We had a hill in our neighborhood, we used it for sledding and staring up at the clouds. It was great for cloud watching. I haven’t sat and stared at the sky for an uncomfortably long period of time. Stillness used to excite me. I used to possess the ability to use my imagination to explore new worlds. Now being too still scares me. What do I do?! Just sit here? Oh no. Anyway, these three crowdfunding projects will hopefully inspire all of us to engage in a little wonder, whimsy and imaginative thinking.

1. Above the Clouds: The Complete Graphic Novel

Above the Clouds

You may have noticed that this Kickstarter is already funded. It’s a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations and I would feel remiss to not share this one with you. Melissa Pagluica is a freelance illustrator who started her comic Above the Clouds as an initial foray into comic creation. As she has learned the craft of comic creation, she invited her audience to share their feedback. That’s a pretty courageous thing to do as far as I’m concerned. Pagluica has been working on Above the Clouds for the past five years, updating the comic regularly. The story has reached its conclusion, and now it is ready to be assembled into one volume for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Above the Clouds follows a young girl named Eily. Her world is silent until she is given a book about a hero who must save a great world tree from a dragon. The story she’s reading, however, is unfinished so Eily must find the author to finish what the tale they’ve started. In Above the Clouds, Eily’s world has no words. The only dialogue in the comic comes from the book Eily is reading.

Here’s a trailer for the comic:

Pagluica’s artwork is dreamy. She deftly utilized washed-out colors and Art Nouveau-inspired details. The fact that this comic exists at all is a testament to Pagluica’s work ethic. She self-funded and published each chapter by raising money and selling her work at conventions. I realize that that process of publishing is not altogether uncommon for folks in this industry, but I tend to think it’s always pertinent to remind people of how hard people work to bring us their craft.

Sample ages courtesy of Kickstarter and Melissa Pagluica

Above the Clouds will clock-in at a whopping 250 pages. This single-volume book will cost a pretty penny to print, which is why Pagluica has turned to Kickstarter. The money raised will go towards funding the first print run. As her Kickstarter has been wildly successful, she’s already reached her second stretch goal of adding gold foil to a hardcover (a previous stretch goal). There is one more additional stretch goal, but it remains a mystery. For $25, you can grab the trade paperback; this support level also comes with a PDF version of the story (all eight chapters).

There are some truly lovely backer rewards including bookmarks, sketches, and a foil sticker-card. Signed copies and retailer-specific rewards are also available for those interested. As international shipping can be costly for backers, Pagluica is throwing in an inked sketch as a thank you. The funding deadline for this project is October 4.

2. Prinz Gigahertz 

And now for something completely different.

Lukas Kummer, an artist and illustrator from Germany, is creating an adventure story for people who wanna explore why we love adventure stories so much. Prince Gigahertz is a graphic novel about a young knight, chased by a demon and forced to flee across a “post-nuclear fairytale land.” I like this concept for a few reasons, most of them because I enjoy when things tease why humans become so invested and dogmatic about genres. This story does a bit of fourth-wall-breaking in that it attempts to be reflective of fantasy and adventure genre while telling an adventure and fantasy story.

Here are some interior pages from Kummer’s Kickstarter. I’m a big fan of his art style.

Sample page 1 by Lukas Kummer, via Kickstarter
Sample page 2 by Lukas Kummer, via Kickstarter
Sample page 3 by Lukas Kummer, via Kickstarter

Kummer has completed the story and storyboard for this graphic novel, but there aren’t too many details available. I’d love to know more about how long the graphic novel is, what kind of book backers will get and some other elementary information. This is a pretty straightforward backer reward scenario in that if you back the Kickstarter (at 25 Euro), you will get a signed physical copy of the book. Kummer is hoping to raise $2,923 by October 10.

3. Ballad of the Broken Heart

Cover mock-up for Ballad of the Broken Heart

I gravitate towards certain colors. I’m sorry, okay? But if you give me a muted, washed out purple I’m gonna be all “hey you, what’s up? what’s shakin’?”

Armageddon Factory is a small group of comics artists, writers, and colorists. They live in Italy and enjoy coffee and inking comics, so we already have a massive deal in common. Anyway, they are creating an 80-page comic about love and revenge, and it’s worth checking out. Ballad of the Broken Heart tells a story of…well, I’ll let them explain it since the team has gone through the trouble of writing some prose for their Kickstarter:

We are just numbers among other numbers. Numbers, only numbers, but some of them count so much more.
The age – the where and when – does not matter. In a near future, the toughest challenge to face will be overpopulation.
Birth control will be a civic duty but individual will alone won’t be enough…
Aimless wars will become serial entertainment; controlled deaths, a millionaire lottery.
Branded like beasts, drawn like bingo balls for death – a win for your family. All the rotten, the evil, the worst, will be marketed and sponsored as fair, decent and good.
In a near future, society will have different ethics, a different perception of good and evil – of love and hatred.
Only few men will be born with unalterable, natural morals; because nobody will ever change the value of love for somebody who’s truly in love.
In a scenario of absurd tomorrow, a brave soldier, finally back home, will discover the truth about his gone love.
A mute warrior, a vow of silence, a merciless revenge put in meaningless prose.

Here are a few sample interior pages from the comic:

Page 1 of Ballad of the Broken Heart, via Kickstarter
Page 2 of Ballad of the Broken Heart, via Kickstarter
Page 3 of Ballad of the Broken Heart, via Kickstarter
Page 4 of Ballad of the Broken Heart, via Kickstarter
Page 5 of Ballad of the Broken Heart, via Kickstarter

The story and artwork come to us from Stefano Cardoselli (Heavy Metal) and Andrea Amenta (Kiev 1914). Colors are from Tommaso Devito (Ten Earth Shattering Blows) with translation and editing provided by Daniele Bonfanti. There are numerous rewards available including posters, pins, t-shirts, cards and the like. Something I’d love to see this Kickstarter updated with is additional information about the book itself. Backers do like details; it’s important for people to know (at the very least) the physical dimensions of the product they will hopefully one day be getting. I really can’t say this enough, but I will repeat it anyway, it is very beneficial to know the breakout of where the money is going and the anticipated costs.

The team is hoping to raise $1,753 to help cover the cost of printing and backer rewards. Funding for this project will continue through November 10.

Thank you for reading, I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Spend some time with your head in the clouds for me.


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