One of the pioneering comic series has gone to Kickstarter, as Don McGregor has set up crowdfunding for a new Sabre story. The first-ever graphic novel sold to the direct market, Sabre has been running on-and-off for over thirty years now, and this new story will see McGregor team up with artist Trevor Von Eeden.
The original Sabre project is remembered as being a strong blow in favour of creator-rights, with McGregor taking a pitch he’d made to Marvel for a character called ‘Dagger’ and publishing it under a new name, with full ownership. The comic was full-on – it features strong violence and sex, as well as what I believe is the first gay kiss in comics.
The main character, now renamed Sabre, was pitched as a romantic hero, a freedom-fighting swashbuckler who raced through a post-apocalyptic world and brought down pirates and tyrants. It was sci-fi mixed with topicality, as Sabre and his partner Melissa Siren battled for their place in the world. Sabre is perhaps one of the somewhat-forgotten pioneering black characters in comics, and the influence of the original graphic novel and subsequent series was vast.
You can actually read an extended interview with McGregor about the series over on Comics Bulletin – the editor of that site, Jason Sacks, is coordinating this Kickstarter.
This new project, called Sabre: The Early Future Years, is pitched as being
New reader friendly and packed… with action and adventure aplenty, along with romance (in every sense of the word), bizarre menaces and delightful action.
And is currently set as a 40-page story, although it’ll expand if the goal is exceeded. Joining McGregor on this new project is artist Trevor Von Eeden, who co-created Black Lightning with Tony Isabella. Von Eeden is currently working on the project, and you can see some of his pages through this article. Several artists have also offered incentive covers, including this piece from Brian Stelfreeze:
I personally think it’s remarkable that Don McGregor has owned the character for over thirty years, and has continued to put out new stories every so often featuring Sabre. It’d be a colossal shame if the Kickstarter didn’t make its goal, because this is a massively important part of comics history – and McGregor’s work back in the 1970s was some of the most forward-thinking and progressive seen in comics.
If he’s bringing even a small amount of that relevance to this project – and the Kickstarter page suggests that he certainly is – then this will be a fantastic book, with some superb artwork. It’ll also be phenomenally entertaining, most importantly.
So that’s my hard sell. Go check the Kickstarter page if you’d like to see more.
In a way, this project demonstrates some negatives about Kickstarter. Not only is McGregor trying to revive a 35-year-old character, he’s (Sabre: The Early Future Years) apparently pitching the story as a prequel. If it works, great, but what he’s doing is practically the opposite of coming up with an idea for a story, and then packaging it for the mass market.
C’mon! Do it for Don!!!
Lance Roger Axt
The AudioComics Company
This sounds great. Rather than coming up with an IDEA and pitching in on Kickstarter, McGregor looks to be off and running with an established character. I often wonder how many Kickstarter projects ever get past the “idea stage”, with or without the funding.
“first gay kiss in comics”, if you ignore Tijuana Bibles, the Undergrounds, and comics from places other than America.
I have supported this project and will continue to do so, but, sigh, Trevor did not co-create Black Lightning. Everything important about the character was in place before I brought the character to DC and DC recognized that in the credits up to the moment when I tried to buy out DC’s interest in my creation. I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but that’s the facts of the matter. I love Don like a brother and I love his work. I think Trevor has developed into one of the best artists in the business and buy whatever he does. So, this other thing aside, I urge everyone to support their new Sabre project.
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