The New Way of Comic Publishing – Cobbling Together Whatever Works
You may recognize the name Alex de Campi from her print comics or digital evangelism or Kickstarter usage or her new Image series No Mercy. She’s also been writing a series, Semiautomagic, that’s drawn by comic veteran Jerry Ordway and has been published so far in Dark Horse Presents.
The “modern, techno/Lovecraftian horror series” will be collected by Dark Horse into a 104-page graphic novel due out this summer. Alice Creed — professor, witch, and monster killer — stars in the book described as follows:
“When a dark force from between universes begins seducing young souls through an innocent computer game, she packs her occult relics, holy water, and iPad to kick eldritch ass! Throw in a friend unstuck in time, an army of evil mannequins, a college student possessed by a demon, and the worst flight experience ever, and you have a week in the life of techno-occult adventurer Alice Creed!”
However, although there are more stories in the series de Campi and Ordway want to tell, apparently, Dark Horse isn’t interested, so de Campi took to Kickstarter to offer a deluxe box set of the series, with a second, 80-page book containing three more stories. So if you like occult horror or techno-magic adventure, you’ll want to pledge instead of pre-ordering. (Good job in lining up the time periods so fans can choose one or the other option.)
The first eight pages of the Semiautomagic series, which first appeared in Dark Horse Presents #4 (2014), can be read at the Kickstarter page. To show there’s no hard feelings, Dark Horse is even handling the printing of the new material, so the books will match in quality and format. Although the Kickstarter will succeed at $21,000, the full new book won’t exist unless $28,000 is raised. Right now, a third of the way in, the project is at about $17 and a half.
You can’t order just the add-on book, but if you just want the DHP reprints, you can preorder Semiautomagic from your local comic shop with Diamond code FEB16 0058 at a list price of $12.99. It’s due out at the end of June, while the Kickstarter set costs $45 and will be out in August at the earliest. (There’s also a digital-only version for $20.)
This isn’t the first time artists have worked with publishers to Kickstart “extras” editions of books already placed with established publishers. Lucky Penny with Oni did one, for example, and NBM has had at least one as well. It feels odd to this old fogie, who still expects comic publishers to provide more benefits than they apparently have funds for these days, but creative financing (as long as it’s ethical) is something to admire.