Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Patriot-1 is coming to Kickstarter

Creating comics is not an easy task. When you are the writer, creator and publisher rolled into one, it’s that much more difficult.

Why you ask? Because after crafting your script or idea, you have to find an artist. You have to find one that is affordable, understands the pitfalls and tiny budgets of creator-owned books and is also reliable. You also have to find additional artists if you need an inker or colorist. They have to be flexible and unless they are published by a major company, they have to be available. They also can't expect a fortune. Even with all of that, you have to make sure the art fits your story.

And while you are paying the artist(s), you are likely making nothing. Zero.

It's a tough road, an expensive hobby. But if you are like me, there are just stories you want to tell. 

And to think, my skill set includes pre-press, graphic design and lettering. But it's all self-costs I eat.

Patriot-1 is a character that has existed in some form or another for as long as I can remember. His name has changed, his look has changed and even the universe in which he exists has changed.

But he took on his current form in 2007. I’ve spent years researching and following the U.S. Military and World History and I’ve always had a fascination with Special Forces. With Patriot-1, I wanted to create something authentic and realistic without forgetting that it was a comic book. I'll be the first to admit I didn't have the stones to serve, but I'll be damned if I haven't learned anything I can. 

I've always been enamored with the real-life superheroes of special operations forces. I think of myself as a bit of an amateur historian on the subject. After all, I own and have read just about every book and watched every documentary there is on Operation Neptune Spear (and that's just one of many).

I graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in film with a screenwriting concentration. I love movies and comics, but over the past 7 years, I sacrificed a lot of time to craft this story into its current form because it is the story I’ve wanted to tell.

In that time, there have been a few insanely talented people that have come and gone. Whether it was delays, long development times or they just got better paying gigs; I eventually found the perfect team in Dexter Wee and Donna Gregory.

Originally intended to be a five issue series, I eventually let the story take the helm and it naturally found its way to a 176 page graphic novel. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past five years that I have created comics, it’s that having the entire story available for readers is insanely important.

For examples, Mack Turner: Slayer of the Dead and Steel Creek are two projects that have been halted for a couple of years because the artists got better paying gigs and I shifted focus a bit. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s that much harder to gain an audience when they are waiting for the next installments.

Thus it was very important to me that Patriot-1 be a complete story. After an earlier version was rejected by a publisher, I rewrote the entire thing and it became something else entirely. The core concepts were still the same, but it is undoubtedly the best thing I have ever written.  It’s exciting, the characters are deep and the action is non-stop.

Putting the book (finally) into production was a must. I wanted a completed project and now that I have it, the debate over how to release it took off.

Submit it to more publishers? Take out a loan? Print on-demand? Digital only? Release as a webcomic?

The possibilities seemed endless, the questions mounted.

But so-called “traditional” routes of publishing are becoming a thing of the past. In 2007, I was trying to figure out ways for Patriot-1 (Or U.S.Avenger as he was then) to be incorporated into a publisher’s plan or universe.

In 2007, Kickstarter wasn’t a thing. By the end of 2013, crowd-funding (Kickstarter and Indiegogo) made up 2 percent of the comics market. Considering Marvel consistently owns 40 percent of it… that 2 percent is massive.

I’ve contributed to a number of Kickstarters. As long as they are successful and the people behind them are passionate, Kickstarter is perhaps the single greatest outlet for creator-owned and small press comics.

Why? Because you can directly connect with your readers. You can offer cool incentives that a backer would otherwise be unable to obtain.

With all of this in mind, and after years of watching the growth of comics on Kickstarter, it only makes sense that it becomes the outlet for Patriot-1.

But here’s the beautiful part of it. Patriot-1 is complete. There are many projects that hinge on Kickstarter success before they even start production – but Patriot-1 is complete. I am not turning to Kickstarter to fund the project; I’m turning to Kickstarter to fund the print run.

Ideally, I’d like to offer a 200-page hardcover graphic novel. Complete with an alternate cover gallery and concept art, I’m looking to raise enough money to provide the book for backers and self-distribute to other outlets such as Amazon.

There will be incentives like prints, commissions, a custom cover and maybe even a collectible… but the book will be available at a (roughly) $25 level. That’s a 200-page, full color book for $25 (plus shipping).


I’m aiming to launch the Kickstarter on July 1 or before. So stay tuned.

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