quest story about learning to rely on other people and push past the idea that the only way to learn is to suffer through things alone. Curington’s art looks incredibly fun and fresh, and the message of the book is something I’ve needed to be reminded of time and time again as I’ve become part of this incredible community of comics creators and journalists.

A small figure wearing a red cape stands on a wall, gazing down over a river and the surrounding hills. Vattu: The Tower and the Shadow, Evan Dahm, 2018Vattu: The Tower and the Shadow

Evan Dahm
Ends November 17

Evan Dahm is back again! This campaign collects the third volume of Vattu, a fantasy adventure webcomic he’s been posting online since 2010. This book is the third of four, each of which explore a different nation or political segment of Vattu’s vast world. Backers can get the book in hardcover or paperback, and, while the Kickstarter is running, anyone can download a collected version of the first three volumes of the comic through the campaign page. But hey, if you like Dahm’s work? Maybe throw him a couple bucks for the PDFs and bring home some extra content.

A book mockup. The cover reads "Avie's Stories" in colorful block text, with pawprints as the dots over i's and the apostrophe. The cover illustration is a composite of children's drawings, including a dog in a floating boat and a small town peeking out over the hillside. Avie's Stories, Jenn Arledge, 2018.Avie’s Stories

Jenn Arledge
Ends November 20

Avie’s Stories is a collection of children’s comics, all of which have been actively developed to be inclusive of queer themes and characters (down to the creative team, many of whom are queer themselves). The collection is 44 pages long, full color, and printed at a smaller manga trim size. In an incredibly cute and good decision, the cover is a compilation of children’s drawings that were inspired by the stories in the book! In the words of Arledge themself, “If your first thought was ‘looks like a child did this,’ GOOD that was our goal.”

A mockup of the cover and a stack of The Real Folk Blues. The cover and spine are mostly orange, with a design sensibility reminiscent of the original anime. Below the title sit portraits of the show's five principle characters: Spike, Faye, Jet, Ed, and Ein. The Real Folk Blues: A Cowboy Bebop Fanbook, Zainab Akhtar, Shortbox, 2018. Cover design & illustrations by Patrick Crotty.The Real Folk Blues: A Cowboy Bebop Fanbook

Zainab Akhtar
Ends November 28

Zainab Akhtar, the incredible force behind Shortbox, is bringing yet another wonderful creation into the world: The Real Folk Blues, an artistic, critical, and joyous celebration of Cowboy Bebop. Full of comics, illustrations, and essays from creators across the comics industry, the book rings in at 130+ full-color pages and has busted straight past the scope of Shortbox’s standard funding model. Hence: Kickstarter! If Akhtar’s other work is anything to judge by, however (which, I believe it is), The Real Folk Blues will be just as gorgeous, considered, and solid as everything else Shortbox is affiliated with.

A figure with black, curly hair kneels facing away from the camera. Across from them lounges a figure with no features on its face except for a circle of eight slits. The figure's hair pours off it like a waterfall; the image is framed by waves on the right side. Local Haunts, Kara Love, 2018. Image by Cibby Acosta.Local Haunts

Kara Love
Ends November 28

Local Haunts is an anthology of creepy, haunting stories that are just as rooted in their local cultures as they are in the paranormal. The book is 120 pages long and made up of over 30 stories, each just a couple pages long. On top of the book itself, backers can also get original art, custom pet portraits, and (my personal favorite) commissioned haikus from contributors to the book.

A page from Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love. Vega (a short, femme girl with long, curly, light hair) teases Leo (a butch girl with short, spiky black hair) with Leo's bike keys, catching Leo by the wrist as she lunges for them. Vega speaks over the course of the page, offering Leo a deal for her bike. Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love, Ming Ong Chua, 2018.Roadqueen: Eternal Roadtrip to Love

Mira Ong Chua
Ends December 3

Are you gay? Do you like motorcycles? Boy, do I have a gift for you. This campaign is a collection of Mira Ong Chua’s Roadqueen series, including previously published short Girlfriend of the World and brand new sequels Eternal Roadtrip to Love and Passion Marathon. Follow gorgeous biker gal Leo as she finds herself wrapped up in high-stakes deals, high-speed adventure, and high-tension relationships. Watch out, though! Exclusive bonus comic Passion Marathon is exclusive to the print book and won’t be released anywhere digitally.

An illustration of two moments from The Scottish Boy: in the foreground, Harry and Iain stand facing each other. Harry is in full armor, and the men stand close to each other as Iain hands him a sword. In the background, the men are closer to each other, embracing, and unclothed. Flowers frame the image. The Scottish Boy, Alex de Campi & Trungles, Unbound, 2018. Illustration by Trungles.The Scottish Boy

Alex de Campi & Trungles
Funding until complete

Alex de Campi’s debut prose novel is set in 1333 England and Scotland, features a beautiful young knight and a more beautiful Scottish captive-turned-squire, and is decidedly not for kids. The story is one of romance and fourteenth century political intrigue, complete with tournaments, glory, and mysterious pasts. Trungles’ illustrations are peppered through the pages, and I can’t imagine an artist with a better fit for the tone and setting of the story. There are also, de Campi emphasizes, maps printed in the book. Who doesn’t like maps?

A cluster of people, drawn in warm colors, in a yellow inflatable boat are held aloft and supported by a sea of figures drawn in tones of blue. One of the figures holds a sign saying "WELCOME." Draw the Line, Myfanwy Tristam, 2018. Image by Karrie Fransman.Draw the Line

Myfanwy Tristam
Funding until complete

The world is, uh, pretty jacked right now, and it can be incredibly difficult to unstick yourself from the paralysis that comes from constant bad news from every direction, all the time. I find it helps to start with little actions: small (or larger, if you can afford it) donations to local activist and community support groups, a commitment to speak against bullshit when I hear it among my friends and coworkers, things like that.

Draw the Line is a collection of small, easy actions that anyone can take, each illustrated by artists from all over the world. All pledge levels include copies of the book (physical or digital), but some include admission or access to talks and workshops by contributing illustrators from a wide array of countries.

A black and white photo of a convention hall between two horizontal black bars. On the top bar, the text reads "SPX NEEDS YOUR HELP;" on the bottom bar, the text reads "#DEFENDTHE11." DefendThe11, SPX. Image created by SPX staff.

Benefitting Whit Taylor, Laura Knetzger, Josh O’Neill, Tom Kaczynski, Hazel Newlevant, Emma Louthan, Ben Passmore, Emi Gennis, Jordan Shiveley, Morgan Pielli, Rob Clough
Organized by SPX
Funding until complete

In August, eleven cartoonists (and an indie publisher, Uncivilized Books) were served with a defamation lawsuit after calling out another creator’s alleged sexual misconduct. Now, they need to defend themselves against the suit and all its myriad potential consequences, and to do that they need to pay an ever-increasing array of legal fees. #DefendThe11 is a GoFundMe campaign organized by the folks behind SPX, meant to build off of a $20,000 the convention pledged upon hearing of the lawsuit. Unfortunately, $20,000 isn’t nearly enough to cover eleven people’s legal fees. Which is where the campaign comes in!

You won’t get any physical reward for supporting this campaign, but each of the affected cartoonists does immeasurable work to push this community and industry forward, and it remains extremely important to empower members of our community to speak out against dangerous and harmful behaviors, and to support them when they do.

Zora Gilbert

Zora Gilbert

Zora Gilbert cares a whole lot about words, kids, and comics. Find them at @zhgilbert on twitter, and find the comics they edit at datesanthology.com.