Home Comics Crowdfunding Watch: Bullied monsters, Ron Wimberly’s LAAB, and SciFi San Francisco

Crowdfunding Watch: Bullied monsters, Ron Wimberly’s LAAB, and SciFi San Francisco

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Crowdfunding is incredibly popular among the comics community. Raising funds through individual donors has enabled dynamic, diverse and innovative comics, anthologies and books, from an every changing group of creators. There’s an avalanche of crowdfunding campaigns each week, so we’ve sifted through some of them and chosen our favorites to share with you.

1. The Unlikely Story of Felix and Macabber

This isn’t your average children’s comic and Felix and Macabber aren’t your average monsters. It’s a comic loosely based on a 2012 documentary by Hass Otsmane-Elhaou (editor PanelxPanel magazine) about young wrestlers who idolize their older counterparts. The comic builds upon those interpersonal dynamics to explore the complex nature of masculinity and fragility. Artist and illustrator Juni Ba contributes their work in this, their first graphic novel.

“The story is a full-length all-ages graphic novel. It is planned as six chapters, which begins with Felix and Mac’s encounter, before exploring Mac’s past and Felix’s present, and following the pair as they set out on their journey to reclaim the lost glory of Mac’s youth and together finish the fight Mac never could win alone.”

The graphic novel follows Felix, a young monster, unsure of himself and his place in the world. He’s searching a role model or really anyone that will make him feel less alone in the world. Felix is having a hard time in school, actually, Felix is having a hard time everywhere. He gets picked on by bullies and feels down about who he is and who he wants to become.

Interior of graphic novel via Hass Otsmane-Elhaou on Unbound

One day while walking to school, Felix is accosted by a particularly loathsome bully who forces him to play the Krinkletown (where these monsters reside) equivalent of ding-dong ditch. Felix knocks on the door and to his great relief, no one answers. His relief, however, is short lived as none other than the monster legend himself, Macabber Tails–the famed former monster who has since fallen on some tough times–opens the door.

Interior of graphic novel via Hass Otsmane-Elhaou on Unbound

From there the story takes off to explore the dynamic of young and old. Of a young monster who desperately needs a role model and an older monster who sees himself in the young one. Macabber doesn’t know how to save himself from the lonely world of his own creation. A world without family or friends, instead he focuses on molding Felix. He doesn’t want to see Felix follow in his footsteps. Felix sees someone who has found fame, found admiration and strength, it’s everything Felix desires.

Speaking about the comic, creator Hass Otsmane-Elhaou says, “It’s an important story for both of us, with troubled upbringings and fathers from other cultures, searching for role models elsewhere and trying to find our place in the world.”

Interior of graphic novel via Hass Otsmane-Elhaou on Unbound

Currently this project is 11% funded and there are a number of support tiers and rewards available for those interested. For more information about this crowdfunding campaign and to see the first chapter, follow the link to Unbound.

2. LAAB MAGAZINE: A comics tabloid on identity and pop culture

Launched on Kickstarter November 1, LAAB magazine presents a  unique vision for comics critique. With a stunning layout and design aesthetic from new small publisher Beehive Books, the magazine promises comics, critique, artwork, essays and interviews. It’s got a little something for everyone.

Proposed layout and look of the first issue via Beehive Books on Kickstarter

Designer and cartoonist Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats, Black History in Its Own Words) has a distinct vision for this magazine which includes a broadsheet format of 16×21″. The newspaper format isn’t used as a gimmick here, it’s meant to open the magazine to a broad readership. The newspaper can be picked up by anyone, is meant to be read by anyone and that’s the feeling Beehive Books was trying to evoke with their magazines layout.

Sample of what readers can expect from LAAB via Beehive Books on Kickstarter

The first issue of LAAB, entitled Dark Matter, is about exploring mythological blackness and black bodies in science-fiction. Dark Matter will unabashedly examine the threat of white supremacy, through state-sponsored police violence, to KKK marches, to the inherent violence of the systemic oppression. It’s a magazine created for the challenges of this cultural and political moment

Here’s a sampling of what backers can expect from the first issue:

  • An interview with musician and actor Saul Williams 
  • A conversation with graphic artist Trenton Doyle Hancock
  • James Romberger on Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • A discussion with the poster artist Alexandra Bell
  • A critical analysis of George Lucas’s THX 1138
  • Ronald Wimberly’s visual tribute to Sun Ra
  • A review of BLACK, the new comic from Black Mask Studios
  • Over a dozen pages of comics and illustration by Ronald Wimberly

The creators of this Kickstarter want to make LAAB available to as many folks as possible, so they’ve devised a plan, “Part of our funding goal goes towards donating a minimum of 200 copies of LAAB to free public libraries around the country. For every $5,000 we raise above our funding goal of $30,000, we will increase that amount of freely donated copies by 100.”

Sample of what readers can expect from LAAB via Beehive Books on Kickstarter

With little more than 22 days left in this funding campaign, the team has raised around $13,000 of their $30,000 goal. This campaign will end on December 1 and the team has proposed a bunch of stretch goals and reward tiers, for more information about this campaign please follow this link to their Kickstarter.

3. Sci-Fi San Francisco: Comics from the Bay Area’s Future

Cover of Sci-Fi San Francisco by Chuck Whelon courtesy of Skoda Man Press on Kickstarter

Sci-Fi San Francisco is a black and white comics anthology about hyper-evolved cats, secret societies, and the quest to find a place to live. It’s a work of speculative fiction from Skoda Man Press (The Comic Book Guide to the Mission). The anthology will compile over 20 comics exploring the weird, wacky, dense thrall that is San Francisco.

“Venture into a San Francisco that exists only in the imagination, where robots nosh on inorganic burritos, flying cars crowd the Golden Gate Bridge, kitty kaiju rule the streets, and biotech startups can transform you into a completely different person—literally.” — Skoda Man Press

Though set in the future, the anthology deals with real issues like gentrification, the housing crisis, automation, and the evolving many-tentacled reach of tech and bio-research. As someone who lives in the Bay area and who loves cats, I’m particularly looking forward to Ed Luce’s work in “San Furrancisco.”

The anthology will have work from local San Francisco artists and illustrators like Beth Dean, Eli Bishop, Craig Campbell and Karen Luk to name a few. I would be remiss to not mention this, please do yourself a favor and check out Beth Dean’s website, which is an experience unto itself.

This Kickstarter runs through December 7 and the team is just $75 shy of their goal of $2,000. For more information about this anthology, please follow this link to their Kickstarter.

Join me next week as I round up more notable crowdfunding campaigns. Also, if you’ve got a campaign you think I should know please send it my way on Twitter.

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