Cartoonist Stephan Franck has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new graphic novel. Palomino will be published as part of Franck’s Dark Planet Comics. The book, said to be the first of a four-part series, is described as a neo-noir tale of cowboys in 1980s Los Angeles. The story follows Eddie Lang, a cop-turned-musician who works as a private investigator to pay his bills, and a murder case that turns the lives of Eddie and his daughter, Lisette, on its head.
In a statement announcing the campaign, Franck discussed the influence of cowboy culture on America’s west coast:
“Cowboy culture is central to California’s history,” said Stephan Franck. “It came out west with the Dust Bowl Okie migration that Steinbeck depicted in Grapes of Wrath, showed up again in Easy Rider and the hippy generation’s cosmic cowboys, and in one form or another sold the American century to the world and to America itself. On one level, PALOMINO is about the lost subculture of LA’s country western music scene of the 1980’s, but it’s also about people living inside the myth-making machine, motivated by the belief that, here in the west, you can always reinvent yourself.”
Launching a crowdfunding campaign in the middle of a global pandemic might not seem like the smartest of moves, but Franck’s campaign addresses the reasoning behind that. The pandemic has brought much of the industry to a standstill, and Franck calls Kickstarter campaigns like his “literally the only lifeline letting you, the reader, safely and directly patronize key parts of the industry’s vital infrastructure.”
The comic book industry that we all love is a complex and fragile ecosystem. And it is facing a crisis. 100% of the funds from this campaign will be spent with our crucial vendors, raising the odds that they will still be around on the other side of the pandemic.
To take one example: our printer. They are one of only a handful of facilities in North America positioned to print comics, which means the ability to print at high volume and with quick turnarounds. Without these highly specialized companies, the direct market and its monthly schedule simply cannot exist. Needless to say, they are in mortal danger, so let’s keep them working, yeah?
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it pointed out that supporting a Kickstarter campaign for a physical comic doesn’t just support the creators, but also the suppliers who produce and ship the books. With the White House having rejected a bailout for the U.S. Postal Service, they could certainly use all the help they can get.
A digital edition of Palomino can be had for a pledge of $10, with $20 netting backers a physical copy. Higher pledge levels include other Dark Planet Comics books, and the chance to be drawn into the book.
Check out some art from Palomino below. The Kickstarter for Palomino launched today, and will run until May 13th.