Breaking News: I had a massage yesterday to celebrate my birthday. The massage therapist asked if hid pain well, I told him it was a family tradition. It felt like a good bit, one I decided to stow away in my head for another occasion. Now I’ve told you fine people and the circle is complete. The only point of the story is this: remember to take some time away from the computer for yourself. But first read this article. Here’s the good stuff, the lovely crowdfunding projects I believe should be on your radar this Tuesday.

1. Afterglow: A Graphic Novel

This graphic novel has everything, girls and a giant radioactive cat. I am not sure if there is anything else you could ever want from a graphic novel. This story comes to us from PLUME creator K. Lynn Smith and Pat Shand, creator of Prison Witch. It’s the story of a girl named Lacey, her massive mutated cat, and their quest to stop the world from ending, AGAIN.

Cover for the new graphic novel AFTERGLOW by Pat Shand & K. Lynn Smith

A more straight forward synopsis for you fine folks:

100 years ago, an event called The Glowing devastated 80% of the population, leaving the survivors with an Earth that has been changed. Water is radioactive, animals have mutated, and the world has been painted with beautiful, dangerous, glowing color. Most of the remaining society has broken into villages in attempt to rebuild the world they lost, but this mysterious girl and her giant cat have embraced this wild new world.

Here’s the thing my dear readers, what the remaining population doesn’t know is another apocalyptic event waiting for them. In fact the only person who does know this is Lacey, as it was foretold in her late-mother’s journal. That’s why Lacey is on a quest to save the world but it won’t be easy (it never is). Danger lurks for both Lacey and her cat named After.

What I like about this graphic novel is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not afraid to be emotionally charged while still maintaining some fun and funny. I’m 100% here for this graphic novel, thankfully the creators have provided us with a bounty of preview pages.

Preview page for AFTERGLOW. Also, I want to ride a giant cat.
Preview page 2 for AFTERGLOW
Preview page 3 for AFTERGLOW

AFTERGLOW will be printed in full color and there are a plethora of cute rewards available including: bookplates, bumper stickers, bookmarks, pins, and buttons. Reward tiers also include special considerations for retailers which is always nice to see. For $200 you can get yourself drawn into the comic which honestly is much more tempting than I care to admit. If you don’t have $200 however, you can snag yourself the softcover version of this book for $20. There are also additional add on items for backers to consider as well, which allow you to purchase the creators previous works. Always nice to see if you are looking to familiarize yourself!

Between K. Lynn Smith and Pat Shand, two folks super familiar with Kickstarter, it’s hard to envision any issues arising. They have provided a good paragraph for backers about the risks and challenges, most of them having to do with possible delays in printing. That’s a pretty standard risk and challenge disclaimer and nothing that causes me undue concern.

AFTERGLOW is hoping to raise $13K by June 22 to produce and distribute this graphic novel.

2. How to Draw Black People

Readers want characters to reflect and represent the world we see around us, a rich and dynamic spectrum. They also want authenticity. It’s on writers and artists to put in the effort to make characters believable and that means moving beyond the superficial. That’s why artist Malikali Shabazz is creating this how-to guide, he goes on to say:

Artists often feel like they don’t know what will draw the ire of a socially conscious community, and they are right; they don’t know. Artists are taught by and large to copy but rarely to intuit. Art courses require us to recreate and translate without necessarily understanding the subject. That lack of understanding is the cause for a lot of anxiety and unintended strife between audiences and artists. The hope is that by focusing on culture, comparing and contrasting the differences between the acceptable and the offensive, artists can better themselves. This book will help artists of all levels create more meaningful, authentic diversity and representation.

Sample page from HTDBP


Shabazz notes that this isn’t your typical artist how-to guide, instead this guide provides artists with a well-rounded understanding of culture, costuming, hair and customs. The book is divided into sections, each section sourced and cited via research Shabazz is undertaking. According to the Kickstarter page, there will also be a discussion of colorism, fatphobia, gender expression and how these elements play into visualizing black characters.

While I will supply the bulk of tutorials and tips provided in the book multiple talented artists will also give their take on how to approach each topic; how to apply what’s being highlighted in different styles, and give their own take on what they believe is important when it comes to creating diverse characters. Also in the book will be a wealth of photo reference for artists to take advantage. A compilation of everyday black folks across the African diaspora. Special attention will be paid to the differences between drawing someone from the west indies, Ethiopia, Brazil or South Africa.

I’d love to know more about how long this proposed book will be as well as their printing and distribution plans. There are other elements of this project which still need to be scoped out and finalized, for example identifying and paying the other artists who will be contributing to the guide. From my reading of their Kickstarter campaign, the scope of this project is likely to either grow (or shrink) as certain elements are hammered out. The team behind the campaign are pretty active in their update channel, so definitely watch that space.

There are some limited rewards available, including signed editions of the book and special art prints. Shabazz is hoping to raise $16K to complete, produce, print and distribute this guide by May 31.

3. Magical Boy Basil #3

This Kickstarter campaign is hoping to bring the third issue of the webcomic Magical Boy Basil to print. The pair behind this comic are Rebeckah Murray and Jill Hackett. They are creating Magical Boy Basil to show us that being different is great, wonderful and dare I say it? Even magical. It’s a comic about embracing the qualities that make us, well, us. You can learn more about the cast and read back issues of the webcomic on their website.

We created Magical Boy Basil because we believe having LGBT+ characters in positive lead roles is important. We wanted to create a story where being different is wonderful – even magical – with a lead character who can take on any adventure life throws at him. Magical Boy Basil is full of humor and magical mishaps, but the heart of Basil’s story is rooted in the obstacles we all face. Whether it’s standing up for what’s right when no one else will or getting into trouble way over his head, Basil takes us there and works his way out. He never gives up.

Reading a positive story about coming together to face challenges sounds like something I should be reading right now. Not to mention mixing slice of life stories with magic and monsters is exactly my thing™.  Did I mention that the lead character Basil has social anxiety? As someone with social anxiety I’m excited to see a lead explore and learn to cope with its many trappings. Issue three of Magical Boy Basil follows the main character as he and his friends continue to unlock the mystery of Tanglewood and the seemingly perfectly-popular-boy, Aaron Serge. Who is he? Why is he so perfect? Is there more to Aaron than meets the eye?

Sample from Magical Boy Basil #3
Preview page from Magical Boy Basil #3

The artwork for issue three is already complete. The goal for this campaign is to fund the printing of this comic and refinements to the artwork. There are a good deal of fun rewards available like vinyl sticker sets, enamel pins and special variant covers. In fact there are too many rewards to list them all here, so if that’s your thing, I highly recommend heading over to their page to read more about what is available. The team is hoping to raise $4,500 by June 3.

Until we meet again. Tah-tah and have a lovely week.