The Young Protectors has been running as a webcomic for a little over a year now in the hands of an experienced creative team including writer Alex Woolfson (Artifice), artist Adam DeKraker (Marvel/DC penciler), and Harvey-award nominated colorist Veronica Gandini (Marvel/Image/Boom!). It’s an impressive comic for many reasons, not least of which that it features the journey of a young gay superhero, Kyle, as he makes his first steps towards self-acceptance, and includes gay romance elements. Gay heroes are not absent from superhero comics, but they aren’t particularly well-represented either, often appearing as token characters or handled in ways that don’t speak fully to the real world struggles of the gay community. Woolfson, DeKraker, and Gandini produce a beautifully rendered comic which handles universal themes with a strong sense of humor and commentary on the superhero comic tradition, and it’s not surprising that they’ve engaged a voluble fan community in doing so. Their success as a webcomic led, less than a week ago, to the launch of their Kickstarter campaign to fund a print volume of the first arc of the series, The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy.
What happened next revealed all the positive forces at work in creator-owned comics right now: they met their goal in less than 24 hours, and have since blown past that goal with more than double numbers and the better part of a month still to go on the campaign. It’s clear that the fan base established through the webcomic has translated firmly into crowdfunding support, and the factors that led to their success are bound to interest readers tracking the vicissitudes of webcomics and crowdfunding right now. Woolfson and DeKraker speak to The Beat today about the origin, development, and successes of The Young Protectors and the lessons they have to share about their experiences.