By Todd Allen
Once upon time there was a webcomic called Goats. It was reasonably popular, to the point Del Rey published three print collections. Then the dark shadow of despair passed over Goats. Its creator realized that running a multi-year story line was effectively a barrier to entry for new readers, so he abandoned Goats for a minimal continuity, more gag-oriented webcomic. And all the sad Goats readers were left hanging, the long-running storyline unfinished. Then one day, perhaps in a moment of clarity, the cartoonist realized he had enough material for a new Goats book and decided to put up a Kickstarter campaign to finance said book. In a weak moment, the cartoonist threatened to start drawing Goats again. Perhaps once a month. Perhaps twice a month. Once a week if he raised $40K. Little did the cartoonist know he’d be raising $55,000. Lo, Goats returned to production and all lived happily ever after.
OK, that’s a highly sardonic version of the story. Bottom line is, a well-liked webcomic has returned to finish up its tale because its fans stepped up and bought the now-penultimate print edition. Did Jon Rosenberg realize he was going to get that kind of a response? Nope. He was actually lowering the minimums to start drawing again, inserting the monthly and twice a month goals further after the original goal was announced. You don’t do that if you’re not getting the itch to revisit your old strip and wanting to make sure you do. As part of his premiums, he’s also going to have to hand deliver a copy of the new book to fan in Australia who ponied up the big pledge. That’s just cool.
I’ve said before, and I’ll likely say it again: the true beauty of Kickstarter is the fans speaking and supporting what they like. Goats was brought back by public mandate. Is there a comic you wish would return? Say, Sandman Mystery Theater or getting Brubaker/Fraction/Aja back on Iron Fist? Alas, it isn’t as easy for a publisher-owned comic, but this might just open a can of worms for creator-owned properties.
Well played, Mr. Rosenberg, well played.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.