Rob Liefeld took a short break from comics after his departure from DC. Now he’s back with some familiar faces in a brand new adventure—and he’s turned to crowdfunding like everyone else.
More and more of the top industry’s creators are testing the crowd funding waters and taking big risks. Why? Is it because Kickstarter creates this sense of urgency and gives fans and retailers full control on whether or not this book sees the light of day? One thing is for sure, it’s a community effort — and that’s what Liefeld is counting on.
So what is he trying to accomplish with the Kickstarter?
By funding this Free Initiative you are helping provide Free copies of Brigade to comic stores in the U.S. and Canada as well as Free digital downloads of Brigade. The more money raised, the more FREE copies and issues we can produce. A FREE comic breaks through all barriers and crosses all ages, a free comic provides a risk-free experience that can create a doorway into a new world of imagination and wonder. Brigade with its fresh, bold direction and characters will provide a dynamic comic book experience for readers old and new
The pledgers will be getting an item exclusive to this Kickstarter. They are signed and come with certificates of authenticity. The only thing that bums me about is that there’s no chromium cover incentive.
I had the pleasure of asking Rob a couple of questions about his project, and his thoughts on crowd funding in general:
Henry Barajas: Why Kickstarter and why now? Couldn’t you have gone straight to Image versus crowdfunding?
Rob Liefeld: Like so many last summer, I watched my fellow Image founder Marc Silvestri conduct his own FREE comic initiative with Top Cow. It was exciting to watch the momentum build for their new Cyber Force series. I was on stage with Marc when he shared the example of PBS with everyone attending the panel. I was really caught up in it, and the truth is that everything from Sesame Street to Monty Python was publicly funded for our viewing here in the U.S. His example really resonated with me.
Truth is that a Kickstarter campaign goes beyond the fund raising and forges a personal connection with the pledges and the creator. It gives the project momentum and support in it’s early phases and in this instance provides a FREE comic book. Whatever comic book Kickstarter that I have seen or researched has a pre-order/pre-buy component to it.
The pledges exist to pre-buy whatever comic and hardcover that is being made available through Kickstarter. It’s on us as the campaigners to incentivize the pledges with a great rewards package that gives them something more than what they would receive through a traditional sale.
Re-launching a title can be complicated and Kickstarter provides great momentum and in this case the opportunity to provide FREE copies of our launch and perhaps beyond depending on where we land. Again, I’m emulating the Top Cow initiative because I was very impressed by the entire program Matt Hawkins and Marc put together.
I love new challenges and Kickstarter is a new frontier with a pre-buy component that is very interesting to me. I’m in new territory here and it’s providing a great launch platform for BRIGADE. Truth be told it’s inspiring to put your fate in the hands of the people.
Henry: For better or worse, how much do you think Kickstarter changed the state of the industry?
Liefeld: Are you kidding? Absolutely for the better. It’s an amazing initiative that has empowered a diverse group of creators from Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Grey, Marc Silvestri, Matt Hawkins, Marat Mychaels, Paul Jenkins, Huberto Ramos, Eric Canete, Ryan Stegman, I mean the list is extensive when you start rattling it off. Power to the people and to the creator. It’s amazing to experience.
Henry: It’s been two years since we heard of this series – where does the story pick up?
Liefeld: The story of Brigade has become much larger in scope. I didn’t want to do a crime-fighting team, there’s so many of those out there already. The premise of the new Brigade is that time and space are under constant attack by a variety of threats looking to crash the system and the system is reality. They want to crash our existence, alter it and bend it to their will. This has created dramatic changes in the current reality.
The opening of the new series is reflective of Days of Future Past, depicting how things are changing or threatening to change. A powerful nemesis named Imperator is a primary threat that has been created out of the various time bombs that have detonated. John Stone, Battlestone, has assembled a vast cast of diverse powers and capabilities in order to police this new threat. They hover over the earth in their own space station, tracking rifts and portals that represent the greatest attacks.
Although Youngblood has traditionally been the flagship of the Extreme universe, it’s actually John Stone who has logged the most miles across the most titles as he’s appeared in Youngblood, Brigade, Bloodstrike and a title called Knightstrike. He’s consistently been the single most influential character in my universe and this story services him in that role. I’ve gathered many of my favorite characters in the Extreme Universe to form this expanded Brigade. The Brigade one-off from a few years back sets the stage for this new saga, especially what were doing with the underwater characters, Seahawk and Coldsnap. Roman is one of my all time favorite Brigade cast members and he plays a HUGE role in this new global, inter-dimensional Brigade.
Henry: Who’s helping you with the production?
Liefeld: I’m plotting and illustrating the new (story). Colors are by guys I’ve worked with the last decade, including but not limited to Owen Gieni, Juan Fernandez and Ross Hughes and others. I’m talking to a couple of great writers to script with me. I’ll have announcements soon.
Henry: Will this series be published by Image?
Liefeld: I have not had a single discussion with any publisher about Brigade. It has a long history at Image but I won’t discuss it with anyone until its funded and I have 2 issues completed.
Henry: Is this an on-going or a miniseries? What kind of stretch goals do you have in mind?
Liefeld: Regular ongoing series, intended as the new flagship for Extreme. What stretch goals can we expect to see? Amazing incentives to come, but I don’t want to put the cart before the horse here before we reach our initial goal.
Thank you to everyone who has backed or is planning on backing.
Henry Barajas is the co-creator, writer and letterer for El Loco and Captain Unikorn. He has also written and lettered short stories for two successful Kickstarter SpazDog Press projects: Unite and Take Over: Stories inspired by The Smiths and Break The Walls: Comic Stories inspired by The Pixies. He is the Newsroom Research Assistant for The Arizona Daily Star and was nominated for the Shel Dorf Blogger of the Year award for his work at The Beat. You can follow him on Twitter @HenryBarajas and Google+.