A Fistful of Comics: Crowdfunding Roundup May ’19

A crop of a page from Dragon Frog #2. An adolescent looking frog in a purple hoodie and jeans is holding goggles and staring up at the buildings around him, trying to decide what to do. The series title lettering is laid over the artwork, and reads "A FISTFUL OF COMICS" in big yellow text. Below, in red, reads "CROWDFUNDING ROUNDUP, MAY '19." Artwork by Brett Brooks; Fistful of Comics lettering by Zora Gilbert.

May has brought a true host of kid-friendly romps and maybe-less-kid-friendly collections to my internet doorstep, and it’s my utter pleasure to share them with you, dear reader. From heartwarmingly-named sidekicks to striking, graphic artbooks, this month’s offerings are widely varied but super excitingly inspirational. Take a look!

The full wraparound cover illustration for Magical Boy Basil #4. A bunch of kids from two teams are on a baseball field. One team has red shirts, the other are wearing white. Basil, a boy with white skin, grey blue eyes, dark hair, and a blue baseball cap, is front and center, diving for a glowing baseball with what looks like a beak. Magical Boy Basil #4, Jill Hackett & Rebeckah Murray, 2019.

Magical Boy Basil #4

Jill Hackett, Rebeckah Murray
Ends May 26

Magical Boy Basil sort of says it all in the name—it’s long-running webcomic in glorious magical girl tradition, featuring a boy named Basil and a crew of queer kids trying to save the world. You can read the whole webcomic online right now, but this campaign is meant to print Chapter 4! Backers can also grab the previous three chapters and all their bonus content through the campaign. This chapter includes a purple talking platypus and a bunch of magical baseball, so honestly, what’s not to like.

The cover and contents for Making Time. The cover is rendered in black ink, depicting a landscape made up of mountains, trees, and scrappy ground. A single tree sits in the midground. Making Time, Elise Dietrich, 2019.

Making Time vol. 1 & The Sandwich Shuffle

Elise Dietrich
Ends May 28

Making Time and The Sandwich Shuffle are two diary minicomics collections by Elise Dietrich, a woman who has had a thousand jobs in a thousand fields. She’s got young kids and aging parents and an incredible set of skills, and came to comics later in life than a lot of the 20-30 year olds who I tend to feature in this roundup. For me, this made the comics she featured on her campaign page extremely engaging (though that might just be because they remind me of my New England family, and because of that feel very, very homey). If you’re interested, you can get all of Dietrich’s printed work to date for $75, which seems pretty cool.

The cover to Tender. A person with chin-length black hair sits at a table in front of a yellow wall, holding food in chopsticks. The table is cluttered with food, tools, and plants. On the wall is an anatomical drawing of a humans internal organs. The title text is dead center on the image, in shivery white type with a pink drop shadow. Tender, Choo, Shortbox, 2019.

Tender: An Artbook by Choo

Ends May 31

I’ve been a fan of Choo’s art for years and when I saw that Shortbox was publishing their artbook I got very excited. Choo is known for deliberate, gorgeous linework and graphic, striking sense of color, as well as some … specific artistic themes. Their illustrations are cluttered and detailed while also making masterful use of negative space. Choo is also true master of vaguely (or less vaguely) horny soft gore, so keep that in mind before you click through to the campaign.

The cover to The Life and Times of Butch Dykes. The title lettering is centered vertically on a pink background. Above and below the lettering are six portraits of featured women, rendered in black and white on a lavender background. The Life and Times of Butch Dykes, Eloisa Aquino, Microcosm Publishing, 2019.

The Life and Times of Butch Dykes

Eloisa Aquino
Microcosm Publishing
Ends May 31

Eloisa Aquino’s multi-zine deep dive into many of history’s most visible butch lesbians is being collected into a single volume, The Life and Times of Butch Dykes. The chapters are visually striking, with short blurbs and quotes accompanying black and white illustrations. Aquino’s profiles look at these women’s lives critically, examining the breadth of their contribution to their fields and the ways in which their identities shaped who they were (or are)—and how who they are shaped their identities.

The cover to Wander. The title lettering is all lower case, in pink script with a thick stroke. Below the lettering there's a postcard-esque photo of a city framed by trees and hills; above the lettering there's an illustration of Ota and Hirsh riding a plane (the plane has legs) like a horse, rendered in black and white on a bright yellow background. Cover art by Yuko Ota; cover design by Patrick Crotty. Wander, Ananth Hirsh & Yuko Ota, Johnny Wander, 2019.


Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota
Johnny Wander
Ends May 31

Hey, have I ever mentioned how much I love Johnny Wander? I love Johnny Wander. And Hirsh and Ota’s travelogue comics are some of my favorite parts of their decade-old webcomic, so I’m very excited to see them collected into a book alongside wacky new photos and extras. Wander gathers all the Johnny Wander travelogue comics in one place, wrapped in a cover designed by Patrick Crotty and—since they’ve hit a couple stretch goals already—a fancy cover complete with spot gloss and a spot color.

The cover to Malika - Fallen Queen Part One. In the center, a woman in a green dress and headscarf plunges a glowing sword into the ground, and the lightning that jumps from it splits the cover into three parts. On the left, a black person with voluminous black hair looks at the reader over his shoulder with an eye glowing with pink energy. To the right, a person in robes and a headwrap that completely obscures their face faces the camera and brandishes two curved swords. Above the woman in green, a light-skinned woman in a red trench coat floats in the air, blasting ice in one direction and fire in the other. Malika - Fallen Queen Part One; Sunkanmi Akinboye, Roye Okupe, Etubi Onucheyo; YouNeek Studios, 2019.

Malika – Fallen Queen Part One

Sunkanmi Akinboye, Roye Okupe, Etubi Onucheyo
YouNeek Studios
Ends May 31

Malika is African-inspired urban fantasy comic produced by an entirely-African creative team (working out of Nigeria, specifically). Malika has been a WWAC favorite at each of the two Free Comic Book Days where it’s had single-issue preview comics appear, and the previews on the campaign page are full of all the dynamism that make American superhero comics fun without quite so many white guys or dead women. YouNeek studios also produced an animated pilot episode based on the first series, Warrior Queen, which backers can gain access to as part of the Fallen Queen campaign.

The cover of Dragon Frog #2. Cyd is hopping into the air and punching toward the camera, with a bird's-eye view of the city behind him. At a street corner, a bulldog mechanic with a large wrench is standing next to a truck. Dragon Frog #2: Strapped,Brett Brooks, Sergio Lazaro, Nanci Lillie, Steven Robertson, Lucky Moons, 2019.

Dragon Frog #2: Strapped

Brett Brooks, Sergio Lazaro, Nanci Lillie, Steven Robertson
Lucky Moons
Ends June 3

I’ve been burned and besieged by superhero frog-based crowdfunding campaigns before, but Dragon Frog is one of the good ones. Join hoppy vigilante Cyd as he tries to keep his city safe even while officials try to stop him from using his natural froggy abilities, bouncing through a city filled with big ol’ dog people and exciting all-ages mysteries. I mean, cmon. Look at him. He’s trying his best.

A page from Future Girl #2. Future Girl (a tan-skinned girl with brown hair, wearing street clothes of jeans and a seafoam green hoodie) stares at a slowly ticking clock in a classroom and wishes she could speed up time. When the bell rings she jogs happily out of the classroom, only to see a group of bullies ganging up on a kid with short hair, a sweater vest, and glasses. Future Girl #2; Jenn Arledge, Tanya Bobrowski, Juli Crowder, Melissa Capriglione, Ross Dannenberg, Miranda Davila, Missy Pena, Nikki Sherman; Pixabits; 2019.

Future Girl #2

Jenn Arledge, Tanya Bobrowski, Juli Crowder, Melissa Capriglione, Ross Dannenberg, Miranda Davila, Missy Pena, Nikki Sherman
Ends June 4

It looks extremely cute in basically every way, but the thing that sold me on Future Girl even more than her time-hopping adventures and the book’s kid-friendly deep-dive into speculative AI fiction is that her sidekick is an anxious kid named Steadfast. Steadfast! The solid loyalty that his name implies even despite his fears, plus the fact that the ever-uplifting Jenn Arledge is involved in the project, fills my crusty heart with warmth. Future Girl #2 is the second installment in a potential 6-issue arc, and backers can get digital copies of the first two issues by pledging just $5 to the campaign!

The front door of the current Watchtower Café. The door is glass, set into a building of sort of beige brick. A neon sign in the window reads "OPEN." Image taken from the Watchtower Coffee & Comics Kickstarter video.

Moving Watchtower Coffee & Comics

Mike & Cori
Watchtower Coffee & Comics
Ends June 6

Alright, so this isn’t really a comic, per se, but it is an LCS, and anyone who knows me knows that I am deeply, deeply in love with the role a (good. It has to be a good one) local comic shop plays in a comics community. While I haven’t been personally, it seems like Watchtower has created an incredible space for a wide variety of folks who are into comics and other geekery in Salt Lake City, UT, and their focus is wide enough that if they can move into a better space they might just be able to successfully weather the utter collapse of the direct market. So if you’re in Salt Lake City or have some change to spare, give ‘em a hand!

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.