Friday, 8 August 2014

Funding Friday, "A Hope in Hell" - Comics & Crowdfunding News

I got a bit of a shock when I checked my inbox this morning. There was a message waiting for me that read,
Hi there,
This is a message from Kickstarter Support. We're writing to inform you that a project you backed, Hope in the Abyss (Sandman Fan Film), is the subject of an intellectual property dispute.
The message goes on to notify me that, while my pledge to the project remains active, the Kickstarter page itself has been hidden from public view for an indeterminate period of time. This is a shame as I was hoping to share an incredible-looking fan campaign with you, and I can't seem to find a cached version of the page. It's truly a beautiful-looking project. Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series has been well and widely loved for a couple of decades now. This film aims to follow the story set out in the title's fourth issue, "A Hope in Hell", in which Dream, the titular "Sandman", journeys to Hell to retrieve a possession lost during his centuries-long imprisonment. It's a great story, maybe my favourite from The Sandman.
Hope in the Abyss is being produced by Ben Dobyns who, along with Seattle-based production company Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, has fan-funded some of the greatest fantasy I've ever seen (correction: ZOE, however, is not connected to the Hope project). The list of professionals attached to the campaign is impressive, but one stuck out for me in particular: a puppeteer from Laika Studios. That detail alone (Dobyns' involvement aside) was enough to pique my interest. Laika is renowned for its luscious stop-motion work on the animated feature of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, the more recent children's zombie flick Paranorman, and the upcoming (and adorable) Boxtrolls. The studio has a way of telling great stories with great style, and the idea having one of their puppeteers helping bring Dream's descent into Hell to life send tingles down my spine. Standing in the way of that happening, though, is this message from Warner Bros....

...which I really want to be snarky about, but I suppose they are within their rights to do exactly this. Now, I don't know how much, if any, pull Gaiman has with his publishers and the licences they hold to his creations. But Neil, if you're reading this, I'd ask you and Amanda to put in a good word for the fans; if anyone understands the nature of crowdfunding and community coming together around art it's you guys, and I know many of us would love to see this project completed, to see a version of your world come alive through the work of people who have loved these stories for many, many years. 

And now, in other news...!

Brok Windsor - Lost WWII Comic Book Returns!
by Hope Nicholson

I shared the Brok Windsor campaign with you folks last week, and lo and behold you made it happen! The project reached its goal yesterday, officially propelling an iconic Canadian comics hero back into print. Congratulations; you guys officially rock.
And if you've been having doubts about the impending awesomeness of Brok Windsor, let this assuage those misgivings
Yeah. It's gonna be wicked great.

by Dustin Smith

I had a friend tweet this my direction last week when I neglected to mention it in my post, so allow me to rectify that oversight. Knightstalker is a classic "be careful what you wish for" story set in a world where superpowers exist as a terminal disease, giving you extraordinary abilities but killing you in the process. It's one of those concepts which sounds like old hat, but which fits the superhero genre so well that it really shouldn't be avoided. Sacrifice for the sake of power is a theme that's been around a lot longer than comics, a message that echoes back through may mythologies. King Midas desired wealth, and found himself sacrificing those he loved as he slaked his thirst for gold. Odin gave his eye to receive wisdom. It's an old story told many times, but it still resonates with us. Brandon Stanton, the man in charge of the photoblog Humans of New York, is currently overseas documenting people and their thoughts on life...
...which is kinda what he does best. The man has a gift. The words he receives from people are often profound, sometimes thrilling, joyous, sometimes sad. His tweet this morning hit me between the eyes:
There will always be things we would give to fix the word around us. And this is why stories like Knightstalker will always be worth telling. On a purely formal note, the art looks great, really clean lines and colours, and decent page layout. It's really quite an affordable campaign to back. The rewards are small and manageable: posters, digital comics, physical copies of the books, and variant covers. The $5000 goal is easily reachable with the right interest. So, share it around. Let's see if we can get another small comic off the ground.

In closing, the campaigns I mentioned last week are still going strong. Nick Bertozzi's Rubber Necker print run was successfully funded (and I can't wait to get my comics from that!). Rachel Richey's Johnny Canuck campaign is moving steadily forward; I give it another week to reach its goal. And the Stranger zombie comic campaign from AH Comics is still running...and nobody's scooped Adam Gorham's original cover art yet. It's still sitting there, mocking me.

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